1969 was, for two controversial figures in the world of politics, an eventful year, when both made their entrance on the world stage, where they have been ever since, loved by family and a few close friends, and roundly detested by those on the outside. Both have amassed fortunes, influenced events around the globe, and both will not long be missed once they have shuffled off this mortal coil.
And both can be seen at work in today’s edition of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, where the obedient hackery of one of the two dutifully lay into the supposed despotism and vindictive violence of the other. Yes, those two greats of the modern era are Rupe and Muammar, Murdoch and Gaddafi, both dogs of their particular chosen wars.
Gaddafi deposed King Idris in 1969, the same year that Rupe entered the UK newspaper market with his acquisition of the Sun. The Libyan leader has imposed his supposed ideology on his subjects as documented in the “Green Book”, while Rupe has imposed his own creed – basically, hacks doing more for less – on his own unfortunate workforce.
Both have been suspected of exploiting the Dark Arts to the full: Gaddafi by supplying weaponry to the IRA, ordering assassinations, and trying to get his hands on nuclear and chemical weaponry, and Rupe by the more mundane acts of phone hacking and blagging, using his influence over supposedly democratic Governments, and inflicting on the US viewing public the appalling standards of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
And both have an eccentric side: Gaddafi with his all-female bodyguards, insistence on still living in a tent (even when attending the UN), and his legendary and unrestrained flatulence, while Rupe has given us bingo in the supposedly upmarket Times, Page Three in the Sun, and the irrational decision to publish the so-called Hitler Diaries.
So we come to 2011, and both Rupe and Muammar find their worlds under siege. Gaddafi has tried to put down a popular revolt by force with the result that Libya is now subject to aerial bombardment, his country’s economy has hardly developed despite all the oil, and the rest of the world is tiring of him, while Rupe finds the use of those Dark Arts coming back to bite him, more politicians wondering whether his approval is worth the candle, and Fox News becoming the subject of increasing ridicule.But which of these two dogs is the maddest? Which is the more tyrannical? And which will still be standing this time next year?