The monster in the machine

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron last week was forced to abandon his campaigning in the run-up to the local elections and return to Westminster to face questions from Labour leader Ed Miliband over Cameron’s refusal to launch an investigation into the relationship between his Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and the Murdoch media empire and whether Hunt has breached the code of ministerial conduct.

The issue arose at the Leveson Inquiry when it transpired that Hunt employed one of Murdoch’s News International minions, Adam Smith, while working on Murdoch’s attempts to takeover the BSkyB satellite television network. The Murdoch empire currently controls about 40 per cent of this powerful and lucrative network but wants to increase his share to control it.

Hunt denies leaking inside information on the Government’s deliberations on whether to allow Murdoch’s bid to News International and offered up all his emails and other communications for public scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean that Adam Smith — since resigned as Hunt’s special advisor — did not pass on information.

What the whole thing shows is how deeply embedded Murdoch’s henchmen have become in the fabric of our government, as they are in Australia and the United States.

Murdoch has “befriended” dozens of western elected heads of state and other high-ranking ministers and entertained them on his yacht or elsewhere. For decades the support of his news empire has been seen as decisive in bourgeois elections. Tory and New Labour leaders have kow-towed to Murdoch.

And he has wielded his influence in backing umpteen imperialist wars of aggression in the Middle East and against trade unions and working class organisations everywhere.

To his credit, former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown did try to achieve a break between his government and the Murdoch empire — and was portrayed by the Murdoch media as deranged for doing so — in the same way that leaders of Third World countries who try to stand up to imperialism are portrayed as mad.

The covert minions of the Murdoch empire run through other aspects of our bourgeois state machine beside Parliament. They seem to be well-entrenched in our police and judiciary systems and who knows what else.

And it seems that Murdoch’s motive in this is pure greed for more and more profit. He is the ultimate product of the capitalist system. He sits before parliamentary committees of inquiry and before the Leveson inquiry making apologies and denying responsibility with a big smile on his face. He has wrecked other people’s lives, corrupted governments, played a role in instigating wars but he knows he will never go to prison or suffer destitution.

Capitalism has come to a stage where all its dirty linen is exposed in public and it does not care. It thinks there is nothing the rest of us can do, that we have no power to bring it to justice. It thinks we will just have to accept corruption, oppression and the resultant poverty and misery that go with that as a part of life. And under the capitalist system he is right. If it wasn’t Murdoch it would be some other greedy, power hungry monster that would take over.

But we do have an option. The exposure of Murdoch and the whole system demonstrates perfectly why the bourgeois state could never be taken over through the normal bourgeois electoral system and used for the benefit of the working class. It may occasionally make some concessions when the working class is organised and strong as it was in the post war years when state welfare was introduced. But ultimately it always protects the rich and greedy.

That state must be cleared away and replaced by a state created by the working class to defend the working class. It is not enough to bring down Murdoch — we must bring down the system that created him, allowed him to flourish and is still protecting him. We must organise to throw out capitalism and replace it with socialism.