This parliament has deposed kings

The British phone hacking scandal is nearing a crunch point. The story thus far, in brief: Murdoch owned newspapers have been found hacking into private phones and voice mail boxes. While these practices were confined to the pursuit of celebrities and politicians, the UK parliament did nothing much, but now that evidence has been produced showing the phones hacked into included those of murdered children, the Murdoch newspaper empire has been subject to sustained public opprobrium, and the parliament has at last stopped courting Murdoch and his political-career make-or-break news papers.

The Murdochs, father and son, have been summoned to appear before a select committee on 19 July. Both James and Rupert are patronisingly refusing to come. James is a bit busy it seems, but he could appear sometime in August (perhaps he’s hoping that the scandal might have died down a bit by then), and Rupert is trying to avoid talking to the committee at all: he’d prefer to give evidence to the judge-led public inquiry. Mere MPs aren’t good enough for him.

Rupert and James might like to remember that the British parliament has a long history. This is the same institution that deposed, and then executed, Charles I, and deposed and exiled James II. They should be very worried about what a united parliament might do.

Update: They’ve worked it out. They’ll be there after all.

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2 comments on “This parliament has deposed kings

  1. Mr. Bee says:

    The Murdochs have now wisely undertaken a u-turn

    I think they made a common error: many people (and even governments) mistake the comical and turbulent nature of Westminster institutions for softness. There is no softness there. This is the same Institution that also emerged triumphant in the Penisular Wars, Waterloo, World War 1 and the Battle of Britain. How many countries have comparable institutions? None in Europe, that is certain. In fact the British parliament is one of the toughest and most resilient political institutions in history. Now it has woken up, and it is angry. The Murdochs had better start feeding the beast, or it will devour them.

  2. Stef says:

    I agree with Mr Bee,
    Squabbling parliaments aren’t necessarily a sign of weakness, however the US house does give one time to pause and think about such a hypothesis.

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