Matthew Norman's Diary: Murdoch inquiry could clinch Labour leadership for David Miliband

With a YouGov poll showing the Milibandroid race too close to call and the odds shortening against Forrest Gump, as Little Ed is now known by David's campaign, we are reminded that with elections you never know what you're gonna get.

Happily for David there is a way to neutralise the dangerous perception that he is too attached to his mentor, Mr Tony Blair. He should announce that his first step as leader would be instituting an inquiry into New Labour's relationship with the Murdoch empire. While attacking the Tories over Andy Coulson is justified, he might say, a little light phone-hacking seems trifling next to allowing Rupert dominion over British policy on Europe.

What, he might ask, was Mr Tony thinking when he arrived at a Christmas party at Elisabeth Murdoch's house on the arm of Rebekah Wade (Brooks, as is)? Why was David Blunkett drinking with Rebekah in the hours between his second cabinet sacking and her arrest after then husband Ross Kemp, TV's Hardest Man, summoned the Battersea law? How precisely did The Sun come by a leaked copy of the Hutton report, and why does so respected a critic of journalistic ethics as Alastair Campbell derive an income from News International?

No administration in history yielded to Rupert so pliantly, he could add, nor suffered worse from the STD that must ensue on emerging from the Murdoch bed. The important thing, he should conclude, is to learn the lesson and ensure that Labour never strikes such a venereal Faustian pact again. That might swing it.

* In further encouragement for Mili Snr, he has earned the crucial endorsement of that same Ross Kemp. Writing in the David-supporting Daily Mirror, Ross raided his storehouse of searingly originally political thought to depict him as "a leader who cares about everybody, not just the few". Is it too late for Ross to resurrect the parliamentary ambition he put on hold to cohort with the drug lords of Latin America on behalf of Mr Murdoch's Sky One?

* Should you bump into Mirror political supremo Kevin Maguire, by the way, in either a professional or purely private capacity, don't tell him that David M is the only candidate not rigidly opposed to the spending cuts against which the Mirror so stridently campaigns. Ignorance is bliss.

* As for Ed Balls, he may wish to build on yesterday's Independent on Sunday interview, in which he auditioned for the newly formed anarchist band Chumporwanka?, by pouring a jug of iced water over John Prescott. "Nothing David Cameron can ever say to me would knock me down," insisted Labour's Danbert Nobacon, still singing the public-spending songs that remind him of the better times. "There is nothing the Daily Mail could do to me which could ever knock me down." Defiant stuff. Now come on, everybody, join in. "He drinks a whisky drink, he drinks a vodka drink ..."

* Returning to L'Affair Coulson, I am irked by spiteful allegations that John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the Media Select Committee, warned colleagues to lay off the Murdoch cabal for fear of having their private lives examined. The portrayal of John as a News International placeman is shameful. His committee investigated phone-hacking with no less rigour than that equally ferocious overseer, the Press Complaints Commission. What else would you expect from a body led by John, who, when once asked which media figure he most admires, replied "Rupert Murdoch"?

* One of the Labour committee members who slurred John, the Labour MP Chris Bryant, had a lively week. His Coulsonian exchange with Kay Burley, the Barbara Walters of Sky News, has become quite a YouTube hit, and no wonder. "Don't lie, madam," was a peach (madam, forsooth!), although the observation "You seem to be a bit dim" was wide of the mark. It was of course Kay who informed viewers, nine years and two days ago, that "the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated by terrorist attack". Retaliate against aggressive interviewers by all means, Chris, but never stray into the absurd. After all, as Ed Miligump would be the first to agree, stoopid is as stoopid does.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?