Rupert Murdoch loves to back a winner. And time was that the paper said to be his voice on earth, the Sun, would unfailingly do so. It backed Mrs T., it famously backed “Shagger” Major in 1992, and it switched effortlessly to support Tone in 1997, remaining behind him through three elections, even after the Iraq adventure. But then things started to go wrong.
That's what I think of youse bladdy electoral system, you whingeing Pommie drongoes!
The Sun threw the lot at the last General Election, and backed Young Dave to the hilt. It wasn’t enough: the Tories came up short of the win line. Then came the Scottish independence referendum, and Murdoch’s initial enthusiasm for the Yes campaign cooled. The Scottish Sun ended up not backing either side. Now another General Election looms large on the horizon.
What Murdoch wants to do is back a party that will (a) favour his interests, such as taking over the rest of BSkyB and weakening EU regulations, while (b) being socially and fiscally conservative – basically, giving folks like him More And Bigger Tax Breaks For The Benefit Of Themselves Personally Now. He doesn’t want to back Nigel “Thirsty” Farage. So he’s stuck with Cameron.
But, as the editorial in today’s Sunday Sun shows, Murdoch is now signalling that Dave has not done enough, and Mil The Younger may end up in 10 Downing Street. “Miliband could be Mickey Mouse and Labour diehards would vote for him” it protests, before suggesting “They and ex-Lib Dems are all he needs next May under our biased election system”.
It wasn’t “biased” in 1983 when it delivered Mrs T a landslide on 42% of the popular vote, was it? But then, that was a result of which Rupe approved. “Now, normally the economy decides elections” asserts the Sun, while forgetting that we had an improving economy in 1997 – Ken Clarke was a not half bad Chancellor of the Exchequer – but that Major’s sleaze-ridden administration was done for.
Then comes the Murdoch wish list: “Cameron’s weak on immigration, the NHS – and trust. This week he must make a positive pitch on all three”. He can’t do any more than at present on the first two, and his chances of delivering on the third, with another defection yesterday, are slim. The Sun, by implication, knows this, and instead seeks to frighten readers away from UKIP.
“Farage supporters aim to trash, and rebuild, the system. What pain will they inflict on Britain first?” And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. The first sentence, to be fair to the Kippers, is speculation. And the second ain’t going to happen. But good of Murdoch to let us know he’s scared shitless of having a Government in Westminster that may not be keen on doing his bidding.
So he’ll have to get in the queue with the rest of us. Welcome to reality, Rupe.