|Andy Coulson: The PM's Forrest Gump|
Allow me to be among the very few (outside No 10 or Wapping) to congratulate the Prime Minister's media adviser, Andy Coulson, on his exoneration by Scotland Yard from any complicity in the News of the World's ongoing phone hacking scandal: he may have once been the paper's control-freak editor, who diligently and sensibly close-questioned his journalists on story sources, but somehow or other he never got wind of the fact that many of their exclusives came courtesy of illegal phone tapping.
I am awe-struck by the subterfuge of his former staff. How they must have laughed behind their editor's back in night-time pub marathons. What a push-over! So naive! Born yesterday! I am almost tempted to think well of David Cameron for taking pity on such a dickhead: I didn't realise the Tories practised positive discrimination for the, er, incognisant. Coulson is now arguably one of the most powerful unelected members of the Old Etonian plutocracy. I have a fond regard for pet owners of underdogs.
Scotland Yard proved to be slightly more than helpful in threatening to put on criminal caution any witness against Coulson. No wonder Sean Hoare, a former Screws hack, declined to repeat the claims he made to the New York Times - that Coulson well knew of the phone hacking and authorised it. Why should Hoare expose himself to prosecution in the face of No 10's media machine, their many friends in the compliant Tory print press or rent-a-quote bloated bigmouth Kelvin MacKenzie? No reason at all.
I note also that the wrongly maligned Coulson, in Tommy Sheridan's ongoing perjury court case in Glasgow, has denied ever being a bully at the Screws. I have no reason not to believe him except that last year one of his former sports hacks, Matt Driscoll, won a record £800,000 at an east London employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. A major cause of Driscoll's woe was Coulson, apparently - a claim evidently believed by the tribunal.
After the case, Driscoll reportedly said: "If I were him [Coulson], I would find it very hard to look in the mirror. I was subjected to unprecedented bullying and he did nothing to stop it, if anything he accelerated it. I didn't do anything wrong."
If I were Coulson I'd take steps to win back that £800k for his former boss Rupert Murdoch given his now established blamelessness, his utter Forrest Gump-like obliviousness to abuses at the News of the World.
To have such a man-child at the heart of government endears him to me in a way that is hard to express. I just hope he gets wise to Nick 'dead' Clegg before the rest of us do.