Friday, 15 July 2011
The Sun broke the story of Fraser Brown's cystic fibrosis shortly after he was born in 2006.
This week in parliament, the soap opera continued when Gordon Brown vented his much-delayed fury on News International for publishing the story, 'reducing the family to tears' and intruding on their private grief. Rupert Murdoch's organisation was part of a 'criminal media nexus' Brown ranted in a performance which confirmed he should never have held the post of Prime Minister.
Back in 2006 the Browns were good friends with Rupert Murdoch and his family. Any normal person would have contacted their friend and let them know how unhappy they were about having a private matter exposed, but not Gordon Brown. He said nothing. His distress was so great he continued to invite the Murdochs to his private parties and neither Gordon or Sarah looked unhappy being photographed with Wendi and Rupert Murdoch at Mr Murdoch's annual summer party in London in 2007 (picture).
Rupert Murdoch has refuted Brown's allegations and intends to use his appearance before MPs next week to address the 'total lies' told in parliament. He will appear alongside his son James and News International CEO Rebekah Brooks.
It's been interesting to watch the game play between senior Westminster politicians and News International the past few days. Every politician cosied up to Murdoch and his senior employees yet it's now clear they've known for years what was going on at NI - an organisation which had become part of the government. Who was responsible for NI gaining so much power? Our politicians. They're to blame for this mess, much more than Murdoch.
When Rupert Murdoch entered the British media scene in the 60s, he was welcomed as a force for good. He alone took on the print unions, which were crippling the industry, and won. He introduced a choice of broadcasters for us and the BBC wasn't happy when Sky appeared on our screens. By courting Murdoch our politicians bestowed more and more power upon him.
Let's look at the behaviour of our leaders in the past few days. Cameron and Clegg weren't prepared to move from their position on the fence until Ed Miliband, who had nothing to lose since Murdoch withdrew his support for the Labour party at the last general election, decided to condemn the actions of NI employees. Suddenly Cameron and Clegg, noting the approval of the public, jumped on the bandwagon. It was only this solidarity which gave Brown the platform to vent his spleen against Murdoch for what he saw as his betrayal at the general election.
We now have political coherence against News International's dubious professional practices but will our leaders be so unrestrained in their criticism of Murdoch after he challenges the 'total lies'?
I have little doubt grubby - and probably illegal - practices occur in other parts of the MSM and I wasn't in the least surprised to learn about the police corruption. The old adage 'everyone has their price' is as true today as it was a hundred years ago. We can only hope that the inquiry instigated by David Cameron will look very closely at other media organisations.
Next Tuesday will be interesting. Murdoch is a clever man and he knows where the bodies are buried. Thanks to the stupidity of our feeble, inadequate and spineless leaders stuck in their Westminster bubble.
Update 10.20am: Rebekah Brooks has resigned. Will that make any difference? Only to David Cameron's house party guest list.