Posts Tagged ‘the Sun’

It’s time for Labour to stop hating Rupert Murdoch

22/01/2015, 01:02:27 PM

by Samuel Dale

Labour MPs were cock-a-hoop at the start of the week about the Sun’s decision to quietly stop publishing photographs of topless women on Page 3.

Page 3 is a rather vulgar intrusion on the editorial of a best-selling national newspaper but part of me feels it is free to publish what it likes. However, there is a legitimate debate to be had around the image it projects and campaigners fought and clearly convinced Sun readers, advertisers and editors that it is outdated. Well done.

But then it went wrong as the Sun cheekily re-introduced topless women to its third page today to the dismay of campaigners. Don’t be fooled, this is merely the twitching corpse of a dying and outdated feature. It’s days are numbered.

For many in Labour though Page 3 is a figleaf. The real target of the campaign is the old enemy, Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, for whom a special hatred is reserved.

Labour has no major campaign against bare breasted women in the Daily Star, for example, it is Murdoch who drives the passion.

The hatred can be irrational such as attacks on Ed Miliband for supporting a Help for Heroes campaign in the Sun for wounded soldiers. Ridiculously, he apologised for it.

After all these years, why does Labour still hate Murdoch and News Corp with such a passion?

Supporting Thatcher. The printworkers’ strike. Buying the Times. Attacking Tony Benn in the 1980s. Media dominance. Billionaire. Hillsborough. Tabloid slurs against LBGTs and mental health issues. Kinnock in 1992. Faustian pact with New Labour. Fox News. Brown in 2009. Phone Hacking.

Yes, there are many reasons for Labour to hate Murdoch but notice one thing about all these events: they are over.


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Labour’s strategy for dealing with The Sun is ludicrous

29/09/2014, 12:15:05 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Last week, The Sun newspaper ran a feature inviting each party leader to wear a wristband showing their support for the Help for Heroes charity. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage featured. Ed Miliband did not.

There are conflicting accounts about exactly what happened, with the paper maintaining it made several attempts to secure the Labour Leader’s buy-in; while party sources claim they weren’t given enough time to comply with the request. In the event, the paper ran its front page piece, with a blank space reserved for Miliband, blaming his no-show on a “fear of offending Labour lefties.”

Amid the accusations and counter-accusations, what is clear is that the party’s explanation for not co-operating – citing Ed Miliband’s prior diary commitments – was disingenuous nonsense. It would have taken a press officer five seconds to grab a quick photo. But worse than being disingenuous, it was stupid, too, given the paper would inevitably “empty chair” Miliband for refusing to participate.

In fact, it was so obvious how things would turn out that there must have been a deeper motive. Indeed, there remain many voices in the party that want to boycott the paper as punishment for its coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy as well as the illegal phone-hacking scandal; and the party’s strategy is clearly driven by these considerations.

But boycotting The Sun is a disastrous tactic, the worst form of gesture politics. What’s the desired result? To make a principled stand against the quality of its journalism? To hurt Rupert Murdoch commercially? Of course, if anyone’s serious about punishing Murdoch or boycotting The Sun, then why not its News UK stablemate, The Times, as well? Or, better still, cancel your Sky subscription.

Worse, Labour’s approach is unevenly implemented. Ed Miliband was content to pose with a World Cup edition of the paper back in June before u-turning and apologising for doing so after ruffling the feathers of some within the party.

Disgusting though The Sun’s coverage of Hillsborough was, many other papers at the time published similar slurs against Liverpool football fans, egged on by media briefings given by South Yorkshire Police. And now the Mirror Group has conceded that some if its staff were also eavesdropping on private voicemails, so will Labour figures shun The Mirror, too?


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Alex Salmond’s cosy relationship with Rupert Murdoch and the Tories

14/04/2011, 03:42:43 PM

At the 1992 election, Scotland was one place where the Tory-loving Sun didn’t publish its “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain…” front page.

The paper’s infamous attack on Labour would have been wasted on Scottish voters. Instead, Rupert Murdoch’s favourite tabloid switched support from the increasingly toxic Tories to the SNP. The objective, though, was still the same – to stop a Labour government at Westminster.

Fast forward nearly two decades, and we see that history may be repeating itself. The Daily Record political editor, Magnus Gardham, reveals in his blog that News International is hosting a “business breakfast” with first minister, Alex Salmond. It’s an offer that certainly isn’t open to other party leaders during the campaign.

In recent weeks, Murdoch’s Sun has splashed on celebrity endorsers for the SNP and attacked Labour at every opportunity. So it’s odds-on they’ll support the SNP – or at the very least Salmond – by polling day.

Magnus also highlights how this SNP Scottish government has not challenged the Tory-led coalition with the same vigour as they did the previous Labour UK government.

For example, there was no fight-back from Salmond over a recent clampdown on finances by Danny Alexander. According to Magnus, the treasury bean-counter informed SNP finance secretary, John Swinney, that the Scottish government could no longer hold on to unspent cash at the end of the financial year.

Magnus notes that “in days gone by, Salmond would have trampled folk underfoot in his haste to reach the Holyrood chamber for an angry emergency statement”. But not under a Tory government, it seems.

Obviously, there are huge questions about how our print media does actually influence voters these days. As Alastair Campbell reminds us in his blog, the Tories ended up with just one seat north of the border at last year’s general election, despite the Sun supporting them devotedly in Scotland.

The real problem for both the Sun and the SNP is one of credibility. The gymnastics performed by the Sun are of Olympic proportions. Only four year ago, the paper ran an election day splash with the headline “Vote SNP today and you put Scotland’s head in the noose”.

This time round, the Nationalists could find the Sun’s support extremely counterproductive, given that the paper is also supporting the Tories in its other UK editions.

The Scots are too canny to be taken in and will see through Murdoch’s motives. Endorsement from News International for Alex Salmond, the SNP or for both isn’t about what’s best for Scotland. It’s all to do with what’s best for the Tories at Westminster. And the last thing David Cameron wants is Labour first minister in Holyrood fighting for the things that really matter.

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