13/07/2011 Newsnight


13/07/2011

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.


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The phone hacking scandal has sunk Rupert Murdoch's plans to take

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control of Britain's biggest pay TV broadcaster. What else has it done?

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To how we think about politician, about the press, about the police.

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This studio contains 27 people who voted for the three major parties

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at the last election, but each of whom is unclear who they will vote

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for next time. We are asking them to pass judgment tonight. I will be

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asking a cabinet minister how they could even have contemplated

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letting News Corp increase their role in the life of the nation. Our

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audience will get a chance to tell panel of MPs what they think of

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their leaders. And we have two keen political observers to assess the

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damage done to politics and to journalism.

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Good evening, it was another day of surprise, disbelief and anger, all

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major parties agreed Rupert Murdoch's organisation should not

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be able to take full control of Sky Television, and he backed off,

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withdrawing the bid. The task of the judicial inquiry into media

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practice was made public, and the ambition to have a thoughtful, non-

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partisan debate in parliament didn't last long. First Michael

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The horrors that parliament has endured in recent times, not least

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the scandal over MPs' expenses, this was a day the House of Commons

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asserted its authority. Uniting to defy one of the most powerful

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institutions in the world. Questions to the Prime Minister.

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Question Time showed how fast this story has moved. Having called Andy

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Coulson a friend last Friday, David Cameron today had a marketedly -

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markedly different tone. Of course I sought assurances and received

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assurances from Andy Coulson, those were assurances, not just given at

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the time to me, but also given subsequently to the select

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committee and to a criminal case under oath. So these were

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repeatedly given. Let me say again for the avoidance of any doubt, if

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she is assurances turn out not to be true, then it is not just that

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he shouldn't have worked in Government, it is that he should,

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like others, face the full force of the law.

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Next, Mr Cameron told MPs that Lord Justice Levison, no, not him, would

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chair his new judicial inquiry into phone hacking, the press, the

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police, politicians and much more besides. Clearly there are two

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pieces of work that have to be done here, first, we need fall

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investigation into wrongdoing in the press and the police, including

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the failure of the first politics investigation. Second, we need a

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review of regulation of the press. We would like to get on with both

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these elements as quickly as possible, while being mindful of

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the on going criminal investigations. After listening

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carefully, we have decided the best way to proceed is with one inquiry,

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but in two parts. The Prime Minister then returned to

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Downing Street to meet the family of the murdered schoolgirl, Milly

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Dowler. Perhaps the most shocking victims of the phone hacking

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scandal. As the Dowlers were telling the PM that News Corp's bid

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for BSkyB should be stopped, it suddenly was. News Corp has

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withdrawn its bid for BSkyB, that in the last couple of moments.

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news might have meant this afternoon's Commons debate on BSkyB

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turned into a damp squib, but then came a dramatic speech by Gordon

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Brown, only his second in the House since leaving Downing Street.

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Delivered with all guns blazing. Those at News International who

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took the freedom of the press as a license for abuse, who then

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cynically manipulated our support of that vital freedom, as their

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justification, and then callously used the defence of a free press as

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the banner under which they marched in step, I say, with members of the

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criminal underworld. It was this next su, this criminal media nexus,

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claiming to be on the side of the law-abiding citizen, but standing

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side-by-side with criminals against our citizens. As Tories taunted him

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about his failure in office to contain the Murdoch empire, Mr

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Brown said he too had tried to launch a judicial inquiry on phone

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hacking by News International. In an astonishing attack on his

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cabinet secretary, Sir Gus oh dol done national, still in office, he

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listed the reasons O'Donnell had given in a memo to block it. That

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while there were some facts, there was deliberate confusion by News

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International, the select committee didn't believe the practices were

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still continuing, and didn't meet the test of urgent public concern,

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that time had elapsed and evidence may have been destroyed, that the

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News of the World and individuals had already been punished in their

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resignations and jail terms, that there was no evidence of systemic

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failure in the police, and any way, all the decisions had been checked

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with the Crown Prosecution Service. That targeting the News of the

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World could be deemed to be politically motivated because it

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was too close to the general election and would inevitably raise

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questions over the motivation and urgency of an inquiry. Whereupon a

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Tory backbencher accused Brown of failing toe tackle illegal press

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activities against - failing to tackle illegal press activities

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against them. In conjunction with members of the then Government

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party in this House, conspired to smear Lord Ashcroft, and they...

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And they illegally ...members opposite, members opposite think

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there is one law for some, and one law for others. They illegally

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bagged bank accounts to try to undermine Her Majesty's opposition,

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he knew about it then, why was nothing done?

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Mr Speaker, I have to say to the House, I'm surprised that this

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debate, which started with our desire to protect the lives of

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innocent children, should end up with the Conservative Party more

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interested in defending Lord Ashcroft.

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Brown's speech was so partisan as to endanger the cross-party

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consensus, though the vote was unanimous. One of the remaining

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interesting questions tonight is whether Rupert Murdoch, James

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Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, will respond to the invitation to come

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and answer questions before the Commons Culture Committee next

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Tuesday. Tonight the chairman of that committee, John Whittingdale,

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told MPs, if they don't respond soon, he may come to the House and

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take the unusual step of seeking powers to force them to do so. It

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was surely Rupert Murdoch's worst day in Britain, since arriving as a

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student 60 years ago, made worse by senators in Washington urging an

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inquiry there too, into whether his papers hacked into phones of the

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victims of the September 11th attacks. With us now, put up by the

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Government, not because he's Transport Secretary, but because

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there is nothing he likes more than batting on a sticky wicket, is

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Philip Hammond. Has your view about whether Rupert Murdoch should play

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a bigger role in the media life of this country changed in the last

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mortgage fight? - fortnight? Anybody who is associated with

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wrongdoing has no role to play. your view changed in the last

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fortnight? We have a policy of innocent until proven guilty. We

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have a police inquiry and now a judicial inquiry into what went

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wrong in the Murdoch empire and elsewhere in the media. I think

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when people can see all the facts they will form their own judgment.

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I'm asking if you formed your judgment, you haven't formed a

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judge that he is anything other than he was a fortnight ago?

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Clearly we have all started to form judgment, but I think it is wrong

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to publicly make statements before we have heard all the evidence, and

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before the police inquiry is completed, and the judicial inquiry

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is completed. Let's be frank about this, had the Guardian not

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disclosed that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked, there would have been

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none of this hoo-ha, would there? Quite right. And that hasn't

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changed your view of him? Clearly the fact that we have only

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uncovered what has been going on, if you like, by a happy accident,

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shows that there is something wrong with the way the press is regulated,

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the way the press is managed in this country, and that is one of

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the things that the inquiry has to look at. But it wasn't a happy

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accident that this was discovered? You could have found out at any

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time, the police could have found out at any time, but they didn't?

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Obviously there has been a police inquiry in the past that has failed

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and one of the things the inquiry will be looking at is why that

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police inquiry failed to get to the truth. As far as you are concerned

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you haven't changed your view of the Murdoch organisation. Let me

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ask you this, do you think broadly speaking Rupert Murdoch has been a

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force for good in this country? the basis of what we can see now,

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that looks rather doubtful. So you have changed your view? Jeremy, you

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don't know what my view was last week or last month. Your view would

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be that he should be given the benefit of the doubt? Everybody

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should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. There are some very

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serious accusations of wrongdoing around the Murdoch organisation,

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but what the inquiry want to look at, what the police investigation

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will want to look at is who knew what when. Did you make these

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anxieties of your's known to the rest of the cabinet? At what point.

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I was going to ask the next question, first of all did you, and

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when did you? I haven't actually discussed these issues in cabinet

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at all. We had a discussion yesterday about the situation that

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we find ourselves in, that the state of play. The Prime Minister

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outlined to the cabinet yesterday his proposals for an inquiry that

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he has set out to parliament today. That now has to go forward. We need

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to get to the bottom of what has happened, not just the specifics of

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this cautious but the much wider issues. We are sitting here this

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evening, talking about the ish uets this evening and people will want

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to - issues this evening and people will want to know whether the rot

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stops with the Murdoch organisation or has spread to the other parts of

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the British media. We hope the inquiry will discover that, the

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particular point about the News Corp element to all of this, is the

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BSkyB question. Supposing Murdoch mur comes back to you in say a year

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or - Rupert Murdoch comes back to you in a year or so's time and

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makes another bid for BSkyB, with the anxieties you clearly entertain

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about him, would he be a fit person or his organisation a fit

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organisation to take it over? year or two time we will have the

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benefit of a completed police investigation, and the inquiry that

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the Prime Minister has announced today. So we will all, the public

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and politicians, we will all know much more about the facts. We will

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be in a position to make that judgment. I hate to be boring, but

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the Government has to operate within the law, and under the

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present law, there are two tests that apply around ownership of

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media, one is the fit and proper test, which Ofcom is the guardian

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of, and the other is the plurality in the media test, which the

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Government is the guardian of, in the case of a proposal for a

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takeover or merger. So we just have to wait and see? Will Murdoch has

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withdrawn his bid. So the immediate problem has gone away. We will now

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find out, through a process of a police investigation, and a

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judicial inquiry, exactly what has happened. If at some point in the

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future, this is entirely hypothetical, if at some point in

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the future, Mr Murdoch were to return, and seek again to take over

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BSkyB, we would then able to respond with the benefit of the

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outcome of that inquiry in that police investigation, and possibly

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it may be the case that in the course of that process we come to

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the conclusion, we collectively come to the conclusion that we need

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to change the law that governs media ownership, and issues around

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concentration of power in the media. Several people this afternoon have

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been talking about this, and I think quite likely that will be one

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of the issues that comes out of this inquiry.

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Let's get some sense of how live an issue this is, it last electrified

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clearly the politicians of this country, and parliament believes

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that it was acting on behalf of worried citizens, when today, more

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or less, everybody in the House was on the same side on this issue. Are

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you, as a group of committed voters but undecided how you are going to

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vote next time. Are you electrified by it, are you worried by it?

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Anyone want to kick the ball off, yes, you sir? I think the general

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consensus from the general public is hacking has been going on a long,

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long time. Not just recently, and probably not just by the News of

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the World. In terms of being mortified by it, not really, it is

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something I expected,s - it is something I probably had my own

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conspiracy theories about it myself. I'm mortified by the fact they have

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been hacking soldiers' phones and Milly Dowler. You question whether

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those two cases hadn't come up whether we would be in the

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situation there now. Celebrities' phones have been hacked and nothing

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was done about it, is it only the recent hackings. Who sells worried

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about it? I'm concerned that - else is worried about it?

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concerned it appears to have resolved itself in a matter of

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minutes from being a universal of view of doing something about it,

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to becoming part of political squabble. David Cameron seemed to

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be in no doubt when he first spoke that there was a case to answer for

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Murdoch, before the inquiry, when he said it was incone receivable

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that he was a fit and proper person - inconceivable that he was a fit

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and proper person to take over BSkyB. Who else is worried about

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this relationship between the press, or certain elements of the press,

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and the way politics works in this country? The way that the

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politicians seem to have been completely craven. The closeness of

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the relationship, the paliness of it at times, the media Barons and

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their influence, all to be inquire into by the judge? It is a deeply

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unhealthy situation, it means the politicians don't seem to stand on

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principle, they stand, they never wanted to upset Murdoch and because

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he might be influential in telling the voters who they should vote for.

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Were you shock bid what you learned? We have known for a long

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time that there has been this very deep connection between the Murdoch

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empire, in particular, and politicians. And other empires too,

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probably? Yes, but he seems to be the stand out person, everybody

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talks about Murdoch and News Corp. And he is also, you know, News of

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the World is a very big paper. I think it is very unhealthy. I hope

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that it means that politicians...Does Anybody here

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read News of the World? headlines. You are prepared to

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admit for it, congratulations for your Hon estity? If I'm reading the

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papers on the Sunday, I get a nuets news and an ap observer, and then I

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read the news use - News of the World, and I read the News of the

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World and flick through the Observer. Where do you imagine

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where all the stories come from? never put that much thought into it.

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It seems like a load of nonsense. When I read papers like that it is

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with friends over Sunday lunch, it is more like reading out bits of

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nonsense, it is kind of like a comic. Aren't you partly culpable

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in this? Now, I suppose. Actually no, because I had no idea of that.

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I was very shocked by it. You are part of the appetite? But I didn't

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have any idea that type of thing was going on, do you know what I

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mean. I do realise that there is shoddy journalism, but I suppose I

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never really put that much thought into T I'm not sorry, I enjoyed

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reading the News of the World. Would you confess? I wouldn't

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confess to reading that newspaper, I wouldn't even mention the name.

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What I was going to say is that, in a way, we as the readership, have

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created that monster. It is we, not me myself, but other people, I

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never bought that newspaper, they went and bought the Sun, they went

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and bought the News of the World, and they created this monster, and

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all these politicians felt that they had to cosy up to him. So it

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is our fault as well as the politicians.

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You are not here as a spokesman for News of the World, you have a close

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relationship with the Times, I wonder if this public perception

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about the closeness of the relationship is actually, how does

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it seem from the other side of the fence where you are? I certainly

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think a bit like with MPs' expenses, there is a goch cha moment. People

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understand - gotcha moment, people understood something they didn't

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like was going on, they were leery about the tabloid press even when

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they enjoyed it. Now there are unsavoury things, which is a bit

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beyond people really understood was happening. I was completely

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astonished and appalled by the Milly Dowler example. But they did

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realise that something they didn't like was happening. I think that

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the element of surprise, there is an element of surprise about the

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individual acts, but not, I think, about the overall relationship or

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the way that tabloids operated. What's it like inside Wapping these

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days? I think everyone who works for the Times is very dismayed. We

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are dismayed as human beings, but we are also dismayed to be employed

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by people who were also employing people who did these things. You

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can't but be moved as a human being and also very angry about it. And

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worried about the consequences for the company as well. As far as your

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job is public opinion, are the public really exercised about this?

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I think it is important to keep it in perspective, yes it matters, of

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course it matters, but actually, a lot of other things matter a lot

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more to people. I was doing focus groups last week, this wasn't even

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mentioned. When I prompted them, they talked about it a little bit

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and then they moved on to the things that really did matter, like

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their jobs. I'm shower everybody in this studio is more concerned about

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their own family finances than they are about Murdoch's family finances,

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really. That's how people make their political decisions in the

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end, is on the things that affect them, it is not so surprising.

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you looked into people's attitudes to the relationship between what

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they read as we have very frankly confessed to over there in a

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tabloid newspaper, and what's gone on to get that story and what it

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does generally to the relationship between the citizen and the

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powerful. I think as this lady suggested, actually, people don't

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scrutinise that carefully, they don't think that hard about where

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the story came from. But I agree with Danny, I'm not sure there

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would be that many surprised. Also people would be not that surprised

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about what has been revealed about the proximity about the

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relationship of some politicians and the media as well. I think

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people would say, yep, that's just what we thought. Is that healthy?

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don't think it is, no. What do you think? They would think it wasn't.

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Do you think it is healthy? relationship, actually I think that

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a huge amount is put into the idea that because some people have

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cocktail parties together it influences what the newspapers say.

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In the end I think the newspapers are trying to please their readers,

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and they are trying to respond to their readers' instincts. For

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example, I think if there wasn't a Murdoch-owned press in this country,

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it doesn't mean there wouldn't be lots of newspapers that took a

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tough line on crime and were Euro- sceptic, because they are chasing

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readers and that is what readers think. I think actually the

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relationship between politicians and the press isn't as important an

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issue as stated. What I'm most concerned about, any journalists

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would be, is press methods, making sure the press methods are not

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allowed to exist and as much light is cast on them, and as much done

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about possible. I know you have to go, do you want parting shot on the

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relationship, the closeness between media Barons, it has always gone on,

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between media barons and the political people in this country?

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It has always gone on, and possibly I think the perception is that it

0:21:510:21:55

is intensified over the last couple of decades and clearly now this

0:21:550:21:58

inquiry is going to lay bear what has been going on, and the

0:21:580:22:03

closeness of that relationship, and I think people will feel a lot more

0:22:030:22:07

comfortable if we lance that boil, and the public are able to feel

0:22:070:22:11

confident that there is just that bit more distance between the media

0:22:110:22:16

organisations, and the politicians. Let's be honest, the culture that

0:22:160:22:20

was established over the last 15 or so years, was one, and certainly

0:22:200:22:25

this is the way people in Westminster have thought about it,

0:22:250:22:29

that the question is, is it possible to get elected without the

0:22:290:22:32

support of the Murdoch press? And certainly it has been common wisdom

0:22:320:22:37

in Westminster that you need the support of the Murdoch press to be

0:22:370:22:39

successful in politics, that is pretty dangerous. Is that true or

0:22:390:22:43

is it a myth? I think it is a complete myth. I think that Neil

0:22:430:22:47

Kinnock, for example, lost in 1992, because people didn't want him to

0:22:470:22:51

be Prime Minister. The reason that Tony Blair moved towards the murd

0:22:510:22:56

mur press is because he could - the Murdoch press, is because he could

0:22:560:23:02

see the Sun was saying things he wanted Labour to be connected with.

0:23:020:23:08

Tony Blair wrote a personal letter to Stuart Higgins praising him for

0:23:080:23:12

the Sun's magnificent contribution? If anyone thinks at the end of this

0:23:120:23:14

people won't want to have good personal relationships with the

0:23:150:23:19

people writing about them, then I think they are being naive. I don't

0:23:190:23:23

expect anyone thinks that will happen. If anyone thinks Tony Blair

0:23:230:23:26

will stop sending thank you letters to people they are not

0:23:260:23:28

understanding it. Politicians of all parties have

0:23:280:23:33

seen this scandal as an opportunity for parliament to reassert itself,

0:23:330:23:36

by giving voice to widespread revulsion felt by the public. The

0:23:360:23:40

other institution being tarnished is the police, who not only failed

0:23:400:23:46

to mount proper investigations of alleged wrongdoing, but made two,

0:23:460:23:49

including in their ranks, officer who took money from News

0:23:490:23:55

International. While a police officer, did you

0:23:550:23:59

ever receive payment from any news organisation? Gooden, absolutely

0:23:590:24:05

not. I can't believe you suggested that. Had I known in July 2009,

0:24:050:24:10

what I now know, I would have made different decision, and I expressed

0:24:100:24:16

clearly and publicly, my regrets. Your evidence today is unconvincing,

0:24:160:24:19

and there are more questions to be asked about what happened when you

0:24:190:24:28

conducted this review. Right now who has been surprised,

0:24:280:24:32

shocked, appalled, maybe not surprised, by what we have learned

0:24:320:24:38

in the last few days about how the police failed to investigate these

0:24:380:24:44

allegations, and the accusations of policemen taking money.

0:24:440:24:51

Has anyone got a view on that. I have to say, I was very shocked,

0:24:510:24:59

yeah, and surprised as well, by the police and the collusion, and about

0:24:590:25:04

the alleged bribe taking as well, I was very shocked. You just didn't

0:25:040:25:08

imagine it? I didn't think it was possible. I just didn't think it

0:25:090:25:14

was possible for the police to allegedly take bribes from the

0:25:140:25:22

press, I was very shocked. Anyone else share that view? I was

0:25:220:25:26

shocked but I was more shocked by the failure of the first

0:25:260:25:33

investigation. Because the amount of evidence they had at their

0:25:330:25:39

disposal, and the way that seemed to be dropped. Again these are

0:25:390:25:43

allegations and this may be proved in the future what has really

0:25:430:25:47

happened. It is incontravertable that they had the evidence and they

0:25:470:25:55

failed to act upon it. We have never had an answer to that. These

0:25:550:26:01

were very senior policemen indeed testifying yesterday, upon whose

0:26:010:26:07

shoulders rest our security, from perhaps terrorist attacks, did that

0:26:070:26:11

surprise you? Yeah, it did surprise me, it is easy to be cynical about

0:26:110:26:16

it, the police I suppose is a microcosim of all sorts of people,

0:26:160:26:21

and sooner or later there is going to be a few bent ones, and I'm more

0:26:210:26:24

interested in weedling the ones out so we can look at the police force

0:26:240:26:29

and try not to lose faith with it entirely, and have a blinkered view

0:26:290:26:35

of them as all corrupt. Because they are obviously not. Anyone else

0:26:350:26:42

got a view on that? I think the inquiry that was uncovering all the

0:26:420:26:48

evidence was blunted to begin with. I think that was the big shame of

0:26:480:26:57

it, because it was only sort of set to do a certain job, and it wasn't

0:26:570:27:01

set to protect the public from phone hacking and all the things

0:27:010:27:07

that we have had come out since then. I think that when an inquiry

0:27:070:27:14

is set up it should have a more broader scope so that it can do

0:27:140:27:19

what it is supposed to do, which is protect us. Let's move on to the

0:27:190:27:23

party leaders now, the party leaders who were happy enough, only

0:27:230:27:29

a couple of weeks or so ago to take Rupert Murdoch's hospitality, are

0:27:290:27:35

now competing with each other about the most robust of defying them. We

0:27:350:27:39

thought about getting a focus group before the scandal blew up, by

0:27:390:27:46

common consent it has changed what people think of the party leaders.

0:27:460:27:50

Rupert Murdoch is now in town in London seeking to sort things out.

0:27:510:27:55

I would simply say to him, look how people feel about this. Look how

0:27:550:28:00

the country has reacted with revulsion to the revelations. So do

0:28:000:28:04

the decent and sensible thing, and reconsider. As Prime Minister,

0:28:050:28:08

people want to know, are you going to sort this issue out, inquiries

0:28:080:28:12

to get to the truth, a proper police investigation, no cover-up

0:28:120:28:16

of what might have happened in previous police investigations, and

0:28:160:28:20

yes, some frankness about what the politicians got wrong themselves.

0:28:200:28:24

He hasn't shown the leadership necessary on BSkyB, and he hasn't

0:28:240:28:28

shown the leadership necessary on News International, isn't it the

0:28:280:28:32

case if the public is to have confidence in him he has to calm

0:28:320:28:38

the thing most difficult, he has to accept he made a catastrophic error

0:28:380:28:42

of judgment by bringing Andy Coulson into the heart of his

0:28:420:28:52
0:28:520:28:53

Downing Street machine. Who thinks a particular party

0:28:530:28:58

leader had his finger on the pulse this week? No-one was impressed by

0:28:580:29:06

anybody. Who was unimpressed by somebody? They all had their

0:29:060:29:10

fingers on the pulse in identifying something that was universally felt,

0:29:100:29:14

and reacted to it in different ways. I thought the only leader who has

0:29:140:29:18

actually come out of it with an advantage has been Ed Miliband,

0:29:180:29:21

because he has been able to take the initiative for the first time

0:29:210:29:28

in about a year. It is striking, Danny when you look at three weeks

0:29:290:29:32

ago, and when you look at what people are saying about Ed Miliband,

0:29:320:29:35

and you compare what they are saying now. This has been something

0:29:350:29:40

on which he has made a lot of progress in leadership terms?

0:29:410:29:44

very interesting, I'm genuinely interested as if that is a view

0:29:440:29:50

outside the Westminster village. know t the polling tells us it is.

0:29:500:29:55

Who thinks Ed Miliband has had, made progress in the last week or

0:29:550:30:01

so? Who cares about who the leader is, they change them very frequent,

0:30:010:30:05

and it makes no difference who the leader is. The leader is sitting on

0:30:050:30:09

the back of a tiger, he has no control.

0:30:090:30:13

Was anyone impressed by the way David Cameron dealt with this?

0:30:130:30:18

I come back on the Miliband point. You might as well, nobody else

0:30:180:30:21

wants to speak. You are having to push the boulder heavily to get any

0:30:210:30:25

response at all on that. That's because I just don't think that how

0:30:250:30:30

the leaders reacted on this will be a determining factor, even next

0:30:300:30:35

week. It is very, very important for journalists and everyone is

0:30:350:30:39

shocked by the revelation, but whether they think this is really

0:30:390:30:42

about the press or particular politician, I do doubt that. I know

0:30:420:30:47

that people inside politics have taken this very strong view that it

0:30:470:30:51

has been transformative for Ed Miliband. I wonder if that is true.

0:30:510:30:56

You are quite right the Westminster village is agog and the rest of the

0:30:560:30:59

world isn't, the audience are barring that out. It is fact that

0:30:590:31:06

Ed Miliband's ratings have improved. Some have. He has been impressive

0:31:060:31:09

on it, it isn't a judgment about him, it is jaument about how

0:31:090:31:13

important people think that is. This isn't an issue that matters

0:31:130:31:16

much in people's lives, they want to see Ed Miliband making progress

0:31:160:31:20

on things that do matter to them, I guess.

0:31:200:31:30
0:31:300:31:30

We can talk now to our panel of MPs, Louis Minch from the Conservatives,

0:31:300:31:33

Tessa Jowell from Labour, and Simon Hughes from the Liberal Democrats.

0:31:340:31:38

We heard Gordon Brown say today he was desperate to mount the sort of

0:31:380:31:43

investigation David Cameron is now going to mount into how the press

0:31:430:31:49

act, did you obstruct him, how can Cameron do it and Brown couldn't?

0:31:490:31:53

think the way Gordon delivered his extremely powerful speech was also

0:31:530:31:57

very heavily affected by the personal hurt that he felt about

0:31:570:32:00

the revelation about his own children. That has nothing to do

0:32:000:32:05

with why he couldn't mount an investigation? He was very close to

0:32:050:32:09

the election. When you are close to an election, it is right that this

0:32:090:32:16

is the case, what even prime ministers can do is very limited by

0:32:160:32:20

the proximity of the election and not getting unfair political

0:32:200:32:24

advantage simply because you are in Government. So I listened quite

0:32:240:32:31

carefully, I hadn't seen the advice that Gus O'Donnell gave him, but I

0:32:310:32:34

listened very carefully to what Gordon Brown gave, and it was

0:32:340:32:37

cautious advice, informed much more about the proximity of the election.

0:32:370:32:46

But I think, I just wanted to say this, I'm very struck by just how

0:32:460:32:51

somber everybody feels about this. It very much reflects with a

0:32:510:32:55

discussion that I have had with people that I represent in my own

0:32:550:32:59

constituency, that it is a whole lot of things coming together, a

0:32:590:33:06

collapse of confidence in the media. People feeling pretty shocked about

0:33:070:33:09

what appears to have been the behaviour of the police, the

0:33:090:33:13

banking crisis and so forth. But increasingly what people feel is

0:33:130:33:16

they just have to look after themselves, and their families so,

0:33:160:33:22

the people they rely on, rather than these institutions, that are

0:33:220:33:26

intended to protect. I think that Ed Miliband has actually understood

0:33:260:33:31

how people feel, and I think that what is really powerful about what

0:33:310:33:38

he has done is to lead...Is to lead the argument. This is very much

0:33:380:33:42

going on. You haven't interrupted me yet. I was wondering where you

0:33:420:33:46

were going next! To lead the argument which is above party

0:33:460:33:50

politics. That is a fair point to let someone else have a shout. It

0:33:500:33:54

raises the question why your leader has been so off the pace on this?

0:33:540:33:58

He is the person announcing the judicial inquiry. If we look at the

0:33:580:34:04

relationship. All the running has been made by Miliband bapd - Ed

0:34:040:34:08

Miliband and Nick Clegg? It was the Prime Minister, I don't agree, we

0:34:080:34:12

have a judicial inquiry, one that Labour couldn't do. It was close to

0:34:120:34:15

the election, so why wasn't it announced before the election. Why

0:34:150:34:18

wait until before the last minute when News International withdrew

0:34:180:34:22

their support to say they would like an inquiry. David Cameron has

0:34:220:34:25

announced a package of measures that will begin to restore some

0:34:250:34:28

confidence and it will be a long time before it is fully restored.

0:34:280:34:32

One of the most important is that from now on, whenever a politician,

0:34:320:34:35

a senior Government official and minister has a meeting with a

0:34:350:34:40

member of the press, they will have to log that, so no more secret

0:34:400:34:44

meetings, cosy chats, everything open and above board, that is a

0:34:440:34:49

reform that is long overdue, when people know when their politicians

0:34:490:34:52

are meeting the press they will feel more confident. Simon Hughes,

0:34:530:34:57

your leader in all of this, he hasn't been very visible, has he?

0:34:580:35:01

He is the deputy Prime Minister, not the Prime Minister, he has been

0:35:010:35:04

clear, I will be very partisan about this. We have said for 17

0:35:040:35:08

years as a party that Murdoch had too much power and influence, we

0:35:080:35:12

have sought tole change Labour to get them to change the Competition

0:35:120:35:16

Act which, they refused to do, to deal with newspaper pricing, two

0:35:160:35:20

years before the election we called for a judicial inquiry. Ever since

0:35:210:35:24

the Culture Committee in 2003 said this was widespread, they asked for

0:35:250:35:30

action, when the information commissioner said there were 305

0:35:300:35:36

journalists, a whole list of titles, 35 different paper, 300-odd

0:35:360:35:38

journalists involved and recommended action, Labour did

0:35:380:35:43

nothing. We asked them to, nothing happened. There was no judicial

0:35:430:35:47

inquiry. Before the election, Nick, with colleagues called for a

0:35:470:35:51

judicial inquiry, and said Murdoch was too powerful, and risked being

0:35:510:35:55

attacked by Murdoch and given a hard time by the Murdoch press as a

0:35:550:35:57

result. We have always had that position, we have never cosied up

0:35:580:36:02

to them and Nick was clear from last weekend that the Murdochs

0:36:020:36:07

should take the bid away and said so. They didn't cosy up to them and

0:36:070:36:10

they didn't bother to cosy up to you because you were so irrelevant,

0:36:100:36:13

that is the truth of the Liberal Democrats? The reality is, of

0:36:130:36:16

course they were seeking to be close to the people in power, but

0:36:160:36:22

Blair did not have to fly in to Australia in 1995, he didn't have

0:36:220:36:26

to phone Murdoch three times before the Iraq war happened. That was far

0:36:260:36:30

more than normal behaviour. mentioned the fear of the Murdoch

0:36:300:36:33

press, have you ever been personally threatened, any of you

0:36:330:36:36

by the Murdoch press, they will write something about you? You know

0:36:360:36:40

that I have, that is the answer, my private life was on the front page

0:36:400:36:45

of the newspapers. I gave evidence to the police in 2006, which led to

0:36:450:36:51

the conviction of the two guys who were imprisoned. I decided there

0:36:510:36:54

was no reason in hiding and come out. As a result of that, other

0:36:540:36:57

people who did the same, very few people gave evidence, still nothing

0:36:570:37:01

happened, it was widely known, I think the gentleman over there said,

0:37:010:37:04

it was widely known there was widespread abuse and nothing under

0:37:040:37:08

Labour happened, because they were too close. You are on the culture,

0:37:080:37:12

media and sport select committee, you have said you want to hear from

0:37:120:37:17

Rupert Murdoch and his Lieutenants next week, will they appear before

0:37:170:37:24

you? Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks have been summoned

0:37:240:37:29

to ask questions that the previous committee was misled on, it is a

0:37:290:37:33

huge opportunity they should take. They have said they will co-operate,

0:37:330:37:37

and they have told us they will let us know if they will come. If they

0:37:370:37:42

don't we have powers over British sit certain, over Mrs Brooks.

0:37:420:37:44

Rupert and James Murdoch are American citizens and we have no

0:37:450:37:48

power over them. It would surprise everyone if they had the guts to

0:37:480:37:54

show up t would show a little bit of leadership, and with be the

0:37:540:37:57

first step in lancing this giant boil, and I would encourage them to

0:37:570:38:02

come and show up and answer questions. There is no way you can

0:38:020:38:08

make them? No, we can make Mrs Brooks. We can say to Rupert

0:38:080:38:12

Murdoch he's running a global organisation, if he wants to lance

0:38:120:38:17

the boil he can show up and surprise everyone in front of the

0:38:170:38:20

select committee on Tuesday and win back a bit of respect, I would urge

0:38:200:38:30

him to do it. Other newspaper proprietyors should be summoned -

0:38:300:38:34

proprietors should be summoned before the committee too? They

0:38:340:38:39

should, the inquiry has to establish the extent of wrongdoing

0:38:390:38:42

beyond allegation, in News International, but also look at

0:38:420:38:47

practices in other papers. Simon is absolutely right, start by going

0:38:470:38:50

back to the Information Commissioner's report, which I

0:38:500:38:55

don't think as a Government we took seriously enough. If I may say, you

0:38:550:38:59

asked if we had been threatened by News International, I have been

0:38:590:39:02

personally threatened by the Mail, I think it is important the British

0:39:020:39:06

public out there realised, while News International has a lot of

0:39:060:39:09

questions to answer, they are by no means the only media organisation

0:39:090:39:13

that is involved in hacking, I want to hear from Trinity Mirror, I want

0:39:130:39:17

to hear from Associated Newspaper, and everybody out there should

0:39:170:39:20

understand it is a tabloid problem for the press, the whole of the

0:39:200:39:24

press, and not merely the Murdoch papers. You were threatened with

0:39:240:39:28

something to do with your private life? I was threatened with

0:39:280:39:33

something to do with my private life, I do not care, I was

0:39:330:39:39

threatened by a journalist on the Mail, when I spiked her exclusive

0:39:390:39:43

on my divorce which she obtained by deception. I can say this goes on

0:39:430:39:48

throughout the press and by no means limited to the News of the

0:39:480:39:52

World and the News International stable. Can I say one thing, my

0:39:520:39:56

concern was always, when I was affected, it wasn't people like us,

0:39:560:39:59

who can stand up for ourselves, it was the families, friends and

0:39:590:40:02

constituents and other people, I know that actually it was friends

0:40:020:40:07

and family of mine who were far more affected adversary than I was

0:40:070:40:10

by the interference on my phone, that is why the revelations of the

0:40:110:40:14

last two weeks it is about people like these, not people like us.

0:40:140:40:17

fortnight is a very long time in politics. What has happened this

0:40:180:40:23

week and last came out of the blue, and no-one knows where it will end.

0:40:230:40:27

Let's remind ourselves of how the main party leaders had been faring

0:40:270:40:35

before the whole affair began. What happened on Bloody Sunday was

0:40:350:40:43

both unjustified and unjustifyable. It was wrong.

0:40:440:40:48

I think I have been saying throughout this contest you

0:40:480:40:53

shouldn't trust the bookies. declare Ed Miliband the winner and

0:40:530:40:59

the leader of the Labour Party. not going to apologise for creating

0:40:590:41:02

a system, which I think, over the years, will be shown to be a much

0:41:030:41:09

fairer one than the one we have inherited.

0:41:090:41:13

There is not a right to go on the streets of London want to go pursue

0:41:130:41:23
0:41:230:41:26

It is a chance to have a better politics in Britain. It is a chance

0:41:260:41:30

to choose hope over fear. It is a chance to choose change over the

0:41:300:41:40
0:41:400:41:41

status quo. Why is it that we're all told to walk around like

0:41:410:41:51
0:41:510:41:51

this...Squeeze Wages, squeezed aspirations and squeezed prospects.

0:41:510:42:01
0:42:010:42:03

Danny Finkelstein, how much has this last fortnight changed the

0:42:030:42:07

position of the party leaders? ultimately think that events like

0:42:070:42:11

this, they fade quite quickly, and so, I don't think we should look at

0:42:110:42:15

the events, we should try to look at the trend over a long period of

0:42:150:42:18

time. The thing that is really going to be a big problem for David

0:42:180:42:21

Cameron is going to be the economy, is going to be whether he seems to

0:42:210:42:27

be leading strongly on the economy, and for Ed Miliband, despite having

0:42:270:42:32

a good week in Westminster terms, I don't think that is going to change

0:42:320:42:35

fundamentally his problem, which is trying to move the Labour Party so

0:42:350:42:40

that it can be seen as a governing force again when so many people

0:42:400:42:44

have got guess - questions about him, we have to avoid thinking the

0:42:440:42:49

last couple of weeks that have been undoubt thely challenging and in

0:42:490:42:51

political terms exciting, should fundamentally change the outlook.

0:42:510:42:54

Do you think they will make a difference? It is a bit early to

0:42:550:42:58

change. For Ed Miliband I feel he has found a voice this week and

0:42:580:43:02

made a connection with the public that he hadn't made before,

0:43:020:43:06

although around facing a common enemy. I think potentially the

0:43:060:43:11

bigger worry actually is for David Cameron, I think that what people

0:43:110:43:17

may fear with him, which is that he's a Tory reverting to form, and

0:43:170:43:23

standing up for his well-to-do friend. He has looked uncomfortable

0:43:230:43:27

this week, he has looked on the back foot. He doesn't seem, I think,

0:43:270:43:31

to have shown the same leadership. I think he would be lucky if this

0:43:310:43:36

is his big problem. The big problem is inflation, large amount of

0:43:360:43:41

unemployment, people facing an income squeeze, tuition fees, those

0:43:410:43:45

are the problems. It is about whether people trust him to sort

0:43:450:43:47

those problems out in their interest. What they might have seen

0:43:480:43:51

this week is a Prime Minister, they might be worrying is this a Prime

0:43:510:43:55

Minister more concerned about rich people than people like me. That is

0:43:550:43:59

the problem that is one of the reasons. Seeing him going riding

0:43:590:44:02

with Rebekah Brooks. That is one of the reasons why the Tories didn't

0:44:020:44:06

win a majority people fear that about the Tory Party. That is his

0:44:060:44:09

weakness. The importance he has to the Tory Party is that he seems to

0:44:090:44:12

be a little bit different, if he loses that it is serious for the

0:44:120:44:15

Tories. I just don't think this week, this issue will be the issue.

0:44:150:44:18

This is an issue about the press, it is not really about him. There

0:44:180:44:22

will be an issue of judgment about Andy Coulson, that might feed

0:44:220:44:28

through. Again, how many people are really that knowledgeable but who

0:44:280:44:32

his press officer was. Brooks friendship is more of an issue.

0:44:320:44:36

a year's time if people can remember the name I would be

0:44:370:44:40

surprised. Has anyone in the audience had their view of a leader

0:44:400:44:47

changed by what has happened this week? David Cameron has taken on

0:44:470:44:51

the mess that has left behind, David Cameron, in the last 14

0:44:510:44:55

months he has had to pick up. It was have these funds with all this

0:44:550:44:59

money, now we have all this huge debt and instead of thinking about

0:44:590:45:02

us, us citizens that have to pay our taxes and everything,

0:45:020:45:06

everything is being cut for us. I think someone needs to look out and

0:45:060:45:11

start doing it so that we benefit from it. The tuition fees,

0:45:110:45:14

everything obviously what this guy has said himself, basically it need

0:45:140:45:19

to be all addressed. I feel sorry for Cameron, he has come along to a

0:45:190:45:23

big mess and pick it up. This what has come out now, this next week

0:45:230:45:29

will be chip paper, this won't be anything positive, we need it start

0:45:290:45:34

thinking about us. It is insignificant really? To be honest

0:45:340:45:38

I couldn't careless. I slightly disagree. I think the general

0:45:380:45:41

consensus is that politicians, unfortunately, we assume they lie,

0:45:410:45:46

or don't tell us the whole truth. I think David Cameron, and all of

0:45:460:45:50

them probably have known about this hackings scandal for ages, and have

0:45:500:45:55

chosen not to tell us, or tell us in the right way. They are only, in

0:45:550:45:59

a sense, they have been reactive rather than pro-active, they are

0:45:590:46:02

dealing now they know about it, rather than dealing with while they

0:46:020:46:07

could before we knew about it. All of them are being very reactive,

0:46:070:46:10

knowing about something for so many years and hideing it under the

0:46:100:46:15

carpet, and now all trying to take points off each other or score

0:46:150:46:19

points off each other and revealing it now, it is very bad for him.

0:46:190:46:25

there anyone here who like Nick Clegg, when he was leader first of

0:46:250:46:33

the Liberal Democrats, have you changed your view anyone? I find a

0:46:330:46:40

lot of people take this attitude to Nick Clegg, that when he came into

0:46:400:46:46

the coalition that he couldn't get what he wanted with all his

0:46:460:46:50

policies, but being a junior partner in a coalition, all you can

0:46:500:46:55

really do is to temper the worst aspects of the larger party, and

0:46:550:47:01

then perhaps get a few of your own headline policies through. The only

0:47:010:47:06

one that they really seemed to go for was very ill-advisedly on the

0:47:060:47:11

alternative vote, which is not even part of the liberal idea of

0:47:110:47:17

proportional representation. My Tikritism would lie with the fact

0:47:170:47:22

that - my Tikritism would be that proportionally they have more

0:47:220:47:25

Liberal Democrat ministers in the Government, taking a lot more of

0:47:260:47:35
0:47:360:47:38

the flack. They should have been more inclined to get more of their

0:47:380:47:43

policies carried forward rather than the bums on seats on the

0:47:430:47:45

ministers' seats. Instead of engaging particularly with that

0:47:450:47:51

question, the three of you, how has politics changed in the year and a

0:47:510:47:56

bit since the election? I guess everyone knew they would be taking

0:47:560:48:00

on one heck of a problem economically, whoever won, but

0:48:000:48:04

politics have changed, haven't they, in the last year? The fundamental

0:48:050:48:08

thing that has changed in the last year is we are in a coalition

0:48:080:48:11

Government. Which I think a year ago nobody could have predicted,

0:48:110:48:13

Tories and Liberal Democrats working together in the national

0:48:130:48:17

interest. It is like the young lady said in the front, we picked up a

0:48:170:48:20

hell of a mess and it is taking two parties to lean it up. At the end

0:48:200:48:25

of the day you can look at all the things, I had a 35-page briefing

0:48:250:48:28

notes from my party to come in on newspaper and sell the Government's

0:48:280:48:31

policies, we can talk about academies and military allowance t

0:48:310:48:34

will end up on the economy, the way it always does. What is happening

0:48:340:48:40

right now in Europe, that nobody is noticing because of hackgate is

0:48:400:48:44

there is a gigantic crisis in the eurozone, we have managed to reduce

0:48:440:48:51

the cost of borrowing. Hackgate? Yes, we are managing to reduce the

0:48:510:48:54

cost of borrowing by difficult decisions we have taken, they are

0:48:540:48:58

tough, nobody is expecting an American particularer tape for it,

0:48:580:49:01

it has to be done. If you look at the polling on who is more trusts

0:49:010:49:06

on the economy, Nick Clegg, and David Cameron and George Osborne,

0:49:060:49:10

and Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats showing huge political

0:49:100:49:15

courage, come out on top every time. What page of the briefing notes?

0:49:150:49:20

2, 3, 4, right through to 35! is ignoring the briefing notes and

0:49:200:49:23

going to the heart of the matter, that is fixing the deficit and

0:49:230:49:26

fixing the financial problems has to be the number one task in

0:49:260:49:30

Government together, whatever our differences, that is the key.

0:49:300:49:34

You could say that Cameron lost his gloss a bit this week, is that how

0:49:340:49:39

it seems to you? No, I think that, I am being very honest, the Tories

0:49:390:49:43

and the Labour Party are slow to get to this issue we have been

0:49:430:49:47

dealing with this week. You would agree oneing was made by Ed

0:49:470:49:51

Miliband and the Labour Party? had an opposition day debate, he

0:49:510:49:55

then worked with us, the Labour Party worked with us to make sure

0:49:550:49:58

the wording of the motion was inclusive, I respect that, I was

0:49:580:50:02

grateful for that. He was in a difficult position as leader of the

0:50:020:50:05

opposition a couple of weeks ago, people wondering if if he would

0:50:050:50:09

survive to the party conference, he has done better in the last few

0:50:090:50:12

weeks, that is good. But last December the Labour Party were

0:50:120:50:15

having a go at Vince Cable because of his views saying the Murdoch

0:50:150:50:18

empire was too powerful. Last December, it is pretty late

0:50:180:50:21

conversion. Just to link your question to the gentleman's

0:50:210:50:24

question, coalition is entirely different. If the figures had been

0:50:240:50:26

different we would have been working with Labour, probably. We

0:50:260:50:28

were working in the national interest with the Tories, because

0:50:280:50:31

that is the way you the electorate left the figures after the

0:50:310:50:35

electionment we are trying to get all our policies agreed as much as

0:50:350:50:38

possible, two-thirds have been implemented. Our job is to temper

0:50:380:50:44

the Tories, I have to say it would have been a very different economic

0:50:440:50:48

prescription if it was a Tory-only Government. We are delighted to be

0:50:480:50:52

there making it not a Tory-only Government, and we are making it a

0:50:530:50:56

fairer Britain, despite of the difficulties inherited. When you

0:50:560:51:01

saw Gordon Brown's speech you saw suddenly this flashback of how

0:51:010:51:06

politics used to be, really tribal, it doesn't feel right now? I think

0:51:060:51:10

the country has changed. You are absolutely right. I agree with much

0:51:100:51:16

that has been said. I think that what people increasingly want is a

0:51:160:51:22

sense that their politicians, their Members of Parliament, are people

0:51:220:51:27

who understand their lives, and just want to create solutions. But

0:51:270:51:33

you see there is a great difference between, I think, where we are in

0:51:330:51:39

Labour, and the coalition. Particularly the Conservative part

0:51:390:51:43

of the coalition. It seems absolutely clear toe me, from the

0:51:430:51:47

every day - clear to me, from the every day lives from the people I

0:51:470:51:53

know and I represent, if you haven't got active Government,

0:51:530:51:56

supporting people in realising things on their own behalf, it is

0:51:560:52:03

much, much harder. That's not knocking up against an ideolgical

0:52:030:52:05

position, with particularly the Conservative part of the coalition,

0:52:050:52:11

which basically says people manage on their own, and without the

0:52:110:52:14

Government. You don't get apprenticeships, you don't get

0:52:140:52:18

growth, you don't get the kind of stimulation of the economy that's

0:52:180:52:22

going to get young people, across London, where we are now, or across

0:52:220:52:28

the country, back into work. You don't get ...You Are beginning to

0:52:280:52:35

sound like a briefing document now? A briefing book! I want to bring in

0:52:350:52:42

this couple over here. Go on. fascinating thing about a focus

0:52:420:52:44

group it reveals the gap between Westminster and what people think.

0:52:440:52:49

You are having to push it really hard to get anyone to say anything

0:52:490:52:53

about hackgate or get any echo of the Westminster consensus, this is

0:52:530:52:56

a transformative moment in politics, it is fantastic for Ed Miliband.

0:52:570:53:00

This is not where people are. Obviously the thing that will

0:53:000:53:03

transform people's prospects what happens over the next year to

0:53:030:53:06

living standard. That is what people really care about. It is not

0:53:060:53:09

where people really are in the top nine things in the list, it there

0:53:090:53:12

is in the back of their mind. I have had people coming up to me

0:53:130:53:16

saying you have to get Murdoch now. It is Not The Nine O'Clock News an

0:53:170:53:22

issue it is not just - it is not not an issue it is not just up at

0:53:220:53:27

the top. I'm not saying it is important, I work as a journalist,

0:53:270:53:30

I'm saying what the electoral reaction will be. I have had more

0:53:300:53:33

calls and e-mails to my office about this than anything else in

0:53:330:53:38

the last five years. They are not just all organised campaign e-mail,

0:53:380:53:42

it is people feeling very strongly about and it letting me know about

0:53:420:53:52
0:53:520:53:52

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 46 seconds

0:53:520:54:38

Thank you all very much. That's all for tonight. Last night

0:54:380:54:43

we left you with pictures which are producer claimed were of the planet

0:54:440:54:48

Neptune, not a single viewer pointed out they weren't, they were

0:54:480:54:58

of your Anneous, or his at least - Uraneous. Here is the real thing,

0:54:580:55:01

we think. # Neptune is a planet

0:55:010:55:06

# In our solar system # It has its own winds

0:55:060:55:10

# In a solar system # It orbited round the sun

0:55:100:55:14