Tuesday, 12 July 2011

MPs caught doing their job shock

Ed Miliband beware. You’re having a good war – the one against the Murdoch media empire. To force David Cameron into his biggest U-turn yet by having him support your Commons motion tomorrow calling on Rupert Murdoch and News Corp to withdraw the BSkyB bid is a genuine coup.
But you mustn’t get carried away with your own bombast.
"We have said that the purchase of BSkyB should not proceed until after criminal inquiries are complete,” the Labour leader declared quite reasonably today.
Unfortunately he added, "There are times when the House of Commons has got to rise to the occasion and speak for the public.” As our representatives rising to the occasion and speaking for the public are supposed to be what we pay MPs to perform full-time.
We know, of course, that for many when they weren’t fiddling their expenses they were jostling for the privilege of kissing Rupert Murdoch’s backside.
Waves of nausea sweep over me every time I hear another MP take a pot-shot at the mogul, his son, and lieutenants.
Apart from a few brave souls, until a couple of weeks ago politicians of every party trembled at the Murdoch name.
It is shameful it needed the national outrage that followed The Guardian’s revelation (itself a lone voice in Fleet Street) that the News of the World had hacked the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler before party leaders were embolden to attack the now-wounded beast.
You know affairs have arrived at a shabby pass when Gordon Brown cries “foul.” I hope after his anti-News International broadsides, he’ll find time to make it to the Commons for tomorrow’s debate – if he can remember how to get there.
To be fair his memory is fallible. He was happy enough to go to Rebekah Brooks’ wedding in 2009 having forgotten The Sun had reduced him to tears three years earlier with the disclosure his son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
The former Prime Minister has also recalled his objection to The Sunday Times employing “known criminals” to investigate his financial affairs.
It is typical of Brown that of all the many despicable activities alleged against some of its newspapers, the only instance where News International appears to have a cogent response regards his charges.
On another occasion I'll return to the problem the Press will face in conducting "public interest" investigations once the dust has died down. It is relevant if the Chancellor of the day buys a property at a suspiciously "knock down" price.


  1. A witch hunt is a witch hunt. It depends who is on the other end of it. This time it just happens to be the hack end of journalism.

  2. Before the extent of press freedom can be re- established, hacking and other dodgy practices had/have to be halted in their tracks. "hacking on an industrial scale", GC. Allegedly 4000 mobiles and 5000 land lines were hacked. The obvious needs to be highlighted. It wasn't the journalism that did the real damage; it was the hacking. Defenders of press freedom will have to wait their turn. Parliament and the people have had their say and their day; and part of British public life has been irrevocably altered and changed.


What do you think? GC