Had Piers Morgan stuck with the celebrity thing, I suspect that the hacking storm would have touched him, but not engulfed him. Celebrity twitter is what Morgan knows, and it was hardly his fault that those who controlled the Daily Mirror back in the 1990s thought that a young man so steeped in celebrity gossip could make an excellent editor of a famous, although declining, Labour supporting tabloid newspaper. Those were the empty, dumbed down times in which we lived, and from which, post Murdoch, we are now only dimly seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
Morgan is however a bumptious puff ball. Always has been and probably always will be. Since I once informed a friend of this opinion who then blurted it out in front of both Morgan and me during a Daily Mirror thrash at a Labour Party Conference, there has been no love lost over the years, although I suspect that now he would effect not even to recognise me.
Was I the only one to openly warn CNN in print that Piers Morgan was not a sensible choice to take over from the veteran anchor, Larry King? I have a strong suspicion that I was. You see everyone in what was Fleet Street and in Westminster also though that Piers was a bumptious puff ball, but for various reasons would put up with his gauche, spoiled behaviour, either because they wanted to suck up to him or imagined him to be too powerful. Even now one or two guests who attended a lunch in 2002 where Piers impersonated Paul McCartney rowing with Heather Mills – the conversation having allegedly been hacked from one of their cell phones – appear to be suffering from amnesia. Not all of the guests have such short memories though, and I imagine Paul McCartney’s lawyers will be on the phone to them as we speak. McCartney’s intervention in the hacking allegations surrounding Morgan is pivotal, for as long as it was Heather Mills making the claims, one was bound to ask ‘who is the greatest fantasist, Morgan or Mills?’
Now Piers Morgan is about to receive a summons in front of the same House of Commons that grilled the Murdoch’s and their hench maiden, Rebekah Brooks. There is now a bigger question for the British in particular to ask themselves. It is also a question the CNN executives who recruited Morgan must answer too, given that even the most cursory trawl through Morgan’s employment record should have thrown up substantial questions. How is it that so many light weight, poor quality individuals were afforded so many important positions in public life? Is our current and comparative weakness, and by that I mean the Anglo American weakness partly related to a pretty rotten political and media establishment – especially when compared with the emerging markets? This may seem a bit of a stretch to some, but it is pertinent nonetheless.
As for the Daily Mirror, a newspaper with a proud history, where Morgan – as essentially a Tory boy show biz editor – was a kind of weird aberration, why on earth doesn’t it do the sensible thing and put distance between itself and Morgan? After all, it was the Daily Mirror that fired him for using faked pictures of British soldiers beating up Iraqis.
As Piers Morgan contemplates, if he is able to think one step ahead, a future touring dusty Mid West towns judging local talent shows and majorette bands, it is worth recalling that when he allegedly re-enacted ex Beatle Paul McCartney trying to win Heather Mills round, he attempted to sing; “We can work it out!” My guess is that many Americans are now remembering the lyrics of another old Beatles classic; “Get back get back, get back to where you belong!”