November seems set to be a trying month indeed for News International’s James Murdoch – and one week in particular. James is the boss of Rupert Murdoch’s British operation and, until the dreadful Millie Dowler hacking scandal, was even as a possible heir apparent to the media mogul’s empire. The company has been systematically doing all it can to reverse the damage to its public image in recent months ranging from removing from the earth all physical traces of the News of the World to paying compensation to the Dowler family and supporting their favourite charities. On November 10 James will be back in the Palace of Westminster, to take questions from the Culture, Media and Sport Selrct Committee once again and will presumably be even much better briefed on both facts and self-presentation than last time. But before that a court in France is expected to rake over the traces of the News of the World one more time when it delivers its verdict on the breach of privacy action taken by ex-Formula One boss Max Mosley on November 8 against the newspaper and its former news editor and chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck. Mr Thurlbeck is himself waiting to hear the outcome of a criminal investigation and is elsewhere claiming unfair dismissal by his former employers and that he was victimised for whistle-blowing. The Mosley verdict in the French courts has been put back from the originally scheduled date this week. The single-minded Mr Mosley, a talented lawyer credited with revolutionisng safety standards in Formula One for the better, took his quest to hold Wapping to account to the French courts after an unsuccessful privacy action before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The pictures the News of the World published of him cavorting at a spanking party with five prostitutes were unequivocally no one’s business but his own, maintains the defiantly unapologetic Mr Mosley who insists there is a broader principle that tabloid media bosses have become over-mighty. It may well turn out to be a canny decision that chimes with official French attitudes to privacy and restrictions on what the press may and may not report. Soon after the original publication of the photographs and article, Mr Mosley won £60,000 in damages and £450,000 pounds in costs at the High Court for breach of privacy.
Lloyds TSB, the bank part-owned by the taxpayer, told us a little while ago that an increasing number (69 per cent) of its higher net-worth clients have had enough of this country and want to move overseas. Now, presumably drawing from much of the same research, the Bank tells us it is seeing an increasing number of British ex-patriates calling off their plans to return home. Indeed, as many as 15 per cent of British expats have scrapped their homecoming plans, says the bank which surveyed its UK customers resident in Australia, Spain, US, Canada, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, UAE and Hong Kong. Some 74 per cent of them believe their quality of life is better, 64 per cent believe their finances are healthier than they would be here, 52 per cent are confident the cost of living is lower and 51 per cent (this includes people living in South Africa, remember) even believe their neighbourhoods are safer. Given all this, why wouldn’t they stay away, says Tony Wilcox, managing director of Lloyds TSB Expatriate Banking – or words to that effect.