Forsyth uses the story to point out the danger to Ken Clarke in the wake of yesterday's typically evidence-based and elegantly argued Sun editorial that Ken Must Go. But the real alarm bells ring not for Clarke, but for the government as a whole if it really is in hoc to such ridiculous decision making parameters. Many of the commenters on the Spectator site seemed to take a similarly dim view of proceedings, such as this eloquently expressed point:
Let's hope for all our sakes that it [ the govt] feels it necessary to stand up to the mediaevalism of thought-process that permeates the Sun and its red-top rivals. Let's hope that it is untiring in promoting the message that humanity must do better than allow itself to be dictated to by lamebrains - for otherwise there's little hope for us.
Perhaps, though, with Coulson gone and Cameron now in government, there might be a change of heart about how closely he should follow the dictates of the Sun. He might do well to remember the immortal words of one of his Conservative predecessors. Stanley Baldwin, referring to the Beaverbrook press, said of the press that:
"It carries power without responsibility; the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages"
Mind you, one of Baldwin's more cynical supporters muttered that it was unfortunate they had now lost the harlot vote. Can't have everything I suppose!