Monday, 30 April 2012


The testimony of Rupert Murdoch to the Leveson inquiry has been big news in recent days. Journalists have crawled over his recollections, often peculiarly vague, of dealings with British politicians from Sir Robert Peel and Lord Melbourne to the present incumbents. Even Scottish political leaders from Robert the Bruce on seem to have fallen under his spell.

However there is one corner of his testimony that has so far not been commented extensively on. Fantasy Bob thinks the British public need to be aware of it and reprints the verbatim transcript here. For some reason it does not appear on the Leveson Inquiry website, which otherwise is an extremely efficient record of proceedings.
 Murdoch is being interrogated by Robert Jay QC:

Q. Mr Murdoch, may we move on to Fantasy Bob?
A. Certainly. Who? 
Q. When asked in 2006 what you thought of him, you are reported as having said, "Not much". Is that correct? Did you feel that he was lightweight?
A. I can't remember - if anything I thought he could lose a few pounds. He seemed to have an obsession with empire biscuits, whatever they are.
Q. In 2007 the Scottish Sun came out against Fantasy Bob in his campaign to become skipper of the All Star 4th XI of go ahead Edinburgh cricket club Carlton? 
A. Did it? I never read it - it's rubbish.
Q. But in 2011 you came out in support of him.
A. Did I? I remember hoping that I might get a game for the Fourth XI. I used to be a pretty mean off spinner back in the days in Oz, I'll tell you........... 
Q.  In your meetings...............
A.  ...................Yes I used grip it and rip it.............
Q   In your meetings..................
A   Had a good change up too.  Should have been a Firsts player
Q. Mr Murdoch
A...................But for the lightweights in the selection committee..........
Q.  Mr Murdoch.  In your meetings and telephone calls with Fantasy Bob you say that you discussed politics and policy. Did you ever discuss broadcasting regulation?
A. I would have been pleased to, but this Fantasy Bob person just kept asking whether Mrs Rebekah Wade could get a horse for someone he called Mrs FB, and then demanded more empire biscuits.  All I said was that I would be available on Saturdays for the Fourths.
Q. Mr Murdoch was there a link in your mind between your support for Fantasy Bob and the BSkyB bid?
A. No, the two things were not linked at all.
Q. Why was the bid announced after it had been confirmed that Fantasy Bob would be leading the All Star 4th XI?
A. Was it? I didn't notice. I must have been at net practice.  I thought Fantasy Bob would ring me for the Saturday game.
Q. Could there have been any expectation of gaining Fantasy Bob's support for this bid?
A. I don't think we gave any thought to that.
Q. How would you describe your relationship with Fantasy Bob?
A. Well he's an amusing guy and I enjoy his company, I enjoy talking with him.......No that's somebody else from Scotland.  But I needed to remind him that I am available on Saturdays.
Q. The general manager of News International Newspapers Scotland, wrote to Fantasy Bob following the Carlton AGM congratulating him on a "quite astonishing result", and points out that it was "born out of a desire for change and the reinvigoration of Scotland".
A. My senior executives don't understand cricket.
Q. Do you feel that there's any validity at least in the perception that there is an implied trade-off here?
A. What trade off? I never asked anything of Blair. I never asked anything of Cameron. I never asked anything of Fantasy Bob. 

Q. You never asked, but it was clear what your interests were.
A.  That is business.  But unlike those two Fantasy Bob didn't get it.  I am more than disappointed not to get the call to play in his All Star Fourth XI. I worked on my flipper all winter waiting for summer and nothing came. That's all the thanks I get. What would you do?  I had to ask Hunt, Salmond, Cameron.  Maybe Fantasy Bob would listen to them. I had no option ....................................................

The session ends.

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