Thursday, 26 April 2012

Murdoch's rotting politics

The Murdoch Empire is the symbol of the rottenness of our political system. It used its power and huge share of the media market to wield political influence and shape government policy. The admissions at the Leveson inquiry this week demonstrate how much the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats jump to the tune of the Murdochs. Christmas Dinner with Cameron, private jets to fly him to meetings with Murdoch, Jeremy Hunt and his staff liaising with Murdoch on a daily basis when it was seeking to make a huge amount of money from the BSkyB bid.
The Murdoch scandal goes all the way through the British political establishment. From the revelation of News International supported hackers deleting voicemail messages on missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone, the influence wielded at the London Metropolitan Police with leaks and people hired that were pro-News International to the leaking of ministerial statements on the BSkyB bid with the request that the Murdochs help rewrite and counter opposition arguments. This is a catalogue of the disgrace of the political and state elite.
Hunt dismisses his advisor, Adam Smith, though the evidence clearly implicates Jeremy Hunt, Gideon Osborne and David Cameron. It also implicates Nick Clegg in acting under pressure from the Murdochs in trying to shut up Vince Cable when he was adjudicating on the BSkyB bid. Whoever is forced to resign, it will not clean up the political establishment as a whole. The expenses scandal showed many abusing the system now the Murdoch scandal has shown how they jump to the tune of the richest and most powerful. Breaking the law never seems to be a problem in such circumstances.
It also illustrates why Tony Blair was so wrong to cosy up to the Murdochs and to court their support. Labour's march into the hands of the rich and powerful was not hard for him but it took away any alternative to this politics of privilege and power for the vast majority of people. It also deeply scarred and damaged the Labour Party which let down so many.
It is part of the reason why so many feel angry and cynical about politicians. They only listen to the rich and they only help the rich. Meanwhile, the rest of us feel the pain of recession and lost futures. The election of George Galloway in Bradford West on 29 March sent a signal that change is possible and is coming. The desire to sweep away this rotten Coalition of bankers and media puppets is growing. To make it happen, we need more ‘Bradford Springs’ across the country and a new type of politics that will make the rich pay for their conduct not offer them sweeteners.