Recommended reading: a piece by Peter Wilby in today's Guardian; it's unarguable in its case & cogently put as he considers the wider issues thrown up by the phone-hacking exploits of Murdoch's empire (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/12/politicians-control-over-corporate-interests ):
"This affair is just one example of how politicians have lost the authority, the will and the moral compass to control corporate interests. They consider only the most modest proposals to bring banks to heel. They make it laughably easy for multinationals to avoid tax. They stand by as supermarkets drive out small retailers. They introduce 'reforms' to education and health that allow corporations to take over the provision, if not the ownership, of our biggest public services. The corporate sector gets what it wants. Why shouldn't Murdoch? It's business as usual.
"The Labour Party was once the political arm of the organised working-class. All three main parties are now the political arm of the organised corporate class. This is not a peculiarly British phenomenon. Almost every advanced democracy, and particularly the US, struggles to control the corporate sector. It is not just that politicians depend on its donations to finance election campaigns but also that they lack the staying power to withstand corporate pressure."