Rupert Murdoch has given Tony Blair his marching orders. Rupert wants David Cameron and Gordon Brown to poll dance for him for 18 months so he can make up his mind on who he is going to back.
Murdoch has long seen himself as king maker and Blair hasn’t helped matters with his willingness to appear as a star performer in the Murdoch global media circus.
He spells out exactly what he is looking for in one of his own titles, The Australian today:
“We’ve been a very big supporter of Tony on big issues, he’s been a very courageous world leader. We’ve also been critical of him on other things like Europe.
“But for no reason other than the dynamics of British politics we would like to see at least a year to 18 months’ standoff between Gordon Brown and David Cameron so we can decide which of those most coincides with our views.
“Those two are going to decide the next election and I think the British public would be cheated if they only got a month or two’s warning.”
We wouldn’t want to feel cheated now, would we. On the issue of Cameron, could he support him, of course, the answer is an emphatic: “Oh yes.” Shocker.
Dave and Gordon will both be desperate to win Murdoch’s endorsement as less they end up with similar treatment to that dealt out to Neil Kinnock during the 1992 General Election by Murdoch’s paper The Sun.
In a front page article on polling day the paper famously asked: “Will the last person to leave Britain please turn off the light”, should then Labour leader Kinnock become PM.
This was seen as a factor in the Conservatives victory that year, which brought John Major to power. The paper even went as far as to say “It’s the Sun Wot Won It” in a headline the next day.
The rest is history.