David Blackburn

A real crisis?

A real crisis?
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David Cameron is under pressure now that the phone hacking scandal has slithered its way closer to his door. The news that Neil Wallis informally advised Andy Coulson in the run up to last year’s election will spark questions about Cameron’s judgement and the competence of his leadership, as will the revelations about his chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn. Criticism is likely to come from both sides of the House: Tories I’ve spoken to are none too pleased about yesterday’s events.

Cameron rebuffed his critics at last week’s PMQs by rising above politics to strike a calm and prime ministerial tone, for the most part. He will have to do so again. His famous temper must be resisted, as must the temptation to kick the shriller egos arraigned against him. Yesterday was the most humble day of Rupert Murdoch’s life; David Cameron will have to display similar sentiments today.

In total, he will spend three hours at the dispatch box; roughly the same amount of time that Gladstone spent on his feet when debating home rule for Ireland, an altogether more serious political crisis than this lurid saga of Fleet Street chicanery, petty corruption and political vanity. There are serious allegations against many involved, which must be addressed. But the absurd furore in parliament and the press will be put firmly into context if the eurozone’s crisis deepens into catastrophe in the coming weeks.