What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Andy Coulson”

I Told You This Would Not Go Away…

Its been quite some time since I last posted, and I was considering stopping altogether. Yet with the News International phone hacking scandal  involving such a variety of the, ahem, “Great and the Good”, i just thought I would leave one post more…

So, Rebekah Brooks, having been arrested, will probably be able to dodge any awkward questions in Parliament, presuming that she is at liberty to attend either the Culture or Home Office Select Committees.

The head of The Met has lost his job, though not his pension, nor his Knighthood. Boris, of course, is waffling as only a former grub street hack can. Lets not forget that during his tenure as editor of The Spectator, he honed his investigative talents by getting old buffers drunk at lunchtime and publishing the results.

His refusal to apologise for calling the allegations against The News of the world “politically motivated codswallop” speaks volumes. He has managed in a trice to rehabilitate the image of Ken Livingstone in the eyes of those concerned by just how close the media and politicians are. Even John Prescott has been vindicated across the land…

And Ed… so far, the boy has done very well indeed. We now need o broaden the attack to include all those grubby little “special interest” cliques that dominate our public life.

My own experience of the Murdoch Empire is very slight, firstly my Great uncle Rab was father of Chapel when the Digger first bought The Sun. An upright, staunchly anti-graft FoC (he started when The Sun had been owned by the TUC as The Daily Herald), he was a bit of a rarity on Fleet Street in those days – honest, soft spoken and non-swearing. the family tale is that after twenty minutes with Rupert, he threw an inkwell at the wall and pronounced “for all the good you’ll do you might as well f@** off back to Australia”. Today, in heaven, Rab is doing a merry jig.

Secondly, a few years ago I was working in a bar near to Westminster, when a tallish grey haired man walked in, requesting our back room for himself and his colleagues. It was a quiet day, so no problem, and around six or seven suited men and women duly filed in, ordering some sandwiches and coffees for what was evidently a working lunch. All was duly prepaered and served, to the satisfaction of the party, and as they made to leave, the bill was presented.

Grey-Hair came up to the bar, disdain dripping from his very visage. He demanded that the bill be halved. When it was politely pointed out that he had seen the menu and prices before he ordered, his air of peevishness intensified, and he produced his business card. Sadly, its not one I have kept, although I seem to remember it did say “News International” at the top, and seem to recall the words “Legal Department”, or something to that effect, on it. The upshot was that I, to my eternal shame, caved in and reduced the bill and this upright example of our fine legal tradition got what he wanted.

Sadly, no names, no pack drill, but I was reminded of this with the exit  of the two top legal officers in Wapping last week, with generous payouts, that some might speculate could be seen as hush money. It also reinforced to me the utter contempt that those who work in News International and NewsCorp have for those of us not lucky enough to do the same.

Instead of offering unwanted advice to Tom Watson et al, all I can do is congratulate them for what they are doing on behalf of us all.

There are just some of the questions that we need answers to, to whit:

  • Just when did News International start paying The Metropolitan Police for information?
  • Where was this money stated in the accounts?
  • How stupid would a Policeman have to be to believe that £1,000 was all he could get for information on confidential Royal phone numbers? ( I would have held out for at least £10,000)
  • Will any Police, either serving or retired, who are fingered in the ongoing investigation lose their pension?
  • Just how many times in the past two years has Mayor Boris Johnson met with  the Murdoch family, employees of News International, and in the case of Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charles ( an old Etonian who was at school with Boris and David Cameron)?
  • The same question for both David Cameron and George Osborne, who recruited Andy Coulson to the Conservatives in 2007.
  • How deep are the links between News international and Robert Peston, who seems to get a staggering number of inside “scoops” here? 
  • If you have to spend a Christmas dinner with Rebekah Brooks, what do you talk about?
  • What does Inspector Gadget think about all this? Worried that that elusive Sky serialisation will disappear?

Phone Hacking – The Scandal Spreads

Former Lib Dem MP Paul Marsden’s  questions as to whether his phone was tapped by the Trinity Mirror Group have led to the continuing Phone Hacking scandal being widened to potentially encompass the whole of Fleet Street – or at least the Tabloids, possibly a number of Broadsheets as well…

It also touches upon issues of Police corruption – were members of The Metropolitan Police Force (sorry, Service) on the payroll of one or more media groups? Where does this leave us as to the reliability of information received? Who are these officers, and will they be sacked and lose their pensions, as they rightly should? Why was Scotland Yard so tardy in bringing an investigation into this?

Scotland yard have reopened their investigations as of yesterday, citing “new evidence” that has come to light. This raises a few more points –

It is now impossible to claim that Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire were working alone – the new investigation includes notes from Mulcaire marked “For Ian” (presumable Ian Edmondson – just sacked by The News of The World), “For Clive”, and “For Gregg”.

Ex-MP Paul Marsdens request broadens this out to The Daily and Sunday Mirror – quite a reasonable assumption, given the prevailing atmosphere in Fleet street. According to the Independent today “If you ask any tabloid journalist, they will quietly say “everybody is doing it”…”

The key personnel in the frame now would be Rebekah Brooks (formerly Wade), Ian Edmondson,  Coulson, David Yelland, and Piers Morgan:

All of these august media operators learned their trade at News International under the fabulous Sun editor and grumpy rightwing git Kelvin Mackenzie.

The Christmas dinner soiree where James Murdoch met Ham-Face Cameron was at Rebekah Brooks’ Oxfordshire home, with Coulson in attendance .

Rebekah Brooks refused to attend a Commons enquiry into the press, and some members of the Committee claimed that they declined to have the Sergeant-At-Arms order her to do so, for fear of News International digging into their private lives.

The whole set-up stinks to high heaven…

Coulson. HaHaHa.

The spectacularly talented Andy Coulson, possibly the most talented Press Officer ever, managed last Friday to fudge his own political suicide. What with Blair at  Chilcott and Alan Johnsons resignation, it was a good day to bury bad news.

Unless you are a scandal-plagued ex-Murdoch editor with a defence strategy best summed-up as “I didn’t do it, or if I did, I forgot. Anyway Rupert will forgive me.”

Coulson has so far evaded any legal brouhaha caused by the revelations of the use of illegal bugging devices by News International, especially the ahem, “Newspaper” he edited, The News of The World. So far, News International has “let go” a number of executives and employees in the wake of this scandal, including NOTW staff and a top legal incompetent, according to Private Eye.

There are several issues at stake here, and they have a much wider impact than The Dirty Diggers grubby empire…

Firstly, our libel laws actively help the media focus on celebrity gossip rather than real news – powerful figures and organisations now use the UK libel laws as a way of gagging the media across the world.

The Metropolitan Police seem to have developed an unhealthy, and almost symbiotic relationship  with the mainstream press in general, and News International in particular.

Ham-Face Cameron is truly “the heir to Blair” when it comes to his courting of News International, and is not a very good judge when it comes to selecting staff.

In relation to news gathering, celebrity and political gossip is king – once the tabloids have you in their sights, you have nowhere to hide.

Jeremy “Mr C’ Hunt has a close relationship with News International, and is seeking top further this relationship, at the expense of the BBC.

Andy Coulson, phone tapping and News international

I was going to write a piece on this, but given the horribly bullying ways of those lawyers employed by News International, better not…

Suffice to say that I thought the job of media advisor meant managing stories and the press, not being a story yourself…

…”Bizarre” as Coulson might say.

Clem’s Conference roundup 2010



“Wildcat” Bob Crow – ” Bruvvers! A General Strike will put me on ver telly!”

” I’m walkin’ ahht! Go on, watch me walk aaht! Everybody aaaaaht!”

Everyone Else – “There go the Tombly-boos…”

Yessiree, Wilcat Bob – as fat as Ernie Bevin, and less effective than a chocolate teapot…

“Careful” Brendan Barber – ” Have you met Mervyn King? He says its not our fault…”

Merv “The Nerve” King – ” No, its not your fault – but you will have to pay…”

Tony “Twitter” Woodley – ” Lets fight the Poll Tax! Don’t mention my pay…”

Unite Members – ” HOW f***ing much?”

Nick Robinson – ” Do I really have to be here? Some of them didn’t even go to university – bloody C2s…”

SKY Newsteam – ” And coming up…why Trades Unionists are not as other people…”


Charlie Kennedy – Soo0 sorry I’m late, did I miss anything?”

Nick “The Star” Clegg – ” Look at my new friends! Look at my new job! Aren’t you proud?”

Lib Dems – ” Hmm, not so sure…”

Vince “nicely nicely” Cable – “Bankers are  bad! They have been naughty! They must pay! Am I at the right conference?”

Lib Dems – ” Yes! But its the wrong Government!”

Simon Hughes, Paddy Ashdown et al – ” All things bright and beautiful…”

Nick Robinson – ” Now this is more like it, new some of these chaps at Oxford.”

SKY News team – ” A masterly performance by the young, vigorous Leader of The Conservative Party…”


Screaming Lord Mandelson – ” Curses! I’ll get you, you meddling humans…”

Labour Members – “You off then? Bye bye…”

David Aaronovitch – “You fools! You elected a member of (gasp!) the LABOUR PARTY!!!”

“Lightinin’ Draw” Ed Miliband – “We made a few mistakes, and lost the election, lets try to sort it out…”

The Labour Party – ” Hooray! At last! Some honesty!’

“Diddy” David M – “No! We never! I’m off…”

Ed “Gis a job” Balls – “Shadow Chancellorship looks vacant…”

Yvette Cooper – ” I feel a row coming on…”

“Sweet” Caroline Flint – ” Is there anyone here that could possibly compete with my beauty? Nope…”

Stilletoed Socialist – ” Oi! Granny! Leave it out. I’m here now…”

Nick Robinson – ” If I just keep talking, I may very well say the right thing – or not…”

SKY News team – ” Ed Miliband looks weird, and, just like Neil Kinnock, he eats babies. At The Gay Hussar. With Tony Woodley…”


Dr Fox (No, not that one) – “War! Yah! What is it good for?  Share prices.”

Tories – “Absolutely!”

Michael “Woodentop” Gove – “Ooh! Sorry, did I misspeak?”

Tories – ” Go on Govey, you know you want to Govey, you said you would Govey, they all want it Govey, go on Govey…”

David “Ham-face” Cameron – ” Victory! At last I have more power than Boris…”

Boris Johnson – ” Let me introduce you to the town bike…”

Lord Ashcroft – ” Now, if I stay very very quiet…”

Andy “Not me Guv” Coulson – ” Now if I stay very very quiet…”

Nick Robinson – ” Phew! Finally my sort of people…”

SKY News team – ” a masterful performance by the young, virile Leader of The Liberal Democrats”

More Tory- based nonsense to come.. remember! These are only predictions, based on previous results.The Economy may go up and down, and Kenneth Clarke may huff and puff…

With heartfelt thanks to “The Now Show’ on R4 for Govey and Dr Fox gags…

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