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”

Share

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

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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee