Can David Cameron limit the fallout from his friend Rebekah Brooks’s woes? – Comment – Comment – Evening Standard
“I just wish we could get the bloody thing off the front page,” one Cabinet minister said to me yesterday. You can understand his exasperation: a Coalition government, with all the tensions implicit in such an arrangement, reels from rotten midterm elections, faces economic meltdown on its doorstep, prepares for a second comprehensive spending review that will make its 2010 predecessor “look like a picnic”, watches anxiously as the cuts already announced take effect, and struggles against the forces of inertia to implement the many public service and welfare reforms it has enacted thus far. This administration can ill afford to be defined — or even part-defined — by a protracted story about alleged media criminality.
At least Nixon’s “plumbers” — the White House black ops team at the heart of the Watergate scandal — were working for him. The hackers of Wapping had precisely nothing to do with Cameron. Yet it would be hopelessly naive to deny that he is now embroiled, however distantly, in the whole squalid business.
There is a grim symmetry, too, in the fact that the police investigation is budgeted until the putative election year of 2015. This isn’t ending any time soon. And the longer the saga endures, the longer the Government will be drawn into a zone of fuzzily perceived wrongdoing, there to be judged by an electorate that has long forgotten what it is like to give a politician anything approaching the benefit of the doubt.