Quite a day for the government


Some will claim it's an attempt to bury bad news. Others will say that Downing Street is, rather, shovelling all its bad news out at once in the hope that the Jubilee Weekend will soon give voters something else to think about.

Either way it's been quite a day for the government - quite a day too for George Osborne.

It was the chancellor, we learnt today, who told the Culture Secretary that he, Jeremy Hunt, was "the solution" to the mess the government had got itself into when handling the News Corp's £8 billion bid for BSkyB.

That solution involved sidelining Vince Cable - who'd been exposed as being biased against the Murdochs - and replacing him with Mr Hunt who, we now know, was up to that point at least, as biased in their favour. Jeremy Hunt had just sent a text message to James Murdoch congratulating him on the progress of his bid.

Whilst this and other details made for many uncomfortable moments for Mr Hunt he looked much more at ease when defending the way he handled the BSkyB bid - insisting his decision had angered rather than pleased the Murdochs - and that he had acted in an impartial way when given the job.

Nothing emerged to shake the prime minister's determination to stand by his culture secretary - this evening he has said his culture secretary did not break the ministerial code - but today's evidence and the latest in a series of Budget U-turns have shone a harsh light on the judgements made by the prime minister and his closest ally and adviser, the chancellor.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    'your selective attempts to correct one of the issues, whilst ignoring other highly relevant factors' - SP 423


    And just to drill this last point, I'm not 'ignoring' the other factors: as per 414 we take 'due measures where practical' to address, e.g. consider extra resource for schools in deprived areas, this type of thing.

    Objective? To get closer to good and equal schooling for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 429.

    321. nautonier
    The irony being that Labour sucked up to the Digger even more than the Tories.
    Brown tried to, but couldn’t get the hang of it, now he's bitter.
    If they were still in power the chances are they would be gunning for the deal to go through to keep Murdoch & Co sweet.
    If Labour doesn’t get some fallout from this enquiry as well, I want my Tax money back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    "13 years waiting for a crack at power and then what a hash of it!" - PD @ 422

    ** **

    :- )

    Forgotten how to do it, poor things.

    We can all sympathise, I'm sure. Well, some of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    JB 425

    False analogy. Schools being 100% state sector is compatible with a parent's right to engage tutors outside of that if they wish.

    Bet the child wouldn't be too keen though. Gets back from a long hard one and it's a case of 'Oi violin lesson first, then you can watch Glee.'

    Still, tough, they'll thank you for it one day.

    (Why do you feel private schools are beyond debate, btw?)

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    SP 423

    Fine for you to put it like that. That if a goal can't be 100% reached it isn't worth working towards. A bit binary for my taste but, sure, it's a view.

    Main thing for my peace of mind is you hopefully do now see that if one takes the view (as I do) that it IS worth working towards then this is a compromise not a contradiction.

    Because contradictions ... well I just don't do them.


Comments 5 of 430



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