I have been fairly silent on the phone hacking issue since Hugh Grant appeared on Question Time, mainly because I’m finding the whole thing a bit consuming and uninspiring. Other news has been completely sidelined and whilst I believe (and have always believed might I add) that it is completely unfair for News International to have so much influence over our media and completely condemn the hacking of both public figures and private citizens, I would like the British media to, yes make a big deal out of it – what has happened is horrific and deserves ample attention, but to not dedicate weeks worth of coverage to one issue. The whole thing has become rather tedious. In fact, it prompted one attention seeking moron to take advantage of the media coverage and childishly attack Murdoch senior with a paper plate of shaving foam. I mean, come on, the man needs to finally be put in his place and be punished for what he let happen under his watch, but let’s do it in a mature way please.
I did, however, find the exchange between Rupert, his son, James Murdoch and the MPs at the media committee interesting. Rupert bumbled and couldn’t remember very much. He played the sympathy card and expressed his remorse: “This is the most humble day of my life” he croaked, dramatised emotion showing in his face. James smoothly interrupted his father, answering most of the questions. It occurred to me that perhaps James and Rebeckah have been running the show and Rupert has been confused, not capable, just a figure-head signing whatever is put in front of him while his son pats him on the shoulder.
It is hard to accept that Rupert has become a shadow of the man who ruthlessly built up his business empire and began to dominate the UK media, not to mention the politicians! It is very plausible that Rupert is merely playing the poor, confused old man in order to save his own skin.
I have so far been impressed by the phone hacking committees that have met this week. The questions and discussion by MPs have been stimulating and for the most part, articulate and sharp. Murdoch’s takeover of BskyB has shrivelled into nothing and I am confident that our press will be cleaner and broader in the future and that laws will be put in place to stop this happening again.
The Liberal Democrats response to the happenings of the last few weeks has also been interesting. Ed Miliband, for the most part, has led the attack, something which many LibDems may find a little annoying being as the Liberal Democrat party has been warning of the problems of the Murdoch empire for years. Ed Miliband and the Labour Party are the opposition, however, they can be as loud and vocal as they like (however hypocritical it may be ;) ). I think the LibDems are sitting back and watching the explosion with a bit of a smirk. You could see Nick Clegg’s indifferent reaction too David Cameron on Wednesday 20th July – he shook his head, checked his phone and generally looked fed up of the Prime Minister.
There have been a few satisfying comments from Liberal Democrats, notably from Vince Cable who joked that he was “delighted to discover that everyone in Britain and the House of Commons now agrees with me”. Nick Clegg has also made his feelings on the matter clear in a number of interviews and statements this week. You can watch a video of him discussing the matter with Julian
Huppert, who has been instrumental in the hacking committee here.
Vince Cable got it right yet again. He is one of the few politicians we can be proud of as a country. His experience, integrity, sincerity, frankness and ability is outstanding. I hope the people of Britain and members of parliament will begin to actually listen to him from now on – he’s spot on the dot on far too many things to be ignored and shot down any longer.
You can read my other posts on phone hacking here