Thursday, October 10, 2013

With respect...


It was when he fired the phrase "with great respect" at the Member of Parliament for the Daily Mail that Lord Justice Leveson finally lost it.

Until then, M'Lud had gone along with the game, not answering the questions he said he wouldn't answer when they summoned him to inquire into his inquiry.

After all, it is well over a year since he finished his 'urgent' report into the future of the Street of Shame following the phone hacking scandal. And, it's a full 12 months since Prime Minister David Cameron said his recommendations would be implemented, "unless they were bonkers. Since then, of course Lord L has had padlocks fitted to his dustbins and checks under his car every time he goes out.

Meanwhile, having sounded out his advisors Messrs Murdoch and Dacre, Dave discovered there were "bonkers" bits and the back-peddling began. Now the owners and defenders of free speech plan to tell Parliament, his lordship and anyone else to sod off unless they get their own way. But, in the meantime maintaining the fiction of democracy meant Lord Leveson was up this morning before the Culture Select Committee.

It is fair to say that the Committee does have some previous when it comes to entertaining asides.
Who can forget the back-hander from the now-ex Mrs Murdoch to the nutter who cream-caked Rupert during his mea culpa before its members. Then there was the delight of Labour MP Tom Watson as he drove sales of his book with his contrived Cosa Nostra charge against Murdoch junior.

But, today was clearly the turn of Conservative Phillip Davies who appears in the public record as MP for Shipley in Yorkshire. It is worth mentioning his daytime job in case anyone listening to his quizzing of Lord L this morning thought he may have taken paid employment elsewhere.

To get some sense of Mr Davies it should be pointed out that the present Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow called him "a troglodyte." This may accord with certain of his views including scrapping the minimum wage for disabled workers to make them more employable.
The one-time bookie has also asked the Equalities Commission "why is it so offensive to black up your face" and called for an increase in the prison population. And, if that were not bad enough, Mr Davies has one of those unfortunate faces you think you may have seen on Crimewatch.

It was therefore with some pleasure that observers witnessed the clash between his Lordship, who clearly weighed every word he used, and Mr Davies, who clearly didn't.

Would the judge care to expand and explain his views on a list of issues which, by chance, appeared match a series of charges made against him by the Daily Mail? As Lord L demurred, minds were drawn back to the encounter with Paul Dacre at the inquiry as the Mail editor boiled over with anger at being questioned.

But, with the Mail editor absent it was the turn of Mr Davies to slide further and further down the Richter scale of rudeness. Leveson uttered his "with great respect" warning but Shipley's best, noticeably marooned by his colleagues just trundled on until he ran out of insults.

Having just wasted two and a half hours M'Lud did display the ghost a grin when carefully concluded that his report "is not bonkers" but that was all they were getting out of him.

Did he have any regrets? he was asked. " Yes. There are some typos," he said.