End of the affair: Has Rupert Murdoch has been struck by the curse of a close friendship with Mr Tony Blair?

A Murdoch spokesman tells the MoS that “Rupert Murdoch will have nothing more to do with Tony Blair. Not ever”


It has been this column’s painful duty these recent years to pinpoint the extreme danger posed to anyone by friendship with Mr Tony Blair.

Call it a jinx, a curse or God paying them back, but the ranks whose lives have taken a turn for the worse after palling up with him includes Gaddafi, Assad, Berlusconi, Mubarak and, or course, Cliff Richard, whose supply of Christmas hits seemingly dried up after gifting him the use of his Bajan villa. Yet even this rigorous chronicler of the syndrome is shocked – shocked! – by yesterday’s Mail on Sunday splash, which ushers into the public domain an allegation that first circulated when the newly-divorced Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng announced the collapse of their wedlock in June. Some delicacy is demanded here, partly on legal grounds but primarily out of reverence for the sunshine boys who once merrily discussed British policy on the EU, and gathered by the Jordan for the christening of the junior Murdoch to whom Mr Tony stood godfather in his flowing white robes. Such happy days, I hear you budding Karen Carpenters sing, and not so long ago. Today, heartrendingly, the two are reportedly at DefCon 1 over Rupert’s suspicions about his former chum’s relationship with Wendi. Staff at the $20m Murdoch ranch in Carmel, California informed him, the MoS reports, that Mr Tony more than once stayed there but without his knowledge. A Murdoch spokesman tells the MoS that “Rupert Murdoch will have nothing more to do with Tony Blair. Not ever”. Another chips in with: “If you think Rupert made a decision to end his marriage and a long term friendship without just cause, you are sorely mistaken.” In a tough no nonsense counterstrike, someone dismisses Rupert’s allegations as “the ravings of a sad old man”. The MoS describes this unnamed character as “a close friend”. As an earlier Mr T often put it in The A Team, I pity the fool – I do, I do. I pity the fool – who would bear that ominous title. The last thing anyone sane would wish to be, as I believe we have firmly established, is a close friend of Mr Tony Blair.

Life’s full of surprises – but not in Ed Miliband’s case

In more cheering news on the Labour leader amity front, Ed Miliband claimed on Desert Island Discs that, despite lingering tensions,  he and brother David are “best friends”. If true, this begs the question of who Ed’s second best friend might be. Damian McBride? Paul Dacre? The guy who egged him in the summer? But let’s take him at his word, and move on to the luxury item he requested from Kirsty Young. He could have had anything, from the Boston Red Sox stadium (with all his old baseball heroes mystically revived a la Field of Dreams), via the familiar blow-up doll, to the Rev Paul Flower’s addled head on a spike. But no, the younger Milibandroid contented himself with a chicken tikka masala from his local takeaway (an oddity on various levels, not least the traditional restriction on deliveries to within a two mile radius). I am one of about one and a half diehard Ed fans in the British press, but sometimes you could weep at the studied lack of imagination until the lachrymals run dry.

When I were a lass... young Liz Jones had it really bad

To mark the imminent Monty Python reunion, Liz Jones offers her bespoke version of the Four Yorkshireman – the sketch in which the quarter of wealthy Tykes strive to outdo each other with accounts of childhood poverty. “I grew up without central heating,” recalls Liz, who used to spend thrice her six-figure salary on special bottled water, while bemoaning the materialism of the age, “and was used to flannels in winter being stiff enough to snap... and reading a book holding it with one hand while other warmed on a worn rubber hot water bottle...” Luxury. I grew up eating nothing but moths plucked from Egyptian cotton sheets and cashmere pyjamas. Liz is still so poor, she convincingly claims, that she owns only two pairs of knickers. If you have any spare undies, preferably thermal and freshly laundered, you know where to send them.

Go west Mr Flowers, Mensch has plans for you

Another arch dispenser of sabbath wisdom underlines her profound grasp of American politics. A fortnight after bringing the next presidential election forward a year, Louise Mensch analyses the growing popularity of crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford as an opportunity for Paul Flowers. His reverence should apply for American citizenship, she advises in the Sun on Sunday, and run for the White House. Exactly how a man born in Bradford would qualify is not explained. Perhaps Louise means to use her close friendship with Rupert Murdoch – one  that we pray endures longer than Mr Tony Blair’s – to campaign in his Wall Street Journal for a constitutional amendment scrapping the native-born citizen requirement.

Hats off to Labour high command for devising a compelling defence to the claim that its links to the former Co-op bank chairman are damaging. This is nothing but a wicked Tory smear, runs the line to take, and Yvette Cooper dutifully took it on Andrew Marr’s show yesterday. After scintillating with the synthetic outrage, the next step in the  ice-pixie’s crusade against despicable smearing, we gather, will be the pillow talk instruction to Ed Balls to cease heckling David Cameron with babyish enquires about whether or not he ever took cocaine.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own