Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

David Cameron could hardly have done more to highlight the role of the Journalists’ Charity when he made a guest appearance at the annual reception: it was, said the Prime Minister, a brilliant example of the Big Society at work. He delivered his tribute after being welcomed by the Ambassador of Ireland, Mr Bobby McDonagh, who was the generous host once again for the charity’s most popular get together held in London on Wednesday 3 November.  

Given the skilful way the Conservatives have used the news media to prepare public opinion for the cutback in child benefit announced at this week’s party conference in Birmingham, it is no wonder that Labour MPs are continuing to gun for David Cameron’s communications chief Andy Coulson. 

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.