Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rupert Murdoch abandons BSkyB takeover bid, it’s the smart move as politicians turn against him at Westminster, Rebekah Brooks still hangs on!

Dear All

The only option that Rupert Murdoch had to save his empire has been taken; he has abandoned the attempted bid for control of BSKYB.

It’s the smart move on his part, the damage caused the phone hacking and blagging of information was causing so much damage that he realised that the problems could affect his empire.

In the House of Commons, MPS were preparing to vote on the takeover with many people predicting a landslide Commons majority urging him to abandon his takeover plans.

The truth is, the situation has to too much of a political slant, and MPs are still smarting over the MP expenses scandal, for some the idea of revenge against Murdoch who politicians have courted was too good to pass up.

Murdoch still has 39% of BSKYB.

And although he has pulled out, he will be back, BSKYB is too much of a prize and the waters are like the north Atlantic in winter.

But things haven’t ended there with abandoning the bid, a new casualty has emerged, News International's long-serving legal manager.

Tom Crone has left the company. Crone was responsible for advising the News of the World and the Sun on their editorial matters before and after publication.

I suspect that more people will go.

We also have the inquiry that David Cameron reluctantly announced after being dragged kicking and screaming to do so.

Cameron is close to News International.

Anyway, the inquiry into phone hacking would have the power to summon newspaper proprietors, journalists, police and politicians to give evidence.

And they will do so under oath and in public.

Politicians of all political parties fear newspapers because if a paper turns against you it could affect your chances of election or re-election.

That is why so many cosy up to the Murdoch empire.

David Cameron has appointed Lord Justice Leveson as the chair of the inquiry, how effective he will be we will have to wait and see.

Leveson which will look into the ethics and culture of the British media as well as the specific claims about phone hacking.

The failure of the initial police inquiry and allegations of illicit payments made to police by the press which large sums were paid for information.

In heated exchanges at PMQ’s, Cameron said that his former head of communications Andy Coulson should be prosecuted if it is proved that he lied when he claimed to know nothing about phone hacking at the News of the World while he was editor.

And questions should also be asked about how he got the job with Cameron at Number 10.

In a statement to MPs, Mr Cameron said the inquiry would be "one that is as robust as possible.

Britain has a habit of conducting inquiries and investigations were people at the top, the social and political elite get off with it.

But Cameron says this inquiry will be the one that can get to the truth fastest and get to work the quickest, and one that commands the full confidence of the public".

We will see if deeds match the words.

Time wise the inquiry is set to last a year, and I don’t expect during that time Murdoch will try and get control of BSKYB completely.

That bid is ruined for at least two years, Murdoch has to regain public trust and that will be hard to earn.

A Metropolitan Police team led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers has made eight arrests and is currently looking through 11,000 pages of documents seized from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Arrests however don’t mean convictions, the Court cases will be the truth of that particular pudding.

3,870 names; and around 4,000 mobile and 5,000 landline phone numbers will be a lot of investigation.

I suspect prosecutions will also be bundled together.

What will be interesting is the new relationship which is being touted between politicians and the press.

That I cannot see changing, both need each other.

Cameron is also in trouble over this matter and he is calling for "root and branch change" at News International and said those responsible for the "disgraceful" hacking into private phone calls should be prosecuted.

He wants closure and distance from News International.

So much so that he made clear if Andy Coulson has any part of it, he should be prosecuted.

Cameron appointed Coulson as Downing Street's director of communications on the basis of "assurances he gave me that he did not know about the phone hacking, he was not involved in criminality".

If it is found he lied then he could also be prosecuted for obtaining a job by deception on top of his other woes.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is having a good thing on this matter by calling on the Prime Minister to apologise for his "catastrophic error in judgment".

However, Ed Miliband has a former News International appointee in his employment who has been ‘outed’ as well.

Miliband like many is calling for former News of the World editor, Rebekah Brooks to go, he says she should be removed from her current position as News International chief executive.

And he isn’t pulling punches saying that her continued employment by the company is an "insult" to the family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler.

The Labour Party has a habit of using victims and their families for political gain.

Miliband said:

"The revelations of the past week have shocked the whole country and the public now rightly expect those of us in this House - those who represent them - to provide not just an echo for that shock, but the leadership necessary to start putting things right."


"People like the Dowler family and other members of public who are the innocent victims of phone hacking deserve a full and comprehensive inquiry. They need us to get on with the inquiry, to make it fully comprehensive, and to get to the truth."

It’s all going on, the lead is flying thick and fast, and the trials haven’t even begun yet.

The country waits for Rupert Murdoch to sack Rebekah Brooks.

People want the ‘blood price’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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