Murdoch, renewables and arms
The Murdoch saga continues to provide riveting insights into the way government business is done in Britain. We knew how the old boy network held sway, but now we are seeing it documented.
If what we are reading had been reported from, say, Nigeria, it would be mocked and cited as evidence of a general unfitness to rule: "What can you expect from Nigeria?"
Text messages between June 2010 and July 2011 - the period of consideration of Rupert Murdoch's bid for a takeover of BSkyB - between the culure secretary's department and the Murdoch lobbyist: 799. Phone calls and emails: 191.
On the night of the intended announcement of the acceptance of the bid, lobyist Frederic Michel and political advisor Adam Smith exchanged texts and calls at 1.09am, 2.59am, 3.05am. "There are lovers who have less contact," remarked a Guardian writer today.
There are even more telling dealings, such as Michel's admission that he couldn't see what all the fuss over the Murdoch bid was about.
That's the point. It's about shared assumptions and easy access. It's exactly what alternative energy activists complain about with the Departments of Energy and Climate and Trade and Industry: the assumption of officials that nuclear and other big-spending projects are the real deal, and renewables is just playing around at the edges, not to be taken seriously.
It's what may yet prove to be the undoing of the Ministry of Defence, with its spending on consultants rising from £6 million in 2007 to £270 million in the last financial year and its "revolving door" policy of senior ministry officials taking up posts with weapons' companies which are bidding for contracts.
Nigeria? Let's put our own house in order..blog comments powered by Disqus