Andy Coulson has surfaced for the first time since his Downing Street walk out in 2011 to dispense some pearls of wisdom for those he left behind. Writing for July’s GQ, he gives “his ten-point masterplan for saving David Cameron and stopping Labour in 2015”. And he sticks it to Boris too. Guido is sure the advice will be welcomed with open arms…
Despite awaiting his September trial, Coulson has clearly been keeping one eye on the ball:
“The prime minister must push [Miliband] to take positions: expose his strategy (to keep his head down, silently hope that the economy continues to go wonky and, well, just be the other guy), challenge him to take a view on the tricky issues opposition politicians love to duck….I’m struck by how detached the opposition front bench appears to be from their leader…I just don’t think they rate him very much. And if they don’t there’s a good chance the public will feel the same way once they get to know him properly.”
He’s even got even stronger words for Balls:
“The prime minister should pray Ed Balls remains shadow chancellor until the election…Appointing him as George’s opposite number was the Miliband gift that will keep on giving… The Tories must look for the divisions and make the most of them a) because they are most certainly real – always a plus – and b) because it’s history repeating itself. We are in this hole at least in part because of the shamefully dysfunctional Blair/Brown relationship. Labour’s Two Eds dislike each other and each thinks he is smarter than the other. The Conservatives should imagine in some detail how it would work if they actually won…and share that vision with the British public.”
Other than what might come out at the Brooks and Coulson trial, the Tories other favourite topic of parlour conversation is Boris, and Coulson does not disappoint there either. The Mayor’s card is marked, it seems. Coulson reckons Boris wants the job but won’t tarnish the brand by moving against the PM.
“Number Ten’s Boris strategy should be simple. Support his good ideas, advise privately on the bad ones, but only engage publicly if absolutely necessary – and celebrate Boris’ considerable successes. Boris Johnson desperately wants to be prime minister and David has known that fact longer than most. When Boris asked me to pass on the message that he was keen to stand as mayor of London, David responded, “Well, if he wins, he’ll want my job next.” If proof were needed that our PM is a man untroubled by self doubt, it came in his next sentence, “So I think he’ll be a bloody brilliant candidate for us”… Stabbing David, or anyone else for that matter, in the back would be distinctly off brand – just not very Boris. He would much prefer to see David fail miserably in the election and ride in on his bike to save party and country.”
A little revenge, perhaps, for Boris saying at the height of the phone-hacking scandal that he had warned Dave and George off hiring the former Screws editor. You have to wonder what might be in that diary…