Spot the Cuckold Competition
A jury has been unable to find that, beyond a reasonable doubt. Rebekah Brooks was a party to the industrial scale phone hacking that was going on all around her. A 5 million pound legal team did its job. Such things happen.
But take a considered view of what that means. While she was Editor, and while she was Chief Executive, numerous people who reported directly to her were engaged in an active criminal conspiracy, the results of which she was seeing almost every single day, and to which hundreds of thousands of pounds of company money were diverted without her noticing. The leader of the criminal conspiracy, Coulson, not only reported directly to her, but she was shagging him too. She still noticed nothing.
If we accept that as true – and the jury did – it makes her one of the most incompetent managers and company executives in corporate history. Her negligence and complete lack of grip, over years, on what those immediately beneath her were doing, wiped off billions in shareholder value and lost a major commercial asset in the News of the World title. It also tarnished the company’s image irredeemably. On top of which she was given to shagging people for whom she had line management responsibility – if she were a man the feminists would be screaming from the rooftops about that.
In a rational world she would never be employed in any position of responsibility again. If Murdoch really did not know about the phone hacking, if he were genuinely disgraced and sorry, he would be furious at her for her gross negligence. Instead he has given her 10.8 million pounds.
Outwith the gilded circle of the stinking rich Brooks would never work again, having destroyed the News of the World and the image of News International. But the gilded circle will close around her.
The ultra-rich are not like you or me. They are treated by totally different standards. They also behave differently. They have no problem with being cuckolded. Charlie Brooks sent his best wishes to Coulson in jail. If I were Brooks, I would be sending money in to pay very large men to help him find the soap in the shower. Although presumably like Aitken and Archer, Coulson is going to one of those jails for posh people where you can play golf and go home at the weekend. I never understood Brigadier Parker Bowles either, though apparently his wife’s shagging was good for his military career. Funny people, toffs.
Being a right slapper seems not to have harmed Brooks’ career (feminists please note, I here apply the term slapper purely in the technical sense that she gave Ross Kemp a good slapping). That particular asset of hers has faded fast. But I think we can be quite certain that her future will be very different from that of anyone outside the top 1% of earners who had totally failed in their employment. It rather removes the argument that the disgusting wealth gap in the country relates to achievement and risk.