Rupert murdoch

In praise of Rupert Murdoch

In March last year, when the bosses of Jesus College, Cambridge, lost their legal battle for a ‘faculty’ to take down the 17th-century memorial of the college’s benefactor, Tobias Rustat, because of slavery connections, from their college chapel, they did not appeal against the verdict of the ecclesiastical court. They knew they would not have won. But, as I mentioned at the time (26 March 2022), the Church of England high-ups, angry at their own heritage law, are not giving up. The latest biannual report of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice backs attempts to change the church’s faculty jurisdiction rules and promotes the 47 recommendations of From Lament to Action,

Martin Vander Weyer

HS2 has been a fiasco. It’s time to ditch it for good

In a fantasy world of wise government vision and decision-making, HS2 would have been announced in November 1964, shortly after the Tokyo Olympics. Visitors to those games saw the future in the form of the Tokaido Shinkansen – the first Japanese ‘bullet train’, which raced 320 miles from the capital to Osaka, carrying 1,300 passengers per train and eventually running 360 trains per day, with average delays measured in seconds. But in that era, UK ministers thought only of axeing railways and building motorways. A de novo British high-speed network could not have taken off in the 1970s, when the French were building the first ligne à Grande Vitesse from

Chris Mullin’s eye for the absurd remains as keen as ever

Journalists seldom get to the top in politics. They find it hard to trot out the dreary virtue-signalling that political communication often requires. Chris Mullin, I suspect, finds it almost impossible. He was a Bennite, but the Bennites quickly discovered he was unreliable. The Blairites might have welcomed him had they not suspected, rightly, that he would get the line wrong sooner rather than later.  There’s an endearing vanity in the way Mullin reports every kind remark made about his previous published diaries The only journalist to have made the top job in politics is Boris Johnson, and he crashed and burned. My friend Denis MacShane, who has ability and

What did Succession get right about the Murdoch empire?

24 min listen

Andrew Neil, The Spectator‘s chairman and super fan of the HBO show, Succession, joins this episode to talk to Freddy about where the show overlapped with the real life media empire of Rupert Murdoch, who has his own problems of succession to think about. This conversation was originally filmed as an episode of ‘The View from 22’ from Spectator TV, which you can watch here.

Welcome to post-truth America

A couple more weeks in the Bagel and then on to dear old London. I’ve had a very good time partying with young friends here, but the place reeks, literally as well as metaphorically. The rate of violence is creeping up, with gangs shooting at each other even on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, right where the poor little Greek boy grew up. Where a commemorative plaque marking young Taki’s residence should have been put up long ago for services to American women, there was a corpse. The next day, it was forgotten, as an 11-year-old was gunned down in the Bronx. What used to be extreme radicalism is now

Succession gets the rich and powerful all wrong

They have stepped into the pop-culture spotlight via the HBO hit Succession, a hatchet job on the very rich and powerful produced by the very rich and much more powerful Adam McKay (The Big Short). McKay started off by doing a lot of cheesy comedies, made a large fortune, and then went after Wall Street types. Nothing wrong with that; films are supposed to go after the rich and powerful, and always have. It’s the media’s coverage of a TV series about a fictional family that is slanted and totally false. The media hint that the mogul and patriarch Logan Roy is based on Rupert Murdoch, and that Roy’s dysfunctional

Keeping yourself angry, the Hare way: We Travelled, by David Hare, reviewed

A character in David Hare’s Skylight claims she has at last found contentment by no longer opening newspapers or watching television. ‘Well,’ says her astounded interlocutor, ‘you’re missing what’s happening. You’re missing reality.’ Hare himself can never be accused of missing (or missing out on) the reality of what is happening. He has already even mounted his response to ‘what it was like to experience Covid-19’ in Beat the Devil, starring Ralph Fiennes. His instinct has always been to tackle current affairs, sometimes with surreal consequences. When I saw Pravda, which was about Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen, the stalls were filled with Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen — art

The Sun goes down

A couple of weeks ago Ally Ross, the longtime TV critic at the Sun, was summoned to the managing editor’s office. Such confrontations normally involve expenses. At the Daily Express in the 1950s one Middle East correspondent submitted his — one camel: £125. The narrow-eyed managing editor pointed out that if the camel was bought, it must have been sold, and they would be grateful if the claim was adjusted. Another form turned up 30 minutes later — burying a dead camel: £200. This conversation with Ally was not about money. It was much more serious. It was solemnly explained to him that he had used the word ‘woke’ in

The real Rupert Murdoch, by Kelvin MacKenzie

For more than four decades I have been around Rupert Murdoch. In that time he employed me in both London and New York, invested in my business ideas and ultimately fired me. It was always rock ’n’ roll around Rupert and that’s the way I liked it. So you would have thought that when the BBC made its current three-part documentary on him, it might have come to me for my views. Oh no. I presume it didn’t want to take the risk I might say something warm and supportive. It did, however, film Trevor Kavanagh, the Sun’s political columnist, for hours on end. He was warm and supportive. But