Stories like the death of Gaddafi will, for a while, keep three men from the public gaze. For as we suggested the party political season was a bit of failure this year. Low on politics but high on laughs, it was all so silly. Then real politics came back with a bang, a bit like waiting for a bus as three interesting cases came along at once. This time it was the Tories who started it. Defence Secretary Liam Fox was caught being, well being Liam Fox, wanting it both ways if you like. Fox was followed by another Tory, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice since May 2010, Jonathan Djanogly. Like Fox, Djanogly also seemed to have a problem playing a straight bat, muddling his public and private duties. Next along was Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, his problem was a simple leg-over affair. Alas the silly man chose a Russian spy for his entertainment. So three men and three cases.
The basis of the News of the World/Andy Coulson story is that the newspaper hacked into mobile phone traffic and this is illegal. Also we can assume that the people who had their phones hacked wished the data to remain private. Ignoring the, 'did-he-know' question hovering over Coulson, that he works for David Cameron plus that the NotW is owned by Murdoch and that all of these things are bound to inflame passions on the left, we could describe this activity as spying. But the state would rather we did not. For they spy all the time on us and upon what they would like us to think of as threats to our way of life. But in reality they see us as a threat to their way of life and it's this that they use to justify their actions. And if the state can spy why not newspapers? After all the former likes to use the latter, but only on its terms. But we are also told a free press is essential to our way of life, so the definition might include free to spy.