My, but how the plot thickens. Today it was Dave Cameron’s turn to get a sound kicking: in this case at the Number 10 press conference where he desperately tried to put some clear blue water between himself and News International. Easier said than done, of course, given that he recruited Andy Coulson as his communications director even though he must have known that there could be some rather fishy baggage coming along for the ride. Clearly this was the risk he was prepared to take, so keen was he to have someone who could feel the pulse of the British public. Or so Cameron figured, anyway. I don’t know why a former entertainment reporter for the Sun and, later, editor of the News of the World would automatically be the best man for the job. I suppose he wanted his own Alastair Campbell. Campbell had a tabloid background, too, of course, but he was at least a political reporter and editor in his day, as opposed to Coulson who was little more than a stalker of third rate celebrities and a peddler of prurient tittle-tattle.
Coulson was, as predicted, arrested today and later released on bail. Rebekah Brooks will no longer be heading the internal investigation at News International, but is still, somehow, holding onto a job. Her position is now nothing short of farcical. Even Cameron, at his press conference today, said that he “would have accepted” her resignation. It can only be a matter of time.
Brooks met with the dumped NotW journalists this afternoon and seemed to suggest that the real reasons for closing the paper would be clearer in a year’s time. Christ knows what this means. “Who is she? The fucking Riddler? asked Charlie Brooker on Twitter. If she is The Riddler, then that must make The Guardian Batman because, through their constant refusal to let this story die, they have delivered News International an almighty kick in the throat.
And hooray for that. I’m not vehemently anti-News International: I subscribe to The Times and think it’s an excellent newspaper; I have no beef with Sky TV, in fact it’s a great product. But it is very clear that Murdoch’s empire has too much concentration of media, too much power and has some revolting tentacles attached to the main body. They deserve everything they are being hit with. If this ushers in an era of politicians being less in thrall to Murdoch and his hideous tabloids then that is a long overdue development and can only be a good thing for democracy in this country.