The feral beast: Ignorance is bliss

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The Independent Online

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Wade claim ignorance of their reporters' illegal activities when they edited the News of the Screws, but what of their predecessors?

"I haven't read The Guardian and I'm at the cricket, which is much more important," says Piers Morgan when I call. But Phil Hall says he is not surprised by The Guardian's allegations of widespread hacking. "Why would it be surprising when it was reported two years ago?" he says. Except, er, it wasn't – two years ago, the Goodman incident was passed off as "an isolated incident". So Phil? "Oh, er, well so many people have talked to me about it over time that I must have got confused," he stammers.

So cross with 'The Guardian'

As The Guardian's phone-hacking story broke last Wednesday night, Rebekah Wade was at the HarperCollins summer party. Arriving separately from her new husband Charlie Brooks, she scarcely had time to plant a juicy smacker on his lips before her BlackBerry began trilling. Poor Mrs Brooks spent the rest of the night fielding calls, barely having time even to speak to the Beast. "All I can say is I'm very cross with The Guardian," she said. Watch out!

Never-ending 'Mail' holiday

A chill wind has blown through the Daily Mail after Jim Gillespie went on holiday and never came back. Actually, he did come back – summoned to be told his services would no longer be required. Insiders are mystified, though there are rumours of a disagreement with editor Paul Dacre. Anyone who thinks Dacre isn't still very much in charge is much mistaken.

A curious obsession

The new Tatler under Catherine Ostler is developing a curious obsession with the media. Last month, the magazine had the inside story on Rebekah Wade's marriage. Now it's planning a photo-feature on Fleet Street diarists. But plans to assemble the whole rowdy rabble have been scuppered by Daily Mail supremo Paul Dacre, who has forbidden his scribes to take part. Is there any point in a piece about gossip columnists that doesn't feature Richard Kay and Peter McKay?

Press smokers sent packing

Speaker Martin was said to loathe the press – is his successor, John Bercow, the same? Commons officials have swooped on reporters who were using a balcony outside The Times's Westminster office for the occasional drag. Hacks popping out for a quick gasper must now go to a distant next to the bins – precisely where many MPs would like to see the lobby hacks.

Music hacks, don't you love 'em

Guardian MD Tim Brooks has been regaling colleagues with Glastonbury anecdotes. When he was running the NME, he got an email after the festival from the IT director thanking him, for all the returned laptops. He added that there was some excitement in IT, as some hacks had forgotten to remove their drugs from the cases. As Brooks notes: "It couldn't happen here!"