13 July 2009

Mrs Marr makes a point or two

Jackie Ashley, who I have much criticised for her Monday outpourings, turns a new leaf today and rightly says:

Brand Cameron has taken a hit by clinging on to Coulson, but the Tory leader clearly thinks his colleague's advice is worth it.

Ashley makes the obvious point that Coulson will survive unless any new evidence appears.

Then she motors on to discuss whether Coulson represents a style of politics that is now out of date:

According to friends, Coulson is not, and has never been, a particularly political man. He's an operator who travels light. He moves in a world of dealers and fixers. Conservatism is not a cause; it's more that Cameron is a client. Nobody rises high in News International (NI) without knowing how to flatter and deal with the powerful. Coulson rose faster and higher than most.

For Cameron, it has all seemed so easy. Get close to Murdoch's lot, and Associated, owners of the Daily Mail. Listen with apparent enthusiasm to their agenda, from hostility to the BBC to genteel environmentalism and anti-quango rhetoric. Rock no boats there. Enjoy the sweet breath of media enthusiasm and get elected. Coulson is the man for the voyage….Yet I wonder whether this is enough.  Isn't the challenge for Cameron now to turn away that rather bland, youthful metropolitan, Rupert's friend, "heir to Blair" politics?

She wonders if the party is tough enough to make the hard decisions that will be required after the expected election victory.  Ashley concludes:

The Tory leader remains something of an enigma, sometimes crisp and tough, at others bland and blobby. Alongside him, as best mate and media fixer, he does not have a man brimming with passion for Tory ideas and keen for bloody-nose confrontation. There's not much ideology around in Team Cameron, and a lot of metropolitan influence-peddling. Some Tories are saying that without a sharper edge, Cameron's Toryism will fall to pieces.

Coulson may go before the election. Why? Because Cameron might decide that he represents a style of politics that recent events – from the financial crash to the MPs' expenses scandal – have rendered out of date.

Maybe her timing is questionable, but she has a point.  Cameron has often been criticised as being light on policy.  He may well need a harder edge as we get nearer the election as well as beyond and Coulson certainly does not fit that mould.

One more point.  Ashley’s reasoning becomes more plausible if Labour do replace Gordon Brown with Alan Johnson.  Why?  Because at present Cameron has little competition when it comes to communication.  That will change with Alan Johnson because he can communicate.  Cameron will then need to show a harder edge to mitigate against this, something Coulson, as she says, may not be able to supply.

Digg This

No comments:

Post a Comment