Whittingdale Wades In 38

John Whittingdale MP is Chairman of the parliamentary select committee on media, culture and sport. He was interviewed on Sky News today, where he suggested that his committee should do nothing at all about the fact that Rebekah Wade Brooks misled parliament and lied to the committee, at least until police investigations and the judge-led inquiry are over. Murdoch’s main priority on this visit will doubtless be to work with Cameron to get the right safe judge appointed, while Clegg poses for the tabloids with the family of poor Millie Dowler.

Whittingdale, incidentally, is the man who allegedly warned MPs on the select committee that if they interrogated Rebekah, then their personal lives would be shredded. He hardly gave her a hard time in the committee, and for a committee chairman to whom she brazenly lied, he has been notably pusillanimous since; nor did he make any real effort to do anything about her astonishingly candid admission to his committee that the News of the World paid bribes to policemen.

Is it not therefore interesting that, at least as late as the end of last week (when Rebekah hid her facebook page), Whittingdale and Rebekah were friends on facebook, along with several Murdochs?

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38 thoughts on “Whittingdale Wades In

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  • mary

    Some nice extras for him listed here and trips to Bahrain, Armenia, Israel,India and Qatar over the years the US all paid for.
    While he was swanning around Armenia in April he could have been doing something useful about NI. What was the purpose of his visit to Armenia I wonder and also to those other countries?
    Bowe and Richards Ofcom give ‘evidence’. May 2011

  • mary

    should be…Bahrain, Armenia, Israel, India, Qatar and the US over the years, all paid for.

  • anno

    In my chauffeur driving time, ex-sports-minister Tony Banks told me he hadn’t wanted to be given some rotten job like Minister for Cow-pats. But this scandal’s political boot-sliding, bum-landing and journalistic dung-fly breeding shows that this is in fact Whittingdale’s actual job.
    I like freedom of speech, not that it is allowed for Muslims on UK or others’ foreign policy. I’m not convinced that what we’ve seen so far is going to expose anything as smelly as dog-do-skidding.
    After all, that’s what select committees of the House of Commons are for, laundering the unpleasant aspects of life… torture…spying…filching…and worse.

  • Guest

    Its all so in your face, it is true what you wrote Mr Murray, they are “Above the Law”.

  • Eddie-G

    Carl Bernstein wrote a piece in Newsweek on the Murdoch empire.


    Perhaps not surprising that all his sources requested anonymity – btw, I’d wager that the former editor he spoke to was Andrew Neil – but I guess it suggests that part of the reason for the Murdoch visit is to button-down the insiders for the weeks and months ahead.

    Separate thought, remember how a couple of months back the whole media-tabloid frenzy was around a certain ManU footballer and super-injunctions… did any of those superinjunction cases, which I understand pivot on the issue of the right to privacy, raise the issue of phone-hacking? Maybe in terms of human rights law, how the story was obtained is irrelevant, but my suspicion is that the next application for a superinjunction is going to be rather more sympathetically received. So the broader upshot of the Murdoch scandal might be the strengthening of safeguards used by the rich and famous to avoid scrutiny.

    And what an irony it would be were new press regulations everyone now expects be found by courts to be incompatible with human rights laws which protect the freedom of the press. That would be one heckuva legacy of Murdoch to bequeath to Fleet St.

  • mary

    There is now talk of Hunt Sec DCMS handing the decision to the Competition Commission, a different type of long grass into which the ball can be kicked.
    Same old…. same old…… Even Dame Patricia Hodgson of Ofcom is there on the list.
    I have not studied each of the names and faces but I can guess that they will be from banking, finance, business, the law, other quangos and NGOs, even the much vaunted Third Sector.

  • mary

    Murdoch has bypassed Ofcom and has referred the bid to the Competition Commission. They then pass it back to Hunt after about a year. A clever ruse for delay by the old lizard who hopes the outrage about the scandal will have died by then.
    Evidence emerging that P Charles and Camilla have also had their phones hacked by NI and Brown has been ‘blagged’ to the Abbey National by the Sunday Times.
    In the meantime attention has been taken off Cameron’s plans to demolish the public sector.

  • Eddie-G

    Wow. From the Guardian just now:


    “Confidential health records for Brown’s family have reached the media on two different occasions. In October 2006, the then editor of the Sun, Rebekah Brooks, contacted the Browns to tell them that they had obtained details from the medical file of their four-month-old son, Fraser, which revealed that the boy was suffering from cystic fibrosis. This appears to have been a clear breach of the Data Protection Act, which would allow such a disclosure only if it was in the public interest. Friends of the Browns say the call caused them immense distress, since they were only coming to terms with the diagnosis, which had not been confirmed. The Sun published the story.”

    Gordon Brown has his flaws, but Rebekah Brooks is an evil human being.

  • glenn

    It beats me why the police who colluded in law-breaking by NI are not being looked into with more seriousness. Bland statements about how Scotland Yard are making enquiries into their identity is all very well, but the Home Secretary should be telling them to identify themselves and come forward at this point. If they do not, then not only should they be charged with the original offences, but also with obstructing justice and wasting police time. The same for NI if _they_ fail to identify them immediately. From the beginning, the police have been telling us (from the top) that these enquiries were rather expensive, wasted time, drained resources and so on. One might even suspect the police of institutional corruption by NI.

  • mary

    Outrage in the HoC that Cameron did not turn up to answer questions. Hunt who was dropped in it was squirming and was out of his depth. A little like an estate agent found out for encouraging gazumping or gazundering.

  • ingo

    Absolutely Glenn, the silence and lame excuses for not upholding the law, perverting the cause of justice and knowingly conspiring to cover up their criminal activities.
    How many people have died, had their lives ruined due to tabloid headlines, instigated by police snoops who took the money and depositied it according to hirarchy in the met, my guess.
    That the home secretary hasn’t got the guts to ask the Strathclyde force to come in and/or Interpol, speaks volumnes, everyone involved in this saga isare trying their best to cover up, not a single person stands up for what they have done, a bunch of lying slimeballs who are hiding behind their uniforms and the law as it is spoken and practised by themselves.
    Scum, the lot of them, as you said Glebnn, not a single spine willing to stand up and take the rapp, I reckon the shutters have gone down and the hedgehog has turned into a ball. We should make visiting nations at next years tub thumping event aware, that those 25.000 nice police officers have already got a bankaccount ready for their ‘bunga bunga’, alledgedly.

    What of the military intercomms they have listened to? when soldiers called their families, does anybody think they’d had any scrupels to exclude them from their hacking.
    Who?, in the Lib dem party will have the guts to ask for a non confidence vote in this cabal of Bullington newbies, cause clinging on for dear life could be far more painfull in the long run.

    A hundred years ago there was one word for this sort of behaviour. Treason.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Absolutely, ingo: It is Treason. They have betrayed the electorate, the country… It is utterly disgusting. MPs like that should be out on their ear! Both Murdochs (Senior and Junior) and Brooks should be in jail. The Murdochs should be deported and banned from ever doing business in this country.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Totally agree, Glenn. This – action in relation to the criminal aspect in the police and at NI, etc. – needs to move fast, like your exemplary motorbike. Instead, it seems to be proceeding like Fred Flintstone’s granite wagon.

  • mary

    Instead, it seems to be proceeding like Fred Flintstone’s granite wagon …..with NI fouling the new police investigation by putting out leaks and denials.
    The Met responded to the story with an attack on News International – owner of the NOTW – in which it said the leak demonstrated a “deliberate campaign” to “divert attention from elsewhere”.
    It said in a statement: “It is our belief that information that has appeared in the media today is part of a deliberate campaign to undermine the investigation into the alleged payments by corrupt journalists to corrupt police officers and divert attention from elsewhere.
    “At various meetings over the last few weeks information was shared with us by News International and their legal representatives and it was agreed by all parties that this information would be kept confidential so that we could pursue various lines of inquiry, identify those responsible without alerting them and secure best evidence.
    Who do we believe? Btw ‘divert from elsewhere’? Weird phrase. Meaning unclear?

  • Tony

    The recent sleaze-fest around the Murdoch, News International phone-hacking scandal is a symbol of how far Britain has sunk. It’s not Newscorps plc we are watching crumble, Mordor-like, before our eyes. It’s UK plc. Look at the organisations who have their grubby fingerprints all around this cesspit. It’s many of the principal institutions of the country. Both major political parties have been in bed with Murdoch for years, the Met has been taking money and covering up, The PCC criticised only the Guardian in their report on hacking, the phone companies must be involved, the Press Association looked the other way. These are only the UK organisations we know about. Meanwhile the victims included the Dowler family, unnumbered bereaved military families and now the Royal Family and the hapless Gordon Brown. Indirectly, thanks principally to the Guardian, we discover that the UK is infected by this corruption to the bone marrow. Alex Salmond must be rubbing his hands and with good reason.

  • angrysoba

    Eddie G – “And what an irony it would be were new press regulations everyone now expects be found by courts to be incompatible with human rights laws which protect the freedom of the press.”
    I don’t know why “everybody expects” new press regulations. From what I understand the NOTW have been involved in criminal activity. How about upholding the law before implementing new “regulations”?

  • Mark

    ‘How about upholding the law before implementing new “regulations”?’

    Good point Angry; a shifty Whittingdale clone , George Eustace MP, has just been interviewed by Paxo on Newsnight, adding to the clamour for greater regulation of the press. Given that the expenses furore is still a sore point with many parliamentarians, this ‘lesson to be learnt’ from the Hacking scandal is clearly music to their ears. I expect to see Eustace’s dodgy argument gaining traction in the coming days.

    There is however a small difficulty with ‘upholding the law’ when those tasked with upholding it, such as the Met, are so compromised. In these circumstances, instead of insipid words about ‘considering their position’ being uttered, action is needed. The Home Sec (or Justice Sec- whoever is responsible for the Met these days) should be demanding the head of Yates of the Yard on a platter if he’s unwilling to go quietly.

  • mary

    Was that you Mark (Golding)? You usually give your full name and link to your website. Anyway, I don’t think resignations are sufficient. When a crime has been committed, then charges should follow.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, there may be an agenda here, or it may be that people will try to use it to pursue their own agendas. I’m sure the worm, turning, will prove vicious – MPs’ revenge on the media for the expenses scandal. At times, though, it seems as though the only time the British public are engaged is when one part of the elite decides to reduce the power of another and enlists the ‘mob’ (that’s us, people!) through emotive tabloid posturing (the Dowler/Afghan Dead Soldiers, Paedophiles, Sex-Romps, etc.) to help them – is this not plutarchy? I am glad that finally British people have tumbled to the idea of consumer power (vis a vis the threatened boycotts which helped to bring down the NoTW)- in the USA, this is commonly-applied – but it is transient consumer power and must not be confused with citizenship. Tom Watson, seeming champion against Murdoch, was he not a supporter of all the imperial wars and a former MoD minister?

    Nonetheless, he’s done much good in his time, including championing open-source software.


    In any case, this is bigger than Tom Watson. And bringing down Murdoch/ monopoly control of the media undoubtedly would a good thing. I just worry that it may be used by some to push through other measures restricting real investigative journalism, and that would not be a good thing.

  • ingo

    Thanks Anno, I am now having stitches, what a great video.

    This, hopefully cleansing scandal has, again, shown what Leviathan politics we are partial to, although this is the 21st. century version, the judge who is investigating himself is also partially criminally involved due to past cover ups and establishment resolves, he now becomes the juror over his fellow criminals, previously so well covered up, only to finally wield the executioners axe, made of feathers in this case and present us with a fait a compli, for us to accept or not?

    This country is faced with a treasonous behaviour that has permiated many levels of the civil service/police/media, a gargantuan task to decontaminate, if that is at all possible.

    An amnesty for those coming forward, unless they have compromised third parties serverely and/or have led to physical and or psychological distress, or death and injury, would provide a reconcilliatiory move which c/should bring out some of the truth behind as to the depth, these ‘family tactics’ within NI have infested everything in his business structures.
    If there is enough material to warrant a vote of no confidence in this Government, then our politicians should stop playing games, because they are inevitably implemented in the scandal, but come clean and owe up, and call an election. So should the police unless they want to loose what little trust the public has in them, they should be at the forefront.

    If a newspaper in future hacks into private emails and or conversations, then I have no problem with a drastic instantaneous action, a regulatory body or a warrant should shut it down until the issue is resolved and the case made public, loss of earnings imho. being one of the best regulators there are.

    To leave the country in apathetic navel gazing limbo, see who has fluff and who has’nt, deliberately or not, is unacceptable and it shows the essentially medieval make up of the system underlying these cover ups, nobody dares to move or say, the judiciary unsure of the law or phlegmatic in wanting to use it, a stifling prospect and effect, one which will reflect itself economically.
    Thanks for all the links, gals and guys

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