19 July 2011


The Tory backbencher, Nick Boles, who lost his cool when Harriet Harman kept interrupting him on BBC Newsnight on 18th July, then uttered a phrase that will come to haunt him, when he described the hacking and police bribery scandals as "a little local difficulty". The revelation that Millie Dowler's phone messages were hacked and some deleted, potentially destroying evidence and giving her parents false hope that she might still be alive, was absolutely vomit-making. I hope that those responsible are prosecuted to the furthest extent that the law will allow. The occasional bent copper taking money for a tip-off? That seems as surprising as the information that bears defecate in the woods.

But when you think about the global issues facing the Government, such as the possible collapse of the euro, Libya, Afghanistan, the recession, the debt, you can see where Boles was coming from with his ill-judged comment.

Harman is following the Labour plan of conflating issues to cause as much noise and confusion as possible around these scandals, on the basis that making noise now will make life uncomfortable for the Government, and hoping that people have short memories and will forget that this mess started on Labour's watch. They have a clear strategy to set a trap for Cameron by demanding an apology for appointing Coulson. If he apologises, he'll be seen as following a lead given by Milliband, if he doesn't then Labour can keep on and on suggesting that Cameron doesn't "get it". The ball is rolling on the enquiries and these should be allowed to run their course.

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