The time is rapidly approaching for Culture Secretary Karen Bradley to make a decision - not her favourite activity, it seems - on whether to refer the bid by the Murdoch mafiosi for the 61% of Sky they do not yet own to the competition authorities. As Sky is already Britain’s largest broadcaster when measured by income, the decision to refer should be a no-brainer. And one might expect some politicians and business interests to agree.
After all, the last time the Sky bid came round, it was opposed by a host of media interests, including not only the Guardian, but also the Mail and Telegraph groups, and ITV. This time, though, ITV, the Mail and Telegraph are absent, and although what remains of the Guardian’s media coverage is reporting on proceedings, objection is being left to groups like the Media Reform Coalition. So what about the politicians?
Last time, with Mil The Younger leading the Labour Party, there was considerable push-back from the opposition benches. And Miliband is once again voicing his concern at the prospect of Creepy Uncle Rupe taking full control of Sky, along with the prospect of, shall we say, pushing the boundaries of Sky News in the direction of replicating the propaganda model so well practised Stateside by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
So far, so predictable, but the Labour figure who has been most significantly on the receiving end of the Murdoch press’ falsehood and misinformation of late has not been Miliband, but current leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Sun, in particular, has not been backwards in coming forwards with some highly creative attacks on Jezza, not least the wholly untrue claim that he only joined the Privy Council to secure “Short Money”.
That pack of lies was the first front page for the paper’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who claims to be a real journalist. The Sun also claimed that in not visibly singing the National Anthem, Corbyn had “snubbed the Queen”, and claimed that he had not bowed in a sufficiently grovelling manner in his first appearance at a Remembrance Sunday commemoration.
And other Labour figures, most recently Shami Chakrabarti in an interview with the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm), have voiced disquiet about the leadership’s treatment by the media, something that can only get worse if the Murdoch mafiosi gain 100% control of Sky. So where is the organised opposition from the Labour leader?
There isn’t any. You read that right. The party which had previously backed the opposition to the Sky bid, had given significant support to campaigning groups like Hacked Off in advocating for properly independent and effective press regulation, and whose leadership had kept the heat on the Tories over their closeness to the Murdochs, has left objection to deputy leader Tom Watson. Jeremy Corbyn has been effectively silent.
And that’s not good enough. If Corbyn and the rest of the Labour team object to this takeover, they should say so. The Sky bid must be referred to the competition authorities.