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Sunday 14 June 2015

Murdoch Says Get Watson

Not content with interfering in the Labour leadership race - the amount on knocking copy aimed at front-runner Andy Burnham in the Sun and its piss-poor SunNation website is reaching obsessive proportions - the Murdoch press has now decided that it also needs to stick its bugle into the deputy leadership contest as well. This has manifested itself in a leader in yesterday’s Times, masquerading as serious and informed comment.
Tom Watson MP

As Zelo Street regulars will be aware by now, the Times and Sunday Times long ago ceased to be papers of record: gone are the days of campaigning journalism and holding power to account - bar the occasional flicker of the flame over FIFA - and instead, the titles are just another tool in the box for the Murdoch attack poodles. The target of the latest attack is West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson.

The Times has declared that Watson is the “Wrong Man”, going on to tell “The election of Tom Watson as deputy leader of the Labour Party would signal that it has not learnt the lessons of defeat”, and preparing to damn him with faint praise by continuing “This newspaper, as observers of clashes between the political and media worlds may be surprised to learn, considers Tom Watson … to be a significant parliamentarian”.
Do go on. “Whatever his more alarmist claims, Mr Watson contributed to the exposure of unacceptably intrusive behaviour among some elements of the press … his commitment to making Government-held data more accessible to private citizens is admirable … The existence of dogged maverick backbenchers … is a vital component of British democracy”. And then it comes: “But it is on those backbenches … that Mr Watson should remain”.

Yes, Tom ought to know his place. “There remains more than a whiff of the student politician about him … he has become something of a serial resigner whenever anyone has given him a grown-up job … stands far to the left of the electorate on any number of issues … his voting record is impeccably Old Labour … a zealous Brownite lieutenant … old-fashioned class warrior …alienating more and more potential voters”.
As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. But one word, despite the brief mention of Watson’s work on press misbehaviour, has not made it into the editorial, and that word is Leveson. Two months ago, he Tweeted “I'm setting up the Labour Campaign for Leveson - for after the election”. Watson gave the second Leveson lecture last December, an event organised by the campaigning group Hacked Off.

He is also the co-author (with Martin Hickman) of Dial M For Murdoch, a book with the strapline “News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain”. Small wonder Rupe’s papers are running articles trying to stop him becoming Labour’s deputy leader, as the Times leader is clearly intended to do, in its own narrow, clichéd, sniffy way. Tom Watson means the Murdoch empire continuing to experience discomfort.

But I have news for Rupe: he doesn’t have a vote in this election, and the Labour Party, unlike the kind of deals Murdoch favours, is about democracy. Shove off Rupe, and take your own particular brand of bullying and intimidation elsewhere.

1 comment:

James said...

he has become something of a serial resigner whenever anyone has given him a grown-up job …

Should've gone to SpecSavers, if you can't tell the difference between Tom Watson and Jim Murphy...