In today’s Guardian Ian Cobain reviews Andy Coulson’s career. In his time at the News of the World he did not shy away from attacking the Conservatives. Here’s what he wrote about Boris Johnson:
"For a posh bloke who went to Eton he has an uncanny, popular touch. He also has an uncanny habit of cheating on his wife."
And on George Osborne:
"Osborne … has now owned up to his encounters with a cocaine-snorting call-girl … like Cameron, the frontbench MP won’t be drawn on whether he has taken drugs himself. But remember, politicians make the laws. That’s why we have the right to ask about their backgrounds – especially when they aspire to run our country."
But being nasty about the Tory party is far easier than getting other people to be nice about it. Will Coulson’s lack of political experience be a problem? Cobain quotes a friend of Coulson:
"He’s very bright, he learns very quickly, he’s very witty and very likeable. He may be in danger of saying the wrong thing early on, but he’s smart, so he’ll probably stay in the background for a while, learning the job."
Coulson is intelligent. He had a reputation at Wapping for being a safe pair of hands. And though he has no political experience he has good relationship with some of the most important people in the British media – Sun Editor Rebekah Wade is a close friend and Rupert Murdoch a former boss.
But there is more to the media than News International. Coulson will quickly have to turn his attention to the Telegraph, the Daily Mail – whose editor Paul Dacre is said to be an admirer of Gordon Brown – and the vital BBC.
David Cameron wants Coulson to make "a formidable contribution" and to help build "the most effective strategy and operation to win the next general election". Let’s hope he does.