The shock resignation of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and the arrest and questioning for a whole day of Rebekah Brooks shows that the Murdoch scandal has now acquired a terrifying momentum that may be impossible to stop. 

Off the top of my head I cannot remember a single previous example of a Metropolitan Police Commissioner resigning in quite this way.  Inevitably the resignation will excite speculation about whether Sir Paul Stephenson knows or suspects things that have not yet been made public and has left his post before these things are exposed.  Whether or not this is the case the pressure upon other police officers and upon Assistant Commissioner Yates in particular can only now intensify and the chances must be strong that more resignations from within the Metropolitan Police will now follow. Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation must also make it more likely that this affair will end in criminal charges with some of those involved going to prison.

There is a tide in scandals as there is in the affairs of men and this one is now in flood.



  1. Alex, I agree with the tenor of all you've said on the Murdoch scandal. But it behoves all anti-Murdochites to articulate precisely where they stand on the breaking of the law in the service of investigative journalism. Many of those who oppose what Murdoch has come to stand for in this country support what they would consider 'serious' investigative journalism, even at the expense of law-breaking. Roughly speaking, I support breaking the law when this exposes a far more serious violation of the law. But how can one know what will be found before trying to find it? I say this as a former worker for Campaign Against the Arms Trade, of which the Head of Campaigns was at the time an employee of BAE Systems. I am and was not privy to whether CAAT had an equivalent mole in BAE Systems (though presumably the BAE mole was), but I did and do not disapprove of the method of planting moles per se. I find that in practice judges in this country do respond to certain pleas on the part of law-violators of serving a greater good – for example, the very leniant sentences given to CAAT protesters some five years ago when they broke into an arms factory and vandalised Hawk jets which were about to be shipped to Indonesia. Or the mild punishment given to the man who argued that he had knocked the head off the marble statue of Margaret Thatcher as a form of political protest. In relation to the News International/tabloid argument about the importance of free speech and free investigation – their point is not idle. Any opponent of New Int. has to be able to articulate, in legally intelligible terms, precisely when they consider the violation of the law in the name of investigation to be justifiable.

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