The end of the News of the World: let me savour those beautiful words. Allow me to roll those delicious vowels and consonants over my tongue. Never did I imagine Madame Arcati would outlive the corrupt farrago that became the Screws. Of course, the Sun on Sunday, or some such, will serve as replacement, though its SOS acronym is perhaps too ironic to prevail.
Rupert Murdoch is lauded for his dark genius in pressing the nuclear option and distracting us for a few seconds as we mouth silent shock-horrors and wonder what will happen to Carole Malone and her 'hell' tropes. This is not genius but guile, though I must admit he caught me and the rest on the hop.
Actually his true genius is more subtle, entirely mercurial and located in an omission. We debate the heinousness of his past editors and journalists without ever entertaining the idea that he, Murdoch himself, should be arrested, tried, and if convicted, jailed. Every line of police inquiry should not end just at the point of executive control of corruption - such as with the Andy Coulsons or Rebecca Brookses - but should journey on to the fount, the inspiration - to the baby factory of journalistic nightmare. To Rupert.
Book after book by ex-Murdoch editors chronicle the same story: of a bullying, manipulative proprietor ever pushing back the boundaries of decency and legality in his Borg-like mission to reduce the world to a mindless form of voluntary moronism, with programme guides. Rebecca Wade nee Brooks became what we see today by imitation of her boss. She and others translated his desires via practical, modern-day methods. Did he ever give any thought to how stories were obtained as he licked his cash-fingers? The DNA of this hideous chapter in British journalism may be traced to Old Rupes and what he expected by way of results.
What he knew or didn't know precisely is neither here nor there. He was happy to shovel the profits even when, as years ago, he knew something was up. Now with his usual ruthlessness he dumps 200 staff on a heap. Some will make it to SOS of course.
But he remains at large.