Friday, September 10, 2010

Is declaring war on News Corp and Murdoch really smart for Labour ?

About two days ago there were some puzzling moves by the Coalition team.

Labour, assisted by the BBC/Guardian, were getting ready to get at David Cameron by attacking his director of communications. For some reason that no one has explained to my satisfaction this all started with the New York Times. ( My guess is that The Forces of Hell had a connection there they could use - and anyway its a safe distance if you want to start attacking the Met Police etc. ).

But they had nothing new or conclusive except a lot of artificial rage which would have even embarrassed Nick Clegg in the way it was put together.

But then the coalition didn't even bother to fight. Yes they hit the balls back with a straight bat, but didn't push anything and even gave Labour the parliamentary enquiry they had been banging on about.

Perhaps Coulson should be sacked for letting this happen you might wonder ?

But hold on a minute - its now becoming a bit clearer that Labour could be heading into a elephant trap.

Phone hacking ( sorry Dizzy cracking - dialling 0000 when you get someone's voice mail - which is tame stuff compared to what the press used to get up to when Labour were using the sleaze smear campaign to get rid of John Major ) was wide spread, and one you stir the tank who knows what will float to the surface. ( The reluctance of the last parliament to look into this, and the then Labour home secretary have been commented on already also - what could they have been afraid of given it was such a direct route to get at David Cameron ? )

So this starts to look like a disgruntled MPs vs the media thing. Further restrictions on the media will not be popular with the MPs bosses, the voters or with anyone who values liberty.

Also how smart is it to start a mud throwing war with the Murdoch press ? Isn't this the exact 180 degr opposite of what Tony Blair tried to teach Labour ? Blair travelled round the world to speak at a NewsCorp conference to butter these guys up and gave all sort of access and headlines as part of a quid pro quo arrangement. Indeed getting the Sun on side was almost the crowning achievement of his leadership. And now apparently rudderless Labour is about to make a sworn enemy of the red tops. Does that make political sense ? Is anyone thinking this through on the Labour side - I think not.

So perhaps Coulson is worth his salary after all for the judgement call of letting this go on without any attempt to squash it. Strategy trumping tactics - just the sort of stuff Brown couldn't handle.

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