KEITH NEWBERY Who’s bullying who as fight for publicity rages?

That dull, rasping noise you heard while members of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee were pronouncing on Rupert Murdoch was the unmistakable sound of an axe being ground.

Perched at the whetstone was Labour MP Tom Watson, who has been waging a bitter personal feud against both father and son for a long time.

This is the man, you may recall, who told James Murdoch he must be the first Mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise.

It was a sound-bite he’d been working on for a long time during the investigation into phone hacking, and was therefore determined to indulge himself.

Unfortunately, the blustering member for West Bromwich East is not blessed with the most subtle of intellects.

This meant he failed to realise (or didn’t care) that the crassness of the remark detracted from, rather than enhanced, an official inquiry into one of the most egregious scandals in British newspaper history.

For a fleeting moment, it actually allowed Murdoch jr to adopt the forlorn and unlikely air of the bullied rather than the bully.

Watson was back to his point-scoring worst again this week when the select committee revealed its findings.

This was an occasion when the facts not only spoke for themselves – they bellowed very loudly indeed.

It was confirmed the Murdochs had presided ineptly over a corrupt cabal at the News of the World, and that some of their senior executives had misled parliament.

These facts in themselves were devastatingly harmful to News International and its parent company News Corporation – and you didn’t have to be a genius to read between the lines.

But Watson could not resist aiming one last kick, which was borne out of personal vindictiveness and did not have the unanimous backing of the committee. Indeed, by adding the rider that Rupert Murdoch was not fit to run an international company, he exposed an unedifying party-political rift within the committee which detracted from the impact of its findings.

But that’s the trouble with politicians. They will insist on bringing politics into everything.

Still, Watson has a book to push (it’s called Dial M for Murdoch if you’re interested) and his final grab for the spotlight won’t have done sales any harm.

** A Titanic mistake...

The world has become so obsessed with the ill-fated Titanic on the centenary of its tragic sinking that it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of building a working replica.

Step forward Australian billionaire, Clive Palmer, who says he has agreed a deal with a Chinese firm to construct Titanic II.

It will be ready to sail in 2016 and its design will replicate all the grandeur and luxury of the original vessel.

But Mr Palmer might also care to invest in a skilled PR consultant before proceeding much further.

Asked on BBC radio whether there had been much interest in the project, he replied: “Oh yes. We have been flooded with inquiries...”