Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is David Cameron still a lucky general?

Ed Miliband watches one of the PM's responses (Photo: AP)

It hasn't been the greatest of weeks for David Cameron. He must be bitterly regretting the decision to hire Andy Coulson as his head of communications - if he hadn't, then the political angle to this week's story would have been Labour's historically close ties to Rupert Murdoch (or, conceivably, the story would never have got off the ground in the first place).

But is it terminal? Was this the week that Ed Miliband began his unstoppable climb to power? Apparently, nauseatingly enough, Labour staffers are now going around quoting the West Wing at each other. "Let Ed be Ed" they say. And Ed Miliband has finally started to look as though he enjoys opposition. Kicking Murdoch is something that true Labour believers have wanted their party to do ever since the move to Wapping. They still fume at the treatment that Neil Kinnock received. So the fact that Labour has declared open war on Murdoch is pure catnip to them.

It's the hell of a risk though. Murdoch is unquestionably damaged by this week's revelations, but he's not dead yet. When you go tiger shooting, you'd better be sure of your shot. Labour haven't got so many friends that they can afford to be quite so blase about making enemies. It's also a risk to assail your opponent with an attack based entirely on his judgement in hiring people when your own cupboards may just be rattling a touch.

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