Last month, Rupert Murdoch, through the offices of his faithful retainer Trevor Kavanagh, another of those whose reputation is forever tainted by the Sun’s smearing of the Hillsborough victims and their families, let it be known that he had decided Theresa May should go. Whether she did so voluntarily, or was forced out by her fellow Tories, was not specified. But the Brexit deal meant she had to go. And someone else had to resign.
Once more, it is Kavanagh who is conveying Rupe’s wisdom (no, don’t laugh) to the Tories, and one of them in particular. And the word from the boss is that if they don’t do what he wants, they may be finished as a party. “Mrs May’s defeat in next week’s crucial Withdrawal Bill vote will almost certainly mark the end of her premiership … It might also mark the beginning of the end for the Conservative Party”. They still have to sack May.
How to get the Tories to listen, though, as they didn’t do last week? Pitch a pack of lies - that’s the usual Kav game: “There is even wild talk of an emergency Christmas election and the advent of bearded Marxist Jeremy Corbyn as Red Santa”. Bullshit. The amount of time needed to get a General Election organised means the last date on which a 2018 contest could be held has already passed. Try again.
And try again he does, where the story takes a most interesting turn. After the customary Beeb bashing - “A stream of wobbling Brexiteers has been deployed in pro-Brussels newspapers and the ever co-operative BBC” - Kavanagh takes aim at one minister who would have, until now, been thought to uncritically toe the Murdoch line.
“It was startling to watch my old colleague Michael Gove brazenly sell his soul on the europhile [!] Andrew Marr Show … It sounded very much like the old Michael Gove - until he insisted that we must support Theresa’s dodgy deal, regardless … Mr Gove suggests the kindly burghers of Brussels would never humiliate Britain and have as much to lose from a backstop as we do … They would set us free as soon as possible”.
Then came the not very subtle hint of a smear. “Mr Gove’s friends believe he has suffered a crisis of self-confidence since severing his friendship with David Cameron and knifing fellow Brexit architect Boris Johnson”. Michael, Michael, you’re feeing overwrought. Have a sit down and listen to what Trevor and Rebekah have to sell, er, oops, tell you.
There was more in the same vein. “I have known Mr Gove for 25 years … He is a profoundly decent and intelligent man … But he must know from long and bitter experience that this is not how the EU works”. Michael, Michael, you’re a sensible and reasonable man, now there’s a good chap and listen to Uncle Rupe, eh?
Here we have clear evidence that Gove sticking with Theresa May’s deal has not been approved by the Murdoch mafiosi. This is Gove flying solo, pursuing his own agenda, his own ambition, frightening though the prospect must seem. He is now being instructed to change tack. What will be on offer? A weekly column for Sarah “Vain” Vine if she finds the new-look Daily Mail not to her liking? Another of those book advances?
If Gove doesn’t think it’s worth listening to his old boss, things must be bad for the Murdoch mafiosi. Hopefully this trend will continue.
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