Has Rupert Murdoch's love affair with England ended?

Jul 2, 2012
Linda Palermo

Volley of abusive tweets at David Cameron suggests Murdoch is fed up with the PM – and the rest of us

RUPERT MURDOCH flew into London at the weekend ahead of a series of Q&As with staff at News Corp's London-based businesses to
explain what last week's demerger of the company will mean to them, and took the opportunity to fire off a salvo of tweets against Prime Minister David Cameron.

"Cameron usual double talk about EU. 'will consider referendum on membership after euro crisis cured' which will be never", Murdoch began on Sunday, before tweeting "Cameron again. Missing last opportunity for devastating row with Lib Dems and winning single issue election! Govt weak bar 2 or 3 stars".

While his evidence to the Leveson inquiry showed that the media mogul had met Cameron on at least seven occasions since the 2010 election, Murdoch has always been deeply unconvinced by the Tory leader. The best he could say of him at Leveson was that he was "a good family man" and had "shown kindness to children" - not usually recognised strengths in a PM.

However, a closer reading of the latest volley of abuse suggests not just disillusion with Cameron alone but, coupled with remarks made by Murdoch in his interview with Fox News last week, the beginning of the end of his relationship with England itself.

Murdoch is down-playing his interests over here, he told Fox, because "I'm much more bullish about America than I am about England." His London-based newspapers, once the apple of his eye, will fall under the stewardship of Chase Carey, a News Corp stalwart who is far less partial to print than his boss and who will expect the titles to pay their own way.

What finally turned Murdoch against the country whose newspaper market he entered in 1968 with the purchase of the News of the World? Is it that for the first time in his long career Murdoch has found himself operating in a political climate where no one needs or wants to cut the political deals with him which where once his modus operandus?

As the phone hacking sandal turned sour, and Ed Miliband set out his stall as a Labour leader who wouldn't bend to the will of the Australian's papers - unlike Gordon Brown and Tony Blair - Murdoch could have expected some support from the Conservatives whom his lieutenants Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had so assiduously courted.

However, with the Leveson inquiry apparently killing any form of the BSkyB deal going ahead - as Murdoch admitted to Fox - his long-standing ties to the party of his political heroine Margaret Thatcher seem now to have been irrevocably severed.

His experiences over the last year - the closure of the News of the World, his Leveson and Commons appearances - seem to have led Murdoch to revert to his old anti-Establishment, anti-English world view. It wasn't the hacking scandal that made him want to leave England, he told Fox: "No, not at all, just the English."

While his admiration for some parts of the United Kingdom remains undaunted - his kinship with the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond continues apace - are we genuinely looking at a Murdoch-free future in England?

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Disqus - noscript

Modus operandus?

Et tu Brutii!