The Super Soaraway Currant Bun yesterday gave us one of those Questions To Which The Answer Is No (QTWTAIN) as veteran spinner Trevor Kavanagh obediently answered the call from Creepy Uncle Rupe to ask “Are we sleepwalking into a Police state?” Journalists, he asserted, were on the receiving end of heavy-handed tactics from the rotten rozzers.
That's what I think of youse bladdy due process, ya bladdy Pommie bastards!
Kavanagh draws this conclusion – note, not a mere question – on the basis of the Ben Ashford case, and the search last week of Cliff Richard’s Berkshire apartment. What he fails to tell readers is that Ashford was effectively shopped by his own organisation, through its Management Standards Committee, and a grateful Plod duly took the hint and caused him to be nicked.
As to the Cliff Richard search, as the Guardian’s Michael White observed, “Media hypocrisy: Leveson tells cops not to tip off tabloids on celeb raids. Tip off BBC on Cliff instead. BBC goes tabloid. Tabloids complain”. Someone else got a piece of the action that Rupe’s downmarket troops thought was their preserve. So faithful old retainer Kavanagh has to spin it as something sinister.
It is considered so sinister that a three-line whip was imposed on the Sun faithful to ensure they all piled in behind Kavanagh’s restatement of the truth behind Olbermann’s Dictum (“the right exists in a perpetual state of victimhood”). All had to assure their Twitter followers that this was a grave turn of events, that legitimate journalism was somehow being silenced.
So who would step forward to defend the freedom of Rupe’s downmarket troops to please themselves, just like in the Good Old Days (tm)? Steve Hawkes gave his straightforward endorsement: “Post Ben Ashford and Cliff Richard, the Sun’s Trevor Kavanagh asks: Are we sleepwalking into a Police state?” The answer was still no, and so reinforcements were called for.
Non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn told “Vital read on Police/CPS witch hunt on journalists by Trevor Kavanagh today. Shameful silence from all MPs so far”, while another old retainer, Arthur Edwards, thundered “EVERY JOURNALIST AND ALL WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF THE PRESS SHOULD READ TREVOR KAVANAGH PAGE 8 IN TODAY’S SUN”. Yes, it was that sinister.
The real reason for the protest - Top of the Pops
But it wasn’t sinister when it was the Screws in bed with the Met, though, was it? It wasn’t sinister when, under Andy Coulson’s editorship, the now-defunct title initially got away with hacking a dead schoolgirl’s phone and effectively admitting as much to the cops. It wasn’t sinister when the Murdoch press tried to interfere in the Police investigation and send them on a wild goose chase to Telford.
The only reason for the protest is that it’s Murdoch’s hacks getting nicked. Good.