Roger Alton denied our family the chance to refute the claims which Jim Perrin had made about our sister in an article in The Observer. The author’s assertions were extraordinary:
‘ Jacquetta [Jac] my lover, wife and friend of 40 years’
‘A previous man in her life [we know very well to whom he refers] had BEATEN HER savagely about the head.’
(Of her cancer) ‘She had surgery — chances of surviving beyond a very few YEARS minimal. In the event, MERCIFULLY, it would be only weeks.’ (Our capitals…) He also wrote, how dared he do so, that he was with Jac when she died!
Jim Perrin’s article was full of lies and ‘implications’ and we were profoundly shocked as those who now read the truth in our posts will readily understand. Surely, anyone faced with such wicked lies about a beloved member of their own family — and so soon after they had died — would have felt equally distressed and would also have wished to disclaim them?
We wrote earlier, in Part 1, that The Times Literary Supplement published our Letter to the Editor, but that Roger Alton refused us this courtesy and The Observer was closed to us. We thought it quite shameful: however, we had no idea he was Jim Perrin’s friend…
Thus, when recently we read the extract from the introduction by Jim Perrin to The Guardian book (described earlier in Part 1) we thought it might be time — as it were — to catch up with him, and featured it in that post.
Coincidentally, the piece completed, we read in the latest copy of Private Eye (1309) in the ‘Street of Shame’ (page 6) an article about Roger Alton which we would like to share.
Concerning the on-going ‘Leveson’ Enquiry it seemed remarkably in tune with what we had written and, after explaining that he, Roger Alton, (by now an executive editor of The Times) had been ‘left in charge’ whilst James Harding had gone to Moscow, the writer went on to say:
‘That in the week which had seen some of the most spectacular revelations about “News International” yet, staff were surprised to see the tale of Rebekah Brooks’ police horse — which had been prominent in the paper when they left the office the night before — had been downgraded to a single paragraph between the first and second editions.’
Who was responsible for this partisan sleight of hand? Why, Roger Alton of course, he, according to the writer:
‘Apparently considering that it was just an example of the police being beastly to his former boss by revealing the information.’
* * * * *
Other examples of Roger Alton’s editorial judgment may be seen by googling ‘Roger Alton YouTube’.
In one, Sky News, 07/07/2011, he says: ”The News of The World” is a fine paper — although there’s [sic] clearly been actions by one or two people and one or two private-eyes… ‘ After which this succinct comment was posted: ‘A Murdoch hack defends disgraced Murdoch paper on Murdoch T.V. Channel.’
In the second example, Channel 4 News, 08/07/2011, he (in)famously castigated the ‘Yummy Mummies’, blaming them for the downfall of The News of The World. Speaking of their ‘mumsnet’ site: ‘They have done as much as anybody else to close this paper’. He was referring to their ‘twitter’ campaign about phone hacking. One hundred and fourteen comments followed!
And thirdly, on BBC Newsnight, 10/11/2011, umpired by Emily Maitlis, Roger Alton was matched against Chris Bryant, shadow justice minister (himself a victim of phone hacking) to discuss the day’s disclosures at the ‘Leveson’ enquiry: James Murdoch having been, it could be said, in court.
Alton attempted to explain away the vast payments made, appeared to condone James Murdoch’s efforts to defend his integrity, and considered that the paper ‘had been extremely well-run’ ! In the end, though, it was ‘game, set and match’ to Chris Bryant.
On a different, and arguably even more important matter, we note also that it was whilst Roger Alton was at The Observer that the editorial view rigorously supported the invasion of Iraq…
We realise that a response to any of these issues is one of personal opinion although we cannot help but wonder if Roger Alton was misguided — and perhaps he genuinely believed the lies — in the support of his friend, Jim Perrin, against Jac’s sisters; and by favouring his ‘former boss’ Rebekah Brooks with his editorial meddling in the matter of the police horse which was loaned to her: might it be the case, we ask ourselves, that Roger Alton backs the wrong horses?…