Tag Archives: hackgate

Tough road ahead for Cameron

Its one of the most testing time for the British Prime Minister. After Hackgate cut short David Cameron’s Africa visitt, it was the teenage turmoil that has ‘vandalised’ his vacation.

Back in London to restore peace on the streets of United Kingdom, Cameron faces a critical junction that will define his premiership. Barring the lone occasion of him admitting that in the hindsight hiring former News of The World editor Andy Coulson was a mistake; Cameron hasn’t backed out on any of his stand or for that matter policy issues.

Night four was relatively calm in London, but elsewhere in UK riots were on, but coming in on day four of mayhem after many parts of the Capital were vandalised is not going to do a world of good to the PM as he faces the parliament on Thursday.

With Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman on BBC newsnight already giving the crisis a political shade by linking it to the CUTS that are frustrating the youth and being a contributing factor to this outrage it won’t be an easy walk ahead.

Not just that the four letter word will bite as the role of cops the way they acted will go under the lens. The questions, why did this happen, are the cops in their present numbers and infrastructure in a position to handle any such overwhelming chaos in future, can such incidents be averted in future? And most importantly can the police afford to have CUTS.

Research by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary released last month suggests the police will  loose 16,200 personnel by 2015 and a total loss including that of the civilian staff will be close to 34,000. This according to BBC Newsnight will take the police strength back to what it was in 2003.

With the CUTS yet not imposed there have been two major violent protests in nine months is the prime minister going to rethink his strategy.

Apart from the policy matters and the debates in parliament which Cameron so far has defended showing admirable command his big test is will be to reinstall the faith of the man on the street, by securing them, their prospects and in the wake of ongoing crisis securing their businesses.

With his deputy and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg being forced to cut short his walk through the streets of Birmingham after being booed by the public and the shopkeepers in London taking on themselves to guard their businesses it’s not a good sign for Cameron.

Facing all this is not going to be easy, but it’s about time Cameron goes back to the famous ‘Hug the Hoodie’ speech he gave on July 10, 2006.  He then said “there is a connection between circumstances and behaviour,” and merely, “Debating symptoms and not causes will not serve the purpose.”

It’s the latter advice he then gave the Labour government that needs his attention to hold ground in the long run.

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Five points that India can learn from Hackgate

Hackgate has been one of the biggest controversies in Britain. The alleged illegal and unethical practices of the mightiest media conglomerate led to the end of a 168 year old weekly.

It saw the media mogul Rupert Murdoch being summoned by the Commons, government officers resigned so did it saw top newspapers executives and so far 10 people have been arrested. Not to mention that the Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to cut short his Africa tour in order to attend Prime Ministers questions.

Looking at the way the system, government and media machinery functions here for almost a year it makes me feel that the we should have had a ‘Raj’ hangover of different kind.

Not denying the fact that it took eight long years and two inquires which led to nothing substantial, this one is turning out to be mother of all investigations so far. As an Indian national watching the developments from ringside I figure out five points that wouldn’t harm if we have a ‘Raj’ hangover.

Transparency

The way events are unfolding it’s all playing to the gallery, with television cameras bringing the parliamentary proceedings and that of the committee into people’s living room. Contrary to our parliamentary committee proceedings about which we the people hear via sources, reports and committee findings. The line of Q&A’s is never known. Those involved chicken out on the mention of being transparent. (the most recent being Lokapal bill meetings and the hearings in Radia tapes).

Accountability:

There is a great notion of being accountable to the people. Leaders and officials when in dock own up to their doings and wrong doings. Former Prime minister Tony Blair was summoned second time early in January before the Iraq enquiry and the proceedings were televised, neither Labour party nor Blair loyalist made a hue and cry like their counterparts in our country. Today Cameron said, if proven that Andy Culson was involved in Hackgate he would issue an apology to the house and said in hindsight the appointment was error of judgement. While our leaders hardly own up to their error of judgements leave aside appearing before a committee and that too in public view. Look at the drama over Radia tapes and formation of Joint Parliamentary committee; it stopped the house from functioning.

Etiquette

It is amazing for an Indian to see a parliament that functions, goes about fulfilling its duties and moreover the MP’s abiding by the word of the speaker. Whatever be the debate questions are raised, answered and speaker is above everyone else in the house. Full house or less attendance the house functions without failing and it has the power to call high and mighty for being questioned. Murdochs could not defy when summoned.

Speed

As mentioned it took long for Hackgate to reach where it has, but this time around the speed of investigations and committee hearings have been done at a lightning speed. That apart in the MPs expenses scandal that was brought to light in May 2009, so far six MP’s have been pleaded guilty and sentenced. Can we ever imagine this to happen in India, our Kalmadi’s still get a VIP treatment even while waiting for the cab in the prison? Common wealth game scam, Adarsh Scam, Cash for votes, Radia Tapes the list goes on without a single outcome.

Democratic

Most importantly the government doesn’t hide behind the coalition dharma disguise. Members in the coalition can voice different opinions, but the government takes appropriate action. In the Hackgate David Cameron is being questioned by both his MP’s and by those of Liberal Democrats and responding in all fairness. We can’t even dream of PM, or UPA chairperson ever being questioned, if someone does they are shown the door.

Is anyone listening?

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Murdochs face the music

Murdochs face the MPs today. The Commons media committee will question the trio – Rupert and James Murdoch along with Rebekah Brooks.

In what is being viewed as one of the most anticipated session at the Parliament all eyes and ears will be turned on to what the three have in store for the committee.

A strong case has been built with media houses setting up the tone and probable question line as published by the guardian.

What remains to be seen is that how the veteran media mogul Murdoc sr. responds to the committee after first rejecting the call to respond to the committees call.

While James and Rebekah have earlier spoken on the hacking scandal and appeared to give their side of story on different occasions, it will be the first time Rupert Murdoch will put his stand after the newspaper issued apologies across in newspapers.

Murdoch sr. told Wall Street Journal(which he owns) that he’s ‘annoyed and tired‘ by the negative headlines from which News corporation will recover.

Will Rupert put what he calls minor mistakes in handling the crisis in place and ride News Corp back on road remains to be seen?

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