#Hackgate: Met Cops pointing directly at Number Ten…

Like Pete, I am not sure that Sir Paul Stevenson’s response was exactly straight bat. Further, I am not entirely convinced that all these arrests are entirely necessary. Although they are great for the optics, and serve to keep Westminster in a lather for a while longer, beginning an investigation/inquiry is not the same as finishing one.

In the fullness of time, we’ll get see what, if anything, the Feds pick up from their high profile investigation too. But the New York Times is probably closest to the truth what drove Stevenson to draw the PM into matters: Stain From Tabloids Rubs Off on a Cozy Scotland Yard.

But at the moment it is Number Ten that’s under pressure. Damian ‘Blood Crazed Ferret’ Thompson at the Telegraph wastes no time in getting the boot in:

John Yates offered to brief Downing Street on Neil Wallis and – it seems – Ed Llewellyn, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, didn’t accept the offer and told Yates that he would be “grateful” if the matter was not raised.

Watergate, eh? Mr Yates clearly has no great love for elected politicians. Instead of offering an explantion for his own actions inactions over the hackgate controversy, he’s slinging mud at Number ten. The trouble is some of it may be beginning to stick.

Today’s leader in the Telegraph may explain why the price on Mr Cameron not making the weekend (16/1 according to William Hill) is dropping alarmingly quickly:

Mr Cameron wants to draw a distinction between, on the one hand, his relationship with Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson, and on the other, the police’s relationship with Mr Wallis. But this simply won’t wash.

Last week, No 10 published a list (which was yesterday revealed to have been incomplete) of the Prime Minister’s official and semi-official meetings with a variety of people, including media executives.

A full account of his social engagements with Mrs Brooks and other NI executives is also required. It might help explain why he appointed Mr Coulson in the first place – a fateful decision that lies at the root of the difficulties he faces.

Which is just about where we came in….

  • Indeed.
    The Met are blaming Number Ten.
    The Journalists were blaming the Met.
    But so far the only wrong doing are two jailed employees of News of the World…..who we learn today paid their legal fees. So thats ok then.
    Arrests are indeed not related to either prosecutions or convictions.
    But with ten arrests so far…….can we conclude that the number of people who did wrong in the news room of NOTW was more than ten or less than ten.
    Speculation of course but the scale of the scandal of phone hacking is already justly described as “industrial” which is surely an indication of the manpower required and would indicate that the number of arrests of journalists and executives should be a multiple of ten.

    Are rank and file journalists as culpable as executives? I dont know. The NUJ can make that case and maybe provide defence counsel (surely all unions do that). But theres a clear indication today that the legal bills wont be picked up by Rupert.

  • pippakin

    News Corp have one overriding priority and that is to distance themselves from any wrong doing.

    I think Stevenson has left considerable gaps as has Yates but how much any individual knew about what other individuals were involved is still guess work.

    I wonder how healthy it is to keep digging? At some point a quiet, perhaps unspoken, decision will be made that enough heads have rolled… A bit like the way the crimes were committed in the first place.

  • I’m still of the view that Cameron will eventually go, before the bald spot grows large enough to spoil that elfin charm. It just won’t be yet, or over this one.

    Even so, it’s not entirely necessary for the Met’s best to throw mud. Number 10’s “friends” are doing it quite nicely, thank you.

    Nick de Bois shouting “Object!” to Cathy Jamieson’s nomination to the DCMS Committee (a nomination the Tory Whips had OK’s minutes before) was not diplomatic, and raised a severe issue of nobbling. Jamieson, by the way, is the world’s other expert on the Sheridan trial. Anyone for drawing dot-to-dot?

    Then there is the small matter of Neil Wallis “briefing” Andy Coulson (source Ian Katz). Dearie me: that could go sour.

    And, the cherry on the cake, is the manic right of the 1922 Committee demanding Cameron’s presence.

    Oh look, I haven’t mentioned Blasted Boris’s heartfelt expressions of party loyalty. “To lose one Commissioner, Mr. Johnson, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.”

    Tonight’s odds on Cameron lasting till 2015: down to 8/1.

    “Mustn’t gloat. Bad form to gloat. Mustn’t do it. No, no, no. Well I can tell you I’m gloating like Hell.” [© Willie Whitelaw]

  • Independent Ulster

    Meanwhile, the select committee has been rambling, toothless and overly polite and so far has only succeeded in making Murdoch senior look heroic, Murdoch junior look like an excellent heir and transforming Mrs Murdoch from gold digger to wife of the year.

    No wonder they were so keen to turn up.

  • Munsterview

    Mick : ” Although they are great for the optics, and serve to keep Westminster in a lather for a while longer, beginning an investigation/inquiry is not the same as finishing one.” !

    There may be some slugger readers who are innocents abroad when it comes to the inner workings of the media. However there are also those who know how the real world works!

    I dare say Mick in relation to your good self, there are few politicians in Northern Ireland who would not be prepared to return a phone call to you or have a ‘chat of the record’, in fact you would not be in the media business unless you had the ability to do just that and have politicians respect, whatever of their trust.

    Where your colleagues in Major Media across the water interface with politicians, as our own lot in the Twenty-Six Counties, both are ‘insiders’ and they are ‘in the loop’ To stay in that loop, just like our own ‘Security Cors, their interface with the Police down here and the issues of that situation that I raised in another post, the interfaces across the water requires compromises and mutual favors in the form of ‘off the record’ briefings’ etc in return for a bit of ‘story kite flying’ for politicians.

    There cannot be a full, thorough, impartial and investigative enquiry or anything approaching the inquisition that would establish anything like the truth. Like the duels of old Murdoc’s people will meet with the Government’s people behind the scenes to determine just how far it will go and within what parameters.

    Labor may use the enquiry to make mischief and difficulties for the Government, that’s politics, but also Labor will also have to be on a damage limitation exercise as there was little difference between how Camron, since elected, interfaced with Murdoc or of how Brown did while he too was in power.

    This is the bottom line here : power; power as used and abused by politicians and press alike. Both know where the others bodies are buried and both will agree to go whistling past that particular graveyard!

    As for Judicial enquires, we all on this Island remember the ‘facts’ brought in by the first Judicial Tribunal on Bloody Sunday and the dichotomy between these ‘facts’ and the ‘findings of fact’ brought in by the more recent one on the same event.

    The one thing in common between the two, each brought in the findings the Government Of The Day needed. It will be likewise here with this enquiry into the murky dealings of Murdoc’s Media Empire for all the reasons given!

  • Into the west

    But for the guardian, this situation would have grown and grown with deplorable ethics on the side of Cameron- and Newscorp –
    ignoring advice all over the place on appointments etc.

    Basically its like this :
    Tories hate Left-wing newspapers, so do NOTW, natural allies therefore.
    Met are piggy in the middle- who like money ie taking the bungs.

    cameron’s inner thoughts & NOTW & the Right :

    “Those damned muesli eating commie-pinkos at the Guardian ,
    feck they’ve opened up pandora’s box,
    we thought we could ignore, intimidate, and crush them
    and all those other leftie gaza-whing poofs”

    Dave will survive as we’re near the end of term ~2 weeks left

  • Independent Ulster @ 6:48 pm:

    With respect, I think you have misunderstood what both parliamentary committees were up for.

    There had been, back stage, very heavy warnings about any intrusion into areas which are, or might be, sub judice. Even so, the majesty of Parliament had to be maintained. Meetings had been scheduled: they had to go through. I doubt that some of the participants, running their replays, will feel they did too badly.

    It wasn’t forensic — but a fair number of legal Chambers were also recording. Some of these … err … personages are going to appear in the Old Bailey. So — wait!

    Also, listen carefully: in the near background you can hear the Pavlovian pantings of some of the best QCs in the jurisdiction.

  • Independent Ulster

    Malcolm Redfellow,

    You say,

    “There had been, back stage, very heavy warnings about any intrusion into areas which are, or might be, sub judice.”

    Well this was certainly so in the case of Rebekah Brooks.

    But my main criticism and complaint is the poor standard of personnel making up the committee and the poor and unstructured line of questioning which was easily turned into a public relations success for the Murdochs with James occasionally failing to conceal the fact that he was clearly enjoying himself.

    Professionals versus amateurs.

    The summing up by the chairman after the Rebekah Brooks appearance that she and the Murdochs were shocked by the goings on in their corporation was hopefully just down to his naivety rather than anything more sinister.

  • Into the west

    as the tories were in bed with newscorp,
    in as far as they chose the option of cosying up to the bully, not confronting it..
    cameron has a lot of explaing to do .

    lets not forget that if this story hadn’t broken,
    we’d have had a smirky smug jeremy hunt signing off on the bSKYb deal,
    drinks all round and more rewards for the Tories.
    They danced with the devil, now the music has stopped
    Met X2 resignation, NOTW closed and resignations
    what next david Cameron, who’s judgement has found out.

  • Independent Ulster @ 9:14 pm:

    … my main criticism and complaint is the poor standard of personnel making up the committee …

    Which would be a fair point had this Committee been constituted simply to cross-examine the witnesses before them today. The same point was made by several posters on the BBC rolling blog.

    However — this is a standing committee. It is made up of backbench MPs. Those are the guys and gals whom you, and I elect: no more, no less. One main reason why there wasn’t a NI (or Scottish) MP there is because they don’t make themselves available for such menial tasks.

    Only late last night (as I said above) a Tory backbencher, Nick de Bois, objected to the appointment of a replacement member of the Committee. She is Cathy Jamieson, a shrewd cookie, who is MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, and has as detailed a knowledge as any of the Sheridan perjury trial. What is remarkable is that objection came after the Tory Whips had approved Jamieson’s appointment. Enemy action? Is there something else going on?

    Above all — and this I know for sure — decent MPs of all parties are unwilling to be the agents through whom the “usual suspects” can claim previous that they have had a previous trial by public opinion, etc., etc..

    Even after the recess, this story will fester, but not disappear.

    This is not, repeat not, a parliamentary scandal. Some of the national dailies would love that to be the case. It is time that the ordinary citizen refused to play their self-serving game.

  • Munsterview

    Article by Henry Makow, Canadian site, concentrating on the Masonic angle ! It can be found at


    if anyone is interested. See also the other articles on the Masonic influences on the site.


    “……. Last month, The Guardian reported that private investigator Jonathan Rees earned $225,000 a year doing Murdoch’s dirty work:

    “Years ago, Jonathan Rees became a Freemason. According to journalists and investigators who worked with him, he then exploited his link with the lodges to meet masonic police officers who illegally sold him information which he peddled to Fleet Street.

    “As one of Britain’s most prolific merchants of secrets, Rees expanded his network of sources by recruiting as his business partner Sid Fillery, a detective sergeant from the Metropolitan Police. Fillery added more officers to their network. Rees also boasted of recruiting corrupt Customs officers, a corrupt VAT inspector and two corrupt bank employees.

    “… The Guardian has confirmed that Rees reinforced his official contacts with two specialist ‘blaggers’ who would telephone the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, banks and phone companies and trick them into handing over private data…….”

  • Independent Ulster

    Malcolm Redfellow,

    I didnt suggest it was designed for purpose just that it had done a very poor job as the increase in the share price arguably reflects.

    Regarding ‘trial by public opinion’ the naive comments of the chairman about those before the committe being shocked about what was going on in their own company, coupled with the positive media coverage which couldn’t, unlike the guys running the Met, be actually bought, has helped shift the emphasis of blame elsewhere.

    It was largely an ebmarassing performance that has clealry done more harm than good and suitably topped off with a custard pie.

    You say,

    “This is not, repeat not, a parliamentary scandal”.

    Well it is certainly a scandal of the parliamentary executive.

    You ask,

    “Is there something else going on?,

    Yes Cameron is fighting to keep himself in a job.

  • Munsterview

    Malcolm : some years back in Scotland, I sat through a public lecture where a distinguished surgeon and former senior British Army Officer, lacerated upper-class and established paedophile practices. This guy named names, some in Blairs Government and others recognizable names prominent in UK public life.

    There was shock, outrage and anger among the mainly English Middle Class and middle aged audience. The credibility of the claims made were not in doubt, most people identified had one or two known public incidents, he gave a much longer history for these offenders with plenty of details of where events were suppressed after official interference.

    Masonic connections also ran right through this Establishment outing. I cannot but reflect on these connections now and how the same networks while apparently officially involved in establishing the facts of corruption, are in reality involved in cover up.

    I keep returning to our own Donegall Garda Scandal, as I have a first hand insight into how public representatives of all the main parties looked the other way. I do not expect the UK is any different, the public indignation is all too real, I am not questioning that, but I wonder as to how sincere that of public representatives is given what I know of our own mainstream parties and what I learned in that Scottish Lecture and have followed up on since.