CAMERON & NEWSCORP: Let’s forget the judgment issue, and look more closely at motive.

There’s a monsoon on Rebekah’s parade. So why is she still in a job?

As usual, the mainstream media are reporting, not analysing and extrapolating

I hear that there is now a group at Wapping’s former NotW newsroom calling themselves The Dam Busters. I’m also fairly sure that they’ve been leaking like mad since Rebekah Brooks told them they were doomed yesterday. The Guardian has some stuff this afternoon that could only have come from them. And the only contact I’ve ever established there texted me this morning, dead keen to blurt. Both Rebekah Brooks’ staff addresses have been secretly taped by staff – si ironique! – and as I write the latest of them is playing out on BBCNews. The anger of journalists thrown to the wolves as being ‘toxic’ was pretty clear.

This is only to be expected, but we would be foolish to imagine that the octogenarian behind all this mess (and his equally unpleasant spawn) didn’t anticipate this. They have, after all, foreseen everything else: ditching the Screws, hanging Coulson out to dry, Cameron having to calm public opinion, and plugging any leaks (with massive bribes) that might appear as they went along.

Rupert Murdoch is not just any old gangster, he is that most formidable of opponents, a cultured, highly intelligent thug. But the one thing he didn’t anticipate explains why he finds it so easy to burrow like some grub into the woodwork of most political Establishments. Murdoch’s main commonality with the political class is a tendency to underestimate the intelligence and determination of the public. As most of his customers read The Sun and watch TV Premiership soccer, it’s not hard to work out why.

This presents itself in both Wapping and the Camerlot Cabinet as an assumption that people don’t care enough to get upset about very much. They’re right, of course – but like Camerlot, Newscorp UK fatally forgot what does wind people up. The Wapping Liars never imagined they’d be caught anyway, but ironically, a tabloid instinct should’ve told them that messing with kids (especially Royal kids), grief, the very vulnerable, and the Armed Forces simply won’t do. I joked with my wife last week that if Newscorp bugged a horse, she would at last get upset about the issue. But on reading the Milly Dowler revelations, for the first time since this marathon began Jan came to me and said enough was enough: these people must be lanced like a boil.

This is, on the basis of today’s press conference from the Prime Minister, a reality he still doesn’t get. His apparent disgust was rendered ersatz by a wriggling evasion of the BSkyB issue. The Dam Busters of Wapping made a nonsense of his reservations about ‘ proper channels’ within hours: not only had Newscorp lied about a loss of emails ‘on the way to Mumbai’, it’s now clear there was an attempt by at least one News International executive to destroy part of the archive as recently as last month. In January of this year, it seems, they were still busy deleting emails they claimed didn’t exist. Employees are now spilling the beans about an event that infuriated Sue Akers: the crass, panicky and public rifling of a journalist’s desk once they’d been tipped off that it was about to be raided. Operation Weeting officers talk of constant attempts by Wapping management to evade, obstruct, leak and destroy evidence at every turn. The concerted operation to ensure Tommy Sheridan went to jail is now coming to light – an episode during which Wapping legal advice may also have been corrupted.

When it has become incessantly obvious that to lie, pervert, obstruct, and corrupt at every obstacle in its path is the only culture an organisation understands, the time is long past when a national leader should be talking about rules books and procedures. I make no plea for anarchy, but rather one for plain, decent commonsense: with a stroke of his pen, the Prime Minister could doom Newscorp in the UK (and globally, given the mess it’s in) by simply communicating – though entirely proper channels – his grave reservations about it taking up the position as competitor to the BBC – still, for all its faults, the most respected organisation in the world. Within weeks, OfCom – which has already issued a statement expressing its own reservation – would have stopped the deal. We cannot expect an amoral muppet like Jeremy Hunt to grasp this imperative: but if we can’t assume it from our Prime Minister, then we are in a very sorry state indeed.

Earlier today, I posted that my conclusion from this was that there is a vicious circle of implied blackmail between Coulson, Brooks, the Murdochs, and the Prime Minister. I do not doubt that this will evoke the usual raised eyes outside the Slogger community, but I am still working on the Sherlock Holmes principle which remains a good one: in the absence of any more sensible evidence or explanation, then what remains is very probably the answer. When Nafissatou Diallo’s brother kept on and on about how holy his sister was, I suggested that this had all the makings of an extortion scam, and so it has proved. There is still an unwillingness by much of the media set to think the unthinkable about Hackgate; but the evidence that unthinkable actions have taken place in the pursuit of power and profit is now irrefutable.

The mainstream media remains tonight obsessed with the Cameron Judgment issue. For me, the question of his judgment was answered many months ago: David Cameron nearly always gets the response to the actions of himself and his ministers wrong. What we now need to find out is just how depraved the relationship between him and senior Newscorp executives might have been…in the light of his continued unwillingness to shed the Wapping Millstone around his increasingly vulnerable neck, it is the obvious way to go.



17 thoughts on “CAMERON & NEWSCORP: Let’s forget the judgment issue, and look more closely at motive.

  1. What if some of the dirt that came out about Gordon Brown before the election came from phone hacks? Who did that benefit?

    What if David Kelly had his phone hacked? Who did that benefit?

    If you think about it, every scandal of the last 10+ years could have a hacking element to it.


  2. Do feel that the UK media have missed the point today: The story is that the BskyB deal should be dead in the water not Coulson. He is a bit part player. Milliband should have concentrated on the big picture – he still reminds of the spurned Woodrow Wyatt sleeping on the floor by his telephone vainly hoping Rupert would call. Most city analysts in London and New York still think the deal will go through eventually. The drop in the share price is working in Murdoch’s favour.
    The only good news was the threat that James could face charges in the US and Michael Wolff’s assessment that Rupert has lost touch. How long before Elisabeth is wheeled out as the fresh new uncorrupted face of the whole rotten empire?


  3. Hi John,
    Excellent stuff. Steady progress!
    Your 4th par. “bugged a horse” has really got to the heart of the issue.
    Enough is enough. The people have spoken?
    Can we even dream that the govt. will not allow Murdo buy the rest of BSB?
    Will the British public get bored and forget?
    Will the readers of N.O.W. miss it so much that it will amount to anything?
    Or will the Mail and the other tabloids fill the space.
    The old media planner in me must ask how many ‘solus’ readers did the NOW actually have?
    Keep up the great work!
    Thanks and regards


  4. Believe me,it’s a steal at 750 p…The irony about RM all those years ago ,you could not make it up..


  5. It occurs to me that Mr Murdoch ought to check the rails on his yacht. Can’t have him falling overboard in a moment of forgetfulness….


  6. Yes, he wouldn’t be the first squeaky clean and well loved newspaper tycoon with the initials “RM” to meet such a tragic end at sea with no witnesses…….


  7. Interesting. Just came back from the pub and was suprised that most people got it: the issue is the nexus of the media, the police and the political class not hacking. They agreed M should not get BSB but will they remember and care in September? My guess is NO.


  8. Put this (including the quotes) into Google…

    “By Mike James in Germany – 28 February 2010”

    Why is Cameron protecting them? Norman Tebbit formally asked in the Lords in early 2010 why the Dunblane massacre was made subject to a 100-year D-notice and I don’t think he got a proper answer…


  9. Also, if you put

    “Samantha Cameron” “Miriam Clegg” “Crown Agents Sisters”

    into Google you get some very weird stuff!


  10. Earlier today, I posted that my conclusion from this was that there is a vicious circle of implied blackmail between Coulson, Brooks, the Murdochs,
    and the Prime Minister.

    hmmm, ok, so let’s start with why is james murdoch in new york
    once we know the answer to this the rest of the equation should fall easily into place


  11. Also,why has so much of NI server data base been transferred outside UK/EU and USA areas.Infact it has been transferred outside all the PRUM agreement areas-why?Those “destroyed”e-mails lurk in mirrored databases and a few USB plugs-OUCH!


  12. Confirm OldAsiaHand`s pub straw poll. Last night at the Alma Arms – not a `gastro pub` by any means – turned in an almost 100% against the dirty diggers plans.


  13. Rebekah said there is more and presumably worse to come. Coulson said if only he could say what he knew. What do they know? Hacking phones is scuzzy, and the extent and degree to which it was done is disgusting, but it’s not bigtime crime. Murdoch offering big drinks to bent coppers and buying hackees silence to cover up hacking isn’t either. Dave and his Chipping Norton chums throwing their bridles into a bowl before engaging in bareback riding parties is tacky, but it’s just sex, not real crime. Blair succumbing to Murdoch’s influence is moral weakness, but it’s difficult to see he had criminal intent. But murder is serious crime. Where does Rees-Morgan-Fillery fit in to all this?


  14. What I fear is to what extent the corruption has spread here to Australia where NI has 70% share of the print media. The NI executives are saying that it couldn’t happen here because of the standard of journalism. Me thinks they do protest too much!


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