What would Clement do?

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

Archive for the tag “News International”

The Return of Mr C

It seems that 2012 is the year of Olympic Omnishambles for the Coalition, and it keeps on coming.

Yesterday James Murdoch exploded a truth bomb at the Leveson Inquiry, and Vince Cable found out exactly how he was shafted, apparently by not only Jeremy (C)Hunt, but also George Osborne, David Cameron and Alex Salmond, to name but three.

It is highly likely that Jeremy will not be Culture Secretary for much longer. Yet it must not stop there, the documents implicate both George Osborne  and his advisor in secretly lobbying on behalf of News International, and against his own Cabinet colleague. Alex Salmond also rallied to the Murdoch standard, and unsurprisingly the Scottish edition of The Sun backs the SNP slavishly.

Many would also like to know the name of the “Libdem MP, a former Sky employee” mentioned as also lobbying for his former masters. I bet it isn’t Simon Hughes, but apart from that, all bets are off…

Throughout this scandal, Ed Miliband has played his hand well, acting on principle as well as with good instincts. His backing of Tom Watson does him and The Labour Party credit. He compares very favourably with, say the Mayor of London, who firstly called the hacking allegations “a Labour plot”, and has consistently sought to downgrade Operation Weeting and the associated corruption investigations. He and Kit Malthouse have behaved with naked self interest throughout.

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?

Murdoch is Bad News – Everywhere…

What with the dodgy dinners and phone-tapping, NewsCorp is not having a good time of it at the moment, but just in case you are one of those who feel “relaxed” about Murdoch wholly owning BSkyB, read this article in todays Observer – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/30/frances-fox-piven-glenn-beck

 

Once again, Fox News personality Glenn beck has irresponsibly lead a witch hunt against a 78 year old academic – although he has not personally advocated violence against those he attacks in extreme language, his followers have no such qualms.

Do we really want this mans employer in sole charge of a large chunk of British Media?

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…

Sky Sports, Gray and Keys – An Apology

In an earlier post, I intimated that shaved monkeys could do the same job as Andy Gray and Richard Keys just as well.

I know recognise that this is unfair to monkeys. Let me make it clear that I do not, nor have I ever condoned the shaving of monkeys.

May I also say in passing that monkeys are often, along with the great apes, a good deal better behaved than Sky Sports Presenters.

Although the last World Cup proved that an Octopus would be cheaper.

When it comes to Sky News however, I can think of no-one better than the dullards they employ now.

Ham-Face and The Dirty Diggers Son…

Is it really appropriate for the Prime Minister to hold a “private” (e.g. secret) dinner with the son of Rupert Murdoch over Christmas, whilst the Government prepared to make a decision as to whether Daddy can take over the whole of BSkyB???

When will fatty answer to Parliament about this????

The silence on this issue from certain parts of the media speaks volumes…

Exactly what was discussed? Why was this meeting held in secret???

What did Jeremy “Mr C” Hunt discuss in HIS private meeting???

Smells very bad people…

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.

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