However, let's get real and not pretend that this story isn't potentially damaging. Alastair Campbell has thrown in his twopennyworth of advice to Coulson and David Cameron. Like Tim Montgomerie, I think it is sound advice...
It is not my place to advise Cameron, or Coulson. But if it were, I would be saying to Cameron to find out very quickly whether Coulson did act in any way improperly, and to act accordingly if he thinks he did. And if I were Coulson, I would be totally honest with Cameron to help him make that decision. When the Damian McBride emails first surfaced, it was obvious where it was going to end. If Cameron thinks that this situation might also end in him having to lose his right-hand man, better to do it quickly.
Contrary to popular rumour, I don't know Andy Coulson well. I'm sure many of you think he gives me my marching orders on a daily basis, but I think I have met him three times and spoken to him a couple of times on the phone. But I know a good adviser when I see one. He's done a terrific job since he was appointed to the job two years ago and everyone I know will be hoping he comes through this. Everyone I know who knows him better than I do likes him. He's not a showy adviser. For someone who came into the job with a high media profile, he has done well to stay out of the limelight. He will be cringing at 'becoming the story' because he knows that there are sometimes dangerous consequences when that happens. Ask Alastair Campbell.
The key thing is for this story to be addressed head on. And fast. David Cameron is reported to be 'relaxed' about it. That may be because, like any responsible employer, he did his due diligence on Andy Coulson before he was appointed.