Time has not appeared to be on Rupert Murdoch’s side in the phone hacking scandal. The stream of revelations about the ethically and legally dubious practices at Murdoch’s media properties seems to have no end. And as the investigations have taken their toll, Britain’s Left has mostly watched in glee, assuming that their longtime adversary was finally receiving his comeuppance. Yet the schadenfreude seems to have been premature.
Last week marked the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the British throne. The government has already declared a four day public holiday in June, during which Her Majesty will lead a flotilla of a thousand boats along the Thames and a chain of fiery beacons will be lit across the United Kingdom. For a country in recession and at conflict with the European Union over its right to govern its own finances, this offers us a unique opportunity to reassert confidence and historical identity.
In 2005, when I ran as a Parliamentary candidate for my home town in England, I invited an American friend, who had worked on Barack Obama’s senatorial race, to join me on the campaign trail. He was expecting a rather more high-tech operation than the one he found. Leaflets were run off an old black and white photocopier and the balloons bore the name of the candidate from eight years before. The American’s first question was “How much have you invested in television ads?” Everyone on the staff laughed.