A scandal is brewing. The stench is unmistakeable. The Prime Minister is involved, Rupert Murdoch is involved, the Met is involved and our dear beloved MPs are in the mix too.
After Goodman and Mulcaire were sent to pokey, Max Clifford and Gordon Taylor were paid off and the Met had mysteriously ‘lost interest’, I’m sure Murdoch felt the phone tapping scandal had gone away, or was at least containable. That all changed when last week Ian Edmondson, a senior editor at the News of the World, was suspended following allegations of complicity.
What is now emerging is the sheer number of people who have been victims of hacking by the News of the World and by implication the number of people who must have been aware of what was going on or who were actually involved. For the government press secretary, and NoW editor at the time the scandal broke, Andy Coulson to deny he knew anything about what was going on is now stretching the bounds of credibility too far – or he is the stupidest, most detached editor in the history of ‘Fleet Street’.
By protecting Coulson, David Cameron is showing seriously bad judgement. By not distancing himself from Coulson he risks being drawn into the whole affair. But why would he do that? Because he is scared stiff of offending Murdoch. This whole episode shows us how beholden he and his coalition are to News International and to the whims of Murdoch himself. It illustrates only too well how political decisions are being distorted by the alliance between our politicians and the media, and News International in particular.
The fact that Murdoch must have sanctioned the out of court ‘hush money’ which has been paid to prevent the phone hacking scandal reaching the courts should be more than enough to rule him out from obtaining the remainder of BSkyB shares. We should also insist that the number of titles he controls be reduced and his cross media ownership questioned.
But what of the Met, why did they lose interest in the case? Murdoch had to keep his executives clear of the courts because they would have to testify under oath. Did he cross a few palms with silver? Has he got something on some senior police officers? He must have done something. And why have the Met been obstructing the release of documents to the lawyers of victims of the phone hacking who are trying to obtain redress? There are some serious questions that need answered.
And then there are our dearly beloved MPs. Poor quivering little beasties who have been terrified into silence by News International. Not a single one prepared to stand up to the Mighty Murdoch. They are guilty of doing nothing and saying nothing: a truly pathetic spectacle.
A major scandal is on the horizon. How David Cameron reacts to will be revealing about so very many things. Time to sit back and watch: it’s going to get very smelly. Nobody is going to come up smelling of roses in this one.