See Jonathan King's view in comments
The Guardian leads with a tremendous story today on how the News of the World hired private investigators to hack illegally into the mobile phone messages of many public figures, such as politicians and actors. The paper claims Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid over £1m to settle legal cases that might have revealed his journalists' repeated use of criminal methods to get stories. Click here to read.
Former Screws' editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Wade presided over these hacks - Coulson, as usual in these matters, denies any knowledge. However former deputy PM John Precott is calling on Cameron to sack him as the Tories' chief spin doctor. Meanwhile, why didn't the Metropolitan Police or the Crown Prosecution Service pursue this matter?
Coulson (a useful bio) is an old friend of Madame Arcati. I recently attempted to get up a petition on the No 10 website to draw attention to his involvement in the bullying of a Screws journalist while editor (see labels). The site appeared to ignore my application. Then following a number of my complaints on this site and on Twitter, an email was sent to me from the No 10 site claiming I had failed to respond within a given period to its request that I make changes to the petition because it was "party political": therefore the petition must be blocked. I had not received the first letter.
I don't see what is party political about drawing attention to the fact of bullying (as established at an employment tribunal). Why would the Tories want to employ a recognised bully? Are there laws against workplace bullying or are we meant to giggle and ignore them as an act of bravado? That was the point of my petition.
One moronic hack tweeted me that bullying is endemic to journalism and politics, so what was my problem? Frankly, a hack of this sort shouldn't be in journalism. He should just fuck off into PR and have done with it. And take his bully-friendly pals with him.
Former Sunday Times ed Andrew Neil calls the bugging story "one of the most significant media stories of modern times" and describes the Screws newsroom as "out of control". Coulson cannot hide behind his claim of obliviousness: he must go now. Is it not the job of a media boss to know what's going on under his nose as well as behind his back? I wonder if he ever knew he was editing the News of the World.