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.