And so the former obedient servants of the Murdoch empire trooped into the glass fronted dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning: Stuart Kuttner, wishing more than ever that he had kept schtum during that BBC Radio discussion with Nick Davies, Ian Edmondson, Greg Miskiw, James Weatherup, and Neville “Stylish Masturbator” Thurlbeck, all were present.
Rebekah who? Never heard of her
Added to this rogues’ gallery were hacker extraordinaire Glenn Mulcaire and Young Dave’s former spinmeister Andy Coulson, there to hear the charges read out, confirm their names and addresses, get the stern word about their bail conditions, and learn that they were to be reunited before the examination of Mr Justice Fulford at Southwark Crown Court on September 26.
And that is the most remarkable of coincidences, because on the same day, and at the same court, there will be an appearance of another motley platoon of the formerly powerful, these being the twinkle toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks and husband Charlie, together with her chauffeur, her former PA, a “security consultant”, and News International (NI) head of security.
The latter are up on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while yesterday’s attendees are accused of phone hacking, or ordering it, or soliciting it, or benefiting from its results, or even a combination of all of those – who knows? That thirteen former senior Murdoch staff, together with hangers-on, are all turning up to face the next snippet of the music together almost says it all.
But what it doesn’t say is anything about the ones who aren’t in the dock: those who remember the all too brief trial of Steve Whittamore will remember that, when the prosecution had outlined their case, the judge had at one point interrupted and asked the question that proved difficult to answer: where were the journalists, the paymasters, those who had procured all the illegal activity?
In the case of the soon to be Southwark Thirteen, that same question might well be asked of the paymasters in whose name all the hacking took place, namely Rupert Murdoch and his son James. All those tales of misery following the grim revelations of what went on as this particular “Dark Art” was carried out were as a result of misbehaviour by those doing Rupe’s bidding.
Uncharacteristically, it is the Mail that answered the question: as Ms Brooks walked into court to learn that she may yet face more charges, Rupe, accompanied by wife Wendi (and her “good right ‘and”) and family, enjoyed their own chauffeured transport as they explored Venice by gondola. The Godfather has emerged from that huge pile of steaming bovine by-product smelling sweet and clean.
Loyalty is ultimately never a two way street when the stuff hits the fan.