Thursday 14 March 2024

Ownership, Influence or Control

I am still laughing. Could anything be funnier than that the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator had begged the State for protection from the "free" market? Yes, there is one thing even more amusing than that. A Conservative Government is going to give it to them. By Statute. Someone should table an amendment exempting Israel from this ban, just to force a vote and see what happened.

The press must be so free that you needed the Government's permission to part-own it, and possibly also the approval of both Houses of Parliament. There may be no strategic interest in having a British steel industry, but Damian Thompson must be saved for the nation. This is not purely comical, however. If these publications were this important, then they could not possibly be allowed to go bust. Yet they are about to be bought by a man whose television station was already doing so. We are going to be picking up the tab when the same thing happened in print. You read it here first, as you very often do.

Still, the point has been conceded. If foreign interests, or at the very least foreign states, must be prevented from acquiring things that did not matter much at all, such as two small circulation and essentially spoof newspapers plus a tiny circulation lifestyle magazine (as apparently Peter Hitchens calls it) that was also largely written as a joke, then they certainly ought not to own a very great many of the things that they already did.

Having been hooked by the horses, by the hats, and by the horses in hats, then readers of those publications may expect to continue to be fed comment that seasoned journalists from other English-speaking countries could not tell from The Guardian in blind tests. In my direct experience, that is quite the game in certain parlours. If Telegraph, Guardian and Times readers alike wanted to know what their sages really thought, then they would read the Financial Times and The Economist, in which the Establishment talks to itself on the assumption that no one else is listening.

My own magazine is going gangbusters, so where do I apply for my State licence to own and edit it? I was wrong about the Leveson Report at the time, but I seem to have swapped places with Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson. The magazine, and the thinktank that is also bubbling away nicely on the backburner, are large parts of why I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. If, however, it did not contest North Durham, then I would.

When I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.


  1. You're right, they'll want a bailout next.

    1. And they'll get it. Isn't the "free" market wonderful?