It's time for Kelvinwatch to return. Yes, this blog's, ahem, affectionate look at Kelvin MacKenzie, the man whose capacity for bullshit should be harnessed as an eco-friendly fertiliser project.
It seems that following his path-, sorry, principled stand in Surrey last month over the crucial issue of car parking charges (shame about the trouncing he got, by the way), the Wapping Wally is to stand against Tory MP David Davis in the byelection the former Shadow Home Secretary has called in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency over the 42 day detention issue: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/jun/14/daviddavis.localgovernment ).
For what it's worth, my own take on the detention debate is that if the authorities really need six weeks to collate sufficient evidence against someone suspected of planning a terrorist offence, it doesn't fill me with any confidence about their ability to protect society from such zealots.
But I digress, back to MacKenzie. There's an intriguing snippet from the Guardian's report:
"MacKenzie said that he had been personally encouraged by the Sun's owner [Rupert Murdoch] to stand against David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, as an anti-libertarian candidate and a defender of the government's plans to allow pre-charge detention for up to 42 days."
Remember the Sun's protestations two years ago when the Anfield Kop mounted its "Justice" gesture in response to MacKenzie's quote that he stood by his Hillsborough story? A spokesman for the paper bleated that a continued boycott was unfair because MacKenzie was no longer editor. He was, however, retained as a columnist, & this latest act of Murdoch patronage reveals MacKenzie's continued prominence in the Sun's set-up.
Roy Greenslade notes, en passant, that MacKenzie still calls Murdoch "boss" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/14/media.daviddavis ).
Of Murdoch's funding for MacKenzie's campaign, incidentally, Greenslade highlights the malign role played by the unelected mogul in UK politics over the last 30 plus years: "One has to wonder at the audacity of an Australian-American media mogul backing a Sun columnist to try to win a British parliamentary seat. It does not link Murdoch to a particular party, but it does open him up to scrutiny about his political involvement in this country."
Murdoch has never been party political, despite his total support for Thatcher & Reagan in the 80s, he simply backs those who don't threaten his business interests, hence his benediction of Blair & New Labour in the mid 90s. As for the scrutiny which Greenslade calls for, nice suggestion, but it's come 30 years too late.