Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Got My Eye on News Corpse

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Got My Eye on News Corpse

Article excerpt

We live in heartless times. Once, we revered our elders as fonts of wisdom and continuity. Today we discard them like so many overflowing colostomy bags. For evidence of this callous attitude, look no further than the recent care homes scandal. But there is an even starker example that I wish to address: the vicious attacks on a frail old codger who can no longer defend himself-Rupert Murdoch.

It wasn't always thus. When Rupert and I first met, I was an eager Thatcherite pup, and he was a vigorous Aussie magnate who bestrode the world of press and politics like a ... like someone with extremely long legs. We used to meet every Friday night to share a bottle of cognac and stick pins in Neil Kinnock. Not a figurine - the real thing. Neil didn't like it, but he knew that if he objected, the Sun would go to town on him.

I took to Rupert straight away; I knew he was someone I could do business with. Throughout the 1980s I was able to sell provide his titles with exclusives, re: my fellow politicians' wayward penises. That the Murdoch press happily destroyed the reputations of David Mellor, Jeffrey Archer and Cecil Parkinson undermines the misconception that Rupert is right-wing. Like me, Rupert is essentially apolitical, interested in the pursuit of personal power for the sheer joy of it.

Where Rupert and I differ, however, is crucial to his present difficulties. Rupert has children; I do not. Rupert wishes to perpetuate his dynasty; I don't give a toss. Contrary to what some commentators say, Rupert doesn't believe he's immortal. …

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