The late great author Dennis Potter was interviewed by Melvin Bragg at a time when his life was ebbing away because of terminal cancer, he was in constant pain and during the interview he would stop and sip from a flask containing liquid morphine he did this he said "to keep Rupert under control" when Bragg asked him to explain he said he had named his cancer Rupert in honour of Rupert Murdoch. This interview came to mind when I was reading about the exploits of Murdoch's paper 'The News of the World' It still hasn't sunk in properly what these people, yes they are people; were doing. The tabloid press and most of the so called quality broadsheet press in this country deserve the often used insulting description of 'the gutter press' I can think of no other profession except journalism which has the ability to demonstrate mankind at its best and at its worst. For every James Cameron we get a Kelvin Mackenzie and for every Orla Guerin we have a Kay Burley and it's no coincidence that McKenzie and Burley are tainted by their association with Murdoch.
Hacking in to the phone of the murdered child Milly Dowler is a loathsome thing to do even by Murdoch standards and we are now left to wonder how many other times they have done this. Cases mentioned are the young girls murdered in Soham, The missing McCann girl and the victims of the London Bus bombings, we now know if we ever doubted it that all are suitable grist for Murdoch's mill, what indeed would they refuse to exploit on moral grounds after this? I can't think of anything, can you? Like most things in life this reminds me of a brilliant film with a nasty story line it's called "the Ace in the Hole" and it is so like the News of the world today that it is spooky. A low life journalist stumbles into a situation where a miner is trapped underground and he manipulates the situation by slowing down the rescue attempt to allow him to file heroic copy to daily newspapers to make money, it ends, no I won't tell you how it ends, try to see it, suffice to say that if the News of the World ends up like the villain played by a brilliantly vicious Kirk Douglas then I will cheer up. There is a criteria for people who build business empires part of which is the question put before Governments grant permission for expansion it is simply this "is the person involved a suitable person to acquire this business or to gain greater control of something" Murdoch is in hot pursuit of gaining total control of B SKY B which would give him a vice like grip on the news in our country. Is this man a suitable person to gain control of this amount of influence? It sounds rhetorical I know but today in Parliament and in news studios I listened to people making his case for him, I don't want to politicise this so I won't name them, go look for yourself.
Politicians and political parties fear his lash so much that they will do anything to avoid upsetting him but today we saw the rare sight of the House of Commons almost completely unified in their condemnation of Murdoch and what he stands for, is it too much to hope that they will stand up to him and cut him down a bit? Probably not but I can certainly say as someone who found his support for Labour sickening that I am glad we no longer have his support. I feel cleaner and more decent now that he supports the Tory/Libdem Government, I say to decent people of whatever party that support from someone like Murdoch is too high a price to pay for power, we all have to sleep at night. Do we have bent politicians? Yes, do we have bent coppers? Yes and do we have bent Journalists? Yes. The politicians now have the chance to clean out 'the Augean Stables' let's hope the revelations to come strengthen their resolve. If I had to choose between politicians who were vilified for expenses fraud and journalists and cops who can do things like this the politicians win every time and they have a chance now to redeem themselves by doing the right thing.