I've been trying to keep an eye on the Leveson Enquiry, but then it's been difficult to generate any particular level of excitement while watching, reading about or listening to it. Perhaps the most amusing moment was Rupert's not wholly convincing impersonation of Monty Burns from the Simpsons in an attempt to pass himself off as some senile, bordeline alzheimers-riddled old fool.
My god, Wendi must be bored out of her fucking tree.
Meanwhile, Dave thought LOL stood for 'lots of love' as opposed to 'laugh out loud'. LOL!! (and by that I mean 'laugh out loud').
Anyway, it just seems like another of those episodes that chimes with the chattering Westminster classes, but lost the sustained interest of most people some time ago. Hearing that the government is in bed with the populist press and its ministers have been bending over backwards to do it favours is about as shocking as waking up to discover that the Pope is a Catholic. Seeing as most of us lived through the Blair years, the relationship enjoyed by Digger and the Eton Rifles seems positively distant by comparison.
A question that might be more relevant, and so predictably it does not come under the Leveson radar is this:- why have successive governments since the 1980s felt the need to court the likes of Murdoch so openly?
The truth is that in the Uk, there are only two games in town politically. One of our dud parties forms a part of the current government and is almost certain to form at least a senor partner role in the next one. We have Labour, a party of easy answers, wooly fantasia and 'niceness' that appeals to some people regardless of the fact that whenever they have been in office, the country has eventually run out of money. It just took them slightly longer than usual last time, thanks to a debt-driven boom and their shameless encouragement of a bubble in the financial sector.
Make no mistake, our current mess was a Labour one aided and abetted by rogue traders, not the other way around as per the popular myth that is propagated.
In the opposing corner, the useless Tories combine a perceived 'nastiness' with the sort of bumbling ineptitude that can only be bettered by the other side. It was not ever thus - at one time they were clearly the more 'competent' tribe in the battle regardless of whose side you were on. Over time, their ranks have been swelled by careerists minus any real world experience (presumably to replace the ones who actually croaked), while instead of sticking to their guns the useless Tories' answer to regular electoral wipeout has been to slide ever closer to their rivals in policy terms - to such a point that they are now indistinguishable from each other.
Yeah, nice strategy - it's worth remembering that last time out we were in the midst of an economic meltdown and Labour had what could politely be referred to as a lame duck leader. Yet the Tories still did not win outright. Their membership is quite literally dying out and they no longer mean anything to anyone outside of their own dwindling ensemble.
To use a technical term, they're fucked.
So what we have is two major political parties, neither of which can be referred to as remotely popular, and a third that has flushed whatever (alleged) credibility it had down the toilet by forgetting that they existed solely as a protest vote against the other two. Yet they wield a disproportionate influence over society, and the increasing role of the state in our lives means that they actually matter, whether we like it or not.
New Labour of course took the courtship of Digger and his empire to filthy new levels, but who remembers how they came about? Johnny Major was a truly pathetic PM who picked fights with his own side and rolled over a la Audley Harrison when faced with the threat of an EU steamroller over Uk sovereignty. However, he was fortunate enough to find that in 1992, Labour managed to put up a candidate even worse in Neil Kinnock. Faced with the prospect of these shores becoming a fully-fledged banana republic, people who'd opposed Major in the polls saw him as the lesser of two evils.
Or alternatively 'IT WAS THE SUN WOT WON IT' - a strange headline about the whole Uk population emigrating, or something like that. In life, people are loathe to the sort of self-examination that enables them to ask themselves hard questions (I say this from previous experience and am surely not alone?). It just seemed easier to believe that they had only lost to the god awful Major because he had the support of the Murdoch press than it it ever would to ask if Kinnock was just a truly dreadful sales pitch for their own party. Equally, the useless Tories ability to blame their wilderness years on a lack of Murdoch support was awfully convenient - 'the quiet man' had nothing to do with it, honest...
The truth is that a cat in a red rosette could have beaten the useless, corrupt and intellectually bankrupt Tories in 1997. Conversely, any vaguely competent Tory candidate would surely have won that outright majority in 2010, despite the fact that they are the most hated institution in Britain - that they put up a vacuous PR goon as their frontman is the sort of move only the usless Tories could pull off and keep a straight face. However many people read the gutter press of Murdoch and others, the ability to make brilliant people look useless and vice versa remains way beyond them. They just aren't that powerful.
If only someone, somewhere had realised this then an immensely boring aspect of a rather boring enquiry would not be taking place. Take care and I'll catch you soon...