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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?