I have been called insane, mad, deluded and many other unprintable names recently because I think David Cameron is on his way. They may, indeed, be right that my political antennae need retuned or I need to stop eating the mushrooms growing in the woods.
I think Dave will go. Not because #Hackgate happened to blow up on his watch, not because he hired Andy Coulson (against some advice and on advice of others) but because when it all kicked off he denied ever having asked Andy (his friend to whom he gave a second chance) if he knew about the hacking.
The ‘I didn’t ask’ defence isn’t credible given the vast array of sources saying they told PM & his staff that Andy Coulson was implicated. This wasn’t a minor question to be avoided, and it strikes at the core of the Prime minister’s judgement and integrity.
If he didn’t ask he was incompetent and if he did ask and subsequently denied it; he is complicit.
The PM will have to continue to deny that he knew, if he changes tack now he implicates himself.
When the questioning of Coulson, Brooks and many others starts to bite them a deal will let it all out. If he knew, it will come out in the wash. All it will take is someone saving their skin or a memo with the Prime ministers fingerprints all over it.
The close links with News International may look bad but that won’t be enough. His poor judgement over Coulson wont be enough, all those around him resigning and getting sacked wont be enough. After all Labour can be accused of very similair things.
It will be the lie that sinks David Cameron.
It smacks of Bill Clinton’s ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ unless you count……
So I think he’s going.
Who then for the conservatives? They will not want another election (neither do Labour if we have any sense) so the coalition will survive because the LD support is too low to see them jump from the coalition. They will, of course, get to flex their muscles over press reform and rightly so (they have been calling for it for years).
My best to lead the Tories Post David Cameron will be either William Hague (for whom last time was too soon) or David Davies (near miss in the run off with David Cameron).
The rest are just not likely. Gidders will be damned by association (and economy), May (not senior enough), IDS (nuff said), Landsley (mess of NHS no chance), Gove (about to lose role over 60k retainer from News international), Hammond (bombardier about to blow his hands off). Liam Fox (outside bet as he is usually not too bad but has just slashed the army so perhaps not). Ken Clarke (not very likely after sentencing mess). Redwood?
Hague or Davies it is then.
Perhaps Ed might manage to beat either of these.