Back in 2009 when I started this series of blogposts, it was clear – despite most of the Fourth Estate observing the iron rule that “dog doesn’t eat dog” – that Phonehackgate was big news, and bad news for Rupe and his troops. What was not clear was how long it would take before the participants began to turn on one another as desperation took hold.
That moment has now arrived with a vengeance, following the realisation that Operation Weeting is serious about unearthing the facts. This was underscored yesterday by the arrest of master hacker Glenn Mulcaire for not only doing the hacking and tapping, but also on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, which means the Met think his pants are likely to be alight.
Mulcaire’s arrival in custody appears to have been the equivalent of pressing the panic button: former Screws chief reporter Neville “Onan the Barbarian” Thurlbeck has written to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee telling that his bosses had exhibited a “pattern of ... withholding information” from News International (NI) bosses – and the committee to which he was writing.
Thurlbeck claims that Colin Myler and Tom Crone would not have told Murdoch Junior about the hacking, and that he had told them both that others were involved in the practice. And while that grenade was going off, Andy Coulson took his former employers to the High Court over their refusal to continue to pay his legal fees. After all, he did what he did in the service of, and for the benefit of, the Murdochs.
These revelations would by themselves be bad for Rupe and his troops. But far worse is the emerging news on the extent of the surveillance carried out on behalf of NI. We now know that not only was Tom Watson targeted, but that in 2009 the whole Commons Culture Committee may have been tailed, including chairman John Whittingdale.
Now it seems that NI are caught in a pincer movement from both sides of the Commons: Watson is not going to drop this any time soon, and new intake Tory MP Louise Mensch has stopped listening to speculation about the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron and got stuck in to what she has in plain sight – and that is the Murdochs.
Now that the revelations continue to spill out, and the participants start to fight among themselves, the only direction for the Murdoch empire is downhill, and fast. And this week’s news merely confirms Tom Watson’s mafia comparison, though with one qualification.
And that is that a real mafia family would have started removing those who chose to sing. Fortunately, that option is not on the table for Rupe and his troops.