Well, well. I heard something about this on the radio this morning, but wasn’t clear about what’s going on. This post makes things a bit clearer.
Last week, the Lib-Dem candidate Nick Clegg—the third party candidate in the race—did so well in a television debate that he began to emerge as the logical alternative to Labor. This has caused the Murdoch papers to unleash a full-scale attack on Clegg—with hardly any pretense other than to help Cameron—now known as the “Kill Klegg” campaign.
In turn, the Independent newspaper ran a front pager yesterday with the headline “Rupert Murdoch will not decide the outcome of the election. You will,” challenging the Murdoch coverage of the race.
Later in the afternoon, in a coming-apart-at-the-seams scenario, Rebekah Wade/Brooks and Murdoch’s son, James—who will both face the wrath of Murdoch senior if they don’t produce a winner—stormed over to the Independent, breached its security systems, barged into the offices of the Independent’s editor-in-chief and top executive, Simon Kelner, and commenced, in Brit-speak, a giant row. Their point was that newspaper publishers don’t slag off other newspaper publishers in polite Britain, but also the point was to remind Kelner that he wasn’t just slagging off another publisher, he was slagging off the Murdochs, damn it. Indeed, the high point of the screaming match was Wade/Brooks, in a fit of apoplexy and high drama, neck muscles straining, saying to Kelner: “And I invited you to Blenheim in the first place!” Blenheim being the Murdoch family retreat and the highest social destination for all Murdoch loyalists and ambitious Brits in the media.
If true, this is truly weird. James Murdoch is a tough, aggressive cookie. But up to now I thought he had better judgement than this. Are they really so rattled about the possibility of the Lib Dems doing well enough to scupper Cameron?