Money talks and News Corporation’s money clearly talks louder than most as most of the people who brought cases against the company for phone hacking seem to be settling for the company’s money (far less than those smart cookies Gordon Taylor of the PFA and PR man Max Clifford settled for) rather than taking their cases to court.
Which does rather make you wonder if they were the outraged seekers after truth they said they were, or just people looking for a tax-free top-up payment from News boss Rupert Murdoch. Labour MP Chris Bryant (pictured), who’s been a voluble critics of News and all it stands for, has settled for £30,000. Very nice too – but where’s the commitment to exposing wrongdoing? Same for actor Jude Law with his £163,000.
Now it is the case under UK law that if you take a case to court after your opponent has made a ‘reasonable’ out-of-court offer you can get completely stuffed. But even so this gaggle of complainants, which includes voluble former deputy PM John Prescott (£40,000), do seem to be putting their bank balances before their loudly-expressed principles.
You can’t blame those ordinary people who were done over by the News of the World. They’re probably sick and tired of it all and some money is the least they deserve. But these settling celebs are far from poor.
It’s hardly a glorious day for justice and transparency. Or the noisy folk who populate the media.