Is Andy Coulson guilty of journalistic impropriety?

In editorial on September 6, 2010 at 17:34

Answer: It doesn’t matter.

Andy Coulson’s reputation has been dragged through the trenches quite lavishly over the past several days, with Prime Minister David Cameron being forced to step up and offer vocal support for his Director of Communications.

Most of the political chattering classes already know why, but no one seems too sure whether the allegations are true or not. Did Andy Coulson participate in the illegal interception of voicemails belonging to well-known personalities?  My opinion is that – at this point – it really doesn’t matter.

Why? – you ask.  Well, I’ll tell you.

First, Coulson’s appointment was a massive error in judgement on the part of the coalition.  News of the World is quite well known for its involvement in dirty tricks, drive-by journalism, and the proverbial gutter-press stories.  It is a highly questionable paper, and any man who willingly takes the post of editor puts his own integrity at risk.

Fortunately, for Coulson, he’s not a bad chap, and much of this can be overlooked.

However, his previous position combined with the very serious allegations now being pointed his way simply cannot – and should not – be overcome.  He needs to stand down for the sake of the Government, and for the sake of the Conservative party.

Whether we wish to admit it or not, this will come back to haunt the Prime Minister if Coulson stays on board.

It’s difficult enough as it is to keep a coalition government together, let alone when also having to deal with persistent questions about the ethical status of your senior staff.

Guilty or not, I fear, the only answer is for Coulson to go. (Sorry, Andy)

UPDATE: A senior Tory source has said that Coulson’s position is “like a long gunpowder fuse”, and suggests resignation possible

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