Belfast Telegraph

Poor old David Cameron - you just have to LOL

By Harriet Walker

The revelation that David Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks at the height of the hacking scandal to "keep her head up" reduces us all to paranoid parents checking the inboxes of our teenagers' phones.

We just want to know that they're not in touch with the wrong sorts, or being groomed by baddies. Turns out, in Westminster at least, they are.

There's something inherently collusive about texting, and something intrinsically anti-social and throwaway - no doubt that's why Cameron didn't think twice about dropping Brooks a line.

But therein lies his terrible hubris. Texting is what adolescents do at the back of the bus; it's how lovers send their sweet nothings these days.

It's a powerfully personal means of communication - one that won't necessarily be archived by your employers to check if you're bent or not; one that exists solely in your own domain and your own private life.

Sending a text to wish someone well, to console them, or let them know you are thinking of them, is fine if they have broken their leg, split up with someone, or failed their driving test.

Sending a text to wish someone well when they are embroiled in a scandal is rather different.

Cameron's texts to Brooks is yet another facet of the cool, colloquial persona he has cultivated since even before he was elected. But this news suggests that the only vernacular he has really been speaking all this time is one of hand-in-glove hierarchy and hidden agendas.

Nor does he even sufficiently understand the medium to text properly. Brooks told the Leveson Inquiry last week that the PM used to sign off his messages with LOL until she told him it stood for 'laugh out loud', rather than 'lots of love'. It paints a picture of Cameron, the great mum of state, putting on his reading glasses and holding his phone at arm's length to send his sordid missives.

Generally, a text is good for getting in touch when you don't really want to get involved, for ticking the communication box without actual human interaction. No doubt, this is what Cameron had in mind.

What foolishness. This text, from its very existence to its content and the time of sending, says more than any phonecall, or e-mail: more than the cosy dinners, or the racehorse, this text is proof that Cameron is friends - or allies, at least - with someone who has become the enemy of the people. And we know how that ended for Edward II, or Mary I.

This text relationship has reduced Cameron's political stature significantly.

He surely joins Squidgygate and Anthony Weiner in the insalubrious bracket of public figures embarrassed by private communications.

Cameron's opponents must be hugging themselves; in clicking 'send', he has signed his own death warrant. C u l8r.

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