Monday, 18 July 2011

More arrests and resignations ... as 'leaders' continue to be exposed

As the scandal continues to escalate, and 'terriers' such as Tom Watson and Chris Bryant gain the upper hand in exposing the truth and bringing those involved to justice, the 'leaders' in this murky 'underworld' are clearly starting to panic (as they are no longer in control).

Over the course of the weekend, Rebekah Brooks (CEO News International) resigned (despite Rupert Murdoch flying in to look after her) and has been arrested on charges of corruption and phone hacking.

Likewise, Sir Mark Stephenson, the top police officer in the country has now resigned because of the hiring of Neil Wallis (Andy Coulson's deputy editor at the News of the World) as a communications adviser to the Metropolitan Police at a time when phone hacking allegations were being reviewed. Following his arrival, the police downplayed claims of phone hacking and refused to reopen the case (e.g. despite the evidence they had clearly saying the opposite)! Wallis, like Andy Coulson himself, has now been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

Some are speculating that the arrest of Rebekah Brooks this Sunday was deliberately brought forward to stop any further (and more damaging) revelations being made public (e.g. about the relationships/collusion between the media, police and politicians), as Brooks is due to face tough questions from a cross-party Committee of MP's on Tuesday.

This is not something that Cameron, the Murdoch's or the police officers likely to be implicated want to see, but the net is closing in on all of them.

James and Rupert Murdoch have been summoned to attend the Committee of MP's and their future roles in BSkyB and News Corporation are now also being questioned (by fellow directors and shareholders) ... and with Brooks no longer acting as a 'firebreak' they both look increasingly at risk!

More resignations are likely from the Metropolitan Police too (e.g. John Yates) and David Cameron also looks increasingly vulnerable too ... as he, unlike Sir Mark Stephenson, has steadfastly refused to take responsibility or apologise for his poor judgement in bringing Coulson into Number 10 (despite all the warnings he received). 

Cameron is desperately trying to steer the scandal away from him and towards the issues associated with the media and police, to distract attention away from the relationship between himself and News International ... but the evidence is growing by the day. Cameron's diary shows he met News International executives on a regular basis (c.f. executives from all other media groups - including the BBC) and in his resignation speech the Metropolitan Police Commissioner alluded to the difficulties in raising issues with regard to News of the World with the Prime Minister when Andy Coulson was in the position he was!

Cameron has consistently failed to explain in detail the precise circumstances in which he took on Coulson, as well as any discussions held around the time of his subsequent resignation. Cameron, like the Murdoch's, has no 'firebreak' either and he has stated the decision to recruit Coulson was 'his and his alone' ... hence his position is starting to look increasingly vulnerable too.

Will Cameron survive ... IMHO it's too early to say at the moment ... but we do know this scandal is not going to go away and has got a long way to go ... and those who have abused their power/trust are struggling to keep a lid on it!

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: “It is striking that Sir Paul has taken responsibility and answered questions about the appointment of the deputy editor of the News of the World whereas the Prime Minister still refuses to recognise his misjudgment and answer questions on the appointment of the editor of the News of the World at the time of the initial phone hacking investigation. People will wonder at why different rules apply for the Prime Minister and the Met, especially when as Sir Paul said himself, unlike Andy Coulson, Neil Wallis had not been forced to resign from the News of the World.”