David Cameron is still the Tory prime minster. For now.
An extra day of debate in parliament saw a concerted attempt to bring the sprawling phone hacking scandal under control.
A meeting of the right wing 1922 committee of Tory MPs, which Cameron rushed to immediately after the parliamentary debate, was said to be happy. No one asked him about the hacking scandal. Cameron was apparently smiling in a Commons restaurant, snacking on smoked salmon and sipping white wine.
The smiles may not last for long. The serious questions about the scandal just keep on coming.
Cameron was asked repeatedly in parliament whether he talked with News International executives over the firm’s attempt to buy BSkyB. Cameron didn’t deny it.
“I had no inappropriate conversations,” smarmed Cameron. Or to put it another way “Yes”
The arrogant Cameron might have thought he’d got away with it. Unfortunately, Tory culture secretary James Hunt let the cat out of the bag when he said, “The discussions that the prime minister had were irrelevant.”
Cameron said that if he had known then what he knows now, he would not have hired Andy Coulson as his spin doctor. The reality is he knows now what he knew then. But he wants to cover it up. And of course, maybe he wouldn’t have hired Coulson if Rebekah Brooks hadn’t told him to.
While Nick Clegg looked at the ceiling and rubbed his eyes, Labour failed to call for Cameron to go. Labour’s own historic subservience to News International weakened it.
The depth of the political classes’ involvement with News International was shown when Cameron highlighted the fact that Ed Miliband’s spin doctor, Tom Baldwin, used to work for News International.
Cameron spat out, “Gotcha”.
Miliband replied, “Tom Baldwin’s line manager at the time was the current education secretary,” referring to Michael Gove’s time working for Murdoch. (See www.socialistworker.co.uk//art.php?id=25481 )
Meanwhile Rupert Murdoch made his getaway in his Gulfstream jet as the debate was taking place.
The neworks at the top of society are trying to close ranks. Cameron was asked whether the intelligence services would be asked to give evidence at any of the 11 inquires into the scandal.
He said it was tradition not to discuss the intelligence services in parliament. In other words, the people whose job it is to bug phones are protected from even being discussed.
The politicians will hope, as they head off to their second homes for their long summer break, that everything will calm down. In Cameron’s words, they may hope allowing MPs to “let off steam” will be enough.
That’s also the intention of the numerous inquiries.
But every time they try to draw a line under the scandal, some new disgrace seeps out.
A dim light has been shone on the reality of how the cops, politicians and media work. There have been resignations of police and Murdoch executives – yet their arrogant presumption that politicians are immune remains.
But Cameron looks more shaky as the days go by.
Cameron must go – so let’s get him out!
Hit the Tories when they're weak – strikes, not talks, can save pensions
Protest at the Tories http://www.socialistworker.co.uk//art.php?id=25467