Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Where is the George Cross for Christopher Biggins?

There were only really two satisfying parts of the parliamentary grilling of the Murdochs - the celebrated shaving cream incident, and James Murdoch's rising tide of panic as Tom Watson very politely refused to allow him to rescue his father from the only truly forensic line of questioning of the day. Other than that, the session made for a frustrating spectacle. Murdoch junior, who must be a contender for the most irritating man on the planet, repeatedly left open goals that the questioners failed to exploit. Just to give one example, he told Tory MP Philip Davies that he was as surprised and shocked as anyone to learn that payments had been made to the convicted phone hacker Clive Goodman. But when he was then asked who had authorised those payments, he (for about the three billionth time in the session) disinterestedly claimed he had absolutely no idea. Now, surely the obvious follow-up question at that point is - don't those two responses look rather odd when taken together? What Chief Executive worth his salt (or even a lousy one for that matter) discovers something has been going on that "shocks" him, but then shows not even the slightest interest in discovering who was responsible? But no, that absurdly went unasked.

I also dearly wish the chairman had had a stern word with James Murdoch about his breathtakingly arrogant habit of embracing the very few questions he didn't find objectionable with the words "that's a great question and I'm very happy to answer it". It may have escaped his notice, but he was actually summoned to answer questions, not to rate them out of ten.

To be fair, Louise Mensch (née Bagshawe of chick-lit fame) was one of the better inquisitors, but she ruined it all at the end by obsequiously commending Murdoch senior for his "extraordinary courage" in returning to give evidence after suffering a "common assault". Dear God. If regaining your composure a full ten minutes after having your face splattered in foam constitutes extraordinary courage, Christopher Biggins and the Krankies are surely long overdue for the George Cross.


  1. Indeed. I got up this morning. Where's my OBE?

    I wasn't able to get to a tv set during the time that Murdoch & Son were being interviewed, but I did mange to watch 10 minutes of the Brookes interview. Poor questions. Poor answers. It didn't make good tv.

    But I was struck by the fact that no one seems to know anything about anything in News International. For such an incredibly successful business, that beggars belief.

    Most successful managers know what is going on in their department, if only because they are terrified that THEIR boss will ask them, and so on up the line.

    Coulson knew nothing; Brookes knew nothing; James "well done for asking that question" Murdoch knew nothing...and poor old Rupe seems to have been only vaguely aware that they were running newspapers.

    And we are expected to believe this.

    So why wasn't the obvious question "why were you all getting paid so much money to have no earthly idea how your newspaper was the biggest selling title in the English language?" asked ?

    Could it be that these MPs still have a niggling fear that if they push it too far The Sun will be reporting on their known purchases of all the ingredients for an evening's auto asphyxiation entertainment, their membership of Miss Whiplash's Discipline Club or their passing interest in the Hampstead Heath Bean Feast for Boys Society?

  2. Off Topic

    Hi James,
    I often look at "Better Nation" and then link through to your site from that.

    However I find that the link to your site is no longer there-my guess is that someone meant to knock out the "Scots and Independent" link as he formally stopped blogging some months ago-however, I may be totally wrong on all this :-)

  3. If they really didn't know what was going on, then they're guilty of gross incompetence, and they should resign as a matter of urgency (well, except for Bruiser Brooks of course, who has already had to fall on her sword). Otherwise, they're guilty of overseeing criminal activities, and lying to the police as well as a parliamentary committee.

  4. Hi JPJ2, thanks for pointing that out. I've been very cheeky and sent them an email to see if I can find anything out! But of course it's their prerogative who they link to.

  5. Clerical error. Link restored. Mea culpa.

    Short sentences. Way forward.