Bloody Rupert Bloody Murdoch! When is this old warhorse of conservatism, neo-liberalism and freemarket gluttony going to die? Not soon enough.
The sprightly 80-year-old has given another speech this week to celebrate the life and logics of his old friend and ideological soul mate Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher herself is not so well, she was unable to attend Murdoch’s speech or her 85th birthday the previous week.
That didn’t stop Murdoch from praising Thatcher in fulsome terms for saving the world from socialism in the 1980s.
It was that appreciation of individual aptitude and ability that made her so intolerant of the strictures of socialism. How quickly too many people have forgotten that she has not only changed Britain, but, along with Ronald Reagan, changed the world, much, much for the better. How many millions of lives have been improved by the lifting of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Berlin Wall?
Wow! Did Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan really do that?
Of course in the company that Murdoch keeps these creation myths are the stuff of life. He doesn’t have to believe it himself, nor do his hosts Lord Saatchi and the Centre for Policy Studies in London.
Murdoch just has to say it and his loyal minions – those who populate is media empire – will propogate the line without question, as they always do:
- The speech covered in The Australian and WSJ complete with video of the old bastard
- Murdoch at the World Media (capitalists) Summit, Beijing October 2009 – published in-full by the Wall Street Journal and The Australian.
- Speech to the pro-Israeli “Anti-defamation League” October 14 2010 – praised by an editorial in the New York Sun.
- 2007 speech announcing News Corporation would be “carbon neutral by 2010 – published in-full in The Australian. [As an aside I can’t help but wonder where the company is at with this. I suspect nowhere close and I bet Murdoch doesn’t give a shit.]
- August 2009 James Murdoch speech damning the BBC for daring to have an online presence – published in-full in The Telegraph.
But, back to the present. Murdoch also knows that he speaks on behalf of the ruling class and he never misses an opportunity to rally the bourgeois to the flag of radical free market doctrine. Of course, the current British government is the political spawn of Thatcherism and she is no doubt proud that David Cameron is launching a full-scale assault on the British working class in the name of austerity and future prosperity.
Music to Murdoch’s villianous ears as he told the assembled Lords, the great and the good this week:
All of us in this room are united by a determination that Britain take the steps necessary to ensure the nation’s free and prosperous future. That is the challenge for politicians of all pedigrees and all parties.
This old goat revels in the thought that there might be a fight ahead. He was a staunch ally of Margaret Thatcher when she led the last Tory assault on the lives and income of British workers. But, you’d have to think that this time, given what we’ve already seen in Greece, Spain, Italy and France, that there may be some resistance to the new Thatcherism of Cameron and his Tory goon squad.
Sorry that you have had to endure all that. As an antidote to all that Murdoch doublespeak, here are a few lines from John Pilger that give a little perspective, if not much hope:
Britain is said to be approaching its Berlusconi moment. That is to say, if Rupert Murdoch wins control of Sky, he will command half the television and newspaper market and threaten what is known as public service broadcasting. Although the alarm is ringing, it is unlikely that any government will stop him while his court is packed with politicians of all parties. [On the shoulders of tyrants]
Against this background, an editorial from Socialist Worker
George Osborne’s spending cuts are a declaration of brutal class war. The Tories deliberately set out to hammer down the living standards of workers and the poor in order to fatten profits and enrich the bankers and the bosses. Commentators sometimes say that the Tories’ plans are “as harsh as Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s”.
They are not. They are far worse. They are much deeper than the vicious Conservatives attempted 30 years ago. That’s why there has to be a wave of serious resistance, or the Eton boys will trample on our class.
Murdoch himself never was an Eton boy, but he wanted to be. He is a brutal class warrior who knows which side he is on. He is also confident that his newspaper and other media assets will also back the Tories.
That is the real worry. And Murdoch is not only about setting the agenda through the signals his speech sends to editors and leader writers on his newspapers; like O’Brien in 1984, he knows the power of re-writing history in any battle for the present and the future:
[Margaret Thatcher] understood that a free society cannot thrive without its risk-takers and creative optimists and those willing to challenge conventional wisdom. And she recognized that the establishment can – and often should be – challenged. She also understood that the establishment wasn’t just the landed gentry, but institutions hungry for power at the expense of ordinary citizens.
What jibber-jabber. It was Thatcher’s friends – incuding Murdoch and Saatchi – who benefited from her wholesale assault on the institiutions of British life, starting with the unions, but extending to education, health and welfare. She was not mother Theresa, nor even Mary McKillop. Thatcher was a monster and Murdoch nurtured her.
And the liver-spotted megalomaniac is not shy about his own role in Thatcher’s success. He gloats about the battles of Wapping that all but destroyed the British media unions:
Many of the defining moments of my career have been in Britain. This includes fundamentally changing the newspaper industry in the 1980s – which has helped give us all the uniquely vigorous press we enjoy today.
Oh yes Rupert, that would be the vigorous press that you own that has recently being exposed as using illegal phone taps and spying to get stories. As Ian Taylor writes, there is a direct link between Wapping and the current lying scandal.
The full picture on News Group’s involvement in the hacking of mobile phones is still not clear, largely because the Metropolitan Police took the controversial decision not to inform the public figures whose phones had been targeted and the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take News Group executives to court. Scotland Yard is likely to face questions about whether senior officers intervened to avoid alienating a powerful media group. [New Statesman]
But Murdoch doesn’t want to confront this issue. He bloviates on about the power of the free press and says he won’t tolerate “wrong-dooing”:
Our new world is one of modern mass communication, phone and text, without limit. Democracy will be from the bottom up, not from the top down. Even so, a free society requires an independent press: turbulent … enquiring … bustling … and free.
That’s why our journalism is hard-driving and questioning of authority. And so are our journalists. Often, I have cause to celebrate editorial endeavour. Occasionally, I have had cause for regret.
Let me be clear: We will vigorously pursue the truth – and we will not tolerate wrongdoing.
Bollocks to that Mr Murdoch///
[It’s a beautiful day. I’m going to the markets and then whale-watching in the gulf. Analysis of the rest of Murdoch’s speech can wait till I get back]