‘This is the most humble day of my life,’ Rupert Murdoch said after trying to avoid attending and before failing to give satisfactory answers to the Leveson Committee on 19 July last year. It was very probably true, at least in so far as he appears to have entirely ditched humility since that day, or moment. In January, Murdoch opened a Twitter account. For those of you not following him – why aren’t you following him? – here’s a taste of what you are missing. He does global politics, international finance, domestic UK and US policy on education and welfare, and jokes. Here’s a joke from 19 February: ‘Miracles do happen! Sun shining in London.’ The sun was shining, it was a lovely day. But the following day Murdoch announced the launch of the Sun on Sunday. See? What a tease.
On 15 February Murdoch had a bit of a hissy fit: ‘To hell with politicians! When are we going to find some to tell the truth in any country? Don’t hold your breath.’ Actually, this did cause me a long moment of breathlessness. It was clear that Murdoch had taken the job himself. A few days earlier he explained to his 187,786 followers: ‘People need a hand up, nota hand out. All policy direction should be to empower individuals to run their own lives.’ No joke there. Just a chance to learn from Rupert.
Be aware that he reads all his replies and offers insights into his real world: ‘Please keep tweeting. I read all but how about cleaning up language? Incidentally most credit me with non- existent power and money.’ Now, I don’t count myself influential or rich, but even I don’t think that my power and money are non-existent. If Rupert needs a hand-up I’m prepared to do what I can to help. He’s clearly very keen on Dickens. On 9 and 10 February he celebrated Dickens’s bicentennial: ‘Take your pick! Lower big salaries, lower all taxes, lower govt payouts, encourage self reliance and thereby real happiness.’ And: ‘Closing the divide, returning to classless society. Not money but charities, churches, community organizations, big and small, scouts, etc.’
Today is a good Murdoch tweet day: ‘Don’t know how many meals with Gove, but not enough. Admirable character, great work. Education way out of mess, but takes long time.’ Lunch with Murdoch and Gove. Give it some thought. But it is good to be reminded that Gove worked for Murdoch and is so much admired by a man who, if the Sun on Sunday is a success, will own 40 per cent of the press readership in this country and who seems to have such an interest in government social policy.