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Friday, October 24, 2008 

Of yachts and Murdoch.

Probably the thing about the now notorious meetings in Corfu that will most alienate the average person is not that they took place, but that they took place on yachts. Holiday homes or holiday getaways they could understand, as they could arranged parties, even perhaps in hired nightclubs. It's instead the presence of these monstrous indicators of wealth, the bling which only the squillionares can afford, synonymous not just with excess but also with debauchery and hedonism that will so raise eyebrows. After all, what else is a private 80m or longer yacht for if not hiring the highest class hookers available from the local area, sailing into international waters and then snorting cocaine off their appendages? The whole concept is inscrutable to 99.99% of the population, and that politicians so want to ingratiate themselves with the stinking rich just when the economy is tanking, mainly as a direct result of the avarice of the stinking rich, is far more damaging in the long term than any deals that may or may not have been agreed on board the vessels.

There is then something of the pretender to the throne travelling to see the monarch himself about David Cameron's jolly jaunt via a private jet provided by Matthew Freud (Murdoch's son in-law) to see Rupert Murdoch. You almost wonder whether he went so far as to kiss his ring, although what ring that would have been would be additionally open to question. Tony Blair did of course go on a much further jaunt to woo Murdoch, flying all the way to the fatherland to seek his approval, but at least he was honest and direct with what he was doing. Cameron's entry in the Commons register of interests doesn't so much as mention that the purpose of the visit was to have drinks with the world's most powerful media player. True, it had to be forced out of Blair that he talked with and met Murdoch throughout his reign, but Cameron's lack of openness hardly augurs well should he become the next prime minister.

While it's impossible to tell whether Cameron's visit persuaded Murdoch that he was someone who could be trusted not to affect his business interests, or indeed that he might be more receptive to Murdoch's woes involving the Competition Commission demanding that he sell BSkyB's stake in ITV, it should be noted that the Sun swung heavily behind Cameron following his piss-poor but high on Thatcherite rhetoric conference speech. Murdoch may not be convinced about those around Cameron, especially Osborne and his blabbing about private meetings, even if it is to Murdoch's own newspapers, but Cameron's dash to meet with Murdoch surely signifies another step in his long march towards power.

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