Miliband v Murdoch: Can Ed win this “battle to the death”?

Who will win the batte between Ed Miliband and Rupert Murdoch - which has been described as a fight between “Ed and Goliath” and a “battle to the death”?

Just as David Cameron was MIA yesterday, opting out of a confrontation with Ed Miliband in the Commons, so the Labour leader again took the lead, pressing the prime minister in his absence on the Coulson questions, and witnessing a further delay in the News Corp/BSkyB takeover decision from the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, whom he swept aside in the chamber yesterday.

The big question being asked at the moment, however, is not how Miliband fares when taking on the prime minister or Mr Hunt, but the batte between Mr Miliband and Mr Murdoch, which has been described variously as a fight between “Ed and Goliath” and a “battle to the death”.

Writing in this morning’s Telegraph, Mary Riddell says Ed’s “moment has come”, “in which the stripling warrior takes on the Philistine giant”, hoping to “move in for the kill” – his “People’s Princess” moment – at the same time comparing Mr Cameron to Ikarus, flying “too close to the Sun and the Murdoch empire”.

Specifically on Miliband and Murdoch, Riddell writes:

Miliband is said to have “zero links” with the Murdochs, beyond once, as energy secretary, meeting James Murdoch for breakfast, at the latter’s request. “That’s as chummy as it gets,” says a friend. Apart from declining to berate Rupert Murdoch over the quails’ eggs at a recent NI summer party, Miliband, unlike Cameron, is a cleanskin.

Hence his stand against a century of complicity that began when press barons and editors helped Lloyd George into No 10… Give or take a sausage roll and a glass of prosecco, he owes nothing to Murdoch.

And on the battle between Ed and News International, she adds:

Though Labour’s leader was never going to get the Murdoch imprimatur, now the proprietor’s men are coming after him. In addition, Lord Ashcroft (to whom Cameron also got too close) says he has evidence that Tom Baldwin, Miliband’s communications head, was involved in “blagging” his bank details.

Miliband denies that charge. He had better be right.

Picking up on the point that, even now, Murdoch is far from finished, Rob Marchant writes on Labour Uncut:

So, you think News International is suddenly going to roll over and die after a few bad days in the press? Er, no. Even if the Armageddon scenario for Murdoch – a meltdown of his empire – is a possibility, it is by no means a guaranteed one at this point. Murdoch is not, metaphorically, dead. He is wounded. We should not forget that… If Murdoch lives to tell the tale, be in no doubt that he will take his revenge.

And so to Labour’s plan of action. Should Miliband act differently out of fear of reprisal? No. That would be a shirking of an historic duty as leader of the only party really placed to do anything. He has risen to the challenge. Murdoch has exercised too much power over our media for too long.

Even sensible Tory democrats would admit that a monster has been created. Just look at how the Murdoch press has hounded that most endangered of species; the pro-European Tory.

While on Labour List, Mark Ferguson urges Ed Miliband to do just that, not to stop now, but to keep on the front foot:

Miliband’s actions on phone hacking, the News of the World and BSkyB may soon be forgotten by an attention-deficit prone public – but they won’t be forgotten by Murdoch or his media empire. It may take some time for them to recover their former strength, but they will be more than willing to wait in the long grass and bide their time, delivering ice cold revenge to the increasingly confident Labour leader.

That’s a terrifying proposition for someone who has already been battered by a hostile media in the early months of his leadership… Ed must keep going. This is now a battle to the death between News International and Ed Miliband – and only one of them will still be standing when the dust settles.

Indeed – Miliband must keep going, take the battle to Cameron one last time this session at PMQs tomorrow, and ride the momentum into conference season in the autumn; as the saying goes, Who Dares Wins.

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27 Responses to “Miliband v Murdoch: Can Ed win this “battle to the death”?”

  1. DemocracyFail

    Miliband v Murdoch: Can Ed win this "battle to the death"? by @ShamikDas #phonehacking

  2. Hens4Freedom

    RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband v Murdoch: Can Ed win this "battle to the death"? by @ShamikDas #phonehacking #NewsClub

  3. Alistair Nicholls

    Miliband v Murdoch: Can Ed win this "battle to the death"? by @ShamikDas #phonehacking

  4. Selohesra


  5. Anon E Mouse

    Ditto. No.

    But I am impressed that he’s throwing caution to the wind and going for it. He’s going to lose big time but big up for having the balls to try…

  6. Mike

    Ed is tougher than most people have so far given him credit for. Who cares about Murdoch, this is a fight to kill off the Tory led coalition.

  7. Selohesra

    A fight to kill of the democratically elected government? – ain’t socialism wonderful

  8. m hyder

    Yes. Don’t underestimate Ed. And on killing off a democratically elected government, it will be the electorate which does that when they discover how our “democracy” works.

  9. Liz McShane

    Anon – Ed has been, bold, brave & shown leadership – glad that we agree on something!

    Also think these events (& the continuing unravelling of them) could potentially usher in a healthy new era in the relationship between press & politics/politicians – in fact it has liberated our political parties from having to suck up to one horrible media mogul. At last after 20 years plus, we might have a free-er press.

    Also think the mood of the nation is with Ed, especially when they hear of Millie Dowler’s phone hacking and just as an anecdote, I have been seeing quite large piles of unsold copies of The Sun in my local newsagents…..

    Exciting times!

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Liz McShane – Agreed and (this is about to hurt) you were right in your reply last week and I was wrong about Sunny and Lib Con resulting in the NOTW being canned.

    These are exciting times but until someone reigns in the BBC there won’t be a free press in this country…

  11. Matt Heath

    @Selohesra: Fighting to kill the democratically elected government (in due time and according to due process, of course) is what the opposition in a democracy is supposed to do. Your implied disapproval of this is noted. Ain’t Toryism wonderful?

  12. Νέα Νέμεσις Εργασίας

    #Labour 'leader' @Ed_Miliband has signed his party up to another decade of this

  13. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘increasingly confident Labour leader’

    Simply saying something doesn’t make it true. I assume that this is Baldwin’s new line (‘Tory-led coalition’, mark two) and the hope is that, if it is repeated often enough, people will start believing it. Pretty transparent stuff.

    Making noise about something and attempting to make political capital out of an issue where none is to be made is not showing leadership. Opportunism perhaps, but not leadership. There is a reason that Miliband’s polling has been consistently poor and, in my opinion, will remain so.

    Even if I am wrong and that people (that is the wider public, not simply members of the Labour Party and the odd pundit) are impressed by his handling of hackgate, I don’t see this as a momentous event, politically. While the BBC might well be running wall-to-wall coverage of paint drying in various offices, this is not Iraq or even the expenses scandal. It is what it is: disgraceful behaviour from tabloids for whom politicians of all persuasions have been bending over backwards for decades.

  14. Liz McShane

    Anon – re BBC, do you mean ‘resigns’ or ‘reigns’…?
    I hope you are not hurting too much btw! – Go & watch Andy Hayman’s performance in front of the Select Cttee this am……one of the best comic performances in a long time……

  15. Anon E Mouse

    Liz McShane – Stop rubbing it in woman!

    The game isn’t over yet and Ed Miliband is going to need to be tough to take on Murdoch.

    Good for him though….

  16. Leon Wolfson

    Believe me, independents in media are running, screaming from having anything to do with News Corp. It’s not over, but the signs are NOT looking hopeful for them.

    Ed – No, it has the potential to be bigger than either of them, given we’ve only scratched the surface so far, and are now in a position to talk about the influence of the media on politics in this country.

    And as usual, the rabid Tories are using any chance to (yawn) launch utterly unrelated attacks on the BBC. No, it’s quite transparent what you’re up to, please don’t pretend you have any stake in this other than a privatisation agenda.

  17. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Since the BBCis the biggest media organisation in the WORLD: (

    Why would I deny that after paying tax to purchase a TV, tax to transport it home and tax on the electricity to watch it I really don’t like the idea of paying tax to own it even if I don’t watch the BBC. Oh and if I refuse to pay for it I can be sent to prison.

    Why would you support that system if you care about the poor as you claim?

  18. Ed's Talking Balls

    Bigger than Iraq and the expenses scandal? I doubt it but we’ll see. There might be huge revelations to come for all I know, but thus far nothing compares to an illegal war launched by Labour and criminal greed among almost all elected politicians.

    As for the BBC, it’s far from a red herring. Television is far more influential than newspapers nowadays and the BBC is dominant in this area; you admitted elsewhere that it has a left bias, so this is relevant.

    I’m actually glad that a glove has been laid on Murdoch. But a left-wing circle jerk at having “got their man” is unedifying and, in some quarters, I fear that is what this is turning into. Perhaps a case of premature congratulation?

  19. Bearded Socialist

    RT @leftfootfwd: Miliband v Murdoch: Can Ed win this "battle to the death"?

  20. Leon Wolfson

    The BBC is *far* from “dominant”. It’s one of many news providers available, especially with the growth of freeview. Indeed, there is a far lower barrier, assuming you have a TV and licence at all, to viewing other news channels than there is to buying multiple papers.

    There needs to be some strengthening of the fairness regulations at the BBC. That’s *all*. Not the broad-based attack on the BBC you just signed your name to.

    Anon – Because I don’t give two shits about TV. It’s a luxury, whereas internet access (where you can obtain news from far more sources, among all the other things it does) is a necessity.

  21. Dave Citizen

    Provided Ed M says what he believes to be right and decent then he’ll get my support. That’s what can make this country special again rather than plodding along as just another place run for the benefit of rich wallies.

  22. Ed's Talking Balls

    The BBC is dominant. Its share of TV news is more than ten times that of Sky News and accounts for 70% of overall TV news coverage. That’s a massively dominant position. The position is even more stark when it comes to internet news.

  23. Leon Wolfson

    Really? You’d be better off worrying about ideological bias google’s internet news filters than anything the BBC does.

    If, of course, fairness was your actual aim.

    The massive part of reason the BBC has a high percentage of viewers, in a highly competitive area, is because of quality. I understand that’s anathema to you for anything remotely government funded, yes.

  24. Tom White

    Who gives a shit what you’re ‘impressed’ by, Anon E Crap. Shouldn’t you be reading Guido, ready to do your big troll number on the inflation figures?

  25. Anon E Mouse

    Tom Shite – Instead of spending your time being rude, why not start trying to get people to consider voting Labour again instead of just confirming they did the right thing by going with the Lib Dem’s at the last election.

    Your unpleasantness, whilst being a typical post Blair Labour response, is matched only by your limited ability to understand the term “Middle England”.

    Well done Tom Shite….

  26. Leon Wolfson

    Oh look, the LibDem vote share seems to have collapsed. No, only the hardcore will be that stupid again, Anon E Troll.

    I’m sure you feel that having someone to blame for your failures is convenient, but it’s already clear that this will bite your party in the backside, and rightly so.

  27. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Woflson – And considering the unpopularity of the cuts how is your leader, Ed Miliband doing personally – even after this “hacking” business?

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