Reports of a Murdoch-Blair feud are good news for Labour

The question of whether Labour should have accepted the support of his media empire as a gift, or spurned it as a poisoned chalice, retains a certain relevance

Share

Many people in the Labour Party will be relieved by reports that the once rock-solid alliance between Rupert Murdoch and Tony Blair is now in tatters, the alleged offence being Mr Blair’s continuing friendship with Mr Murdoch’s former wife, Wendi Deng.

The bust-up has no immediate ramifications for the party that Mr Blair once led, as he has long since abandoned an active role in Labour’s internal affairs. His successor, moreover, champions a different style of politics and a different relationship with the media.

But even Ed Miliband has not entirely escaped the long shadow of the man who led the Labour Party to three consecutive election victories, and who did so, some say, thanks in part to his warm relationship with Mr Murdoch. It is why the question of whether Labour should have accepted the support of his media empire as a gift, or spurned it as a poisoned chalice, retains a certain relevance.

The dilemma that faced the party recalls the choice once presented to the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa who, when offered a part-share by Russia in the partition of Poland, “wept – but still took it,” or so it was said. Labour’s attitude to the Murdoch empire was similar. More sensitive souls in the party felt deeply tainted by association with it, but the Labour leadership knew when to park its convictions when a good opportunity came its way.

Since then, of course, much has changed, and Mr Miliband makes of a virtue of his principled opposition to the now damaged and scandal-tainted Murdoch empire.

Still, one should remember that it was Mr Murdoch, not Labour, who ended the affair in 2009, when he turned on Gordon Brown’s leadership and somewhat tepidly embraced the cause of the Conservatives instead.

After that, copies of Mr Murdoch’s newspapers were theatrically torn to shreds at the Labour Party conference. The deeper the affair, the more dramatic the parting. No wonder Labour wants to move on and forget the whole business. Following news of Mr Murdoch’s reported feud with Mr Blair, it can finally consign the affair to history.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions