Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website
Andy Coulson’s crucial role in helping David Cameron win the backing of the Murdoch press is still paying handsome dividends for the coalition government, says Nicholas Jones, author of Campaign 2010: The Making of the Prime Minister.

The answer to my question has to be a resounding ‘No’. In many ways the presentation of the emergence and then early months of the coalition government has been a master class in commanding the news agenda. But there is one very big difference between the combined spin operation of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats when compared with that of New Labour. Where they differ is in the way the coalition has been able to discipline itself, how it has managed to avoid, at least for its first four months in office, the divisive anonymous briefings which from the very start of Tony Blair’s leadership proved so debilitating for the Labour Party and later the Labour government.  

Instead of focussing so much on possible causes of his loss of life, campaigners for a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly should be concentrating their attention on trying to establish exactly what happened before his final, fatal walk in the Oxfordshire countryside. Fresh light has been cast on the events that morning in July 2003 and it does suggests the Hutton Inquiry skated over the timeline of precisely who said what and to whom in the hours before the Iraq weapons inspector left home.

Any suggestion that the Prime Minister’s headline-grabbing remarks about Gaza and Pakistan were slips of the tongue by an uncontrolled ‘loudmouth’ could not be further from the truth.

In his television documentary – Five Days That Changed Britain – the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson chides himself for his failure to have predicted that in the event of an inconclusive general election David Cameron might attempt to establish a coalition government. I too was taken totally by surprise by the boldness of Cameron’s ‘big, open and comprehensive’ offer to Nick Clegg and his skill in negotiating a deal that paved the way for a joint Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration.