Why Is Everyone In The News Corp. Hacking Scandal Named 'Nigel' or 'Neville'?

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Sun associate editor Trevor Kavanaugh‘s warning that the police investigation into hacking at News Corp. is becoming too heavy-handed illustrates one of the more bizarre aspects of the scandal: The total, utter, anachronistic Britishness of everyone involved.

Look at the first names of the protagonists. You couldn’t ask for a more stereotypical list of limeys:

  • Trevor
  • Neville
  • Colin
  • Jules
  • Hugh
  • Piers
  • Sir Paul

These are the names of the cast of a period costume drama on PBS. No one in real life is called “Neville.” (Or “Piers,” for that matter). Yet the only two people living in the 21st Century with those names have both been brought together in the same scandal. What are the odds?

That’s just the men. The female protagonists include Milly, Heather and Daisy.

Even the Australians have pommie names—Rupert, Elizabeth and James—rather than Aussie names (Bruce or Sheila).

It doesn’t stop there. The News Corp. law firm at the centre of the scandal appears to have been hired from a directory of Dickensian characters: Harbottle & Lewis.

Seriously. Have you ever met anyone named “Harbottle”? I was born and raised in Britain and have never met anyone called “Nigel” or “Neville” or “Hugh.” Britain is a multicultural society filled with Johns, Michaels and Mustafas.

Only former News International chief Rebekah Brooks—with her trendy misspelled name—appears to have any modern provenance.

All that’s lacking is a Nigel. Did I say lacking? Oops. Yes, of course there is a Nigel involved.

The frightfully, frightfully British names of protagonists in the News Corp. hacking scandal.

  • Neville Thurlbeck: former chief reporter at the News of the World who allegedly knows the names of other journalists who hacked celebrities' phones.
  • Colin Myers: former editor of the News of the World.
  • Jules Stenson: former features editor of the News of the World.
  • Hugh Grant: actor who claims his phone was hacked.
  • Piers Morgan: CNN host and former editor of both the News of the World and The Mirror.
  • Sir Paul McCartney: Singer whose messages to his wife were intercepted.
  • Trevor Kavanaugh: associated editor of The Sun.
  • Milly Dowler: murdered girl whose voicemail was hacked.
  • Heather Mills: McCartney's ex-wife.
  • Daisy Dunlop: spokeswoman for News Corp.'s News International U.K. publishing unit.
  • Rupert Murdoch: owner of News Corp.
  • Elizabeth Murdoch: daughter of Rupert.
  • James Murdoch: son of Rupert
  • Nigel Griffiths: sued the News of the World in 2009 for allegedly hacking into his computer for photos of an affair he had.

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