Nick Cohen Nick Cohen

The Great Reckoning

In my Observer column today, I talk about the scourging of Britain’s failed elite. To give readers an idea of how many institutions are in the dock, I quote an extract from Piers Morgan’s diaries from the summer of 2004. Because I have more space, I can give you the full ghastly detail here – what lucky people you are.

Morgan’s managers had just fired him from the editorship of the Mirror for running pictures of British soldiers pissing on Iraqi detainees, which a fool could have told him were crude fakes. There is a risk that when the pictures are seen in the Middle East they will endanger men and women in the forces. Morgan does not care. He toddles off to the 40th birthday party of Ross Kemp. Brown is there. Blunkett is there. Tony and Cherie Blair are there, along with Greg Dyke, the former Director-General of the BBC, and Sir John Stevens, commissioner of the Met. It seems that everyone who is anyone in Britain is there, but no one is there to see Kemp. They are paying court to the star of Eastenders’ then wife Rebekah Wade (now Brooks). Rupert Murdoch made her editor of the Sun, and she is thus a mighty figure in the land.

While Stevens hovers in the background giving confidential information to passing media bigwigs, Morgan sidles up to the blind Blunkett.

“Got any gear on you mate?” he whispers.

“Who is this?” splutters Blunkett. “Morgan, you bastard, I thought we had got rid of you.”

As I say in the Observer, everyone at the party shared the same assumptions.

‘The guests scratch, slap and stab each other’s backs (particularly over the second Iraq war).

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