The latest revelations on the News International nightmare simply indicate that at the top of this media pyramid is a dictator in grave need of being toppled. Either he actively institutionalised criminality – or, through neglect and under his watch, he allowed it to become institutionalised.
During Blair’s reign, it was Saddam who fell. In Cameron’s, it could well be Murdoch. But not because of the authorities, not because of the police, not because of the checks and balances of the state.
Rather, because of MPs like Tom Watson and Chris Bryant, of newspapers like the Guardian with the financial resources and morality to pursue the story – and the Fifth Estaters amongst us who use Twitter, Facebook and blogging tools, all of which have allowed us to provide the good traditional journalism that can still be found out there with the people’s wings it required to flourish.
The fatal misjudgment that News Corp has made is that it’s always had a parliamentary majority behind it. This time it hasn’t. #phonehacking
The corollary is complete. News International was a de facto dictatorship, operating within the British body politic. And no politician of real import in recent times has cared to even attempt to defeat this dictatorship.
Each generation needs its villains. Blair had his opportunity to choose – and chose Iraq instead of Murdoch. Cameron had his opportunity to choose – and chose the British people instead of Murdoch. As I pointed out in August last year:
In a democracy, there are two ways to proceed before your true aims are rumbled. The first is to attempt to continually butter the population up – this was Blair and New Labour’s approach for many years. The second is to demoralise and divide all probable opposition prior to the event with acts such as Cameron’s Coalition are carrying out. Better than demoralise and divide, however, is the strategy of cutting supply lines and taking apart little by little regions of common association.
This is also something that the Coalition will find it hard not to do.
The cuts that are being effected may have an ideological bent designed to socially engineer us back into the Darwinian dark ages of 19th century capitalism, and they may also perpetuate and deepen a recession we were on the point of emerging from, but, principally, their main purpose – if we are to accept my tentative thesis – is to lay the ground for a far more profound set of changes further down the line: changes which will end up being imposed on a thoroughly frightened and unhappy set of atomised and splintered individuals, looking to the support that democratic socialism promised them even as the tactics I have described serve to slowly but permanently disintegrate them from their fellow men and women – as well as lead them, once more, as so many sad times in the past, to believe that dog-eat-dog philosophies are humankind’s inevitable fate.
And yet now the British people have chosen Murdoch – above all – as their target of choice. Now the British people have settled on the dictatorship they truly wish to desert.
So where does that leave Cameron and his blessedly fashioned neo-conservative project – made, as it is, to the measure of Murdoch’s ideologies; and as foreign to our shores as anything of such evil intent could ever be? Who will be left untarnished enough to be able to provide the moral and political support to such a futile and suddenly hollow device?
For this is the question that surely occurs to us all: if Rupert Murdoch’s empire is no longer fit and proper to run the British press and media, what does that say of David Cameron himself?