BBC bosses can breathe a sigh of relief over the public’s wholehearted embrace of the corporation’s Olympics coverage. Nine days on from the Super Friday of the Opening Ceremony, when 27 million people tuned in, Beeb director of London 2012 Roger Mosey tweeted: “Stunning figures for last night’s amazing athletics” – celebrating the 17m total for Mo Farah’s 10,000-metre blaze of glory. The runner’s inspired achievement was the third consecutive smash of Saturday’s action, with Greg Rutherford’s long jump pulling in 15.6m viewers and Jessica Ennis’s heptathlon victory drawing 16.3m.
Police chiefs have said that no new laws are required to combat the menace of “Twitter trolls” – people who use the micro-blogging platform for the express purpose of harassment and intimidation. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), a “common-sense” approach was needed from officers who are required to investigate instances of Twitter abuse. “I think we have got quite a lot of legislation, dating back to the Malicious Communications Acts of 1998 and 2003,” said spokesman Stuart Hyde. “There is a lot there that helps us and gives us the power to do stuff.”
National Union of Students (NUS) leaders are at loggerheads with their counterparts in the Student Loans Company after it emerged that thousands of higher-education alumni have been forking out millions of pounds in overpayments on their loans. The SLC – already in considerable PR chop after revelations earlier this year that new chief executive Ed Lester was paid through a tax-lowering mechanism – has maintained that it contacts people likely to overpay as a matter of routine. But NUS vice president Pete Mercer argued that closer, real-time communication between the SLC and HMRC “cannot come soon enough”.
In a special column, Tottenham MP David Lammy pressed for a public inquiry into the death of local man Mark Duggan: the incident that sparked off the London riots – and wider UK skirmishes – in the summer of last year. While Lammy expressed pride in the resilience of his community, he said that it was unsatisfactory for the general public not to know more about the circumstances of Duggan’s death, and that simmering recriminations over the riots will provide conditions for further unrest, unless the Tottenham community is able to achieve closure.
RBS chief Stephen Hester has vocalised many feelings held by the general public by admitting that the banking sector is at a new low, and “detached from society”. Following recent storms of controversy over LIBOR-fixing activity at Barclays and money laundering for drug cartels at HSBC – investigations of which were largely spearheaded in the United States – Hester said that banks need to find a new way of doing things. “We need to demonstrate that our industry has made physical and cultural changes from the pre-crisis go-go times, and put customers first in all we do. We turn over rocks and find new things to deal with – but that is part of the cleaning up process.”
A momentary photo-op has inflamed party-political tensions over the continued closeness of the Conservatives with News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch. In an apparent instance of “bumping into each other”, the media tycoon was photographed shaking hands with bell catapult and culture secretary Jeremy Hunt at the Olympics site in Stratford. This follows London Mayor Boris Johnson’s extension of an invite to Murdoch as his personal guest for a round of Olympic hospitality and schmoozing. “It demonstrates that Jeremy Hunt has no judgment of what his job entails and no common sense,” said Labour’s John Spellar.
Meanwhile, down at Tory Towers, it seems that internecine tensions in the party are pretty high all by themselves without any further strain from the outside. According to Mail journo Simon Walters, David Cameron’s inner circle has put out a series of damaging briefs to derail Boris Johnson’s ambitions to see off the prime minister and take the nation’s reins. Cameron’s team cite the spectre of Johnson’s “ladies’ man” reputation as a potential hindrance to his hopes of leading the party and country. But former Tory leader Lord Howard expressed regret over sacking Johnson in 2004 over his alleged affair with writer Petronella Wyatt.
Well, there’s always this imminent vacancy in Corby to consider…