John Ward – Hackgate : Could It Be That The Prime Minister Is A Knaif? – 29 June 2014

JohnWIn the world of 2014, appearances really are everything. At the Old Bailey Hackgate trial, Rebekah Brooks showed herself to be a mistress of the This is Who I Really Am role-play in which every successful defendant must indulge in order to make the right impression.

Brooks went out of her way to be Ms Approachable with the courtroom staff and the jury. She always turned up for proceedings with coffee in an unbranded plastic cup. She wore no make-up. She emitted an air of ordinary feminine vulnerability at all times. And as I have blogged previously, somehow she wound up facing only those charges she knew could not stick due to a lack of evidence.

Today in the Independent on Sunday, however, there is a forensic examination of what Coulson very, very carefully said (and didn’t say) during the years between his initial Parliamentary Committee appearances during the Naughties, and his subsequent trial at The Bailey. Whereas Coulson thought the clinical exactitude of denial was enough, Rebekah Brooks knew better: and today, he’s in prison and she isn’t.

The IoS piece is by James Hanning – along with Nick Davies, one the of the expert veteran Hackgate observers – and from start to finish, it rings true. Hanning is a bloke I respect for many and varied reasons, but the beauty of this piece is that it lays bare the ridiculous position (taken by David Cameron) that he both believed and fully accepted the version of Hackgate culpability offered by Andy Coulson. Were that to be true, Hanning rightly concludes, Cameron would have to be either a fool or a knave.

The odd thing with Cammers is that he does things of such tooth-rattling stupidity, you could indeed be forgiven for imagining him a fool; but then he offers up answers so Nixonian in their unlikely deniability, it is difficult not to conclude that he is a knave. I think it highly unlikely that one person can be both at the same time: but you never know.

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