Coffee House

Tom Watson calls James Murdoch a "mafia boss"

10 November 2011

1:48 PM

10 November 2011

1:48 PM

During Murdoch’s appearance before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which has just concluded:

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • FvH

    @sireverard digby – how dare you sir accuse me of being a “politico” !!! – as I testified to this committee previously I was an FCS member in the 80’s but I don’t think that qualifies me as a serious pol.

    I’m afraid that with the taxes I have to pay I couldn’t afford the £10 fine you demand 🙁

  • Sir Everard Digby


    So you think the key deliverable from a committee hearing is a soundbite or a headline?

    Regardless of what the subject of the enquiry is, the committee members should be handling this in a proper way and not playing to the gallery.

    I do not quite understand how Murdoch has been an albatross for the right? -between 1997-2009 he was firmly in bed with New Labour. Blair even flew half way round the world for an audience with him. Milliband was at his garden party this year.

    The media are firmly part of the political classes,so differentiating between those parts is meaningless.

    I do agree that thay are all a millstone around the necks of the electorate.

    I remain convinced you are a member of the political classes. You are not disguising it very well.

    Please pay both the previous £5 discovery fees still owing. and a further £5 for being outed today.

  • Kennybhoy

    “Rupert’s orphans” out in force again I see…

    (Hat tip to fpb for the epithet.)

  • FvH

    @chrislancashire – you could be right but I’m genuinely puzzled why sound folk feel compelled to defend obvious crooks (Murdochs jnr and snr)

    Mensch gets it – the Murdochs have been an albatross around the neck of the right for years and have done more damage than good – dictating corporatist policies and EU membership

    Ditch the Murdoch crooks and be seen to be ethically superior to Labour !!

    Watsons just a 1 off character – more dismissive of Red Ed than Cameron is


  • David Lindsay

    The Murdoch Mafia is out in force on this thread. Enjoy prison, the lot of you. Take every politician whom you backed with you: Thatcher, Blair, Bush.

  • Moriarty

    And you, Mr Watson, are no Bobby Kennedy.

  • graham

    Old Tom does like personal publicity, but overdid the insults. His moment in the spotlight will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Typical of a big, fat, Labour bully really!

  • Glen Shakepeare

    Contrary to a lot of views here I find his comments and accusations appropriate given the gravity of the matters being discussed. I find it impossible to believe that nobody at the top knew what was going on and believe they probably sanctioned the behaviour. I strongly suspect the chairman felt the same way hence his lack of admonishment for the comments made. I vividly remember that rag trying to claim the credit for the Tory defeat in 97 after devoting years in support of them. It was sickening. Not one piece of criticism over Cameron’s lies of 2010. The sooner NI is laid to rest the better.

  • Chris Lancashire

    FvH: Good try but you’re swimming against the tide on this one.

  • Woody

    Once again, Watson made sure he got the media headlines. It’s nauseating watching the BBC and media chasing after him. Other members of the committee must be totally peeved off with him. He’s straight out of the Gordon Brown School of Thuggery.

  • Craig Strachan

    Well, to be fair, Watson probably knows a Mafia-style boss when he sees one, having spent all those years as a footsoldier for Gordon Brown.


    By labelling News International a mafia organisation Watson infers that every member of staff down to the tea boy/girl is a criminal – an absurd proposition. The dignity of Parliament took yet another serious blow today at the hands of a self serving, arrogant and dishonest little man and his gratuitous remarks.

  • FvH

    Watson’s a cunning old dog – he has got his headlines with this one

    Thought L. Mensch was good today also

    meanwhile is anybody else hearing rumours that Murdochs are set to jettison The Sun ??

  • TrevorsDen

    NI is not even like ‘a mafia’ never mind ‘the mafia’. The capo dei capi had no clue as to what was going on.

    It seems to me that NI might have been interested in building bridges with labour but that chance seems increasingly less likely now.
    When will the Sun on Sunday come out I wonder?

  • Minekiller

    I am no big fan of NI, but Watson was a disgrace with the mafia accusations. Murdoch responded well and should sue Watson without hesitation.

  • The Engineer

    November 10th, 2011 2:30pm

    ‘Watson is a Burke.’

    On a point of information – That should be
    ‘Watson is a Berk’

    Berk is rhyming slang – in full ‘Berkley Hunt’

    I don’t suppose that I need to elaborate the rhyme!

    Incidentally I agree entirely with the sentiment.

  • Andy W H

    Irrespective of the case against NoW and James Murdoch, Watson was an embarrassment to the House throughout his performance and totally out of order with his final comment. Almost as bad was the failure of the Chairman to do his job. Shameful.

  • Nicholas

    Well, Watson should know all about organised crime, being a Labour MP in the Blair/Brown government that practised a systemic scam of extortion and abuse on the English people from 1997 to 2010.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Unfortunately Watson’s mafia comments have detracted from what was yet another stream of evasive barely credible smug insulting effluent from a well schooled oil slick.

  • fergus pickering

    I am sure Murdoch is not thick. I am sure Watson is a fat, self-important prat. How much money did he steal over the expenses business?

  • daniel maris

    Yes, it was OTT. The Mafia are the Mafia. They kill people, torture people. Unless Watson has some evidence to that effect he was overplayed his hand. Very ,very stupid.

    Poor chairmanship as well.

  • Percy

    Watson is an ego driven twat, but Murdoch Jr is as thick as pig shit, a real dummy.

  • Sean Haffey

    The mafia, eh? Watson would know, I expect.

  • saddleworth

    He came across as a smug ignorant t*t – no surprise there then.
    No surprise either that the Beeb had to feature this soundbite on the one o’clock news today. It obviously hit the spot with their views on erudite political wit.

  • Jane

    I watched the live stream from the Committee and as far as I am concerned I learnt little from the previous hearing. All I know is that any witness before any hearing should be treated with respect and not abused. This MP thinks he is above this – it is alarming.

    Mr Watson got no where with his questioning and resorted to rude and offensive comments. He is totally bogged down with this issue to such an extent that he is now believing his own interpretation of events which is dangerous. He has absolutely no knowledge of employment within a huge organisation and how responsibilities and roles are delegated. That was apparent. What was also apparent was that the chair of the Committee failed in his duty by not asking for these offensive comments to be withdrawn.

    These MPs are supposed to be asking questions on behalf of the public. Mr Watson is following his own agenda – he has a book coming out on the matter?

    It is time that we repealed the outdated laws that Select Committee’s have relating to witnesses and any misleading of “The House”. It frightens me to death that they have the powers to fine or imprison for the length of a Parliament when individuals do not have the protection they would if they were giving evidence before a Court. No Court or anyone who works within a judicial system would have spoken to a witness as Mr Watson did.

    The comments and the lack of proper Chairmanship has brought this Committee into disrepute. I will not read the final report and it goes without saying that Mr Watson’s book will be of no interest to me. Indeed, we the public have moved on from the affair and it is time that the criminal procedures and public enquiry proceeded without interference from this committee. They have had their 5 minutes in the limelight and oh how much they have enjoyed it.

  • Axstane

    Hyperbole and slogans take the place of thought with Labour politicians. There is hardly one of them who would be employable in a commercial business.

    I am only surprised that they did not play the Nazi or Stasi cards.

  • JohnOfEnfield


    Watson has now ensured that

    a) Murdoch senior will never appear in front of the committee again (lack of security).
    b) Murdoch junior need never appear again (gratuitous gross insults).

    Watson is a Burke.

  • Rich

    I wonder if NI can sue him for his slanderous accusation, they should, if not he certainly needs to be punished by Parliament for his fit of anger because he was bested again and again by young Murdoch during his questioning. Watson has made himself look an arrogant bullying buffoon, but that is nothing new to those who see him act out his power trip in the HoC.

  • General Zod

    Fat idiot.

    That’s the end of the Tom Watson Show.

  • Augustus

    What a common, offensive and vulgar little man. Is that what we call culture in the country?

  • mitcheltj

    What an odious and grandstanding hypocrite Tom Watson is. No wonder Parliament is held in such contempt by so many people.

    James Murdoch gave him a lesson on the importance of self restraint, dignity and courtesy.

  • boulay

    “gutter press, meet gutter politician…..”

  • Russell

    Watson has just shown what an ignorant, discourteous,headline seeking, Brown mould ‘bully’ character he is.
    Previously he at least managed to get NI execs nervous and admitting a few dodgy lines which threw doubt on NI management.
    Murdoch made Watson look the idiot ego maniac that he is, with calm responses to Watsons statements (very few questions of any relevance).

    Louise Mensch managed much better than Watson with courteous questioning at previous committee hearing, although a bit soft today. At least she is a lot more attractive to look at than Watson as well as a lot more intelligent.

  • Colin

    Watson Inc.

    What a tit.

  • Phil

    Watson made himself look a total prat when using this bombastic, puerile analogy.I thought that the Houses of Parliament had reached rock bottom with the expenses scandal but after listening to Kaufman’s rant yesterday and Watson’s today it would appear that Labour have a lot further to drop.

  • Samuel

    He should be disciplined for saying something that is untrue. Tom Watson that is. And he’s fat