Angela Long on the Commons debate about News Corp and BSkyB
The mice are roaring. A subject people is standing up to its oppressor.
There’s all-party agreement in the British parliament, at last out in the open, that the Murdoch press is a Bad Thing. Today [Wednesday 13th] the House of Commons will stand solid behind a motion introduced by Labour leader, Ed Miliband. This motion declares that News Corp is not a fit and proper organisation to have a major role in the journalism enjoyed by the British public.
And there must be more than a few MPs delighted that, at last, they are out from the yoke of Murdoch and News International, of having to curry favour with the newspaper publisher behind sales of around 36 million copies a week, and about 40 million readers.
That’s about two-thirds of the British population, and a lot of people to influence when voting time comes around. ‘”It’s The Sun wot won it,” crowed the tabloid daily back in 1992, when John Major’s Tories unexpectedly won a general election. Tony Blair famously flew halfway around the world (to Queensland, Australia) to lick the boots of Old Man Murdoch in the mid-nineties. And once The Sun declared that Gordon Brown was a busted flush, in a front-page splash, the last prime minister’s days were clearly numbered.
“We have let one man have far too great a sway over our national life,” Labour MP Chris Bryant told Parliament in London last week. “Murdoch is not resident here, does not pay tax here. No other country would allow one man to garner four national newspapers, the second largest broadcaster, a monopoly on sports rights and first-view movies.”
Great days indeed, for the role of the media in keeping politicians and the system honest. Read more…