The Missing Murdoch

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It is a great pity, I think, that when the Culture, Media and Sport Committee resolved to grill the Murdochs, they stopped short at James and Rupert and did not call Iris. I know she is dead, and was unfortunately gaga for a while before that, but when it is claimed to leave no stone unturned, then no stone should be unturned, including the stones atop Iris Murdoch’s grave. They ought to have been duly turned, and she dug up, and a few bolts of Frankensteinian electricity blasted through her before she was hauled into Portcullis House to sit alongside the media mogul and his unnerving son.

It has lately been said, ad nauseam, that the phone-hacking scandal is Britain’s Watergate. Certainly one thing they share is the sense that the whole seething mess can be evoked by a simple litany of names. John Dean, Chuck Colson, Jeb Magruder, H R “Bob” Haldeman, Kenneth Clawson , Howard Hunt… just reciting the list takes one back to 1970s Washington. One may no longer be clear about who was who, but even at the time, as new names entered the frame, the waters were muddied. One thought one had a grasp of the matter, and then all of a sudden the papers are full of references to Richard Kleindienst. Who is he? What are his connections? What did he know and when did he know it? This sort of stuff keeps drooling obsessives happy as larks.

And so it is now. Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks, Neil “Wolfman” Wallis, John Yates, Glen Mulcaire… and suddenly we have the previously unheard-of Dick Fedorcio elbowing his way in, hoovering up the newsprint, to be fitted in to the jigsaw. This is precisely why an opportunity was lost when it was decided – by whom? when? upon whose advice? – not to question Iris Murdoch. As if all the sex and death and good and evil and power and morality were not enough, I think we have a right to know where precisely Madge Casement and Mrs Tinckham and Hugo Belfounder and Mischa Fox and Hunter Keepe and Nan Mor and Dora Greenfield and Toby Gash and James Tayper Pace and Patchway the gardener and Bruno and Lisa and Miles and Danby and Maureen and Will and Adelaide and Diana fit into the whole shenanigans. Only Iris Murdoch can tell us, and tell us she must, and the public will expect to see robust transparency and transparent robustness and prosecutions and convictions and tittle-tattle and footballers’ wives and soap stars and page three girls… er…

Frank Key has gone to have a lie-down

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

7 thoughts on “The Missing Murdoch

    July 22, 2011 at 08:50

    and let’s not forget William McMaster Murdoch, first officer on the RMS Titanic – coincidence? I think not

    jonathan law
    July 22, 2011 at 09:50

    And what about Murdoch the Bashful Steam Engine? He’s keeping very quiet about what Scruff the Scruncher told Salty, Emily and Whiff about BoCo the Deisel; just how often, and on what precise dates, did Toby the Tram meet the mysterious engine known only as ‘Duck’, not to mention the egregious Spencer, private engine, let it never be forgotten, to the Duke of Boxford?

    July 22, 2011 at 09:55

    Alas, poor Iris, Frank knew her well, he wished. Such a great pity that the ducking stool was abandoned, such larks we would have had, Rupe could have held his breath longest, there not being much left anyhow, his missus would have went in chewing chunks out of the inoffensive contraption. The final act, to the tune of the last one minute and twenty seconds of Tosca would have been the immersion of the hypocrisy, if a stool plus ocean large enough could be found.

    A cynical person however, would remark there was an ocean big enough, la Mer Hypocrisy that the entire politico-media circus had been swimming in.

    That being said, all things being equal and Kisty Wark being innocent on all counts, ‘ole Rupe would make a cracking Giuliano di Piero di’ Medici, Jamie Dodger a passable Savonarola.

    Forgive them Lord Snow, for they know not what they do.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:19

    There are no stones atop Iris Murdoch’s grave. She was cremated, and her ashes scattered in the garden of an Oxford crematorium. I understand that it was the same crematorium in which she was cremated, but the records are unclear on this point.

    Even if you were somehow able to retrieve, reconstitute and reanimate Ms Murdoch’s ashes, you would still then need to locate the remains of her brain, which she donated to medical research.

    It’s time to face reality. We will never hear Iris Murdoch’s version of what really went on during this shoddy state of affairs.

  5. Gaw
    July 22, 2011 at 12:18

    I think it’s significant that her widower, John Bayley, has received payments from News International (for so-called “book reviews”, I believe). Who signed these off? And why?

    July 22, 2011 at 14:32

    And please don’t forget Captain H.M. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdoch of the A Team. I see here that he was ‘a fictional character’ but don’t let them fool you. As for Watergate, let us never, ever overlook G. Gordon Liddy.

    July 22, 2011 at 19:15

    “It was them orcs” said Shelob, when quizzed by the passing Nazgul Whats-on, “I only found out this morning, poor Rohan, send them my most abject apologies.” “But what about the Thatchaug” said the Snowtroll, smug in the fastness of the fourthanc “she’s bound to be involved.” The Gillwark, the warg mak-conell in its pocket and sitting opposite it’s hero the dark lord Saur-Ed asked, batting it’s eyelids in ecstasy, “was it the Thatchaug, my lord”. the great eye, turning away from the fires of mount kin-nok glowered for a moment and he hissed “the Thatchaug, the Thatchaug, will I never be rid of the Thatchaug.”
    “He will do it” said Pat-ton, the great cave troll , lord of the bee-beecee turning to the robin-sonollum, loathsome minion and part time garrotter.

    “My precious” said the robin-sonollum, stroking the Thatchaug and guiding her towards the garde de iron, “your destiny awaits.”
    The Thatchaug, turning towards her young elf Camolas sighed, “never hire a nowarg when the wolves are running”

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