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Wednesday 2 September 2015

Nicola Sturgeon’s Murdoch Meeting

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not mince her words when she issued her challenge to the BBC recently, telling TV executives in Edinburgh that “Scotland, the BBC and all the nations and regions of the UK have the right to expect something truly radical from the charter review. A tight financial settlement cannot be a reason not to do things differently”. But there was one thing she didn’t tell them.
And that was her meeting with the one person who not only hates the Corporation with a vengeance, but also has the connections to do it serious damage. Yes, Ms Sturgeon had met Rupert Murdoch in New York during a recent trip Stateside. But, as the press - well, all except the Murdoch titles, that is - has not been slow to point out, she appears to have been most reluctant to mention this encounter.

Indeed, when challenged on the omission, the SNP spin machine has been fired up to tell “There wasn’t a one-to-one meeting, there was no private meeting with Rupert Murdoch … The First Minister held an editorial round-table discussion at which Mr Murdoch dropped in part of the way through … He sat in on the discussion – but that was it. There was no one-to-one meeting, nor was one planned”. This misses the point spectacularly.

Not for Murdoch the kind of stunt pulled for the cameras by Vladimir Vladimirovitch, playing on Angela Merkel’s fear of dogs by having one enter the room where they were meeting: the crude bullying of an unreconstructed cold war thug is not for him. Murdoch need only show up and seat himself at the table to remind his target of their indebtedness to his generosity, and that this generosity comes at a price.

Ms Sturgeon and the SNP could win an election in the teeth of Murdoch’s opposition, tomorrow, next month, even next year. That is not where she is useful to him. It is when he returns to the bid for that 61% of Sky that he does not yet control that the SNP leader comes into play: like her predecessor Alex Salmond, she will be expected to join the cheerleaders wanting the bid to be waved through by regulators.

So, one has to ask, what is the quid pro quo? If the SNP can win without Murdoch’s backing, why should Ms Sturgeon cheer for him? Ah well. Right now, Sky employes 6,500 people in Livingston. That would be 6,500 jobs that could be relocated to any other English speaking country - Ireland, England, even India or the USA. 6,500 jobs that whoever is in power at Holyrood dare not risk losing.

And that, folks, is why Creepy Uncle Rupe appeared at Ms Sturgeon’s meeting with executives at the Wall Street Journal. It is also why the SNP leader and her staff have been most reluctant to admit the encounter. It reminds her, and now the wider world, just who has the whip hand over whom. The only threat Rupert Murdoch need make is his presence. He has shown Nicola Sturgeon that he is still strong.

How she explains that to her more left-leaning supporters, well, that’s not his problem.


Anonymous said...

Very astute piece. Interesting how the SNP/Murdoch ties play out generally when Jeremy Corbyn assumes Labour leadership - with the Scottish elections next year

Anonymous said...

Nothing good ever came out of nationalism.

The SNP appeals because almost anything would appear to be better than Lahndan based spivs, crooks and warmongers. Yet in the long run nationalism is right wing, mostly far right too. Do we really need to list historical examples?

I have tremendous sympathy for what the Scottish people have been through. But they have been no more grievously wronged than the rest of the country outside the Lahndan ghetto. They cannot achieve a fair and decent society on their own - any attempt at truly radical change would be isolated and crushed by international capitalism. In the end, the SNP would be nothing more than a (perhaps) diluted version of New Labour. We all know where that took us.

Hence no surprise at the Murdoch link. If Sturgeon does indeed sell out to that corrupt piece of shit it will tell you everything you need to know about the future of a SNP Scotland.

The hard lesson is and always has been, not that no man is an island, but that we all live on the same islands. We need each other, not seventeenth century nationalism.

Anonymous said...

The SNP do not need Murdoch to win elections - they need Murdoch to help them win the next Independence referendum whenever it is held.