Jeremy Hunt: my prediction for the end of the day
Update: proved wrong. 13.00
Jubilant UK Uncut activists yesterday claimed vindication – one among them recalling how, at the time the protest grouping interrupted an LSE talk given by Jeremy Hunt, many criticised the moves as premature and worse.
For UK Uncut, at least, they were right then, and they were right now.
But what happens now?
Many have said they are looking forward Prime Minister’s Questions, not least because Ed Miliband will have a pop. Others have expressed caution – namely because, now the country has fallen back in favour with Vince Cable, the one who “fended off Murdoch camp’s overtures”, previous statements made by Miliband may come back to haunt him.
In 2010, finds Stephen Tall for Liberal Democrat Voice, Ed said:
Having apparently breached the ministerial code and having said what he said, he shouldn’t be remaining in office and I fear that David Cameron has made this decision not because it’s good for the country, but because he is worried about the impact on his coalition of Vince Cable going.
In short, and as the news items ran with it, “Labour leader Ed Miliband said he would have sacked Mr Cable”.
Clearly concerned about this, Tom Watson made his apologies this morning.
the saddest thing in this affair is that all of us in parliament knew these shadowy contacts existed and failed to act. It was as if nobody was prepared to challenge the might of Rupert Murdoch. The one person who looked like he was prepared to stand up for something was Vince Cable. But caught in the Daily Telegraph sting he had to stand down for expressing what most people now know to be true: it is wrong to give Murdoch yet more control over our country’s TV and newspapers. Poor Vince. I criticised him at the time and I shouldn’t have done. I apologise to you, Mr Cable. Your methods were wrong, but your motives were right.
It would provide political capital in more ways than one if Ed Miliband put up his hands in PMQs and said Vince Cable was right and that he was wrong at the time – as much as Cameron would want to draw points from Ed’s admission he couldn’t given the context and nature of Vince’s sudden vindication.
Cameron will lose today’s PMQs – but this is just theatre for the Westminster village.
Rupert Murdoch is up with Leveson today and as the Telegraph have it, “is expected to disclose his private meetings with a series of senior British politicians”.
This should put the willies in both Cameron and Jeremy Hunt.
All signs point to Hunt being scalped. Cameron is shallow in the polls, the Daily Mail poll asking whether Hunt should “resign” has the overwhelming majority saying yes, and last night on Newsnight nobody came to Hunt’s defence – oh apart from Jacob Rees-Mogg who, when asked if he had seen Hunt recently, explained that they hardly know each other.
For Cameron, giving Hunt the boot looks like the better of two shitty options. Hunt has been hunted, caught out, and Cameron, through sacking him, can at least look as though he has some kind of moral direction.
The question is when will Hunt go?
If he was sensible, Hunt would have gone before Murdoch gave his evidence to the inquiry. But then if Hunt was sensible he wouldn’t be in this mess to start with.
He’ll be gone by tonight, but I do wonder why Hunt’s last act of stupidity, and Cameron’s one of many such acts, was to stick it out until Murdoch has turned the knife one last time.