MickyLeaks – The EdMail

MickyLeaks can reveal the following Email, which explains quite a lot ….

From:  The Establishment

To:        Just about everyone in the UK Media

Re:       Ed Miliband

Date:   Day in, day out

In the name of vested interests – and our tradition of consigning most Labour leaders to the dustbin of history with serial cheap-but-deadly headlines – we direct you to interpret and define the politics, personality and actions of Ed Miliband as follows:

1.  Highly intelligent and well read = “WEIRDO”

2.  Has values and principles = “NAIVE”

3.  Has vision = “BARKING”

4.  Inspiring and refreshing = “SCARY”

5.  Wants a fairer society = “NORTH LONDONER”

6.  First name rhymes with a colour = “STALINIST”

7.  Genuinely Labour = “DELUDED” (only Tories can lead Labour)

8.  Challenged his brother = “MASS MURDERER”

9.  Made typo on Twitter = “TOTAL FAILURE” (did not attend secretarial college)

10. Right man for these changing times = “LEADERSHIP IN CRISIS”


Blitz with sustained negative publicity, then conduct an opinion poll to show his lack of popularity.  Repeat process every week until he falls off graph.

Remember the three Rs: ridicule, ridicule, ridicule. (Words with “k” are useful in this respect, e.g. geek, wonk, plonker.)

Do not waste valuable time and space on his policies. Either laugh them off, say he has none or interview some New Labourite with an axe to grind and an income derived from “predatory capitalism”.

Suggested further reading: “How I shafted anyone who mattered” by Kelvin MacKenzie.

Viva Margaret T, Tony B and David C (but not Gordon B)!

Yours most powerfully

The Establishment

Joseph Goebbels House, City of London.


MickyLeaks reveals “bombshell” email

Today the Daily Mail revealed the police had discovered “bombshell Emails” on the phone-hacking scandal, that may lead them to question James Murdoch.   Intrepid as ever, Mickyleaks has uncovered this 2008 email, from James Murdoch himself.

From:    James Murdoch

To:          Rebekah Wade

cc:           Louise Mensch

Re:          Some stuff

1. Papa says to pay Gordon Taylor up to a million to shut up his big fat greasy mouth. If that don’t work, you personally go see him with your Uzi.

2. Accounts wants the list of cops awaiting gifts for their favourtie orphanages. Check we have a large number of brown envelopes in the stationery store.

3.  Tell Coulson he stays on the payroll so long as he and this Cameron hood deliver.

4. Papa’s pissed with the hacking. He says to get the dirty conversations, not just the goddam voicemails. Go hire some investigators who are smarter than that Mulcaire loser.

5. Hey, we all do our spring cleaning and stick to the “one rogue reporter” line. Anyone saying anything else loses his or her job – and legs.

6. If some motherfucker do decide to sing, my defence will be like: I am a polite Harvard gentleman boy; I cannot recollect; I knew nothing substantive; I employ 50 billion people; they are all liars; it wasn’t top of mind; I take exception to that, Mr Watson.

7.  If ever the day comes when you may need to stash your laptop, use the trash bin in your underground car park.

8. Erase this email pronto.

9. My sister hates you and wants you dead.

10. Say Hi to Ross.

Must Amanda Knox make millions?

Amanda Knox stands to make millions from press deals in the aftermath of her imprisonment in Italy. Is it acceptable for her to earn a single penny out of Meredith’s death?

Some would say “yes” – if Amanda is indeed the innocent victim of a dreadful miscarriage of justice. She underwent a nightmarish and horrifying ordeal over four long years that will have left her permanently scarred. Her notoriety is such that there is no chance of her returning to a normal way of life in Seattle. It’s only reasonable, therefore, that she makes use of that fame to both champion the cause of wrongful conviction and to provide herself with a high level of income. It is, one could say, small compensation for the terrible suffering and trauma of an innocent person.

If, conversely, Amanda is guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher, and only won her appeal because of insufficient evidence and a botched enquiry, the answer is an emphatic “no”. Not only should she remain behind bars, but the thought of her profiteering out of this terrible crime is deeply cruel to the aggrieved Kercher family and unacceptable to society in general. To reward a vicious killer with fortune and celebrity is utterly repugnant.

There is a wider issue here. The sums received by people who are wrongly convicted vary enormously and are disproportionate to the amount of injustice or suffering. Amanda Knox, with her powerful publicity campaign, the high profile of the murder and her photogenic looks, is set to make huge sums. But there are others, whose cases have not hit the headlines, who are released from prison into poverty, and with precious little expectation of having their stories sold.

How, then, does one begin to address these inequities and the fact that a murderer, released on a technicality, can potentially earn millions? With great difficulty, but here’s a germ of an idea …

Why don’t the USA, Britain and other democracies introduce laws that state that no media or publishing entity can make a payment directly to anyone charged, convicted, suspected of or exonerated from murder for anything in connection with that murder? Instead, all monies negotiated for buying the story should be paid to independent charities that work with victims of miscarriages of justice.

The charities would hold the funds and dispense them in the ratio they deem fit, to both the individuals and other victims of miscarriage of justice. If the case of Amanda Knox, for instance, it would mean that all her media/book earnings go first to the charity, which will assess how much she should receive and how much should go to help others.

You could say that this allows the charities to play God – by, in effect, deciding who is less worthy and innocent – but they would be in the position to assess the needs of all the miscarriage of justice victims, including the unsung ones, and dispense the funds on that basis.

And what about the families of the murder victims? My first thought was that they should be the recipients of the media earnings but, the more I considered this, the more complications and dilemmas I could see. Would, for instance, the Kerchers feel comfortable taking money “earned” by Amanda Knox? I concluded that there were other and better ways to give financial help to bereaved families and that this scheme should centre on victims of miscarriages of justice.

Establishing and administering it would be quite complex to start with, but it could work and would certainly be an improvement on the status quo. At any rate, it is food for thought.

MI5, Murdoch and The Lady – all very odd

Dame Stella Rimington has revealed that she was spied upon by Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times while she was head of MI5 (1992-96). They snooped into her private life – her shopping, her banking and even her medical records.

This story takes the News International scandal into a new zone. This time, we are not talking about tabloid phone-hacking. We are talking about a Murdoch broadsheet, The Sunday Times, and spying – or “blagging” – into the life of the head of Britain’s secret services. While the facts they were seeking may have been personal, there were still major national security implications and the public are entitled to know what went on.

Curiously, the story came to light in an interview Stella Rimington gave to The Lady, the most genteel of genteel magazines. And, strangely, the magazine published this sensational news with no fanfare whatsoever. Is that because it failed to recognise its significance or is there some other reason?

Now The Lady is not as stuck in the past as some people might think. Under the savvy editorship of Rachel Johnson, it has been given a new lease of life and gained in reputation. How could Ms Johnson not have realized the importance of what Stella Remington was saying? (A cynic might wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Murdoch’s tablet Daily, newly arrived in the UK, is advertised on The Lady’s website. An even greater cynic, might wonder if Rachel is disinclined to upset too many Murdoch papers while her brother is seeking re-election as Mayor of London.) But perhaps we are being unfair. The stories about the behaviour of News International are so numerous and shocking, we are all getting a little punch drunk. And, at the end of the day, we owe Ms Johnson and her magazine our gratitude for bringing the matter to light.

As for the manner of Stella Rimington’s revelations, this is even more puzzling. One assumes that, as head of MI5, she reported her suspicions at the time. If so, were they investigated and what was the conclusion? Will we ever know? If she has said nothing until now, why has she kept quiet for so long? And why, of all publications, did she choose The Lady? Was she being deliberately low key or did she herself not recognize the significance of what she was saying?


Marina Hyde on Vanessa Redgrave – cruel humour

Lost in Showbiz is an enjoyable weekly column by the bright and witty Marina Hyde. It pokes fun at celebrities in an entertaining fashion and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Last Friday was an exception, when Marina took a pop at Vanessa Redgrave, who had been campaigning against the eviction of the Dale Farm travellers. While careful to say she was not casting aspersions on either the travellers’ cause or Vanessa’s motives, Marina delivered what she clearly considered a good tease. This included descriptions of Vanessa’s “agonised look”, her “Grey Cardigan of Care” and an astonishing classification of Vanessa as one of the “celebrity angels of death”. Side-splitting stuff, no doubt, if you are 12 years old!

And why say all this? Anyone who knows anything about Vanessa Redgrave – and Marina Hyde is Queen of Lost in Showbiz – will be aware that she is not a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother. Vanessa Redgrave is a great actor and a serious, sincere and selfless activist on human rights. One doesn’t need to share all her political views to accept that. For Marina to claim, albeit tongue-in-cheek, that Vanessa is bringing doom to a cause, mocks – and, more importantly, undermines – both campaigner and cause.

Marina also displays a lack of humanity. Vanessa Redgrave has recently tragically lost her daughter, Natasha, brother, Corin, and sister, Lynn. As Marina will also know – since it appeared again in the pages of her own paper last week – Corin Redgrave had campaigned passionately on behalf of the Dale Farm travellers. In 2005, while making a speech in Basildon to defend them from eviction, he suffered a massive heart attack, from which he never fully recovered. Did Marina know what she was saying when she described the grieving sister who had continued his cause as an “angel of death”?

Had her column appeared in the Mail or Express, it would be considered typical right-wing, tabloid nastiness. But, for those unfamiliar with it, Lost in Showbiz” is, in fact, a weekly feature of The Guardian. Amidst all the furore about phone-hacking, privacy invasions and the general behaviour of the tabloid press, we like to think we can expect higher standards in our broadsheets, particularly The Guardian, which is, in our view, quite simply the best. Its wit and irreverence are highly prized, but so are its integrity and humanity.

We asked Marina to retract her jibes and had a little spat with her on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, she is sticking to her guns and retorts that we are “silly”, “the context was abundantly clear”, “many public figures have experienced tragic loss but that doesn’t mean they can’t be teased about wholly unrelated matters”. On the contrary, as we explained to her, the issue is wholly related.

Marina also retorted that we were pompous – always a handy accusation in morality debates and, we admit, not without justification. However, readers of our blog will know that, even if we are a little pious (and pompous) at times, we are not without a sense of humour. Indeed, parody and spoof are our bread and butter. But this wasn’t funny, it was cheap.

We admire Marina in many ways but she should admit that she went too far. Showing lack of humanity to any individual, whoever they may be, is an affront to all of us.


Postscript, 10 September.   This  dignified response from Kika Markham, widow of Corin Redgrave, was published in Wednesday’s  Guardian .

Marina Hyde’s use of the phrase “angels of death” (Lost in Showbiz, 2 September) was crude and insensitive. Vanessa Redgrave knows a lot about angels of death from the last few years, as is well known. The fact that she is still able to fight on behalf of others should be cause for celebration. Vanessa, my husband Corin and many others have been campaigning on behalf of the Roma people since 2003. They continue to be the most persecuted peoples here and all over Europe. Most politicians remain silent. It was left to the likes of Harold Pinter, Corin Redgrave and Robin Cook to speak out against the tide. We miss them greatly.
Kika Markham


The other apology, via MickyLeaks

An Apology

We are appalled that for decades we put our own interests before the country’s and colluded with, allowed ourselves to be bullied by, drank champagne with, licked the arses of, held pyjama parties with, ignored the crimes of, stuffed democracy for, the evil Murdoch empire.

We apologise to the British people and assure you that we only became aware of the situation in the last fortnight. We are as shocked as you at what we did.

Successive British governments from 1979 to present.

Taking stock – new problems, new opportunities

It’s hard to believe it was only ten days ago when news broke about the hacking of Milly Dowler’s voicemail.  And now the Murdoch empire is in meltdown, not least because Ed Milliband finally decided to change track at his “sod it” meeting last week.

Scroll through this blog and you will see numerous posts –  begging, bitter, angry, sarcastic, funny – sharply criticising Ed Miliband, Ivan Lewis and the whole Labour front bench for being useless over Murdoch and BSkyB.  They had made a bad call and, although we understand their reasons, they were misguided and short-sighted to take the coward’s path.  As it turns out, though,  their earlier stance may have been a blessing in disguise.  By finally swooping onto the scene last week, reflecting the change in the public mood, the impact was pretty deadly.  Labour’s cleverly worded Commons motion on BSkyB made sure of that.

It would be unfair not to give some of the credit to the Lib Dems, notably Nick Clegg, for getting the motion agreed by Cameron.  Of the main parties the Lib Dems had always held the most principled stand on Murdoch and media matters.  It’s true that they had less to lose than the others, but at least they stuck with it – including Vince Cable, to his cost.

Not to be outdone by Ed Miliband, and aware of its popularity quotient, Clegg has now seized the initiative by speaking out, rather well,  on the need for changing our media ownership laws.  If we were cynical, we might think that there was some bandwagon jumping going on.  Look back to our first blog in September 2010, even before the autumn explosion of hackgate, it was clear that the situation was extremely serious.   If we, ordinary folk who are not privy to any special information, knew all this, they knew it too.  Yet, all but a tiny handful, failed to act.  At best they were afraid, but it will take a leap of faith to trust our politicians to have our interests at heart, rather than their own.

As for the Conservatives, from whom we expect little, there have been a few individuals who have stood out from the rest, above all the excellent Lord Fowler.  Otherwise, we realise that, had it been left to David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt, the BSkyB takeover would have been dealt with as a completely separate matter and ushered through because the government had to “follow the rules”.

Cameron’s motivation must have been very strong, going beyond personal friendships and (albeit implicit) political ingratiation.  We should never lose sight of the fact that the growth of BSkyB, and decline of the BBC, is part of the Conservative programme of increased commercialisation of the public sector.  This is a legitimate aim,  although we believe it to be against the interests of most of the people and society in general.  And no one should forget that this is still part of their ideology, which they will do their best to further in both the new Communications Act and Judge Leveson’s inquiry.  The Tory dream will no doubt be tempered by Clegg and Cable’s pressure, but how much will depend on other deals and trade-offs within the coalition.

What now?  As each day dawns, the scandal grows and everyone knows that more newspapers will be drawn in.  Murdoch may be hoping that, by comparison, the misdeeds of his own papers won’t seem quite so wicked.   But it’s too late.  Even without the hacking or other criminality, or the cover-up, he’s been rumbled.  We cannot un-know what we do know about his corrupting influence and, should we be threatened with another Murdoch ‘attack’, which is still a strong possibility, we are ready to fight it.  Next time, of course, it may not be Rupert himself, or another Murdoch.  They are not the only chiefs at News Corporation.

For our own campaign, this is a critical time.  Nick Clegg has made some  promising statements about using the inquiry to press for changes in media ownership laws, including a desperately needed  re-assessment of what is meant by “plurality”, limitations on cross-media ownership and tighter definitions on who is fit and proper.   This is welcome news but,  if democracy really counts,  what we would like to see is the wide establishment of non-corporate models of ownership.  On relations between the press and politicians, we must go much deeper than transparency about lunches and dinners.  (What about the lobby system?)  On regulation, we must not allow media moguls and tabloid editors to con us into believing that their type of self-regulation protects freedom of the press.  And we shall, of course, be keeping our beady eyes on the new Communications Act.

Our immediate concern, however, is the impact of the News International scandal on our national newspapers.  The News of the World has gone and NI may dispose of its other titles.  Who will mop up and buy up?  Desmond, the Daily Mail, the Barclay brothers, some oligarch or other?  And all this is likely to take place well before the conclusion of any inquiry and new acts of Parliament. Another very important question: how can we help to save jobs put at risk in an already declining industry during straitened economic times?

There are are both problems and opportunities that hadn’t existed before, and all of us need to keep tabs on them. Please keep tabs on us through Twitter.

Liberation after occupation?

It’s been hard to find time to blog in the past few days, with momentous event after momentous event, and our pretty intensive reporting on Twitter.  Besides, who are we to compete with the eloquent and penetrating words of the many great journalists who are writing with such passion about an earthquake in their own industry?

A couple of sentences by Steve Richards in The Independent put his finger on the wider political significance of the last few days.  “If there is an election tomorrow,” he asked, which party leader would want the endorsement of Rebekah Brooks?  A week ago they would have died for it.”

There’s a long, long way to go and there are many more dragons to slay,  but the opportunity at last exists for a real challenge to the concentration of media ownership in Britain.  The shadow cabinet now have the confidence to say they want this –  officially, we assume, judging by comments from Harriet Harman.  And we hope the debate will include the type of ownership that best fits a democracy.  The present corporate model is flawed in many ways and there are alternatives to pursue. The task ahead is to ensure that these issues play a central part in the forthcoming inquiries and debates.

As for BSkyB, the prospects of a Murdoch takeover have dived in the past few days.  Jeremy Hunt has delayed his decision until the autumn, Ofcom may do the “fit and proper” test, Labour are opposing it, other legal and financial implications are getting in the way …. There’s even the possibility that the Murdochs will be forced to surrender their existing share of BSkyB.  (Who would have even dared think that a week ago?)  We therefore have every reason to be optimistic about the eventual outcome if we keep up the pressure and keep our eye on the ball.

On a personal note … Tucked away at the back of a shelf at home we have a tankard style mug that’s been in our family for many years.  I thought today would be an appropriate time to give it pride of place.  The inscription says:

The Times Challenger

Published by the UNIONS at THE TIMES & SUNDAY TIMES, to state the workers’ case and to strike a blow for PRESS FREEDOM

Commemorating an historic struggle and victory for workers’ rights and Press Freedom.

This great struggle will long be remembered with pride.

This struggle took place in 1978-79 and closed the papers down.  In 1981 Lord Thomson sold them to Rupert Murdoch, who later moved them to his new site in Wapping, scene of a long and bitter dispute, with the dismissal of thousands of employees.  I wasn’t at Wapping but it lives on in the memory of everyone who feared the consequences of the continuing influence of Rupert Murdoch.  Whatever excesses the unions were accused of, whatever modernisation may have been desirable, it was apparent then that Murdoch was a rutheless operator who would stop at nothing in the pursuit of his expanding empire.  It’s a bit like remembering when your country was occupied.

Make Hunt wait for Ofcom to investigate

John Prescott has written to Ofcom, asking it “to assess whether Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation are fit and proper peple to have outright ownership of BSkyB. Under present legislation, Ofcom has the power to determine whether News Corp is a fit and proper owner of all of BSkyB, or even its current holding of 30 per cent.”

Note this comment from an Ofcom “insider”,  reported by Oliver Poole in today’s Evening Standard:

There is a requirement that holders of broadcasting TV licences are fit and proper to do so.

At some point in the future we might therefore be required to consider whether the directors of BSkyB are fit and proper but this will only be after police inquiries are completed.

This is an absurd situation.  Of course the police inquries will not be completed until after Jeremy Hunt has sanctioned the takeover.  If and when Ofcom gets to decide if News Corp is fit and proper, the deal will doubtless be done.

It is therefore vital and urgent to press Hunt to delay his decision on BSkyB until after Ofcom has an oppportunity to assess the fitness of News Corporation.   There can be no excuse for him not to do so.  The pressure should be relentless.

Long live Rebekah, may her reign continue

Rebekah Brooks is the focus of much of the public rage about the News of the World hacking the phone of Milly Dowler.  She was editor of the paper at the time and, whether or not she knew about the hacking, she cannot escape culpability.  Last night it looked like curtains for her.  But this morning we are told that Murdoch continues to back her and her position is safe.

According to Private Eye last week, Cameron intervened with Murdoch to save her position before.  Whether or not this was happened, it is reasonable to go along with the theory that Brooks wants to quit in her own time, with the useful reason of wanting to start a family.  Ah, but not too soon, we hope!

We say her continuing presence at the helm of News International is a real bonus, and never more so as she becomes increasingly demonised.   On some of today’s front pages  her red-ringleted face is portrayed looking faintly sinister  alongside pictures of the smiling, fresh faced Milly Dowler.  And so Brooks, good friend of our Prime Minister, has become public enemy number one.  Thousands are questioning her position.  Thousands are demanding her head on a platter.

If she were to depart, the furore would abate, but the systemic problems would remain.  The empire would lose a general, but there are many more generals.  And the empire would continue to grow, with the acquisition of BSkyB.  It is this acquisition and the size and influence of the Murdoch empire which are of far greater importance than someone’s job.

The current fury with the News of the World needs to be kept at the forefront of our minds, long after the shock at their behaviour wears off. Keeping Rebekah Brooks as Murdoch’s representative in Britain serves an excellent purpose because it reminds us day by day of his rotten empire and its unfitness, as George Monbiot once said, to run a whelk stall.

What we really need is a Media Commission, to break up this stranglehold of our democracy.