Monday, July 18, 2011

They don't get it.

The News Corp phone hacking saga continues like a runaway train.

Actually, to my mind it's not about phone hacking, although it did start when the public discovered that the News of the World  hacked into the phones of people other than celebrities. That meant the illegality which had been accepted for years was suddenly an outrage.

And although it's called the phone hacking scandal, the real story is corruption.

The UK has long prided itself on being corruption free. It can't any more.  Media, politicians, police all scratching each others' backs with secret deals, payoffs, freebies, exchanges of confidential information.

Politicians playing for Murdoch's media support. And in return he expected...?

A relationship between police and Murdoch's empire that included police being paid for information.

Former executives from the NoW being given well- paid jobs with the police and government.

The original enquiry finding no problem other than a couple of minor underlings, who went to jail, and the enquiry being closed with unseemly haste.

And so it was back to business as usual.

But every day sees more sensational developments. It's not just underlings taking the rap any more, big names are beginning to fall.

The latest is the top cop, Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who resigned yesterday.

There were a number of pressures on him but the one that to me is the biggest is that he accepted a gift of thousands of pounds of free health spa accommodation.

It doesn't matter who the owners were, who arranged it, whether it had anything to do with Murdoch.

The problem is the nation's top policeman accepted a valuable gift from someone.

At the very best it shows appalling judgement and naivete.

And like others being outed in this drama, he just doesn't get it.

Here's what he said:

Sir Paul insisted there was "no impropriety" in relation to his use of the spa. He said: "I am extremely happy with what I did and the reasons for it — to do everything possible to return to running the Met full time, significantly ahead of medical, family and friends’ advice. The attempt to represent this in a negative way is both cynical and disappointing."

See, accepting gifts is perfectly OK for senior police officers. There is such a thing as free lunch.  People will give them gifts worth thousands of pounds and never even think of wanting a favour in return.

Just watch it, this story will grow like a snowball because it's becoming a really dirty fight.  People involved are looking to deflect dirt from themselves by naming others, people are settling old scores, good friends are hurriedly being dropped, there's a mad a scramble as people scurry to put distance between themselves and News Corp. And of course, anti-News Corp forces, including media rivals, are throwing fuel on the fire.

There are widespread reports of Sir Paul's dig at the Prime Minister who he said risked being compromised by his closeness to former News of the World editor Andy Coulson.

And, naturally, not for himself did Sir Paul kept secret his relationship with and employment of Caulson's former deputy Neil Wallis as a 'strategic adviser'. No, that was to protect others:  "I did not want to compromise the prime minister in any way by revealing or discussing a potential suspect who clearly had a close relationship with Mr Coulson."

Very senior people, including long-standing friends of Rupert Murdoch, have gone and are among those arrested. The top cop has gone and his deputy should be next.*  The opposition is baying for government blood.

They'll make a movie of it one day.

Quotes are from:
Sir Paul turns on PM. The Guardian.
Daily Telegraph.

* Breaking News

It's ninety minutes after I posted this and the Assistant Commissioner has just resigned. Things are moving faster than we can keep up with.

1 comment:

nzm said...

Here's a link to an excellent visual timeline of how things are going down at NotW: Mindmeister - Dan Taylor author