Thatcher and Murdoch
Thanks to the thirty-year rule it has emerged that Thatcher had a secret meeting with media tycoon Murdoch at Chequers in January 1981. The meeting cleared the way for Murdoch to take over the Sunday Times and the Times. He already owned the Sun and News of the World so the deal should have been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. But it wasn’t. And despite pressure at the time, the government denied any such meetings had taken place.
In exchange for handing the papers over to Murdoch on a plate, what did Thatcher get out of the deal? For a start she had the support of four major papers in the UK. The Sun and the NoW had the biggest circulations in the country. These papers not only lauded her achievements, such as they were, they also poured scorn and bile onto Labour, the SDP and the Liberals. How much this affected elections is open to debate - it certainly did not do her or her party any harm.
Murdoch has since been exposed as a mafia-style media boss thanks to the revelations about phone hacking, police bribery and computer hacking. His stock has diminished somewhat, but only thanks to the indefatigable efforts of journalists such as Nick Davies with the support of the Guardian. He was a shoe-in to control BSkyB until all this broke. It is sad to report just how much sucking up was done by NewLabour - particularly Tony Blair - when they must have known how much of a malign influence Murdoch was.
There are those who look back fondly on Thatcher’s days and praise her attacks on Trade Unions and her deregulation of the economy. They speak in rosy terms of her as ‘the blessed Margaret’ and ‘the Iron Lady.’ They admire the privatisation of our key services and the selling off of Council Houses. These things are seen as policies which helped modernise Britain and brought about the boom years enjoyed by so many of her Tory chums on the stock market.
There are many others who regard her as a venal, corrupt bitch who unleashed the forces of greed which have ruined governance and moral standards in our country. Even some of her own supporters chided her for ‘selling off the family silver.’ We are still paying for her disastrous attacks on manufacturing and public services. And we are certainly paying for her unleashing the financial sector. The seeds of the crash of 2008 were sown on her watch.
And her baleful influence persists. Slobberychops Osborne has leaked the news that he intends to do away with national pay agreements in the public sector. Yet again it is a race to the bottom. So Thatcherite and so unfair. Attack the poor and reward the wealthy. Typical Tory - supported by the south of England - reviled further north.
Meanwhile, what about this revelation about the secret meeting? It was corrupt. Not following the law of the land to give someone a huge business in exchange for political favours is corruption. It is also anti-democratic - but that has never worried the tories. It has taken thirty years for the truth to emerge.
What will we find out in thirty years time about the present bunch of millionaires masquerading as a Cabinet? Do you think they are all honest, decent and moral?