A battle is unfolding between a politician and the founder, CEO and Chairman of one of the most infamous companies in the world!
The story really begins at the Liberal Democrat party conference, but that's another tail we shall start at the first strike:
4/11/2010 is not a day that is likely to go down in history but perhaps it should for this is the day that Vince Cable stood up to Economic evil incarnate; Rupert Murdoch. Calling upon all his powers as business secretary Vince struck a blow against the evil monopolist holding to his vows for free markets and standing against his Conservative superiors In other words, the business Secretary intervened in the free market to prevent a take over.
News Corporation is the 3rd largest media conglomerate in the world, but what is really dangerious about News Corporation is its monopoly grip on media in certain countries. In the UK it owns the Times, the News of the World and The Sun that's a total of 37% of national news paper market. Then it also owns 17.5% of ITV and 39.1% of Sky and perhaps surprisingly it owns US social networking site Myspace. From an economic, political and social perspective this is dangerous! In a sense it was News Corps holdings that lead the attack on Ex-PM Brown and rallied the support for David Cameron so attacking news corp a brave move by Lib Dem Vince Cable? VERY brave.
Vince Cable spoke in his party conference speech that the economy must be managed through strong competition policy, not the Labour idea of a large state but equally not the Conservative blind hope in completely free markets, at least the Liberal Democrat seems to be true to his words in this case. He argued the move by Murdoch to take complete control of Sky would create too much market power for News Corp and be damaging to the consumer. He said that the monopoly power News corp would gain would see unfair price rises for customers. Much more than this, he reffered it to OFCOM for further investiagtion! Vince may even be moving to split Murdocks empire in half!
As I said before the attack on Murdoch is very brave, he is a powerful man to make an enemy of. Murdoch is a strong ally to the Conservative party making Vince an unpopular man within the coalition, but also Murdoch could be provoked into using his media power against the Liberal Democrats. However while it seems politically stupid short term, long term Vince puts himself in good stead, within the party and their voters he will better respected after all the liberals never really had a love for Murdoch! In this sense what has he got too loose, Murdoch was never going to be his ally so why not hit him while he can.
Its not only an economic and political move though, if Vince Cable splits up News Corps holding in the UK he will answer the cry's of many saying that Murdoch influence is dangerously strong. One man controlling a huge proportion of the media means one man and voice his opinions loudest, which history tells us is very dangerous.