Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Theresa May - no, Must - not be Allowed to Get Away with Father O'Grope ploy

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, tried to kick the Metgate ball into touch yesterday by saying it was an operational matter for the police. She was being disingenuous. She knows full well that the Metropolitan police are part of the problem, since their decision to "ringfence" the investigation.

Michael White in the Guardian aptly likens May's line with the Vatican saying "If you have any complaints, children, you must bring your evidence to Father O'Grope"

It is blindingly obvious that the investigation into the NoTW phone surveillance affair needs to be handed over to a police force other than the Met, just as it is obvious that there needs to be an independent review into the whole affair, Coulson, Met, and News International, by HMIC and/or an independant judicial review.

This affair has three layers:
  1. Andy Coulson, how much he knew.
  2. The Met, why they drew back from investigating the full extent of hacking
  3. The influence of News International on the Met.
We need transparency as the basis for these investigations. It is alleged that phone "hacking" - the "Dark Arts" - was widespread not just at the NoTW, but in other tabloids. The Express has been mentioned in the NYT article. This would explain why most other papers have turned a blind eye to this massive story. How could papers which themselves employ the Dark Arts criticise the NoTW when they themselves are liable to prosecution?

Nick Cohen has an interesting piece that covers these points.

I believe it would be useful to have a media-wide amnesty, so that all hackers and tappers could come out and confess without risking jail. That will cleanse the Augean stables, and we can start again with new rules to protect intrusions into privacy by tabloid journalists in search of meaningless sleb exclusives.

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