To recap. First, Cameron, Osborne and the Murdochs together embraced a relationship of mutual benefit, irrespective of the interests of the British public and democracy…

Second, the Murdochs knew what went on in the News of the World and approved of and supported the cover up and the pay-offs. Therefore the Prime Minister and Chancellor entered into an agreement with the bosses of a criminal organisation.

The third question is this: granted that Cameron and Osborne knew that the Murdochs were “tough” (just as did Thatcher and later Blair) did they also understand they had become criminal? After Cameron won the Tory party leadership in 2006, perhaps only the Guardian was trying to ring the alarm bell over the courtship. But after Goodman was jailed for hacking and Coulson resigned were these not danger signals? Osborne is said to have then recruited Coulson and Cameron agreed to give him “a second chance” as he put it. But really, did both of them believe the “rogue reporter” line?

It does not matter if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt because an identifiable moment in the run-up to the 2010 election removes all uncertainty. To explain this begs readers’ patience, but it is a defining moment. The fullest account so far is the gripping book subtitled ‘News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain’, Dial M for Murdoch. It’s by Tom Watson MP, the hero of the Select Committee and Martin Hickman of the Independent. (The hint in the title is heavy-handed – see openDemocracy’s review of the book by the author of The Murdoch Archipelago, Bruce Page, who agrees there is a comparison with KGB but denies that NewsCorp assassinates, and I agree with him).

The story seems to be this, drawn from Dial M for Murdoch (pp. 107-10, 167-181). After Cameron had put Andy Coulson in charge of his press and media operation in 2007, it emerged that as Editor of News of the World Coulson had employed Jonathan Rees.

Back in 1989 Rees was a partner with Daniel Morgan running a private detective agency. Apparently Morgan was concerned about Rees’ connections to corrupt police. After having a drink with Rees in a pub Morgan was murdered. Rees denied he was responsible. He went on to run a lucrative business obtaining stories while the police were suspicious and began to bug him. They recorded him saying “No one pays like the News of the World” and, more important, discovered that he was planning to plant cocaine on someone to fit her up. After he did so, he was charged with perverting the course of justice and given a seven-year sentence in 2000. Released in 2005 he was promptly re-employed by… Andy Coulson at the News of the World.