This Murdoch/News of the World/police/politician thing that rocked the UK this last week has died down a little, I hope it is a calm between some more profound and powerful storms that should happen.
I watched the questioning of James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch this week and partly it was with a big thrill: man, this game is fun. This game is fun and important. Hearings like that are a sacred space where we let the rule of law in, and we do it through witnesses. And we do it through answers to questions.
And Rupert and James were masterful at not really answering any of the questions. I am a citizen and a taxpayer and I would like to know exactly what happened and who was protecting who. We didn't get those answers. I found the MPs far too deferential to the Murdochs.
That was a piece of theatre and perhaps for some, it was a shaming and a calling into account, but I saw a scene that communicated with blinding clarity: the government defers to business, and is unwilling to do the hard work of cleaning house, so even the questioners did not have an absolute incentive to get to the truth. A striking detail is that there was not a single question about Sean Hoare. Sean Hoare was the News of the World journalist who died - he had a history of substance abuse, but hey, a lot of people have a history of substance abuse and don't die. Fucking Keith Richards is still alive. It could be that the thing that killed Sean Hoare was the fact that he was willing to testify to a fact that now is considered false: that Coulson knew what was going on (and thus perhaps Cameron new) regarding phone hacking, settling hacking lawsuits, paying off the police, paying legal bills of scapegoats who took the falls. Hoare would have explained that Coulson knew all this. And now he is dead. And the investigation goes forward on the strength of Coulson's unchallenged statement that he knew nothing.
And I keep thinking of David Kelly, who would have testified that Blair substantively understood there were no weapons of mass destruction, but was found in the woods, dead, before he could do so.
Britain is so proud of itself for its rule of law, but the first rule in the rule of law is this: you should keep your witnesses alive and well. Once witnesses get killed off, the rule of law has failed. And it is the sanctity of the rule of law that every MP should protect by getting to the bottom of it.
There is a lawlessness in the actions of the government, the police and Murdoch that is exactly equally terrifying to me. They hide behind the protections of their corporation and sovereign affiliation, but what we have here, as citizens of this country, what we have here is a big stinking mess. Police harass protesters. They killed Ian Tomlinson. They shoot innocents. They have internal investigations about those things that always find everything was fine. Come on, you guys, how is this any better than living in China? Corporations buy police action or inaction. Politicians are silenced. No questions about a dead witness. No questions about a dead witness. No questions about a dead witness. This is wrong. Shame on every MP.
If this is the first time you have read this blog, please be aware, I am crazy, although I prefer to think that I actually am just different than other people, neurodiverse, if you will, in a way that is not necessarily pathological. I would like to think that but I am pretty sure there is some pathology involved in what I am. And you should also be aware, dear reader, that I had two dreams, dreams I feel to be portentous. Dreams that should be heralded. In the second dream, at least how I see it, it is time for people to shrink these governments and corporations, shrink these banks and monopolists, shrink them back down to their original purpose, and bring them within the rule of law. We have judges in the UK who are handmaidens to the aims of the powerful - hence the superinjunctions - and we have judges in the US who are blind about corporations.
The US Supreme Court keeps giving corporations powers more like sovereigns than like individuals, and creating special beneficial treatment for them in civil and criminal proceedings and the effect has been to grow a successful country - to a point. The effect now is a great hollowing out of the middle class, distribution of wealth to corporations and governments, to bankers, to the detriment of all the people who are not elite. This can be addressed by simply a fair application of existing law, and a rethink of the regulatory frameworks in which sovereigns and corporations operate.
The United States invades a foreign sovereign illegally and executes a man without trial or charges. Bin Laden. And you know what? That night I am sitting next to a British judge, an important one, and he says that justice was done. I said that if justice was done when the US killed Bin Laden then justice was done when the planes went into the towers. Truly, all we can ask of each other is to live by the rule of law. The United States has long operated outside of international law, and Britain joined them. The US should have turned over Bin Laden to the international criminal court. The actions of the people - and they were people as well as terrorists -- who flew the planes were in their minds a kind of justice - both that and bin Laden's execution were blind vengeance outside of the rule of law. And people who live in the US are a little blind, sorry, but its' true, a little blind to how the US has broken a lot of laws and hurt a lot of people. Neitszche said it. We are unknown to ourselves. We truly are. (Aside: Admitting that ought to be the Christian thing to do, if you ask me, which you didn't, since I am not a Christian anymore)
I think the Murdoch hearings should be an excellent way to kick off my new Rule of Law initiative. Which exists only in this blog because I am busy. I ask all the MPs to at least ask about Sean Hoare. On a going forward basis, please, MPs, be citizens of Britain before you are party members, and find it in your heart to ask the hardest questions.
I am angry because it was my generation that let the corporations and sovereigns get out of hand and we did it because we all have such unthinking faith in capitalism. (And we were busy competing against other humans to obtain better/more goods) I am still convinced that capitalism is the best way to distribute goods, but it must be balanced by the more pressing need to address the rate of consumption of the world's resources, and everyone with a brain thinks that and wants that for their children, but we see ourselves as oddly powerless to use the force of law to bring this about. We are set against each other competing for goods in this set-up, and it keeps us too busy to get involved and change anything. We have children to raise. But yet what are we raising them into? Can't we do better than this?
I was with a friend who is a magnificent stained glass artist yesterday and I asked him about making me a saint window of Sienna Miller. Because to me she is a saint. When she sued the News of the World over the phone hacking scandal, those guys threw all kinds of money at her to settle the case. It worked for everyone else. But Sienna didn't take the money, she pressed her case, she made the government take evidence under penalty of perjury, and she made the judge rule on it. God bless Sienna Miller. Because if she had not done that, we would not even be here, with at least a glimpse under the rock of bloated corruption our government, police and media have become. She used the rule of law to bring us closer to the truth.
David Kelly and Sean Hoare. We need to know what those names have in common.