The Feral Beast: Crick sticks with Uncle Rupert

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The Independent Online

Next time you see Michael Crick reporting on Rupert Murdoch's bid to takeover BSkyB, bear this in mind: he is himself a shareholder.

Newsnight's political editor has admitted owning thousands of pounds worth of News Corporation shares, and 100 shares in BSkyB, calling them "relics from the days when I was writing a never-published book on Murdoch". The question is, why has he still got them? "Because it's a bit of a fag to sell just 100 BSkyB shares, and any foreign shares," he tells me, slightly lamely. "They are all declared on BBC declaration of interests forms. The numbers are exceedingly trivial. And most things we do in life involve potential conflicts of interest. Am I disqualified from reporting on the NHS if I might need it?" But you can't buy shares in the NHS, Michael.

It's your pull-out pull-out...

Express readers are this weekend being treated to a 24-page pull-out called "Get Us Out Of The Euro". With such an unambiguous message, surely it might appeal to UKIP? Indeed so: their leader, Nigel Farage, has penned a piece for it. But any suggestion that the party, or Farage himself, is making a financial contribution to distribute this useful propaganda kit is, I'm assured, wide of the mark. "It's true that we've taken out an advert on Sunday and on Monday," says a UKIP spokesman, "and it would have been great for UKIP to do more. But the Express is trying to maintain some degree of independence."

Hacks at odds on hacking

News that police have asked the News of the World for more evidence on phone hacking following their suspension of news editor Ian Edmondson heaps fresh embarrassment on the red top. But the ordure is not theirs alone. It will have caused a few red faces at the Daily Mail, which on Friday ran a news story headlined: "Yard rules out fresh probe into hacking". It was especially odd given The Daily Telegraph story that day headlined: "Police set to reopen phone hacking case".

Why so churlish, chaps?

Is the Telegraph's normally excellent Mandrake column becoming a mouthpiece for aggrieved executives? In recent days it has run three savage attacks on journalists who had the temerity to question the paper's Lib Dem sting. Robert Peston, Jonathan Isaby and Jan Moir all got it with both barrels, most unpleasantly Moir for her weight. On all three occasions, the paper omitted to mention these are all former Telegraph writers. TheTel is happy to dish it out – why can't they take it?

The critic who ate his words

Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail's showbiz expert, has been railing against the West End musical Legally Blonde since it opened. "A pile of goo" and a "toxic blancmange" he calls it, predicting it wouldn't run more than a year. It has, so hats off to him for donating £100 to the Actors' Charitable Trust, and for being photographed eating his hat, albeit a rather tasty sponge one, knocked up by cake maker Jane Asher.