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Tony Blair/Rubert Murdoch's Political Philosophy

John Simkin

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Tony Blair gave a speech to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp executives yesterday. It gave Blair the opportunity to outline his political philosophy. He argued that the political debate in Europe and the US is “no longer between socialists and capitalists but instead between the globalisers and the advocates of protectionism, isolationism and nativism”. He went on to add that “the true divisions opening up across the world were not between left and right, but between advocates of modern, open societies and closed, traditional ones.” This he argued, was somehow linked to the fight to defeat terrorism.

Apparently, Blair is after becoming a member of the News Corp board after he retires. I suppose Murdoch would have been impressed with this attempt to cover-up the real conflict that takes place within and between societies. As Aristotle pointed out a long time ago: “When quarrels and complaints arise, it is when people who are equal have not got equal shares.” This fight for equality will continue despite what Blair might say. Blair is not willing to accept this reality. As Upton Sinclair once said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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  • 2 months later...

The main reason that Rupert Murdoch supports New Labour concerns its tax policy. He has not allowed Blair to to even consider increasing the 40% tax rate on those with the highest incomes. Mind you, as Bruce Page pointed out in The Murdoch Archipelago by Bruce Page (Simon & Schuster 2003): "We all know that Murdoch’s media empire operates at the very edges of democratic behaviour and proper business practice. For example, News International despite its vast revenues has paid virtually no income tax to the British exchequer for decades."

As another writer pointed out: "Murdoch also makes use of international accounting loopholes and offshore tax havens, Murdoch has paid corporate income taxes at one-fifth the rate of his chief U.S. rivals throughout the 1990s, according to corporate documents and company officials." (Paul Farhi, Washington Post). Although New Labour promised to close these loopholes when in opposition, once it gained power it allowed him to avoid paying tax in the UK.

New Labour has increased public spending and so it has had to increase the tax on middle-income groups. As a result, Britain’s tax burden is growing faster than that of any other European country, with middle-class taxpayers working nearly half of every year for the state.

A report last week from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the share of national income taken in taxes is rising more sharply than anywhere else in Europe. The OECD reported a rise in Britain’s tax burden from 36% to 37.2% of GDP last year. Equivalent to £310 in extra tax for every adult in the UK, it represented the biggest increase for any European country.

According to the accountants Grant Thornton, many middle-class households can expect to see half their income disappear in taxes, either when they earn it or when they spend it.

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Last July, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation bought MySpace for $629m (£355m). Soon afterwards angry members of MySpace, the personal file-sharing website, started accusing Murdoch of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites. The 38 million subscribers to MySpace discovered that when they wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube, the words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens.

It does not surprise me that Murdoch was willing to buy MySpace (he could not afford YouTube). It is vitally important for the ruling elite to get control of this new means of communicating information.

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This passage is taken from the Socialist Worker (5th April, 2003):

He (Murdoch) owns 175 papers round the world. In the Iraq war, no editor of his papers was allowed to oppose the war. To her credit, Sun journalist Katy Weltz resigned her job in disgust on the day the paper ran the headline: "Show them no mercy…They have stains on their souls."

The real scrounger who has robbed millions from the public purse is Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Sun, Times, Sunday Times, Fox News and Weekly Standard (edited by Kostol promoting the Project for the New American Century). He flits from country to country on a string of passports in search of profit. His personal wealth is £4 billion. He laughs at the thought of paying taxes. From 1985 to 1995, his News International paid only 1.2p in the pound in tax in Britain on recorded profits of nearly £1 billion. He gets away with tax dodging by spreading his businesses and their profits around tax havens.

This passage is taken from the Mail on Sunday (3rd December, 1995):

While most newspapers groups in Britain pay 30% or more in corporation tax, Murdoch’s News International (which since 1986 has made profits of nearly £1bn (£979.4m) pays virtually nothing. Thanks to the adroit but quite legal way in which Murdoch’s accountants have transferred profits and losses in his multinational company from one country to another, sometimes involving letterbox companies in offshore tax havens. It may be an embarrassing disclosure to both Murdoch and his new friend Tony Blair. It also explains how his BSkyB can afford to secure a virtual monopoly on all football matches played in Britain. And he can afford to wage a price war on weaker papers.


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