A peeved Piers Morgan was left feeling the heat as he was door-stepped by ITV News. Piers was asked if he intended to apologise to Prince Harry after the High Court today heard he must have known about the unlawful phone hacking of the prince. All he could say was:
“I’m not gonna take lectures on privacy invasions from Prince Harry. Someone who’s spent the last three years ruthlessly and cynically invading the Royal Family’s privacy for vast commercial gain and told a pack of lies about them. So I suggest he gets out of court and apologises to his family.”
This rather unconvincing deflection is from a man who himself ruthlessly and cynically invaded celebrity’s privacy for vast commercial gain and told a pack of lies about doing so. After all these years Morgan’s defence remains, in the words of Lord Leveson, “utterly unpersuasive“.
Gary Lineker is a Hacked Off backer and high profile supporter of Section 40. Last night the respected media law expert David Banks explained to Lineker why Section 40 is so dangerous: because it will charge newspapers costs when corrupt, powerful people make vexatious legal claims against them. Lineker extraordinarily tried to argue that no one makes libel threats against newspapers with the aim of killing true stories:
As Banks and several others pointed out to Lineker, this is demonstrably untrue. Some examples: police boss Gordon Anglesea obtained libel damages from two papers and threatened many others before eventually being convicted of child abuse. The Guardian received legal threats from over a hundred clients of HSBC’s Swiss bank when they investigated their leaked account data. Last year Guido received a number of legal threats over true stories, for example from Nick Clegg. Vexatious legal threats aiming to shut down news stories happen every week, this is an irrefutable fact. One which the worryingly naive Lineker refused to acknowledge.
Lineker then called for collective punishment of the national media, local newspapers, the entire magazine industry and student papers, justified in his mind because of “the Sun and Mail”. When Guido pointed out the problem with this non-argument, he replied:
I.e. The newspapers Gary has a personal problem with.
These three exchanges show the issue with Lineker, Max Mosley, Hacked Off, Impress and the Section 40 lobby. They are rich celebrities with personal vendettas against the press, either naive or wilfully blind to the facts, unable to offer any reasonable arguments other than ill-thought out policies driven by their own prejudices. Lineker revealed a lot about the people behind Section 40 last night, there are just five days left for it to be canned…
Tom Watson has hired Steve Coogan’s 19 year-old daughter as his parliamentary aide. Clare Coogan Cole is Coogan’s daughter by his ex-girlfriend Anna Cole, who dumped him after he admitted cheating on her with model Nancy Sorrell and two other beauties. Coke ‘n hookers aficionado Coogan became close friends with fellow enemy-of-press-freedom Watson during their time campaigning for Hacked Off. He went on to star in several high profile Labour campaigns including Watson’s “Save the NHS“ tour. Generous of Watson to repay the favour with a paid job for Coogan’s daughter, who no doubt was hired on merit in an open, full and fair recruitment process. A taxpayer-funded favour for his multi-millionaire Murdophobe mate… up the workers!
Someone seems to be taking extra precautions while listening to Brian Cathcart speaking at a meeting of Hacked Off supporters, currently taking place in Committee Room 14 of the House of Commons. Despite denying they are a bunch of conspiracy theorists, supporters do sometimes come over as such:
Does tinfoil actually protect your brain from Murdoch’s Sky TV satellite signals?
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) April 12, 2016
The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade, a man unlikely to be part of a right-wing media plot to protect a Tory Cabinet minister, dismisses as “conspiracy theory” Hacked Off’s wild claims that the press covered up the Whittingdale story. The pro-Leveson brigade scream intrusion when tabloids reveal married MPs’ affairs, then cry conspiracy when they decide not to write about a single man and his lover. Whitto will be embarrassed by the revelations but he was a single man in a consensual relationship who has done nothing wrong. Brian Cathcart and Hacked Off have hilariously jumped the shark live on TV…
A Labour spokesman has confirmed that PIE campaigner Tom O’Carroll has been suspended from the party after the Times revealed the paedophile activist joined up when Corbyn became leader. O’Carroll, who has a string of convictions for child sex offences, is also a backer of Hacked Off, attending their event in parliament with John Cleese last year. Guido was in the room but failed to spot him among the crowd of weirdy-beardy grey-haired wrong ‘uns with shared interests in shutting up the press. Why might O’Carroll possibly be keen on greater press regulation?