Friday, July 08, 2011

Corporate messes - News Corp, Tiger Airways

Dick Francis has been one of my favourite crime writers. Several of his books feature seedy journalists who use wire taps to gain information. While I knew that Dick Francis had been a reporter for part of his career (he was racing correspondent for the London Sunday Express for sixteen years), I always thought that his presentation of the seedier side of journalism was a little far fetched. How wrong I was!

I watched the unfolding events at News of the World first with curiosity, then bemusement and finally horror. I have never really thought of News of the World as a newspaper, just a scandal sheet. But what was done in the name of the paper went so far beyond acceptable norms as to beggar imagination.

The sudden decision by the Murdochs' to kill the paper marks a dramatic end to to a relationship that began in 1969 when its acquisition by Rupert Murdoch's launched what would become the global News Corp empire. I provided a snapshot history of the Murdoch empire back in 2006 in Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation - a few dates and linking comments to themes.

As an aside, looking at the News Corp timeline reminded me that News had once acquired Australian publisher Angus & Robertson. I didn't record but should have the ending this year of Angus & Robertson as an entity. The franchises continue, but the once great publisher that began in 1884 has really limped whimpering into the commercial darkness.

News Corp itself may survive News of the World. However, I suspect that the damage from the affair will be permanent and long term.

In another commercial catastrophe, it is hard to see Tiger Airways Australia surviving the decision by CASA to suspend its flying license on safety grounds. Tiger's troubled history and its growing safety problems have been well covered by Ben Sandilands' Plane Talking. It makes depressing reading.

Anybody who reads this blog on a regular basis will know that I have real problems with what I see as the growing burden of corporate and other regulation. But if you look at these twp separate cases, you can see why it's so hard to wind this back.          


Anonymous said...

My favourite Francis novel is "To The Hilt" - which I must have read half a dozen times now. It's about family obligation, and personal honour, and respect for elders, and the "meaning" of great art. All of which things I hold in high regard.

I have all of his writings, and to my endless regret decided not to invest part of my super fund in a complete set of signed first editions. For my sins I am half way through (for the fourth time) his books, right now.

And now I've forgotten your original point. Sorry.


Jim Belshaw said...

I have around twenty on the shelves now. For the life of me, KVD, I can't remember "To the hilt" Plot?

Anonymous said...


Alexander. poor but brilliant artist who is the nephew of 'Himself - The Laird', who in turn was given the broken hilt of that Scottish King who laid claim to the English throne. With a mother now re-wed to a very English gentleman likely to lose his brewery "King Alfred's Ale" due to scheming and international money transfers, and a distrustful daughter.

And golf, and torture, and rough living in a bothy, and bagpipes, and a staunch old lady who is the centre of the novel.

And Bede's Death Song.


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, KVD. Yes, I have read it but don't have it.