It was always the case that, once our Watergate arrived, it was going to be special. The yanks might generate good conspiracy theory fodder, what with being the most powerful country in the world and everything, but you never heard of anyone threatening to do this in Washington DC:
John Whittingdale, the Tory chair of the committee, was advised by the parliamentary authorities that he could refer the matter to the Commons if the Murdochs failed to accept the summons to appear on Tuesday. MPs could then vote to summon them to the bar of the Commons – the strip on the floor of the house marking the end of the standing section for MPs – where they could have been informed of their punishment. This could have included admonishment, a fine or imprisonment, possibly in a cell under Big Ben. (Full article)
Thankyou, Britain. Sometimes the fact that our version of political modernity got jammed somewhere around 1700 almost seems worth it. But it's worth noting that, when it comes to parading pre-modern ritual as post-modern spectacle, The Royal Family are really making the running these days, as Wills and Kates are managing to demonstrate, without so much as a third person in their marriage.
If Parliament wants to keep up, I recommend that the Murdochs are not only imprisoned under Big Ben, but that Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan adopt the livery of Cromwellian prison guards, and keep watch over them 24/7. Cameras will be on standby to broadcast the gradual deterioration of the Murdochian mental state, while The Guardian live-blogs the whole sordid affair, until eventually Alan Sugar decides which one of them is garrotted in the grounds of the Tower of London. You think Nixon had it bad?