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Whither Rupert Murdoch??


Rupert Murdoch, as any reader will know, is so deeply intertwined with the political fabric of the UK that he is a hate figure. Many see him as the man behind the curtain having a veto of sorts over government policy. The defense employed that his outlets only reflect readers views, only infuriates leftists and moralists further.

Since the days of 'the sun wot won it', there has been a belief that Murdoch's support matters to the many who would be king, well prime minister at least. So it is with great detail I am sure that both Blairites and Brownites will be poring over the latest two missives from Irwin Stelzer in left wing publications, far removed from his highbrow home on the Business section of the Sunday Times.

Stelzer, before I continue, is an economist frequently cited as being 'very close', 'confidante' etc to the Rupester. Last week he had a most interesting piece in the New Statesman here on the prospects of Gordon Brown winning the next U.K. election as Labour Leader. The tone was far from threatening, and certainly not one of dark foreboding. Yet there was much about it to prick the interest of politicos.

Most believe that Murdoch's support will be necessary for Brown to reach across the center in the same manner as Tony Blair, but most fear he shant get it. So the Brownster has been dining with Paul Dacre editor of that rag The Daily Mail. It is clear the intent, but consider for a moment where Stelzer is coming from and hence Rupert.

" The failure to reform the National Health Service has resulted in increased waste and a decline in value received for money, for which the Chancellor is clearly responsible. "

"Brown's divorce from prudence has left Britain with a bloated civil service and an (in)famous "black hole" in the public finances, but he has cleverly positioned himself in the vanguard of those calling for a paring down of the public payroll."

"He will have considerable difficulty persuading voters that he has no power to get jails built so that the bad guys can be kept off the streets. Unless the Chancellor believes that jail makes the bad guys worse, or that Asbos rather than jail contain the predators and protect their prey, and can persuade wavering voters that is the case, he will find them wondering why there are sufficient funds to fight poverty in Africa but not enough money to make them secure in their homes and on their streets. "

Basically, Gordon is simply not Tony enough. He has strains of old Scottish Socialist in him and unless he toes the line, the support of The Sun and others is far from guaranteed. I don't think Stelzer or others are too hung up on who is the next Prime Minister, simply that they show a willingness, some may say pragmatism, to continue the Thatcher and quasi-Thatcher projects of the past twenty years. Gordon hasn't come off the fence sufficiently to be supported. So he must be challenged.

Of course Stelzer is not simply parroting Ruperts ideas, the man is intelligent in his own right, but one can be sure that he is laying out the stall for many of Murdoch's side of the spectrum for continued support of the New Labour project. It is not that he has trouble solely with Brown, as his Guardian piece today highlights, he has a problem with a party that doesn't agree with Blair.

The logic being that Brown may be more required to keep to the party's wishes than Blair is, or at least was. Consider this as a manifesto of sorts from his crowd;

"But he [Tony] knows that it is the "right thing" to attempt to reverse the decline in civility; to transfer power to the users of public services so that the young can be educated, the sick cured, and faith in public provision restored; to move against terrorists, no matter the squeamishness of a judiciary unable to adjust to 21st-century warfare; and to stay the course in Iraq."

Perhaps the conspiracy theorist in me is acting up, but I am pretty sure this signals clearer than at any point in May this year, the willingness of the Murdoch press and other conservatives to shop elsewhere if they need to. Gordon cannot rely on a press foiled by a failing and redundant Tory party because we don't know that's how things will go under David X.

There certainly is a stockpiling of challenges to get through for Brown. He must clarify his politics, make nice with the Sun and Times, keep the party sweet and preside over an election. In the face of the current realities in Iraq and in the U.K. talk of 2009 is at best unhelpful. That is something outside of the consideration of the press however.

Murdoch is a long-term thinker and now is the time to start setting out a stall for those who would inherit new Labour from Tony. Whether one likes it or not, Rupert and his associates opinion matter a great deal to Westminster set and their electorates. Will Brown tolerate the interference? Has he any choice? Watch this space.


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  1. Blogger Simon | 11:03 p.m. |  

    interesting post

  2. Blogger Renegade Eye | 12:19 a.m. |  

    I found this blog surfing.

    Expect Rupert Murdoch to endorse Hillary Clinton, when she runs for president. Bill has made some moves to kiss up to him.


  3. Blogger Cian | 11:58 a.m. |  

    Read about that around the place, the murdoch media has already got onside for her senate race. Still the Murdoch crew will always balance principle against backing a winner, which is why their reflection/support for Clinton and not so for Brown is an interesting commentary on long term strategy.

  4. Blogger EWI | 1:16 p.m. |  

    You're right - Murdoch will always back his own best interests, regardless of politics. He couldn't bend over bacwards fast enough to get access to China.

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