Fit and proper? Why James Murdoch must go

With the BSkyB AGM approaching, Matthew Butcher of Fair Pensions tells us why it matters to all of us that James Murdoch is removed from the board.


Matthew Butcher is the media and communications officer for FairPensions

Tomorrow, a small army of mostly grey-haired serial AGM attendees will come together for one of the last times this year. These small shareholders – who regularly enjoy the cakes and coffee at plush conference centres decked out in corporate colours – are dwarfed by the power of institutional investors. It is these big investors like insurance companies and pension funds that can make a difference to how companies act, and who should make company directors appropriately nervous.

At the BSkyB AGM, one of the company directors to take to the stage at the front of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre will be James Murdoch. Shareholders, both big and small, should be trying to ensure Halloween isn’t the only frightening thing in Murdoch Jr’s week.

Murdoch is seeking re-election to a board on which he has served for almost a decade. He has served as the company’s CEO and chairman and still sits on the top table as a non-executive director. This non-executive role would see Murdoch keeping an eye on management.

It is hard to believe he is the best man for the job.

Earlier this year the usually conservative communications industry regulator, Ofcom, had strong words to say about James Murdoch’s role in the covering up of phone hacking at the News of the World.

The regulator questioned Murdoch’s “competence” as chairman of News International and BSkyB, noting:

“We consider James Murdoch’s conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged.”

This dressing down by Ofcom came after the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee concluded Murdoch showed “wilful ignorance” of the extent of phone hacking during 2009 and 2010.

But why does any of this matter? And why are we trying to get Murdoch out?

Murdoch’s behaviour matters to people like the families of Millie Dowler and the soldiers whose phones were hacked after they died.

It matters to the employees of the companies under his watch, many of whom lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

It matters to shareholders, because his inability to provide good oversight presents them with a risk to their investments.

It matters because some of the company’s biggest shareholders are pension funds and insurance companies.

Having someone like James Murdoch at the top of BSkyB matters to all of us.

Fair Pensions has been urging shareholders to use their votes at BSkyB’s AGM to reject the re-election of James Murdoch.

Unfortunately, BSkyB is a company where ordinary shareholders have less power than usual. This is because News Corporation, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch and where his son James has a senior managerial role, owns a whopping 39% stake in BSkyB.

You won’t be surprised to hear they’ll be voting in support of James Murdoch. If non-News Corp shareholders were to oust James Murdoch 83% of them would have to vote against his re-election.

It is with this unusual shareholder situation in mind we thought we’d take alternative action. Tomorrow we will be joining the tea and cake brigade at the BSkyB AGM, and we’ll be taking the call for Murdoch’s removal straight to the board. Even if shareholders have been placated, and the media furore has died down, we want Murdoch to know we’re still not happy.

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42 Responses to “Fit and proper? Why James Murdoch must go”

  1. newton

    I read things like this and just fail to care.

    Newsbot9 has cast iron evidence that England will become uninhabitable due to climate change sometime soon. So does anything really matter? We aren’t going to stop burning coal or putting petrol in cars. That means England is going to be uninhabitable soon. Nothing matters – not how many houses we build, or how many kids eat breakfast, or the levels of benefits. It is all irrelevant because the country is finished. The only way out I see is for the entire economy to be devoted to colonising Mars.

  2. LB

    Lets see.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, phone hacking is a 1.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, covering up for a paedophile, enabling him to carry on molesting children, and raping them. That’s a 10.

    Time for the BBC to be broken up.

    Lets start with children’s programs. All children’s programs removed from the BBC, along with the license fee for them.

    I suggest them that the a punitive fine is imposed.

    Those running the BBC should also be removed. The trust should be forced to resign on mass and be replaced by new people.

  3. LB

    Well, the state is finished. They can’t dig themselves out of their Ponzi fraud on pensions.

    That’s going to finish lots of people off. They’ve been forced to trust the good old state for their entire retirement, and its going to screw them over.

  4. newton

    I agree with the Ponzi description but I think we’ll somehow meddle through. I think people will work far longer and it will be a bit unfair for one generation to have bought cheap houses, retired early and basically stolen off the rest, but then life isn’t fair.

  5. g&t

    Have to agree with that. If listening to a celebrity’s phone messages gets a newspaper closed down then facilitating hundreds or thousands of sexual attacks on children by staff should get the BBC closed down, I won’t though. I suggest they make the license fee voluntary. Those that knew but didn’t report it should be in prison as convicted paedophiles.

  6. steve f

    Everyone who has ever worked for the BBC should be put on the sex offenders register and only removed after the full police and judicial enquiries have been carried out.

    How they let monsters like Jimmy Saville and Esther Rantzen prowl the corridors of the BBC for decades is beyond me.

  7. Newsbot9

    Right, because you’ll prevent people paying in it becomes a problem. Because.
    That’s your plan, creating problems and then charging the poor for them.

    You’re conflating “the state” and “my policy as a politician” again.

  8. Newsbot9

    Nope, I linked a paper which said specific things. In those conditions, England would be uninhabitable. A key limiting mechanism much vaunted in your anti-AGCC circles does not exist.

    So yes, if you keep insisting on deep-frying the biosphere you are indeed at risk of causing that. Why do you think it’s a good idea again? (And yes, you go to mars…please apply your usual standards to the issue of slowing down at the end!)

    Truth again not so much escapes you, but you think it goes well roasted with cat.

  9. Newsbot9

    That’s right, a bee flew around, the BBC needs to be shut down. The usual.

    As usual, you view threats to democracy as unimportant, politician, since you have to use for it. And yes, you should have a punitive fine applied for your covering up for a paedophile, using your own accuracy standards. Don’t like it? Your standards, your problem!

  10. Newsbot9

    That’s right, and so should you and your friends. Why, what evidence do you have that you’re not a child abuser? Well? You’re a good collectivist, of course – exactly what you’ve accused other people of being, “steve f / g&t / newton”.

  11. t7g

    you linked to a paper that discussed equatorial temperatures 200 million years ago and you interpreted that to mean england would become uninhabitable due to AGCC. you are an idiot/labour supporter

  12. t7g

    “Nope, I linked a paper which said specific things. In those conditions, England would be uninhabitable. ”

    you mean if England was at the equator 200 million years ago, it would be uninhabitable by humans who hadn’t evolved yet?

  13. Newsbot9

    Again, this paper disproves a key anti-AGCC mechanic, a temperature limit which so many arguments depend on (that it “can’t get that bad anyway”).

    Someone who claimed to be a scientist, as you did, would be able to do the very basic calculations to see what this meant for British temperatures.

    And of course because you believe that anyone who believes in science is an “idiot/labour supporter”. Typical far right fanaticism.

    To use your own insult, again, go back to the Torygraph, immigrant. Stop stealing electrons!

  14. Newsbot9

    Ah yes.

    So, you in fact – and I’m not impressed by name changes, I’ve said that before – are making a completely false argument now.

    You’re quite unable, as any actual climate scientist or even moderately knowableable layperson could do, calculate the actual temperatures at any given latitudes…

    So no, you’re making incorrect assumptions. Again. Keep pretending that science is incorrect because you’re making incorrect assumptions.

  15. norma jean

    that you support the BBC is enough for me to want it closed down. bunch of left wing agitators and nonces

  16. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, typical fanaticism, Newton/Stewpot/”Norma”. Simply because someone who has views different from your own supports something, it must burn. PS, I support your Parents. (Have fun parsing that one!)

    You’re paid by the post, evidently. You keep claiming the BBC, which has miserably failed to talk about the Government’s issues, is “left wing”…lmao.

    The sort of slander you pump out is unsurprising as well.

  17. jeff

    well. the BBC is hardly right wing. a tax on tv ownership backed up by the threat of prison, so a bunch of nonces can make children’s programmes in order to get access to children they subsequently molest.

  18. george

    so, you can “calculate the actual temperatures at any given latitudes…”? makes me wonder why they employ million line fortran code climate models. they could just come on here and ask you!

  19. Newsbot9

    Fortran, right.

    Back in reality, the models you don’t believe in show the facts you’re running from…

  20. janet

    nobody argues there is a temperature limit. no-one has ever argued this. the argument is about the climate sensitivity to increased CO2. most of the debate is around this number – except extremists like you who think england is going to become uninhabitable. it is your dangerous nonsense that makes people believe it is all a hoax, and with people like you arguing then it can be rightly claimed that at least some of it is.

  21. Newsbot9

    Great, so, when are you reporting to jail?

  22. Newsbot9

    Of course they have. It’s been a key part of the anti-AGCC argument for a long time. You’re trying to evade the consequences of your views.

    And right, the sun rose, you think AGCC is a hoax and that because someone believes in it…it’s a hoax! The usual from an anti-science fanatic.

    I was quite specific about what I said as well, you’re just lying about it again.

  23. janet

    have you a link to someone claiming there is a temperature limit?

    and please don’t link to that bloody paper about equatorial temperatures in the Eocene – again!

  24. Newsbot9

    No, I am not going to link another paper because you’ll simply deny it again. No point feeding anti-science trolls with science, after all.

    (And for the rest of the world, the point was that the older papers have been disproven anyway)

  25. janet

    oh, so you made it up – again. I’m sure your views are deeply held, but they are all bollox because you can’t back any of them up.

    me – “nobody argues there is a temperature limit”
    you – “Of course they have. It’s been a key part of the anti-AGCC argument for a long time.”

    ok, as such a key part of the skeptic argument, you must be able to provide at least 1 link. I say you’re lying. A temperature limit has never been a part of the skeptic argument.

  26. janet

    and for the rest of the world, Newsbot9 claimed that england would be uninhabitable due to human induced climate change. he was unable to provide any evidence and kept linking to a paper which discussed evidence for equatorial temperatures 200 million years ago

  27. Newsbot9

    That’s right, I used science again! How dare I!

    And you keep calling science a “view”, as if there are alternatives. And of course you think you can argue for everyone, including the people who you supposedly support.

    And yes, here’s a link – //
    Start there. Type in “science”, and start reading.

    Of course you have to lie about the denalist argument, you can’t be honest about anything, name-changing shill!

  28. janet

    you could have provided me with a few links in the time it took you to write that. that would have shut me up! but it turns out you can’t because you made it up!

  29. Newsbot9

    That’s right, I could provide you with more ways to mock me. To fuel your shilling engine of lies. And I did of course, here’s another…

    Here’s another – //
    Enter “Research”. Start reading.

    You’ll ignore it again. No facts or science allowed in your parallel world, and you won’t start educating yourself on the basic knowledge you need to understand the issues.

  30. Newsbot9

    Nope, world – that’s what newton/stewpot/janet have made up. It’s an entirely fabricated claim, a typical lie from a known shill.

    The evidence is that Britain COULD become uninhabitable in extreme global warming scenarios, since a key regulating mechanic which was a linchpin of the denialists argument does not exist.

    Also, it keeps on with this argument over and over, pushing out real discussions like the good paid-for shill it is.

  31. janet

    and how about a link to your claim “that Britain COULD become uninhabitable in extreme global warming scenarios”

    that should be easy shouldn’t it? the link exists doesn’t it?

  32. janet

    and how about some more information on “a key regulating mechanic which was a linchpin of the denialists argument does not exist”, something else you just made up

  33. Newsbot9

    Yes, and was given. Keep on trying to run away from the question of who funds you.

  34. Newsbot9

    Yes, right after you admit who’s paying you.

    You don’t even know the argument which you’re supposedly supporting, you’re here ONLY to disrupt disruption.

  35. janet

    as you won’t supply the link, in what way do you think england COULD become uninhabitable in the future due to human induced climate change? will it be too hot? too dry? will england be underwater? just asking as it’s not in any of your links, and I googled “Britain COULD become uninhabitable in extreme global warming scenarios” and there’s nothing there.

  36. Newsbot9

    I did provide the link.

    And are you intending to push for deep-frying the biosphere? Same answer.

    (And I can find non-results in google too easily –
    No results found for “Who is paying the shill janet/stewpot/newton?”)

  37. janet

    I think the predicted warming of several degrees by 2100 (IPCC) is probably to be welcomed. Can’t see any evidence for these extreme scenarios where England will become uninhabitable. Why don’t you just admit you exaggerated it? It’s not unknown in the climate catastrophe world. Michael Mann of hockey stick fame was recently falsely claiming he had won the Nobel Peace Prize!

  38. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, of course you think the trillions of cost are to be welcomed, and you don’t understand feedback cycles. It’s no exaggeration that if you refuse to admit the consequences of pumping out ever-more CO2, we WILL get to a point where it’s potentially self-sustaining, and certainly near-impossible to reverse…which WILL take is into a far hotter period (and not by a “few degrees”). Previously, it was thought that only a narrow equatorial band could because of feedback mechanisms become uninhabitable hot…but that’s not true as it appears. So the worse case which your denialists have been brushing off is FAR worse than anticipated!

    And link to your claims about Michael Mann.

  39. Newsbot9

    So the issue is the IPCC, as has happened before, issued the certificates. Well, that’s naughty of them.


  40. janet

    Claiming you are a Nobel Laureate when you aren’t is clearly fraud, or at best exaggeration. Exactly what he has been accused of with his tree ring data and hockey stick. This sort of thing detracts from the real issue of climate change and human influence on it and gives ammunition to true skeptics who want us to do nothing. As does a claim of England being uninhabitable – most normal people will know this is a wild exageration and will roll their eyes and carry on. The cause of climate change and it’s mitigation efforts is massively hindered by extremist claims by people like you and Mann and James “the entire Greenland ice cap is going to melt by 2100” Hansen

  41. Newsbot9

    As usual, you’re trying to attribute to a person what an organisation did. There’s no evidence for your personal claim.

    And of course it “detracts” from the issue – you’re using as a stick to boost your position when it’s cosmetic.

    Moreover, no, most “normal” people don’t reject science and fight it every step of the way. You are actively working against anything which might make a difference, for your masters. So you’re already arrayed fully with the denialist position…you’re trying to lie and say otherwise.

    Keep on calling science “extreme” and turning every discussion into pointless mush wherever possible. Koch’s paying you?

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