It was the Wettins ‘wot won it’.

With exquisite timing the unnamed royal assassin slid the stiletto into the soft belly of the aging victim. Striking at the perfect moment, as he rejoiced in triumph – the prize was dashed from his grasp – sweet savour turned bitter. And more, his family were struck down – either in jail or wounded. Worse still – the little people are no longer afraid – the aura of invincibility has gone.

As you would expect of skilled predators they chose their moment – and at the same time delivered severe lessons to others who had become above their station – who had forgotten where real power lies.

Everything was going according to plan. The BSkyB bid had been approved, phone hacking was yesterday’s story. Murdoch, through the agency of Cameron, Fleet Street and the Met, had it all under control. Cosy in their chumminess, his acolytes must have felt safe within the shadow of such a notorious beast of prey.

But they forgot who they were dealing with – beasts much bigger and more powerful than the dirty digger. Master conspirators, a ruthless mafia family who have held power for 1000 years. The senior members suckled on a family history of murder, rape and pillage. You don’t mess with the Wettins and expect to get away with it.

But naively they did mess. They hacked into Royal phones and email, ignored the wishes of Courtiers, bribed royal protection officers. The Press – guilty. The Police – guilty. Politicians – guilty. They should have known better.

Just when everything looked so good – it was over, in one day. On July 4th, Independence Day, a single, powerfully emotive story about Milly Dowler was all over the place – Reuters, The Guardian, The Telegraph … suddenly, everywhere.

In one fell swoop Murdoch, whose attack dogs hunted Royal scandal, was humiliated and his bid destroyed. Cameron, who disregarded Royal advice about Coulson, fights for his political life. The police, who took Murdochs 30 pieces of silver, are discredited and have resigned in disgrace.

No doubt the ratchet against free speech will click another notch or two in pursuit of ‘reining in the media’, as the witch-hunt spreads.

Machiavelli would have approved.

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