A quick visit to the barber – I am glad I still need to go there! – and my first encounter for some time with The Sun. And what an uninteresting encounter it was.
Page Two consisted of a group of political ‘stories’, some of which were simply made up, others were completely untrue. All were attacking the Labour Party. The editorial was hostile to Labour too, but Rupert Murdoch’s favourite tabloid was every bit as hostile towards the ‘spendthrift’ and ‘wasteful’ BBC, throwing huge sums at certain employees. Presumably, there wasn’t enough space to mention that ex footballer Thierry Henry is to ‘earn’ a trifling £24 million over the next six years as a pundit, but there was plenty of space for glowing mentions of Sky (and BT) securing Premier Football TV rights for £5.1 billion
The Sun’s politics have always been fascinating since the very people who suffer most under the Conservatives are many of its readers. It takes a large brass neck to persuade poorly paid people that the country will be better if only they were a bit worse off and those at the top were a lot better of, but that’s Murdoch’s game. As well as to advertise one of Murdoch’s other key businesses which rakes in a fortune from subscribers (like me, for now) in order to pay the Premier League that £5 billion quid.
Strangely, there appeared to be no mention of the HSBC scandal and whether PM David Cameron, known affectionately in the tabloid as ‘Cam’, had any involvement given his appointment of the now discredited Stephen Green. I was born yesterday so I am sure he knew nothing about it.
This is all part of our wonderful free press, we are told, usually by those who own and control this ‘free’ press and only allow views that fit in with their political outlook. A free press, indeed. Of our newspapers, only The Guardian is not owned by a wealthy corporation or individual and they’re so left wing they told us to vote for Nick Clegg in 2010, just like The Independent (which it isn’t). In reality, our written press is free for those who can afford it and it’s certainly free of accountability and the opportunity for those who might have a different view on our society.
So apart from endless attacks on Labour and the BBC (Murdoch thinks they are the same thing), there was a scantily clad young lady on Page Three (she was topless but you couldn’t see her front parts), there were countless stories about Sky and general show business tat. And that really was it.
We probably get the press we deserve and by buying the Sun, we are only encouraging Murdoch. Like we are with his sister papers The Sunday Times and The Times and like we are with his TV channels. But I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would buy The Sun. Surely, any right-thinking Tory would buy The Telegraph. I am at a loss to understand why anyone else would buy it at all.
I wouldn’t buy it for lots of reasons – like Hillsborough, by re-employing Kelvin McKenzie, Rod Liddle and that wretched woman who writes appalling bile and recently appeared in Channel 5’s dismal ‘Celebrity Big Brother’. But then I go and spoil it by paying him for Sky’s sports coverage, so I’m a stupid hypocrite too.