Neil Kinnock has plenty of reasons to hate Rupert Murdoch. His belief that the Sun’s infamous light-bulb front page cost him the ’92 election gave rise (falsely in my opinion) to idea of Murdoch as a king maker in British politics. Yet this morning, clearly still smarting over that very front page, Kinnock effectively called for an end to a free press in Britain.
Speaking to an astonished John Humphrey’s on the Today programme Kinnock called for a “balanced press”. He went on to outline his vision where no newspaper would have any “political pre-determination”. Presumably he wants to see dead tree versions of BBC littering up our new stands, bland and impartial. No opinion pieces, no Polly in the Grauniad or Little John in the Mail. As Kinnock knows, the newspaper is industry is already in terminal decline and any regulation of this kind would likely kill it off prematurely. That would at least rid the politicians of the meddlers who keep exposing them.
Ed Milliband has been attempting to move the argument onto media ownership and press regulations. I think we are entitled to know if Kinnock is talking for the Labour party with his deeply illiberal rant.