So another supposedly fearless champion of the independent blogosphere has been bought off: the routinely clueless Tim Montgomerie of ConHome has been appointed comment editor of the Murdoch Times, underscoring Rupe’s newly discovered and not at all subtle strategy of buying the silence of those on the right who are of potentially inconvenient thought.
How, then, did Monty secure his berth at the Thunderer? Was it his incisive analysis, an ability to cut through the background noise and get to the point, unencumbered by partisan politics? Well, I hate to rain on this particular parade, but the answer to such questions has to be in the negative. Take, for instance, the gestation of the phone hacking saga, which he first reported in ConHome.
After a weekend’s thought, Monty took to Comment Is Free to opine “The attack on Andy Coulson is politically motivated: a desperate bid by Labour to get payback for the ousting of Damian McBride”, without stopping to wonder why the deeply subversive Guardian, which stood to lose the most if his analysis proved true, was so happy to publicise his thoughts. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Perhaps Monty fared better on the minutiae of voting reform, another heavyweight subject? Here, he tried to smear the Yes to AV campaign over their funding, while not mentioning the lack of transparency from his pals on the No side. Much emphasis was placed on AV potentially letting in the BNP, and the Lib Dems being permanent kingmakers. He missed UKIP completely.
How could he have managed that? Could it have been because Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pals were in favour? But one subject Monty has covered that Nige is keen on is the EU. Back at Comment Is Free, he told that “He's still not perfect, but David Cameron is slowly moving towards the Conservative mainstream, and not just on Europe”. Young Dave had just made a speech on the issue.
So what had the PM actually said? “We still don't quite know for sure what David Cameron will say in his Europe speech”. You don’t know, but you know what it means. Yeah, right. And how about Tory politics more generally? “Cameron’s Conservatism is too small, too narrow” he complained in ConHome. There’s only one problem with this idea, though.
And that is that any credible political party can only have one policy per issue. You can only fudge it so much to keep the fringe within the tent. So what, after all the clueless guff, got him the gig with Rupe? Simples. “Rupert Murdoch has been an overwhelming force for good in this country's life and politics” he told in that Guardian bashing CiF piece in 2009. And that is the correct answer.
Well, it is if you’re prepared to ditch your principles and become another sell-out.