Last weekend’s attack on the integrity of the Leveson Inquiry by a tabloid press that has demonstrated very little of its own integrity of late was answered in part by Leveson himself, as I noted yesterday. This would never satisfy the hacks, because they are not interested in mere replies. They will not leave off until and unless they have at least one scalp.
The two papers that went after Leveson with such vigour, the Sun and Mail, have once again been in the vanguard, as the story of the relationship between David Sherborne and Carine Patry Hoskins has once again been held to mean that anything coming out of the Inquiry is now discredited. The Sun was first out of the blocks, claiming Leveson has “dismissed calls for a probe”.
He hasn’t, of course, but instead has replied to Tory MP Rob Wilson, who is apparently unaware that a collapse in the Lib Dem vote alone would see him on his way out of Reading East come 2015. Rupe’s downmarket troops call this “a surprise move”. So the Murdoch press is surprised when someone receives a letter making a request, and then gives the writer the courtesy of a reply. No surprise there.
Wilson was, in any case, not happy, because although Leveson had addressed the questions he put, he had thought up some more in the meantime. This was reinforced by a quote from Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell, who condemned the judiciary for being “out of touch”. Carswell encourages parents to home school their children, not that it might mean they end up “out of touch”, of course.
But pride of place has to go to the Mail, where the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has no intention of letting go, especially as Sherborne made him look shifty and evasive under cross-examination (the Mail’s coverage is first and foremost an act of petty and vindictive retribution). So Dacre’s hacks have dreamed up “Twelve key questions Leveson lawyer lovers must answer”.
The Mail’s editor shows by pursuing this matter that he has delusions of grandeur. Leveson and his senior counsel Robert Jay are accountable to the law of the land, not that laid down by the Vagina Monologue. And the Mail does its credibility no good at all as it over-eggs its pudding by describing Rob Wilson as a “senior MP”. Wilson a “senior MP”? Don’t make me laugh.
It may also surprise Dacre to learn that he has no jurisdiction over the Bar Standards Board (BSB), although this body is also instructed to investigate Sherborne and Ms Patry Hoskins. Dacre urges this action not only because of his boiling resentment at Sherborne, but also because the latter represented Hugh Grant, whose suggestion that the Mail indulged in phone hacking so unsettled him.
Pursuit of vendettas is unlikely to impress the BSB. So there’ll be more attacks later.