The Murdoch mafiosi got the outcome they wanted from the EU referendum. Sterling duly tanked, and in they came with a bargain basement offer for the 61% of Sky they did not yet own, hopeful of getting it past a Government now preoccupied with Brexit negotiations. Then came the three strikes: phone hacking at the Sun, misbehaviour at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), and now computer hacking.
Theresa May ... be on her way
So the Murdochs are now in check. Their task from hereon in is to ensure they are not in check mate. And that means being able to prevail upon whoever is in power to somehow look the other way and maybe even disregard or quash the Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the Sky bid. They have one key weapon in this struggle - London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Michael Green and Sebastian Fox ... easy target(s)
But, you may say, the destabilisation of Theresa May’s Tory leadership has come not from Bozza, but Grant “Spiv” Shapps, and with some encouragement from former Chancellor George Osborne via his editorship of the Evening Standard. Well yes, but that is because (a) this is all that is thus far visible, and (b) it is in the Murdochs’ interest that people “look over there” at the hapless Shapps, rather than see their hands up Bozza’s back.
Yes you matey - you're rumbled, you are
You may also point to today’s Sun editorial - usually a reliable indicator of the Murdoch mindset - which pretends to support Ms May, telling readers “Mrs May has gamely soldiered on through her calamities, and desperately needs to learn the right lessons and make truly ambitious plans for change … There is no obvious replacement - and until one emerges the Tories must unite behind her”, while dumping on Shapps.
David Davis - may also be in the loop
But the dead giveaway is what the Murdochs’ pals elsewhere are up to. And one group that the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker has in its corporate pocket is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. The Great Guido has gone after Shapps, keeping the focus where it is wanted, while running a hit piece on ITV Political Editor Robert Peston, which is far more revealing.
Peston has observed “the life-or-death question for May is whether Shapps and Johnson are in cahoots”. He has concluded that they possibly are. After suggesting that Peston is pushing a Fake News story, they helpfully add “As anyone who has read a newspaper or spoken to a Tory MP recently knows, a more pertinent question would be whether Shapps has ‘discussed matters’ with supporters of David Davis since the election”.
Now here's a familiar face
The problem for the Fawkes massive is that Peston is not peddling Fake News; he is looking in the right place. David Davis may well be involved, but Bozza is most definitely in the Murdoch loop. That has not occurred to many Tories, typical of whom is (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, who has mused “Grant Schapps thinks he's going down in history as man who handed TM the pearl handled revolver. He got one thing right, he is going down”. She’d have more credibility if she could spell his name correctly.
The Great Guido - better with the falling over water than negotiating his way out of a paper bag
Ms Dorries knows there is a plot, but her own prejudices cloud her judgment: “The plot is by remain MPs to topple the PM, destroy Boris and put a remain leader in place to delay and possibly destroy #Brexit”. If the fragrant Nadine can’t hear the deafening clatter from Bozza’s skeleton cupboard, she needs medical assistance.
Now here's a thing, viewers ... Robert Peston
So let me spell this out, for Ms Dorries and all those other Tories in and around the Parliamentary party. Bozza, ultimately, gets destroyed whatever happens: his only respite is that his handlers (hello Tony Gallagher) keep the modern-day equivalent of the safe filled with incriminating material firmly locked while he does their bidding. This is why I said recently that the former London Mayor was on a suicide mission.
But it’s got sweet Jack to do with any Remain versus Leave factionalism. Whether of not the Brexit process completes or is aborted is less important to the Murdoch mafiosi than getting their hands on that 61% of Sky that they do not yet own, and the sooner the better.
Robert Peston is on the right track. He should not allow the Fawkes rabble, or any Tory MP who is experiencing discomfort at his latest writings, to put him off. He is also known for his ability to stand up to the Murdoch mafiosi. That last quality might come in useful very soon.