Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A hung Parliament hangs Murdoch out to dry

Predictably, the snivelling Tories on the Select Committee voted en bloc to remove any criticism of Rupert Murdoch from the report into the "News of the World" scandal.  Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of Coalition politics, the sole Liberal Democrat was having none of it - because not suggesting that Murdoch's stewardship of his companies had anything to do with the odious criminality that surrounded his tabloid would be akin to suggesting that "Mein Kampf" had no linkage with the Nazi Party.

If Clegg has the wit to promote it, this is a prime example of why non-majority Parliaments work.  The condemnation of News International's business practices is exactly the outcome that independent-minded Select Committees are designed to produce.  They are not rubber-stamps for the government or means of promoting vested interest - and even though the New Labour and Murdoch link is murky and despicable there is something touching about watching repentant sinners recant their heresies.

The Murdoch thrall is gradually unwinding as the venality and incompetence of the operation becomes clearer, and even craven politicians listen to focus groups.  The Select Committee is just the start of this - with potential criminal charges and the Leveson Enquiry to come. 

With Hunt and Cameron up to their necks in the sophistry that usually precedes a political denouement, this is looking increasingly like the Cameron ERM moment - with Hunt cast as the poor man's Norman Lamont.  The delusion that these out-of-touch, arrogant popinjays represented a new form of government has been pricked once and for all.

Murdoch has been comprenhesively skewered.  A joyous day.  The baleful frame of reference that has dininished politics since Thatcher and "The Sun" commenced their love-in in 1977 is gradually removing itself, and we might find discourse less centred on currying favours with the unaccountable.  This may even be cause for limited positivity.

Let it not be forgotten that Vince Cable's injudicious comments last year have been the catalyst for the unravelling of Hunt and the exposure of the Chipping Nortonista set.  For once, instinct is stronger than political caution, and a gamble has paid off.  More politicians with backbone would be a good thing.

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