WE were all at it.
No-one was innocent.
Don't pay any attention to the hand-wringing journalists who keep appearing on your TV screens saying it wasn't them. It was.
Pay even less attention to the other tabloid newspapers expressing faux shock and revulsion – it was them too.
Every last corrupt, amoral one of them (with a very, very few honourable exceptions).
Sure, the News of the World was the daddy, the most corrupt, the best payer, and the most likely to ignore any moral code however rudimentary to nail a story
But corruption and criminal activity was everywhere in British tabloid journalism.
We were all under relentless pressure to achieve, to get exclusives, to beat the competition – and most importantly, to keep our job.
And phone hacking was just the tip of the iceberg.
Criminal activity from hacking mobiles, to accessing the police national computer to check car registration plates while in pursuit, to securing the highly confidential details of whoever was the subject of a story - it was all endemic.
It wasn't a sideline undertaken by a few bad apples, it WAS the job. We set up the deals and the execs signed-off on them.
This is our Bonfire of the Vanities moment, our Gordon Gecko time
Everyone from the wet-behind-the-ears hack, to the ambitious news editor, to the cynical editor and the bottom-line fixated accountants. Everyone.
And no-one cared. No-one stopped even for a second to ask 'is this right?'
And now 200 journalists at the News of the World are paying for this with their jobs.
And British journalism with its reputation.
And most importantly some of the most tortured, vulnerable families in Great Britain have discovered how they were violated in the name of tabloid newspaper sales.
This is our Bonfire of the Vanities moment, our Gordon Gecko time.
Even the City Boys with their undeserved millions and their Ferraris and their recession-causing incompetence, even the politicians with their equivocation and double-speak and hideous uselessness, even they never hacked the voicemail messages of a dead 13-year-old schoolgirl.
Even they didn't spy on the destroyed families of soldiers who had given their lives for us in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even they didn't stalk the victims of the brutal carnage that was the London 7/7 bombings.
That was us.
And we should be ashamed.
Written on condition of anonymity (anonymity the phone hack families were never afforded) by a British tabloid journalist of 20 years standing