Ed Lines

I ONCE attended a management course where  delegates were ‘profiled’ by the type of fantasy car we would drive. Six of the seven colleagues at my table went for a red Ferrari. I plumped for Scooby Doo’s van.
I don’t know what that ‘fantasy’ said about me, except that I never made the van – forget the Ferrari – and now drive a scratty fiveyearold Mazda, with almost  as many miles on the clock as I have. That’s a lot of miles, regardless of when we were both registered.
But for all of my wheezing engine, retreads for knees, and the increasing need of a starter handle on a morning, I occasionally still find myself feeling as wet behind the ears as the Bridlington Belle. After it sunk.
This week was one such.
Prime Ministers have kissykissed up to Rupert Murdoch for years. PMs have done the same with the Harmsworth family (Daily Mail) the Barclay twins (Telegraph – although probably with less luck) and others at the Mirror and Guardian too. Forever. That’s not news.
And let’s face it – men with ministerial limos might be expected to seek the company of plutcocrats with Rolls Royce Silver Clouds. But fumbling about in the back seat of a Capri with a ginger bird from the typing pool, as in the case of Rebekah Brooks?
Dear, dear.

THE fact that coppers – even very senior ones – have ‘taken a drink’ is even less newsworthy.
When the first London Gazette emerged with ink still wet in 1666, there was probably a jug of mead in it for the local Yeoman of the Guard for the inside line on which idiot started that fire down Pudding Lane.
Beyond that, the City elders were probably festooned in free frock coats, horse brasses and even a nice new carriage, accompanied with a nodandawink tender for the rebuilding of St Paul’s or one of my favourite boozers, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, which has been a pub since 1538 and had to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of London.
Ever was it thus, ever shall it be.
But for the nation’s most senior policemen to be so insidiously in thrall to a manipulative arsewiggler like Mrs Brooks, and so cosy with journalistic nonentities like Andy Coulson and Neil Wallis? Staggering.
And so, so disappointing.
The Met chiefs were on the ‘take’ even though it wasn’t mafia type corruption. The seedy associations, favours and influence are now inarguable. How sad that such excellent officers should be lost for being so trivially dumb.
We also now know why Gordon Brown has been so furious (his clear insanity apart) – he wasn’t socially ‘acceptable’ enough to be part of Rebekah and the young Murdochs’ social set.
It signals to me that we can forget most of the rubbish about ‘daddy’ Rupert plotting global domination – this was about his kids deciding who gets in their Home Counties wineanddine set, like a cheap Jilly Cooper novel.
David and Sam Cameron, Tony Blair – they were so much more ‘Harry Potter’ than old oneeyed Gordon, the archetypal Hogwarts baddie. Voldemort without the magic (although he did turn gold into dust, selling half our reserves at $250 an ounce; it hit $1,600 this week!
But it’s no wonder that our national leadership on every level is so lightweight and ephemeral. Is there no gravitas, no moral compass, no one with backbone in public life?
Even cynical old me didn’t think it boiled down to something as selfishly pathetic and ‘small’ as this.
I must be wet.

There wouldn’t be many volunteers to rebuild Fleet Street today if it was burned to the ground, as in 1666.
I’m swimming upstream against piranha fish, crocodiles and 99% of British people when I go into bat for Rupert Murdoch on one level at least. If he hadn’t broken the diabolical print unions in the Wapping revolution of the 80s, half the newspapers in the UK wouldn’t be around today.
I doubt you’d have a Yorkshire Post – what’s left of it. A nastly little NGA union b*****d called George Gibson used to run that place like he was Genghis Khan. He once threatened to bring the building to a halt because I bent down to pick something off ‘his’ floor.
Sir Gordon Linacre, a great newspaperman, would not have dared take on Gibson and his bovver boys.
Really, that isn’t an antileft rant. The Spanish practices in printing were breathtaking. Murdoch, and to a lesser extent Eddie Shah and his Today paper, saved the industry.
So why don’t you hear the rest of the media thanking him? Because the antiMurdoch lobby is: a) jealous, b) smaller, and c) bloodthirsty. That’s why they are frothing like rabid dogs now with the BBC straining at the leash.
Not to understate this story folks; corruption and criminality are never acceptable – but nobody’s died.
Want to hack my mobile messages? Fill your boots. You’ll get an Indian call centre trying to flog me a new phone tariff and a bollocking from the wife over still being in the pub when the kids need their tea making.
It doesn’t make the hacking right, but doesn’t make it murder either.
So it’s ironic that the manipulating totty that is Rebekah Brooks should have brought the old man and a oncegreat newspaper to their knees when less able competitors failed.
I don’t know if Brooks will face charges or end up doing jail time, but she deserves something for her culpability in ruining both The Sun and News of the World.
I can’t believe she was unaware of the hacking, and if so she was equally culpable because an editor, above everything, asks questions.
And please, please don’t think, not for a minute, that a great many more bad eggs in the (nonMurdoch) national media weren’t involved in this carryon.
This story has legs left in it yet, methinks.

I WAS pleased to see Dewsbury East councillor Paul Kane speaking up about at least some of the underlying problems on his patch in Chickenley.
Statistics show that the Hazel/Walnut area of Chick is rock bottom of national figures on education, skills and training – and as he pointed out, throwing money at schools and infrastructure isn’t the simple answer.
Paul stood up and said we are breeding generations of young people who haven’t worked, have no intention of working, and have descended into a lazy existence of dependancy on the state.
Given that most of these people are typical Labour voters – because that is proudly and historically the party that has invested so much of taxpayers’ money in creating a servile benefits class that will underpin its powerbase – that is a courageous statement indeed.
It’s also absolutely bang on.
As Paul said upon walking round Chickenley Junior and Infants this week: “These bright young kids aren’t born expecting to sink into a life of nonachievement” and “it isn’t the super efforts of these teachers that is letting them down.”
The problem lies at home and that’s where it has to be tackled. Coun Kane and the senior people he’s rallied to the cause deserve our best wishes. They’ll need them.

CAN ANYONE help me? I’m looking to get in touch with Steve Hirst, a longtime journalist at the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds.
Old ‘silver fox’ Steve is still about because I saw him in Sainsburys not long ago, but I can’t find a phone number for him anywhere. So, if you know Steve can you ask him to give me a buzz at The Press on 01924 439498.

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