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Cameron did not have sexual relations with NewsCorp

July 21, 2011

Where is Dave?

David Cameron was asked a plain question in the House of Commons yesterday, most simply expressed by Dennis Skinner: “Did he ever discuss the the question of the BSkyB bid with News International?”

On nine separate occasions the Prime Minister refused to answer the question. Instead (a) he protested that he “never had one inappropriate conversation” on the subject; (b) asserted that he “completely took [him]self out of any decision-making about this bid” and “had no role in it”; and (c) repeatedly referred to the evidence given by Rebekah Brooks to the Select Committee the day before.

Later during the same debate Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, conceded the point by stating: “The discussions the Prime Minister had on the BSkyB deal were irrelevant.”

I will not comment on the Prime Minister citing in his support the denials of a woman hauled before a Parliamentary Committee to give evidence on criminal matters. An own goal is an own goal. The defender must be allowed to hang his head in shame and get on with the match.

I will not comment on the Prime Minister putting himself in a position where he has to be excluded from any discussions with a cabinet colleague on, possibly, the single biggest business deal in the country at that time. In order that he may be able to discuss it with his pals over dinner.

I will not even comment on what unrecorded, private discussions on the subject, at a social gathering, between the Prime Minister of the day and a business launching a major takeover bid, which is under review by his Government, could possibly be deemed appropriate.

But I must comment on the idea that he had “no role in the decision”. It reminds me of the evidence we heard only two days ago from John Yates. The question was whether he had helped secure a job at the MET for the daughter of Hackgate suspect Neil Wallis. His response was that he merely acted “as a postbox”.

Now we may not all be experts on mergers or business deals. We may not have experience of police recruitment procedures. We may not know the first thing about Media market shares. But most of us have had a boss. Most of us can take an educated guess on what it might feel like to have a request land on our desk which, it is made crystal clear, concerns a good buddy of our boss. So, can we start talking about the BSkyB issues like adults? Can we stop pretending that Rod Hull was completely innocent of the havoc Emu wreaked? Can we stop being Clinton-esque about it all and call a blowjob, “a blowjob”?

David Cameron removed the brief of the BSkyB deal from Vince Cable (who had made his intention to refer the merger to the Competition Commission clear), after a secretly recorded conversation revealed he had decided to “declare war on Murdoch”. It was inappropriate for the person in charge to have such strong preconceptions about the deal.

He handed the brief to Jeremy Hunt, who had said in an interview: “Rather than worry about Rupert Murdoch owning another TV channel, what we should recognise is that he has probably done more to create variety and choice in British TV than any other single person…” Some fairly strong pre-conceptions of his own, you must agree. An equally inappropriate choice. Unless one wanted the takeover waved through, that is.

___________________________________________________

The Prime Minister met assorted Murdochs and  Brooks/Wades before the election. He had their former lieutenant, Andy Coulson, working for him. Immediately after the formation of the coalition Rupert Murdoch was invited into Downing Street. According to Murdoch it was “to have a cup of tea and to be thanked by Mr Cameron for the support”. Every effort was made to keep the May meeting a secret. During the first half of June he invited Rebekah Brooks to Chequers for a private meeting. On the 15th June 2010 the BSkyB bid was launched. The very next day, 16th June, Cameron attended the News International summer party. As soon as Cable’s negative stance towards the bid surfaced, he was relieved of responsibility. On 21 December 2010, the brief was handed to Murdoch groupie, Jeremy Hunt – who, it emerged, had been having his own private meetings with NewsCorp. Two days later, on 23 December, Cameron was having an early Christmas dinner with Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch.

These are the facts. Pass the cranberry sauce, please. More turkey, anyone?

Of course, I may be entirely wrong in my suspicions. Perhaps Rupert Murdoch did not fly to the UK with such urgency and secrecy in order to ensure that this ‘coalition development’ was not going to be a problem. Perhaps all matters were left to the well-informed, impartial, unimpeachable, intellectual giant that is Jeremy Hunt – with no input from Cameron. I wish you to make up your own minds on that.

Below is a ‘highlights’ audio clip of Jeremy Hunt’s performance the last time he was left without input and support from Cameron, last Monday – when Cameron decided to hide from the House of Commons in order to avoid questions. He starts by apologising for not having provided a copy of his speech, but apparently he only just received his own copy. The speech he is about to make. His own copy. Only just. Received. Enjoy.

For the avoidance of doubt, the above audio clip is a 10 minute version of a 40 minute debate, edited for satiric effect. You can read the full transcript here.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. andy permalink
    July 21, 2011 2:16 pm

    very good, as ever

  2. Tris permalink
    July 21, 2011 6:50 pm

    Brilliantly constructed case against Cameron.

    Frankly, if he told me that up was up and down was down, I’d seriously doubt it.

    We all knew that Murdoch would get his deal. As you say he popped over to England to ensure that these people realised just how much they owed him.

    I suppose that Dave was instructed to get rid of Cable (when he was caught out) and to give it to Hunt instead.

    And then it all started to rattle down when Sean Hoare gave interviews to the BBC and New York Times about what was going on… and that he knew where the bodies were buried… and now he’s dead himself. Just like poor Dr Kelly. I suppose these things happen.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your piece.

  3. July 21, 2011 7:23 pm

    Here’s a comment I left on newsnet this morning.

    HE NEVER SAID YES! HE NEVER SAID NO!

    Yesterday, in the bowels of our sovereign and honourable parliament Mr Cameron – who is a Rt Hon and therefore a gentleman – was asked nine times “whether in the course of the twenty six meetings he had with Murdoch or his executives if the BSkyB deal was ever discussed?”

    His answer was “that nothing inappropriate had been said.”

    There is, it seems, a mystical rule in Westminster that a lie cannot be uttered in response to a question of fact but ,it seems perfectly acceptable for a lie to be used to persuade the fact isn’t in fact a fact but an assumption. In fact he used the testimony of somebody called Rebekah to a parliamentary committee that in the course of twenty six meetings – during which time a Minister originally in charge of the deal was sacked from his involvement and replaced by a more malleable colleague – a £12 billion deal that would have increased a media moguls influence on both governors and governed and it wasn’t top of their agenda is, irrespective of the way you construct a ‘fact’, totally unbelievable.

    You are a liar Mr Cameron.

    Next to Murdoch and as the PM you are a prime mover and as such up to your neck in this deal akin to a pimp running a stable of prostitutes.

    Time for you and your prossy’s to move out Mr Cameron and take your austerity scam progroms with you. Use a private removal firm and meet the costs yourself, it’ll give your ‘Privatisationed Big Society plans a boost.

    Foot note:
    Yet, the following day, Thursday July 21st, there’s hardly a mention of Murdochgate in the MSM. Seemingly. we are told. the public mood has swung to being satiated with the shenanegins of lying politicians, cronyesque policemen, criminal journalists and the moguls who run them. Have we – or is it the Establishment whisperers have been busy on damage limitation?

  4. Rob McD permalink
    July 23, 2011 8:08 am

    Liar, Liar, pants on fire.

    They say “it isn’t the crime that’s does the damage, but the cover up.” And by God do we have a cover up here Mr Cameron. You have been rumbled. To claim he “never had one inappropriate conversation” is a clear admission that he had at least one conversation with Mr Murdoch about the deal. He had nine opportunities to state in the House, and on record, that “the subject of the BskyB deal was never discussed” but he didn’t. And the simple reason is, because he couldn’t. Lesson number one – When in a hole, stop digging and weasel words can never disguise dishonesty.

    The fact that it was not “inappropriate” is irrelevant. He had “a” conversation where the BskyB deal WAS discussed. The Rt Hon Mr Hunt “inappropriately” confirmed it. At the time he probably thought it was appropriate, given the fact there was no media storm, criminal investigation, Judicial Review or public outcry taking place. It’s only inappropriate now because he has been exposed and caught out. I have to give it to the Rt Hon Mr Skinner, beautifully worded.

    The problem now for Mr Cameron and his merry men is that this shows they have a price and can be brought. Cheap as well, only 20 visits by a Big Business mogul, or was it 20 pieces of silver into the Tory coffers? Perhaps we should now start concentrating on exposing any financial links between News Corp and the Tory Party.

    This also begs more questions – how many more Big Business moguls have, over the last 15 months, been blazing a trail to the “back door” of 10 Downing Street? How much more of our assets and democracy has Dave and his cronies managed to quietly strip in order to sell to the highest bidder?

    I didn’t think it would be long before the word “sleaze” entered the frame. Shocking, but predictable.

Trackbacks

  1. The C-Word « sturdyblog
  2. Aye, Murdoched. « sturdyblog

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