Tag Archives: Rebekah Brooks

Coulson convicted – now Cameron has serious questions to answer

Beleaguered: A weary-looking David Cameron tried to defend his choice to employ convicted phone hacker Andy Coulson in a BBC interview.

Beleaguered: A weary-looking David Cameron tried to defend his choice to employ convicted phone hacker Andy Coulson in a BBC interview.

The conviction of former Downing Street press supremo Andy Coulson on charges of conspiracy to hack telephones should have serious consequences for David Cameron, the Prime Minister who brought him into the heart of the UK government after he committed these crimes.

Cameron has said he takes “full responsibility” for employing Coulson. He may regret those words in the future.

Interviewed by the BBC, he said: “I did so on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and those turn out not to be the case.” What undertakings? That he hadn’t taken part in any hacking or that he was very good at it and wouldn’t get caught?

For a Prime Minister in charge of a barely-legitimate Coalition government with an agenda to destroy Britain’s best loved institutions, such as the National Health Service and the Welfare State, the presence of a person who could infiltrate the telephone communications of others, providing information that could be used to stop them, would be a huge asset.

Pressed on what he asked Coulson and what assurances he was given, Cameron said: “We covered all this in the Leveson Inquiry.” This is not a rock-solid alibi as Cameron was found to have, let’s say, selective amnesia about certain issues. His relationship with the Murdoch press – of which Coulson is a former employee – was one of them, and it is appropriate that more questions should be asked – and answers demanded – about the level of influence exerted on the British government by the man Private Eye describes as the ‘Dirty Digger’.

At the Leveson Inquiry, Cameron could not say:

  • Whether or not George Osborne obtained assurances from Andy Coulson about phone hacking before hiring him for the Conservative Party.
  • Whether he spoke to Rebekah Brooks about Andy Coulson before his Downing Street appointment.
  • How many conversations he had with Mrs Brooks about Coulson.
  • Whether he raised the issue of phone hacking with Coulson in Westminster or over the phone while on holiday.
  • Where and how Coulson repeated his assurances about phone hacking.
  • What Nick Clegg said to him about Coulson.
  • Who else raised concerns about Coulson with him.
  • Whether or not any Tory MPs expressed concerns about Coulson.
  • Whether he discussed Coulson and phone hacking with Rupert Murdoch.
  • Whether he sought direct assurances on hacking from Andy Coulson when revelations appeared in the New York Times (isn’t that now a Murdoch paper?) on December 1, 2010.

“I gave someone a second chance and it turned out to be a bad decision,” Cameron said yesterday – but this won’t wash, according to the Labour Party’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman.

“He [Coulson] was not somebody who’d admitted what he’d done and was turning over a new leaf,” she said.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, interviewed (again) by the BBC, got straight to the point: “David Cameron brought a criminal into the heart of Downing Street… David Cameron must have had his suspicions about Andy Coulson, and yet he refused to act.

“This taints David Cameron’s government because we now know that he put his relationship with Rupert Murdoch ahead of doing the right thing… He owes this country an explanation.”

Coulson’s connection with the Murdoch press was also hugely useful to Cameron at the time. Did he hope that the appointment would buy him favour with the 37 per cent of the British media owned by Murdoch? Was there a reciprocal arrangement, with the UK government showing extra favour to the Murdoch media – such as its plan to grant permission for Murdoch to buy the 61 per cent of BSkyB that he did not own (since aborted, partly due to bad publicity)?

As Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times in July 2011, “It is hard to resist the impression that Cameron was completely in the thrall of Brooks, Murdoch and his son James Murdoch.”

What about the huge volume of emails – around 150 – between Cameron and Brooks that were withheld from the Leveson Inquiry and kept from the public domain, even after a Cabinet Office ruling in October 2012 that the public should see them?

Cameron was expected to face hard questions about his relationship with Coulson during Prime Minister’s Questions today (June 25). At the time of writing (11am), and based on his comments in the BBC interview, it seems likely that all we will hear is more evasion.

Is this really the behaviour of a man who should be the British Prime Minister?

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Evidence states Murdoch knew about bribery of officials – so why isn’t he in the dock?

Inscrutable: But does this impassive visage mask knowledge about corruption in newspaper journalism going back at least 40 years?

Inscrutable: But does this impassive visage mask knowledge about corruption in newspaper journalism going back at least 40 years?

Rupert Murdoch has known for decades that his newspaper reporters were bribing public officials, according to an audio recording reported on the Exaro News website.

It seems the media mogul made the comments in March, in a private meeting with a group of journalists from The Sun who had been arrested over allegations of illegal news-gathering – including payments to police and other public officials for information.

In the recording, a Sun journalist asks: “I’m pretty confident that the working practices that I’ve seen here are ones that I’ve inherited, rather than instigated. Would you recognise that all this pre-dates many of our involvement here?”

Murdoch replies: “We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops; that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it.”

At another time, he says: “It was the culture of Fleet Street.”

The full story, and a transcript of the recording, are on the Exaro News site, but the revelation raises serious questions about the phone-tapping trial of Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and others, which is currently taking place.

If Brooks and Coulson are on trial for allowing corrupt and illegal practices in their newspapers, why not Murdoch?

And what are the implications for David Cameron, the Prime Minister who may have allowed this kind of corruption into Downing Street?

The great Leveson whitewash

Lord Justice Leveson, delivering his speech.

Oh, all right – greywash.

Please note: This is an initial reaction to the Leveson report, based on Lord Justice Leveson’s speech today (November 29). The report itself is 2,000 pages long and may contain much more that is of interest to us. But that will have to wait for another day.

Lord Justice Leveson has come out with his report which, in effect, advocates as little change to current press regulation as he thought he could get away with.

Jeremy Hunt, the Murdochs, George Osborne and David Cameron can all sleep comfortably tonight, in the knowledge that the skeletons in their closets have not been disturbed.

Leveson wants the press governed by a new self-regulatory body, underpinned by legislation, containing no serving editors or politicians.

But he says incidents in which the press have corrupted politicians or police are exceptions to the rule, and that the norm is a “robust” (he said that word a lot) relationship.

He said: “The lawbreaking in this area is typically hidden, with the victims unaware of what has happened… I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that corruption by the press is a widespread problem in relation to the police; however, I have identified issues to be addressed.”

On the relationship between press and politicians, he recommended steps to create greater transparency “so there is no risk of even the perception of bias”.

He said: “In a number of respects, the relationship between politicians and the press has been too close, conducted out of the public eye, between policymakers and those who stand to benefit.

“The power of the press to affect political fortunes may be used to affect policy. That undermines the belief in policy decisions being made genuinely in the public interest.”

I suppose you could say he did criticise the government with this line: “The press is entitled to lobby in its own interests, but it is the responsibility of the politicians to ensure their decisions are in the public interest. Their dealings with the press should be open and transparent and the public should have understanding of the process.”

That certainly hasn’t happened with regard to the relationships between David Cameron and either Andy Coulson or Rebekah Brooks, or the relationships of both Mr Cameron and George Osborne with the Murdochs, or indeed that of former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt with News Corporation/News International!

I don’t think his proposals will work. I think the transgressors will keep on doing what they have been doing, and the politicians will continue to pander to them because they influence the popular vote.

I would like to have seen Leveson criticise a situation that has seen powerful newspaper magnates worm their way into the retinues of ministers and even the Prime Minister; and especially welcome would be a request for an explanation, from the PM, of his over-close relationship with the former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, who is even now awaiting trial for alleged criminal acts.

I would also like to see Leveson demand disclosure of the emails and texts that Mr Cameron did not provide to the inquiry or otherwise make public. What does he have to hide? Also, since the Prime Minister should be above reproach, should we conclude that his continued opacity in this regard is an admission that he is culpable of something, and therefore should we not demand his removal from office?

Instead, Leveson seems to have drawn a line under what happened. It is future relationships that he wants to safeguard. For those involved in the phone hacking scandals and the relationship between the Murdoch organisation and the Conservative Party, this means there will always be doubt in the public mind. Mr Cameron has lost public trust over this.

I would like to have seen Leveson question the way newspaper reporters have managed to get inside information from police forces across the country, because this raises serious issues about the corruptibility of our boys in blue. It takes two people to hand over confidential information – the one who’s asking for it and the one who provides it.

Perhaps that will follow but I doubt it. Despite Lord Justice Leveson’s beliefs, it seems this affair has damaged public perception of the police – as a whole – as well.

Brooks and Coulson charged; Cameron remains at large

I asked this before, and I’m still asking now: What have they got to hide, and can it be any worse than what we’re all thinking?

Why is it that Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have both been charged with crimes of corrupt payments to public officials, but their good friend David Cameron – perhaps the most public official in the UK – is able to evade investigation?

If his emails and text messages to Mrs Brooks were innocent, then why have they still not been made available to the public – as they should have been during the Leveson inquiry – and as promised after a Freedom of Information request elsewhere on the Internet?

Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson are among five people facing charges that they made corrupt payments to police and public officials. She is a member of the ‘Chipping Norton set’ and a close friend of Mr Cameron, as we know from the fact that there is a wealth of email and text correspondence between them – all innocent, we are told – that we have been prevented from seeing. He is a former Downing Street communications chief who was previously editor of the News of the World, under Mrs Brooks.

Also facing charges are journalists Clive Goodman – former royal correspondent of the News of the World – and John Kay – formerly chief reporter at The Sun – and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan Barber.

Mr Coulson and Mr Goodman will be charged with two conspiracies, relating to the request and authorisation of alleged payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a royal phone directory known as the ‘Green Book’.

The two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office involve one between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003 and another between 31 January and 3 June 2005.

Ms Barber, Mr Kay and Mrs Brooks face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.

None of these charges suggest any wrong-doing by our comedy Prime Minister, I should stress.

But he is a long-term friend of Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson, and his correspondence has been kept hidden for so long that I’m sure I’m not the only one smelling something rotten here.

The current line from the Conservative Party on this matter is that we all (and especially the Labour Party) need to “change the record”.

That’s a particularly weak defence, isn’t it?

It was made by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, while emphasising the government’s programme on transparency.

Labour’s Chris Bryant asked, if that was the case, when Mr Maude would publish the “large cache” of emails relating to Mr Coulson [and] Mrs Brooks, and that was his answer: “The honourable gentleman needs to change the record.”

He can’t “change the record”. His question relates to a vitally important matter: Is there any evidence to suggest the Prime Minister of the UK may be implicated in alleged criminal actions by his close friends?

The longer we have to wait for an answer, the more suspicious this affair seems.

Cameron and Brooks – the more we know, the less we like it

What have they got to hide, and can it be any worse than what we’re all thinking?

There’s a bad smell surrounding the correspondence between David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks, and it has nothing to do with the horse she let him ride.

The Observer is today reporting details of “intimate” texts sent between the current UK Prime Minister and the former head of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. One of them, from Brooks, states that she felt so emotional listening to his (2009) conference speech she “cried twice”, and that she “will love ‘working together’.”

Working together?

In what way, exactly?

There are too many loose ends here for anyone to feel comfortable. Everywhere you turn, one of them whips you in the face (like a riding crop, perhaps).

Let’s bear in mind all the embarrassment fomer Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Con) had over the plans for Mr Murdoch’s firm to take over Sky TV, granting it an unprecedented dominance over the UK mass media. Working together?

Let’s remember that Andy Coulson, a former News International employee and editor of the News of the World, became Mr Cameron’s Downing Street press officer for a time, until he was implicated in the phone hacking scandal and stood down. Working together?

Let’s also consider the way the right-wing press – of which News International and Sky News form an uncomfortably large cohort – has suppressed stories about the harmful effects of Mr Cameron’s policies, such as the deaths of 73 sick or disabled people every week (on average) who had their benefits cut after reassessment by the Department for Work and Pensions and its contractor, Atos. Working together?

Cameron has refused to allow publication of any more of these texts – and it is understood that around 150 may exist. The Observer states that it understands many of them would prove to be “a considerable embarrassment” to the government.

We don’t know what is in those texts, and we are being told that we never will. The only possible conclusion is that they contain information that is damaging to Mr Cameron, and therefore to his Conservative-led government. Because of the identities of the correspondents, we can also conclude only that this damage relates to them working together.

It’s obvious he’s got something to hide.

He’s not going to come clean about it either.

So he’s being dishonest to us, the British public.

It is not in our interest for him to behave like this.

What else has he been doing that is not in our interest?

I think we have a right to know.

After all, he didn’t win the 2010 election; he’s only in Downing Street because of a dodgy deal with the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron, Brooks, and an embarrassment of emails

The correspondents: Can anything transmitted between Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron be as bad for them as a naked photograph was for a Conservative councillor?

How embarrassing are these emails that David Cameron withheld from the Leveson Inquiry?

I’m sure you know the story by now – Mr Cameron held back dozens of emails, including (it’s believed) messages to Andy Coulson while he was still an employee of Rupert Murdoch, after taking legal advice. It seems they’re not “relevant”.

The trouble is, things that aren’t “relevant” have a nasty habit of grabbing the public interest. I want to know the contents of every single one of those emails, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

… Most especially since the contents of these private emails have been described as “embarrassing“.

Here in Mid Wales – only last week – we have had experience of “embarrassing” material, sent between individuals electronically, resurfacing to the detriment of a political reputation.

It concerns a very young county councillor, who took a naked photograph of himself on a mobile phone and transmitted it to a girl he claims was his enamorata at the time. That photo subsequently went public, and recently a campaign was launched against the councillor, casting doubt on his character due to the fact that he had taken the photograph in the first place, and the age of the girl to whom he sent it (my understanding is that she was aged under 16).

Putting his side of the story to a local newspaper, the councillor reportedly said: “A private communication between myself and my girlfriend at the time was shown to others. It was a foolish thing to do and it caused much embarrassment. I apologised at the time to all concerned.”

That’s not actually good enough, as we have no information from the young lady who received the photograph. Was she really his girlfriend? This might actually be a case of a 17-year-old sending a naked picture of himself to a random girl several years younger – in which case it’s a completely different affair.

But let’s go back to Mr Cameron. It occurs to me that, whatever those emails to Rebekah Brooks may contain, they can’t be anything like as damaging as what this young councillor (who also happens to be a Conservative) did.

So, unless Mr Cameron emailed naked pictures of himself to Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson, there is less harm in producing the emails and letting the public make up its own mind than in not producing them – and watching the public decide anyway!

Smaller recession won’t stop the agony for the sick, disabled, unemployed, low-waged…

Official figures have been revised to show the UK economy contracted by less than thought in the second quarter of 2012. Apparently the recession only deepened by 0.4 per cent, rather than the 0.5 per cent to which it was revised last month. The original estimate was 0.7 per cent.

Big deal.

It’s a far cry from original Office of Budget Irresponsibility estimates for 2012, which had the economy growing (if you can believe it) by 2.5 per cent during the year. Instead it has contracted by around 1 per cent. That’s a huge error margin – around 1/28 of GDP.

And it’s a far cry from what the Coalition were predicting in 2010, when public sector job losses were going to be offset by a huge inrush of private sector jobs that never came. David Cameron can swan off to New York (incidentally avoiding the reappearance of his friend Rebekah Brooks in court) and talk about a million jobs being created, but that doesn’t even begin to cover the harm that his austerity measures have perpetuated.

And of course it means that we’re all still in the longest double-dip recession since the end of World War II, thanks to the Coalition – they can blame Labour all they want, but the figures tell the truth: GDP started dropping after the Tories and the Liberal Democrats took the reins of power.

What does this mean for the less well-off in society? Well, it’s obvious…

Continued recession means that there will be less tax money available to the Treasury (and there’s still no real effort being made to track down those tens – maybe hundreds – of billions being kept away by tax avoidance).

This will allow Messrs Cameron, Osborne et al to continue their persecution of the poorest in society – those who had nothing to do with the causes of the recession – and their programme of rewards for those who made this possible – the bankers and financiers who did dump us all in it.

So we will see further deep cuts in the welfare budget. More sick and disabled people will be driven to suicide. We have already seen news stories in which it has been admitted that failed ESA claimants have ended up destitute – expect many more in the future.

The Universal Credit will come in, capping the amount of benefit families will be able to receive and ensuring that they are plunged into poverty, through no fault of their own.

The Localism Bill will come in, forcing councils to create council tax relief schemes that will force the lowest-paid in society out of their homes to search for accommodation in less “attractive” parts of the UK – if they can find anywhere at all.

And as I’m typing this, in the back of my mind I can hear Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, whose coalition with the Conservatives has made all this possible, saying: “Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted with the economy and relied upon to deliver a fairer society too.”

And that’s the funny part!

Cabinet reshuffle: Does Cameron think he’s the Joker?

Today’s blog entry will be relatively short. I had an operation on my leg yesterday (September 4) and it seems to be affecting my ability to think.

… And if you think that’s bizarre and illogical, let’s have a look at the decisions made by David Cameron in yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle!

Firstly, the really shocking news: George Osborne is remaining as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not really news, I know, but at the outset it makes a mockery of a process that is supposed to be about improving the government of the UK. Osborne’s policies are a disaster; he has sent British industry nosediving while increasing borrowing by £9.3 billion in the last four months. He was booed when he got up to give out medals at the Paralympics and he was booed at Prime Minister’s Questions today. But he remains in the Number Two government job.

Also remaining in post are Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary William Hague; Education Secretary Michael Gove surprisingly keeps his brief, despite having proved by his activities that he is not up to the intellectual challenge (see previous Vox articles).

And Iain Duncan Smith will remain at Work and Pensions – oh yes he will! – despite having been offered Justice by David Cameron. This shows the weakness of the Prime Minister. As LabourList’s Mark Ferguson put it: “Cameron tried to move IDS. IDS said no. Cameron said ‘ah…um…ok’. Weak, weak, weak.”

Fellow Tweeter Carl Maxim added: “Iain Duncan Smith was offered a job at Justice but refused to take it. Therefore his benefits should be cut.”

And a fellow called ‘Woodo’ tweeted: “Gove and Duncan-Smith to stay in roles to ‘get the job done’. ‘The job’ being making educating poor kids harder and killing off the disabled.”

Biggest winner in the reshuffle has to be former Culture moron – I mean secretary – Jeremy Hunt, who has been moved up to take the Health brief. This has been seen as a reward for his work on the phone hacking controversy that led to the departure of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson from the Downing Street press office, and to the Leveson Inquiry into the behaviour of the media.

This seems a nonsensical move. Leveson has ordered not only Cameron, but Cameron’s friends Coulson, Rebekah Brooks (who now faces criminal charges for her part in phone hacking), and Hunt himself to give evidence in hearings that were highly embarrassing for those under scrutiny.

Hunt’s own close connections with Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation owns the papers that were mainly responsible for the crimes, is well-documented, and led to this tweet from James Lyons: “BREAKING – Rupert Murdoch to buy the NHS.”

This may not be far from the truth. Hunt co-authored a book dealing with the NHS at length, with Daniel Hannon MEP who called the NHS a 60 year mistake. The book states: “Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of health care in Britain“.

He reportedly tried to remove the NHS tribute from the Olympic Games opening ceremony and his record in government is as dodgy: he voted to halve the time allowed for an abortion from 24 weeks to 12. His support of homeopathy has also attracted ridicule from some quarters.

Hunt’s arrival at Health follows the ejection of Andrew Lansley, the man who worked for eight long years on his Health and Social Care Bill, that effectively privatised health care in England. This work constituted the biggest lie this government ever sold to the public – that the Conservatives would safeguard the well-loved 64-year-old national institution. His reward? Demotion to become Leader of the House of Commons.

Former employment minister Chris Grayling, a man who believes bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to ban gay couples, has been promoted to the Justice brief. In response, one tweeter asked if Cameron will be building more prisons.

This means the oldest Cabinet member, Kenneth Clarke, has been ejected from Justice. David Cameron reportedly tried to sack him outright, along with departing Conservative co-chair Baroness Warsi, but ended up compounding his weakness by creating new roles for them instead. Clarke will be a minister without portfolio (although it is believed he’ll be sticking his oar into Osborne’s business at the Treasury), and Warsi will be minister for faith and communities.

Nick Parry tweeted: “Now ‘Baroness’ Warsi really knows what it’s like to be Northern and working-class – she’s been made redundant by the Tories.”

And Rory Macqueen asked: “Who has replaced Warsi in the <issue off-the-shelf statement about “Labour’s union baron paymasters”> role? It looks really challenging.”

That would be tireless self-promoter and foot-in-mouth artist Grant Shapps.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel… The new Transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, is afraid of flying.

And the former minister for the disabled, Maria ‘Killer’ Miller, is the new Equalities minister. She’ll be victimising women, gays and ethnic minorities as well, from now on. If you think that’s harsh, bear in mind that she voted for a (heavily defeated) proposal to stop abortion providers like Marie Stopes counselling women, and is on record as being in favour of defining homophobia, racial hatred and prejudice as ‘freedom of speech’.

Beyond that, we’re into comedy territory. For example, Mid Wales Labour member Ryan Myles said: “Apparently David Cameron was planning on moving Eric Pickles but couldn’t afford the crane.”

All in all, it’s been a wholesale replacement of anybody with talent, by idiots. The tweeter who identifies himself with Yes Minister lead character Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP summed it up perfectly: “Expected a night of the long knives, may just be a morning of insignificant pricks!

Phone hacking, Leveson and the AC/DC affair

Certain people seem to be forgetting that the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press was partly prompted by a newspaper’s interference in criminal investigations after a schoolgirl was murdered.

It is understood that reporters from the News of the World (I don’t know how many of them did it) hacked into Millie Dowler’s mobile phone, listened to voice messages left on it, and then deleted them, allowing new messages to be left and illicitly monitored, and leading her parents to believe that the teenager, who had been killed by Levi Bellfield, was still alive. This act also hindered the police investigation into what had happened.

Rebekah Brooks, a close friend of Conservative MP David Cameron – who later became leader of the Tories, and Prime Minister in 2010 – was editor of that newspaper at the time. The New York Times alleged that, if the allegations were true, then it was possible Mrs Brooks knew about the hacking and allowed it.

I am a newspaper reporter – and was editor of The Brecon and Radnor Express for a while before running my own online news business for a few years. I know the scale of our respective operations was vastly different, but I can promise that I always knew how my reporters were getting their stories. If I didn’t know, I asked.

Mrs Brooks was followed as editor of the News of the World by one Andy Coulson, who went on to become Conservative Party Communications Director and then Director of Communications for the Prime Minister (when David Cameron assumed that role in 2010). He had taken up the Conservative Party position after resigning from the newspaper over the phone hacking affair. He had been subjected to allegations that he was aware his reporters were hacking into the telephones of private individuals, including celebrities.

The Andy Coulson/David Cameron (or AC/DC, as I propose to call it from now on) relationship is the important issue here.

The main question behind the Leveson Inquiry has always been this: Did David Cameron allow a criminal, who used illegal methods to monitor the activities of others, into the heart of the British government?

This would have been a colossal error of judgement – possibly an unforgivable one.

The editor of The Independent seems to have forgotten that this is what it’s all about. Responding to a letter from the Inquiry, Chris Blackhurst claimed that Lord Justice Leveson was “loading a gun” that he was preparing to fire at the newspaper industry.

He told the BBC it was “a point by point demolition of the industry”, describing it as a “diatribe” raising criticisms that did not bear any relation to practices at his “end of the market”.

This is a man who badly needs to get over himself. Serious questions have been raised about the behaviour of our national newspapers, and if the Inquiry has found that they are justified, then they need to be addressed.

He does not know the full extent of the Inquiry’s findings. The letter he received is a standard part of inquiry procedures and gives notice of possible criticism, offering those concerned a chance to respond before a conclusion is reached. They are one-sided because positive findings do not necessitate a warning.

And we should not gloss over the fact that Mr Blackhurst has broken the rules by making the complaint. The letter he received was confidential and those who receive such correspondence are obliged to keep them that way and not discuss them openly.

By whining about it, Mr Blackhurst has made Leveson’s point for him.