HACKGATE DAY 175: The Establishment loses control

Andy Coulson

Coulson thinks Newscorp will shop him. (They already have)

It has taken five years and billions of column inches, but Hackgate finally broke out of its Chatterati segment yesterday, and into the mainstream. And it happened, as usual, because the general public can’t stand cruelty to children. How easy it was in the end: if only we’d thought about that in 2006. In pretty much the same vein, Mulcaire went down because he hacked Diana’s children. The Wapping Liars, in their feeding frenzy, simply forgot that you can be a cynical swine about any adult you like – but not kids, and especially not Diana’s kids. Kids and grief remain, thankfully, no-go areas. The Guardian has sussed this very quickly: this morning they’re onto the hacking of  7/7 phones.

However, I frankly still doubt if Kevin and Cheryl really grasp what this story has always been about: a nasty hand-in-glove bung relationship between politics, the Met police, and the media – in this instance, an unelected, foreign Anglophobic media mogul. There are still several other Big Cheeses hiding in the shadows….and their apparatchiks, now nervously hoping nobody will notice who they used to work for, and where they came from. Even the great Piers Morgan, I understand, is happy to be on other side of the Pond – as indeed is James Murdoch, although that was no accident.

As always with the Establishment, the speed of Hackgate’s exit from the closet has run down their arrogance without even stopping. Hugh Grant piled in yesterday on BBCNews, Brian Paddick was on there are hour later effectively saying the Met is riddled with rot, Tom Watson called Brooks’ denial ‘ridiculous’, and today there will be an emergency debate in the Commons. There will also, of course, be PMQs – and the extremely late former bum-licking Murdoch admirer Ed Minibrain no doubt going for Cameron’s jugular. The Labour leader has already insisted that Brooks must resign. And Camerlot has already brushed off the call for an inquiry.

For once, I am with Dave on this one, whatever his devious motives might be. I’m all inquiried and resignationed out. I’m sure if Coulson had somewhere to resign from today, he would. What we need, and quickly, is untainted police enquiries and collars being felt. The Slog named the detective Whittamore two months ago as a vital target, and his relationship with Rebekah Brooks has now surfaced. I don’t want her resignation, I want her perp-walked into West End central and given the arc-light treatment.

I understand Andy Coulson for one has been telling chums since yesterday that the Newscorp strategy will be another line behind Rebekah, and she shall not fall. There’ve been so many lines in the Murdoch sand over the last six months, one more either way isn’t going to change anything. But in this case, Murdoch knows that if she falls, the BSkB deal is doomed. Hunt can wash his hands of the ethical element all he likes, nobody gives a monkeys what he thinks any more: if the deal does go through, a huge volume of citizens will shout foul: but I must stress again – not Kevin and Cheryl. The next stage has to be a hard and frontal attack on the Brooks/Cameron/Murdochs BSkyB stitch-up. The ideal, it seems, would be evidence that Brooks used trafficked child chimney-sweeps to bug Vince Cable’s home.

Two sound Slog media contacts have third-hand evidence of Coulson telling friends that Newscorp will now deflect the blame towards him. If he’s looking for sympathy, he’ll be disappointed – but it already looks like he’s right: as if by magic, following another of Newscorp’s ‘searching internal inquiries’ yesterday, the BBC website reports this morning that,’The tabloid’s owners have passed to the police e-mails which appear to show that payments were authorised by the then editor, Andy Coulson’. You have to hand it to the searchers of Wapping, they’re mustard.

In coming to some kind of head, this saga of Newscorp obfuscation and denial – not so much a tissue of lies as an entire bog-roll – has initiated the debate we’ve needed in Britain for over thirty years: how to restore the ethics and standards of professional behaviour that made this country – for all its myriad faults – a paragon of virtue around the world. Government ministers outside the Camerlot inner circle have been assiduously button-holing Fleet Street’s finest in recent days, sounding them out on how bad they think the hacking situation is. The fact that a majority of them are up to their necks in it themselves tells us all we ever needed to know about the quality of our politicians in 2011. But then, as we always knew anyway, they’re a major part of the problem.

There is an equally important issue being neglected in this flurry of donning the white knight’s uniform by all and sundry: the business effect of this mess on the Digger. Mention has been made of advertising withdrawals (a sure sign that pariah status now beckons Murdoch) but there is a lot more to his problems than that.

Stay tuned for more on this later.

30 thoughts on “HACKGATE DAY 175: The Establishment loses control

  1. I know all about hacking, from a victims point of view. My email account is now unusable, and some of my friends who have been terrorised by the secret family courts have been complaining about nasty messages being sent from their social networking accounts to other friends, pretending to come from them. It is sickening. I have complained in the past to Stafford Police about hacking but they werent bothered. Some people have rights, but others dont, I am fed up with it all.

  2. I told Stafford Police that the paedo hackers were openly boasting about hacking me and a politician called Caroline Labley in the Jersey Senate, the paedo hackers were actually boasting on a site called the JERSEY HAUT DE LA GARENNE MURDER FARCE blogsite I made it so easy for the police to investigate this crime, but I was told by the police officer “We are going to draw a line under this”. They did draw a line over my complaint, and another one going the opposite way as well, in effect they crossed out my complaint! The man who runs that blog was eventually charged with making death threats to ex Senator Stuart Syvret’s landlord – he had made death threats to Mr Syvret in the past and wrote the most disgusting things about him on his blogsite but noone from the police was bothered about that.Syvret was the man who blew the whistle on the Haut de la Garenne child abuse. It seems that the police are not bothered about some hacking and they are bothered about other hacking. The BBC dont care about victims of institutional child abuse being hacked, they are very selective in the scandals they choose to be concerned about.

  3. May I suggest that Tesco’s complaint boxes about their support through advertising might have some effect on destroying the media stitch up which apparantly became a done deal (before the last election I would guess ! At least that is the way I see it ! Murdoch support – Camerlot expects victory – so much the better if the media empire grows !)

  4. “The Slog named the detective Whittamore two months ago as a vital target, and his relationship with Rebekah Brooks has now surfaced. I don’t want her resignation, I want her perp-walked into West End central and given the arc-light treatment.”

    I’m far more interested in seeing senior officers jailed than senior journalists.

  5. How many people will be cancelling their BSKY tv subscriptions?
    Not many probably, and that’s why these monsters rule the couch jellyfish.

    • BSkyB aren’t the problem – at the moment – one could almost characterise them as one of NewsCorp’s future victims…

  6. When big corporations start pulling advertising, you know they do it because they don’t want to be tainted. This is the most telling thing to emerge as an indicator of which way things are going. Last night on google news the story count for hacking scandel was well over 2200 and 7/7 this morning stands at over 500. Where were all these juornalists up until now? Stupid question, busy hacking.
    John your right, it needed some ordinary people, ordinary families being hacked in circumstances of extreme tragedy to galvanise the British public. Liverpool people took action against the Sun all those years ago, let’s hope people as a whole take action against NewsCorp now. The brand is toxic.

    • You ask where the journalist were for this case…..well, the Indy and the Grauniad having been covering it ceaslessly. Just about all the others seemingly didn’t have the space to print the story, or something like that :) Also, several politicians have been shouting about it for months, although their squeals have been muffled too. Then there was poor old Vince a few months before that.

      • Several politicians, this implies 2 or 3. We have over 650. The Indy and Grauniad are just 2 titles, hats off to them but the rest of the media………
        Then there is Vince. How does the song of Sinatra go…. “and then I go and blow it all by saying something stupid like I”…. you can fill in the blanks.

      • I was trying, unsuccesfully, to allude to the fact that there has obviously been a word or two from someone up top suggesting that publication of any tittle tattle surrounding hacking would be met with a certain amount of disaproval, and all we have been hearing is from a small voice in a large crowd.
        But like the old showbiz line goes “….never work with children or animals….” ‘cos smething will always go wrong.

        ****This was supposed to be in reply to MG****

  7. So, are we to believe that the Coulson e-mails on bribing the Police just happened come to light yesterday?

    I recon someone needs to go in with a search warrant and sieze every computer, backup tape, USB device etc at both Sun and NOTW. Who knows what else might come to light?

    • Apologies Julian, no reply button under Nobby so using yours.

      I’m a bit thick, sometimes I need it spelling out, which is why I like the slog.
      You are right of course and I was not trying to demean your comment which of course is true.

    • Quite so. That would be an act of demonstrating that the Met Police are serious about getting to the bottom of this lark and uncovering the truth. Which is probably also why such action has not been taken.

  8. “the socio -economic class representatives”
    Er, yeah, that means not a lot. Are you talking about the average punter? The bloke on the Clapham omnibus, that sort of person?

  9. “I think it would be sensible to want to see both jailed, pour encourager les autres…..”

    Yes and no.
    Journo offering bribes to police are being shits, but the very fact that they offer bribes is because they are regular people with no special insight or access.
    Police accepting bribes are breaching trust, I’m not even sure you could call it trust, I certainly dont trust the polcie with my data, but they have it anyway.

    • Your data is in the “cloud”,which is now part of the USA government network as of Tuesday.So,all your NHS pretty private stuff is being ogled by the plebs at the NSA in case your cold is of “national interest”.Though its a pity they seem to be unaware of hacking in the USA.

  10. Nice piece John.
    Given the apparent deep involvement in this scandal by pols of both parties and the Met Police, I wonder if we have anybody who could be charged with carrying out a thorough independent investigation.

    In any case, public inquiries are mostly started to cool down debate and brush difficult Establishment issues into the long grass.

    I remain very uncertain that knAkers of the Yard will really get to the bottom of this nonsense and that all those who should be prosecuted or held to account will be.

  11. According to the DT website this afternoon, advertisers are pulling out in their droves. Renault, Co-op/Aldi, Lloyds, Virgin have all(apparently) pulled adverts in NOTW. Nice. Let’s hope this is just the beginning.

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