Ping! The next stage of the phone-hacking scandal is ready

Corrupt police officers let <em>NoW</em> journalists track mobile phones using technology normally r

There is one thing the media loves reporting on it: itself. Broadsheets and tabloids alike have leapt upon the demise of the News of the World with delight. They have reported the movements of an 80-year-old man in fine detail, and analysed to death the likelihood of a media company taking over another media company that it already has a controlling stake in. In their desire to report on the media ramifications of the scandal, however, the media have not given due prominence to what will be the larger and more long-running scandal: corruption within Britain's police forces.

Thankfully they have not made this mistake across the pond. The New York Times today reports that News of the World journalists paid police $500 to track someone's mobile phone.

Under British law, the technology involved is restricted to law enforcement and security officials, requires case-by-case authorization, and is used mainly for high-profile criminal cases and terrorism investigations. . .

In other words, British police officers were more than happy to use technology that was aimed at capturing terrorists in order to earn a few hundred quid from a tabloid hack. The New York Times continues:

The former Scotland Yard official who discussed the matter said that any officer who agreed to use the technique to assist a newspaper would be crossing a red line.

"That would be a massive breach," he said.

The police have an increasing number of questions to answer in this sorry affair.

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Ed Miliband on Brexit: Labour should never be the party of the 48 per cent

The former Labour leader has not ruled out a return to the shadow cabinet. 

What do George Osborne, Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband have in common? A liking for a soft Brexit, it turns out. 

But while Osborne is responding to the border lockdown instinct of some Tory Brexiteers, the former Labour leader, along with Chuka Umunna, Lisa Nandy and Rachel Reeves, has to start by making the case to fight for Brexit at all.

And that’s before you get to the thorny and emotional question of freedom of movement. 

Speaking at a Resolution Foundation fringe event, Miliband ridiculed calls to be the “party of the 48 per cent”, in reference to the proportion who voted to stay in the EU referendum.

Remain voters should stop thinking Brexit was a “nasty accident” and start fighting for a good deal, he urged.

Miliband said: “I see talk saying we should become the party of the 48 per cent. That is nonsense.

"I don’t just think it is nonsense electorally, but it is nonsense in policy because it buys into the same problem people were objecting to in their vote which is the old ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’”. 

Remain voters shared many of the same concerns as Leave voters, including on immigration, he said. 

Miliband praised the re-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s comments that a hard Brexit would be a disaster. He said: “We have to engage in these negotiations.”

Although he said he “anticipated” staying on the back benches, he did not rule out a return to the shadow cabinet, and urged the party to use its newly recruited member, many of whom joined under Corbyn.

Miliband was backed up by Nandy, seen as a rising star of the party, who said there was longterm dissatisfaction with jobs and wages: “You throw freedom of movement into the mix and you create dynamite.”

She also called for Labour to throw itself into Brexit negotiations: “We have been stuck between two impossible choices, between pulling up the drawbridge or some version of free market hell.

“But the truth is we are a progressive, internationalist, socialist party and we can’t afford to make that false choice.”

Reeves, who wrote in The Staggers that freedom of movement should be a “red line” in Brexit negotiations, said: “I don’t buy this idea that people who voted Leave have changed their minds.”

And she dismissed the idea of a second referendum on the eventual deal: “If people voted against the deal, then what?”

But while the speakers received warm applause from the party member audience, they were also heckled by an EU national who felt utterly betrayed. Her interruption received applause too.

Umunna acknowledged the tensions in the room, opening and ending his speech with a plea for members not to leave the party. 

Having called identity politics "the elephant in the room", he declared: “We have got to stay in this party and not go anywhere. It is not just because you don’t win an argument by leaving the room, it is because we are the only nationwide party with representatives in every region and nation of this country. We are the only party representing every age and ethnic community. 

“Stay in this party and let us build a more integrated Britain.”