What makes UK red top Editors and contributors think they can make an immediate transition from hack journalism to being the supreme master of the black arts and doyen of spin doctors?
Well David Cameron for one thinks so as did Tony Blair when hiring Alastair Campbell, who also came with extra medical baggage - depression - known to Blair at the time and later outed by Campbell himself.
As part of the Stewart clan I am historically and genetically allowed to hate and detest Campbells en masse, even if the chap underneath is OK.
I must declare an interest, being a legendary master of the black arts and spin doctor supreme; I just cannot understand why Cameron didn't beat a path directly to my door...
The newspapers are full of the alleged wholesale bugging, tapping and general interception of mobile and other telephones by investigators said to be working for or funded by the News of the World.
My problem with all this is that Andrew (or Andy as in Pandy to his friends) Coulson was clearly in charge of the paper for part of the time and if I know my editors he would have kept a very tight reign on expenses and known in deatils all thwe dark deeds being carried out by his cohorts.
After all if the newspaper is not profitable, spends excessively then cuts have to be made.
Hiring a Private Eye isn't cheap as any divorce lawyer will tell you; most of them are pisspoor anyway. A nod to the FBI - Finlay Bureau of Investigation (ha GOTCHA!) who took down my orginal divorce confession, many many moons ago... ho ho..
It is access to the technical equipment and the computer software savvy, newspapers are really paying for. And some of the targets Vanessa Feltz for example. What were they thinking!!! Vanessa can smell a microphone a mile off and will do five hours off-the-cuff nonstop; no need to bug at all.
Not only is her life a very open book but in countless paperbacks and several languages (including Yiddish) too, (Remainder shop £1:50 next to "Gazza: a life in Vodka" claim 50p on the empties). To prove my point Vanessa has appeared as I write on The Daily Politics, machine gun delivery at the ready. M'lud I rest my case.
Andy Coulson must by Fleet Street/Wapping standards have know that something was going on and given the OK to annex large sums from his firms' budget, after all News International is a public company has shareholders and publishes account within the meaning of the Companies Act and so on.
Simply Andy Coulson or various tabloid spooks flashing the cash or throwing money at any form of investigation or fishing expedition has to be accounted for somewhere along the line. Every Fake Shiek exclusive was known to have cost hundreds of thousands in some cases.
So the question remains why has the NoW allegedly been settling out of court for up to £1m, if there has been no wrong doing?
Andy Coulson maintains he was not there the whole time this was going on, but the very implication of this is that he was there for some of the time. If he did not know what was going on, why not? What happened to the hacks under Coulson’s watch who were indeed caught out – did Coulson sack them? To be Continued......
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Julian Bray writes: I've just watched passengers video footage of a so called mutiny on board the Norwegian Spirit and the live comment...