Stephen Glover: Fox shows we no longer have a Tory press. We just have a right-wing press

Media Studies: The Telegraph and Daily Mail are disenchanted with David Cameron because they don't think he is robust enough

Liam Fox was supposedly the last Thatcherite in the Cabinet. I doubt he was, but we can agree that he kept the flag fluttering for the Tory Right. It might therefore have been expected that right-wing papers would show him some sympathy, even support, during his tribulations. In fact, they led the charge against him last week, with The Times, which admittedly may not see itself as right-wing, delivering the coup de grace on Friday by revealing the financial arrangements from which Dr Fox's friend Adam Werritty benefited.

Why was there an absence of support and occasional hostility among titles one might have expected to be friendly? Unlike some colleagues, the former defence minister did not much cultivate right-wing papers, and so discovered that he had few allies when he ran into trouble. Some titles, in particular The Sun, may have been partly influenced by questions over Dr Fox's sexuality. But by far the most important explanation has to do with a change in the nature of the right-wing Press.

When I was a young leader writer on The Daily Telegraph, we knew our primary duty was to get Tory ministers in difficulty off the hook. In this respect the Telegraph of those days – and until quite recently – performed the same task as did those Conservative MPs who declared what a fine and misprized man Dr Fox was, before announcing, after his resignation, how nobly he had acted. The Telegraph, and the other right-wing titles only to a slightly lesser degree, were tribally Tory, and concerned with promoting the interests of the Tory Party.

That link has been broken. The main reason is that there are no longer any proprietors with strong ties to the Conservatives. For the most part they are commercially minded, and in varying degrees entrust the political direction of their papers to their editors. They recognise their commercial interests are probably more likely to be served by having a Tory government, but there is no longer much identification with the Tory cause.

There were additional reasons behind Dr Fox's treatment. The Telegraph and Daily Mail in particular are disenchanted with David Cameron because they don't think he is robust enough. One might have expected this to redound to the advantage of the allegedly Thatcherite Dr Fox but it didn't, perhaps because he was seen to have gone along weakly with defence cuts. Right-wing titles are also cross with Mr Cameron because they believe that for self-serving reasons he has saddled them with the Leveson Inquiry.

Actually the hunt for Dr Fox was begun weeks ago by The Guardian, which acted to form in seeking another Tory ministerial scalp. More unexpectedly, the manner of the former Defence Secretary's defenestration illustrates that we have a right-wing, not a Tory, Press.





Don't confuse Dacre with MacKenzie

As I write a column for the Daily Mail, it may be bad form to praise its editor, Paul Dacre. And yet it has to be said that his address last week to the Leveson Inquiry was a storming performance in defence of a free press. He rightly pointed out that most newspapers are losing money, that they are much more regulated than they were 20 years ago, and that they are being challenged by "an utterly unregulated and arguably anarchic internet".

Since the setting up of the Leveson and myriad other inquiries into the media, this was the first time a substantial figure has defended the press. I am struck by how many journalists, even on the Left, agree with what Dacre said, and felt he was speaking for freedom. I suspect that many ordinary people do too.

How unfortunate, then, that this speech has been lumped together by some with the admittedly entertaining saloon-bar musings of Kelvin MacKenzie, ex-editor of The Sun and now a Mail columnist. By accusing David Cameron of "obsessive arse kissing", and Lord Justice Leveson of being a fool, Mr MacKenzie will have alienated potential supporters and undermined the cause.





If this isn't an agenda, I don't know what is

Two days ago I sat on a panel with Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, discussing phone hacking. What a civilised person he is. He said his newspaper has no political or commercial agenda against Rupert Murdoch. The tycoon just has too much power, which was abused by the News of the World.

Is the Guardian really not seized by hatred of the media magnate? Last Thursday it splashed with a story about the European edition of the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal boosting its circulation figures by buying "thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate".

If these allegations are true, such behaviour would be naughty. Yet there isn't a newspaper in the world that doesn't at some stage burnish its sales figure. The Guardian would not make such a hue and cry if a non-Murdoch title were involved. This was taking bashing him too far.

s.glover@independent.co.uk

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

Business, Marketing and Tourism Volunteer Projects

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: As part of an ongoing effort to support local...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit