David Blackburn

Might Gaddafi shunt Murdoch from the front pages?

Loyal Tories and government types are hoping that the media will soon move on from Murdoch. And the unusually heavy briefings emanating from George Osborne’s office last night were perhaps an attempt to shift the spotlight.

But it will take a very gripping story to displace the phone hacking saga, especially if yet more has-been politicians shuffle back into public life to settle old scores with Murdoch. With the British press immersed in this tempestuous revenge drama and the whirl of hypocrisy that surrounds it, you wouldn’t guess that the euro has embarked on a 72 hour ordeal that may decide its future.
 
But, Rupert Murdoch’s mugshots could yet be superseded by those of Colonel Gaddafi. Sky News reports that, according to US intelligence, Gaddafi has run out of fuel and cash; if true, it means that his number is almost up. Elsewhere, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé claims that he has received emissaries from Tripoli who insist that Gaddafi wants to cede power, although Juppé is careful to say that nothing formal or concrete has been discussed.
 
This news follows hot on the heels of widespread disquiet in France over the direction of the campaign, or rather the lack of it. The dissent is such that even Defence Minister Gerard Longuet has called for a negotiated settlement to begin. So, Juppé should be taken with a generous pinch of salt for the time being. But, obviously, if Gaddafi were to abdicate it would alter the prevailing view in this country that Cameron’s Libyan action is a colossal misadventure. And who knows? Perhaps the remnants of News International might lead the reappraisal.



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