Rupert Murdoch is hinting that he might support the Tory, David Cameron, in the next election, according to the Guardian. That raises what seems like the eternal question of British politics — is it the Sun (with a little help from the Times to add gravitas) wot wins elections or is Murdoch simply good at picking winners?
That, of course, is not something susceptible to scientific proof. The Sun supported Thatcher and Thatcher won; the Sun supported Blair and Blair won are both true but prove nothing.
What is obvious is that a period when the main political parties vie for the Murdoch stamp of approval does News Corp no harm at all. There are short and long-term gains to be made if two leaders are seeking the backing of the Murdoch papers.
Most immediately, there is the BBC charter review which will influence the whole development of TV in the UK for ten years.
Murdoch told the Australian, another of his papers, that he could see himself supporting Cameron in a British election, expected in 2009 or 2010.
He also said Gordon Brown, Blair’s expected successor, should wait at least 12 months after assuming power before calling an election. Murdoch said 18 months would give the voters a chance to compare Cameron and Brown.
It would also give Murdoch good time to be wooed with News Corp friendly policies on regulation and suchlike by the two contenders for four or five years in control of the UK.
I guess we are going to see a lot more of Murdoch playing hard-to-get.