Thursday, July 09, 2009

Phew, What A Stitch-Up

A phone hack 'scandal' is rocking Cameron's boat in the dog eat dog world on the Street of Shame. Dirty Digger's in the frame after coughing up to gag the victims. Cameron's spin doctor is in the thick of it. It's payback time and New Labour cronies are milking it for all it's worth. This smells like a stitch-up.

A hairy old hacking hack's tale with a good dose of political bitching and a Fleet Street battle thrown in for good measure.

Blair's ex-spin doctor Campbell was in like a shot blogging for all he was worth while the Guardian "bombshell" was still hot off the press. The old hack couldn't contain himself - Gotcha. Methinks the man doeth protest too much.

At the centre is the shock 'revelation' that newspaper hacks on the News of the Screws went to illegal lengths a couple of years ago with phone hacks to try to dish the dirt on the high and mighty, all well-publicised at the time.

And to cap it all, there's the shock 'revelation' that NoW boss, Murdoch, paid off victims with a wad of cash to keep schtum.

How on earth does a hungry hack gets a scoop? Not by sitting on their bums all day. Hacking mobile messages is just the newest simplest trick in the book, making "thousands of calls" until you strike gold with an easily cracked voicemail PIN. Any tabloid hack worth their salt would give it a go - as long as the boss is shielded from any come back.

Hacking into voicemail messages at the centre of the Guardian claims is small-fry. GCHQ does much more with a massive eavesdropping operation. The Royal Mail has a special unit to intercept post. Spooks pass on juicy titbits to the tabloids when they fancy another 'Squidgygate'. If the government can get away with it why not hacks? As long as it's in the public interest not just to interest the public.

But hold the front page. Who was the News of the Screws editor at the time? Step forward Andy Coulson, now Cameron's right hand media man. It's McBride and Smeargate all over again. Or is it?

Shurley shum mishtake. McPoison was working alongside Brown while hatching a squalid plot to smear top Tories. Coulson? This happened years ago in his other life at the NoW before he was a twinkle in Cameron's eye.

Coulson quit when the newspaper got in a right royal pickle caught in the act in a hairy old hacking affair, saying he took “ultimate responsibility”.

As for the pay-off. More likely no-one wanted their dirty washing hung out in a public court case and this was a chance to make a fast buck on the back on a bit of dirt.

But quick as a flash Prezza got stuck in - calling for heads to roll and the Old Bill to get stuck in. The BBC was lovin' it, giving Prescott all the time in the world to rant away all a-huffin' and a-puffin' his way through his spin-doctor script.

Yates of the Yard has been called in do his duty with another pop at the nasty Tories. Not be left out, Mandy has joined the fray calling for a fresh police probe.

And this is the same Prescott caught lording it up at Dorneywood when he was supposed to be running the country (Mail), caught with his pants down with his secretary (Mirror) and caught on two loos (Telegraph). Having a go at the NoW he seems to have got his wires crossed.

Prezza and Campbell will no doubt keep pumping away. Others are jumping on the bandwagon in a game of ya boo sucks. After all, the mighty Murdoch empire is backing Cameron in the race for Downing Street.

The heat is on. But those calling for Coulson or Murdoch's head should be careful what they wish for. There's a lot of muck out there waiting to be raked up.

Cameron is said to be "relaxed" about the whole thing. Only hard evidence linking Coulson directly to phone hacking would bring about his certain downfall. Hacks cover their tracks.

But still smarting from the Guido/NoW McBride smearing scandal, revenge is a dish best served cold by a New Labour supporting Guardian in cahoots with the BBC. If the pressure is relentless and something truly fresh turns up, Coulson may have to go.

To its credit Murdoch's posh paper, The Times is reporting New Labour calls for Cameron to sack his trusted aide but it's no big deal at the old Thunderer. The Mail, Mirror and Telegraph? Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

Spin doctor Campbell is no stranger to dirty tricks spinning for his New Labour cronies. He's there large as life in a wonderful expose by none other than author of the Guardian 'revelation' - Nick Davies in his book which blew the lid off Campbell's Fleet Street cajoling, Flat Earth News.

Meanwhile outside the cosy Westminster village and the Street of Shame the public doesn't give a toss. They are worried about hanging onto a job, paying the bills and making ends meet.

Now thanks to Telegraph hacks they know which MP is spending their taxes living the high life with dodgy second homes deals. Now thanks to the stirling work of hacks and the blogoshere they know which fat cats are milking the system, screwing taxpayers for all they're worth.

And now thanks to leaks to the media they can see through the spin of this discredited government and economic mess. And decide for themselves who is best to run the country.

UPDATE 6pm: Yates of the Yard has ruled out a fresh probe into the hacking hacks.

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