Sodium Haze: More than Murdoch revealed by hacking

Thursday, 14 July 2011

More than Murdoch revealed by hacking

Murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had phone hacked
The Haze has been astonished by the thunder rumbling around the media and Westminister in recent days.

Not surprised by the activities of the News of the World, more the targeting of Rupert Murdoch - this challenges some 'facts' of British politcal life that have dominated our democracy for decades:

(a) No Political party can get elected without the support of the Murdoch tabloids.

(b) No political party or politicians can dare to stand against the Murdoch tabloids. (see above)

(c) News Internmational must not be obstructed when they want certain policy decisions in their favour.

(d) Murdoch must be courted as an absolute priority by leading politicians.

But suddenly, every politican who can grab a microphone can't wait to stick the boot in to the Murdoch empire. What's changed? Has the political class of this country suddenly remembered they are supposed to represent the PUBLIC interest ? Have the politicians suddenly realised they have a backbone and some morals?

We doubt it.

But at least ONE of the poisonous deals that our politicans observe to gain and retain office has been cancelled. But why?

One can look at it in terms of simple maths.
The Murdoch tabloids provided political parties with editorial support - or attacked them. As long as titles like the News of the World and The Sun were able to sway populist opinion - our spineless politicians would not stand up to them.

But now the dreadful phone hacking and blagging scandals has turned public opinion - and suddenly the smart political move is to attack the Murdoch empire.

So the sum is:

the value of A (the moral authority of the Murdoch papers)

the value of B (the ability to drive public opinion)

the value of C (the need to curry the favour of Rupert Murdoch)

the value of D (the public opinion advantage to be gained by attacking News International)

the value of E (the damage of being seen to be associated with The News of The World etc)


When A is no longer enough to generate much of B - then the impetus for C is greatly diminished.

When the value of B is less than D - there is a short / medium term advantage for politicians to be had in attacking Murdoch.

Critically for David Cameron (who employed a deeply implicated former News International man as his own communications director) the value of E > A+B+C which = sudden attacks on the social set he dines with in West Oxfordshire (Rebekah Brooks et al)

In the medium term it may be that the Murdoch papers can repair some of the damage to A & B and re-establish the status quo - but for now the traditional deal between all political parties and the tawdry rags of News Corp is well and truly stuffed.

But this doesn't represent a new moral dimension in our politicians - in fact it illuminates starkly the astonishing lack of morals and ethics in public life today.

It was not government or politcal pressure that has outed the disgusting antics of the Murdoch red tops (and now it seems even The Sunday Times) - it was dilligent and persistent journalism from The Guardian newspaper that eventually overwhelmed government indifference and police complicity in colluding with a grubby cover up of their actvities.

Now that the truth is out, David Cameron has been FORCED to abandon his chums at News International and Labour's Ed Milliband (who attended the last News International garden party) has suddenly found his voice of moral outrage.
Not since Michael Foot has a politician really stood up to Murdoch.

The nation has endured decades of poisonous 'journalism' from News International that had no interest in the truth - hacks fom The Sun and News of the World have trampled on the lives of countless ordinary people who couldn't afford to hire expensive lawyers to protect them from smear, innuendo and outright lies.
It was only when News International was PUBLICALLY CAUGHT hacking the phones of murdered children and fallen soldiers - paying police officers to hide the truth and invading the security and privacy of the royal family - that any action has been taken.

Murdoch has shamelessly used his papers to bully the political class in this country to undermine democracy and to serve his own agendas - and hardly a single politician has had the gumption or the courage to speak out against it. Instead we have endured a cosy and unholy deal between the politcal establishment and the media.

The closed society that includes both politicians and the vast majority of the media has no morailty from either side.

With rare but deeply refreshing candour Janet Daley in The Telegraph writes:
The truth is that for all its adversarial and investigatory strengths – which are considerable – British political journalism is basically a club to which politicians and journalists both belong

George Monbiot riffing off the Daley article was at his brilliant best :
Most national journalists are embedded: immersed in the society, beliefs and culture of the people they are meant to hold to account. They are fascinated by power struggles among the elite but have little interest in the conflict between the elite and those they dominate. They celebrate those with agency and ignore those without... the right-wing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC.
They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country.

Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers 

The Haze couldn't have put it better!

We doubt that anything will really change in this system of insular patronage - it is the way this nation functions - a pretence of democracy to protect an oligarchy based on wealth, power and vested interest.
This phone hacking scandal merely has the politicians scrambling to repair the gaping holes in the facade of government in the public interest.

But - at least for a few weeks the fall of Murdoch's hate rags has a kind of Berlin Wall feel to it. Even the Haze is enjoying this whiff of an 'Arab Spring' in the air of British life.

So what other cosy relationships would we love to see rattled?

Well - the big one is the revolving door between Westminister, the City of London and the media.

How about busting this cosy relationship!

(a) The scandal of a nation that borrows its own money supply at interest from private banks

(b) The annual subsidy of at least £30 billion pounds provided by the taxpayer to the financial servcies industry

(c) The licence to print debt money afforded to private banks.

(d) the media and 'expert'' economists who refuse to discuss alternatives fractional reserve banking or even name it as the problem.

(e) A conservative party that has its election campaigns funded by banks

(f) A quiet procession of top civil servants and politicians who shuttle backwards and forwards between the big financial companies and Westminster.

Will our politicians ever find their moral backbone about any of this? Not unless they are forced to!

The great campaign @ Positive Money is the way to go for Monetary Reform.

and as the last few weeks have shown - the cliques and unspoken power deals can be brought down - but we can't wait for our politicians to find their moral compass, they have to be pointed (shoved) in the right direction...

...and if we don't insist that our politicians represent the public interest - then perhaps we will only get the government and the newspapers we deserve.
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