I've lived in the Cotswolds for 20 years, it’s a quiet corner of England’s rolling West country which has long been the weekend playground of Britain’s rich, powerful and influential.
And yes, I’ve been to dinner at Liz Murdoch and Matthew Freud’s 20 bedroom Priory in the picturesque Oxfordshire town of Burford. This might sound confusing, you thought this was about the Chipping Norton set and I’m talking about Burford.
Well Burford and Chipping Norton are about 15 miles apart, but either side the road that links them, the A361, is where pretty much all the people currently involved in the sordid collapse of a global ultra conservative news empire live. Clarkson, Cameron, Brooks, Murdoch and many, many minor hangers on.
Not me by the way, I live in the proper Cotswolds, we look down on those nouveau-riche Oxfordshire chavs. I live in Gloucestershire darling, proper Cotswolds.
Anyway, Liz and Matt were both charming and gracious hosts, the food was lovely, the staff discreet and attentive and the scattering of guests represented some of the most influential figures in British media, oh yeah, and me and my Mrs.
We were there to see a film in their very nice private cinema, I won’t say what the film was, I wasn’t in it, nothing like that, I’m trying to be discreet about my friends.
That’s what’s really uncomfortable about this whole episode. I have friends who work in and around these people, the position they’re currently in must be, to say the least, a little awkward.
I’m now so grateful I’ve never worked for News International or Sky or any of the other organizations old man Murdoch controls, after posting this I’m fairly certain I never will.
But in the past few weeks we have seen a barrage of revelations, each one stepping lower into the sewer of relationships between the press, the political elite and the law enforcement organizations in this deeply corrupt little island.
However, disengage smug mode, the arrest of Rebekah Brooks is I believe, not all that it seems.
The flame haired one was due to go in front of a parliamentary committee on Tuesday. A parliamentary committee investigating the tangled web of intrigue, blackmail, hacking and sordid bribery which has brought the Metropolitan police, most of our politicians and even the Prime Minister into deep, sticky and immovable disrepute.
Now she’s been (cough) ‘arrested’ by walking into a police station at a mutually agreed time and location convenient to her, which means of course that she will not be able to give evidence to that parliamentary committee because she may be prejudicing her upcoming court case.
However murky, sordid and utterly unscrupulous some semi ignorant fool like me might try and portray these powerful, influential people, they always trump me. They are much, much more evil and vicious than even I dared imagine, and I imagined a lot.
They are also gobsmackingly rich, they stick close to each other, they always defend each other but this is getting so out of hand now the cracks are finally beginning to show.
The fallout will be dirty, the back stabbing, smug fuelled revenge of the many people the Murdoch empire have attacked in the last 20 years will be spectacular. It would be easy to portray this story as a load of media luvvies having a mutual jizz fest, but the influence and corruption goes way beyond mere dinner party whispers.
I’m saying this because although I’m not in the least involved in any of it thank goodness, I’ve knocked around in the media world for 25 years, I’ve seen some shit go down.
True, the NOTW did run a story about me many years back when they didn’t have a ‘Princess Di has Ladder in her Tights!’ revelation and needed something to paste between adverts for porn. It was about how my previous girlfriend had once thrown kitchenware at me during a row. ‘Kryten’s Fear of Flying Saucers.’
Good headline, although to be honest, the story was a bit of a non starter. It was true by the way, she did throw stuff at me, but I had thrown a toaster at her first. I was young, we were crazy in love, shit happens.
But I never thought the ‘News of the World’ was ‘just entertainment,’ it’s very cleverly constructed agit prop, it steers public attention away from serious issues and points a spotlight at a girls crotch as she gets out of a car. This would be the typical story on the day a British arms manufacturer closed a deal with a Saudi Prince for ‘crowd control equipment’ as an example.
I stopped buying the Times the minute old Rupe got his claws on it. I have been a hostile critic of News Corps activities for years before all this happened. I am so grateful I haven’t met, and even worse ‘got on with’ Rebekah Brooks at some nob heavy Cotswold dinner party. As Alexi Sayle once said ‘I try not to meet people I despise in case I find out they’re not that bad after all.’
As we hear the excuses, denial and lies pouring out of these people as the edifice they have created comes tumbling down, don’t be fooled. They ALL lied, they all knew about it, they all made money from it which is why they did it, they all tried to cover it up.
They will twist the facts in any way they can to make it seem okay.
Jeremy Clarkson recently wrote a eulogy to Rebekah Brooks in the Sun, just want to remind you, this crowd are all mates. Jezza refuses to believe Beks knew about phone hacking and anyway, says jolly Mr C “if Woodward and Bernstein had been able to hack President Nixon’s phone during the Watergate investigations, d’you think they’d have not done it because it was ‘unethical?’”
Oh really, that’s the best you can do Jezza.
Fox News (owned by Murdoch) in the USA did much better.
On their absurd news channel, and if you haven’t seen it, believe me no matter how absurd I try and make it sound, it’s way madder, they reported on the recent revelations. They grouped the Pentagon, the White House and the 9/11 families together with the News of the World as VICTIMS of phone hacking.
Yes, you read that right, they managed to twist it, with the aid of a ‘specialist’ to make it sound to the duped American public that the NOTW and News Corp was a victim of this epidemic, not the main culprit. What is more depressing is that people will believe that, Fox News have no scruples, they will twist anything any way they like.
They, like the Sun, the News of the World, Sky News and all the other Murdoch outlets push a very right wing, ultra conservative agenda who’s sole intention is to keep the powerful in power, while diddling a stick around the pond of celebrity to keep things fresh and entertaining.
The rest of us should really make an effort to remember all these shenanigans and not let this self important, ultra conservative elite off the hook. We should all boycott all their products and services, we are not wrong to stand up and say, ‘You are scum, we don’t want to know what you think.’
And this is worth watching, thanks Little Richard