The matter of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International's UK ops, and what as editor of The News of the World in 2002 she may or may not, or ought to, have known about the Milly Dowler phone hacking outrage, bears an uncanny resemblance to the matter of former Haringey boss Sharon Shoesmith and what she knew or ought to have known about Baby P.
Brooks, nee Wade as editor of The Sun in 2007, was merciless in her persecution of Shoesmith, holding her to account because she was a highly paid executive presiding over a tax-funded, dysfunctional children's service. Personal knowledge was an irrelevance. In a fateful twist that involves a child-victim, Brooks now finds herself in a not dissimilar situation, trying to save herself by making a virtue of her ignorance when she presided over what was plainly a dysfunctional newspaper.
Surely, in deciding whether Brooks go now, or when she's pregnant next year (see the current Private Eye for more), we should apply the principle she championed against Shoesmith: take personal responsibility because she was there. Like Shoesmith, Brooks was on a huge, perks-fattened salary, in return for her management skills. Indeed, Brooks' salary and perks far exceeded Shoesmith's.
Like Andy Coulson at the Screws, Brooks raised the stakes and imposed a bullying staff culture which made failure a no-option. Cheating was an inevitable consequence of her mindless careerism and pandering to Murdoch. She was happy to take the credit for her newspaper when promotion was dangled before her, but not the debit when disgrace is the alternative.
So Rebekah, practise what you preached against poor old Shazza.