A share of the blame
Like a lot of other people, I'm enjoying the furore around the News International phone hackings scandal. It isn't just schadenfreude; we've tolerated the gutter press for so long that it seemed like an inescapable and unfortunate part of the fabric of Britain. Now, with a fair wind, the Murdoch empire could come crashing down. Bring popcorn.
But one important fact seems to be widely overlooked. Surely the people who used to read the News of the World, and who still read The Sun, the Sunday Sport, The Mirror, not to mention the colourful cheap women's magazines, and other publications like it, are equally to blame? It's their insatiable appetite for gossip that underpins the entire sordid affair. In the same way that kerb-crawlers are considered law-breakers, creating the demand that fuels the supply, shouldn't the same apply to customers of these newspapers? You might even say that kerb-crawlers have a lot less to be ashamed of - at least there are usually consenting adults involved. No-one consented to having their phones hacked.
Of course, all this shines a light on the British psyche. All countries have their equivalent of the red-tops, but ours seems painfully successful by comparison. It really doesn't bear close inspection. It'll be interesting to see whether the demand for (and supply of) salacious gossip declines once the dust settles on this current debacle. Only good can come of this.