Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Cameron, Rebekah, messages and horses

by ceebs Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:24:38 AM EST

For the last two weeks Chris Bryant, one of the MPs who has been holding the government's feet to the fire over phone hacking, has stood up at Prime Minister's Questions and asked David Cameron to reveal 150 emails between himself and Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, the two Murdoch ex-editors who are facing trial for a variety of charges. Each time Dodgy Dave has waved the request off on the grounds that Bryant leaked some information that should have been held privately by the Leveson Inquiry, and hence he won't reveal anything till Bryant apologises. However Bryant has already formally apologised to the house, so at some point this will all come to a head.

It has been revealed this week that Cameron will be away for the next two Prime Minister's Questions, so Bryant will have to wait as there is little point in asking a deputy and there we thought it would all lay quiet for a couple of weeks, coming back to the boil at the point where Rebekah and Andy were back facing the courts for the next procedural step.


However on Sunday morning the Daily Mail spalshed across its front page a story about two text messages that had been handed to the Leveson Inquiry, which has been updated over the next 24 hours.

Is Cameron hiding 130 texts with Rebekah? PM accused of withholding intimate exchanges as Downing St insists it didn't possess a single one | Mail Online

In one, Mr Cameron thanked Mrs Brooks for letting him ride one of her family's horses, saying it was `fast, unpredictable and hard to control but fun'.

She is the wife of racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, who was at Eton with the Prime Minister, and was a member of his exclusive circle of Oxfordshire friends known as the Chipping Norton set.

In another message, Mrs Brooks praised Mr Cameron's Tory Party conference speech in October 2009, saying: `Brilliant speech. I cried twice,' and pledged: `Will love "working together".'

Now the presentation of these emails are as if they've come straight from a Benny Hill episode by the media, or a 1970's Carry On style farce, treating both messages as if they are packed with euphemism, however the first one does look like its something straight from Horsey types keyboards. Although unless all of his friends call him CB it does seem a bit impersonal when talking about Dave's supposed best friend to his best friend's wife (another tick of evidence against the straightness of the police horse story). It could be that he's known as CB amongst friends (I know I am, which is where my username comes from) but it seems unlikely in talking to the guy's wife. But it just doesn't quite fit the image.

The second text set people's Euphemism Klaxon going with the emphasis placed around "working together" but it's all so much nothing. I haven't found anyone willing to go back and watch Dave's speech from 2009 to work out what were the two bits that made Rebekah break down and cry either.

Predictably the media has been going crazy today. There's an acknowledged cache of somewhere just over 40 SMS messages that come from Rebekah's Blackberry from May/June 2011, these are the ones she handed to the Leveson Inquiry, and one of which was read out during witnesses evidence. There is a second selection of her SMS messages that News International claims to have handed over to the Leveson Inquiry. The two emails in yesterday's Mail article are part of that cache, and there is a third set of around 130 emails between the three figures, which are said to be embarassing for Cameron. It may be that the Mail has confused the three stories to come up with the story of 130 SMS messages, or it may be that they do actually know the size of the store. Number 10's press office has denied the existence of 130 SMSs and the confusion between the two groups may be just enough to allow Downing Street an honest denial, because the Mail hasn't got it quite right.

So what does it all mean?

Well it was a non-story really, the most interesting bits were the bits you can work out from them, rather than the messages themselves.

There are only five sources for these emails, the first one we can almost certainly rule out, and that's David cameron and Number 10. You would think them being the source is something that there is a vanishingly small chance of happening. The second possibility is Rebekah herself, but according to her evidence given at the Leveson Inquiry she only has six weeks of messages and the time for that doesnt match with the content of the messages. The third option is that the police have been leaking to the Mail, but if that was the case, you would think that the re would be much more than just the two relatively innocuous text messages. The fourth source would be the Leveson Inquiry itself, and if someone from there was to do the leaking you'd think that similarly to the police, firstly they would leak more, and secondly it would be a risk that might damage the Inquiry's process.

This leaves one possibilty as being most likely, that News International is leaking its employees' emails to the Mail as part of the ongoing campaign against media regulation, a sort of "we know what is in the rest, and we're willing to leak them, you wouldn't want your premiership to get damaged" gangster style threat. If so this leaves News International once again in trouble. By passing on their employees' text messages, they are arguably in breach of the Data Protection Act once again, and there was their new management going to be all legal and straight from now on.

So I know which my choice would be, but your own personal measure of who holds the lead piping in the library may vary.

Why these two messages, well euphemism aside, the first appears all about the police horse. Let me suggest it runs this way: Dave is really not very good on a horse, but has a self-image of the horsey country squire. If both of these messages date from 2009 then that is before Rebekah lays her hands on the horse from the Met.

Perhaps Dave is a rider with delusions of competence, and with horses of the quality that Charlie had in his sable, Dave was at risk. So Rebekah rather than loose the guy who is going to give the Murdochs BskyB has to get a placid, unflappable nag for Dave to ride to fulfill his lord-and-squire fantasy, and who better to get something that doesn't frighten easily from than the Met.

The second, a "heavy handed regulate us and you could find yourself even more tightly attatched to criminals" threat. The papers having been taking shots at Dave since the Telegraph's evidence about a PR person pretending to be a cleaner in front of Leveson, which PrivateEye says is a direct reference to an incident earlier in Cameron's career.

So a vast scandal? No, but perhaps a hint at a couple of jigsaw pieces that maybe fit together in the story.

Display:
Milly Dowler police investigation is almost complete, says watchdog | UK news | guardian.co.uk

A report into a senior police officer accused of knowing that the News of the World had hacked Milly Dowler's phone is almost complete, the police watchdog has said, amid claims that its full publication would be delayed until 2014.

The report on Craig Denholm, the Surrey police deputy chief constable, who allegedly knew Milly's phone had been hacked by the now defunct tabloid in 2002 but took no action, is "nearing completion" and could be sent to the force this month, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said on Saturday.

It described as "speculation" reports that to avoid prejudicing any criminal trials the report's full publication would be pushed back to 2014, when Denholm would be eligible for retirement after 30 years' service.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:08:15 AM EST
And, of course, the Daily Mail will remain mute about the source of their leaks.

However, there's nothing Cameron can do about the Leveson report itself and, if he refuses to enact it, he's handing Labour a stick with which to beat him as it will be proof positive that's he's in the pockets of Murdoch.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:32:59 AM EST
absolutely, all he can hope for is enough MP's rebel to save him from that

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:41:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still think that between the Savile scandal, the hacking scandal, and the Tory paedophile/murderer scandal there's a not-so covert media war happening between the horrible people on Team Tabloid and the equally horrible people on Team Westminster - with various previous and current horrible people on Team BBC caught in the middle.

True motivations and likely outcomes remain opaque to me. But I wonder if Team Tabloid are hinting at further revelations to put pressure on Team Westminster to pull Leveson's teeth and let Rebekah and Coulson etc off the hook - never mind avoiding further action against possible interviewees higher up the food chain.

I continue to be bemused that the whole mess is in danger of spinning (sic) out of control from its own momentum, and that - if we're lucky - Team Tabloid and Team Westminster will take each other down, possibly doing serious damage to Team Royal, Team Plod, Team City and perhaps even Team Millbank along the way.

Allegedly.

Interesting times. (I know I keep saying that, but it happens to be true.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:46:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Tory paedophile/murderer scandal

Oh, come on, you're making that up.
No one called Blair a paedophile.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:53:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oh theres conspiracy theorists out there thinking that, but at the moment far more leaning towards a Thatcher based coverup.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:09:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there was a time last week where it seemed that Teams tabloid and Westminster might gang up on Team BBC over Savile so that they could bury the implications of Leveson under a long running inquiry of their shared hate object.

However, it seems that the moment has been lost as the Savile thing is now so widespread and looking into dark corners of government such as the non-inquiry in welsh children's homes etc, etc and etc again that we are now seeing the whole edifice of the Establishment mutual support structure beginning to, if not crumble, at least look decidedly shaky.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The role of the BBC re Savile was monstruously hyped, and I say that without sympathy for the Beeb.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If by monstrously hyped you mean they gave him an almost endless series of high profile media front person jobs because he was 'box office', possibly.

The question is whether managers were discouraged from too much questioning because he was box office, or because of other reasons.

It would be a win for Team Westminster to persuade everyone that the nastiness is specific to luvvies and entertainers and it's all our own fault for liking crude and saucy people - as some hack at the LRB (I think) argued a few weeks back.

The more difficult questions - the close links with royalty and two prime ministers, the freedom of Broadmoor and various hospitals, the fact that he was only civilian to be awarded a green beret by the Marines, the fact that he was very friendly with Peter Sutcliffe and one of Sutcliffe's murders happened within a hundred yards of Savile's flat in Leeds - are perhaps less likely to be given the attention they deserve.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean the sheer amount of BBC BBC BBC in media accounts since the story broke. Savile wasn't just a BBC figure, as you point out.  
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 11:34:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tory paedophile/murderer scandal

I read the BBC story you linked to about child abuse and I didn't see anything about murder. What are we talking about, exactly?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Messham story is one of many persistent rumours linking organised child abuse with snuff porn at various children's homes around the UK, most famously in Wales - which is the current focus - and Jersey (Haut de la Garenne) which seems to have been whitewashed.

It's difficult to work out what the truth is, but given that the allegations of paedophilia seemed like ridiculous paranoia ten years ago, and given that there's no money in it for the victims - at least not according to their solicitors - and also that Tom Watson, the MP in the YouTube clip I posted last week, has posted he's worried about his own safety, it's not unreasonable to ask for a formal investigation to try to find out just what was going on.

There's also the Dutroux story in Belgium which is possibly somewhat similar, and further allegations from Luxembourg.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:01:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Euphemisms eh? Where to start?

DC thanks CB for the loan of his ... "horse".

Darling, I "cried" twice.

Falling headlong into the Tabloid Trap. Carry on...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:06:37 AM EST
Sometimes a horse is just a horse.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:28:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A woman is only a woman
But a good horse is a ride

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't possibly think Our Dave and Rebeka-a-a-ah! were playing tiddleywinks?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Together?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:01:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are you suggesting he used his tiddle on her wink?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I speak for most of the British population when I say 'Eeeeuwwww.'

But that's politics, I guess. (Er - allegedly, of course.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To insist that it was all purely sexual. And that references to "working together" were about "working out" together. No relation to politics or trafficking in influence.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:04:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron told by MPs to stop hiding Rebekah Brooks texts - Politics - News - London Evening Standard

Parliamentarians in all three main parties want David Cameron to publish a cache of text messages between him and former Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks, the Standard can reveal.

Several Conservative MPs privately think the Prime Minister should clear the air by opening up the cosy messages to public scrutiny rather than keep them secret.

One Conservative MP told the Standard: "I think more should be revealed and the pressure will intensify until they are published.

"From the point of view of the issues raised at the Leveson inquiry, the latest leak -- where Rebekah Brooks talks about them `working together' -- that is the most relevant."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:59:35 AM EST
What troubles me is the apparently-universally-agreed idea that if you send somebody an e-mail or a text, then that is automatically part of the official record. That approach undermines the Internet as a way to provide remote communication comparable to "air interface" communication--i.e. voice.

If corrupt PM and corrupt rich person get together at a bar and talk about stuff, then unless there is a hidden tape recorder, there's no way to put that discussion into the record. Maybe that is good or maybe it is bad.

But if the same corrupt PM and corrupt rich person send the exact same message via SMS, suddenly it morphs into a digital message that is automatically public information. I suppose they could use e-mail and encrypt the text, but that seems a bit burdensome. Why is a text automatically a public record?

Not sure how to reconcile this...

by asdf on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:40:50 AM EST
Why is a text automatically a public record?

Because of its permanence. There is a record of it. While there is no record of spoken words, and thus they're not in the record.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 10:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the good old days, what passed through the aether was also temporary, so radio was comparable to voice. Nowadays everything on the air is recorded, so apparently any two-way wireless communication is a candidate for being a record.

That's a technological argument. So if there is a network of microphones that collect every spoken word, and cameras collecting every sign language contortion, and those are recorded, they become records. The only thing that keeps anything out of the record is a lack of adequate recording technology.

by asdf on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What other argument do you want, than technological? As what is physically possible changes, so must legal concepts.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:16:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fast, unpredictable and hard to control but fun

If I described a horse that way it would mean I was shitting myself from the moment I got up on it and was bloody glad to live long enough to get down from it.  "Fun" normally encapsulates the first three ... sounds very like he was put up on a thoroughbred that was beyond his skills.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:15:30 PM EST
Thats pretty much how i thought

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:31:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is how I would have described our mare when I was 9 years old and she got her head and galloped off with me astride. I mostly kept my feet in the stirrups and held onto the saddle horn and her mane. I was very glad when she slowed to a walk.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:34:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you were 9 years of age, maybe. The only experienced adult I know who might describe a horse like that hasn't learned one thing about riding in the ten years I've known her. And she's been riding for at least a decade more than I have.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:48:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was in my mid 30s a friend and his wife had a horse in Topanga Canyon, a rustic, mountainous part of Los Angeles. They were of the opinion that she was too skittish to ride. He was showing me the horse and she was beside a platform about four foot high next to the coral. I sat down on the platform next to the unsaddled horse, patted it for a while and then just slipped onto her bareback. My friend said: "Well, I'll be damned!" Horses know. When I was 9 and wanted to ride our horse I had to talk my father into putting on the bridle, (I could get the saddle on her), and then riding her around the pasture a ways. Then she would be cooperative and walk nicely with me and who ever else I had up behind me. But she would not let me put on the bridle.

The time I discussed above, we had friends over and they had an 11 year old daughter with them. She helped me get the bridle on. We tied a rope around the mare's neck and tied it short to a fence post. That kept her head where I could get to it from a box. After getting the bridle on I got into the saddle and asked Anita to throw a rock at the old workhorse stallion that had been following our mare around. I didn't have a really good understanding of the phrase "in heat". She threw the rock, the stallion ran, and our horse and I ran after him with me pulling on the bridle to no avail.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:42:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Fun with horses" is when the sleepy old mare on the dude ranch steps into a bee's nest and runs off with the clueless vacationing city folk...
by asdf on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]