UK Hacking Scandal Exclusive: Rebekah Brooks' Fiery Secret to Keeping her Job

How to fudge up at work and remain the apple of your boss' eye.

By , Columnist

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night in a damp sweat with the sudden realization that the secret to career success was your choice of hair color? No? Oops, awkward moment, because I have. In fact, I did, last night.

I have been scratching my blonde head for some days now trying to work out how on earth Rebekah Brooks has managed to hold on to her job as Chief Executive at News International in the wake of The News of the World phone hacking scandal. So, with a tiny bit of sleep drool on my face, it came to me - could it be something to do with her head of tumbling red hair?

Now, before we go anywhere - did you see what I did there? I lured you into my journalistic web with a headline that insinuated some kind of tasty morsel of insider gossip that, in fact, turns out to be me rambling on about hair color. It's just my way of giving News Corp. a taste of its own medicine. Just an ickle headline to make Ms. Brooks momentarily catch her breath should she ever stumble across it. I know it was a bit naughty to treat my lovely TMR readers in such an underhand way, but I've made my point and pinky promise never to do it again.

If you'll kindly bear with me, though, I will get to my real point, which is this: just what kind of nasty, grizzly dirt does she have in her back pocket that is stopping British Prime Minister David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch from demanding her clearly deserved resignation? It is either the biggest dirtiest scoop in history that she is dangling precariously above their heads or I will have to go with my cheap shot - the lure of her impressive head of fiery red hair.

It has been ten years since I worked at the other hotbed of malicious lies and relentless backstabbing, investment banking, but I am pretty sure I remember the basics of how to get fired.

Being unable to fulfill my role in a professional capacity could have done it. Ms. Brooks claims no knowledge of the sources of the major news stories under her watch as editor of the NOTW, thereby failing point number one in the editor of a newspaper's job description. Just like investment banking, however, we know that being incompetent is not going to get you fired but promoted; in Rebekah's case to Chief Executive of News International.

One surefire way to get myself sacked would have been to commit the ultimate work sin of making my boss look bad and there is no doubt Rebekah is not making Murdoch look good. (Have you seen the share price today? That has to be furrowing the old brow.) Challenging as it may be to make this particular boss look good, choosing to protect her and send other editors and a newspaper with a 168-year publishing history to the dogs looks downright ugly and suspicious.

So, why is she still able to hang on? I don't buy the loyalty angle. One thing Rupert Murdoch has proved time and time again is his ability to be ruthless in the face of adversity. She may occasionally socialize with David Cameron, but when it comes to politicians, get even slightly toasty warm and you're dropped like a hot potato.

Watching the video of Brooks and Murdoch leaving a meeting on Sunday together below, I could buy the intimate angle, but I think Rebekah's Private Eye nickname of 'the slapper' (a UK term meaning a woman of loose morals) refers more to her alleged domestic violence incident with her ex-husband than to her romantic ambitions.

So, that leaves me with one of two things: the dirt or the hair. Although many a redhead has dazzled her way to well deserved success in modern times (think Orphan Annie, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Grace Caddington for Vogue), I think the secret lies with a famous regal redhead, Queen Elizabeth I, who fought for and held onto her crown with guile, cunning, and a healthy dose of ruthlessness.

Just in case I am wrong, however, I'm off to buy some hair dye. Watch out, TMR bosses, here I come!

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Victoria Robertson is a freelance current affairs columnist and founder of With her back foot firmly planted in some commonsense and a lively swing of the bat, she knocks today's big news stories straight out of the park.

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