The tipping point

There’s an interesting parallel between the phone-hacking scandal and the MPs’ expenses scandal. In both cases, the general public paid little attention to the story in its early stages: it was seen as some kind of kerfuffle in particular circles. Nothing to do with anything serious. The phone-hacking story, for example, was perceived as being just about celebs and footballers. But then there came a moment when everything changed. In the expenses scandal it was the revelation that MPs were claiming for duck-houses and having their moats cleared. In the phone-hacking story it was the discovery that the phone of Milly Dowler had been hacked — and that some messages had been deleted because her voicemail inbox was full — which misled her family into thinking that she might have been deleting messages and might therefore still be alive. At this point, public anger erupted and the game was up.