Matthew Norman on Monday: Why is the Mouth of Humber silent on phone-hacking?

Plus: Hugh Grant, Vicky Pryce and David Lammy

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In welcoming John Prescott to the Sunday Mirror in January with an interview, the headline “I Can Speak My Mind Like Never Before” said it all.

Who would expect less than the most fearless commentary from the Mouth of the Humber? You will appreciate my bewilderment, then, to find it run dry yesterday on the matter that has obsessed him for so long. Not so much as a trickle of outrage about the phone hacking on which this victim has eloquently spluttered for years. But what can possibly explain  this curious case of the bulldog that didn’t bark? My only guess is that he has simply tired of the matter. So fecund and versatile a mind can hardly be expected to fixate on one thing indefinitely when there are so many others to enthrall it. This is as much to his credit as the iron self-discipline he mustered in resisting the temptation to refer to last week’s arrests of four past and present senior Mirror executives, including a previous editor of his own Sunday Mirror. John Prescott... Keeping His Trap Shut And Taking The Money Like Never Before – there’s a tagline for next week, assuming that by then John hasn’t resigned.

Someone tell Rebekah the Pryce of justice

Forever championing a draconian law and order line (for those outside the Murdoch empire), The Sun is displeased by Vicky Pryce’s swift transfer to an open nick in the Kent countryside. “The public were entitled to see her get a proper taste of porridge,” sniffs a leader, “before going off to the prison system’s equivalent of a holiday camp”. This is less insensitive towards Rebekah Wade than it may seem. Hyper-cerebral Sun editor Dominic Mohan, whom along with other colleagues Rebekah liked to take to Butlin’s to study the readers close up, evidently believes that her appetite for holiday camps is sated, and that if it comes to the worst she will be so much happier doing all her bird in Holloway.

Mail scoop: it was all Hugh Grant’s fault

Fingers crossed that MPs wavering over how to vote today are influenced by a more splenetic leader in the Daily Mail. This raged in freedom’s cause against Hacked Off for its beastly bullying of politicians, and rightly so. The notion of an organisation lobbying party leaders... after all, effete tabloid editors like Paul Dacre lead such sheltered lives that this sort of caper will have them summoning the smelling salts. In selflessly defending the Dowlers over “the cynical way [they] have been exploited by critics of the Press”, the Mail brilliantly crystallised what many of us were vaguely thinking but couldn’t quite articulate. So far as the cynical exploitation of Milly Dowler’s murder, at whom else could the finger be pointed other than that wicked Hugh Grant?

David Lammy finds his forte at last

I am distressed to find Labour MP David Lammy ridiculed for his tweet railing at the “racist innuendo” of a BBC reporter’s speculation over whether the next plume of Vatican smoke would be black or white. The slip was wholly out of character from the then higher education minister who informed Celebrity Mastermind viewers that the surname of Peter and Marie who won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for their research into radioactivity was Antoinette. Let them eat radium! The good news, for those concerned that David is wasted on the back benches, is that  Channel 4 has commissioned David Lammy’s Guide To World History. Episode one of this six part series takes us back to fifth century BC Athens, where a laurel-wreathed Lammy re-enacts how, having introduced Samba football to ancient Greece, Socrates died from a headlock during a training ground contretemps with Aristophanes and Zico.

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