I write this post hours after James Murdoch on the instructions of his father announced the closure of the News of the World.
No one should be under any doubt of the purpose of this manoeuvre. It is to draw attention away from the fact that nothing has really changed. The News of the World will doubtless be replaced by a Sun on Sunday whilst the management of News International (including Rebeka Brooks), which bears ultimate responsibility for what has happened, remains in place. John Prescott was totally correct when he said that the closure of the News of the World punishes the innocent (the workers and reporters whose lives are bound up with the paper) whilst letting the guilty walk free.
Meanwhile the government has pressed ahead with its plan to conduct two separate inquiries into the scandal. The inquiry into the misconduct of the police will be conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, an organisation that I know well and which in my experience can be relied upon to protect the police. There is no word so far about the form or purpose of any other inquiry or who will head it. Nor is there any indication that the government is prepared to stop News International’s takeover of BSkyB. As I discussed in my earlier post the beneficiaries of these moves are Rupert Murdoch and News International.