About ten days ago a caller on my LBC radio show reckoned that the hacking scandal was turning into a British Watergate. I dismissed this thought as the ravings of a lunatic. I’m not so sure I was right to do that now.
I can’t believe I am even writing this, but it is no longer an impossibility to imagine this scandal bringing down the Prime Minister or even the government. OK, some of you reading this may think that last sentence is a deranged ranting, and you may be right. Indeed, I hope you are. But Sir Paul Stephenson launched a thinly veiled attack on David Cameron in his resignation statement and the Prime Minister is already on the ropes about the propriety of his relationship with Andy Coulson.
The irony, of course, is that virtually everything we are talking about in this scandal happened under the last government, and yet it is this one which is getting it in the neck largely because of David Cameron’s decision to appoint Andy Coulson. Oh how he must now wish he had appointed Guto Harri, as was his original intention.
It is difficult to predict what Cameron’s next move might be. Having regained the initiative last Wednesday, he is now back in a very bad place. Does he have the wherewithall to recover from this? Well, I’ve said before that he is the political of a weeble. He may wobble, but he doesn’t fall down. He has always bounced back in the past and I expect him to do so again.
But for the first time since 2005, some people are thinking about life after Cameron. And that’s not good. Not good at all.