Tom Watson, MP: copyfighting terror of News International

Here's a great and engrossing profile in the Guardian of campaigning MP Tom Watson, who has been instrumental in Parliament's pursuit of the Murdoch phone-hacking case. Watson has been targetted by News International in retaliation, followed around by PIs, his neighbours' rubbish bins raided, members of his party told to sideline or fire him by high-ranking News execs. I know Tom from his exemplary work against the Digital Economy Act, and it was fascinating to learn about this other major passionate campaign of his life.
"When Myler and Crone first turned up, my knowledge was novice-level," he says. "I knew about three facts. But what I knew was that in any great scandal, you've got to follow the money. They were hick, amateur questions: I think I opened with: 'When did you tell Rupert Murdoch [about the payment]?' I thought that you might as well start at the top.

"They said: 'Oh no – we didn't tell Rupert Murdoch.' Then it was, 'Well, who did you tell? Who authorised it?' Myler got frustrated me with me, because I came back to this four or five times. He ranted. And don't forget: Crone had already tried to get me off the committee. So at that point, I thought: 'You're rude, you've tried to remove me from this committee, you've put me under extreme pressure for a number of years – there's more to this, and I'm getting to the bottom of it.' "When Myler was so over the top . . . it was like there was a big neon light behind his head, saying, 'Dig here.'"

Tom Watson: 'Phone hacking is only the start. There's a lot more to come out'


  1. Love the T-shirt. That guys sounds awesome.
    EDIT : okay, just read the article. Strike my last : this guy is a fscking hero, and I wish we had politicians like that in France. He’s basically been hounded by the Evil Empire for FOUR YEARS, and he didn’t let it deter him and ended up blowing them wide open.

  2. This requires a link to the 5 second films videos for Tom Watson.

    I don’t know about you, but when hyper intelligent shark people invade my home, I know who I can trust.

  3. Meh. The News Corp wars seem a lot like payback; I doubt they were worse than anyone else, they just got big and acquired enough haters. Opposing the Digital Economy Act is impressive, but like he says he’s naive and about ten years behind the average net user. Is this really the best we can get?

    1. It’s true, News Corp. are far from the only, or even the worst, offenders. I can’t remember where I saw the chart of known phone-hacking offenders; I do remember, though, that the top two were the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. NOTW and The Sun were actually pretty far down the list, and if I recall correctly the worst offender in the Murdoch empire was…The Times. But even “good guy” broadsheets like the Telegraph and the Independent have done it, albeit not often.

      What sets NI apart is the arrogance, the lack of remorse, and the attack-dog mentality. It’s backfired on them, though; and the Daily Mail is raking in millions of new money because of it.

  4. QUOTE:

    Mr Watson, [was] the minister for digital engagement, spent the maximum of £4,800 in
    a single year on food, and had his expenses
    cut after buying a set of dining room chairs that exceeded the limit set by
    the fees office. He was forced to defend the appearance of a receipt for a “pizza wheel”
    on a Marks & Spencer receipt he submitted, saying it was given as a free
    gift after he went on a £150 spending spree at the store. He also used his parliamentary allowances, along with fellow Labour minister
    Iain Wright, to lavish more than £100,000 on a shared central London crash
    pad since the last general election.[/QUOTE]
    He seems like any other politician to me, except he eats more.

    1. I’d rather have an MP that fiddled expenses and voted against the D.E.B. than one that fiddles expenses and that voted FOR DEB, doesn’t respond to constituents and doesn’t turn up to most important bills like my last MP. The culture and expenses system itself was rubbish and almost ALL MPs fell into doing that dodgy stuff. Not all MPs are alike, they vary in which and how many dodgy things they do. ;)

  5. Damme, sir! Opposition research even on a BOINGBOING thread. As with Louise Mensch, publish and be damned!

    Rupert & crew surely have lots on Cameron and other HM government bigwigs past or present. The shade of J. Edgar Hoover weeps with envy. If LulzSec or Anonymous ever found this stuff and dumped it on the street…yeah, yeah, I know. Not my private army.

  6. I would have enjoyed that a lot more if there was less insinuation. This comment more or less sums up the article: “Two or three people in the party have told me that happened, but I can’t stand it up.” There’s not much in this article that can stand up.

    Obviously we have good reason to be suspicious of the people he’s talking about, given everything that’s happened in the last few months, but it’s sad that this article seems to be on about the same level as those in the various red top papers that he seems so anti. Add to that the comments at the bottom about the kind of activities he engaged in as a younger MP: 

    ” Not for the first time, he says he’s “totally ashamed” about an occasion in 2001 when he called for Kate Adie to be sacked by the BBC after she was alleged to have revealed the details of a trip by Blair to Middle East: his quote was given at the behest of Downing Street and used for a characteristic BBC-bashing splash in the Sun.”

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