The Murdoch family gave as good as they got during Tuesdays Commons select committee hearing into what they knew (or didnt know) about the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed their empire. What had been billed as a merciless grilling of Rupert Murdoch, the worlds most powerful media tycoon, and his son, James, was an engrossing affair. Yet perhaps the greatest spirit was shown by Wendi Deng, Mr Murdochs wife, who came to her husbands aid by giving the numbskull who pushed shaving foam in his face a splendid right-hander. If we thought we had seen everything in this ongoing affair, then we had reckoned without the element of farce. But what, if anything, did we learn from the days events? In many ways, the most important witness was hindsight. From Rupert and James Murdoch, from Rebekah Brooks, the former News International (NI) chief executive, and from the two former police chiefs who have also been brought down by the scandal, the refrain was the same: if we had known then what we know now we would have acted differently. And there was another, related, theme. The reason why they didnt know then is that someone else did not do their job properly. Mr Murdoch Snr felt betrayed by those below him, whom he had relied on to watch over what was just a small outpost of his global business. James Murdoch was unaware of the extent of the hacking until several celebrities brought private actions for damages. Mrs Brooks was also strangely unsighted about how widespread illegal practices had been at the News of the World while she was its editor. In truth, the members of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, hard as they tried, never really laid a glove on their witnesses. Nor, earlier, did MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee get to the bottom of why Sir Paul Stephenson, the outgoing Met commissioner, and John Yates, his former assistant, had resigned both continue to insist they did nothing wrong. The officers have been forced out because of their association with Neil Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor, who was arrested last week over allegations of phone hacking, and who had previously been employed by the Met to provide PR advice. Sir Paul said he had relied on Dick Fedorcio, Scotland Yards communications head, to make the appointment; Mr Fedorcio said it had been cleared by Mr Yates; and Mr Yates said he saw nothing wrong with bringing the former journalist on board, given his experience of tabloid newspapers. He had been assured Mr Wallis knew nothing about the hacking. All of these explanations may well be true. But they show a complacent, careless and incurious approach by key people in important positions. In the end, this whole sorry saga is a tale of people failing to do the jobs they were paid to do, for reasons that are still not entirely clear. The police, for their part, thought they had better things to do than investigate the activities of newspapers. The suspicion that their judgment was impaired by the closeness of their relationship with News International journalists will not go away. Tuesday was an extraordinary day at the Palace of Westminster, and demonstrated the continuing relevance of our parliament to public life. Never before can Rupert Murdoch have been put on the spot in the way he was by the MPs of the culture committee. This is the most humble day of my life, said the octogenarian media magnate; and we could well believe it. If it was ever true that Mr Murdoch wielded a spell over British politics, then it was broken in the space of three hours at the House of Commons. On the other hand, his forceful defence of a free press and of its importance to the process of democracy was welcome. As Mr Murdoch said, an open press can be inconvenient to those who are the targets of its curiosity, but it is the essence of a free country. This should be borne in mind by the Government as it considers any proposals for regulating the Press that arise from the inquiry established unnecessarily, as a diversionary tactic by David Cameron. As Tuesdays events proved, Lord Justice Levesons inquiry into phone hacking could have been carried out by Parliament while the police continue, belatedly, to track down those guilty of criminal behaviour. Today, it is the Prime Ministers turn in the spotlight. Despite his promise of transparency, new facts continue to emerge about his relationship with News International. His decision to appoint Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor, as his spokesman threatens to become a millstone around his premiership. We now learn that Mr Wallis was advising Mr Coulson before the general election. It also emerged that Ed Llewellyn, Downing Streets chief of staff, spurned a briefing about Mr Walliss links to the Met because he did not want the Prime Minister compromised though why this would have been the case is another mystery that needs to be cleared up. In addition, No 10 revealed further details of Mr Camerons close relationship with Mrs Brooks having met with their partners for a Christmas dinner on December 23 last year, they met up again on Boxing Day. Why has it taken so long for this information to come out? Mr Cameron will address Parliament before the summer recess begins. Will we be given answers, or left with more questions? The Telegraph