When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I accidently broke one of our kitchen windows whilst playing 'tiggy-on-high' - we obviously hadn't quite thought through the implications of where we would be jumping. My Mum, when she returned home from work, was very upset and, assured by her 'innocent' children that some rough boys had done it, she got the local bobby to come around to get a description. My sisters, friends (some of whom had not even been around at the time) and I gave a remarkably involved tale of playful children being terrorised by some waifs from the 'other' council estate. The mortification of the memory I have of this is hard to describe - needless to say, it is not one of my proudest memories.
I have had this in mind when considering the situation of the 'hacking scandal' and the News of the World (NOTW); it seems to me that a lot of people have been telling a lot of lies and being believed. The problem is, lies have a way of unravelling and doing so quickly and spectacularly.
I don't propose to rehearse the whole nightmare of what has gone on but it is particularly sickening in its extent and its awfulness. It is beginning to collapse and who is being made to take the blame? Well, finally, one of the apparent perpetrators has been arrested and has found that powerful friends can stab you in the back (prepare the 'Et tu' speech Mr Coulson) and the poor staff of the NOTW are all out of work.
However, Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News International, continues to ride serenely above it all, even though she was editor at the time of one of the worst examples of 'phone hacking (the hacking of the 'phone of the missing Milly Dowler, raising the hopes of her family and hindering the police investigation).
It would seem that if she goes, then there is no protection for her boss - James Murdoch; this, at the moment, would be unacceptable.
So, a 168 year-old, profitable newspaper is shutdown; the former editor (and close media advisor to PM David Cameron until January of this year) is thrown to the wolves and the claim that this was the work of a couple of rogues shown to be false (and known to be so by the News International Chairman).
A little girl once told me whilst I was helping in a Catechism class that "lies are like snowballs, they get bigger and bigger". You know, she was right, and they hurt when they hit you.
40-odd years ago, I tried the oldest excuse in the book, backed by siblings and fellow travellers; my Mother never bought it for a second. We don't buy it either Ms Brooks.