Like many with uneasy feelings towards giant, hydra-headed, global media conglomerates with immense, unaccountable power and influence, the deafening collective squawk of chickens arriving home to roost in the last 48 hours offers cautious grounds for optimism and, yes, a little satisfaction, but not much.
The most important issue at stake here is that the smokescreen of the summary execution of an instantly recognisable (if now thoroughly toxic) brand is, to all intents, irrelevant. As, I would venture to say, is the actual issue of the phone hacking itself. As with pretty much every major public scandal, the issue at stake is how, why and by whom the attempts to cover up the complicity and extent of the criminality involved. The announcement of a public inquiry is welcome, although the the turgid pace at which such processes move will, one feels, allow for sufficient time to have passed for individuals called to testify to get stories straight, have convenient lapses of memory or textual evidence to have been “lost in the move”.
Important questions accumulate with the closing of the NOTW rather than being answered by it, and the following must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
1) What was the role of Andy Hayman, the officer in charge of the original phone hacking inquiry, who left the Met in 2007 after expenses and other misdeeds, only to be, subsequently employed by News International?
2) Given the arrest of Andy Coulsen and Clive Goodman in relation to the corruption inquiry, is it not inconceivable that Rebekkah Brooks should not also be arrested given that she ADMITTED during the select committee hearing in March 2003 that the paper had paid police officers for information?
3) What was the role of the last Labour government, given their position at the time of the offences being committed (i.e. why was a public inquiry not mooted, and indeed blocked it seems, by Gordon Brown in 2005)?
Amongst many many others. Answers on a post card? (In a sealed brown envelope stuffed with cash…..)