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  1. Politics
1 June 2007

Swinging doors

Andy Coulson’s appointment shocks the blogosphere

By Adam Haigh

Two men given top appointments this week share the fact that one of them was forced out of their last job and the other is replacing someone who was forced out. They are Andy Coulson and Robert Zoellick. The blogosphere asked: “Any similarities?”

News of Andy Coulson’s appointment as director of communications for the Conservative party shocked the blogosphere.

Yes, this is the guy who took “ultimate responsibility” for the illegal phone tapping of more than 600 mobile phone messages by one of his reporters when he was News of the World editor.

Guido thinks: “He’ll bring a more robust tabloid headline sensitive approach that is more likely to connect with people than an Oliver Letwin speech.”

Mr Coulson certainly knows the newspaper industry like the back of his hand so will no doubt be directed to liaise with editors to drive the Tory party machine to possible victory at the next general election.

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Anthony Little, at Little’s Log, said: “I was amused by the triumphant fanfare” over the announcement, but I’m not quite sure what amused him so much.

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Labour blogger Tom Watson said Mr Coulson was quite good company. He added: “He is out of the work. The Tories are in disarray. So why not?”

But perhaps most insightful of all, the Lib Dem Norfolk blogger, asked: “What does this tell us about David Cameron?” Comments are welcome.

According to Benedict Brogan’s Daily Mail blog, Mr Cameron’s office is describing Coulson’s departure from the News of the World as “honourable” following the phone-tapping case.

Honourable is certainly not a word many would use to describe his departure.

But could “honourable” be used to describe the new boss of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick. Awaiting the inevitable approval from its board, Mr Zoellick, a former US trade representative, will be sworn in. He replaces Paul Wolfowitz who was forced to resign after suspected nepotism.

Over at Lenin’s Tomb a succinct summary of Mr Zoellick makes for vital reading. He said: “He wants efficient American power, and keeps his eye decidedly on the welfare of American capital.”

If you watch closely in the new film Black Gold about the injustices of coffee industry, Mr Zoellick can be seen looking very unsympathetic about a producers co-operative in Ethiopia whose farmers’ families are starving.

But I’m sure Mr Zoellick is shrewd and bright, as has been said of Mr Coulson. Both men are clearly now at the top of their respective games. Can they cut the mustard?