This CNN analysis, by Robin Oakley, is an excellent primer on the power Murdoch has wielded over British politicians. It's astonishing the way liberals and conservatives alike have been careful not to offend this man. They've often responded to him as if he were their superior. I was shocked at some of what Robin has presented here, but then I realized it isn't that much different here in the states. Some presidents have courted Fox News; and the Obama administration has taken great pain to try and prevent bad press from Fox (his administration once over-reacted, and directed the firing of Shirley Sherrod out of fear Fox would use the story against them). This is sickening stuff, and makes one wonder how we've let it happen.
Regarding Murdoch, Robin relates: "Politicians have sought his favor because he owns mass circulation newspapers like the Sun and the News of the World and they reckoned he controlled a vital section of public opinion. Some did so too because they feared that the diary columnists of his papers might be turned loose on their personal peccadilloes if they did not toe the Murdoch line".