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News International upholds probity? So be it

The righteous, so the rabbinical maxim has it, have their work done for them. After yesterday’s Sunday Times so perfectly skewered the venality of the Conservative Party, all the average lefty need do is sit back with a big wide smirk on his or her face.

Some commentators are suggesting that this operation was carefully planned, by way of a reprisal from the Rupert Murdoch camp for the Leveson Inquiry. The theory is entirely plausible, and if that is indeed the case, the irony that probity is here being upheld by News International should be apparent to all.

Because if there is one businessman who must certainly does not need to stump up a quarter of a million quid for a meal with senior politicians, it is Mr Murdoch. No doubt he is contemptuous of the small fry forced to reach for their chequebook.

The media proprietor has dined with several successive prime ministers and effectively dictated media policy to all of them.  Less than two weeks ago, it was revealed that he held a secret meeting with Margaret Thatcher in 1981, prior to his purchase of Times Newspapers. Both sides subsequently lied by denying that it happened.

At least Mr Murdoch’s regular visits to Number Ten during the New Labour administrations were well documented, as were Blair’s begging phone calls to Berlusconi, putting the case for News International to buy an Italian television company.

It is sobering to reflect that the stitch-up of Peter ‘Premier League’ Cruddas is likely to inflict more political damage on the government than the ineffectual one-day public sector strike seen on November 30 last year.

That the labour movement seemingly packs less political clout than a single newspaper is a pointer to the balance of class forces in Britain today. But that is a debate that can be deferred to another time. Meanwhile, my advice is to just look on and enjoy.

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