We talked yesterday about the Court of King Costello – yet the land he seeks to rule is but one of the more minor of Rupert Murdoch’s satrapies.

Prince Peter, while first in line for the succession, is still regarded as the young pretender by many. He doesn’t have the numbers needed to topple King John – or force an abdication. No wonder he’s keen on anyone who might come along and anoint him. As we heard when he gushed about the Sun King on Lateline on Wednesday:

I think he is certainly one of the most successful businessmen Australia has ever had, possibly the most successful. Somebody who started off with a small company here in Adelaide, where I am at the moment, and has gone global and you’ve got to admire that in somebody and I do and with someone who has the global reach in the way that he does across the continents of the world, he’s someone who is a very interesting person to talk to about world events… He is possibly the world’s biggest media baron ever. He has publications in North America, in Britain, in Australia and he’s someone who’s been a very successful Australian and he’s a proud Australian and I pay tribute to him because of that…

Jeff Kennett proffers some other views on Murdoch in The Age today:

The former premier said last night: “If this American wants to give our Prime Minister advice, and wishes to be taken seriously, why hasn’t he applied the same advice to himself?

“He’s a decade older than our prime minister, who continues to enjoy the overwhelming support of his party and the public.

“And I can’t remember John Howard embracing a poison pill to save himself and his organisation from competition,” Mr Kennett added in a jibe at Mr Murdoch’s controversial business tactic to ward off a takeover.

To recycle an old gibe, one could claim that Peter Costello will do and say anything to be elected.

Yesterday, High Court judge Michael Kirby questioned his decision to deny documents on the rise in the amount collected in income taxes or evidence of fraud in the first-home owner’s grant to the national broadsheet. “Why possibly in a nation like ours, in an open democracy with freedom of expression, could it be not in the public interest not to disclose a document made by public servants who are paid by the taxpayers of this country?” Kirby asked.

Indeed, the Treasurer cops it day in, day out over tax policy and economic reform in the pages of Murdoch’s local flagship paper The Australian.

There’s an interesting contrast between Costello and another man who would be king.

In 1995, at a retreat for News Corporation executives, then opposition leader Tony Blair gave one of the speeches of his career. Here’s how he opened:

I am here today for one simple reason. This is one of the largest media organisations in the world. It is at the forefront of change in media and technology. It is important you understand the changes in the politics of the left and in particular the nature and character of today’s British Labour Party. I know relations between the News International press and Labor have been poor in the past. There have been changes on both sides. The past should be behind us. Neither of us are in the business of trading policy or editorial support. But we should know where the other is coming from. When you do make judgements on new Labor, it should be based upon a clear understanding of what we stand for and what we are trying to achieve.

One of the problems with Prince Peter is that no one knows quite what he stands for and what he is trying to achieve. And out of these two supplicants to the Sun King, which sounds more confident?