Vince Cable needs to face the music

It can’t have been a very merry Christmas in the Cable household this year. Despite proving himself surprisingly light of foot in his star turn on the Boxing Day edition of ‘Strictly come Dancing’, such smooth moves would have come in far handier when considering the appropriateness of a “declaration of war” on the Murdoch empire

It can’t have been a very merry Christmas in the Cable household this year. Despite proving himself surprisingly light of foot in his star turn on the Boxing Day edition of ‘Strictly come Dancing’ – an idea we can only attribute to too much eggnog- such smooth moves would have come in far handier when considering the appropriateness of a “declaration of war” on the Murdoch empire.

While it is hard to escape from the fact that Cable’s comments were badly chosen and inappropriate for a supposedly neutral cabinet Minister, recent statistics have shown that only 5 per cent of the country support the News Corp bid to buy out BskyB . Indeed, 84 per cent of British people are against any single company having majority control of our media.

So the question that springs mind is- what was gained by obtaining such comments? Cable, who clearly in this case was very much a vessel for popular opinion, has now been stripped of his media responsibilities and faced a public scolding from Cameron, like a naughty schoolboy who spoke out of turn. Such humiliation for one of the few remaining Liberal Democrats who has retained at least some liberal sensibilities when faced with the tangible prospect of power, surely works in no-ones favour but Murdoch’s. Indeed, the Telegraph journalists involved in the ‘sting’ were accused of attempting to cover up the quotes, before they were leaked to the BBC, for fear it would undermine their battle against the Murdoch take-over.

To quote Jane Eyre (and Lewis Bretts) we are “but human and fallible”, so should the future of British media be put in jeopardy all because of Cable’s hubris?

And my answer to that is actually, yes. As much as I dislike that the Culture Secretary, and Murdoch’s future drinking buddy, Jeremy Hunt now resides over the deal, the fault lies entirely at the feet of Cable, not those who reported on the incident. Matters of journalistic integrity aside, Ministers cannot be looking at any national issues with such preconceived bias. Just because the case concerns Murdoch- who incidentally stands as a corrosive black whole of homogenisation and uniformity for global media as well as not paying a dime of tax- does not mean we should turn a blind eye. To be frank, if the coalition wasn’t in such a current state of disarray, he really should have been sacked.

Should Willets, the Universities Minister, have been caught six months ago, making similar comments on how he was going to ‘declare war’ on university funding, and raise our fees through the roof, before the Browne report had even been published, there would have been national outcry. It is hard to admit, but the same rules have to apply universally. We cannot pick and choose neutrality within government.

The truth can be uncomfortable, and does not necessarily serve an immediate purpose. While the Telegraph reporters may be criticised for ‘not serving the public good’, they did what journalists should do- reveal all sides of the story. As with the dilemma that surrounds Wikileaks, and the merit and motive behind revealing such harsh truths about the war and the government to the general public, it all comes down to the wise words that the truth hurts but cannot be avoided. And that’s not something even Vince Cable will be able to foxtrot his way out of.

6 comments

  1. Some good pandering to your dream future employers at News International (oh wait, York Press isn’t a NI publication…).

    ” Such humiliation for one of the few remaining Liberal Democrats who has retained at least some liberal sensibilities when faced with the tangible prospect of power, ”

    Yeah, his decisions as Business Secretary have been really up there with his parties manifesto etc…

    Having the gumption to have a go at Murdoch is one of the most honourable things this Lib Dem part of the coalition have done – like Campbell in the aftermath of the elections, they’ve had the balls to actually point out what a horrible, corrupt and biased empire Murdoch oversees.

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  2. 29 Dec ’10 at 1:14 pm

    Lloyd Sparkes

    “they’ve had the balls to actually point out what a horrible, corrupt and biased empire Murdoch oversees.”

    All news sources are biased, because people are biased. The BBC is Biased, as is Sky News, ITV News, Channel 4 news.

    Now Murdock already owns 40% of BSkyB, his son is chairman, does him owning the other 60% really make a difference in how much control he has over their news channel, No it really does.

    The investigation into full takeover started by cable and called for by the market leader & monopoly holder the BBC along side others, is a utter waste of tax payers money, and time.

    So i am glad Cable has had his power to make such a decision removed. I do wish he had been fired, and replaced with david laws though.

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  3. 29 Dec ’10 at 4:43 pm

    Champagne Conservative

    @Lloyd Sparkes,
    The last time I checked, 40% wasn’t a majority.

    If you’re genuinely suggesting that the slant of the BBC and Channel 4 approach the extremes seen in other Murdoch-owned outlets, I cringe for your mental state.

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  4. 29 Dec ’10 at 11:01 pm

    Lloyd Sparkes

    @Champagne Conservative
    Well i have seen market share figures of upto 55% for the BBC, and considering the way they get their funding (which is another debate) they have considerable control over the market, and to complain about (what i believe is the smallest player at 4%) is beggers belief.

    I am not too worried if a news source is biased unless it is the BBC (again due to their funding source).

    I personally watch BBC News, and Sky News, and i find Sky News to be no more biased as BBC news.

    Now i have never watched Fox News, but we are only worried about british media outlets here

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  5. 2 Jan ’11 at 2:06 am

    Peter Hitchens on crack

    Sky News is utter tosh.

    If you don’t think it has a right-wing bias then you’re obviously unfamiliar with the work of that cretin Kay Burley and her slightly less thick cell mate Michael Boulton.

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  6. 2 Jan ’11 at 2:08 am

    Nick Clegg and the Philosopher's Stone

    What Vince Cable needs is a brick to the face.

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