News International aren't the problem
They're not. Well, not entirely. The amount of market share that News International enjoyed and the power that resulted from that was and is deeply unhealthy. Forcing the sale of some of NI's newspapers seems like a no-brainer. However, the fact remains that politicians have compounded this problem over recent decades by chasing positive newspaper headlines instead of promoting their own principled agendas.
The dysfunctional relationship between the two dominant political parties and the media derives from the political side rather than the media side. If politicians were willing to stand up and promote unpopular policies because they believed they were right then the likes of the Sun would have far less incentive to try and derail them. It's the utterly craven attitude of people like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that cemented the dominant role of the media in setting government policy.
I find it hard to blame the Tories more than Labour for the Murdochs' influence over our public life. I expect right wingers to use a populist press to thwart progress. The left, by contrast, should be concerned with leading opinion rather than following. During the general election Nick Clegg faltered slightly under a sustained assault from the right wing papers over (perfectly sensible) Lib Dem immigration and justice policies. The fact is that Labour wouldn't even float these ideas.
During the whole phone hacking scandal, all Ed Miliband has done is jump on another bandwagon. There's no sign whatsoever that he or his party are willing to provide the leadership on policy that would justify their continued existence.
Labels: Ed Miliband, Labour, News International