You can tell when the cheaper end of the Fourth Estate has reached the rock bottom of desperation: they start taking their cue directly from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. So it was that The Great Guido put out another un-researched slice of nudge-nudgery today, and was duly followed down the pan by both the Sun and the Mail.
“Leveson Lover’s Large Bill Blows Brian’s Bluster” trumpeted the Fawkes blog triumphantly at its amazingly arch and anodyne alliterative abilities. The great discovery was that Junior Counsel Carine Patry Hoskins had been paid just over £218,000 for her 18 months’ work on the Leveson Inquiry, which works out at £146,000 per annum. The conclusion? “It does not add up”.
What does “not add up”? Perhaps The Great Guido missed “Inquiry Protocol relating to Legal Representation at Public Expense” which sets out the maximum rates that may be paid for work done and invoiced. These, as far as is known, are standard rates for public sector work, and had a “senior junior” like Ms Patry Hoskins been working in private practice, she could have expected to do rather better.
How news that is not news is "breaking"
That thought, though, is not allowed to enter as the press has jumped on the figure, aided and abetted by lame MP Rob Wilson, who might find time between bouts of attention seeking to represent the electorate of Reading East, although that looks to be taking a distant second place at present. Sun Politics has deemed the matter worthy of a “Breaking News” tag, even though there is no news.
And the Mail’s Tim Shipman, someone who knows all about shipping stuff – much of it prefixed with “bull” – asserted “It is an obscene amount of money and the explanation is suspect”. The explanation, Mr S., is available, and you haven’t so much as bothered to read it (see above), which tells you all you need to know about the standard of investigative journalism coming out of the Daily Mail.
Investigate? Stuff it, just bluster instead
Instead, Mail Online has already passed judgment, with “'One hell of a payday': Leveson barrister who began affair with celebrity lawyer paid £220,000 for 16 months' work”, quoting freely from the clueless Wilson, who whinged “Surely someone more junior could have undertaken these junior tasks at a fraction of the cost”. I dunno, Rob, why don’t you do some research and find out?
Otherwise, Wilson, like Shipman and the Fawkes rabble, is just carping for the sake of it. The rates payable to counsel for public sector work are set down (and referenced in the link above), and the amounts paid are known. That hacks, pundits and supportive hangers-on have come to this so late in the day is for one reason, and one alone: putting the boot into Leveson in an attempt to discredit his report.
It won’t work, but keeps them all off the streets. No change there, then.