Alex Massie Alex Massie

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

There’s much thumb-sucking on the question of whether Rupert Murdoch is a “fit and proper person” to purchase the 61% of BSkyB he does not already own. I’ve defended Murdoch’s interest in the past (without, shockingly, ever being asked to write for any of his papers) and still see little reason why the deal should not go ahead.

This has little to do with Murdoch but everything to do with the nature of the beast. Owning a newspaper is rather like running for the Presidency of the United States of America: the desire to do so is usually enough to demonstrate that the candidate or would-be tycoon should not be allowed anywhere near their dreams.

There are very few exceptions to this endlessly-observable rule and, this being so, it seems unfair to target Mr Murdoch alone. Of course he’s not a “fit and proper person”, he’s a newspaper proprietor. The one proves the other and vice versa.If you disqualify one proprietr you should get rid of them all.

The only exception to this? The Barclay brothers, obviously. Splendid, stout-hearted and copper-bottomed chaps.

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