Sunday, January 22, 2006
This leads to the conclusion that the News of the World were not sniffing around about it last week which in turn suggests that either it just dropped into their hands yesterday or that they have had it on file for ages waiting for a "suitable" moment to use it. I find the latter more credible.
A third option would be that the fact that he was running for leader meant that the civil servant in charge of the security services found it necessary to bring Oaten's file to the attention of somebody who would know what to do with it (if you have seen the episode of Yes Minister where both other parties running for PM are forced to pull out you will understand). I find this slightly, but only slightly, more reassuring.
I think the NOTW have been sitting on this in the hope that Mr Oaten would rise to the leadership & when his star was obviously waning decided just to unload it. Remember that it was just before an election that the Sun published the story about Ashdown's adultery, which again had nothing current in it. In fact the Ashdown story did him little harm because it proved how manly he was & like this, was not new news.
Nonetheless, if this is the case, it raises the question of exactly how many other stories these people have in their files & what use they intend to make of them. J Edgar Hoover was a secret power in the land for nearly 50 years partly because he would regularly inform Congresscritters that he had been able to hush up some scandal & they could trust him to keep the hegatives in his files. Is Murdoch playing a similar game (& perhaps other newspapers) or are they "just" keeping stories to fix elections. Had Oaten been leader & it was released just before an election it would certainly have affected the result & the fact that Murdoch employees have the power to publish or withhold this makes rather a joke of democracy.
I think we should be told - on the other hand I don't know what can be done.
One point I have made before is that we should not insist that politicians be plaster saints. Financial peccadilloes & multiple murder & lying about such things should be treated very seriously. Shagging shouldn't.