The Plod Thickens...
Sir Paul Stephenson, who resigned from his job as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on Sunday, has told MPs that he "regretted" the "embarrassing contract" in which he had hired a News of the World executive, Neil Wallis, as a PR consultant. But the outgoing top policeman of the UK said that it was "blindingly obvious" …
"When Mr Coulson resigned... by definition he associated his name with hacking. That is simply and blindingly obvious," he said.
Which would, I assume, bring him under suspicion of conspiracy, and merit a visit from one of Sir Paul's staff. Did the MPs ask the blindingly obvious next question?
Did he (or was it another, I forget) not think it "blindingly obvious" when he spent a whole day looking at the rest of the evidence?
"Stephenson said that 17 per cent of his media contacts had been at the NotW, and added that 30 per cent involved News International employees. He pointed out that some 42 per cent of the UK's readership were hooked into NI titles."
It's all a numbers game. I can play too. NI has 42% of readership, from 20% of the available national titles (per The Economist) which means that a 30% "holding" is about 150% of what it should be.
AND ANOTHER THING - why is The Met doing all the subsequent investigation? Why not give it to the City of London, or Cambridgeshire, or somewhere, anywhere other than where it could be tainted by the ghosts of investigations past.
If it was 'obvious' then is he guilty of abetting (or whatever it is ) if conspiracy can't be proved?
I hope they will ask 'Why did you do nothing about it?' and 'who were you reciving directions from?'.
Boris was extremely pro 'nothing to see, minor incident, it's all bollocks' a while back. These coppers are appointed by Boris, where was he hiding?
note to Reg people -- need a 'popcorn' icon.
he has resigned because the phone hacking incident has raised awkward questions about public servants (very well paid - £270K or so?) taking gifts. At the same time, a PR group within the met made up of of 20% ex NI reporters/interns (did not get a break down), and ex NI staff taking some as yet unspecified role in communications where one might have thought leakage between the Met and NI was inevitable - even if just innocent of beers with 'a few old mates'.
Oh and of course there is the interesting issue of NI being the primary (by a long way) sponsor of dinners with senior Met officers. Other newsgroups apparently though that meetings over coffee, sandwiches or just meetings worked perfectly well.
Oh and of course senior Met officers have a bad habit of walking out of post and into NI positions (not to be honest that they are any different from our politicians or other senior civil servants who all need kicks up the rear end).
Having worked in both Europe and the US, when I began to have technical meetings with US Federal people, they were all very clear as to the fact that they would not *even* accept a coffee from us. Laxer in Europe I think. I thought it a little extreme, but given the mess the Met are in, I am beginning to believe they had a good point!
Nothing significant is going to happen. It's like the end of Casino Royale, James Bond shoots the bad guy in the leg, we all think what a great start to the new Quantum of Sloace - and then you realise the man is in an organisation that is so well connected he can do whatever he likes. Yes, I know James Bond is a fictional character...
Mr. White (to Bond) : "The first thing you should know about us is... we have people everywhere. "
M (to Bond): "When someone says "We've got people everywhere", you expect it to be hyperbole! Lots of people say that. Florists use that expression. It doesn't mean that they've got somebody working for them inside the bloody room! "
Already someone is dead. This is so important to those in control, it's all going to get very ugly very quickly and we're compleley oblivious to how many people are controlled on the inside.
Nothing is *really* going to change, some old faces will go and new ones will take their place.
Surprisingly, News Corporation / News International seem proud of their level of control and for decades we've all thought it's OK - see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's_The_Sun_Wot_Won_It
To think they have printed media sewn up and were aiming to get to the same level of control in TV via BSkyB. At least that's on hold until the next general election - whoever wins power will owe them something...
Which gives us three options as I see it.
1) That's total bullshit said purely with the benefit of hindsight to stir things up.
2) Incompetance in not noticing the "blindingly obvious" at the time.
3) Corruption: As in noticing it, but carefully looking the other way for reasons of political expediency or financial incentive.
So either he's lying, stupid or looking to get his collar felt.
I would imagine its like the armed forces are allowed to wear their uniforms for special occasions even though they are no longer in the service.
He resigned rather than had his title removed. He is probably "Commissioner (ret)" now.
This kind of thing is all over the place, happened with the banks, directors resign with their golden parachutes rather than be pushed with nothing.
Apparently he has handed in his resignation, but is still the big cheese until a new top dog is appointed. He did make some sort of comment at the end of his turn in front of the committee to the effect that this would be his last appearance.
But he was still in charge at the time of his cross-examination, so it was appropriate to wear the uniform.
These days, rules, regulations, probity checks and probity committees etc. ensure that public sector employees are forever looking over their backs and thus are often too timid to make effective robust decisions--the days of Sir Humphrey's 'flexibility' after landing in compromised circumstances having long since passed.
Being both flexible and effective in the public sector can be likened to walking around the edge of a swimming pool whilst balancing at a high angle towards the water--the slightest thing goes wrong and you fall in. Whereas 'safe' public sector employees--those more mindful of their superannuation balance than their service to the public--will always circumnavigate the same pool at a safe distance of several metres from the edge.
Normally, I'm a harsh critic of incompetent and inefficient bureaucracies but here I've considerable sympathy with Stephenson (assuming what he has said is truthful).
All bureaucracies seem to possess this severely debilitating 'initiative problem' property. Seems to me that for a modern, efficient and effective state to exist that much more effort should be thrown at finding an effective solution.
As clearly modern management theory has failed here, perhaps we need to resurrect Machiavelli to provide us with a workable formulation.
The public sector is about public service. On which basis, a senior public servant like Stephenson should have stayed many a mile clear of the 'edge of the swimming pool' to which you refer -- and in paticular, the perfumed spa at £550-a-night Champneys, from which he and his wife derived £12,000sworth of accommodation and hospitality.
Stephenson claims he has "no doubt" that his integrity is still intact.
When self-serving idiots get to be in charge of the Met, you realise that everything you ever suspected about the calibre of policing in this country. . .
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