New Times,
New Thinking.

12 November 2009

The Sun, the Tories and Labour

Murdoch's needless "influence"

By James Macintyre

My column in this week’s magazine highlights the iniquitous role of the Sun in bashing Labour.

In hounding Gordon Brown, the tabloid has returned to its natural comfort zone after an uncomfortable 14-year ceasefire, before which it hounded Neil Kinnock with even greater venom.

However, a question remains for Labour’s leaders. If — as Peter Mandelson has no doubt correctly alleged — there is “presumably” some sort of “contract” between the Murdochs and the Conservative Party, then what was the “contract” between the Murdochs and New Labour?

The main point here is that Rupert Murdoch’s supposed “influence” exists only because politicians of both sides needlessly feel they must win him over with right-wing policies, forgetting that Murdoch is — first and foremost — a businessman who simply backs winners.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Why, Tony Blair probably could have merged with the Liberal Democrats, taken Britain into the euro and resisted war in Iraq, and still the canny media mogul would have felt unable to back the Tory party of Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague. It is only because Murdoch thinks — and yes, by the way, he still may be wrong about this; and Labour will certainly win the Glasgow North East by-election being held today — that David Cameron is going to win that he backed the Tories at the end of September. Gordon Brown, now so viciously attacked by Murdoch’s Sun, has also been proved misguided in bothering to court the proprietor.

Labour is right that the Sun is a Tory paper pursuing a Tory agenda. But Labour helped build Murdoch’s fake “influence”, and so, in so many ways, it has only itself to blame.

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change