Sorry for giving away a Loose Ends trade secret by tweeting that I was recording it this morning. I think it used to be done live but what with live bands in the studio and stuff, it probably got a bit complicated, so you can hear it on Radio 4 at 615 this evening, just as Burnley cruise to a debut win for new manager Eddie Howe at Scunthorpe.
Football is probably the other reason it is no longer live. Clive Anderson is a big Arsenal fan, so morning is a better option all round for a programme not totally dependent on news.
I was on there to talk about my new book, Power and the People, which he definitely seemed to have read (or had a good researcher whose insights he was able to absorb). His main take seemed to be first that I worked too hard and second that I was quite devious, perish the thought. But for obvious reasons – plus the fact Andrew Neil was also on the show, talking about a new documentary on how public schoolboys seem to be taking over the country again – we also covered the Andy Coulson situation.
I made the point that he was no longer really the issue, and that far from being the end, this was the beginning of perhaps the most important chapter in this unfolding drama.
The four big issues flowing from yesterday are 1. Cameron’s judgement in appointing Coulson when it was so clear the News of the World phone-hacking story would unravel. 2. The growing sense of industrial phone-hacking by the News of the World and the reputational battering News Corp will take as more and more private cases are mounted against them. 3. The seeming desire of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to waive through News Corp’s attempted buy-out of BSkyB without proper consideration – let me warn him that will be a disaster if he does, not least for him and Cameron and 4, the growing stench surrounding the police handling of this, which will go centre stage as it emerges how much they knew and how little they investigated.
The talk is of Coulson today. But as things stand I would say that points 2, 3 and 4 are where this scandal is now headed. Cameron’s judgement will be tested once more when his government is forced to decide upon 3.