Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And doesn’t it get sticky at the top. Here’s why one complete nonentity is sometimes glad that his life is basically sweet and, above all, simple

There are times, dear reader, when I am glad I am nothing but an ageing boring old fart whose one vice is to pontificate in this ’ere blog but who otherwise has a character which is without stain. Who in their right mind, for example, would want to swap places with the West African hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her and then was herself accused of being a prostitute? She is now suing the New York Post for libel after it published stories of her selling sex (pictured). Or who would want to be Rebekah Brooks (always referred to as ‘flame-haired’ and you can see why) as the affair
over a private detective hacking into mobile phones on behalf of the News of the World spins ever more out of control for — well, for one reason or another more or less everyone involved? Brooks was editor of the Screws while a lot of this was going on, but is now chief executive officer (one of those American titles we are slowly adopting over here) of News International. Or who would be Rupert Murdoch, who must be 80 if he is a day, who is seeing a great deal of his life’s work in danger of unravelling over the affair. News Corporation, which owns News International, is doing its damnedest to take over all of BSkyB, but the Tory government, whose approval it needs to do so will not want to give it the nod if this whole business with phone hacking gets any worse. Or who wants to be any one of several ‘senior police officers’ of the Metropolitan Police who appear at best to have been clay-footed and at worse turned a blind eye to their mates in Her Majesty’s Press. The trouble is it is all getting worse, more or less by the hour.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, conveniently referred to as DSK in tabloid headlines in New York is no longer under house arrest, and although he still faces various charges, might have had as stroke of luck courtesy of the league of private detectives employed by his expensive lawyers to dig up whatever dirt they can on the accusing maid to undermine her claims. So far, we are told, the story she told of being gang-raped in order to get asylum in the U.S. is a load of cobblers and there is ‘said to be evidence’ that $50,000 had been deposited in her bank account by a known drug dealer. Then the Post added its two ha’porth worth by claiming she was nothing but a tart touting for business at the hotel where she worked. Her suit against the Post raises the stakes because if she loses, she is utterly discredited, and if she wins, it will seem crystal-clear to the world that a nasty dirty tricks campaign is afoot against her, and the only one to gain from her being discredited would be DSK. Incidentally, there is still talk in France that once all this has blown over (of course), DSK might still be nominated to stand for the Left at the coming presidential elections. They are even talking of postponing the deadline for nominations to be submitted just to accommodate the old rogue. Whether of not they have also taken into account more rape claims made against him is unclear.
As for Rebekah Brooks, well she seems to be sinking ever further in the shit by the day. Strictly speaking News Corporation cannot be held responsible for any dealings, however murky, conducted by the News of the World, but we all know it doesn’t work that way. All Murdoch’s enemies will shriek (and they do tend to shriek) that if he allowed that kind of thing to go on in his newspaper division, who’s to say what he would allow at a wholly News Corp owned Sky TV? By the way, I do find the phrase often trotted out in these cases — ‘not a fit and proper person’ — to be pompous beyond belief. The Tories, of course, who like Labour are usually only to keen to kiss Murdoch’s arse (and allow him to take over Sky if at all possible — that should keep the old rogue sweet and onside for many more years) don’t know what to do. His problem is that he now has to hang on to Brooks through thick and thin whatever she might have done, for getting rid of her at this late stage will only make him look ridiculous. And, of course, she will know where several other bodies are buried. So that is why, dear reader, I don’t feel the slightest twinge of envy for any of those who reap the benefits of living in the public eye. Just give me my pipe, my half ounce of shag and several pint bottles of pale ale and I am utterly contented. Who would want the limelight?

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