The latest developments arising from the Leveson Inquiry and related police investigations could be enough to sink The Sun. That the arrest of several of its journalists has turned these thugs into champions of privacy, of civil liberties and of human rights, is no irony. It is just the usual vulgar hypocrisy, with a delicious voltage of despair and fright coursing through it.
Ostensibly, this is the paper's chief political correspondent 'going rogue', launching a 'fightback' in defiance of orders from the bosses at News Corp. In thinly veiled language, it rails against the executives for its strategic decision to grudgingly cooperate with the police (after all the obstruction and attempts to destroy evidence, and bribery, and spying on victims' lawyers, and smears upon smears, and lies, have failed). In typically hysterical Sun fashion, the editorial seeks to position the paper as a sort of Charter 77 or Solidarnosc, labouring under a Stalinist boot. "Who polices the police?" cries Trevor Kavanagh, as if his newspaper and industry were not fully in bed with every top cop in the land until recently. Everyone does it, he says of what is in fact bribery and corruption - it is "standard procedure ... nothing disreputable" - and it seems that a phalanx of Fleet Street hacks are lining up behind him to say, "yes, this is exactly true, we mustn't be punished for what is an industry standard, Kavanagh expresses how all of us hacks feel". They can have no idea that they are simply underlining why everyone despises them. Nothing like this has been done the bankers, he complains, as if his newspaper has not, in addition to being the favourite newspaper of traders and stockbrokers, been the greatest political alibi of those predators.
We laugh, of course. We'll be laughing like drains while they circle the drain, the chorus of mocking hilarity expanding in radiant waves of mirth over the flailing arms of hacks being sucked into the effluent, and thence into oblivion. That hackneyed, smug saying, "it couldn't have happened to nicer people", will gain a new currency. Yes, the Stars are not wanted now, put out every one; pack up the Express and dismantle The Sun. Put away the Daily Mail, and flush away The Times. Because I couldn't be happier if I'd just given birth to triplets.