Tag Archives: rupert murdoch

Liblink: Chris Huhne on being despised

Chris Huhne is in apologetic-but-fighting form in the Guardian, taking on wider reasons than himself for the negative public perception of politicians.

Chris is careful to apologise for and explain without excusing his conduct, but goes on to argue -

Maybe it was coincidence, but that summer I was the only frontbencher who, with Nick Clegg’s brave backing, called for the Metropolitan police to reopen the voicemail hacking inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Given that I was falling in love with someone who was not my wife, you might think that it was an act of folly to court Murdoch’s hostility,

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 28 Comments

The Sun refuses to back the Tories, says ‘Vote local’ (Aka: The Sun hedges its bets)

The Sun_Kinnock_1992Does what The Sun says matter?

In its own terms, of course not. Its own self-promoted myth that it was ‘The Sun wot won it’ for the Tories in 1992 with its anti-Kinnock front page belies the reality: it backs the party it thinks is most likely to win.

It’s in that narrow sense that it’s interesting The Sun has declined to back either the Tories or Labour today for the first time in its 44-year history:

Who you choose today must be a local decision, not a national one. Read

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

John Leech MP writes… Remembering the reasons for Leveson

The Manchester Evening News has a regular slot in the paper where they get a number of MPs to write an opinion column on topical issues of their choice. This week just happened to be my turn, so I thought that I would comment on the eagerly awaited Leveson report, due out on Thursday.

For those of you who don’t know, the MEN is owned by Trinity Mirror, and along with other major newspaper groups, are totally opposed to independent regulation of the press. They claim that regulation will be the end of freedom of expression. How ironic then, that the …

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Opinion: “The Lib Dems will be crushed at the next election” – Busting the biggest lie in British politics

We’ve all seen poll after poll regularly showing a massive drop in support for our party since the general election – most have us on 8-12% (with the exception of ICM suggesting 14-15%). The president of YouGov claims 10% would reduce us from over 50 MPs to just 10 in 2015. Many of us (myself included) have accepted this as fact – it makes sense. It’s what the polls say. It’s true.

Except, it isn’t.

Last week I heard a new “Wisdom Index” ICM poll had us at 18% and I was stunned. Such levels of support have been unheard of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 82 Comments

Clegg’s triple whammy: intervenes on secret trials, slams those who ‘bowed’ to Murdoch, calls for reform of ‘broken establishment’

If Nick Clegg has time to keep a diary of his time in government (which I doubt) I’d like to pre-order it now. The principle of collective cabinet responsibility, together with the reciprocated determination of he and David Cameron to maintain an effective working relationship, means we don’t often see the reality of the behind-the-scenes battles between the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

Those which are made public — such as Nick’s very public disagreement with the Prime Minister’s veto-that-wasn’t at December’s EU summit — are deftly agreed in advance, allowing some grown-up differentiation to emerge.

But today we see three …

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LDV Caption Competition: Vince & Dave “Watch your step” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

Here’s Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable, the man who declared war on Murdoch, side-by-side with the man who LOL-ed with News International. What do you think might be being said or thought by or about them?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Nick & Dave “Can you feel the love?” Edition.

Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Willie Rennie’s first year as Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader

Tomorrow  it’s a year since Willie Rennie became Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader. What have been the highlights of that first year?

Well, on his first day, I interviewed him for Liberal Democrat Voice and you can still listen to that here.  He said that his priorities for his first hundred days were to work out what our message was, to sort out our organisation and to get out there and meet people, members and ordinary people on their doorsteps. So how has he done with these things and more?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments

Nick Clegg says big question marks hang over Rupert Murdoch

Via The Guardian:

Nick Clegg has said there are “big question marks” about Rupert Murdoch’s fitness to run News Corporation in the wake of a damning House of Commons report on the phone-hacking scandal.

The deputy prime minister said the report, published on Tuesday, raised “serious questions of basic corporate governance in the Murdoch empire”, which allowed its journalists to engage in illegal invasions of privacy on an “industrial scale”…

During a visit to Fife before local council elections, Clegg threw his weight behind the culture committee’s central findings: “What’s striking about it is how much full, cross-party consensus there was behind a number of excoriating

Posted in News | Also tagged | 14 Comments

David Cameron’s jibe at Dennis Skinner: forget the ageism, it was just badly done.

David Cameron, it became clear today, was not impressed by Commons Speaker John Bercow’s decision to grant Labour leader Ed Miliband an urgent question on the subject of Jeremy Hunt’s hanging-by-a-thread career as culture secretary. His not-impressedness manifested itself as indignant anger — it was “spectacularly ill-judged” according to the Telegraph’s Iain Martin:

From the off Cameron’s approach was wince-inducingly ill-judged. He rushed his statement and sounded steadily more touchy as he got deeper into it, lashing out and even shouting at one point about Charlie Whelan. It wasn’t very Prime Ministerial.

Mr Cameron has faced particular stick for his dismissive suggestion to veteran Labour backbencher Dennis Skinner that it was time he took his pension:

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Opinion: I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a post I really wanted to write. But I don’t think Jeremy Hunt should resign over the Murdoch affair. Lord, I hate myself.

Anyway, ‘why so?’, you’re all bellowing at the screen. Let me explain

As of now, Jeremy Hunt has not been shown to have done anything wrong, and he maintains he has been whiter than white. The blame has been laid firmly at the door of his SpAd, Adam Smith, who has dutifully fallen his sword. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, so no reason for Hunt to go as yet.

Hence the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

LDVideo: Clegg – we don’t need Hunt inquiry. Hughes – we need Hunt inquiry

Here’s Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg saying that the Leveson Inquiry is the best place for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to give evidence about his role in the BSkyB takeover bid…

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Simon Hughes calls for independent inquiry into Jeremy Hunt

As the BBC News reports here, Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes last night called for the independent advisor on the ministerial code to investigate whether the allegations that Conservative culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was too friendly to the Murdochs are accurate:

Deputy leader Simon Hughes has become the first senior Liberal Democrat to join calls for an inquiry into whether Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt breached the ministerial code of conduct. Downing Street says there are no plans to investigate the contact between News Corp and Mr Hunt’s ex-special adviser. Mr Hughes said he could not understand why the issue

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

How Vince avoided Murdoch – an example of appropriate ministerial behaviour

Today’s Guardian carries a report by Patrick Wintour which shows the frustrations of the News Corporation camp as they tried and failed to develop the same sort of close relationship with Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable as they had with Jeremy Hunt and Alex Salmond.

The article outlines several fruitless attempts from senior figures within News Corporation to arrange a meeting with Cable to discuss their proposed takeover of BSkyB. Vince at that time had quasi-judicial responsibility for that decision.

My favourite part of the article is the response of Giles Wilkes, Vince’s Special Adviser, on being asked “when would be …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 19 Comments

Thatcher papers show 25 Tory MPs considered joining early SDP

A number of things hit the headlines this morning as the Margaret Thatcher Foundation reveals papers from 1981.

The early morning BBC radio headlines focussed on a meeting between Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch around the time News International acquired:

Margaret Thatcher had a secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at Chequers weeks before his 1981 purchase of the Times newspapers, newly released files show.

A note by her press secretary Bernard Ingham says the prime minister thanked Mr Murdoch for “keeping her posted”.

But the contentious issue of whether to refer the bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission was not raised.

But as …

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

LDVideo: Harris & Pugh on Murdoch’s new Sun on Sunday paper

The News of the World is dead, long live the Sun on Sunday… starting from this Sunday. Here’s how two Lib Dems have responded to the announcement by News International…

Evan Harris: I’ll buy SoS ‘to see what it’s like’

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Tim Farron MP writes… EU referendum: the Conservatives are not acting out of patriotism

This is not likely to win me any votes, but I am proudly pro-Europe and in favour of our continued membership of the EU. That doesn’t make me an apologist for every aspect of the EU: the EU could definitely operate more transparently, efficiently and effectively, and we as Liberal Democrats should say so more often and with more conviction.

Nevertheless, our main challenge has to be to win hearts and minds in favour of our broader membership of the EU, and reverse the completely poisonous anti-European narrative. So many of those who were so indignant this summer about Mr Murdoch’s …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 36 Comments

Murdoch faces rough ride from shareholders

So reports the BBC:

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Opinion: Do we really want to risk another media mogul running the country?

If there is one thing that the Murdoch affair has confirmed it is that politician’s lust for power knows no bounds. The acquisition of power has been likened to a heroin rush and judging by the extent that Blair, Brown and Cameron, particularly, have been prepared to jump to Murdoch’s commands – we must believe this to be true.

Although it is likely that an attempt to clean up politics will take place over the next few years, now that it has been made so clear that a media giant can have such an impact on the government of a nation …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

LibLink | Vince Cable: My brush with the Murdochs – and the lessons I learned

Business Secretary Vince Cable writes today at the Mail on Sunday on his own reaction to the “Murdoch mania” press coverage and his experiences of News International during his first year as a Cabinet Minister:

My own direct experience was as the Minister with responsibility for competition and takeovers.
I had to take a decision on whether to approve or refer the bid from News International to acquire the remaining (just over 60 per cent) shares in BSkyB that it did not already own.

My involvement started with a courtesy call from James Murdoch last summer telling me of the bid

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Opinion: A good/bad day for Parliament

Some initial reflections on the Culture select committee hearing today:

Is this the most humble day of Rupert Murdoch’s life, as he claimed? I very much doubt it. I suspect the most humble day of his life will come when he is finally removed from his News Corp’s Chairman’s office, no doubt kicking and screaming, with his finger nails screeching along the expensive wallpaper.

One of most significant moments, for me, came when Rupert Murdoch was asked if he felt personally responsible for what went on at his company and he answered “No”.

That seemed very strange, for me. The normal answer is …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

LibLink | Vince Cable: I declared war on Murdoch… now everyone agrees with me

Business Secretary Vince Cable has an interview in the Evening Standard, in which he discusses his declaration of “war” on Rupert Murdoch, his referral of the BSkyB takeover bid to Ofcom and Murdoch’s role in the phone hacking scandal:

…the Business Secretary also reveals for the first time that he considered resigning from Cabinet during the furore when he said he was “at war” with the media tycoon.

“I certainly felt rather low at the time because I was heavily criticised,” he said at the end of a week that has seen the tables comprehensively turned between the two men.

“And I

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 26 Comments

So, Rebekah Brooks has finally resigned

This is obviously a good thing, and the right thing. Her position was untenable, and as I’ve blogged before – whether she knew what was going on in the newsroom when she was editor of the News of the World is irrelevant. She was in charge, and needed to take responsibility.

However, I can’t help but worry that this is a still all part of a bigger tactical game being played by News Corp. Wait til Friday to resign – fewer journalists working over the weekend, less time to make more of the story. Time it for the morning the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 18 Comments

Hughes, Farron and Foster write to Rupert Murdoch – full text of letter

Simon Hughes, Tim Farron and Don Foster have written to Rupert Murdoch about the proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International.

They ask Murdoch to respond to public opinion by changing his commercial strategy in the UK: withdrawing his News Corporation bid for BSkyB and concentrating all his efforts on cleaning up News International.

The letter in full:

Proposed take-over of BSkyB by News International

Ever since the report of our Information Commissioner ‘What Price Freedom?’ and the conviction and imprisonment of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2006, there has been growing concern about the policy and practices of UK newspaper titles owned

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats didn’t just avoid Murdoch, we tried to cut him down to size

In my last post for Lib Dem Voice, I pointed out that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems had never courted Murdoch and his cronies.

Actually, that was just the half of it.

We didn’t just avoid him. We have tried, in different ways over a number of years, to cut the media mogul down to size and clamp down on the sort of abhorrent media practices that have been exposed of late.

As far back as 1994, the year before Tony Blair chose to fly to Oz to lick Rupert Murdoch’s boots, we were calling for the OFT …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 38 Comments

Clegg urges Murdoch to reconsider BSkyB bid

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

In (partial) defence of Labour’s so-called ‘Lay Off Murdoch’ instruction to party’s MPs

‘Lay off Murdoch’ — that was the ever-so-quotable paraphrase that the New Statesman used to accompany this article by Dan Hodges, revealing how the Labour Party press team had issued a circular ‘to all shadow cabinet teams warns Labour spokespeople to avoid linking hacking with the BSkyB bid, to accept ministerial assurances that meetings with Rupert Murdoch are not influencing that process, and to ensure that complaints about tapping are made in a personal, not shadow ministerial, capacity.’

In reality, Labour’s communications chief Tom Baldwin — yes, himself a former Murdoch employee — did not use the phrase, ‘Lay off …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 13 Comments

The Lib Dems on ‘Hackgate’ and Murdoch: Ashdown, Huhne, Hughes, Farron, Oakeshott all join the fray

It’s been a frenzied week in British politics, with attention for once focused less on the mis-deeds of politicans than the criminality practised by many journalists, both at the News of the World and beyond. Here’s a brief round-up of what the Lib Dems have been saying…

BSkyB takeover: Lib Dems hint at backing Labour motion to delay deal (Guardian)

The Liberal Democrats have indicated they could back a Labour move in parliament to delay the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB until after the police investigations into phone hacking. …

Hughes told Sky News: “We have to be careful and I would

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

‘Yates of the Yard’ should have listened to Huhne on ‘Hackgate’

Today’s Telegraph carries an interview with the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner John Yates with a full mea culpa for his failure to get to grips with British journalism’s criminal free-for-all. As the paper notes:

Mr Yates had the opportunity to reopen the case in 2009 but chose not to do so after just eight hours’ consideration, including consultations with other senior detectives and Crown Prosecution lawyers. … In his interview, Mr Yates addresses last week’s revelation that Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator working for the News of the World, had allegedly hacked into teenage murder victim Milly Dowler’s mobile phone

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Ed’s learning: he’s done a Dave over Murdoch

Credit where it’s due, fair’s fair, and well-played.

As Paul Walter noted here on LDV on Wednesday, Labour leader Ed Miliband is having a good war, sticking up for clear and proper principles — a judge-led public inquiry, referring News International’s BSkyB bid to the Competition Commission, and the public call for the resignation of Rebekah Brooks — that resound well with the public.

By contrast, David Cameron is on the back-foot over the unravelling scandal at News International, compromised both by having hired former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his director of communciations (despite warnings), …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

LDVideo: Vince and Shirley’s war on Murdoch, while Nick savages PCC as “busted flush”

There’s no doubt about the big story this week: Rupert Murdoch being forced to close the biggest-selling British newspaper in a brazen bid to ride out the illegal hacking story that threatens his media empire.

Vince Cable’s prophetic powers first came to prominence during the economic storm that came close to collapsing the banking system. Last December, he accidentally went on the record to make clear his wish to clip Rupert Murdoch’s wings. Ironically, it was the Telegraph’s widely condemned subterfuge which stopped Vince in his tracks, and prevented his ability to hold to account the company where illegal hacking was rife. Here’s what he inadvertently revealed to the Telegraph last year:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 15 Comments
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