From tomorrow we will be a man short for the hen duties. The sudden appearance of blazing sunshine has triggered Albert into action. Working on the suspicion that, as happened last year, our only summer will take place in May our grizzly pal has decided to bring forward his annual sojourn to Blackpool. As he squats in his knotted hankie on that not-so-distant shore peace will descend on the allotments. We will certainly hear less rhetoric about the misdeeds of politicians and their chums, but this morning King Grump seemed determined to leave a few thoughts with us.
Rant number one concerned the Murdoch saga. When the News of the World closed, with its metophoric head bowed in shame, we were assured that whilst there was a good deal of shoddy history to be exposed it was all in the past. A few ‘rotten apples’ had blighted the impeccable Murdochs, once they were gone inappropriate behaviour would be merely a distant, if disturbing, memory.
One of the people who did most to bring about the exposure of what really happened was Tom Watson, MP. Before the truth finally emerged great efforts were made by the leading villains of the tale to persuade leading politicians to silence the persistent Watson. When that failed they resorted to stalking. At the time Watson reported spotting a motor-cyclist parked outside his house, of being eerily aware of being followed wherever he went.
It transpired that his suspicions were justified. Clearly the plan was to find some method of silencing him before too much damage was done. The Sunday tabloid thrived on the belief that every living male was engaged in an affair of some kind. In fact it relished the obsession which saw blackmail as the perfect way to silence critics. So it is no great surprise that it decided Watson must be the possessor of skeletons waiting for exposure. A former policeman, Derek Webb, was hired and the stalking began. A front-page scoop was in prospect, even better the greatest danger was about to be silenced. There was one major problem, the redoubtable Tom Watson, unlike News Corp, had no dark secrets.
Unfortunately for the Murdochs someone forgot to pay a ‘loyalty bonus’ to the former knacker. Had they done so we would probably never have learned the identity of those who ordered the Russian-like surveillance. But now we know!
The men responsible for what News International described as ‘inappropriate conduct” were Mazher Mahmood and James Mellor. News Corp has responded to the exposure by saying that it has “zero tolerance” of wrongdoing, but has declined to say if either man has been discplined. But, you may comment, how could they discipline former employees.
The simple answer to that is that both are now employed by the Sunday Times. Mr Mellor is deputy news editor, Mr Mahmood is an investigative reporter!
Our dear leader, and his mentor Mr Blair, must constantly wonder at what else has yet to emerge about the ghastly bunch they courted so enthusiastically!
BORN POOR, STAY POOR!
Today Nick Clegg, if he has recovered from this morning’s polls, will unveil a study which shows the “stark gap” between the life chances of the poorest and the better-off in Britain. The gulf is now at its widest ever, and that is saying something!
Only 7 per cent of children attend private schools, but these schools provide over 70 per cent of High Court judges and 54 per cent of FTSE 100 chief executives. One in five children from poorer homes achieves five good GCSEs, compared with three out of four from affluent homes. One in five is on free meals, but only one in 100 Oxbridge entrants is. The list goes on and on.
Britain was always the leader in having a class-divided society, and the ever tightening cuts are making the situation even worse.
Today Mr Clegg will tell us that the situation is “morally, economically and socially indefensible. He may forget to mention that he was educated privately at Westminster School from where he went on to Cambridge University!