The appointment of Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor, as the Conservative Party’s director of communications rocked Westminster, though no one was quite sure what it would mean for the Tories: ‘puzzling’ (Daily Mail, 4 June), ‘what signal is sent by hiring the man who sold salacious celebs’n’sex journalism?’(Independent on Sunday, 3 June).
Most commentators felt that, after the recent grammar school debacle, the Tories desperately need a defter touch in media/policy matters, and thus interpreted Coulson’s appointment as the Tories’ answer to Labour’s former spinmeister, Alastair Campbell. But had Coulson broken the first law of spin-doctoring by becoming ‘the story’? His involvement in the royal phone tapping incident was well documented, and according to Max Clifford, would come back to ‘haunt the Tories’ (Sunday Herald, 3 June).
However, few denied Coulson’s experience, particularly with Murdoch’s News International, which will be useful to Cameron’s self-professed aim of being the ‘true heir to Blair’. Whether Coulson will go ‘from red-top sinner to election winner’ (Independent on Sunday, 3 June) will be the poacher-turned-gamekeeper’s greatest test.
MESSAGES BY VOLUME
Based on articles from 31 May - 4 June 2007