Thursday, July 07, 2011

Remember Their Views Are Not The Gospel Truth - The Paper That Died Of Shame

By the very nature of the speed at which this particular story has been, and continues to, develop over the last few days, by the time you read it, dear blog reader, much of this might already be old news.
First thing on Thursday morning, The Financial Times and the BBC were among several media outlets reporting that the lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious rascal Hunt, was to delay his decision on the proposed BSkyB takeover until at least September. News Corporation is, of course, looking to take full control of BSkyB, although recent phone hacking allegations have led to a widespread campaign for this controversial move to be blocked. There has been much pressure - political and otherwise - on the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal and spineless coward Hunt and the prime minister David Cameron to block Rupert Murdoch's News Corp from launching a takeover bid of BSkyB. It now appears that the government have bowed to such pressure and will delay the decision until September at the earliest. (Indeed, the Torygraph technology, telecoms and media correspondent, Katherine Rushton, has written on the likely delay as being 'several months': 'Hunt is not expected to give his final verdict until at least September because of the sheer volume of submissions, but it is likely to be significantly later than that if his office does not find a way to speed up the process. The government has said it has no set timetable for the deal. The government's final consultation on News Corp's proposed bid for the sixty one per cent of BSkyB it does not already own does not close until midday tomorrow but civil servants have more than one hundred thousand submissions to examine before Mr Hunt can reach his decision.') Now, as long term dear readers of this blog will know, this blogger has been radically, violently opposed to this deal since it was first mooted. Because it would, I believe, give News International a dangerously powerful position within not only the British media but also British politics and British society. And, I say that as a Sky subscriber who, by and large, has quite a bit of time for BSkyB as an entity in and of itself. So, you might be expecting that I'd be over the moon with this news. Well, I'm not. Because it is merely a - clear - fudge by the vile and odious rascal Hunt, showing spectacular spinelessness when he realised that the tide of public opinion was running in the opposite direction. So, what does he do? Shoves it in the cupboard for a few months till the heat dies down. Listen, Jeremy, award the damn thing to Sky if you believe that it's the right thing to do. It'll be unpopular, sure, particularly with me - in fact, it might make some people want to drag you through the streets to Tyburn and string you up from the nearest tree - but, if you're a politician of conviction, which of course you're not, that shouldn't matter in the slightest. On the other hand if you've been persuaded over the last few days - as many people who previously couldn't have cared less about this issue have - that Murdoch and his crew are, quite simply, not 'fit and proper persons' to be running a powerful broadcast like Sky then you should tell them to go sling their hooks. Do one thing or do the other but, fer Christ's sake don't just shove it in a draw and hope that everybody forgets about it. except that's exactly what he has done. The vile and odious rascal Hunt's aides insist that his decision has not been delayed in the light of further hacking revelations (which the minister insists are 'irrelevant' to the 'media plurality' review which he is undertaking). Instead, the wait would seem to - officially, at least - reflects the sheer weight of correspondence he has received, almost all of which is opposed to the deal going through. But, we all know the real reason, right?
Which brings up some interesting side-issues. Anyone observing Wednesday's Commons debate on the phone-hacking scandal could have seen just exactly why the government benches didn't want the Speaker, John Bercow, to grant the debate in the first place. Because, the cabinet had no agreed line and had not met as normal on Tuesday. David Cameron had been away in Afghanistan discussing UK troop numbers and was caught on the hop when asked by journalists about events taking place six thousand miles away in London involving his old friend Rebekah Brooks and his former employee Andy Coulson. The country had been left in the hands of Nick Clegg, Christ help us, and government was, in the words of Ed Milimolimandi, 'two steps' behind the frenetic pace of events. A position in which it has stayed pretty much ever since. The sudden transformation of the issue from broadly a containable liberal concern with privacy pushed by one centre-leftie (hippy Communist!) newspaper and a few mouthy Labour MPs to one of deep and general moral outrage right across the political spectrum left ministers absolutely floundering like drowning men. The clear indication from Downing Street on Tuesday was that the police inquiries into phone hacking should 'take precedence' and that any decisions on wider public inquiries could await for the outcome of the police investigation at some indefinite point in the future. Hopefully, from their point of view, way in the future. Yet, on the flight back from Kabul on Tuesday, there was reported to be 'clear concern in Cameron circles' about how to play the issue. In the Commons on Wednesday, Cameron tried to get on to the front foot by saying that there would be one - possibly two - public inquiries and that they might be able to start soon. But the wheels of the civil service could not keep up with events. Cameron had no detail of what kind of inquiry to establish, or how many, and no clear position on whether the News Corporation takeover of BSkyB should be delayed. And, if so, on what legal basis. In the three-hour debate which followed PMQs - with Cameron seemingly thankful to have escaped from the chamber where some serious questions were being asked that he couldn't answer - the attorney general Dominic Grieve, normally a safe pair of hands, struggled to convey authority or knowledge to the House. Grieve was visibly seeking advice across the government benches. Caught up on the government's shifting sands, the vile and odious rascal and spineless coward Hunt nodded vociferously when Nicholas Soames, the veteran Tory MP, suggested that a delay in the BSkyB decision was possible. The vile and odious rascal Hunt holds a quasi-judicial position in deciding whether the assurances on media plurality given by News Corp are sufficient to maintain media plurality as defined within the Enterprise Act. But no formal shift in the government stance on the takeover emerged. By Wednesday night, Ed Milimolimandi had hardened his lines – the News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks had to quit, although he stopped short of demanding she receive a public spanking as well, there had to be a judicial inquiry into press standards and the BSkyB takeover should be delayed. Forthwith. if not sooner. Inside the coalition, the signs of some division became clearer when the Liberal Democrats briefed in favour of a public judicial inquiry and a delay in the BSkyB takeover. This had been party leader Nick Clegg's own instinct – he has no close liaison with Rupert Murdoch unlike his coalition colleague Cameron – but he was also under pressure from those within his own party. To show a bit of backbone, basically. And, speaking of backbone, or lack of it, 'sources close to' the lack of culture secretary were alleged to be 'privately insisting' that the vile and odious rascal Hunt would not be rushed into waving through the BSkyB takeover. Had he been told to say that or was this an example of the vile and odious rascal Hunt growing a pair and telling Cameron that he wasn't anybody's 'yes man'? Jury's still out on that matter although today's announcement of a delay could mean either scenario is accurate. On Thursday morning, hours before the end of the consultation exercise, by chance it emerged that as many as one hundred thousand replies had been sent regarding the new assurances given by News Corp on the subject of media plurality. The first - broader - consultation had elicited forty thousand responses and it had taken four months to produce a decision, so it is arguable Hunt can now spend a lot more than four months, and certainly well beyond the summer recess, to reach a decision. By then, of course, the chaos that is currently News Corp, the world's largest media empire, may have sorted itself out and possibly some of the people accused of systematically lying to the Press Complaints Commission and the Commons Culture Select Committee will have left the organisation. Perhaps. Speaking in the Lords, the junior whip Baroness Rawlings insisted that the vile and odious rascal Hunt had 'no grounds,' legally, to 'rethink his decision' on the takeover in the light of the phone-hacking allegations. The only point at issue, she noted, is media plurality. But, in practice, a delay until late autumn gives Murdoch and the government time to rethink their respective position. Cameron is said to prize his moral authority, so if the public comes to see him as a giving a hand-up to a morally depraved organisation, he will perhaps be looking for a way to, essentially, tell News Corp to back off. Delay on the takeover would appear to be, from News Corps point of view, 'the least worst option.' That leaves the government to decide upon the form of the public inquiries and their timing. Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson waded into the saga by saying that it should be 'immediate' and 'no holds barred.' Bet that one went down well in certain quarters of Tory central office. Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, said that the inquiry had to be held in public, under oath, and that now appears to be the general consensus not only of most observers but also, reportedly, in the cabinet, which discussed the issue on Wednesday but had come to no firm decision at that stage. There seems little doubt that an inquiry covered by the 2005 Inquiries Act will be convened – only the details of the terms of reference will have to be negotiated between the various parties. The model is likely to be the Iraq war inquiry, judged - broadly - to have been 'a success' inside the civil service and No 10. It promises to be a cruel and unusual punishment for the police, the press and the political class. So, it's probably worth avoiding the Olympic Ticket Fiasco and booking your seats now.

It's all a laugh, innit? As someone noted on Twitter: 'Almost all of the companies still advertising in the Screws are mobile phone networks. Alanis Morissette would call that "ironic."' Word.

Rupert Murdoch himself, meanwhile, 'declined to comment further' on the phone-hacking story when he was doorstepped by a gang of reporters in his first public appearance since the story broke. Reuters says that: 'The billionaire mogul cut an embattled, rather sad and lonely figure as he tried to make his way past a pack of reporters and photographers in his first appearance in the public spaces of the Allen & Co conference. As a throng of journos rushed toward him and his wife Wendi, Murdoch, eighty, mostly kept his head down and swiftly moved through the pack, only repeating that he had nothing more to add to his statement.' What's the wording of the right to silence advice under the 1994 Criminal Justice And Public Order Act? 'You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court.' Or something. I'm having a vision of Gene Hunt bellowing 'you're sayin' it wrong!' now.

Investigators inside Scotland Yard are reported to be trying to identify 'up to five officers' who were allegedly 'paid between them a total of at least one hundred thousand pounds in cash from the News of the World,' the Gruniad claims. Documents sent to the police by News International did not name those officers involved but contained pseudonyms which investigators within the Yard are trying to match with individual officers. Sort of 'Jack the Brick', 'Billy the Grass', 'Mad Mac the Hammer', 'Vincent the Aadvark', that kind of thing, no doubt. The revelation comes one day after Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said that the amounts involved had been paid to 'a small number of officers.' News that officers were allegedly paid so much in bribes has caused 'shock and concern' within Scotland Yard, where the directorate of professional standards is now investigating the matter. There have been calls for an external force to be brought in to investigate the scandal – Boris Johnson got his boat-race into the frame again, saying that someone else should 'wash the Met's dirty linen in public.' Ugh. After concerns were raised that the Met was being left to investigate itself, sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? and all that malarkey, the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced on Thursday that it would be overseeing the initial Met inquiry and 'could take over the investigation' later once 'the names of the officers had been established.' The IPCC had wanted to hold back until the Met had identified the officers involved, but the growing pressure for an external authority to be involved led to Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the IPCC, announcing she would be personally overseeing the Met's inquiry. The amounts of money involved are likely to have forced the IPCC's hand to get involved sooner rather than later. The Gruniad says that it understands 'three to five' police officers, who are 'not of senior rank but include detectives,' will be the focus of the inquiry. Documents sent to the police on 20 June by News International did not give many clues as to the identity of those who reportedly received payments for information. All the payments are understood to have taken place in 2003, the year Rebekah Brooks handed editorship of the News of the World to Andy Coulson. Glass, who as well as being IPCC deputy chair also has oversight for the Met, said: 'I share the public concerns expressed so powerfully about police officers being bribed by newspapers. It is obviously crucial that the officers involved are identified. I will personally supervise this investigation to give independent oversight and ensure that it is robust in its attempts to identify any officer who may have committed an offence.' Once those officers had been identified, she said, the IPCC 'will review our level of involvement so that we can exercise our full range of powers. Public confidence has been understandably shaken by these allegations,' Glass said. 'By providing independent oversight I want to be able to be satisfied and say with confidence to the public that the Met has done everything it can to identify the officers involved.' The Met commissioner has said that anyone who is shown to have committed 'any wrongdoing' can expect 'the full weight of disciplinary measures, if appropriate through the criminal courts.' When asked how he felt about those suspected of taking money, he told Sky News: 'I am more than ashamed – I am determined to see them in a criminal court.' There have been calls for an independent police force to be brought in immediately to investigate the illegal payments. Joanne McCartney, a member of the Metropolitan police authority, has said there is 'a lot of disquiet' that the police are being left to investigate themselves and called for an external force to be brought in. 'I think public confidence has to be restored,' she said. McCartney indicated that members of the MPA could tell the force to hand their investigation over to an independent team of officers. That's still the police investigating the police though, isn't it? Johnson said on Thursday that the inquiry had to be overseen by an external authority. 'There has got to be a strong sense that the investigation into this has got to be independent and the public has got to understand this is not just the Metropolitan police doing its own investigation. This has got to be a validation by an external authority,' he said. Only, you know, he said it in a Boris-style way with lots of, arhmmm, pauses. This, he added, involved the inquiry into the payments that might have been made to officers and the handling of the original police investigation into phone hacking. Meanwhile, in a dramatic development late of Thursday, Sue Akers, the Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner who is in charge of Operation Weeting said that investigators are going through approximately eleven thousand pages of material containing almost four thousand names and have been contacted by hundreds of people who think they may have been affected. Dear blog readers may remember that suggestions there were possibly thousands of victims have previously been dismissed. Assistant commissioner John Yates of the Yard said, after reviewing the first inquiry in 2009, that there were merely 'a handful' of potential victims. The information contained in Mulcaire's notebooks has, readers may like to reflect, been in police hands since 2006.

David Mellor, Tory ex-culture secretary and tabloid sex-exposé victim, the man who warned the media fifteen years ago that it was 'drinking in Last Chance Saloon,' was in rather fine and robust form on Radio 4's World at One on Thursday. No, he said, Rupert Murdoch should not now be allowed to get BSkyB. Can this really be the same oily Mellor who, as the vaguely-creepy and vastly ambitious mid-ranking home office minister in 1990, steered through its Commons Committee stage, The Broadcasting Bill which exempted Uncle Rupert's Luxembourg-based satellite from constraints which were placed on UK rivals? It can be and it was.

In today's Torygraph – in what must be one of the strongest attacks ever written in that particular newspaper about a serving Conservative prime minister – Peter Oborne, the paper's chief political correspondent, reflects on Cameron's links with Murdoch executives. Oborne writes that it is now 'impossible' to believe that the Conservative leader is 'grounded in a decent set of values.' Oborne is a gifted and entertaining writer but he's not the most consistent and he's not afraid of crass hyperbole. Let's remember that – just a few weeks ago – this same Torygraph columnist was giving the PM a damned good rimming by arguing that Cameron 'had the makings of a truly great prime minister' – as great as Attlee and Thatcher, he said. Oborne was selling Cameron a little too high then, and probably a shade too low now. Don't be misled, however, this is a vitally important moment for David Cameron and for broadly centre-right of British journalism. An overnight poll from Survation found that just nine per cent of people polls who expressed a preference felt that Cameron had, so far, handled 'Hackgate' well. At a dinner on Wednesday evening with Conservative MPs there was reported to be an almost universal agreement that the PM needed to 'take a stronger lead' on the scandal which is busy engulfing News International. There was said to be a real concern that the prime minister was 'being held back from resolute action' because of his prior relationship with Andy Coulson. Yesterday Matthew Barrett speculated that the so-called Team Cameron was nervous about the diaries Coulson kept when he was the Tory leader's closest aide. One of the lessons of Watergate is that it's the subsequent cover-up rather than the initial offence that can kill politicians. Cameron cannot afford to appear timid or compromised on this issue. He also can't allow Ed Milimolimandi to style himself as 'the champion of the News of the World's victims.' Which, to be honest, he's managed to do pretty well over the last couple of days. One reason why Britain is, broadly speaking, a conservative nation is that newspapers like the Sun, the Daily Scum Mail and Daily Scum Express manage - more often than not - to champion the public mood on particular issues. The left - particularly the Gruniad - will seek opportunities to damage these newspapers in the months ahead. Oborne told BBC News that he believes Cameron has become 'bogged down' in the hacking scandal because he was too close to various big-hitters at News International. He said: 'Cameron has a close relationship with that rather awful, dreadful woman, Rebekah Brooks. He got too close to The Chipping Norton Set, that shiftless lot. There are a lot of comparisons between the expenses affair and this ghastly business. Cameron moved very swiftly on expenses, but here he is bogged down by his close relationships. Note how Ed Miliband, who is far from blameless, called for Rebekah Brooks's resignation, and for a look at the merger with BSkyB - which mustn't happen, it's unacceptable that News International could purchase the rest of BSkyB. But, because Cameron has got himself so close to News International, he's finding it very hard. It's possible that this will be a turning point for him, like Black Wednesday was for John Major, and he may get dragged into this sewer. We want to have a return of decent, proper, old-fashioned standards to Downing Street. I hope the public outpace the politicians on this matter. I hope we are still a country with a decent set of values. We've obviously got a media and political class detached from the values that used to govern British public life. I hope the public issue them a rebuke.' Alan Rusbridger, the Gruniad's editor-in-chief, also commented on Oborne's statement in the Torygraph that Oborne had warned both David Cameron and Nick Clegg about Andy Coulson before the general election. 'What were Cameron and Clegg told that is now in the public domain?' a reader asked Rusbridger during a Q&A session. 'What have they known all along?' he replied. 'Peter Oborne is right. Before the election it was common knowledge in Fleet Street that an investigator used by the News of the World during Andy Coulson's editorship was on remand for conspiracy to murder. We couldn't report that due to contempt of court restrictions, but I thought it right that Cameron should know before he took any decisions about taking Andy Coulson into No 10. So I sent word via an intermediary close to Cameron. And I also told Clegg personally.'

On a lighter - and, I mean genuinely hilarious - note, Dan Wootton, the News of the World's showbusiness editor, released an impassioned statement on his personal blog in which he states that: 'I'm not going to lie. Having a column in the News of the World this week has not been easy. Like you, I feel sickened by the stories about the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler and others' voicemail accounts. It is disgusting. To be honest, I feel sick about the hacking of anyone. I would never even think about doing that or believe it is acceptable in any way. What I have to stress to you is this: I do not work for the newspaper you are reading about. The vast majority of my colleagues, including journalists and management, were not working on this newspaper during those years. There is a new regime in place here. I have only ever worked under Colin Myler as editor. Here's what he said yesterday about this situation: Now, just remember, my job is to bring you guys the best showbiz stories in the business week in week out – The X Factor, Cheryl and Ashley, Kate Moss, TOWIE and all of that good stuff. I do so in a legal, ethical and moral way and will continue to do so. Thank you so much for the people who understand that and have let me know during this difficult week.' Sorry Dan, I don't care about any of that - what was it Nietzsche said about fighting with dragons? Also, I have to say, anybody who considers 'The X Factor, Cheryl and Ashley, Kate Moss, TOWIE' to be 'all the good stuff', frankly, is as guilty of being a piece of disgraceful pond scum in my eyes are some of your newspaper's former employees are in the eyes of others for hacking the phones of bereaved relatives. Sadly, in that one line, we have a vivid example of the crass, mind-numbing lowest-common-denominator celebrity-obsessed culture for tittle-tattle that gave rise exactly to newspapers like the News of the World (and, I have no doubt, others) wading knee-deep through the - metaphorical - detritus of human existence. In search of 'exclusives' from mobile phone messages and e-mails. I'm sure you're a very nice person, Dan, but those who live by the sword will die by the sword. And the pen is, truly, mightier than the sword. And much easier to get in your shirt pocket too, I've found. One GetInMyShade - probably not his real name, although you never know these days - wrote in the comments section: 'DEVIL WORSHIPPER.COM YOU SATANISED NOTW JOURNOS WILL ROT IN THE PIT OF HELL GOD HELP YOUR DEVIL RIDDEN SATANISED SOUL.' He might've meant Santaised, and it was a reference to Christmas, it's difficult to tell. One BenPonton added, slightly more sanely: 'New regime? Is that the one with Rebekah Brooks as CEO?' What a very good question.

According to comedy website Chortle, comedian Dave Gorman quit his News of the World column. I must admit, I didn't even know Dave wrote for the Screws. And, it's a bit dispiriting, to be honest, to find that someone whose work I really admire had climbed into that particular bed in the first place. Yesterday TV presenter Martin Lewis explained why he would not quit the paper in similar terms to Dan Wooton, but he added some further thoughts to his blog on Thursday: 'Since writing last night, I've watched further news and slept (or not slept) on this, plus taken on board the overwhelming volume and tone of your responses. I've spoken with the paper's editor this morning and asked that instead of running my column (filed last week) I have some space to write something of my feelings on what's happened and the fact that it mustn't be allowed to happen again – to which he's agreed. I've also decided to take some time to think this through calmly and listen to the facts as they develop – while I do so I won't be writing for the paper.' So, would the last one out of Fortress Wapping please close the door after you. There's a really bad stink emerging from within. No sooner had I written that, when ...

What happened next took pretty much everybody by surprise. At 4:52pm on Thursday afternoon the following statement was issued: 'News International today announces that this Sunday, 10 July 2011, will be the last issue of the News of the World. Making the announcement to staff, James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation, and Chairman, News International said: "I have important things to say about the News of the World and the steps we are taking to address the very serious problems that have occurred. It is only right that you as colleagues at News International are first to hear what I have to say and that you hear it directly from me. So thank you very much for coming here and listening. You do not need to be told that the News of the World is one hundred and sixty eight years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain's largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation. When I tell people why I am proud to be part of News Corporation, I say that our commitment to journalism and a free press is one of the things that sets us apart. Your work is a credit to this. The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company. The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself. In 2006, the police focused their investigations on two men. Both went to jail. But the News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose. Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued. As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter. We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences. This was not the only fault. The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong. The Company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret. Currently, there are two major and ongoing police investigations. We are cooperating fully and actively with both. You know that it was News International who voluntarily brought evidence that led to opening Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden. This full cooperation will continue until the Police's work is done. We have also admitted liability in civil cases. Already, we have settled a number of prominent cases and set up a Compensation Scheme, with cases to be adjudicated by former High Court judge Sir Charles Gray. Apologising and making amends is the right thing to do. Inside the Company, we set up a Management and Standards Committee that is working on these issues and that has hired Olswang to examine past failings and recommend systems and practices that over time should become standards for the industry. We have committed to publishing Olswang's terms of reference and eventual recommendations in a way that is open and transparent. We have welcomed broad public inquiries into press standards and police practices and will cooperate with them fully. So, just as I acknowledge we have made mistakes, I hope you and everyone inside and outside the Company will acknowledge that we are doing our utmost to fix them, atone for them, and make sure they never happen again. Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper. This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World. Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper. In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World's revenue this weekend will go to good causes. While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity. We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend. Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers. These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do. Many of you, if not the vast majority of you, are either new to the Company or have had no connection to the News of the World during the years when egregious behaviour occurred. I can understand how unfair these decisions may feel. Particularly, for colleagues who will leave the Company. Of course, we will communicate next steps in detail and begin appropriate consultations. You may see these changes as a price loyal staff at the News of the World are paying for the transgressions of others. So please hear me when I say that your good work is a credit to journalism. I do not want the legitimacy of what you do to be compromised by acts of others. I want all journalism at News International to be beyond reproach. I insist that this organisation lives up to the standard of behaviour we expect of others. And, finally, I want you all to know that it is critical that the integrity of every journalist who has played fairly is restored. Thank you for listening."'

Well, that, I didn't expect. It's notable that James Murdoch's statement makes no mention whatsoever of Rebekah Brooks – who has faced repeated calls to step down over her role in the News of the World's phone hacking activities.

Reaction was not slow in coming. In fact, it was bloody rapid. The BBC's old slaphead Nick Robinson was first off the mark: 'It was clear that something had to give but I had assumed that something would be Rebekah Brooks. Rupert Murdoch has, instead, sacrificed the News of the World - or, at least, its title. I assume he will produce another Sunday paper - perhaps, as Robert Peston has suggested on his blog, the Sunday Sun. Team Murdoch must have realised that the name News of the World would be referred to again and again over the next few months in connection with the alleged phone-hacking of a murdered girl, grieving parents and war widows. The question now is whether this will make the government's dilemma about the takeover of BSkyB easier or harder? My guess is that the Murdochs have sacrificed the News of the World in order to salvage their television ambitions. They want to expand in Germany, Italy, India and, of course, here in Britain too. Newspapers represent only thirteen per cent of News Corps worldwide revenue, I'm told. So, ministers may be able to delay the final decision on whether to approve the takeover - by allowing lots of time for officials at the culture department and Ofcom to go through public submissions - but, in the end, they are still likely to have to face it. Murdoch's enemies will want this to be the beginning of the end for him. He is sure to see it as a new beginning. The nightmare for David Cameron and his government is that he will be tainted by the past - thanks to his hiring of Andy Coulson - and be responsible for the future. The fates of the prime minister and Britain's mightiest media mogul are now intertwined.' As Robinson noted, Robert Peston was immediately suggesting that News International would, more or less straight away, relaunch the paper as a Sunday version of the Sun. It can't, however, be called the Sunday Sun as Peston suggested since that name is already trademarked by a local, and totally respectable, Sunday paper in Newcastle. Very good it is too. (Reportedly Murdoch tried to acquire the name over thirty years ago and was rebuffed. One of the few instances in his career of Murdoch not getting his own way, it would seem.) The announcement that the News of the World will close 'was greeted with shock and amazement by journalists at News International,' according to the Press Association. Apparently the statement was received by all News International staff simultaneously. As they read it 'the first person to read of the closure swore out loud.' I'm not bloody surprised! 'Staff at the publisher's other newspapers received the statement by chairman James Murdoch and gasps were heard across the newsrooms at Wapping as they reached the line: "This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World."' One member of staff is reported to have said: 'It took a few minutes for everyone to read through the statement. There was a "fucking hell" from the first person who read it. Then there were lots of gasps and general amazement. Everyone is talking about it. People are still astonished and a bit worried.' One journalist is quoted as saying: 'Everyone here is shocked and in disbelief. It's very sad that the paper is closing. We're not sure what this means for us yet.' Someone described as a 'senior journalist at News International' told a Gruniad reporter: 'Holy fuck. Killing paper to save executive ass.' Ed Milimolimandi noted: 'What I'm interested in is not closing newspapers - I'm interested in those responsible being brought to justice,' he told the BBC's Newsnight. He said it was a 'big decision' but it 'does not solve real issues at News International. One of the people who is remaining in their jobs is Rebekah Brooks. She should go, she should take responsibility,' he said. 'The idea that she is leading the investigation, overseeing it with the police, well, it beggars belief.' David Wooding, the News of the World's political editor said 'We knew we were in a bad place but we never expected a bombshell as big as this,' he told the BBC News Channel. He added that hacking had happened under 'an entirely different group of staff' - albeit not an entirely different chief executive, and suggested, rather bitterly that 'Hard-working journalists will carry the can for a previous regime.' 'This is a victory for decent people up and down the land, and I say good riddance to the News of the World,' the Labour MP Tom Watson told Sky News. He repeated calls for News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks to stand down. 'The anger will only subside when a very senior executive in this company takes responsibility for this heinous attack on British people,' he said. He added: 'No one was going to buy this paper any more. No one was going to advertise in it. They destroyed it. The people who were hacking phones, they were the people who closed this paper. I feel very sorry for honest journalists who are left at the paper and I actually have a degree of sympathy for the outgoing editor Colin Myler who, I think frankly has had to carry a heavy load for the wrongdoing of other people in the organisation.' 'It's a typical management stunt from Mr Murdoch,' Lord Prescott told BBC News. 'What he does is he gets rid of problems and in this case nobody in senior management. None of those go but the poor old workers at the News of the World are going and there's no doubt it will become the Sunday Sun.' No it won't, John, but never mind! His view was echoed by justice secretary Ken Clarke. 'All they're going to do is rebrand it.' John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee told Radio 4's PM: 'We still need to get to the bottom of what went on. If necessary, prosecutions should follow. I think we still need to find out what happened.' Alastair Campbell described the closure as a 'shocking move' and blamed bad management for what happened. 'At various stages they could and should have dealt with this,' he told the PM programme. 'As a former journalist I don't rejoice over the death of a newspaper but I do think that this is just the result of all the illegal activity but also the huge mismanagement of it ever since this started.' 'This is designed to try and protect Rebekah Brooks, and I believe that if she had a shred of decency after what we have heard about Milly Dowler's phone being hacked, which happened on her watch as editor, she should have resigned by now, Chris Bryant MP told the Press Association. 'Everything that's been announced today just goes to show that there's been a cover-up, that Parliament has been misled, that police have been corrupted, that police investigations were undermined. This strategy of chucking first journalists, then executives and now a whole newspaper overboard isn't going to protect the person at the helm of the ship.' Significantly, there have already been rumours that a Sunday edition of the Sun will launched as early as a week on Sunday, although News International has declined to comment on them. The web addresses and were registered two days ago, although it is not known by whom. But, we can probably guess. Steve Hewlett, presenter of BBC Radio 4's The Media Show, said that people he had spoken to at News International were furious the News of the World would be closing but that Rebekah Brooks would continue to be the company's chief executive. Meanwhile, former News of the World editor the oily repulsive reptilian twat Piers Morgan said that he was 'shocked and saddened by closure of the News of the World. Scandals of past week indefensible, but has been a great British newspaper.' No it wasn't you steaming shower of hypocritical toss. It was a scandal rag and the world is much better off with it.

Channel Four is said to be blowing the dust off a TV drama script about the Murdoch clan by one of the Peep Show co-creators. The Murdochs, a single drama written by Jesse Armstrong and originally rejected by Channel Four, is set in the future and imagines a dinner party at which the power struggles over who takes over Rupert Murdoch's media empire when daddy dies is played out. Described as 'Dallas meets Festen,' by Armstrong, the script is understood to have been carefully scrutinised by Channel Four's lawyers and given the okay. According to Armstrong, all the Murdochs feature, including his son James, who is currently deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation with responsibility for UK businesses BSkyB and News International. James' sister Elisabeth is married to PR man Matthew Freud and recently returned to the family business, selling her TV production company Shine to News Corp. His brother Lachlan left the same New York-based News Corp job – deputy chief operating officer – several years ago and moved to Australia to strike out on his own in the media industry. One key aspect of the script is fictional - attempts by Murdoch's third and current wife, Wendi Deng, to put the two daughters she has had with the News Corp chairman and chief executive more at the centre of the succession to his business empire. The script was vetoed by Kevin Lygo, Channel Four's former director of TV who is now running ITV Studios, about two years ago. He felt that it was 'too mediacentric' and 'involved media people talking to other media people' according to 'senior Channel Four sources.' However, the channel's head of drama Camilla Campbell, who brought the idea to Lygo in the first place, never lost faith in the script. She reportedly told the Gruniad at a Channel Four drama dinner on Wednesday night that the script has now been put back into active development. 'For me it never really went away but with the stories about hacking I think the time could be right to make this,' said Campbell. Following Channel Four's initial rejection of the projects, Armstrong said he touted the idea to various Hollywood executives but claimed that it ended up on a 'blacklist' of scripts which executives liked but which would never be made – perhaps not surprisingly, given that News Corp owns Twentieth Century FOX. 'It is quite funny in a way to think of it being blacklisted by Hollywood but I never really imagined this as a feature film,' he added. 'For me it was always a television film and a story for British audiences.'

And, so to some news that isn't about the News of the World. Stop cheering at the back. Russell Davies has started developing a new drama for Showtime. Davies previously worked with the network on the US remake of his successful show Queer As Folk. He is now creating a potential series called Cucumber, Deadline reports. Details of the drama are not yet clear, although it is expected to follow the lives of a group of gay men. Davies is thought to be developing the project with BBC Worldwide, which is producing the drama.

The first episode of the second half of Doctor Who's series six will premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival late next month. The event's official website states that Let's Kill Hitler will be screened ahead of its 'late summer' BBC1 transmission at The Filmhouse on Friday 26 August between 17:45 and 18:45. The site's official synopsis for the episode reads: 'In the desperate search for Melody Pond, the TARDIS crash lands in 1930s Berlin, bringing The Doctor face to face with the greatest war criminal in the Universe. And Hitler. The Doctor must teach his adversaries that time travel has responsibilities - and in so doing, learns a harsh lesson in the cruellest warfare of all.'

Rob Lowe has confirmed that he will be appearing in the new season of Californication. The actor appeared in three episodes of the last season as Eddie Nero, a movie star who had signed up to play Hank (David Duchovny) in a film. Lowe has now confirmed on his Twitter page that he will be returning to the show. 'Had a blast with my pal David Duchovny on Californication yesterday,' he said. 'Wait till you see Eddie Nero's new look. Freaky as usual.' Other stars who are expected to appear in the next season of Californication include William & Kate's Camilla Luddington, Justified's Natalie Zea and Meagan Good. The show's creator, Tom Kapinos, has previously suggested that the show could end after its fifth season.

A set of new images have been released for The Hour, Abi Morgan's new six-part drama series taking viewers behind the scenes of a 1956 broadcast news room, which begins on BBC2 later this month. With a highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate love triangle at the heart of the series, it is through the lives of enigmatic Bel and her rivals, Freddie and Hector, that viewers will witness the decade on the threshold of change – from the ruthless sexual politics behind the polite social façade of the Fifties to the revelations that redefined the world for a new generation.
Over the six episodes, the interplay and intense ambitions between our rising news team play out against the backdrop of a mysterious murder and Freddie's controversial and dangerous investigation. Ben Whishaw plays Freddie Lyon, a brilliant and outspoken journalist, whose passion endlessly lands him in trouble. Getting to the truth of a story can be a dangerous and risky business, and it's Bel, his contemporary and best friend, who is always there to bail him out. For Freddie, Bel is so much more as well – if only he were brave enough to tell her. Romola Garai plays Bel Rowley, spirited and ambitious, and facing the most exciting and daunting challenge of her life – running The Hour. Can her passion for the truth survive the political pressure the job will bring – and will her friendship with Freddie survive her undeniable attraction to front man Hector? Dominic West plays Hector Madden, charming, charismatic – a man whose upbringing and education have instilled in him a sense of entitlement, and whose glamorous young wife has the family connections to get him the job as front man on The Hour. But beneath the confident façade Hector has a lot to prove. Bel provides the challenge – and the spark. The Hour's supporting cast includes Tim Pigott-Smith and Juliet Stevenson as Lord and Lady Elms, Anton Lesser as Clarence Fendley, the BBC's Head of News, Anna Chancellor as Lix, The Hour's brave and maverick hard-drinking foreign correspondent, Julian Rhind-Tutt as Angus McCain, the Prime Minister's eyes and ears, and Oona Chaplin as Marnie Madden, Hector's spoilt beautiful wife. Dear blog readers may already have seen the trailers for this - which look great, I must say.

The firing of Melody Hossaini after a disastrous performance in the investment and sales task pushed The Apprentice comfortably past eight million viewers on Wednesday night, latest overnight audience data has revealed. The show was seen by 8.29m on BBC1 in the 9pm hour, peaking at a massive 8.91m for the final fifteen minutes. Spin-off The Apprentice: You're Fired! appealed to 3.39m on BBC2 from 10pm and a further two hundred and forty two thousand viewers on the BBC HD channel. Waterloo Road was watched by 5.15m on BBC1 from 7.30pm, and In With The Flynns continued with 3.52m from 8.30pm. Later, Not Going Out had an audience of 1.85m from 10.45.

In June Doctor Who once more topped the list of the most requested programmes the BBC iPlayer. The final story before the mid-season break, A Good Man Goes to War, had total of 1.26 million requests in the eight days it was available, one hundred thousand ahead of the second placed programme, The Apprentice which had 1.14 million accessing episode seven, in which the contestants designed a pet food. Other high ranking programmes were Top Gear and Waterloo Road. The current series of Doctor Who came off the iPlayer on 11 June. The series totalled 9.63 million requests across the seven episodes in the two months they were available. The series opener, The Impossible Astronaut is the joint most accessed programme of the year so far, alongside the second in the comedy series Come Fly With Me, both programmes were accessed 1.86 million times. The top twenty list for the year so far consists of just four programmes; Doctor Who, The Apprentice, Come Fly with Me and Top Gear. Episode Two of Doctor Who, Day of the Moon, is currently fifth for the year, being accessed 1.62 million times. The Doctor's Wife is twelfth with 1.3 million, A Good Man Goes to War is fifteen with 1.26 million, The Curse of the Black Spot is sixteen with 1.26 million and The Rebel Flesh is nineteen with 1.13 million. The Almost People just slips outside the top twenty with 1.13 million accessing. Matt Smith début episode, The Eleventh Hour, is still the most requested programme on the iPlayer ever with over two and a half million million requests.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan will be in Hollywood on 26 July to sign copies of the Doctor Who: Series Six, Part One DVD. They will be appearing at the Los Angeles based Amoeba Music store. Yer Keith Telly Topping's shopped there on several occasions, dear blog reader. His credit card was done some serious damage, let me tell you. Matt, Karen, Beth Willis, Piers Wenger and Toby Whithouse, will be in the US to attend San Diego Comic Con on Sunday 24 July where they'll be showing attendees new footage from the second half of series six.

Luther actors Steven Mackintosh and Warren Brown are to be reunited in new BBC1 drama Inside Men. Mackintosh and Brown are to star in writer Tony Basgallop's story about three security company employees who pull off a multimillion pound heist. In the four-part serial, Mackintosh – who appeared in the first series of Luther – plays John, the manager of the security depot. Brown, Luther's sidekick Justin Ripley, plays forklift driver Marcus. They are joined by Outcasts star Ashley Walters as security guard Chris and The Shadow Line actress Kierston Wareing (who's also been seen in Luther recently) as Marcus' wife Gina. Filming has started in Bristol for transmission next year. Being Human and To the Ends of the Earth writer Basgallop said: 'Inside Men is the story of an old-school cash robbery but with the "geezer" element removed. It's a study in what it takes for a modern man to step up, assert himself, and have the courage to take something by force.'

Glee's executive producer Brad Falchuk has suggested that the third season will include larger storylines. Falchuk explained that the new run will focus more on the relationships between the characters. 'We're really focusing a lot more on larger story arcs and less about romantic relationships and more on character relationships, outside forces pushing inward on the glee club,' he told The Hollywood Reporter. 'We're more interested in larger arcs that we did in season one.' Falchuk added that the group behind Glee have taken on board what they learned during the second season. 'Last season we spent a lot of time on relationships, with people dating other people,' he said. 'And next season we want to spend a little more time on letting the stories play out. Some said there was a little too much music, so we might pull back on the music a bit. But in general, we love these characters and we want to spend more time with them and find more ways to explore different parts of them. We want to keep making it appointment TV that you don't want to TiVo.'

Davina McCall will return to host a second prime time series of the sickest conceptual show on TV, The Biggest Loser, it has been confirmed. The former Big Brother presenter took over from horrible Kate Garraway on the ITV weight-loss programme last year and will return for another run in 2012. And she ought to be sodding well ashamed of herself.

The BBC has announced that they will be celebrating one year to go until the London 2012 Olympic games with a selection of special programmes and debates on television, radio and online. Wednesday 27 July will mark one year until the start of the games and BBC1 will be live at 7.00pm from Trafalgar Square, where the One Year To Go Ceremony will be taking place. The programme will be hosted by Sophie Raworth, Jake Humphrey and Mishal Husain. The programme will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 5Live and BBC World News. BBC Breakfast and BBC News programming through the day will have special reports and be live from Olympic venues. At the One Year To Go ceremony IOC President, Jacques Rogge, will invite athletes from around the world to put together their national teams in readiness for next year's Games. Hosted by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, guests include London 2012 Organising Committee Chair, Sebastian Coe, and a host of Britain's top Olympic athletes. The new design for the 2012 Games medals will be unveiled during the ceremony which will also include live music performances.

Noel Gallagher has shed new light on the dramatic row with his brother Liam which led to the break-up of Oasis, revealing the final straw for him involved a plum being thrown at him and a guitar which was 'wielded like an axe'. Rock and roll! The elder Gallagher (the talented one) this week announced details of his debut solo CD Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and took the opportunity at the press conference to break his silence about his departure from the band in 2009. He said the beginning of the end came when Liam (the silly one) wanted to advertise his clothing label Pretty Green in the Oasis tour programme, with Noel saying: 'I didn't think it was right for him to be flogging his gear to our fans. There was a massive row about it. It slowly went downhill after that.' The final row came after the negative reaction to Oasis' no-show at the V Festival that year, with a bout of laryngitis suffered by Liam being given as the official reason for the cancellation. Noel said that Liam was, in fact, just too hungover to show up, but the negative press caused by their non-appearance caused the front man to rage against his brother. Liam apparently threw a plum at his brother, before returning with a guitar which he was 'wielding like an axe.' Noel told reporters: 'It was real unnecessary violent act - he was swinging his guitar around. He nearly took my face off with it, you know. I said "you know what, I'm walking out of here." I sat in the car and thought "fuck it, I can't do it any more." I regret it really because we only had two gigs left.' Noel went on to say it was a shame they had split as he had perfected the role of 'that guy who just stood on the right and played the lead guitar and did backing vocals and sung the odd acoustic … I fucking mastered that.' Liam issued a one-word response to his brother's comments about the split, simply writing on his Twitter page: 'SHITBAG.' Yeah, definitely the silly one.

FIFA has denied reports that World Cup games in Qatar could be played over three half-hour periods because of the heat. Although one can't help noticing that more advertising breaks would result if they were to go that way. When the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar some things were always going to warp under the desert sun. But few could have predicted that it would be the very structure of the game of football itself which may change shape. Yet that is precisely what could happen when the football world makes its desert trek in a decade's time, according to a director of the firm whose technology will be used to keep the stadiums cool. Michael Beaven of the engineers Arup Associates told a conference on Wednesday of the 'extreme risk' of injury to players if stadium temperatures rise beyond 30C. 'If it's 32C [FIFA says it] will stop a match and play three thirty-minute thirds rather than two forty five-minute halves,' said Beaven. At midday on Thursday the mercury in Doha climbed to thirty eight degrees C, with forty one degrees forecast for Friday. Both dates could very well be used as World Cup match days in 2022. The three-thirds idea would be some departure from tradition if it happens. Football has been played in two sets of forty five minutes since its earliest Victorian origins almost one hundred and fifty years ago. During that time two World Cups have taken place in Mexico, and another in the US, when the Republic of Ireland played Holland in Orlando on Independence Day. As the Republic's former midfielder Ray Houghton told the BBC last year the heat at that 1994 tournament was dangerously oppressive. 'The heat was a massive factor,' Houghton recalled. 'When we played Mexico in Orlando it was about one hundred and ten degrees [Fahrenheit, forty three Celsius] and there were problems getting water to us on the pitch. I got booked for picking up a bag of water that had been lobbed at me, which was ridiculous given the conditions.' FIFA has denied that the three-thirds rather than two-halves structure of a ninety-minute football match is under 'formal consideration' but it is clear it has shifted its focus and is scratching around for ways to, quite literally, take the heat off players. The ideas flowing from FIFA's thinktanks are stimulated by fears that there is much more at stake today than seventeen years ago. Back in 1994 the world-record transfer fee was about ten million pounds, today it is eighty million, and fees in excess of twenty million smackers are routinely paid for proven international players. FIFA's liability if negligence led to tragedy would be dangerously high. And so there has been urgency in FIFA's thinking. It took only one month after the controversial decision to hand Qatar the World Cup for FIFA's president, the disgraceful Sepp Blatter - recently seen (right) hanging out with notorious genocidal monster Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe - to propose his first solution. It was for the World Cup to be held in the Arabian winter. But, this scheme was swiftly quashed as the clubs rose up in revolt. It is one thing releasing their players for a tournament to be played in risky conditions while receiving negligible financial return – one hundred thousand dollars per club on average, from a tournament generating $3.7bn for FIFA – quite another for the World Cup tournament also to be plonked in the middle of their season schedule. It was a battle which Blatter could not win because ranged against him were not only the clubs but the broadcasters, whose winter-summer cycle of domestic-and-international football is extremely lucrative. Beaven says that the idea of a game of three thirds 'would play havoc with TV schedules and those kind of things' but here his thinking seems misplaced. An extra playing period introduces an extra interval, and an extra interval provides commercial broadcasters with more advertising space to sell. And when the World Cup becomes more lucrative for commercial broadcasters, it becomes more lucrative for FIFA with mucho wonga flying about. And, FIFA like that. The 2010 World Cup broadcasting rights were worth $2.4bn to FIFA - although, how much of that ended up in Jack Warner's ticket collection is, at this time, unknown. For that figure to grow considerably in future there would have to be some radical developments. FIFA's marketers will not be blind to the three million dollars that was paid for thirty seconds of US advertising airtime during the 2009 Super Bowl, nor to the fact that the four-quarters structure of American football yielded forty eight minutes of commercials. A desire to tap in to that kind of filthy lucre has surely motivated the three-thirds considerations as much as any deeply felt concern for players' health. After all, seventeen years ago, Ray Houghton was getting booked by FIFA's referees just for trying to slake his thirst.

Part of a stadium roof has collapsed in the eastern Dutch city of Enschede, killing one person and injuring fourteen. The collapse happened during building work at the FC Twente football stadium. The victims are thought to be construction workers. The roof fell on top of a bank of seats behind one of the goals - Dutch media say that two girders had buckled. 'It collapsed with a huge noise like a house of cards,' a witness told the Dutch news agency ANP. Firefighter teams and police helicopters were at the scene shortly afterwards. Rescue workers had to free people from the rubble. Peter den Oudsten, the mayor of Enschede, said besides the one person killed, ten others were taken to hospital and four were treated at the scene. No match was being played at the time. The stadium - Grolsch Veste - is being expanded to accommodate thirty two thousand fans ahead of the autumn season. The club's chairman Joop Munsterman is thought to have left the team's pre-season training camp in Zeeland to return to Enschede. FC Twente are one of the top teams in the Netherlands and have a bit of cult following in the UK due to their regular appearances in the UEFA cup in the 1970s, Arnold Mühren, most people's inability to correctly pronounce the name of the town and them being namechecked in Half Man Half Biscuit's song 'Ordinary To Enschede'. In 2010 they won the League One title, and last year they came second. They are playing in the qualifying round of next season's European Champions League and were scheduled to host a match at the Grolsch Veste stadium at the end of July or the beginning of August. That's now likely to be played at a neutral venue.

So, to sum up the main points again. The News of the World is an ex-parrot. It is no more. The Gruniad are reporting that they have been told Rebekah Brooks has - twice - offered her resignation and she was turned down on both occasions. (It's not immediately clear by whom - although their last name is likely to have been Murdoch.) Although Dan Sabbagh later suggested that his understanding was this was not so. Channel Four News ended their programme shortly before 8pm with the revelation that Andy Coulson may be arrested 'as early as tomorrow.' The Gruniad says that a second arrest is also to be made in the next few days of someone described as 'a former senior journalist at the paper.' David Wooding, associate editor at the News of the World, told Sky News one of his colleagues 'was in tears' and other people 'were standing around looking dazed.' Tom Watson has said that there is more evidence to come which will implicate more News International newspapers. The MP told Channel Four News there is further evidence against the Murdoch empire, which involves 'the use of computer hacking,' and will 'cross over into other News International newspapers.' BSkyB's market value is reported to have fallen by the curiously scary figure of six hundred and sixty six million pounds this week. Krishnan Guru-Murthy told Channel Four News that there was 'a lynch-mob mentality' after News of the World were told the news of their loss of a job. Rebekah Brooks was, reportedly, 'escorted from the building by security staff.' This was subsequently denied by at least one former News of the World staffer. The National Union of Journalists has confirmed that sub-editors and some journalists at the Sun have walked out in protest at the treatment of their News of the World colleagues. What, exact, form this 'walk out' had taken (like, whether they'll be back at their desks tomorrow) is, as yet, unclear. Some News of the World staff chose to take out their anger on the Twitter hordes who were busy rejoicing at the paper's demise. Ian Hyland, for instance, a showbiz columnist with a very high opinion of himself and very little reason to, entered into a somewhat bruising tweet exchange with the comedian Rufus Hound. It ended with Hyland labelling his opponent 'a right tit.' Yeah, I think Rufus won that one. Temper, Ian. You'll need a bit more patience with other people's views when you're lining up to sign on the dole in ninety days time. Also on Channel Four News, Glenn Mulcaire was secretly filmed by one of his hacking victims and admitted that the decision to order phone hacking was made 'by committee.' A statement was subsequently sent to the programme by Mulcaire's lawyer to clarify that Mulcaire did not mean there was a specific committee at the paper responsible for order phone hacks, rather that he carried out the orders of several individuals on the news desk, not a single lone reporter. And, finally, the paywall which stops anyone from gaining access to the News of the World website for free has, apparently, gone. So, every cloud had a silver lining, and all that.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, well, what else can it be but a News of the World finale special. This one's for Uncle Rupert his very self.
This one's for the staff - or, indeed, for Rebekah Brooks if she's changed her mind in the last twenty four hour.
And, this is a reminder of what we're losing. The newspaper that inspired The Jam's worst single. Thanks for the last hundred and sixty eight years, ladies and gentlemen. I can't say it's been pleasant.
Punk rock! Power pop! (Yeah, all right, it's a decent enough song. And it's still used by Mock The Week, let's be charitable.)

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