Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Sunifesto Murdoch right-wing vision made explicit

Wee bit careless to present so few ethnic minority faces?
I can't recall seeing quite so detailed, especially from a tabloid, as this before - an all-encompassing manifesto that quite neatly provides the clearest possible evidence of The Sun and thus Murdoch's (as much as he absurdly continues to deny influencing his papers' viewpoints and agenda!) ideological orientation.

The timing is smart - the political parties are yet to publish their manifestoes, and UKIP, Labour, Lib Dems and Tories (the major right-wing/centre-right parties) will all feel some pressure to adhere to some of this classic neo-liberal agenda.

Roy Greenslade has been discussing Murdoch's recent, rather surprising, use of Twitter to make public his previously 'private' (they were clear enough if you read his papers!) views and partisanship:
For Murdoch’s inner circle, such open political expression is a thing of wonder. Before the age of social media, he kept himself firmly in the background, careful not to expose his own public views while actively seeking to sway elections through the editorial endorsements in his many newspapers across the globe.“He made clear to his editors which politicians deserved support and those that didn’t,” said a former News Corporation executive. “But unless it was time for an endorsement, those conversations remained private.”The former executive added: “Now with his Twitter feed, the world can see how he is thinking all the time. Which is unusual for Rupert, who liked to keep his own counsel. It has surprised many of us to see him go so public.”
Its worth reading his article in full. A bit more:
Murdoch watchers see the dual-track emoting of his Twitter feed and the editorial pages of his newspapers as symbiotic. The social media site does not only provide the media magnate a direct channel to vent his opinions – it also acts as a prompt for Murdoch’s editors, they say.
David Folkenflik, who is NPR’s media correspondent and the author of Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires, said that “Twitter has changed the ball-game. Every Murdoch editor around the world will be monitoring that feed very closely – they check it repeatedly – to see whether he’s expressed himself again.”
As the power of newspapers has waned amid the fragmentation of digital discourse, the relationship between Murdoch and his newspapers has arguably turned upside-down. Before the proliferation of other news sites, he used his newspapers to amplify his personal political views; today, with the News Corp empire bigger than ever, he uses his personal Twitter feed to amplify the influence of his newspapers.
As the former News Corp executive put it: “As newspaper endorsements become less and less important, this is one way for him to maintain a high political profile.”
That trend remains visible in the UK, where Murdoch pushed the power of newspaper endorsements to the limit with the Sun’s famous 1992 front page on the day after the Conservative party’s general election victory: “It’s the Sun Wot Won It”. Today, the Sun has to work that much harder to have the same impact – this week it launched the endorsement process for the UK’s May general election, 100 days before the event. It dubbed the paper’s campaign the “Sunifesto” and flagged it as “100 days to save Britain”.


THE SUNIFESTO: ANALYSIS

As to that 'Sunifesto', there are a few especially interesting points to consider:


(1) A hint that Murdoch's September 2014 meeting with Farage in the US will lead to the Sun and/or Times (which, as Greenslade notes in the above article, published an editorial praising Farage shortly after that meeting); under Politics, these are listed:
— An end to tribal politics . . . Britain is sick of it. 
— Braver politicians speaking out of conviction, not just trotting out party line. 
— More people with real life experience in Cabinet; fewer ex-“special advisers”. 
(2) Murdoch's business agenda forms part of this; the BBC (Sky's main rival) gets its own section (this builds on James Murdoch's series of speeches attacking the BBC in recent years, plus of course the incessant flak from within the Murdoch press and other right-wing papers):
— Decriminalise failure to pay the licence fee. 
— Cut BBC to core mission of first-class original programming, broadcast on multiple platforms. 
(3) This is much less widely known or discussed, but Murdoch has stated that News Corp's education wing could become the most profitable, dominant part of his global empire, and the Sunifesto includes policies that would help Murdoch make money from UK education. His extensive links with former Education Secretary Michael Gove, and the mutual love-in, are well documented (see here and here for Guardian posts [this came up during RM's Leveson testimony], here for a left-wing site's analysis [use ctrl/cmd+F to search for murdoch] and scroll to end of post for sample quotes):
— Expand free schools programme. 
(4) Yet more that favours his business - government subsidy for his employees' wages!
— Government savings to be turned into tax cuts for firms to raise low wages.
(5) Given how outraged the press when its 'freedom of speech' is questioned, and given the fourth estate's function as the central democratic check and safeguard against over-powerful politicians and elites, the crass hypocrisy in campaigning for yet further police snooping power is just extraordinary, though there is another 'free speech' section which contradicts this:
 Give spooks/police surveillance powers against terror – but approved by judge. 
— Britain must be free to speak, within the law. 


Here's what it lists (SOURCE: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/6299338/The-Sunifesto-The-Suns-vision-for-a-better-Britain.html):

TODAY, 100 days to the General Election, The Sun is launching our own manifesto. 

We haven’t yet decided which party we will support before the vote in May. 
But whichever one can get closest to making our manifesto a reality will get our backing.
Five years ago Britain was in dire straits, left at the mercy of a global recession by a rudderless and wasteful Labour Government. 
The Tory/Lib-Dem coalition has not been a perfect marriage.It has achieved remarkable successes in several areas, crucially the economy and jobs. 
They have been offset by failures on immigration and the NHS. 
Here are the key policies we want to see, to deliver success to Britain: 

ECONOMY
— Deficit cleared within five years. 
— A REAL war on waste, not the usual promises. 
— Government savings to be turned into tax cuts for firms to raise low wages. 
— Narrowing of the North-South wealth divide through grants and tax breaks outside London and South-East. 
EU
— In/out referendum after a tough renegotiation of our position with Brussels. 
— A PM willing to lead us out of the EU if renegotiation fails. 
— Regain ability to control our borders and select migrants by skills. 
— End to Human Rights Act. 
NHS
— NHS cannot continue as bottomless money-pit. 
— Needs radical reform, with private sector help. 
— No more health tourists or needless cosmetic surgery on State. 
BRITISHNESS
— Core values of tolerance, freedom, equality of sexes and rule of British law are paramount. 
— Migrants must learn English and respect British values. 
— They must speak out against extremism. 
— They must not elevate the traditions of their homeland over ours. 
SCHOOLS
— Expand free schools programme. 
— Drive up actual standards, measurable against rest of world, not just exam results. 
— Stand up for pupils’ rights over those of teaching unions. 
— More vocational training over meaningless degrees. 
— Reskill Britain – train young people for life, and work. 
POLITICS
— An end to tribal politics . . . Britain is sick of it. 
— Braver politicians speaking out of conviction, not just trotting out party line. 
— More people with real life experience in Cabinet; fewer ex-“special advisers”. 
— More women MPs. 
— More ethnic minority MPs. 
— More honesty, less spin. 
— Each party to list five polices they will NOT ditch in coalition negotiations. 
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
— A proper 30-year plan, including nuclear power. 
— End shameful delays over fracking for shale gas. 
— MPs must stop dreaming about windfarms... they will never be enough. 
— Prioritise economic future over climate change. 
SECURITY AND DEFENCE
 No more cuts to forces. 
 Give spooks/police surveillance powers against terror – but approved by judge. 
 Send ground troops to tackle IS if unavoidable to keep Britain safe. 
 Nukes vital as deterrent. 
CRIME AND JUSTICE
— Falls in crime welcome, so too stricter sentences for serious crime. 
— Too many jail terms for non-violent crimes: fines better and greater deterrent. 
— End scandal of endless police bail, which ruins lives. 
FUEL
— Automatic mechanism to cut pump prices in line with falls in world oil market. 
HOUSING
— Government should encourage and help fund a huge house-building programme. 
WELFARE
— Welfare only as a last resort to prevent hunger and homelessness. 
— Current cap too high at £26,000 a year. 
— Child benefit capped at two children for new claimants. 
— Ditch handouts such as bus passes for well-off OAPs. 
BBC
— Decriminalise failure to pay the licence fee. 
— Cut BBC to core mission of first-class original programming, broadcast on multiple platforms. 
FOREIGN AID
— Scrap guarantee that 0.7% of our GDP be given away in foreign aid. 
— Each aid case to be rigorously overseen by British officials. 
— No taxpayers’ money to corrupt, or already rich, regimes. 
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
— Government must be brave enough to ignore a social media mob. 
— Police to stop policing social media “offence” if no law broken. 
— Britain must be free to speak, within the law. 
What do you think? #Sunifesto




But Gove returned to his pro-Murdoch theme last week, publicly attacking the Leveson inquiry, set up in the wake of News International's misdeeds, as a threat to press freedom. "Whenever anyone sets up a new newspaper – as Rupert Murdoch has with the Sun on Sunday – they should be applauded and not criticised," he said.
It was a reminder of the extraordinarily close links that still exist between publishing tycoon and Tory politician. One of Murdoch's long-term projects is what he calls a "revolutionary and profitable" move by his media companies into online education. Gove would be a key figure in any attempt to penetrate the British schools market.
The education secretary meets Murdoch frequently and is an enthusiastic backer of the ideas of Joel Klein, the head of Murdoch's new education division. Within a week of his promotion in 2010, the minister was at dinner with Murdoch, according to officially released details of meetings.The atmosphere could only have been warm. Gove once sang Murdoch's praises in a 1999 Times column as "the greatest godfather of mischief in print" who possesses "18th-century pamphleteering vigour". He wrote that Murdoch "encourages … free thinking. His newspapers … are driven by public demand and the creativity of chaotic, cock-snooking, individuals."Murdoch in turn was kind to his former employee. When Gove first arrived at Westminster in 2005 as a backbench MP, the Times topped up his salary with a £60,000-a-year column. His wife still works for the paper.
Murdoch's publishing arm, HarperCollins, also gave Gove a book advance in 2004, when he was first selected for the safe Conservative seat of Surrey Heath. It was for a history of an obscure 18th-century politician, Viscount Bolingbroke.

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