Roll Up Roll Up For The Greatest Show on Earth (part 1 of 3)

Posted on July 24, 2011 by

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The Home Affairs Select Committee set up to roast – don’t laugh – the ex Commissioner of the Met, Sir (get the Sir – honoured for doing the job he was paid to do), Paul Stephenson, his side-kick Assistant Commissioner Yates of the Yard and his patently pants at his job PR man with the difficult to remember foreign name. Scorchio? No Fidorcio, that was it.

The only show in town (riveting) kicked off even before the committee convened. Its Chair was no other than the controversial Yemeni born Keith Vaz, the Keith Vaz suspended from the House of Commons for making false allegations against a policewoman before the tables turned and allegations were made against him. The Parliamentary Standards Watchdog investigated him after an MP said Vaz had secretly accepted thousands of pounds from a fellow solicitor. He was censured, legal term for a formal public reprimand for a violation, for failing to register the payments. Elizabeth Filkin also accused Vaz of deliberately blocking her investigation into eighteen other allegations. To add fuel to the Vaz fire the Immigration Minister revealed in a written Commons reply that he had contacted the Home Office about the Hinduja brothers asking when a decision on their application for citizenship could be expected. It was sanctioned in six months instead of the usual two years. The PM set up an inquiry. Vaz was officially dismissed from his post as Europe Minister. Talk about being judged by your peers. Enough to make a cat laugh. Still. Used to being grilled made him the perfect Chair.

As for the ex-Commissioner and his Assistant. Talk about The Peter Principle (everyone rises to their level of incompetence).Why would anyone let alone a policeman who traditionally hates the press award a £1000 a day (not a misprint) contract to Neil Wallis, ex-Deputy Editor of the News of the Screws – which was one sandwich short of a protection racket – while he was in the frame for phone hacking? Come to that why would anyone employ anyone from the News of the World? The Met employed twelve. Not a misprint. Twelve. Ten managed to wangle jobs as Press Officers working alongside the Met’s other thirty-five. Forty-Five Press Officers!

Even more incredibly Neil Wallis was not vetted or cleared for security at high level. Why? Because, guess what!? His friend of twelve years is none other than John Yates erstwhile Assistant Chief Commissioner. Was he?! Said an incredulous pink faced ex- Commissioner. Well blow me down with a feather. I didn’t know that! Student teachers are vetted. Teachers are vetted. FCO filing clerks are vetted, washers up in royal kitchens are vetted but not the speech writer for the Commissioner of the Met.

Worse, or better, depending how you look at it, was to come. The dripping with gongs ex-Commissioner stashing his whopping salary of £260,000 p.a into his bank account awarded to prevent him from falling into the temptation of accepting bungs enjoyed bungs at Champneys to the tune of £12K. Not twelve hundred. Twelve thousand, the salary for those on a minimum wage in the UK. Who was Champney’s PR? None other than Neil Wallis. What! Well I never! blustered the now deeper shade of pink faced Plod. I didn’t know that!! Our Neil has of course since been arrested. John Yates said ‘My integrity is intact. My conscience is clear’. He should have added although I must admit my judgement is crap.

As for the PM, leader of our discredited, morally bankrupt, country not only was his head honcho über PR bloke Andy Coulson ex editor of News of the World passed fit for human consumption, not only was our illustrious PM warned he should not go near him with the proverbial he wasn’t security cleared above level seven either. Coulson, like his old mucker, Neil Wallis has also been arrested. Honest to god, as Oscar Wilde said (about the death of Little Nell) it would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

So. Three cheers for Nick Davies of the Guardian. If not for him none of this would have come out. Why? Because he started sniffing around Mr Murdoch’s ankles years back, even before Coulson and Brooks admitted paying Met officers to disclose data protected stories. (Did they? said the Murdoch’s. We didn’t know that!). It’s Met policy to destroy papers after six years (umpteen bin bags contain 11,000 documents on phone hacking). Is it!!?? said the amazed ex Commissioner, I didn’t know that.

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