Matthew Norman: Why it's always Christmas in Rebekah's world


Click to follow
The Independent Online

At a time such as this, when we awake from nightmares of the soup-kitchen queue and grab the laptop to check what manner of mayhem has ravaged Eastern stock markets while we slept, we must avoid resentment towards those better protected than ourselves. So join me in celebrating Rupert Murdoch's soul-gladdening metamorphosis from Herod into Jesus Christ.

The old sweetheart cannot stop turning his other cheek to those who have harmed him most. Not content with paying Glenn Mulcaire's legal fees until the media select committee inquired on the point, he continues to indulge Rebekah Brooks, whose personal spokesman refuses to deny that Rupert has told her to travel the world for a year on full salary (paid, one imagines, in gold bullion). He then means, the storm having passed, to kill the fatted calf and welcome the prodigal honorary daughter back into the corporate home. How this largesse will play with the News Corp board, who can predict? They may be thrilled to bits. But if not, Rupert will reprise his senility act, asking fellow directors to forgive him for he knows not what he does... let alone whether it's New York (which it will be) or Christmas (as it always is, thanks to sugar daddy, for Mrs Brooks).

*Might this explain why Elisabeth Murdoch, who seems a healthily ambitious kinda gal, has declined a place on that board? This is just a hunch, but I wonder whether her father's unceasing indulgence of the woman who, in Lis's finishing-school argot "fucked the company", played its part.

*What, meanwhile, of Rebekah's one-time bosom frenemy Gordon Brown? Gordon took space in The Independent on Sunday to analyse the eurozone debt crisis, lashing erstwhile fellow leaders for failing to anticipate it. He warned them the banks were too highly leveraged, but would they listen? I've checked beneath this paean to self-delusion for a line reading: "This is a shortened version of a speech Mr Brown gave...", assuming that a reference to how he himself weakened banking regulations as Chancellor must have been excised. But all it says is "©Gordon Brown".

Whether or not he claims copyright for creating the conditions for the run on Northern Rock, here's a familiar question for the Man Who Didn't Quite Save The World After All. If he did see all this coming from afar, what possessed him to sell our gold reserves for thruppence ha'penny the kilo?

*The stresses of post-hacking life in Chipping Norton are playing merry hell with Jeremy Clarkson's state of mind. In his Sun column, the bison-headed wit of wits flirts with a topical way out. Touching on the outrage over his parking in a disability space on Top Gear, Jeremy calls it as "a crime for which the only punishment should be the death penalty". Something in that, surely, for even the bleeding-hearted MPs to factor in should the capital punishment debate come to pass.

*If it does, and if Jeremy's mea culpa swings a shock victory for the Yes camp, which method would you prefer? The Mail on Sunday commissioned polling firm Survation to find out. Lethal injection won by a landslide, with hanging a distant second and the electric chair third. Limping in joint last, meanwhile, with firing squad on 4 per cent, is – can you guess? I don't believe you can – gas chamber. I can't decide which is more cheering ... that one in 25 of those telephoned plumped for that final solution to the crime-prevention challenge, or that Survation thought it seemly to offer it as an option.

*My respect for Mirror Group chief executive Sly Bailey burgeons by the hour. With the hacking scandal closing in, Sly cleaves to the line that all MGN reporters "work within the law and the PCC code". Sheer genius. If she only repeats it enough, who will remember to ask whether the mantra holds equally good for "worked"? Some shareholders, noting that the share price halved in the relevant period, have impudently questioned her modest salary package of £1.7m last year. Short-sighted fools. You cannot put a price on talent like Sly's.