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A fisk of Rebekah Brooks's text to David Cameron - proving the terrible friendlessness of politics

By Paul Goodman
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Coupling "country supper" with "in this together" might almost have been crafted to contrast the dealings of the elites with the plight of the masses.  Rebekah Brooks managed to do so in a text to David Cameron read out at Leveson earlier today. 

It was sent during the 2009 party conference before his leader's speech. Some will go on to read it as evidence of how close he and Ms Brooks had become.  But what it really illustrates is the exploitative nature of political relationships - and the terrible friendlessness of politics.

Let's take it line by line.

"But seriously I do understand the issue with the Times."

Translation: "You've given me an explanation of why you weren't at the Times party during conference and I'm unhappy with it." *

"Let's discuss over country supper soon."

Translation: "I want to see you in Oxfordshire in the evening over a dinner table because I will have more time there to get what I want out of you than over a lunch table in London."

"On the party it was because I had asked a number of NI people to Manchester post-endorsement and they were disappointed not to see you."

Translation: "You need our support and snubbing my fellow executives - which is how they and I see it - won't make keeping it any easier."

"But as always Sam was wonderful – (and I thought it was OE's that were charm personified!)."

Translation: "This is a jocular sentence intended to lighten the tone of my criticism, since I prefer to tick you off without making you testy if this is possible.  I am not self-aware enough to grasp that saying Sam was wonderful - "as always" - strikes a note of insincerity.  And I am too insensitive to appreciate that just because you and my husband were at Eton doesn't mean you like being reminded of it."

 "I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a proud friend but because professionally we're definitely in this together! Speech of your life! Yes he Cam!"

Translation: "There are few real friendships between senior politicians and senior politicians, and that I describe you as "a proud friend" - a phrase which real friends rarely if ever use to each other - shows that this isn't one of them.  The Sun has made a strategic decision to support the Conservative Party, so don't embarrass us by losing the election when it comes."

It's been claimed that Mr Cameron tried to keep Ms Brooks - Ms Wade when he would first have met her - at more than arms length until she married Charlie Brooks.  I don't know about that.  But I do know that this is not a text that any friend would send to another.

Its real message is: "We want to own you."  Mr Cameron wasn't embarrassed by any reply he may have sent Ms Brooks being read out in court, but whatever its words may have said, its meaning would have been: "I know."

P.S: I may write later about the rest of the Prime Minister's appearance in front of the inquiry that very few people outside the Westminster Village have the slightest interest in.

2pm update

* The Daily Mail's Tim Shipman and others have tweeted that Mr Cameron was also angry with the Times about a story it had run on the Conservatives' plans for the House of Lords.


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