Last week’s claims by the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun that there would be MPs resigning “by the weekend” was, as I suggested, overly optimistic. At present, the resignation count is Zero. But the lack of scalps has done one very useful thing, which is to force the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker to not only up their game, but also reveal both the reason for running the story, and who is doing their dirty work.
So the Sun has launched another assault this morning, and, as I also suggested, revealed that all the MPs on whom they claim to have dirt are Tories - this, remember, after all the packs of lies they invented about the Labour leadership doing nothing about Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara. Used as the Murdoch mafiosi’s shock troops have been the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.
That The Great Guido and the Murdoch press work hand-in-glove is no surprise: their agendas are effectively in lockstep. The Fawkes massive were first out of the traps last night with “Tory Aides’ Spreadsheet Names 36 Sex Pest MPs … MPs Named On Tory Sleaze Spreadsheet”, also stressing “This is not just a Tory problem and there are a significant number of Labour and LibDem sex pests as well”. Yeah, right.
How evidentially sound this spreadsheet might be can be gleaned from the apparently throwaway line “Guido had heard all but three of the stories before. Many of the allegations are historic, others are ongoing”. We are talking allegations only - do not forget that.
Hence “2 serving Cabinet ministers accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women … 18 serving ministers accused of various forms of inappropriate sexual behaviour … 12 MPs who are said to have behaved inappropriately towards female researchers … 4 MPs who are alleged to have behaved inappropriately towards male researchers” [my emphases]. That is the basis for the Sun’s story.
The Murdoch faithful have translated that as “TORY SEX SCANDAL Bombshell dossier reveals lurid details of 36 Tories accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour as Westminster sex scandal deepens” and gone on to tell “Accusations range from affairs to specific allegations such as one Minister said to be ‘handsy with women at parties’, and a backbencher who is ‘perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women’”.
We know who the Minister who is “handsy with women at parties” is. He is in the cabinet - as are two other male MPs who Theresa May is also not about to sack. All of which begs the question - why is the Murdoch press indulging in behaviour that could easily take down a Government led by its preferred political party, and why now?
To confirm that the Murdoch mafiosi believe they have the Tories over a barrel, we need look no further than today’s Sun editorial. “It is time for a fair deal for Britain’s hard-pressed motorists … The Chancellor should think very carefully before punishing Sun readers any further in next month’s budget … The whole housing industry needs a shake-up. Removing stamp duty would be a decent policy to start … The Government must abolish old rules that hold back our housing market from truly thriving”.
And why indulge in thinly-veiled threats against the Government? Simples. The Murdochs still want that 61% of Sky that they do not yet own. This has looked increasingly implausible after revelations of Mazher Mahmood’s past behaviour (and the prospect of some of his targets having their convictions quashed), the Sun’s involvement in phone hacking, the use by that same paper of illegal blagging and other tasking of private investigators, and the mire in which Rupert Murdoch personally finds himself as a result of a misogynist, racist and bullying culture at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
No, that's the wrong answer Mr Murdoch, in this country you do not have ANY VOTES AT ALL
Any Government looking at the behaviour exhibited by the Murdoch mafiosi on both sides of the North Atlantic would have to conclude that it would not be appropriate to let them bid for 100% of Sky. But if that Government could be persuaded, by fair means or foul, to ignore all the less than totally principled and often illegal behaviour, all would be well.
The prospect of the Sky bid being waved through against the backdrop of all the appallingly bad behaviour in which the Murdoch empire has been involved might seem implausible. But their mindset tells them they have bent politicians to their will for decades, and so they can do so again.
Hence the pre-budget editorial telling Philip Hammond what to do. The heavy hints that as many as 36 Tory MPs, including three cabinet ministers, could be named and shamed. The demonstration to all those who thought the Murdochs were down and out that the mafiosi are still strong. The demonstration that since Creepy Uncle Rupe appointed his first Prime Minster in 1979, nothing has changed. Given the chance, he will appoint the next Tory Leader - and thereby get his chosen candidate into 10 Downing Street.
In any mature democracy, that level of corruption should never be tolerated. But that is where we are now. As the alt-right likes to say, Let That Sink In.