Media moguls with power to play politics: The Italian elections could contain a lesson for Britain. David Lister reports
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Wednesday 30 March 1994
But could it happen here, where media concentration is much commented upon but has not, as yet, been used to such devastating effect as in Italy this week?
With much of our press controlled from abroad and most of our airwaves state- regulated, the possibilities are not as great as on the Continent, but they do exist. A future election could, for example, see:
The Virgin Alliance: Aiming to be Britain's first male prime minister not to wear a tie, Richard Branson would have strong appeal among the demographically large electorate of ageing ex-hippies turned prosperous executives, as well as with lovers of early Seventies soft rock.
He could offer fiscal incentives of discounted air travel, but would lose votes in constituencies where his radio station has a rotten reception.
The SST (Sky Sun Times): Increasingly claiming affinity with the born-again Christian democrats its leader, Rupert Murdoch, would have use of four national papers and satellite television to put across his message.
Mr Murdoch would have to overcome the constitutionally hazy question of a foreign citizen becoming prime minister, but there is likely to be a limited media campaign to clarify that issue.
The Commonwealth Hemline Party: The foreign premiership issue may arise too in the case of Conrad Black, Canadian owner of the Daily Telegraph. Campaigning for a return to traditional values and shorter skirts, he is likely to win votes in home counties areas that Mr Branson's radio cannot reach.
The Association: Lord Rothermere would have to renounce his title to become prime minister as Lord Home had to back in 1963.
Sources say he would be loath to do this, reckoning with some justification to influence government policy as owner of the Daily Mail far more effectively than he could as prime minister.
Chris Evans: An outsider to watch. Does not actually own a TV station but is rarely off them, gaining visibility and familiarity with the electorate through what pollsters refer to as the Slattery factor. Most of his audience is below voting age but could prove influential in urging their parents how to vote.
Leading article, page 17
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Czech police haul migrants off trains to Germany and 'write numbers on their arms in ink'
Trans actress Candis Cayne reveals she walked out of a Curb Your Enthusiasm audition over an offensive joke
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency based in Ashford, Ke...
£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...