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The icing on the final nail in the tin lid of this week’s unbelievable slew of terrible news is that what would have been one of the funniest things ever to happen in British politics now seems to be dead in the water. Presumably that means a private investigator is listening in to voicemail messages from its grieving relatives as we speak.

I am stunned by the detail—though gratified by its effect on a public who turn out to be less cynical than maybe they themselves had assumed—of what we’re learning about how journalists in Rupert Murdoch’s news organisation chose to implement his ruthless commercial vision. Sure, journalists and investigators from other companies may have been at it too but ultimately they were all Rupert’s avatars, crawling over the dead and dying and bereaved, sniffing out the most meagre morsels to feed on. You may remember news stories a few years ago saying that Murdoch had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and then those stories immediately went away. That wasn’t news management—the cancer just gave up. After all, no-one burgles a Mafia boss.

In the wake of this week’s utterly skullfucking revelations, then, the decision of the Prime Minister and his Hulture Secretary to wave through Murdoch’s bid to become the greatest unopposed media oligarch in the country looks, shall we say, poorly judged. At a time when his trusted company executives stand accused of activity whose criminality is eclipsed by its sheer immorality, less assured politicians might feel it was a poor moment to give the thumbs-up to a deal that would give that same company complete control of an entire TV network and make Rupert more money than I can even spell.

Still, never let it be said that David Cameron lets himself fall prey to bias. The fact that the Camerons themselves are close personal friends of News Corp’s Rebekah Brooks––properly, sociably close, not Christmas cards but Christmas dinner—has not been allowed to sway his judgment that the Murdoch deal is right for the country. In fact, politicians generally since the Thatcher era have allowed themselves to be bought and paid for by the Murdochracy. The Attorney-General actually told Chris Bryant MP in the Commons on Wednesday that he was courageous for calling for that day’s emergency debate—the clear implication being that MPs know the likely fallout from openly attacking Murdoch. Given the power that Rupert wields over Parliament, even if Cameron weren’t such a good personal friend to the Murdoch camp he would still have ended up doing what it wanted (though his unerring Flashman instincts seem anyway to lead him automatically to the side of the bully).
Fun fact: it’s precisely this sort of undue influence over a nation’s parliament that Murdoch insists his news organisation rails against! Apparently it’s evil when it’s practised by Brussels but entirely healthy and desirable when it comes from a single malignant megalomaniac!
So the BSkyB deal will go through tomorrow, Rupert will extend his rule, Cameron’s friends will do very nicely out of it and the country will once again be left gazing at its parliament and wondering exactly what it’s for. Still, most people will have forgotten their outrage in a fortnight (remember the pledge in 1997 to boycott all papers that ran paparazzi photos? How’s that holding up?) leaving only Twitter, the Guardian and comedy fans to lick their wounds. By the time that this is ancient history and Rupert's preserved and embalmed corpse is overseeing the final buyout of the BBC, though, one story from this week would still have been amusing and worth preserving, not least because it so eerily resembled the plot of an Ealing comedy:
Speaker John Bercow to trade places with Afghan counterpart

The Speaker, John Bercow, is to be dispatched to Kabul in a unique parliamentary exchange scheme to help impart his knowledge of managing the British House of Commons to his Afghan counterpart. Bercow and Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, speaker of the Afghan parliament, have been lined up for the parliamentary support programme exchange scheme agreed between the two countries.

Asked if Bercow had been approached to participate in the exchange, a Downing Street spokesman said: "I am sure he is fully supportive of our efforts." [Guardian]
Transparent revenge on the part of Flashman, who was visibly seething last week after being cut down mid-flow during Prime Minister's Questions by a Speaker who he famously views as an unbearable oik. Being sent off to the front line out of pique is what happens in Terry-Thomas films, not in real life, but here it was suddenly being played out in parliament.

Disappointingly, however, and thwarting my intentions to leaven slightly the combined mass of the News International revelations and the imminent BSkyB stitch-up, this has turned out not to be true. To Cameron’s growing reputation for being a rather ineffectual and bewildered PM—a luxury afforded those rich enough to escape the worst effects of their own premiership—we can add the charge that he views the job with such disdain that he’s prepared to make hoax official announcements purely out of spite.

Still, the rest of us should take comfort that a man so comfortable in the role is in charge. He was clearly born to it, and his choice of friends can only show that they too are the right sort of people. As the BSkyB deal goes through tomorrow, we can all celebrate and take heart that such good people are looking out for our interests. I, for one, welcome our new privileged, predatory overlords.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC)
This is a nightmare. It's not the principle of having a dictator I disagree with. It's that they've installed the wrong one.


Also: Am calling him PM Flashman from now on. Also, bonus points for "Murdocracy", which is now our political system.
Jul. 7th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
> bonus points for "Murdocracy"

Not my coinage, sadly, but one I'm quite jealous of.
Jul. 7th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
It is beautiful. I am henceforth adopting it in place of "democracy" whenever talking about the way this country is "run".
Jul. 8th, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
I, for one, welcome our new privileged, predatory overlords.

And I, for one, want to stab each and every one of the parasitical, arrogant fuckers repeatedly in the face with a broken bottle. I am beyond rage at what they're doing and what they're getting away with.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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