Friday 24 November 2017

Contradiction lies at heart of the hacking controversy

For an actress to follow the McCanns on to the witness box was wholly inappropriate, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Jemima Khan's eldest son, Sulaiman Isa, had pancakes, hot chocolate and pain au chocolat for breakfast on his 15th birthday a couple of weeks ago. As a present, he also received a signed Chelsea shirt from eBay. This much I know, not because I am personally acquainted with Jemima, or because some sleazy tabloid hack was spying on her kitchen that morning, but because she told it to her nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter.

There you have the contradiction at the heart of the whole hacking debate. The reason so many celebrities are outraged against the now defunct News Of The World and other newspapers is not because they wish to protect their families from the public gaze; in fact, they deliberately breach their own privacy all the time, either because they love attention or have something to sell, at which point domestic intimacy invariably becomes a commodity to be traded in return for the necessary funds to fuel their glitzy lifestyles.

They're outraged only because they want control of what the public should and should not know, and the tabloids dared to take that power away from them. They much preferred the good old days when deference reigned supreme and the rich and famous were given a platform entirely on their own terms and could be sure of never having the sleazier parts of their history exposed.

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