How Cameron cosied up to Murdoch & Son – UK Politics – UK – The Independent
Four years ago, when David Cameron did not have an experienced tabloid operator like Coulson to advise him, it nearly went horribly wrong. When the raw and newly elected Tory leader first met News International’s patriarch Rupert Murdoch, he was intent on projecting himself as a socially tolerant leader with modern ideas who would shake up an outdated Tory Party. In his anxiety to be modern, Cameron described with great enthusiasm how he had enjoyed the new US blockbuster film Brokeback Mountain. Far from being impressed, the ageing Murdoch was appalled that a would-be prime minister should be watching a film containing graphic scenes of gay sex.
In those days, Murdoch had more time for John Whittingdale, the Tory chairman of the Commons committee on culture and media, who had worked for Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, than for anyone in Cameron’s shadow cabinet. He also thought that the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, was more of a Thatcherite than Cameron.
Cameron’s master stroke, in June 2007, was to hire Coulson five months after he had lost his job as editor of the Murdoch-owned News of the World when it emerged that the paper had been bugging royal telephones. It was a controversial appointment that opened Cameron to political attack and is costing the Tory party a hefty salary – reputedly £200,000 a year. But it produced dividends, because it meant that the Tory leader had at his side someone he trusted absolutely, who was also trusted inside the social world of the Murdoch clan.
Coulson is a dear friend of Rebekah Brooks, formerly Rebekah Wade, who edited The Sun from 2003 until she stepped up into her post earlier this year. When Wade was arrested in 2005 for allegedly assaulting her then husband, the actor Ross Kemp, it was to Coulson she first turned for help. It is said that each would die for the other.
This link gave Cameron a secure line into the social circle that includes James Murdoch, his sister Elisabeth, her husband the publicist MatthewFreud, Wade’s second husband, the old Etonian former racehorse trainer, Charlie Brooks, and Nat Rothschild, of the banking family.