Stephen Glover: Jeremy Hunt is the fall guy in this deal

Media Studies: The interesting question is whether the decision to let Mr Murdoch have his way will affect the Prime Minister's relations with the rest of the Press

The Culture and Media Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is an ambitious fellow. He has been spoken of, perhaps somewhat fantastically, as a future Tory leader. Why would such a man risk the ire of most newspapers, not least the non-Murdoch right-wing Press, by agreeing last week to Rupert Murdoch's bid to acquire the whole of BSkyB without a referral to the Competition Commission?

Mr Hunt is admittedly a great admirer of Mr Murdoch's, believing he has "done more to create variety and choice in British TV than any other single person". But if the Culture Secretary put his admiration for the media mogul before his own political future – which he has surely undermined by so antagonising the Press – he is a very unusual sort of politician. There was an open door marked "Competition Commission Referral" through which he could have strolled with ease. He did not take it.

There is only one explanation I can think of. No 10 told him what to do. I am sure David Cameron believes he has a debt to pay to Rupert Murdoch for ditching Labour and putting his newspapers at the service of the Tory cause with all the unquestioning passion they once showed for New Labour. Mr Cameron's sometimes undignified but always enthusiastic courting of Mr Murdoch, the final consummation, and the continuing intimate relationship with the media tycoon and his acolytes have pointed to one outcome.

If this analysis is correct, Mr Hunt is something of sacrificial lamb. I don't doubt that, having been denied the Competition Commission route, he has negotiated an elegant solution over the future of Sky News, whose continuing editorial independence he appears to have secured. But none of the leaders in last Friday's newspapers, the day after the announcement, gave him any credit.

Mr Hunt is the fall guy, but the person who shoved him is Mr Cameron. The interesting question is whether the decision to let Mr Murdoch have his way will affect the Prime Minister's relations with the rest of the Press. I am not thinking of opponents of the deal such as The Guardian, The Independent or the BBC (about which, incidentally, Mr Cameron is privately critical over what is seen as its deliberate and systematic debunking of the programme of cuts). These organisations are already not particularly friendly, so the Prime Minister may not worry if he has upset them.

It is the effect on the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph that most interests me. Even before Mr Hunt unveiled his deal, neither of these traditionally Tory titles was exactly gung-ho for Mr Cameron. On Friday they both ran lengthy editorials denouncing the agreement. I don't suggest they will be so embittered that they will now turn their guns on Mr Cameron, but they are not going to like him any more as a result of what has happened.

I happen to believe the Mail and Telegraph exaggerate the likely ill-effects of this deal. Rupert Murdoch, who is 80 this week, is not the force he was and won't live for ever. His senior British management is weaker and more accident-prone than it has ever been, as the News of the World phone-hacking saga attests. While the Times is struggling to make online "paywalls" work, the free Mail Online is one of the most popular newspaper websites in the world, and could become seriously profitable.

In fact, I don't think that any of these organisations, including the BBC, has much to fear from Mr Murdoch's acquisition of the 61 per cent of BSkyB he doesn't already own, though that is not how they see it. The chief casualty may turn out to be David Cameron, who has favoured the Murdoch newspapers over the rest of the right-wing Press. He has put the media mogul's interests before what, rightly or wrongly, the Mail and Telegraph believe are their interests. That won't be forgotten, and Jeremy Hunt alone will not take the rap.







Why i should be celebrated



It is always difficult passing judgement on a publication for which one writes, particularly if one has something nice to say. But I can no longer avoid the subject of i, a boiled-down version of The Independent launched last October at the price of 20 pence.

My first reaction was favourable, though my enthusiasm began to sag as the new title's sales, not helped by the appalling weather in December, fell away, reportedly touching 60,000 or 70,000 at the worst. Some said that, in a world where freesheets such as Metro can be got for nothing, there weren't enough people prepared to pay 20p for i.

Then in January there began a multi-million pound, television-led ad campaign, featuring Jemima Khan, among others. The effect was electric. According to Media Guardian, the title is likely to record daily sales of around 170,000 for February, and the ending of the ad campaign has so far not had a deleterious effect.

Such phenomenal growth powered by an ad campaign suggests that i has a market among young readers. It has also barely taken any sales away from The Independent. It may not be the paper for me, but it is surely a cause for celebration that in the age of the internet a new paid-for newspaper can attract young readers.







How will Mariella fare next time?



Mariella Frostrup may be forgiven for feeling confused. On 21 February, Mail Online carried a picture of the attractive 48-year-old television presenter looking like a "bag lady" aged about 103. "Matronly" and "Plain Jane" were among the epithets.

Yesterday, Mariella Frostrup was featured on the front of the Mail on Sunday's You magazine looking ravishing and 25 (The Mail on Sunday is part of Mail Online). The inside piece described the bag lady of two weeks ago as "irreverent, sexy and enjoying the best decade of her life."

You knock 'em down, you pick 'em up, and then I suppose you knock 'em down again.

s.glover@independent.co.uk

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
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

Senior Account Executive / Account Executive

£25 - 30k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are looking for an Accoun...

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Resourcer / Junior Recruiter

£15-20k (DOE) + Benefits / Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright R...

Web Designer / Digital Designer

£25 - 40k (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Web Desig...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits