July 26th 2012
In a perfect coincidence, the Crown Prosecution Service announced its decision to charge some of those arrested over alleged phone hacking on the same day as the Leveson inquiry’s last public hearings.
For those like me who were sceptical of the inquiry to begin with, wondering whether it would be turned into a circus by the celebrity witnesses, it’s more than safe to say that we were wrong to be.
We didn’t just have the Murdochs giving evidence under oath (and what evidence), but also Paul Dacre, Richard Desmond, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and many others from the Street of Shame asked to account for the rubbish they serve up day after day after day in their papers.
When it was the turn of the politicians to shed some light on their relationship with the press, it was a case of who knew least: was it the elected leaders of the nation, or our self-appointed representatives?
Consider the nightmare scenario: that both Brooks and Coulson are found guilty of all they’ve been accused of; is there any possible way that Cameron could remain prime minister when his director of communications was not only involved in the hacking of the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl, but also lied under oath about having no knowledge of phone hacking whatsoever?
As Alan Rusbridger told Leveson, the fundamental reason why phone hacking happened is because News International was allowed to become too powerful. At the height of his hubris Kelvin MacKenzie honestly believed that he had the power to help a party to election victory, if only through the constant slurring and smearing of the opposition.
If it hadn’t been for Nick Davies and the support he received from the Graun, not to forget the court cases brought which exposed further evidence, then Rupert Murdoch would almost certainly still be a director of NI and cock of the walk.
In the end, the Leveson Inquiry was a much needed reminder that no matter how big, powerful and influential, all empires eventually begin to crumble.
Originally published by Liberal Conspiracy