Saturday, 9 July 2011
Cameron - representing the People ... or doing Murdoch's bidding?
Despite coming out 'fighting' ... Cameron is struggling to shrug off his close ties/relationship with the scandals associated Coulson, the Murdoch Empire and phone hacking at the 'News of the World' ...
His decision, despite concerns/advice raised by many people, to employ Coulson at the heart of Government creates serious question marks around his personal judgement ... and it looks like it could be sufficient to see him fall (and he knows it) ...!
Coulson, the News of the World Editor during the scandals, was yesterday arrested by police ... and Cameron is being deliberately vague about detailed questions/checks he made prior to employing him ... and/or any specific concerns/advice he received from others. He is instead preferring to deflect questions away by saying "he had decided to give Coulson a 'second chance', that it was his decision, and his decision alone ... and that people will judge him on his decisions"!
Given his concern about the situation ... he is clearly sheltering others from the decision to employ Coulson, to avoid other colleagues also being brought into the fray (n.b. George Osborne has been implicated too) and to avoid the crisis engulfing the whole Government and his entire Party. Unlike Rebekah Brooks, he is clearly prepared to fall on his sword ... but is waiting to see how the whole scandal develops!
Well it does not look good for him at the moment ... as it becomes clear that Cameron, in a speech only 10 days ago, was clearly doing Murdoch's bidding! With Murdoch's ruthless desire to takeover BSkyB at risk of being blocked by Ofcom*, Cameron decided to go on the offensive with a public and unexpected attack on Ofcom ... making clear his desire to get rid of the quango (i.e. he threatened them)!
Cameron has been helping Murdoch in his takeover bid prior to doing this too. For instance Cameron took the opportunity to place a well-known ally/backer of Murdoch (Jeremy Hunt) in charge of deciding whether or not to refer Murdoch's proposed takeover to the Competition Commission (taking the decision away from the Business Secretary, who normally takes such decisions) ... and not surprisingly, after many 'discussions/ assurances' from Murdoch, Hunt said he was 'minded to pass the bid'!
However, given recent events it's clear that there is 'politically' no way that Cameron/Hunt will get away with this right now (or at least anytime soon), so they have decided to park it in the long grass (on the grounds of having to go through 100,000's submissions they have received about the takeover)!
* Ofcom can block the takeover if they believe News International is not a 'fit and proper' organisation* to own a UK broadcaster ... and with News International now accused of deleting millions of emails, rather than co-operating fully with the Police (as they have repeated stated in public), they clearly fail this 'test'.
** News International executives could also be facing charges of corruption in the US too, where such offences are dealt with extremely seriously (e.g. executives, whether they were knowing or not, can be completely stripped of all their assets). The Murdoch's are really panicking now ... hence Rupert Murdoch's decision to come over to the UK to try to 'take control' ... and to see who else they need to bribe/threaten!