The latest BBC licence fee settlement deal gave the impression of having been closed with undue haste, so much so that the pre-deal leaks only occurred when all had already been done and dusted. Now, to no surprise at all, questions are being asked because of the potential lobbying by none other than Rupert Murdoch. The Tory under pressure over this right now is the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet.
That's what I bladdy think of youse bladdy BBC and its bladdy investigative bladdy journalism, ya Pommie drongoes!
As might be expected, there has been no comment from Rupe’s troops, whether at the Sun, or the Times, but the Independent - famously visited before the 2010 General Election by Murdoch Junior and the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks when they behaved towards then-editor Simon Kelner like a Mafia delegation - is on the story, followed today by the Mirror.
The Indy, as might be expected given the backstory, does not hold back: “George Osborne is under pressure to reveal if he held a private meeting with Rupert Murdoch days before the Treasury imposed a £650m budget cut on the BBC … Sources told The Independent that the Chancellor is said to have met Mr Murdoch shortly before the BBC’s Director-General, Lord Hall, was informed of the Government’s plan to force the Corporation to accept full financial responsibility for free TV licences for over-75s”.
So why, given Whitehall and Westminster are supposed to exist in a new age of transparency, are we not being told the details? Indy again: “Although the Treasury publishes quarterly details of ministers’ external meetings, confirmation of any recent discussion between Mr Murdoch and Mr Osborne is unlikely to be made public before next year and may not include specific dates”. How convenient.
Shadow Culture Secretary Chris Bryant is not impressed, and has asked Osborne for “a list of all meetings, correspondence or phone calls you have had with Rupert Murdoch since the election [May 2015], along with notes of what was discussed in those conversations”. Moreover, Bryant “told the Chancellor he would also be sending a Freedom of Information Act request to the Treasury”.
Bryant’s letter has been “released” to the press, and includes this gem: “I would be grateful if you would release this information in good faith and in the public interest, rather than being forced to do so by the Act”. But in all seriousness, this stinks. Rupe sees George at the same time the BBC gets clobbered is bad enough, but then.
The largest UK broadcaster in revenue terms is Sky - 39% of which is owned by the Murdoch empire. Rumour suggests that Murdoch will be back with another bid for the 61% he does not own very soon. The ideal side-show for him would be the hated Beeb being weakened by a Government which depends on the endorsement of his papers.
Add to that the Snowden smears run by the Sunday Times, and you can see just how rank the stench is.Well done Chris Bryant - now let’s have the full details of those meetings.
If this is true, then Bullingdon Georgy and Nazi Murdoch are guilty of collusion - which should then lead to an extended period in the Slam with Sweet Pants helping them to shower.
Nothing will come of it, of course, for two reasons:
(a) Mainstream media is full of cowering cowardly gobshite jobsworths
(b) This government is, including "property developer" Bullingdon Georgy, corrupt as fuck.
Here's Jon Snow with a segment on coloured ties and socks.
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