19 July 2011
Readers will gather by the absence of an entry yesterday that it was, euphemistically, what I have come to label as ‘a quiet day ‘. Really, nothing of interest occurred, in my life, which I felt the urge to write about. To some extent today also promises to be ‘a quiet day’, in that the threat of a short sharp shower was sufficient to put me off the idea of going to golf. As much as anything this week is going to be very busy anyway with three days out at the beginning of the test match against India at Lord’s.
The only real excitement is, I suppose, this business of hacking into mobile phones that resulted in the demise of the News of the World newspaper.. Yesterday, saw two more resignations, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police – not only the head poncho for the 7.4 million Londoners but probably the most important policeman in the country – and one of his deputies, who was responsible for terrorism. Following the other two resignations, on which I reported a few days ago, this whole business is now beginning to take on a really sinister tone. These two policemen were due to appear before a Select Committee in two days time but having resigned from the police force this may have been a way of averting, what now seems to be, a possibly embarrassing cross-examination. Clearly there is far more to this business than anyone imagined when it was first raised. I can only speculate that the Commissioner and his Deputy, at least knew that the telephone tapping was going on and may well have even authorised it. All will become clear as more and more revelations are made.
Since writing this I have heard of the sad suicide of the ‘whistleblower ‘journalist and yet another senior management resignation. This afternoon I watched The Politics Show on TV, which was in the live cross-examination of James and Rupert Murdoch in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee. Whilst both of Murdoch’s made much of how appalled they were and what the staff had been up to (but what more could they say?. Both Murdoch continued to vehemently deny any knowledge of the alleged phone tapping at the time it was taking place. I must say that it is very hard to believe that at least the editor of the News of the World was unaware of these underhand tactics to gain exclusive stories. The whistleblower journalist, in and earlier interview, said that such telephone tapping was endemic in the industry, so there must be a number of other editors and senior journalists who are quaking in their boots for the outcome of the enquiry which will shortly start into this whole shabby business.
Â You part of this enquiry will look into the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and Murdoch empire, News International.
It seems that they paid Â£12,000 medical expenses for the Commissioner following a serious illness and that he also accepted 18 invitations to lunch or dinner over a relatively short period. The excuse the Commissioner gave was that the Murdoch’s controlled 42% of our newspapers and therefore it was necessary for him to keep in close touch with them. Couple with this the fact that a number of ex-News of the world newspaper employees ended up advising the Metropolitan police and the whole business becomes to look very murky. I just hope not too much of this rubs off on the Prime Minister who, rather naÃ¯vely, engaged an ex-editor of the News of the World, as his publicity agent (now resigned)
Â The live Select Committee examination of the Murdoch’s took a bizarre twist when a member of the public tryied to throw a plate of shaving cream (I suppose he could not get a custom pie!) into the Rupert Murdoch’s face and was prevented from doing so by a swift uppercut from Rupert Murdoch’s young wife, who was sitting just behind him.