The Sketch: Fit or unfit, this was a semi-circular firing squad

Will this finally spoil the BSkyB bid, or is it the custard pie that creates pity for the old alligator?

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The Independent Online

Is the message that Murdoch is "not fit" to run an international company? Or that the chairman is not fit to run the select committee denouncing him? At one point in their horse-shoe seating arrangement, the MPs made up a semi-circular firing squad.

The Tories were taking pot shots at Labour for passing ultra-vires judgments on the "unfit" billionaire press lord. And Labour was firing back with the full artillery of charges of how the lying liars had lied to Parliament.

The person in the crossfire kept as low in his hole as possible. It was the Liberal Democrat Adrian Saunders – in the next version of Alice, producers need look no further for their dormouse.

Five government members, five Labour and a chairman with a casting vote in the event of a tie. If the fate of Rupert Murdoch's £8bn bid hangs on the Labour-leaning vote of Mr Saunders, it will deserve a film of its own.

Tom Watson has done it again. He scooped the headlines with his "mafia boss" charge last summer. Now he's split the committee with his daring attack, going well beyond the remit of the hearings. Will it spoil the Murdochs' BSkyB bid forever – or is it the custard pie that creates sympathy for the old alligator?

Two points: Louise Mensch has got a voice as distracting as Ed Miliband's face. Her ostentatious magnanimity towards Watson's "total and absolute integrity" required a very strong stomach. At least she didn't leave the meeting early to pick up Murdoch's children from school.

And the committee's clerk was bullied so thoroughly and systematically that she left her position. An interesting commentary on the anti-bullying majority.

In sum, there was one universally held opinion: Parliament had been held in contempt. What can they do about it, apart from take it up the tail pipe? Maybe we'll find out in five or 10 years' time.

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