If I’m gonna go down, you’re gonna come with me

While the media played yesterday’s appearance by Murdoch pere et fils as a rousing success, it looks like James Murdoch perjured himself and that two witnesses just turned.

Tom Crone and Colin Myler were well aware that the statement they were about to make could prove fatal to James Murdoch.

When the Guardian pointed out in the wake of his parliamentary testimony that Murdoch’s son had sought to blame them for concealment, one friend of the two men said: “To contradict James will be as good as coming out and calling him a liar.”

Myler and Crone, the News of the World’s then editor and News International’s top newspaper lawyer, both of whom have lost their jobs in the wake of the phone-hacking affair, subsequently spent the day debating what to do.

If their statement of Thursday nightis correct, Rupert’s son will have proved to have misled parliament. He will also have destroyed the Murdoch family’s last line of defence against the scandal – that they knew nothing, and had been betrayed by those underlings they trust

Once News International people start ratting each other out, who knows where it all ends?

Another question about British politics: how hard would it be for the Tories to dump Cameron mid-term?

Update. Here’s a SUSA (probably the polling group I trust the most) poll showing about 3/4 of Americans are following the scandal at least somewhat and that a similar number things the FBI should investigate News Corp. activity in the United States.






50 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    Once News International people start ratting each other out, who knows where it all ends?

    I’m not celebrating until I start seeing indictments. But I’ve got a special bottle of scotch saved up for the occasion, should it come to pass.

  2. 2
    PaulW says:

    The thing is, the Tories are in a coalition government with the Lib Dems. You would think this is a perfect opportunity for the Libs (who are upset that their deal with the conservatives have led to too much austerity) to cause a No Confidence and force another election. But I’m not a full expert on British elections: I’d love to have an expert explain the rules.

  3. 3
    beltane says:

    Yesterday, at a meeting of Tory backbenchers, Cameron was treated to rousing, thunderous applause. They have no intention of dumping their man.

    Also, it is amusing to see how desperately the non-Guardian media wants this story to go away. The Murdoch papers were even going as far as to accuse The Guardian of neglecting to cover a famine in Africa because they were expending so much effort in the Murdoch story, because we all know that right-wing media care deeply about the plight of dying Africans.

  4. 4
    Nutella says:

    Once News International people start ratting each other out, who knows where it all ends?

    And who’s dumb enough not to expect them to rat out the Murdochs, since they and everybody else from NotW were fired? There’s absolutely no upside to them taking the rap for James and a huge risk they’ll be prosecuted if they don’t push it back on him.

    Why didn’t the Murdochs expect this? Very strange.

  5. 5
    Martin says:

    Once News International people start ratting each other out, who knows where it all ends?

    You know a political campaign is dead when the staff start dishing dirt in order to avoid having blame pinned on them, and therefore some hope of finding a new gig. Until that moment, the ship appears unsinkable because admitting failure hurts everyone, but once the first leak springs then it’s a game of the last man on the ship goes down with her.

    Large conspiracies typically unravel the same way.

  6. 6
    Ol' Dirty DougJ says:

    But I’m not a full expert on British elections: I’d love to have an expert explain the rules.

    The Lib Dems are down in the polls, so they don’t want elections now (which is what a no confidence vote would trigger).

  7. 7
    Violet says:

    Another question about British politics: how hard would it be for the Tories to dump Cameron mid-term?

    I’ve been emailing back and forth with one of my English friends. So far he thinks Cameron will keep his job because he hasn’t done anything too bad. We’ll see.

    As for the legalistic stuff, a good place to follow along and understand it is David Allen Green’s blog at the New Statesman. He’s also got a Twitter account.

    Apparently the lawyers think that Crone leaving is a HUGE deal. He’s not going to take the fall for this one.

  8. 8
    scav says:

    and, as further evidence or perhaps tinder for future infighting among current and former staffers, lower-downs are still being sacrificed.

    9.52pm: My colleague Nick Watts has more on the sacking tonight of Sun features editor Matt Nixson.
    __
    Matt Nixson, who has worked for the Sun for six months, was approached by four News International security guards at 6.30pm at the newspaper’s office at Wapping. The guards asked him to leave the building because he was being dismissed. His computer was seized. News International sources stressed this was standard procedure and did not indicate any wrong doing during Nixson’s time at the Sun. They said the evidence indicating wrong doing related to his time at the News of the World.
    __
    The evidence against Nixson was uncovered as part of the internal News International investigation run at Wapping by Will Lewis, the company’s general manager, and Simon Greenberg, the director of corporate affairs. Lewis and Greenberg report to Lord Grabiner, the QC who is acting as the independent chairman of News Corporation’s management and standards committee.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    @PaulW

    The LibDems are so widely despised that if elections were held today, they would be reduced to a minor party of no consequence. It seems they want to cling to the vestiges of power no matter how deep in the mud they have to go.

  10. 10
    Joel says:

    It’s good to know that the truth still matters in the court of law. Or at least some of them.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    @Violet

    My uncle who lives in England was saying the same thing about Cameron until today. Now he isn’t so sure. The business with Coulson is looking worse by the minute.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    The LibDems are so widely despised that if elections were held today, they would be reduced to a minor party of no consequence.

    Is there something about liberals that make them automatically sell out the moment they get into office?

  13. 13
    jl says:

    “they would be reduced to a minor party of no consequence.”

    I do not follow UK politics that closely but I thought that was what they always were, but were just the largest of the species.

  14. 14
    Ian says:

    In theory, the Tories could dump Cameron at any time. In practice, due to the Lib Dems and the Tory insistence that Gordon Brown was an ‘unelected’ Prime Minister, they’d be pretty much forced to go to the elctorate pretty swiftish.

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    Why do 3/4 of Americans hate FREEDOM? How can they question the integrity and patriotism of that Great American Rupert Murdoch?

  16. 16
    Joel says:

    You could say that Nixson was… *pinkie to mouth* nixed?

  17. 17
    scav says:

    BBC Radio 4 program (The Report) going into the general newspaper / general sale of private information situation. This is more the Operation Motorman stuff that’s been showing up more and more in the news today (Guard here).

    Several of the people questioning the Murdochs on Tuesday brought up the loss of Crone, so it was thought odd even then.

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @12 Zifnab

    The UK liberal democrats are not the same as US Democrats. It seems like they should be, since they come from a merging of UK Liberal and UK Social Democratic party.

    But even before the current government, seems like the social democratic side had faded and they sounded like the extinct US liberal branch of the Republican Party, with lots of naive goo goo (good old fashioned and ancient machine Democrat insult for good government independents and Republicans ) talk mixed in.

    I also would like to hear from UK politics mavens on what the Lib Dems will likely do now (Edit: and exactly what they believe). Seems like they have to hang on to coalition otherwise they really will be a minor part of no consequence for a long time.

    But the old guy who used the run them, Campbell, I think, really got on my nerves, so maybe I am prejudiced.

  19. 19
    cathyx says:

    I have to say that I think this scandal is so very delicious. It’s got it all. Rich famous people, illegal activity, lying, firing, vengeance or at least he said/she said activity, illegal police and politician involvement, even possible illegal activity in this country. Where’s the case of popcorn? This could last a while.

  20. 20
    harlana says:

    Can’t you just see Nicole Kidman salivating over the part of Rebecca Brooks?

  21. 21
    ErinSiobhan says:

    @cathyx… I agree. The Brits know how to do a good scandal. And there seems t
    o be some fresh, interesting twist every day.

  22. 22
    Han's Big Snark Solo says:

    Time to go home and soak in a hot tub filled with schadenfreude.

    Ahh, this is all so wonderful.

    The truly mind blowing thing, to me, is how much Rupert controlled the government in the UK. He had the whole thing wrapped up. Remarkable.

  23. 23
    Han's Big Snark Solo says:

    @harlana:

    Can’t you just see Nicole Kidman salivating over the part of Rebecca Brooks?

    That would be terrible casting. Maybe Roseanne Bar, but Nicole Kidman?

  24. 24
    KeithW says:

    It’s worth remembering that the Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen. Yes, it’s usually a formality, but no, it doesn’t have to be. The constitution of the UK isn’t a nice and tidy document like the US’s, it’s a patchwork of traditions, laws, unwritten laws, precedence, and seat-of-the-pants invention.

    If Cameron decided to resign as Prime Minister, then representatives of the Civil Service would meet up with representatives of Her Maj (on a park bench, as the cliche goes), and agree on what would happen next. She could send for whoever was considered to have the best chance of forming a government and ask him or her to do so, or she could dissolve parliament so an election could be called.

    If the Conservatives could dump Cameron whilst maintaining Lib Dem support, they could stay in government. I’m not sure who they’d replace him with that would be acceptable to the leftish Lib Dem MPs, though.

  25. 25
    Jennifer says:

    That SUSA poll underlines the need to communicate with DoJ to let them know we want to see prosecution on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The numbers are trending our way on this.

    Here’s the address:
    US Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

    or you can call the AG’s public comment line at:
    202-514-2000

    I know we were all moaning earlier about how “Obama won’t take this on,” but Parliament wouldn’t have taken it on, either, if not for public outrage in the UK. In any case, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try.

  26. 26
    Jennifer says:

    I see Carrot Top as a better fit for the role of Brooks.

  27. 27
    Thoughtcrime says:

    That would be terrible casting. Maybe Roseanne Bar, but Nicole Kidman?

    Maybe if she had aged naturally from this:

    http://www.thefancarpet.com/Ac.....8;a_id=283

  28. 28
    R-Jud says:

    I also would like to hear from UK politics mavens on what the Lib Dems will likely do now (Edit: and exactly what they believe). Seems like they have to hang on to coalition otherwise they really will be a minor part of no consequence for a long time.

    I’m not a maven, just a resident, but I think the LDs will continue to sit and wait with their thumbs up their arses. If the Coulson thing becomes fatal, rather than damaging, to Cameron, they may make a move, but it will be too feeble to mean much, and too late to salvage any meaningful future for their party.

    They are led by what we now know to be a craven bunch of hacks, and they’re in too deep.

    But that’s just my opinion, and I’m not even allowed to vote here, so YMMV.

  29. 29
    harlana says:

    Han’s Big Snark Solo: Are you kidding, she plastered on a big nose to play Virginia Woolf.

  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    Another question about British politics: how hard would it be for the Tories to dump Cameron mid-term?

    Not going to happen and cannot happen this way. Cameron would have to call for new elections. There is no guarantee that Labor would benefit, since they previously loved themselves some Murdoch. The Lib Dems are still too marginal to win enough support to be able to form a government.

    It’s worth remembering that the Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen.

    Well, it’s more that the person elected prime minister is invited by the Queen to form a government.

  31. 31
    KeithW says:

    Well, it’s more that the person elected prime minister is invited by the Queen to form a government.

    No, that’s not how it works, which is my point. Nobody is elected Prime Minister in our parliamentary system. The person asked to form a government is traditionally the leader of the party with a majority in the House of Commons, but in cases where there’s nobody with a clear majority, the Queen (advised by her personal advisers and the Privy Council) has to make a decision. When Harold Wilson resigned, Labour had a majority and the Queen could summon Callaghan and ask him to form a government. It’s a *lot* less clearcut with a coalition.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    @harlana:
    Nicole Kidman’s face doesn’t move. I don’t know if that makes her a good candidate for playing Rebekah Brooks or not. Kidman strikes me as being a bit to much of a fragile china doll. Brooks has more fire than that and she looks like she’s comfortable with horses and shooting parties. Kidman looks like she’d break if she fell off a horse.

  33. 33
    Earl in CA says:

    for those who like to think that Fox News/News Corp. is like the mafia – the back-biting and the ratting out of others within the organization doesn’t usually happen in the mob as quickly as it has with news corp. James Murdoch and Fox may wish they operated more like the mob in light of Tom Crone and Colin Myler’s statements, but in the end, they’re a bunch of wannabe’s. hopefully they start ratting each other out faster than teenagers who just got caught holding the bag.

  34. 34
    harlana says:

    you guys talk like you think Hollywood casting is based in reality

  35. 35
    JWL says:

    Truth will out.

    Murdoch’s employees have infuriated the Royal Family, the honest cops of Scotland Yard, and offended the national sense of what constitutes the British sense of decency.

    The culpable are therefore fucked, black and blue. But they’re not going down alone.

    Ask yourself: would you, if you were in their unenviable position?

    Even the Mighty Rupert is small potatoes at this point. The smart ones have already cut a deal, and are spilling their guts as I type.

  36. 36
    Kyle says:

    This would be a good time for a full-court-press shaming and pressuring of US corporations to dump all advertising on the crime syndicate News Corp.

    Kick them when they’re down. Pry their fingers hanging onto the ledge. It’s exactly what they’d do to anybody else.

  37. 37
    PeakVT says:

    @jl: Zinfab may have been snarking.

    The Conservatives might give Cameron the boot, but I think neither party in the coalition would want to risk an election.

    I poked around briefly to see if Cameron could dissolve Parliament as revenge after being booted, but I couldn’t find anything. I highly doubt that would happen, though.

  38. 38
    BruinKid says:

    But can everyone at least agree that Malcolm McDowell should play Guardian reporter Nick Davies?

  39. 39
    NonyNony says:

    I hoped this would happen when I saw the Murdochs were pulling the Ronald Reagan defense.

    Ronald Reagan could get away with it because he was the fucking president. You take the fall for Reagan, you get a pardon when he’s on his way out the door. That was the deal.

    You take the fall for Murdoch what do you get? Jailtime.

    There’s no reason at all to take the fall for Murdoch. Zero. So why do it?

  40. 40
    piratedan says:

    @harlana: actually Julianne Moore makes more sense to me…. and tyvm for the Elvis Costello lyric for the thread title….

  41. 41
    cathyx says:

    One problem with Hollywood movies is that they always cast beautiful people. In real life, people just aren’t that good looking. That’s what I like about British productions. Their actors are not that good looking (usually). More typical or what normal people look like, crooked teeth and all.

  42. 42
    Hawes says:

    Tilda Swinton will play Brooks. Or Carrot Top, that’s a good call, too.

    The Tories certainly CAN replace Cameron if they so choose. Just as Brown replaced Blair. They can do it without bringing down the government.

    But Cameron is the real reason why the Tories are back in power. He has a charisma that few other Tories can match. So they will sink or swim with him.

    But the Lib Dems could leverage this situation to finally get the referendum on proportional representation that they’ve been prattling on about for so long.

    And the Lib Dems aren’t really a minority party the way the Green party or Plaid Cymrhu are. They can bring in around a third of the vote usually.

  43. 43
    JCT says:

    piratedan beat me to it — nice Costello ref.

  44. 44
    scav says:

    oh dear dear dear, the critical importance of geography makes a sudden and unexpected entrance stage right. If Jude Law’s cell phone was hacked while he was in the US, (say, at an airport for example) that means US networks and US laws may apply. FBI plans to investigate. (BBC) In cas that makes your casting decisions any more exciting as well as providing a nice little fsst-track USian hook in the fish’s mouth.

  45. 45
    NYT says:

    The Lib Dems already did get a vote on proportional representation back in May and it was defeated by a landslide.
    I think thats part of the reason they are perceived as losers.

  46. 46
    KeithW says:

    The Murdochs’ biggest mistake was pissing off their lawyers, btw. Their external firm asked for permission to break a confidentiality clause to defend themselves, and their ex corporate law head has made a statement contradicting Little Jimmy Murdoch’s evidence to the Select Committee.

  47. 47
    Roy G says:

    Some may call it schadenfreude, but others know it to be karma.

  48. 48
    shortstop says:

    Mmmmm, hand in hand.

  49. 49
    tammanycall says:

    The real question is who’ll play Hugh Grant.

  50. 50
    bob h says:

    James is presumably confident that all relevant emails have been destroyed.

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