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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is it all about Murdoch?

This morning's Independent reports that former shadow Home Secretary David Davis has accused David Cameron of "shamelessly courting" the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

They say that the Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, has urged the Leveson Inquiry into press standards to look "as much at the behaviour of political leaders as at the behaviour of newspaper editors".

Mr Davis said that the Prime Minister was part of Britain's "crony capitalism" problem and that his Government had become "far too close" to big business:

"Crony capitalism has also characterised political leaders' relationships with the press. Prior to the phone-hacking scandal, the shameless courting of Rupert Murdoch and other media moguls by politicians was no less unedifying for being standard practice...

"Press competition laws were repeatedly kicked into the long grass by a Labour leadership that was anxious not to offend News International... David Cameron has accepted in Parliament that he got too close to newspaper proprietors after becoming leader."

There is absolutely no doubt that Mr. Davis is right. Both Labour and the Tories have shamelessly courted Rupert Murdoch and turned a blind eye to the excesses of his media empire. As a result he has been able to build up an unprecedented position of owning a major broadcasting company as well as the country's best-selling newspaper.

No one individual should be allowed to exercise such influence. Nor should we be subjected to the sight of successive Prime Ministers queuing up to worship at Murdoch's altar. If the Leveson Inquiry does not start to address this issue then it will have failed.
I don't think that whatever Leveson recommends will make any difference.

The problem is much deeper and lies in the constitutional basis of the Westminster system. It is literally a law unto itself.

Until it is overturned or overthrown, then the massive democratic deficiency and lack of accountability which exists will continue.

It is why unionists won't countenance any move towards a federal UK, as it would destroy the cosy system which keeps the parties in power regardless of the the mess they make of governing the UK.

Witness Cameron and Miliband singing to Scotland from the same hymn sheet from the Westminster pulpit - 'Thou shalt have independence or the status quo'.
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