Some 300,000 British Conservative
Party members will receive their ballot papers to vote for a new Tory
leader next week, as the BBC reports. The favourite is 39-year-old moderniser David Cameron, but he needs the vital vote of a non-member to win – Rupert’s vote.

“Irwin Stelzer, Rupert Murdoch’s representative on Earth, recently commended Mr Cameron to readers of The Weekly Standard,
the house journal of the right wing of the American Republican party.
He sees in Cameron someone seeking to replicate ‘the conservative and
neo-conservative eras in America’,” wrote Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer over the weekend.

The Independent isn’t so sure that Cameron has the Wapping vote. Peter Cole summarised media coverage of
the Tory contenders on Sunday – and the “the entry into the leadership
contest of ‘mystery’ American Irwin Stelzer, not as a candidate but as
an ‘influence’” in Murdoch’s Sun.

Stelzer, Cole writes,
is the director of economic policy studies at the Hudson Institute in
Washington and “closer to Rupert Murdoch than anyone on earth.” As
“laissez-faire a free marketeer and right-wing economist as you could
find,” Stelzer “has the ear of Murdoch, who regularly seeks his advice.

“Some Sun readers may be unaware of this background, may indeed spend little of their time in economic policy studies.

“But there was the Stelzer piece in The Sun
striking a cautious note about Cameron. Stelzer questioned whether
Cameron had substance, whether he had thought through his economic
policy. Cameron had a lot of work to do to persuade voters that he
could go from a big idea (growth) to a workable programme.

The Sun
has backed New Labour in elections since 1997, and its readers
overwhelmingly vote Labour. Yet here it carries an unlikely piece that
is essentially code for ‘Murdoch has his doubts about Cameron, and
particularly his economic policy’.”

And that’s one vote the Conservatives desperately want.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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