Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#Leveson: Brooks Is Not For Humbling.

There's no denying the woman's power to fascinate.

In a mere 11 years, Rebekah Brooks, nee Wade, climbed from secretary to editor of The News of the World; she reached that pinnacle at the age of 31. She not only survived but dominated the tough, testosterone-fuelled culture of the British tabloids, first at the News of the World and then, for six years, at The Sun; she put the fear of God into hundreds of journalists working under her, while charming the all-but-uncharmable Rupert Murdoch. And his son James. And his wife Wendi. And three prime ministers. And, even more remarkably, two of their wives: Cherie Blair and Sarah Brown were both Rebekah's besties in their day.

Throughout her interrogation at the Leveson inquiry she was cool, occasionally testy, but never for a second intimidated. Though she had been forced to walk the plank by News International, there was no hint of disloyalty. As for power – well, that of course resided in the readers of The Sun, not in her, nor in her boss Rupert. She'd never thought in terms of power.
And when, at last, after months of anticipation, the axe fell, was she supplicatory? Was there the faintest hint of regret or apology? Certainly not. There was haughty disdain for her prosecutors: " ... an expensive sideshow, a waste of public money as a result of a weak and unjust decision". And sheer, unmitigated fury: "I cannot express my anger enough that those closest to me have been dragged into this unfairly."

Brought before the House of Commons Committee on Culture last year at the height of the firestorm about the hacking of Milly Dowler's telephone, her boss Rupert famously declared it the most humble day of his life. But this lady is not for humbling.
And in one way she is surely right. Though they might carry, in theory, a life sentence, the charges against Rebekah and Charlie Brooks, and sundry personal assistants, chauffeurs and aids, hardly go to the heart of the matter. They were caught, just last year, attempting to make off with seven boxes of files from the News International building; and of secretly chucking a laptop and sundry other paraphernalia into a bin near the Brooks' London home; we assume (but of course do not know) that all this stuff had something to do with the great phone-hacking cover-up which Brooks and her colleagues at News International had been engaged in for a decade.

Very naughty, if true. And banal, too. After all, just the other day, HSU national president Michael Williamson was allegedly found in an underground car park with black plastic garbage bags full of papers while the boys and girls in blue were prowling the corridors above him. It's a natural instinct to bury, allegedly, the alleged more also an excellent comments section