Friday, January 21, 2011

Tales of the riverbank

“If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy float by,” according to the Japanese proverb.

And so it is with Andy Coulson, the ex- News of the World editor who claims he was ignorant of the phone-tapping activities which yielded him some of his exclusives.

Mr Coulson resigned from the job when the scandal broke but got taken on at an exorbitant salary by David Cameron who claimed he was giving the newspaperman “a second chance”.

Now Mr Coulson’s past has come back to haunt him and I maintain what I have said before: either he was a lousy editor for not knowing how his stories were obtained or he has not been telling the truth about what he did know.

Neither incompetence nor a cavalier approach to the truth is something you would wish to see in the Government’s head of communications so it’s not surprising he’s finally gone.

You could say it was “incredibly stupid” of Cameron to employ him as it was “incredibly stupid” of Mr Coulson to think he could evade all responsibility for his newspaper’s illegal activities.

A few years ago Mr Coulson engineered my resignation as Tory candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis by insisting I sign an apology which said I had been “incredibly stupid” to mention the name Enoch Powell in an article about immigration.

I had said Powell was right to warn that uncontrolled immigration would change the country dramatically. I would not sign Mr Coulson’s statement of apology and chose to resign as a candidate instead.

Having been sitting on the riverbank ever since, I cannot help but feel a frisson of schadenfreude when I see the body of one of my enemies go floating by.

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