Saturday, 16 July 2011

In Cameron We Trust (not)?

It's that Watergate Moment!
A dramatic week for our politics, press and police. And yet do the travails of the 3-pees amount to anything more enduring than this week's headlines as the Establishment probably prays this morning that the public is heading towards "Murdoch fatigue"?

The chances of this latest crisis to rock our rulers leading to the democratically accountable media we need seem unlikely in the extreme. Even Ed Miliband, who has had a good fortnight, has come out against any compulsory regulation of our errant Press and the "wide ranging" public enquiries announced by David Cameron will take several years to be about as useful as the public enquiries into the Falklands War and the death of Dr Kelly. And now comes the claims in the Independent on Sunday that the Chair of the committee of MPs that will question Murdoch and his acolytes this week has close personal links with News International executives.

At the end of the day, it has been fun to watch them squirm. Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson (the latter two now both arrested) have been hounded by the cameras all week and even although it is rather a case of their rivals kicking them when they are down, it is still sweet to see the boot finally on the other foot, however temporarily. And as for Cameron himself - the mask has finally slipped as the Independent newspaper revealed his continued friendship and fortnightly meetings with the people whose staff bugged and connived their way into the private life of his predecessor, Gordon Brown. Sadly, as yet, this is not turning into his Watergate - the rest of the Press, chewing on the bloodied legs of News International, have a vested interest in keeping him where he is.

But the parallels are striking - Nixon had links to all manner of unsavoury characters who did him favours, not necessarily with him needing to ask or know. And infamously, he bugged hundreds of conversations in the heart of the White House. Cameron has not done that, but his sponsors (or their surrogates) clearly have committed equivalent acts, even if their newspapers were supposedly so out of control that they didn't know about the hacking, nor ask any questions about where the stories came from.

How tenable can it be then that we have a Prime Minister who socialises with the people who used pretty underhand methods to undermine his predecessor and twist the democratic process? Or who allowed Parliament to be misled about his continued contact with Andy Coulson after he left his post at Downing Street? Or who was silent about the fact that, since becoming Prime Minister, he has met with News International executives on average once every two weeks?

Cameron's dark side, for the diminishing number who still thought he didn't have one, is becoming strikingly clear - his taste for Power seems to be as endlessly thirsty as the unquenchable palate of the Dirty Digger, whom he clearly admires so much. And to whom, in the end, he owes so much.

Update - 17 July; Metropolitant Police chief resigns and attacks Cameron over the affair. More here.
Symbiotic Sun - who depends on who?  "The Sun" front page on election day 2010)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown Addresses Parliament last week:

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