Murdoch’s BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on

Ed Miliband’s best week as leader yet has reached a new peak with News Corporation withdrawing their bid for to take full control of BSkyB, writes Tom Rouse.

Ed Miliband’s best week as leader yet has reached a new peak with News Corporation withdrawing their bid for to take full control of BSkyB.

Coming hot on the heels of weeks of bad press and leaks, the phone hacking revaluations could not have come at a better time for the Labour leader. The steady stream of scandals has given him the chance to rehabilitate both his public image and his standing within the party. Even more significantly, this latest triumph is primarily his.


He has boldly led from the front, dragging not only his party, but also the government in his wake. This is in spite of suggestions he was warned by senior figures from within the party not to pursue the link between phone hacking and the BSkyB deal so energetically and publicly.

The decision to do so was a courageous one and he deserves the credit that comes his way. Though Tom Watson has been a fearless crusader against excesses in the press and deserves huge praise for this, he is a less recognisable figure and has not had the same influence over the public debate. In the coming days, it will be interesting to see if his next crusade, against the Lobby system, draws the same level of public and political support.

The test now is whether he can maintain his upward momentum and continue to be perceived by the public as the politician with the best grip on this crisis. The debate in the Commons tonight serves as an opportunity to stake out the high ground and ensure Labour continues to set the agenda.

It is clear that large sections of the Tory backbenches still don’t grasp the scale of public outrage or its significance, as demonstrated by Jacob Rees-Mogg in an interview with Sky, where he described the public sentiment towards phone hacking as:

“Extraordinary hysteria and frenzy.”

Politically, the tactic of linking David Cameron to Andy Coulson and using that to draw links to News International at every possible opportunity is a good one, but is in danger of becoming over-used. He has already forced Mr Cameron into a corner over the issue and drawn an admission of regret; it’s not sure what else the Labour leader hopes to gain from this.

It is not an issue the public cares as significantly about and with the summer recess fast approaching there are other, more important issues, to be focused on.

Although this week has been an undisputed triumph, it is important to remember News Corporation still own 39% of BSkyB and equally significantly this move ends any chance of Sky News being spun off. Similarly, unless there is hard evidence to implicate other NI papers in the scandal, Murdoch is likely to retain ownership of them and will doubtless be nursing a grudge, particularly if he is finally forced to abandon Rebekah Brooks to the wolves.

Ed has won this battle and has public opinion firmly behind him, but the war is far from over.

34 Responses to “Murdoch’s BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on”

  1. 'Cheezy'

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  2. Habeeb Yusuf

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  3. Watching You

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  4. Jo Phillips

    RT @leftfootfwd: Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on //t.co/x2wyyaJ

  5. Josiah Mortimer

    RT @leftfootfwd Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #NewsCorpse

  6. Ben Szwediuk

    RT @leftfootfwd Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #NewsCorpse

  7. Ben Mortimer

    RT @leftfootfwd Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #NewsCorpse

  8. J P

    RT @marchthefury: RT @leftfootfwd Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11

  9. Tom Rouse

    I've rarely praised Ed Miliband of late, so doing so on @leftfootfwd is an unusual experience for me: //t.co/yiAMsXY

  10. J P

    RT @TheRightArticle: Murdoch’s BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on l Left Foot Forward – //j.mp/qz3J2S

  11. David Gillon

    #notw: Jacob Rees-Mogg with the Tory back benches' view: we're all indulging in “Extraordinary hysteria and frenzy.” //bit.ly/qVLwIR

  12. SlashedUK

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  13. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘Politically, the tactic of linking David Cameron to Andy Coulson and using that to draw links to News International at every possible opportunity is a good one’

    No, it’s not a good tactic. Chucking stones from a glass house never is; even Sally Bercow has the sense to realise this. At PMQs today, Cameron was at his most comfortable when Miliband tried to go on the attack.

    Gordon Brown, despite his fury at News International, never did get round to launching an inquiry. That nasty Gus O’Donnell somehow thwarted him. Still, the inquiry must have been on his to-do list, along with reforming the banking sector… It was good to see him earning his salary by actually gracing Westminster with his presence today. Always nice to see him on TV too, to remind voters just why they voted against him in their droves last May.

    And of course, Labour under Blair, Brown and now Miliband has never indulged News International or otherwise involved itself in the dark arts. Nope, no cosy dinners, invites to Chequers, negative briefing etc. Who is Tom Baldwin, by the way?

    If this goes down as Miliband’s best week thus far, then that only goes to show how miserable his performance has been thus far. Cameron has been slow to grasp the nettle over this scandal and I’ve long had misgivings over his closeness to Rebekah Brooks. My criticism of Miliband shouldn’t be read as an indirect defence of Cameron. I’m simply making the point that talk of a rejuvenated Miliband is premature to say the least; his polling has been disastrous and he still doesn’t look remotely prime ministerial.

  14. Dave Citizen

    “The test now is whether he can maintain his upward momentum”

    I don’t think so. You can come up with ‘performance’ tests if you like but for me, I will continue judging EM on whether he sticks with the basic principles I agree with. He’s doing far better than the others so far and long may it continue.

    What Britain needs right now is a person of principled vision, not yet another clever politician – we’re lumbered with one of those as PM. The other key ingredient of course, is a population that recognises the need to look beyond the political tactics and grubby manipulation of status quo apologists.

  15. DrKMJ

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  16. Robert

    Well of course most people get to know about a politician by reading the news papers or perhaps seeing them on the news.

    Most people do not even know who they have as an MP, others do not care because they follow a party end of story.

    The working class nobody wants, tend these days to not bother voting.

    It’s going to be interesting to watch the muck fly

  17. Mr. Sensible

    I cannot believe that some Tory MPs are still trying to downplay this…

  18. Red Rag

    The odds of Cameron being the next out of the cabinet had dropped from 100/1 to 20/1 in a few hours, I wonder why…..//redrag1.blogspot.com/2011/07/red-rag-cameron-if-certain-person-under.html

  19. Ed's Talking Balls

    If anyone has put any money on Cameron leaving the Cabinet then it only goes to show that a fool and his money are easily parted.

    As for downplaying this sordid affair, all I would say is that we need a sense of proportion. Of course this is a big deal. Of course this appals all decent people. But from the news coverage and the volume of questions asked at PMQs, you wouldn’t imagine that there’s a sovereign debt crisis; that we’ve parted with billions of pounds on the quiet to the IMF; that we’re still at war in Afghanistan and Libya (in all but name); and that there’s been a terrorist attack in India.

  20. Hens4Freedom

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  21. Hitchin England

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking #NewsCorpse

  22. Ray_North

    This article is spot – this issue is far more significant than simply ‘dodgy’ journalism – it goes to the heart of democracy and political culture.
    It also goes to the door of David Cameron – the following link takes you to a very good piece outlining the questions that David Cameron must answer in the midst of this – //www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2011/07/andy-coulson-ten-questions-for-david-cameron/

    Ed Miliband has had a good week, but he must use this as a springboard to continue to establish himself as a courageous and honourable leader – otherwise the electorate will dismiss his good week as simply bandwagon jumping.

  23. Robert

    But I love Labour saying about when it started in 2003 that was then this is now, so that’s ok then Labour did sod all but that was then this is now. Brown speaking yesterday you have that sneaky feeling that if he had not been hacked he would have asked somebody to do it for him.

    I just think once this dies down and I suspect labour will keep it going for as long as possible that way you do not need to fight for policies, once it is over labour will be back at the starting block looking again for a niche to bit into.

  24. Selohesra

    Why has Ed Balls been so quiet as this story has developed – he is accepted by most people left & right as Labour’s most effective attack dog and could have really twisted the knife. Is Miliband affraid to let Balls share the glory or does Balls have something to hide?

  25. Robert

    Or does balls know this will die a death soon and we will see Miliband trying his best to keep it going.

    After the great Gordon Brown yesterday blaming everyone except him self for not having review, I was advised by everyone and Jesus not to have a review, it now been released at at the bottom it states Your the Prime Minster it’s up to you to decide what you want to do, and like everything Brown did in politics, he decided not to, same as the non election he hesitated , he is one of those people who can never decide himself.

  26. Anon E Mouse

    Big up to Ed Miliband in fairness.

    Now will every single person who is against Murdoch and his shares in BSkyB bid PLEASE be consistent and cancel their Sky TV subscriptions IMMEDIATELY, advise everyone else to do the same and DO NOT WATCH SKY.

    If as you say “the fight must go on” that includes everybody realising that the NOTW was beaten by public pressure and so can Sky TV by masses of people exercising their rights.

    But it just won’t happen and this whole item is just wishful thinking.

    Ask this fine blog’s very own Shamik Das to stop his money funding the Murdoch empire. There is more of a chance of hell freezing over than that happening. He loves Murdoch’s invention Sky TV.

    Oh the excuses will start… “I love movies”… “MTV”… “I can’t miss the cricket or footy”… blah blah blah.

    There is no chance of the Murdoch empire crumbling in this country because the people who criticise him simply do not have the courage of their convictions and every month they will continue to pay into the Murdoch coffers and this activity will die down and everything will go back the way it was…

  27. Noxi

    Murdoch's BSkyB capitulation is far from the end – the fight must go on: //bit.ly/oUAxBt by @TRouse11 #phonehacking RT @leftfootfwd

  28. Leon Wolfson

    Anon – And once more you ask people to cut their nose off to spite their face.

    Ending your subscription at the end of current cycle is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. “Cancelling” at once, when you don’t get any money back, and hence waste money isn’t.

    Unless you’re a Tory moneybags…

  29. Ed's Talking Balls

    Spot on Robert.

    Gordon Brown spoke as if he wasn’t Prime Minister. Sadly, the rest of us remember all too well that he was, as well as the unprecedented influence he had as Chancellor. He had the power to sell off gold at the bottom of the market, raid private sector pensions and scrap the 10p tax, among other disasters, but apparently couldn’t launch an inquiry into practices which so enraged him?

    Yep, untrustworthy and utterly deluded as ever. His appearances on TV can only be a good thing in that they remind people just why they didn’t vote Labout in 2010.

  30. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Rubbish. After the first 12 months, or however long it takes to pay off the box (like a cell phone contract) you can cancel at any time.

    You’re making excuses like the left always do.

    Why aren’t you angry that your “comrades” who can and DO pay money each month to Rupert Murdoch (like Shamik Das) aren’t showing any solidarity and stopping their subscription. Good for you for not having one fella….

    I knew people would start the excuses but what they will not do is stop their subscriptions to Sky because it’s weak hypocrisy from Labour activists as usual…..

    Tory moneybags? WTF!! :-}

  31. Dave Citizen

    While I think Ed M has handled this issue just about spot on I do hope he won’t be tempted down the line of ‘winning formulas’. I think he got it right because he went with what he believed to be the right thing to say and do – not because he cleverly calculated public opinion and strategically jumped on a band wagon.

    The much bigger arguements are still out there and need to be won. Even if the Great British public are currently disinterested in (carefully managed away from) the need to reduce extreme inequality in the UK it doesn’t mean that it isn’t crucial to future majority prosperity and our general best interests. If Britain is to succeed it will need leaders like Ed to stick with what they believe to be right on such vital issues.

  32. Leon Wolfson

    Anon – You’re telling people to hurt for no gain, as this right-wing government is doing.

    I’m telling people to stop their subscriptions, not to keep paying and not use what they’ve paid for. Typical Tory arrogance, in ladling out the pain.

    And yup, if you can afford to stop watching Sky and pay for another service at the same time? Moneybags. Completely out of touch with modern financial realities outside the top %’s.

  33. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Yet more spinning and excuses to allow double stands in the matter. Do Labour supporters not have the courage of their convictions in anything? Next you’ll be telling me the class warrior, John Prescot has been playing croquet and is now in the lords…

    The GAIN is Murdoch would have to relinquish the shares he currently holds in BSkyB and someone else would run the company. But you know how these things work Leon Wolfson and by not calling for the public to boycott Sky TV by now claiming there is hurt (because the service is fantastic) and no gain is highly disingenuous.

    It’s almost as bad as Gordon Brown sucking up to Murdoch all these years then telling that pack of lies in the commons about how he tried to stop the power of the press.

    To be clear. If I had an objection to something I wouldn’t support it. End of.

    So what exactly is it you’re saying Leon Wolfson because Shamik Das here, a fierce critic of the Murdochs, continues to give his money to them every month showing rank hypocrisy is alive and well amongst Labour supporters.

    Whats your excuse today for him doing that and please stop the insulting remarks and answer the question…

  34. Bold consensus needed for a better future for Europe’s fisheries | Left Foot Forward

    […] society has had some extraordinary victories this year: public opinion forced News Corporation to drop its bid to take over BSkyB; thousands of campaigners forced the government to drop the sell-off of […]

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