Blair wins a place in the Sun

Submitted by Matthew on 6 October, 2009 - 3:26 Author: Jim Denham

By their friends shall ye know them: the decision of the Sun (or, rather, Mr Rupert Murdoch) to back New Labour at the General Election should come as no great surprise. The Sun and its proprietor fell out of love with the Tories when Thatcher was dumped (or "betrayed" as the Sun still says) and Black Wednesday confirmed their disappointment with John Major. They have been flirting with Blair ever since.

And, of course, Murdoch likes to back winners - especially winners who will be making decisions that might affect, say, whose little decoding boxes are allowed onto our TV sets. In Australia, the Murdoch press has been quite happy to support the Labor Party who, in turn, have generaly done their best to ensure that no obstacles are placed in the path of Murdoch business interests.

No, the surprise hasn't been Murdoch's willingness to throw the Sun (and, very likely, at least one other of his British titles) behind Blair, but the lack of embarrassment on the part of any section of the official movement. Blair, of course, has been abasing himself before Murdoch since at least 1995, when he (Blair) flew halfway round the world to grovel before the assembled News Corporation executives at Hayman Island. After that, Blair's by-line began appearing with remarkable frequency in the Sun and News of the World. Coincidentally, Labour's longstanding parliamentary support for limits on cross-media ownership disappeared overnight.

But you would think someone in the Labour leadership would perhaps remember the Wapping dispute, or the "Gotcha!" headline, or the Press Council's ruling that a cartoon was "an ugly piece of racism", or "Up Yours Delors", or the description of Clare Short as "too ugly to be raped." But no, not a squeak out of any of them - not even the middle-class feminists of the Harriet Harman variety, who might have been expected to have something to say.

Instead, Mandelson and Campbell gloat over their 'coup', while Blair assures his friends at the Sun that he will veto any move to use the Social Chapter "to import German social security costs" and that "it is no part of a Labour government to start putting unions into any workplace."

Meanwhile the Sun makes no secret of its continuing Thatcherite politics. It is just that "the Tories have all the right policies but all the wrong faces." Blair, it seems, is now the right face for Tory policies.

None of this is likely to have any significant impact on the election result (the short-term effect of newspapers' political line is greatly exaggerated by media pundits) but it might possibly wake some Labour people up to the truth about Blair and his project to destroy the Labour Party. If it does that, some good may yet come of Mr Murdoch's opportunist move.

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