Monday, September 12, 2011

Hackgate and the British ruling class

Explaining the Murdoch scandal and what it reveals about the British ruling class:


Soon, anyone who had ever had their picture taken with Murdoch was disowning him and the whole clan. Murdoch's friendship had dropped in value quicker than Colonel Gaddafi's. His clout within the government dried up instantly, and his bid to takeover BSkyB collapsed. Newscorp shed a number of senior executives, then shed its most profitable UK newspaper, as News of the World was closed in disgrace. It made sense to close the paper, once the scandal was revealed: its turn to such corrupt methods reflected the desperate need to stay ahead in a newspaper market where profit rates were tumbling. Deprived of the competitive edge that such illegal behaviour produced, and with a 'toxic' brand, the paper could only be dead weight thereafter. The cosy relationship that News International executives had always enjoyed with Scotland Yard also rapidly became toxic, costing a number of senior officials their jobs, ultimately including Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. It emerged that five officers alone had received bribes from News of the World totalling 100,000 pounds, with payments routinely being made to officers in exchange for information. In short, what seems to be emerging is a criminal enterprise reaching into not only the top of News of the World, not only the highest echelons of Newscorp, but actually the highest levels of the British state.

Yet, it isn't enough to call it a criminal enterprise. When politicians and flaks dined with the Murdochs, when police wined News of the World executives, they were acting as a class. In what way?...