The more we learn about the machinations leading up to the BSkyB fiasco, the more I am reminded of the line from Eva Mendes (Sara Melas) in the film “Hitch”-
“You can’t see the wood for the sleaze!”
“Culture secretary wrote memo to David Cameron supporting family’s £8bn bid, despite being warned he should not intervene”
“Jeremy Hunt’s grip on ministerial office looked increasingly precarious after the Leveson inquiry heard that he had written an outspoken memo for David Cameron, staunchly supporting the Murdoch family’s £8bn bid for BSkyB, a month before he was handed the task of adjudicating on whether to approve the media merger in an apolitical, “quasi-judicial” manner.”
Which memo was that? This one:-
“James Murdoch is pretty furious at Vince [Cable]’s referral to Ofcom [of News Corp’s bid to take full control of BSkyB]. He doesn’t think he will get a fair hearing from Ofcom. I am privately concerned about this because News Corp are very litigious and we could end up in the wrong place in terms of media policy. Essentially what James Murdoch wants to do is to repeat what his father did with the move to Wapping and create the world’s first multi-platform media operator available from paper to web to TV to iPhone to iPad. Isn’t this what all media companies have to do ultimately? … we must be very careful that any attempt to block it is done on plurality grounds …
The UK has the chance to lead the way on this as we did in the 80s with the Wapping move but if we block it our media sector will suffer for years … I think it would be totally wrong to cave into the Mark Thompson/Channel 4/Guardian line that this represents a substantial change of control given that we all know Sky is controlled by News Corp now anyway… It would be totally wrong for the government to get involved in a competition issue which has to be decided at arm’s length. However I do think you, I, Vince and [Nick Clegg] should meet to discuss the policy issues that are thrown up as a result.”
Vince Cable was known to be anti-Murdoch, and had to be moved out of the way. The following information is from The Leveson inquiry memo that nailed Hunt’s colours to the Murdoch mast
“The history of events at the end of 2010, from the moment on 4 November when Cable called in the regulators, shows how relentlessly James Murdoch and his PR man Frédéric Michel lobbied and berated the politicians who were trying to stand in their way. Only three days later, Murdoch was lunching at Chequers with Cameron. The next day, Michel lunched an aide to George Osborne, the chancellor, who he hoped could be persuaded to intervene.
Cable’s own advisers refused to meet any of the Murdoch camp, saying it would be improper. So did Treasury minister Danny Alexander.”
“Within weeks of Hunt launching his anti-Cable campaign in Downing Street, the business secretary would fall victim to a newspaper sting in which he confided that he had “declared war” on Murdoch, and responsibility for the bid was turned over to Hunt.”
So, David Cameron replaced Vince Cable, who was known to be against Murdoch’s intentions, with Jeremy Hunt, who he knew to be for Murdoch. When we also consider how cosy Cameron was with Rebekah Brooks, one could be forgiven for having misgivings about Cameron’s impartiality in all of this. If your mind is as suspicious as mine, you might also like to know if it was only the horse Cameron was riding!
I think we need to be on the safe side here.
Top the lot of them!