|The Sun's John Kay with Admiral Lord West|
JOHN Kay is one of the finest reporters Fleet Street has ever had.
For 38 years, News International was extremely fortunate to have him on their staff at the Sun and there isn’t enough room on this blog post to list his awards.
He is the sole reason why I never worked at the Sun. He was the only reporter I ever came across who I knew I couldn’t compete with. I would have been overshadowed by his brilliance.
At 68, he was still their chief reporter, so valuable were his contacts and his stories which carried the Sun along on a crest of a circulation wave.
Now he finds himself arrested on suspicion of paying the contacts his company demanded more and more from in return for their money.
Perversely, that very same company, which applauded their chief reporter and signed off the payments to his contacts, is responsible for handing him over to the police.
It is not an overstatement to say that I cannot think of another example of behaviour which rates higher on the scale of sickening hypocrisy.
These acts of treachery by News International and News Corporation are literally destroying the lives of the people who served them loyally and did their bidding.
The anger among Sun staff at the moment is straight from the furnace and springs from the company’s desire to sacrifice anyone in order to protect itself. They have effectively declared war on their own staff, a disastrous corporate strategy.
Many have called me to vent their anger. One told me: “The hatred the Sun is at such a pitch, senior executives ought to seriously consider hiring bodyguards when they go out at night.”
On January 30, on the blog post, ‘News Int Committee will Break up the Firm’, after the arrest of four Sun journalists, I said: “Saturday’s desperate meltdown on the Sun was a crisis waiting to happen.
“And as long as News International’s ill-fated Management and Standards Committee continues to exist, it will happen again and again. Until the balance tips and it is either forced to close or is sold off.”
Today, we have lurched further forward towards that miserable position.
The formation of the MSC has been a corporate disaster as big as the News International cover-up of the phone hacking crisis.
There should have been a half-way house sought beween ‘Operation Cover-up’ and ‘Operation Trousers Down’.
Any company would collapse under such microscopic scrutiny of its affairs and News International was grossly naïve to miss this and callous to foist it on its staff.
I personally wouldn’t work for them now if they paid me twice my salary. The end result of a News International pay cheque now is industry taint at best, ruination at worst.
The deputy editor, Geoff Webster, I’ve known for more than 20 years, having worked with him on Today and the News of the World. I’ve known John Edwards, the picture editor since we worked for Today 22 years ago. And I’ve enjoyed the company of Nick Parker, the Sun’s chief foreign correspondent on several foreign assignments over the past 20 years.
They are gifted men who gave their lives to News International.
I send my sympathies and warm wishes to them and their families.