So what about that Murdoch? Gordon Brown is suing, and the government has been claiming that meetings between David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks were covered by MP-constituent privilege; Tessa Jowell (for it is she!) alleges that the monitoring was going on as recently as last week. The police investigation is back on with a new chief. Lord (Norman) Fowler, of all people, accused the News of the Screws of being a conspiracy against the public interest. At the same time, Jeremy Hunt gives himself an out, Murdoch turns up in person. There’s the whole comic relief with ex-footballers, and the US division falls out with 400 rabbis.
There’s a genuinely weird feeling to this. Obviously there’s some sort of political re-alignment going on, but it’s impossible to say what it is or how far it will go. It all seems to be dependent on things like the story about the journalist who started taping all his phone calls because his drinking problem meant he couldn’t remember what they told him and he feared they would use this to exploit him. Charming people. Someone apparently has copies. But who?
The Grauniad, of course, is congratulating itself on the Nick Davies investigation. However, their leader yesterday pissed me off – they referred, for the first time since the story re-erupted, to the fact that Andy Coulson was condemned by an employment tribunal as being a bully in a case in which the paper had to pay out £800,000 in compensation. And they claimed that only three newspapers covered this story – themselves, the Independent on Sunday, and the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. This is a good point, but a better one for the Huddersfield Daily Examiner than for the Guardian – this blog post refers. Although the Guardian did run the story, they ran a full version on the Media Guardian Web site and cut the story down to a one-paragraph NIB deep inside the paper. They could do with being less self-congratulatory about this.
Coulson and his managers’ behaviour in the case is telling – they tried to force one of their employees to see a tame doctor in order to get rid of him – and it is probably no surprise that according to the very limited list of the hacked that is available, both Coulson and Rebekah Brooks were themselves being spied on by their own side.
Out of the whole sordid story, the thing about Brooks/Wade having meetings with the prime minister as a constituent sticks out. Some people marry for money, others for title, but doing so to become the PM’s constituent is genuinely cheeky.