13 July 2011

How Will Murdoch Get Out Of This One?

I cannot possibly write down all the thoughts I have on this hacking crisis. Nowadays you have to be very careful. Just to say that if you add up all the people who have been in jail in the UK, add in their families and then add all those who deserve to be in jail but got away with it, it probably comes to around 4 million people. Around 4 million people bought the News Of The World on Sunday. Just a thought. In my humble opinion, buying the NOTW (or for that matter any tabloid involved in hacking) after this scandal is like spitting on the graves of murder victims, war dead etc. Provocative I know, but sometimes it needs to be said.

There is a very simple test as to whether Murdoch is going to get away with this hacking scandal - whether or not the BskyB bid goes through. Ed Miliband has forced this issue into a parliamentary debate - he has kept 'punching the bruise' as one Guardian journalist put it and Cameron and the Tories have consequently without Lib Dem support looked very weak and had to back down in their support for Murdoch.

Miliband has been very brave and I hope he reaps the rewards. He will definitely at some point get a payback from the Murdoch press, they will bide their time. The revelation in the Guardian that Miliband received threats from NI sources about this was a turning point for me. Miliband showed he now is willing to take the risk and that is good news for all of us. Without Miliband's intervention (and the Guardian's persistence), Murdoch would have triumphed. Whatever his other lily livered failings, on this Miliband has shown real courage.

I think Murdoch still hopes he can get BskyB in 6 months time, his willingness to go to the competition commission shows he is willing to lose some of his print media to get it. He also knows any diversion from the real issue of 'fit and proper' ownership is welcome. So to answer my question in the title. If public opinion fades on this, like it did with the expenses scandal, if Miliband and Labour lose their nerve, if the Lib Dems are offered policy/media sweeties by Tories/Murdoch to allow it through, don't write off Murdoch yet. He has a knack of getting his way.

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