It astonishes me that MPs thought they would deliver any telling blows in the recent Parliamentary Select Committee News International inquiry involving the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks.
The participants were all carefully prepared as to the right responses. Nothing was revealed (except, perhaps, Murdoch Senior has a gutsy wife) and, by the close of proceedings, few were probably any more convinced by their denials of culpability anyway.
What the point of this parliamentary hearing was in any event I haven’t a clue since there is to be a full-scale, judicial investigation.
It was just a bit of set-piece theatre – a bit like one of Murdoch’s Twentieth Century Fox movies – and the reality was that it was a total waste of time. All we learned was that MPs don’t seem to understand that the News of the World is but a tiny part of a very large, global corporation – unfortunately, we now have “career politicians” who have no inkling of the real world of business.
You really can’t expect a global CEO to know the minutiae of a very minor operation (forming less than 1 per cent of revenues).
But who are the MPs who make up these Committees?
Hardly observed in day-to-day Parliamentary life, they form part of that band of “Never was/Never will be” modern politicians given sinecures they are ill-equipped to fill. Hasty reports are published but does anyone outside the political/ media circus believe their contents/findings have any impact?
In fact, these MPs are behaving like typical politicians. They have lost sight of the really important issues here.
This crisis isn’t about scoring party-political points. It’s about the behaviour and lack of control/accountability of the media; about the performance of the police; about the relationship between press, police and politicians.
And, in a wider context, politicians – Labour and Coalition – seem to have lost sight of the issues that actually matter rather further afield too (and the media, for its part, to report on them). There is a famine in East Africa, the Arab Spring is continuing apace and the European economy is tottering on the edge of disaster.
In other words, the real question politicians should be asking themselves is whether they can drag themselves away from all the grandstanding, taking the moral high ground and using this whole business to try to divert attention from their own questionable behaviour (MPs expenses, anyone?) when the rest of the world is going belly up?
Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon in paperback and as eBook. Profits to Cudeca