It is slowly dawning on the British public that privacy invasion is a much bigger subject than the criminals at the News of the World. This morning’s arrest in West Yorkshire is, I’m told, of a hacking ‘intermediary’ not a Screws journalist – but it is to do with Sue Akers’ Operation Weeting. So with Jeremy ‘Culcha’ Hunt set next week to give Rupert the go-ahead to ply his trade on a bigger canvas, there could be a fly in his ointment by this evening. We shall see.
Less obvious but equally significant was a minor news item from late yesterday, announcing that the private papers of Ed Balls (plundered by the Mailite boat people at the Telegraph for their recent expose series) would become the subject of yet another Met police investigation. As the Slog posted at the time, the general impression given was so obviously one of theft (and the public interest excuse so flimsy) it remains my view that somebody somewhere may wind up doing porridge for this little caper. Funny how Holly Watt is always in the vicinity when these thefts take place. She obviously has a nose for such things.
Ed Balls is probably the last person before Rupert Murdoch I’d ever want to defend, but his call for a Whitehall enquiry into the theft was followed by a flock of fluttering Mandarins crying “private papers not government documents”. This is bollocks: he was a Minister of the Crown, and important stuff was nicked from his office as a new Government was coming to power. But we can expect nothing but grovelling cowardice from the Pension Snafflers.
Sweatylip alleges that the Tories gave the Telegraph the documents – having pinched them during the handover. Who knows? I don’t – but a couple of Westminster gossips think there’s something to it. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a fearless investigation from Plod, however.