While many have been absorbed by proceedings at the Supreme Court, and yet another by-election - this time in Lincolnshire, and another bad one for Labour - the civil case against the Murdoch mafiosi continues, with claimants pressing for the disclosure of what the Guardian calls “thousands of emails and other documents that the claimants say provide evidence that phone hacking and practices such as ‘blagging’ private information were more prevalent at News UK’s titles than previously thought”.
The most immediate concern for those in the Baby Shard bunker is that the taint of phone hacking looks likely to affect the Sun, and not just the late and not at all lamented Screws. And talking of the Sun, yesterday’s bonus fun and games came in the form of an email thread kicked off by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie.
Kel had become a Sun pundit in 2006, twelve years after vacating the editor’s chair. He was not only prepared to do the rounds of the broadcasters to tell them that phone hacking had been the work of just a couple of rogue reporters, he actually believed it. Thus his unhappiness when emailing the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks.
In June 2011 he whined to Ms Brooks and then editor Dominic Mohan “I swallowed whole the News International position that it was the work of two rogue employees. As the go-to guy for the media (News never responds to radio or television requests) when it comes to the Sun or the News of the World issues, I was happy to take on the [Chris] Huhnes and [John] Prescotts in live debate and on occasion defeat them”.
His problem? “So good was my defence that on more than one occasion I received texts and phone calls from Rebekah urging me to do more … But of course you guys knew different. It wasn’t ‘two rogue employees’. The scale, the width and the depth were much more serious than that and yet you allowed me to twist in the wind rather than let me know the reality. That was inexcusable”. Ms Brooks really was that devious.
Kel officially left ten days after sending the email. But he was back in 2014, and has remained at the Sun ever since, despite the return of Ms Brooks following her acquittal at the hacking trial. So if Kelvin McFilth is a man of such high principle, how come he’s prepared to remain in the service of a CEO who, by his own account, knew rather more than she let him know, and whose behaviour he had condemned as “inexcusable”?
Simples. Kel has all too clearly been bought off, his vanity suitably tickled by the still-devious Rebekah. Not only does he have his regular Sun column, he has the willing backing of the Murdoch doggies for his cowardly attacks on broadcasters (as witness Trevor Kavanagh coming to his aid over the Fatima Manji complaint), his pet project A Spokesman Said “received seed investment money from media tycoon Rupert Murdoch”, and he’s been given his own office on the 13th floor of the so-called News Building.
The Murdoch mafiosi shat on Kelvin McFilth, but despite his whinging, he’s quite happy to go back and work for them again. So much for those high principles, eh Kel?