West End hit 'Leveson' nearly over, but why did Cameron produce it?
David Cameron's appearance all-but brings the curtain down on the media drama, but it wasn't really necessary
THE RUSH to gush over the cringingly embarrassing "Yes he Cam!" text from Rebekah Brooks overshadowed a list submitted to the Leveson inquiry of David Cameron's six "close friends" in the media.
In the public interest, the Mole is reproducing the note here:
"There is a small number of journalists who are close friends of mine and who I see so frequently that I have not included them systematically in these lists, namely Daniel Finkelstein, Alice Thomson and Sarah Vine from The Times, Xan Smiley and Christopher Lockwood from The Economist, and Robert Hardman from the Daily Mail. While my contacts are mainly social, they are also people with whom I discuss politics and particular projects, such as speeches."
Geordie Mirror man Kevin Maguire tweeted that none of them were at the hearing to report on the Prime Minister's attack of "Camnesia" when it came to hard questions such as, "Did you spend every weekend with Mrs Brooks, Mr Cameron?" But their future reports on their "close friend"
will be read with even closer interest.
Cameron's appearance has all but brought the curtain down on the (too) long-running hit in the Strand before Lord Justice Brian reports in October.
The one question left as the audience departed through the vomitorium is: why did Cameron set up the inquiry in the first place?
It has cost millions of pounds, damaged Cameron (the general verdict in today's papers), and Lord Leveson's findings are likely to be spiked if he comes forward with tough legislative controls on the press, which neither Gove nor Osborne nor possibly Cameron himself (he seemed a bit woolly on self-regulation) would support.
Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail said on Sky News as the show ended: "It was a fig leaf to cover his embarrassment over hiring Andy Coulson."
In fact, Cameron was pushed into it by his Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as the hacking scandal hit the fan. Clegg saw it as a long overdue and necessary reform. Cameron saw it as a short-term fix.
The truth is, Leveson was not necessary. The discredited Press Complaints Commission which covers intrusion into privacy (Sir John Major's main concern) is bust and can be replaced by a more independent body.
The worst excesses of the News of the World are already covered by the criminal law as the charges being laid against Rebekah Brooks and co will demonstrate.
The best advice for Cameron the Mole can offer is let the law take its course, kick Leveson into the long grass, and in future be more careful about the friends he chooses, like the 'special six' above.