Jacob Heilbrunn

The End of David Cameron

The end looms for British Prime Minister David Cameron. He may not have done anything illegal. He may be even less inculpated than Tony Blair with the coils of the Rupert Murdoch empire. But it matters not. He is prime minister at a moment when the collapse of the sinister Murdoch enterprise is taking everything in its vicinity down along with it. The Tory party would be well advised to find its Brutus to slay Cameron before he can do further damage to the party he leads and represents.

Cameron has called Parliament in for an emergency session. Perhaps the resignation of the head of Scotland Yard, Sir Paul Stephenson, has rattled Cameron, not to mention the arrest of his friend Rebekah Brooks, the former henchwoman of Murdoch. Brooks, you could say, has been brought to book. This compound of malice and ambition was Murdoch's finest creation. Will she now turn upon him and his son James to preserve herself? The dauphin must be worried.

Both Conrad Black and Geoffrey Wheatcroft have observed that the British establishment was itself complicit in Murdoch's rise. Murdoch may have been a cad, but he couldn't behave caddishly and get away with it absent a goodly amount of truckling. And so a succession of politicians from both the Labor and Tory party, oleaginous Tony Blair foremost among them, abased themselves before this media despot. He demanded and received cringing subservience. The mere threat of a media thrashing was enough to bring politicians to heel. Ms. Brooks appears herself to have functioned as a kind of starchy headmistress, running the political equivalent of a Dotheboys Hall in which she demanded absolute obedience from her charges.

Now an insurrection is taking place. Labor has the good fortune to be out of office and its leader, Ed Milliband, is pursuing Cameron with great ferocity. Fireworks are sure to fly at the special session of parliament as politicians go into another round of high dudgeon over the iniquities of Murdoch and Co. Unfortunately for Cameron where there's smoke there is fire, and in this case the dusky clouds billowing over 10 Downing Street are voluminous indeed.

When Cameron addresses parliament, the emergency will be as much about him as about Murdoch. But for savvy investors there could be a silver lining. The worse things get, the more News Corp. shares keep falling. Perhaps they have nowhere to go but up and will soon represent a good buying opportunity.