The keen eyed amongst you may have noticed that there has been a minor story developing in the media about the behaviour of a certain newspaper. Indeed much space has been given over to a lot of people to vent spleen so, what with this being a comment blog, here goes.
I really really really do not care. Really. I have plumbed the very depths of my interest levels and applied them at full force to the matter at hand and I find myself drifting over to the Ladies World Cup or some arcane rule change in Formula 1 which itself is glacially boring. That particular avenue of enjoyment was curtailed when they changed all the rules and banned overtaking.
Oh, I know that there are specific issues of illegality and press activity here and more important ones about freedom of the press in general but this story runs along the lines of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe or of religious unrest in the Middle East. But at least those stories have some human interest aspect- there are people having horrible things done to them for stupid reasons and that is the basis of pretty much of all human history. But the gutter press is called the gutter press for a reason. It has always opened people’s mail, tapped their phones and gone through their bins.
This scandal is touching the very doors of Number 10. Most articles accept the venality of the media but comment sagely on how previous political generations would never ever have allowed themselves to develop nefarious relationships with evil press barons and were all basically good eggs. This is rubbish. PMs and ministers have always courted popularity and power through nefarious means. To people expressing shock and horror I say one word – Beaverbrook. Or look at how Disraeli and Gladstone presented themselves to the UK – “Dizzy” and the “Grand Old Man” straight out of the “Just call me Dave” handbook.
There are also people getting bile spewing over the rank hypocrisy of the Labour/Conservative Parties. This is a bit like expressing dismay at the Hadrian’s suppression of the Jewish revolt; somewhat late on the uptake. People hate Brooks. Yawn. Murdoch is the devil incarnate. Yawn. Yawn. Stretch. Glen Wotnot has done more hacking than Jack the Ripper. Is that the time? Gosh. Andy Coulson is not fit to be employed shovelling horse manure let alone working at Number 10. Pfffffffff. I (insert the name of anyone who has been an MP or taken a pundit’s salary in the last 20 years) told Cameron that employing Coulson was a mistake.
And I find this list goes on. Every light shone on this moribund expanse of stale lard just reveals another way for me not give a flying fudge. We will lose press freedom and freedom of speech – Super-injunction Justices, their buddies in Euroland and a whole bunch of fanny-happy celebrities have pretty much done for that along with libel laws that make being worth under £5 million a de facto criminal offence. We now have the perverse situation that our delightful judges will send you to prison FOR telling the truth. Fun-o.
Then there is the Metropolitan Police admitting to incompetence. Wow. I mean Woop Woop! What a scoop there. A police force incapable of doing its job. Perhaps a bit of phone-hacking by tabloids would expose any collusion in the cover up. But I fear the morally outraged will win out on that one.
Then there are the morally outraged as a group. It is here that I am legally obliged to trot out the famous Thomas Macaulay quotation “We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.” Yup. He was right on that one. It is the division into two opposing factions both convinced of their righteousness that really sticks in the craw though. All those who are celebrating the demise of a Murdoch paper hammering on about News International believing that 2+2=3. All those concerned about free speech hammering on about how all the, ahem, Guardianistas believe that 2+2=5. And they are both right: they are both wrong.
Articles that begin “No one wants to see freedom of the press restrained but…” or “While no fan of Murdoch but…” abound like confetti. So stuff it I say. Here is to those who do not care. NANANANANANANANANA you can’t make me listen. Ooh. England ladies lost 34-49 to the silver ferns in the World Netball semi-final in Singapore.