The phoney ‘war’ on Murdoch…..
You have to hand it to Labour’s leadership – adeptly they have managed to present themselves as being at ‘war’ with Rupert Murdoch and News International. In this, they have been assisted no doubt by the antagonistic language coming from NI itself; however, neither Labour as a Party, in policy terms at least, nor Ed Miliband personally are at ‘war’ with News International. Unless, of course, your idea of being at war is, in fact, a slumber party ruck with the deadly force of feather dusters and pillows being applied.
Unbelievably, Mr Miliband has managed to transform a golden opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of the evil empire into a brutal assumer with a wagged-finger. I am referring to the Labour motion to be put forward to Parliament tommorrow. Let’s be quite clear about what it does and doesn’t say. It definitely does not stop Murdoch. In actual fact, it gives him strategic advice – withdraw News International’s bid; sell it off, then bid under another name and you will get the green light.
Second, and this is another fatal flaw, it does not call on the government to do anything. It calls on News Corp to do in effect what most sensible people in the City believe it should out of sheer economic sense; not least because B Sky B’s shares will be worth less than a chocolate button if they persist. This is why the government has felt itself able to support it; the motion could have instructed the government to halt the bid in it’s tracks but it didn’t and therefore it let the government off the hook entirely.
Ed Miliband is not at war with Murdoch; the B Sky B bid is alive and kicking (all be it ‘on ice’) and to pretend otherwise is to be frankly self-deluded on quite a worrying scale. If we are taking this as a great victory then all that tells us is the scale of our defeat. The battle for a free press continues and it will not be won who have no idea what a ‘war’ is or how to fight one. We need now serious legislation to break-up all media monopolies and not just postpone one bid. We need a democratic media and we are still a long way from that; and will be even further when under the cloak of ambiguity Murdoch still gets his hands on B Sky B.