This story – whilst an old one from May 2008 – came my way via my favourite tweeting gasman, Gary Robinson, on Twitter this morning:
Two pest controllers were called to coax a 4ft (1.2m) orange snake into a bag after it was found by a tenant in her house boiler.
When Lee Marshall, 40, spoke to an “almost hysterical” young woman from Southsea, Portsmouth, claiming she had seen a snake he thought she was joking.
But he and a colleague discovered the creature slithering inside a boiler.
Coincidentally – and also via Twitter, but this time via my favourite MP, Tom Watson – we get a report from the Independent, as well as a related .pdf file held on Parliament’s web servers, about the subject of Rupert Murdoch’s News International phone-hacking scandal. In the incident under question, the Independent seems to imply a key email might have been held back from shareholders last year in order to ensure control would not be lost of BSkyB. This, then, is what the Independent has to say of the very same year as our snake in the gas story – but this time a month later in June 2008:
A key email which cast significant doubt on James Murdoch’s repeated assertions that he was never told about the true extent of phone hacking at the News of the World was kept from public disclosure last year while the media heir faced a shareholder revolt over his leadership of BSkyB.
Had the email sent by Mr Myler in June 2008, which talked of a “nightmare scenario” of further phone hacking claimants, been made public around the time of its discovery by a “reviewer” in a crate of material recovered from the offices of the closed NOTW it is likely to have significantly heightened the pressure on Mr Murdoch.
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP and phone hacking victim who attended the AGM, said: “Had this information been available at the time of the AGM, I am sure more shareholders would have said ‘sorry James Murdoch but thank you very much and goodbye’.”
Meanwhile, what we presume is the full sad and sorry behind-the-scenes story – what apparently caused this key email to be “lost in review” – is contained in this recent letter (.pdf file) to the Parliamentary Committee investigating the hacking scandal. Well worth your time.
Just a couple of final observations to wrap up.
People get paid to not do their job like this, you know. Or, on the other hand, to do it all too well.
Though I’m sure neither of the above has happened in this particular case.
When one can choose between rank conspiracy and rank incompetence, 99 percent of what happens in this world is due to rank incompetence.