Thursday, 7 July 2011

Politicians, press and police: hacking scandal is a crisis for the powerful

At Counterfire we have published our analysis of the News of the World scandal and its political implications.

Read it in full HERE.

The explosive element here is the connections between three institutions: Murdoch's News International, the police and the Tory-led government. David Cameron's personal relations with Andy Coulson (his former PR chief) and Rebekah Brooks (a friend) mean it's extremely difficult for him to distance himself.

This goes to the heart of government - it appears to be turning into the Tories' biggest crisis so far. The scandal has the potential to cause lasting damage to the authority of not only the Murdoch press but the police and the current government too.

As the Counterfire article puts it:

'Since he moved back into public life from public relations, David Cameron has maintained an intimate relationship with News International. They, in turn, have looked kindly on his efforts. Their papers talked up his 2005 leadership challenge. Their support for him and his party during the 2010 election verged on the hysterical, with Cameron ludicrously feted as Britain’s Obama.

Murdoch was one of Cameron’s first visitors after his election as Prime Minister. Cameron chose to spend part of his first Christmas holidays as Prime Minister at former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks’ Oxfordshire home.

So Coulson was appointed in late 2007, moving onto become head of communications at Downing Street after the general election. And Cameron and Osborne have defended him every step of the way until his eventual forced resignation in early January this year. They did not want to admit to a seeming error of judgement. And they did not want to lose such an important link in the chain of the power.

There are three sets of cosy relationships here – between the Murdoch press, police, and senior Tories. Together they start to resemble nothing so much as a criminal conspiracy against the wider public.

This is corruption on a grand scale. It lives by different rules to the rest of us. It now lies exposed.'


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