Monday, April 01, 2024

The UAE buying the Telegraph would be better for the Tories than Paul Marshall buying it

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The Conservative opponents of the bid to buy the Telegraph and Spectator backed by the United Arab Emirates got their way. An amendment to the Enterprise Act 2002, which could be law within weeks, will ban foreign states or government officials from holding direct stakes in British newspapers.

Yet it would have been better for the Conservative Party if the UAE bid had succeeded.

Because the media expertise in the consortium behind that bid was provided by the former president of CNN Worldwide Jeff Zucker. And his ambition was to make the Telegraph a centre-right counterweight in the US to liberal newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post.

And at some point a new Tory leader is going to have to drag the party back from the Trumpian right towards just such a centre-right position. Having two major right-wing British publications there already would certainly have been a help.

By contrast, the UAE's rival bidder Paul Marshall, as a major investor in GB News, offers more of the same. More alternative facts, more conspiracy theories, more attempts to remake the Conservative Party on the model of the US Christian Right.

That's a recipe for continued irrelevance if you are a Tory.

I've been thinking about Paul Marshall and decided that those who say he has made a long journey from the Liberal Democrats to his current position may be a little wide of the mark.

Because if you take the Orange Book as representative of his views in his Lib Dem days, then there is a consistent strand in Marshall's thought. It has always been about setting money free rather than setting people free.


nigel hunter said...

I did not like the Orange book when it was about. To me ,it was one reason for our decline in 2015.Money 'set free' just tramples on peoples hopes ambitions.It is the people who make a vibrant successful country.

Colin Garboldisham-Rhodes said...

I find it a bit rich that right wingers, who often claim they 'love their country' more than liberals or socialists, are complaining about a possible change of The Telegraph's ownership on nationalistic grounds. The Sun and The Times are owned by an Australian/American family, The Daily Mail is registered in the Channel Islands, and Tatler is owned by an American company with a French sounding name (Condé Nast). I don't hear them complaining about any of that too often!