As this blog said yesterday morning, Fiona Woolf’s position at the head of the Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Inquiry had become untenable; by the afternoon she had resigned. Some in the press were not as fortunate in their reading of the runes; others were unfortunate in their subject selection. What they had in common was a collective failure to spot the bleeding obvious.
That's what I think of youse bastards and your smartarsed blogs, ya bladdy Pommie drongoes!
For the Mail, this was the routine business of playing both sides of the field: yesterday it breathlessly reported that Labour MP Jim Hood had brought up, under Parliamentary privilege, allegations from the 1980s about then Home Secretary Leon Brittan. Today has brought a condemnatory outburst, telling how it was all untrue, despite the rumours, and that it was an MI5 smear.
That would be the same MI5 that we should otherwise trust, especially when the deeply subversive Guardian is concerned. But the Mail brass neck is as nothing compared to the Murdoch Times, where, overnight, the fastest editorial U-Turn has been executed in no style at all. Fiona Woolf was in the right earlier this week, but by this morning, it approved wholeheartedly of her departure.
First the Times faces one way ...
Like all Murdoch titles, the Times is behind a paywall, but the incriminating articles have been copied and put online (see how that works, Rupe?). Before Ms Woolf went, readers were told “The grounds for criticising Mrs Woolf are weak. They suggest that mild social acquaintance with the former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, one among thousands of people whose conduct the committee may wish to review, makes her unsuitable. It does not”. And there’s more.
“Mrs Woolf is independent-minded and capable, and is chairing a committee with varied and impressive experience. The panel can and will augment her knowledge and each member will act as a check on the other. The hounding should end and Fiona Woolf should now be allowed to get on with the job”.
... and then it effortlessly faces the other way
That’s pretty unequivocal, as is today’s comment in the same paper. “Fiona Woolf was right to step down as head of the child sex abuse inquiry ... The independence of Mrs Woolf was put in question by her acquaintance with the former Home Secretary, Leon Brittan”. That would be the acquaintance that was “mild” and merely “social”, and the grounds for criticising it were previously “weak”.
The Times goes on to conclude “The mishaps dogging the Inquiry are due, however, more to its encyclopaedic breadth than the quality of its leadership”. While the mishaps befalling the Times are due to its lack of encyclopaedic breadth, and the sheer ineptitude of its leadership. The former paper of record took days not to detect the wind direction. It took Zelo Street just one blogpost to make the right call.
This paper is taking its readers for fools. It does not deserve their trust.