I'm thinking that what this actually is is the Westminster Village going to confession. The confessor, the public, the judge pisses in the same pot, quite understands the sins and the sinnings considering the strain everyone was under.
Which of us can honestly say that on being tipped off by the Minister's Special Adviser that we should vamoose the files because the cops are coming to look at them sometime next week, a surprise visit, we would have done the right thing and had the files open at the page on which the Minister's name appears a few times. I certainly wouldn't. Tom Petty didn't do the right thing with the tapes when the authorities were looking for them. He hid them. I would have. Which of you wouldn't? Remember you're on cheek-to-cheek terms with the PM. I think Saint Theresa would have hidden the files. When the cops came plodding up the marble hallway the rooms would have been cleaned. Just one empty set of drawers and a desk with a recently polished top in case any ball-point pens had made marks through the paper.
Collectively they realise that they have sinned. Not all of them. All groups have their atheist faction. But generally. They feel a twinge of guilt. So they have come, having been caught red-handed, to confess and repent and make a clean break and promise to be gooder in the future. Which nobody believes because otherwise they wouldn't be desperately searching for new regulatory mechanisms to make sure they are gooder in the future. And their atheists.
Guilt is established. Obviously penance can't be applied to all of them because the joint would shut down so bring on the scapegoat.
And it's so undignified. When the Roman Senate sentenced Nero to death for bankrupting the Empire with Poppaea Sabina's extravagance, ( he committed suicide to avoid the process of execution), the lady was allowed to retire to a seaside villa with a modicum of what she was used to. They weren't daft enough to think women can be blamed for such things.
It's the best soap opera we have ever seen. So good in fact that I suspect it might have been arranged in some way. We do know that everybody is putting on an act.
One little exchange you might appreciate--
Alastair Campbell said something and Robert Jay said "we will be able to check that." Mr Campbell sneered, "from your sources in the press?" and the Judge said, "Now, now Mr Campbell, don't overdo it."