Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

Cameron announces coup in Telegraph

Only in England would the leader of a political party announce he plans a coup to overthrow the democratically-elected government, in the Daily Telegraph, two days in advance.

David CameronJust a month ago, Adam Ramsay warned on the OpenDemocracy site:

If they [the Tory press] can possibly get away with it, they will find any way they can to declare Cameron the winner, even if it’s going to be almost impossible for him to command a parliamentary majority. In doing so, they will seek to make it impossible for Miliband to govern. This circumstance would in effect be a coup by newspaper proprietors against the people of the country. Because our constitution is written not in statute, but headlines, this is perfectly possible.

It’s complicated by the fact that until a new government is formed, Cameron and the other Tory and LibDem Ministers remain in Downing Street as a caretaker government, even if they have lost their seats and aren’t MPs any longer. Just as Gordon Brown correctly remained in Downing Street as Prime Minister until Cameron and Clegg had finished their coalition deal, so must Cameron stay on as PM until the House of Commons decides how to form a democratically-elected government out of the results of the 7th May election.
Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Elections, GE2015

Does Ed Miliband want to be Prime Minister?

Ed Miliband: This England in The SunIf Ed Miliband and David Cameron have both learned something terrible is coming before 2020 that they would rather be in Opposition than have to deal with as Prime Minister, this could explain both David Cameron’s lacklustre campaigning and Ed Miliband’s curious statement last night on Question Time: neither one wants to be Prime Minister.

However, this does seem improbable to me.

Take it as a given: Ed Miliband wants to be Prime Minister.

Yet, on Question Time on 30th April, with just a week to go to the election, he seemed to reject the job:

“I am not going to have a Labour government if it means deals or coalitions with the Scottish National Party.”

“If the price of having a Labour government is a deal or coalition with the SNP, it’s not going to happen.”

What was Miliband thinking?
Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Corruption, Elections, GE2015, Politics, Unanswerable Questions

A “Hutton style” inquiry?

rebekah brooks and tony blairOn Monday 11th July 2011, the day after the News of the World published its final issue, Tony Blair spoke to Rebekah Brooks in what Brooks says was an hour-long phone call, and Brooks summarised the phonecall in an email to James Murdoch:

“1. Form an independent unit that has an outside junior counsel, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal counsel, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a Hutton style report,”

“2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Corruption, War

When to muzzle your Press

Deer and foxI was inspired to write this, if that’s the word, on reading Fleet Street Fox on the Leveson Report: The devil is in the detail, published yesterday in the Press Gazette.

It’s a fine example of a rant as you will ever find from an MP explaining with tendentious authority why the general public have absolutely no right to know about their Parliamentary expenses and how it will ruin a free democracy if this is allowed: you would think this was an investigative journalist who sees censorship on the cards, not a fox demanding the right to be unmuzzled in the henhouse.

But the devil is in the detail, and the detail of Leveson is the bit which will muzzle the Press as effectively as Hannibal Lecter strapped to a luggage trolley.

Leveson wants this backed up by law which is plain wrong, because there’s no bill ever passed by Parliament that wasn’t tinkered with later. Hacked Off and other campaigners may feel the suggested law is fine, but it’s the law it may mutate into which is why it should never happen.

So, we can’t have laws in the UK, because however nice a law looks when it’s proposed, Parliament may change it into something unspeakable, so all laws are wrong. We should instead trust to the kindness and gentility of the likes of David Grigson.

Okay. That’s nice, Fox. We should live in a lawless society because we can’t trust Parliament.

Let me answer a simpler question.

When is muzzling the Press appropriate and can you recommend a certain kind?

By and large, muzzles are used to keep the Press from biting or causing injury. There are two types of muzzles: prohibitive (also referred to as the “tyrant’s muzzle”) and regulatory.
Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Corruption, Elections, Feng Shui Kitten Fixes Stuff, Justice

Leveson proposes, Cameron disposes

Whenever anyone claims that the British press has moved into a new ethical period because of Leveson and so no new legislation is required, remember David Rose of the Daily Mail and the ugly, libellous, hatchet-job he did on Steven Messham.

Tomorrow's chip paper - Cameron dismisses LevesonI wish Leveson had published his report at eight in the morning rather than lunchtime – I could have written this blog before Question Time. But Question Time was illuminating – the BBC chose four grey men in grey suits, and Michael Rosen for the BBC Extra Guest, and the only one who could speak about media sexism from her personal experience on the panel was Charlotte Church: and while better MPs had evidently fled in terror, Church shone. She was easily the most articulate and most intelligent panellist tonight: if the BBC don’t ask her back, sexism has trumped sense. (As it so often does.)

Of the other panellists, Patrick McLoughlin had reason to object to an inquisitive press: his MP expenses were exposed in 2009. Chris Bryant is another of the home-flipping MPs who decides which place is his “second home” depending on how much he can claim in expenses. Simon Jenkins used to edit the Times and the London Standard as well as write for the Guardian. And Neil Wallis used to be executive editor of News of the World, leaving a comfortable two years before Rupert Murdoch tried to shut down all the bad talk about phone hacking by sacking everyone except Rebekah Wade. Neil Wallis and Rebekah Wade were arrested in July 2011.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under In The Media, Rudyard Kipling, Women

SNP trumped…

The SNP:

We firmly believe that the people best placed to take decisions about Scotland’s future are the people who choose to live and work in Scotland.

Like Donald Trump?

Like Ian Wood?

Like Rupert Murdoch?

Like Sir Brian Souter?

Like Anders Fogh Rasmussen?

This is not to argue that Labour or the Tories or the LibDems aren’t also flawed: I agree with this post at Better Nation that argues none of Scotland’s parties are properly fit to run this country right now. But the electorally-fatal flaw for each party is when their actions clearly belie their stated purpose.
Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Scottish Politics

Breast is best

There’s a story which may be an urban legend, because certainly when I heard it, it was in the form “friend of a friend”. But I haven’t found it on Snopes, and if I did, I think it would probably be “Veracity: Undetermined”.

A woman went to work for an engineering firm. She was the first woman hired on the technical staff: apart from a couple of administrators, the office had been all-men until her arrival, and several of the men had their cubicles plastered with soft porn pics of women with big breasts.

She tried complaining, because the pics made her feel uncomfortable, but this was quickly dismissed, her manager and the men involved arguing that it was none of her business what they had in their cubicles, this was just personal self-expression, if she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to look. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under In The Media, Women

Naked Harry in the Sun

So many years ago that I can’t find it on Youtube or on IMDB, Jasper Carrott, who invented the “Sun readers” jokes, did a sketch on Carrott’s Lib of himself and another stand-up putting on huge Australian accents and talking about the bloody Poms, sex, and the Royal Family.

This was about Kathleen Dee-Anne Stark, actress and photographer, stage name Koo Stark, who appeared at the age of 20 in Emily, soundtrack by Rod McKuen:

Evocative of the Roaring Twenties, “Emily” is an erotic coming-of-age film featuring meticulous period detail and music. The sharp class distinctions of British society are blurred by the universal nature of sexual desire.

You may also remember her as Lady Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones from Red Dwarf.

Emily includes full-frontal nude scenes. So when, a few years later, Prince Andrew and Stark had an affair, the British newspapers had a huge ethical decision before them. Not whether or not to report on the affair – the British have always regarded the sex lives of the British Royal Family as our own personal reality show – but whether to use stills from Emily when running stories about Prince Andrew’s latest girlfriend, headlined “Randy Andy”.

For The Sun, I suppose the ethical dilemma consisted of whether or not to use the Stark naked pics on the front page.

One of the exchanges from that Carrott sketch was “Is that what they’ll put on the stamps?”- “You never can tell with the bloody Poms!”
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under In The Media

A new claim of right for Scotland

Repeatedly in discussions on Twitter, which admittedly is not the place for subtlety, pro-independence Scots have told me that the thing that matters is winning the Yes vote – “Everything else” can get worked out post-indy.

This is indescribably foolish.

One, because presumably they are attempting to convince me to vote Yes, and I’ll vote for status-quo devolution if they’ve got nothing more in the pot to offer but “We want you to vote yes!” Telling me that this is the “wrong attitude” to take to the independence referendum? Well, fine, but it’s my attitude: you can’t convince me to vote yes by refusing to engage with me.

Two, because realistically: I understand that the proposed timescale for independence is two years after a “yes” vote wins. Assuming that the Yes vote does win, that means four or so years from today, Scotland would be an independent nation.

That is none too much time to begin the Constitutional Convention to discuss what form and structure the new nation should have.

I wrote about the work of the Constitutional Convention in the 1990s Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Equality, Human Rights, Scottish Constitution, Scottish Culture, Scottish Politics

BSkyB: What are the Telegraph’s links to Murdoch?

Cast your mind back to the palmy early months of coalition government, back when Andy Coulson was Director of Communications for the government at 10 Downing Street, on £140,000 a year, and Rebekah and Dave could go hacking together without a care in the world.

In mid-June reports confirmed that News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch, was holding talks with BSkyB shareholders with a view to acquire the remaining 61 percent of BSkyB.

By October, a coalition of media organisations including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the the Guardian, the BBC, and Channel 4, were pushing for government intervention. Vince Cable, then Business Secretary, would have got a letter from this coalition making the case that a merger of News Corps, the UK’s largest newspaper group, and BSkyB, the UK’s biggest subscription television service “could have serious and far-reaching consequences for media plurality”.

Vince Cable & Rupert Murdoch
Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Corruption, In The Media