Proceedings of the Commons culture committee are in progress, the session is running well over time, but nobody is taking their eyes off the screen. Because Rupe and Junior are being questioned, they are both clearly not happy to be in this particular place, and neither father nor son is convincing anyone. The impression is given that Junior is taking most of the flak, and trying not to say very much of any significance, but taking as much time over it as he can manage.
There has been no deference to the Murdochs, especially from Tom Watson, who has been on the case of News International (NI) from the start. Even Philip Davies, and there is no serving Tory MP further to the right of the political spectrum, caused some measure of discomfiture to the duo. But any linkage between the industrial scale criminality at the Screws and the Murdoch family is as yet unproven.
Who might have been to blame, we are no nearer knowing: it could have been the lawyers, or some who no longer work for NI. The Murdochs are clearly managing to distance themselves from those private investigators, although Junior had some difficulty with the possibility that NI may still be paying Glenn Mulcaire’s legal fees. He wasn’t sure. But they apparently still are.
So, after almost two and a half hours, the session looked to be petering out, with chairman John Whittingdale wanting to make sure everyone got a chance to put their questions. In fact, the last committee member, Louise Mensch, was starting her first punt. And then, perhaps inevitably, it all kicked off. Someone managed to get a paper plate and some shaving foam past security. There was a nutter in the room.
And so the nutter lunged at Rupe with his “foam pie”. Junior looked aghast. “Greedy” shouted the assailant. But help was at hand: Wendi Deng, who had been sitting quietly behind Rupe, leaped to her feet and felled the nutter with what ‘Enery might have called a “Good Right ‘And”. Then around ten rozzers descended on the nutter and caused him to be simultaneously nicked and detained.
Given the bizarre spectacle of the Murdochs being finally brought to answer questions before Parliament, with the proceedings broadcast openly, there had to be a nutter. So tomorrow the headlines will not be about Tom Watson subjecting Rupe to serious cross examination, or any of the details of the remainder of the questioning.
No, all that we will get is that an 80 year old man was subjected to an unprovoked assault by a prat called ... Jonathan May-Bowles.
As Harry Callahan might have said, “marvellous”.