Friday, 15 July 2011

Sunny v. The Sun

The vultures are circling above the stumbling, wounded beast that is NewsCorp. MPs, newly released from their psychic chains, look forward to publicly vivisecting Rebekah Brooke and the Murdochs. In the US, lawyers salivate, as lawyers (especially US lawyers) tend to on such occasions. The Fall of the House of Murdoch may at last be at hand.

But who is to deliver the final, decisive blow? Whose vital task will it be to dig the Digger's grave and bury him six feet under? Who has the gravitas, the global reach, the moral authority to hammer the last nails into NewsCorp's coffin? One name, above all, stands out. Step forward Sunny Hundal.

The LibCon supremo is agonising - agonising, I tell you - over his tactics. Should he mobilise his online army and - gulp - declare a boycott of the Sun? People have been urging such a decisive course of action. "Several readers," he notes, "keep asking when the boycott of the Sun newspaper or the whole of News International will take place." But like any good general, Sunny knows that timing is everything.

Look, I’m not fan of the Sun newspaper by any stretch of the imagination, but this isn’t going to happen any time soon. If we do strike, it would have to be at the right time.

That isn’t to say a group of us haven’t discussed this already. The problem is, for a boycott to work would require a big scandal of that motivates lots of people outside the usual suspects.

Because if a handful of people who don't buy the Sun anyway declare that henceforward they're not going to buy the Sun, the effect on News International's global domination might be less than catastrophic, however psychologically satisfying. I was at college once. I remember with what grave deliberation my fellow students resolved not to have Britain's most popular daily tabloid contaminate the JCR. (In those days it was breasts, rather than phone-hacking, that rendered the paper beyond the pale.) Did Rupert Murdoch write personally, begging us to reconsider? He did not.

But that was a long time ago. Long before the name of Sunny Hundal resounded through the land. Such is Lib Con's power today, indeed, that authorities on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean defer to its wishes even before they have been publicly announced.

Yesterday, we were on the verge of launching a campaign to demand an FBI investigation into News Corp’s activities. We got that wish before the campaign even got off the ground.

Have the FBI been hacking into Sunny's phone? Or does the great man have psychic powers? I think we should be told.

He might feel emboldened by this pre-emptive success, but Sunny is still cautious. He's planning (Murdochs, take note) a three-pronged strategy to bring NewsCorp finally to its knees.

Firstly, "to line up American allies and push for a corruption investigation into News Corp in the US." They couldn't possibly manage it on their own initiative, after all. Secondly, to "focus on Andy Coulson", laying bare the facts about his relationship with David Cameron. "Third, since the PCC is dead, there is a debate to be had about what press regulation should look like."

And who better to start, lead and generally dominate that debate than the man of the hour, Sunny Hundal himself?

You thought it was bad for the Murdochs? Their nightmare has scarcely begun.