In case you had forgotten, we are only four days away from a festival of democracy. On Thursday, elections will be held to 131 English councils, all 32 Scottish local authorities, and 21 of the 22 Welsh councils. There will be three mayoral contests – London, Liverpool and Salford – with the brutal Boris-Ken rematch as the Ali-Frazier style main event of the day. As these two huge political personalities slug it out for control of the Olympic city, referendums will be held in 11 English cities to decide whether or not to introduce directly elected mayors in each of those urban areas.
And how have we prepared for this electoral carnival? By watching two members of a media dynasty being cross-examined about the intricacies of their dealings with the political class (some long past), the cover-up of dark deeds at News International that began in 2008, the two men’s respective relationships with the present Government, and their views on a cavalcade of employees and public personalities.
For journalists and politicians, the unfolding forensic drama in Court 73 has been the purest catnip; less so – if Tory focus groups are to be believed – for the increasingly baffled public. Could there be a purer metaphor for the introspection and detachment of t