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Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Turning of the Worms

The Turning of the Worms

By Name supplied - HMP Hewell, from insidetime issue August 2011

A serving prisoner sifts through the News International scandal

No doubt sceptical brows will be raised that a prisoner has the temerity to write an article excoriating journalists, politicians and police. Whatever of my temerity at least I can state that I accept responsibility for my wrongdoing and have paid a price in the form of the twelve years to date I have spent in prison. As for what follows I certainly plead ‘not guilty’ to any charge of ‘holier than thou’ which might be laid. I feel I have as much right as anyone else to comment upon the ongoing shabby saga regarding certain of our media, police and politicians. I refer of course to capricious Rupert Murdoch, unconvincing John Yates of Scotland Yard (so described by the Chairman of a Parliamentary Select Committee) and the duplicitous Prime Minister, ‘We’re all in it together’ David Cameron. The ambiguity of ‘We’re all in it together’ needs no explanation from me to anyone with any interest at all in current affairs.

The catalogue of allegations and established facts regarding the immoral and criminal behaviour of News International is breathtaking and burgeoning day by day. The revelations concerning corrupt police officers have undermined confidence in the Metropolitan Police exacerbated by their abject failure to conduct a diligent and competent investigation when the hacking of Prince William’s phone came to light. This shameful failure saw the ongoing victimization of thousands of victims. As for politicians, none can lay claim to moral high ground as in furthering their individual and collective ambition they have shown themselves to be sycophantic and fearful of Murdoch’s red top rags.

In an act of cynical corporate expediency Murdoch made a sacrificial lamb of the News of the World. I for one applaud the demise of that prurient waste of the rain forests. His cynicism appears to have availed him nothing as the pressure mounts for him to abandon his planned acquisition of B.Sky.B. The politicians who for decades sought to worm their way into the opprobrium of Murdoch have now turned upon him and here again I suspect little more than an act of cynical expediency. In the final analysis politicians will sell their mothers into slavery for votes and power; there are few exceptions. Image is all and in the eyes of an appalled electorate they must be seen to act against Murdoch. The straw that broke Murdoch’s back were the revelations regarding the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone, the Soham children and those relatives of service personnel killed in Afghanistan. The politicians had to turn as Murdoch has turned upon them historically, see Gordon Brown, Neil Kinnock e al. It would appear Murdoch’s power is weakened, one can but hope fatally so. He lends the truth to: ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

The likes of the News of the World, The Sun and others of the aptly named gutter press have long feigned moral outrage in their exposés and so-called reporting of scandals, crimes, and the bad behaviour of diverse people they have targeted down the decades. That is not to say many of their targets did not merit exposure and vilification. However, these who claim moral high ground need to be sure the ground is solid. It is self-evident that News International is morally bankrupt, (hopefully, commercially so in the near future), criminal, and crassly hypercritical. ‘Physician heal thyself’ is decidedly apt where the organisation is concerned. The contagion does not appear to be limited to its red tops; The Sunday Times stands accused of comparable wrongdoings. ‘Outraged of Tunbridge Wells’ must actually be so, or so I would hope.

Speaking of ‘red tops’ it stretches credibility that Rebekah Brooks remained in post when Murdoch sacrificed many others in his vainglorious damage limitation exercise. The same can be said that the intrepid Yates of the Yard sees no need to even consider his position. ‘We’re all in it together Cameron’ struggles on to justify his employing of ex News of the World editor Coulson and you can bet Dave will not be considering his position anytime soon regardless of his poor judgement and lack of leadership. It truly does beggar belief does it not – and I’m the criminal, the social pariah?? Fair enough, I am, but as aforementioned I do at the least accept responsibility and have a sense of guilt, a sense of shame and remorse. Spare us all hypocrites with no sense of empathy, no honour, who presume to judge the like of me.

So, where are we? Given this is a developing story and the end is below the horizon there can be no neat conclusion if indeed there ever will be. In all probability some will find themselves in one of these places though probably not nearly as many who should á la the politicians who defrauded and stole from the public purse in the expenses fiasco. By means of ill-conceived reactionary legislation I fear for freedom of the piers. I fear more that lack of personal and professional integrity is endemic amongst those who purport to be moral and ethical beings. ‘Handsome is as handsome does’ and evidence to date belies their claim.

I do not recall who coined the term that a people get the governance they deserve. I do know precisely what he/she meant. I believe too we get the piers we deserve and the police we deserve, public apathy, the justified cynicism of many and the preoccupation of day to day living in constrained times all combine to give free rein to those devoid of integrity and ethics, to corruption and abuse of power in whatever form. Murdoch is by no means the first media mogul to abuse his power. Robert Maxwell and Conrad Black spring to mind and had Beaverbrook was not integrity personified. The Hirst Empire in the USA did not stand close scrutiny. You would think the lessons of history would have been learned but expediency, greed, the lust for power conquers all. Readers who live their lives vicariously fill the coffers of such as Murdoch in buying the trash he and other proprietors peddle. Supply and demand; this symbiotic combination is a toxic one in this case.

At this point final judgements must be deferred pending police investigation and the public inquiry. From what is known I do say ‘a plague on all your houses’ and I acknowledge a certain sense of Schadenfreude in seeing the mighty struggling for balance if not following as yet. The lid is off the proverbial can of worms and it is fascinating to see them squirm and turn. We can but hope some good will come out of it all. Such hope may forlorn but nonetheless it springs eternal.


Since writing the above matters seem to have developed apace. Some of the mighty have fallen, or perhaps ‘jumped’ is a more accurate word. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Paul Stephens, Assistant Commissioner, John Yates, CEO Rebekah Brooks and some lesser lights have resigned. Messrs Rupert and James Murdoch appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee as have all the aforementioned. There is still a long way for this shabby saga to run and, I wager, much more to be exposed. None of it surprises me, I wish it did, but it does anger me; these self-evident hypocrites presume to sit in judgement on such as me, but the worms have turned. Amen to that.

Name supplied - HMP Hewell

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