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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 August 2011

'Murdochgate' places Cameron under spotlight

Sean Figg

Con-Dem prime minister David Cameron was already up to his eyes in 'Murdochgate' before the latest tranche of revelations.

Andy Coulson resigned as the editor of News of the World in January 2007 following the imprisonment of the paper's royal editor Clive Goodman for phone hacking. However it has now emerged that Coulson remained on the News International pay-roll until the end of 2007. This is being described as 'severance', but whatever the technicalities Coulson was receiving money from the Murdoch empire for nearly a year after his resignation.

This is devastating for Cameron because from July 2007, Coulson was employed by the Tory leader as his Director of Communications whose brief included 'handling the media'. Conflict of interest doesn't begin to describe it!

The latest Murdochgate revelation further corroborates what the Socialist has highlighted since the scandal first broke: the web of connections between politicians, big business and the state. It shows the undemocratic credentials of the mega-wealthy ruling class at the top of society.

There is a mock News of the World front page currently circulating on social media websites. The satirical creators have given it the headline "Murdoch regrets hiring Cameron". But this tongue in cheek comment hits the nail on the head.

The Electoral Commission has refused Labour MP Tom Watson's demand that it investigates whether or not these payments amount to an "undeclared donation to the Conservative Party".

The details of these payments became public with the release of a letter written by Goodman to News International in March 2007 protesting his dismissal following his conviction. This letter has other devastating revelations: that the knowledge and practice of phone hacking was widespread at the News of the World; that Coulson was not only aware of what was going on but encouraged it; and that a deal was done whereby Goodman would 'carry the can' for his colleagues as the 'rogue' journalist in exchange for his old job back when he had served his prison sentence.

Potentially this destroys Cameron's reputation and makes his position as prime minister untenable. Did Coulson lie to him about phone hacking? Or did Cameron lie to us? Or both?

In the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, US president Richard Nixon was not impeached for his role in the break-in and theft at Democrat offices, but for lying about his knowledge of it. Could the same process repeat itself? This saga has yet to play out.

What is lacking is an opposition prepared to drive the advantage home and push the Con-Dems out. Ed Miliband and his predecessors have all enjoyed the warmth of Murdoch's 'friendship'. The case for a political party based on the working class rather than sucking up to big business gangsters has never been more obvious.

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In The Socialist 31 August 2011:


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