So, after more than 160 years, The News of the World publishes its last edition today. I shall not mourn its passing, but neither shall I celebrate, instead I shall let all the column inches, blog posts and commentators chronicle the sad and sorry end to a tale of moral bankruptcy and craven capitalism.
Much has been made already in the media about the hacking of private telephone calls in order to elicit information, and there is not much more to say except that the incidents currently under investigation illustrate all too clearly that we have, as a society, lost our way. That it happened at all is shameful enough but that the people ultimately responsible have remained in their (well-paid) jobs is scandalous. It is to be hoped that soon even they shall have to face the consequences of their actions.
I read somewhere this week that the hounding and eventual killing of The News of the World was a middle-class witch-hunt; that those calling for its demise were somehow depriving the working classes of a significant factor in their everyday lives. I found the opinion to be risible and offensive, assuming as it does that the working class don't deserve any better than endless celebrity gossip, xenophobia and mysogyny. Heaven forbid that the proles should educate themselves and question the status quo...
...Heaven may, indeed, forbid it seeing as the Church of England has a significant stake in News International, the Murdoch-owned parent organisation of the bastard child that is The News of the World. I knew that the Tory party were in bed with Murdoch, and that Tony Blair had indulged in some political 'romping' (as the paper in question may have put it) but I was shocked to learn that the CoE were the third part of the threesome! Greedy politicians and corrupt clergy were so often the target of the "investigative journalism" carried out - evidently by a private detective - by the News of the World. Ironic, then, that the two pillars of our Establishment should be so in thrall to its owner.
I also find it hard to believe that there are now hundreds, if not thoudands, of paedophiles, asylum seekers, cheating footballers, benefit fraudsters, and corrupt politicians across the country currently celebrating their luck. The News of the World may have broken the occasional story but it is hardly the moral guardian of the country, as a quick look at some of the headlines in the image below will testify.
So it will not be a black day for British journalism, and we know the vacuum left behind will soon be filled with another Murdoch-owned title - The Sun on Sunday being the most likely candidate. The whole 'affair' has quickly become a meta-media event as journalists from one paper write the obituary of another one. But the outcome of this week's events could spell the beginning of a brighter future where we are presented with all the facts, and one all-powerful Media Mogul does not wield so much influence over Church and State.
And don't feel too sorry for the journalists who have lost their jobs...I read somewhere that the unemployed live in five-bedroomed houses and earn £50K a year.