The ongoing revelation of systematic hacking of thousands of phones and computers by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World lifts the lid on the uncontrolled criminality of the corporate and political elite, here in Britain. At least 7,000 people have had their phones hacked and their privacy invaded. The trawl (repulsively ) for personal information has homed in on a wide range of victims, from politicians and members of the royal family to the families of murder victims and soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
The scandal is revealing the thorough-going decay of democracy and all of the official institutions in Britain, including the major parties, Parliament, the judiciary and the media. The most powerful media corporation in Britain, which constantly trumpets the need for “law and order,” has presided over serious violations of the law, including hacking on what one MP called “an industrial scale.” It has done so year-on-year with virtual impunity.
Both of the major parties, Conservative and Labour, are implicated in these crimes, not only because of their refusal to call to account News International, the parent firm of Murdoch’s British media outlets, but because of their intimate relations with Murdoch’s media empire. They never challenged the Metropolitan Police for accepting the patently absurd claim that these illegal practices were the actions of one rogue reporter and a private investigator, even as it surfaced that police officers had received tens of thousands of pounds in bribes from News of the World.
Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday was forced to acknowledge official collusion with the Murdoch press, stating, “The truth is, we have all been in this together—the press, politicians and leaders of all parties—and yes, that includes me.”
Murdoch is forever associated with the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and above all with Thatcher’s brutal assault on the working class. He cheered on her deregulation of the City of London, privatisations and tax cuts for corporations and the rich from which he benefited more than most. News of the World’s parent company, News International, carried out an infamous union-busting operation, sacking 6,000 print workers and transferring production to Wapping here in London’s East End in 1986.
Then, after Murdoch decided that the Tories had exhausted their usefulness as a vehicle for attacking the working class and enriching the ruling elite, he switched support to Labour—which was more than ready to do his bidding. Murdoch dictated government policy to such a degree that Lance Price, a media advisor to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, called Murdoch “the 24th member of the Cabinet.” Price added, “His presence was always felt.”
Current Labour leader Ed Miliband is now posing as a critic of News of the World, seeking to make political capital out of Cameron’s relations with Coulson and Murdoch press executive Rebakah Brooks. This is should be seen for what it really is a 'transparent fraud' on the part of a Labour leader who twelve days ago refused to support thousands of public sector workers striking in defence of pensions, working conditions and services.