We got on the National Express in Newport and headed off towards London at 0850 Thursday 17th May 2012. Destination – Hacked Off ! Media Rally in Westminster 1800 hrs.
This photo explains itself if you read the blog fully.
Once arriving at Victoria Coach station, Sarah and I made off in the direction of Central London to Leicester Square where we had booked a hotel room for the night. It was a long walk because we diverted to Harrods for a spot of bargain hunting. No bargains there though. Wow, what a shop, but too rich for our pockets. I don’t think the 200 department store was designed for ‘normal’ people. After about 20 minutes of confusion trying to find the bathroom soaps and perfumery section and failing, we left, unimpressed.
So, off we went, on foot dodging the tourists, the workers, the traffic, the roadworks and the pullalong suitcases. It was busy. Not for the faint hearted.
Eventually, we found the hotel situated in the middle of Leicester Square, booked in, dropped our baggage and went back out for a bite to eat at The grill bar outside. We were stressed and aching from the walk but after a meal and a bottle of Chardonnay, those things somehow seemed to drift away and left us with smiling, chilled faces and relaxed feet.
I don’t drink as a rule but it was a special occasion. We don’t visit London often so it was time to ‘enjoy ourselves’ and enjoy we did. i’d recommend it to anyone, but you must drop everything, crack open and bottle in the middle of the afternoon and watch the world go by sitting outside an eatery of some sort.
Time ‘strolled’ by and we decided to go back to the hotel room to freshen up and get ready for the evening as we were meeting up with Alastair Morgan, the brother of Daniel Morgan who was murdered in 1987 http://www.justice4daniel.org/
We left the hotel room with plenty of time to spare, walked out into Leicester Square to find the sun shining. London is a beautiful place when the weather is dry.
We flagged a cab down and was taken to Westminster Hall just off Parliament Square in readiness for the Media Reform Rally being held there.
Sat on the steps opposite the entrance, we watched people coming and going, but also noticed journalists or ‘paps’ hanging about with long lens cameras and bags with digital recording equipment, regularly taking pics of anything, anyone and everyone just in case they got that ‘one shot’ that could earn them a weeks money. Every cab that went by, the ‘paps’ quickly took snaps of the people inside intruding on the lives of everyday citizens. I felt sorry for them in a way, as if they had to resort to stealth tactics just to get what they wanted. there again, isn’t that what the newspaper industry is all about ? There again, I’m one to talk, I resorted to similar ‘privacy invasion’ with Hugh Grant later that evening. Read on for more…
Alastair Morgan arrived with his friends and I gave him a big hug. What a wonderful man with wonderful family and friends.
We entered Westminster Hall and as we walked up the steps, who should walk past, head down and trying to evade the photographers, but Hugh Grant.
We stood patiently behind him as the photographers blocked his path for a few shots and then they let him in. We then followed and made our way to the seats ready for the rally to start.
Ours seats were reserved which was very kind of the organisers to arrange and we sat at the front and to the right.
In front of us were Imran Khan, Mark Lewis the Dowler family lawyer and a dark haired lady, Sir Peter Bottomley MP and a host of other people dotted around the place. During the rally, someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if the seat to my right was ok to sit in…it was only Tom Watson the ‘Murdoch Mafia’ MP. After sitting, he started ferociously writing notes ready for his speech and I wanted to get his attention, so I tweeted him ! “Hi Tom, you’ve just sat next to me”
How else was I to get his attention when he was writing. I got his attention and asked him If I could have a chat with him after the rally which he kindly agreed. ( thanks Tom )
The rally kicked off 10 mins late and everyone speaking was told to give only 5 mins otherwise time would be pushed.
Here’s a link to the rally http://hackinginquiry.org/news/rally-for-media-reform-democracy-in-britain-corrupted-by-illegal-and-unethical-press-practices/ where the speakers included Harriet Harman, Hugh Grant, Tom Watson, Jacqui Hames and Mary Ellen Field. It was a great night event though it was ‘meltingly hot’ inside the hall. So hot I even ‘tweeted’ to the organisers to turn the aircon on !
Richard Peppiatt Ex Daily Star Hack speaking at Media Rally
The event finished with rounds of applause and a little mingling went on. Jill, who was with the Alastair Morgan party when we arrived, was carrying her book of Dial M for Murder and was dying to meet Tom Watson MP.
Hugh Grant speaking at Media reform Rally and slipped off afterwards before we even had chance to ask him for a photo !
It is always difficult to get someone’s attention when they’re famous as everyone’s wants the same thing but I managed to beckon Tom over. I then asked him if he could sign Jill’s ‘Dial M for Murder book’ and left a lovely message in there for her, she was chuffed to bits. In fact we both were being in such amazing company.
I spoke to Tom and explained who I was and why I had appeared at Leveson and he said “I do recognise you and you must feel vindicated now”. I nodded my head and said ‘Absolutely’. Didn’t really have the time or ‘balls’ to ask some more important questions like “Have you seen the Motorman files ?” etc
The evening was going well.
I turned around to look for Sarah my wife, and spotted her disappearing into the foyer looking for Hugh Grant. I think she wanted a photo ! He slipped away after his speech during the rally and we realised that we would never get a photo of her with him.
I met with a few others at the rally and felt honoured to be there and part of society that wants to do the right thing.
We then left the Hall and headed off to the pub down the road, the Westminster Arms for a quick drink with Alastair and Co seeing as we hadn’t had much time earlier that evening.
The pub was busy and we went downstairs to find a tiny litte cellar area, with room for about 3o people standing only a a few tables and a host of people that had vacated the Rally and fancied a pint also.
I think there must have been 300 people in there. There wasn’t room to put my hand in my pocket….honestly ! So Alastair paid for the drinks……..cheers Alastair, my turn next ok.
Jill who was with us, turned to me and said, don’t look now, but Hugh Grant is over there !
I quickly tapped Sarah, grabbed the camera and pushed my way politely over , tapped Mr grant on the shoulder and asked if it was ok to have a photo of him and my wife as it was special birthday of hers next week. He said “Of course”. What a gentleman. Always the gentleman and not a tedious little man that Piers Morgan referred him to once. Here’ s the Photo
Jacqui Hames, Ex Crimewatch presenter in the background on the left also a speaker at the Rally and put under surveillance by news of the World while covering Daniel Morgan murder case.
Thankyou Mr Grant for making my wife’s birthday special.
Our night was over, our mission accomplished, we met Alastair Morgan, Tom Watson and then Hugh Grant. Wow.
We left not long after, starstruck, and a little tipsy too and went back to Leicester Square to the hotel.
The next morning we got up, packed, had breakfast and then made our way ‘on foot’ back to Victoria and while walking through St James’ Park we spotted Chris Hollins, the winner of Strictly Come Dancing doing some recording with a cameraman and I ‘piped’ up and asked if we could ‘steal another photo for Sarah. Here it is…
What a brilliant time we had.
My apologies for writing this blog ‘slapdash’ but I just typed and posted ok. Any errors are due to the wine I had. The effects haven’t worn off yet !
For those wanting to follow the hacked off campaign please visit their website http://hackinginquiry.org/news/rally-for-media-reform-democracy-in-britain-corrupted-by-illegal-and-unethical-press-practices/
Twitter users hashtag #MediaReformNow @hackinginquiry and also for me @StevenNott , @AlastairMorgan , @justice4daniel and @tom_watson
My website is at http://www.hackergate.co.uk
and my witness statement to Leveson is at http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Witness-Statement-of-Steven-Nott.pdf
and for anyone who wants to see Piers Morgan reacting badly to my allegations put to him on the 20th dec 2011 when he appeared at the Leveson Inquiry then please check this Youtube video out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9efdxQmV_4
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment