Francis Beckett

I've known David Triesman, on and off, for thirty years or more.  He's personable and likeable in public, and indiscreet in private.

It seems to me that anyone who's been his friend, and who makes use of that to put on a hidden microphone when they're going to have dinner with him, in order to sell the result to the Daily Mail, is beneath contempt.  And I'll happily tell that to the loathsome Melissa Jacobs, should I ever have the misfortune to meet her.

As Triesman says, "Entrapment, especially by a friend, is an unpleasant experience both for my family and me, but it leaves me with no alternative but to resign. 

"A private conversation with someone whom I thought to be a friend was taped without my knowledge and passed to a national newspaper.  That same friend has also chosen to greatly exaggerate the extent of our friendship. In that conversation, I commentated on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world.

"Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously, as indeed is the case with many private conversations."

Triesman's friends and colleagues know that many of his private conversations should never be taken seriously.  Ms Jacobs must have known that.  Which is presumably why she thought it worthwhile putting on a hidden microphone.

It wasn't as though she and the Mail were after some sort of scandal.  They were just on a fishing expedition.  Get him relaxed, give him a drink or two, flutter your eyelashes, maybe he'll say something indiscreet. 

Before we laugh too loudly at Triesman's misfortune, ask whether we want to live in a world populated by slimeballs like Melissa Jacobs, where before we relax over a meal with a friend, we have to frisk them for hidden microphones.