Tuesday, 8 February 2011


No, don't worry, Rupert hasn't taken us over, yet.

The phone hacking scandal isn’t going away anytime soon.

That is one of the messages from this programme (which I think can only be seen in the UK).

I’d recommend you watch this if you can find the time. The unpalatable truth it uncovers, not just on the News of the World or indeed, News International, but a wide range of other organisations, including the police and the prime minister, is worth knowing.

It seems, as Munguin’s Republic has been saying for some time, that there are far too many people who are scared of Rupert Murdoch. People didn’t like to admit it, indeed Alistair Campbell denied it, but big John Prescott admitted that they were very wary of taking on the Sun or the News of the World. On all four occasions when MPs on the Cross Bench Media group asked Rebekah Wade (senior manager of NI) to testify before them, she declined. An option to ask the Serjeant at Arms to issue a warrant for her was dismissed because (it is alleged) they were afraid that their personal lives would be put under the microscope by the paper.

The police certainly seem dislike investigating any accusations levelled against News International and the programme looks at the reasons behind this. Could it be that they fear over cautious scrutiny of their personal affairs? Or could it be that Murdoch has the power to offer a career change? Certainly the officer in charge of the original enquiries into phone hacking which saw a royal correspondent and a freelance detective imprisoned, and was then dropped for supposed lack of evidence, now strangely works as a columnist for a Murdoch newspaper. A well paying, and relatively easy job (after all Coleen Rooney can do it). And him just a simple bobby!

Cameron’s judgment must come into question. Why did he employ Coulson? The NoTW editor was hands on to the point of micro management, but didn’t know his journalists were phone tapping? He was also accused of bullying his staff at the paper, and yet he was employed by Cameron at the very heart of government. Did Cameron ask any questions about his part in the phone tapping? After all he resigned over it. Did he ask about the bullying? If so, did Coulson lie, or did Cameron just take him on anyway? Or did Rupert make it a condition of his support. Was it the Sun what done it?

We also have to doubt the wisdom of the prime minister while his government was discussing the News International deal with BskyB, having dinner with Rebekah Wade, and passing it off as a meeting with a constituent (which she is), but neglecting to admit that James Murdoch (who is not) was also at the dinner. As Ms Wade is married, it’s unlikely that he was only there as a partner on a constituency matter. In any case, does the prime minister have the time to have dinner with all his constituents?

He should have been anywhere but near either of them while these matters were being examined.

The final part on this story looks to the future in the tabloid world. Phone hacking is now ‘stone age’ (and in any case most celebrities are wise to it anyway), but to replace it we now have wifi hacking where a journalist will hack into the wifi systems in, say, an hotel lobby where meetings are going on. (S)he will then feed spyware into the computers of the users in the lobby and be able to hack into documents, downloads, emails etc....

It’s worrying. And because the government and the police are afraid of the press, it’s not about to stop.

One cheering note. It appears with the information that is coming to light, that friend Coulson may have lied at the trial of Tommy Sheridan, as a result of which, he may be joining the tan man in the pokey in the not too distant future.
Pics: You can't really blame them. He is, after all scary! Bet that suit cost more than my house!! Dave "over my shoulder go 500 cares" Cameron. Rebekah sweetie, be careful with that phone. Maybe someone will play you at your own game. Wouldn't it just be the jam on the toast if someone wiped the supercilious grin off this one's face by putting him in the same cell as Tommy?


  1. A couple of points here worth mentioning.

    First, I find News International illustrates exactly why Lord Sith (sorry, Murdoch) should not be able to purchase a controlling stake in BskyB. As you say, this phone hacking will not go away, and thus, I can assume that the takeover bid subsequently shall as a result.

    I am gleeful at that thought myself.

    As for your comments about Camerons judgements, you do have a point I grant you - but only a small one.
    It is after all poor politics for the PM to have placed himself on the wrong side of this debate. By appointing Coulson, and then defending him so staunchly, he has arguably put himself on the wrong side of the privacy battle.

    Put it this way - he can hardly stand up in parliament had push for higher press standards, or privacy laws for politicians so they dont need to live in fear of bastards like Murdoch and his goons.

    Cameron has got caught out here, and he needs to swallow some pride and move to clamp down on rogue press barons and their disgusting attacks on civil and personal liberties.

  2. Yes, I agree Dean.

    The idea was to have someone who, as an "Essex Boy" would be a contact between "Eton Boy" and the people on the streets. This was actually a good idea.

    I know you hate it when I point this out, but Cameron and his friends, most of his Cabinet, really don't have much of an idea what life is like out here. And why would they. I don’t know what it’s like to be rich, and I only have the meanest knowledge of what it’s like to live in dire poverty. You know what you are used to, and Cameron comes from money. It’s not really classist, it’s moneyist. After all “Lord” Martin and “Lord” Foulkes are rich, but you could never accuse him of having the least semblance of class.

    So he was badly advised (I read somewhere, by George Osborne) to employ Coulson regardless of the risks, because he would be able to guide him in his understanding of "the common man". Coulson was able to point out to him that telling the rest of us to tighten our belts and then going to Thailand from Christmas, en famille, to stay with Thai prime minister, a friend from Eton, would be a gross error. He was right. Mr Osborne went to Klosters and got terrible press from it,

    Interestingly, and perhaps not unreasonably, he chose "Essex Boy", and not "Cardiff Boy", "Edinburgh Boy", or "Belfast Boy".

    I think too that, having had trouble with Vince Cable over his "from the heart" remarks about Murdoch, it was idiotic of him to have dinner with Ward and Murdoch, jun., while his government was investigating a massive deal that means billions over the years to Murdoch. That, in my opinion, is just as damaging to the fairness of the process as Cable’s admission that he was at war with the man, and showed a lack of judgment.

  3. Tris.

    I'm always for free speech and a media that does not fear government interference but what have we hear? It's the damn opposite!

    If our governments and our police are too afraid to speak out against media sharks like Rhubarb Crumble then I think it's time the rules were changed starting off with how many titles one individual can own.

    On David Cameron's defence, I don't think he knew Coulson was suspected of knowing about the phone hacking business when he was at the NOW. Cameron might be a lot of nasty things but I doubt he is the dishonest type or the type who would deliberately employ filth.

    If Rhubarb Crumble does get too big for his boots then I would send in the SAS and tell the people that the country took measures to protect our national security.

    In my own opinion I think the press in the UK have far too much freedom and can destroy lives at any level for 20p but where do we strike the balance between having an authoritarian government with no freedoms or a democracy where our media controls our government?

    Great article btw!

  4. Allan,

    You may have put me off Rhubarb Crumble for life. I shall never again look upon a lovely sweet and sour plate of red and yellow without thinking of that ghastly old man. Ta very much! ;¬)

    Rupe (as I like to call him when we are alone) has a massive file on top people and, I think, that he uses it to exercise control. “Do my bidding or your sordid sex life in sleazy clubs will be on the front page matey.” Most people have something they’d prefer no one know about.

    Of course the Sun and the Times give him a huge influence on the government.

    In 1997 Tone (another pet name) spent a weekend on his private island where the Labour party’s attitude to Europe was altered by Murdoch in return for support.

    The Sun and the Times and their Sunday best supported Labour and they won. In 2010 Murdoch spent some time with Cameron, changed side, and so did the country. It may be co-incidence of course. Both governments were very unpopular by the time it came to these elections, but both had been unpopular before that and still won with the help of Murdoch press.

    I think with both of these factors that it is scary that an Australian who lives in New York and puts up with neither the conditions of the country, nor contributes to its taxes, should have such power over its police and government. I’d happily send in the SAS, but everyone has his secrets... even SAS men, so the question is, would they go?

    I still think that Cameron showed a lack of judgment in employing someone who was involved in phone tapping, but as I said to Dean, I can see why he would do that. The guy was probably very good at this job and he knew what ordinary life was like. He certainly sounds like another Alistair Campbell from what the programme says about him and the tapes. Of course Murdoch may have made it a condition of his support.

    According to the programme though, he wasn’t really investigated on this. It may well have been naivety on the part of Cameron rather than dishonesty. Maybe gentlemen take each other on trust. Perhaps he forgot that Coulson was not a gentleman. Even if that’s all it was, we could do with a PM who is a little less naive!

    I’ll have to have peaches and cream after dinner tonight!

  5. Tris

    I am not sure that it is Murdoch influencing the electorate, I think it is more watching which way the wind is blowing then backing the likely winner.

    In 1997 Blair was pretty much a sure thing against Major, and Cameron was a decent bet to replace Brown. Murdoch backs winner, sells more newspapers, and has influence with the government of the day as he backed them. Win win as they say.

  6. Did someone mention rhubarb crumble ?

  7. Methinks there is trouble ahead


    LATEST: Scotland Yard announces 'important and immediate' new line of inquiry in phone-hacking case. More details soon ...

  8. You could well be right Dubs... After all, the Tories didn't actually win this time. It's more that Labour lost.

    He still has way too much influence. Even the likes of prescott admitted that government didn't like to get on the wrong side of the NotW.

    Of course, that could be nothing to do with public opinion being swayed by what they write in their political columns, and more about what they decide NOT to write in their gossip columns...at least for the time being, as long of course, as x y and z policies find themselves being in the next parliamentary programme.

  9. Yes, FB, someone did, but we gave it to the dog and he ate it all up. Tough!

  10. Hi Niko,

    Do you really think that new evidence has come to light, or was it lying in a locked filing cabinet at Scotland Yard until today, after Munguin's Republic opened the subject for discussion...?

  11. I thought Cam looks like he was just checking that Sam was three paces behind. All businesses have become to big in the world and the sooner they are starved of funds the better for us all and you can have my cream tris.

  12. I think some chav had just wiped his dirty hand down Dave's inordinately expensive suit.

    I understand that Sam is one hell of a tough lady and that if anyone was 3 paces behind it would be Dave...

    Thanks for the cream CH

  13. Well we wouldn't want "ordinary" people who had just been "ordinary" at "ordinary" jobs... to be having a say on anything.

    After all, unless you're one of the "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" club, you have no advantage to be gained, and therefore your point of view is likely to be rather different from the mindset of the "usual suspects", who have a deal to gain.

    "Lord" Lang (why on earth did he get a peerage?) was such a useless Scottish Secretary, and I've never seen anyone who was more up Thatcher's backside. Horrible effete little creep.

  14. Tris

    To be fair to Lang, well almost, even though he was a useless Scottish Secretary some people still voted tory in Scotland then.

    It needed the wonderful wee Metal Micky Forsyth to come along and be the worst SS ever, until Murphy came along, to really finish the torys off in Scotland. Tory MPs meeting in an empty phone box, now one in the box talking to himself.

    We should all be grateful to Forsyth.

  15. Yes that's true, there were some Tory voters in there days, but he was repugnant. Forsyth, I maintain, is one of the reasons the Tories have no votes here.

  16. Excellent ... :)))

  17. Tris

    Sorry I put you off Rhubarb Crumble but I see FB has not been put off lol.

    I suspect Murdoch does have a file on many top people and as such can do what he wants or else.

    It really does disgust me how this man and his gutter press empire can dictate policy and even worse is the fact that he's not even a UK national.

    He is desperate to own Sky because news paper readership is falling and more of us are tuning to the web where we can choose from many sources to keep up to date on politics.

    He will get his comeuppance sooner or later when he himself comes under the microscope.

    Speaking of Rhubarb Crumble and Fat B, I see Jim Davine has been found guilty. Hoorah Hoorah Hoorah!

  18. It's Ok Allan. I've turned to apple crumble for comfort...

    It will be interesting to find out what decision is made over BskyB, but with Vince having come down on one side, and Dave inviting them to dine with him, it's difficult to see how they can be unbiased.

    Hopefully that woman in Portsmouth who has bought in Greek TV will make some of his empire less profitable....

    Yum... You should try apple crumble....

  19. Excellent news about Divine James.

    I wish they had had the guts though to put forward the couple of hundred other thieves in the place for trial.

    Plus in the so called upper house, Baron Taylor puts down a house he's never visited as his main home, and gets nabbed, Viscount Falkland does exactly the same thing and we hear nothing.



    High time justice was for all, not just a few hapless scapegoats.

  20. Aah, a Jessie Matthews reference. Now, she was a girl who rose up from complete poverty to being a sophisticated world star... social mobility ahoy!

  21. Aah mister_tmg. What was a reference to Jessie Matthews?

    The thing about social mobility is that, in a class ridden society, the moment that we all achieve social mobility and, I assume, move upwards, everyone will have to start again ...

  22. "over my shoulder go 500 cares" - she introduced that song, Over My Shoulder. I can't see Britain's social structure changing anytime soon.

  23. Oh duh!

    How thick am I?

    It was me that did made the reference to her.

    Sometimes I have cause to wonder for my sanity! :)