Murdoch scandal inspires bardic barbs on Twitter


THE SCANDAL engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has all of the elements of a great Shakespearean tragedy – looming disaster; an ageing tyrant losing his powers; family quarrels. So it was appropriate, perhaps, that the Swan of Avon dominated Twitter yesterday, 400 years after his passing.

Besides punning on the Taming of the Screws, the nickname for the now-defunct News of the World,former merchant seamen and later Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott adapted Shakespeare’s Macbethwith one of his contributions: “When shall we three meet again? Lewisham police station in October.”

Labour MP, Mr Chris Bryant, one of those who suffered at the hands of the News of the Worldand one of the few MPs to campaign on phone-hacking before it became a major public issue, chose Hamletfor his contribution to: “They did make love to this employment. Their defeat does by their own insinuation grow.”

King Lear, where the leading character descends into madness, was a favourite, with academic Prof Brian Cathcart contributing: “Come, let’s away to prison; we two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage,” while another contributor wrote: “Here I stand. A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man.”

Singer and campaigner, Billy Bragg preferring Gloster’s contribution in Richard III,with a twist to bring it up to date: “NoW is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this Sun on Sunday,” while he continued the theme of inevitable disaster with another from the same play: “The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.”