Sunday, 10 July 2011

L'affaire RM

"I'm not throwing innocent people under the bus" I might get my phone hacked.

Appropriately for the empire of a man whose empire sought to cow and suborn politicians, so much about the creaking News Corporation echoes the highest levels of political dynamics. It is a nice irony that 7 per cent of a company that depends for its generation of cash on the manipulation of popular sentiment is owned by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Saudi government, better known for its sympathy with money than its sympathy with people. Another bit is owned by our Church Commissioners (for the time being).

It is instructive to see how rapidly corrupt bedfellows in the murkier chambers of power can fall out. Politicians are now tumbling over themselves to snatch their underclothes back on, and even the Metropolitan Police seems (heavy emphasis needed there) to be rediscovering its public duty. Is there a lesson here for international bank executives?

And in the US ‘experts’ are covering the situation with their usual perspicacity. It's all about ensuring a smooth take-over of control by James. "It is a problem for succession. That is the key issue in the US, not the ins and outs of who hacked whom over in England," said Jack Lule, a journalism professor at Lehigh University. Presumably his equivalent banking professor was saying “The key issue is who gets to be the next CEO of Goldman Sachs, not who lent what to unemployed rednecks to buy their collapsing shacks.”

The famed ‘establishment hating’ intimate of prime ministers, as he flits from here to there in helicopter, private jet, yacht or chauffeur driven car, is as out of touch with mundanity as fin de rĂ©gime Tony Blair (who, it is revealed through a Freedom of Information request, telephoned him on 11th, 13th and 19th March 2003 before troops went into Iraq on the 20th; Mrs T could draw a discreeter veil and, apparently, not mention the patriarch even once in her memoirs). The great man is reported as saying, "I'm not throwing innocent people under the bus." Does he recall that image of the London bus with its roof blown off or even know that his journalists hacked survivors’ phones?