In the UK, there could be a gigantic political scandal unfolding involving the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rupert Murdoch, and a considerable number of their colleagues and close personal friends
On the other hand…
On the other hand, much of what is being reported may amount to a gigantic storm in a media teacup, amounting to little more than evidence of powerful people behaving with illusions of omniscience.
The tantalising question is whether we are witnessing an important series of events in political history in the UK in the early decades of the 21st century. Or not.
Leaders we deserve reported on the breaking news stories emerging from the Leveson enquiry [in an earlier post April 23rd – May 10th, 2012].
May 28th Tony Blair’s testimony
Tony Blair’s involvement with the media was explored chronologically. He gave his expected well-prepared presentation. The self- image which ran through his book [reviewed among other places in Leaders we deserve] hardly appeaared to have changed.
His emphasis on power and power-relationships came through as he portrayed his own belefs that as prime Minister he sought to “manage not take on” the media. He drew parallels with [Labour] Union power. Of interest, he considered the owener of media to be less important than their appropriate managemment.
A brief moment of dramaas a protester burst into the room (ca 11.30 am) hurling “War criminal” accusation at T.B., before being hustled away
Another week of compelling winesses. Yesterday Jeremy Paxman whose evidence suggested malpractice from the Mirror group. Today, Adam Smith whose evidence adds to the pressure on Culture and Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt as his special advisor in the ‘quasi-judicial role played by Hunt in the BSkyB case.
Six children killed in a house fire. Is the case one for the Leveson enquiry? The deaths of six children in Derbyshire may be as relevant to the Leveson enquiry as that of the hacking of the voice mail of murdered teenager Millie Dowler.
The father of the children, Mick Philpott, acquired notoriety in a media campaign five years ago as “a benefits scrounger” who was reported as asking for a larger house to accommodate his extended family and more of his seventeen children.
May 15th 2012
Breaking news: Rebekah Brooks is charged for offenses relating to phone-hacking. The issue is said to be one ‘hanging over the government’ until the next election.
Lord Levinson announces intention to ‘say something significant on recent events’ at 2pm local time.
Levinson statement [2pm May 15th 2012]
Lord L had prepared an extended statement. He indicated yesterday [and earlier] that his remit was to explore evidence of Government/Press relations. In his statement, he reviewed various events which indicated the focus of his concern. These reprised his need to operate in a strictly neutral fashion, when there were political issues being considered by Parliament.
In this respect, he quoted extensively from Hansard [the official political record] on questions relating to the enquiry, and specifically the issue of making information requested from it available to Parliament, including a ruling from speaker John Berkow.
His statement also focused on the ‘leaking’ of information to News International. The statement implied that he would have to consider excluding from the enquiry any areas which he considered risked its independence and fairness.
It appears that there are ‘hard to resolve’ issues [dilemmas] here. The politicians are using the information leaked as part of a campaign attacking Jeremy Hunt through his disgraced special advisor Adam Smith. Lord Leveson is concerned about the fairness of the enquiry being placed at risk by politicised debate in Parliament.
May 15th 2012
Levison’s statement of May 15th in seen by The Telegraph as ‘defending the enquiry’
New York Times outlines prosecution of Rebekah Brooks as the most recent and easiest of charges of concealing evidence. More charges may follow which will embroil prominent politicians.
May 14th 2012
The Guardian newspaper was described last week by former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, as a leading member of the ‘anti-Sky coalition’. The newspaper continues its reporting with an article drawing attention to the Chancellor’s involvement with Sky International executives at the time of the Government’s investigations of the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News International.
To be continued
This post will be updated regularly until further notice.