At PMQs today, David Cairns MP asked about Sky News’ impartiality andits future ownership, asking for a guarantee that BSkyB would not be allowed to turn into another Fox News – which he called “shouty, reactionary propaganda.” Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron called this a matter for the Business Secretary.
There is little doubt that the Murdochs will be richly rewarded for the support of their newspapers during the election, but passing the decision to Cable is a clear act of low political cunning. It’s not the kind of issue he will resign over, but it will be the kind of issue that will seriously damage him with those on the left of the Lib Dems who still trust him to be their standard bearer. As I said in my post election post “What’s Next?”
“The Lib Dems have to make this work – the Tories do not. The Tories can push their agenda far, far harder than the Lib Dems currently realise, and – particularly this side of any referendum on AV – the Lib Dems will have to go along with them. They need to prove that coalition government works, the Tories – who will campaign against voting reform – do not.”
The Lib Dems have consistently been the public face of the cuts, and I’m sure Clegg would love making semi-rival St Vince the public face of rewarding Murdoch almost as much as Cameron will. Watch out for even more odd contortions from the man people once thought could do no wrong.