I recently saw the pictured tweet from Conservative MP, Louise Mensch and it got me thinking. Is it really so formidable Mr Watson? I think Mr Watson is not the most bright and quite lazy so I don’t think I agree. So what evidence do I have for this?
The first thing that got me thinking that was the quizzing of Rupert Murdoch and his son before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee when at the end of his questioning he compared James Murdoch to a mafia boss. (See here) This outburst got all the media coverage, distracted from the evidence given to the Committee and allowed the Murdochs to earn some sympathy, undermining all the work that had been done regarding the phone hacking. Not very clever.
Then he backed the decision to include the phrase that Rupert Murdoch was not fit to run News International into the report of the select committee on phone hacking. This was then voted on across party lines, resulting in what had been a largely cross-party agreement on the report into a party political one. I think it is always better to get all party agreement where possible. It again was the item that got the publicity distracting from the other conclusions of the report. Not very smart.
Thirdly, in his witness statement as part of his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry Mr Watson included something from a former MP, Martin Salter. Mr Salter responded to a letter from the then editor of the News of the World about their “Sarah’s Law”campaign by writing back to them saying he would not support the campaign. I wondered at the time what he was hoping to achieve by doing what could only wind them up. It did and the newspaper published a poor photo of him and some unpleasant things about him and a journalist spent some time trying to get him. MPs should be able to write to editors saying they do not support their campaign without getting harassment but then to use the words of a former chair of Reading Labour Party and now Australia resident, Mike Price, if you do not want your photo and things written about you in the paper don’t do what caused them to do it. Anyway that is not relevant particularly to this piece about Mr Watson. The point is that as part of his evidence Mr Salter told lies about events which led up to a story in the Mail on Sunday. This is not relevant to the argument Mr Salter and Mr Watson were making about News of The World. So why did Mr Watson allow this lie into his evidence? I believe it is now going to become the most important part about his evidence, again distracting from the phone hacking.