Vince Cable will be feeling the heat. Those urging him to intervene in the Sky takeover bid now include the might of leading national newspapers and broadcasters.
We think it will be hard for Mr Cable to turn a blind eye. His instincts will surely be against a takeover, and, despite the complexities of the case, there is the legal provision for him to make the required referral. Moreover, coalition partner or not, to supporters of his party, his failure to intervene would make it hard to describe him as either a Liberal or a Democrat.
What is of fundamental importance, though, is to remember that this particular battle is another symptom of the underlying problems of media ownership in Britain. As today’s Guardian editorial reminds us, we are the victims of our failure to act over four decades ago:
In 1966 the Monopolies Commission was asked to pronounces on whether it was even right for the Times and Sunday Times to be in the same ownership. The only reason the merger was waved through was that it was believed Lord Thomson never used newspapers as a vehicle for his own views. … Some will look back at that age and see either misguided paternalism or rank naivety.
We have to return the drawing board. We must have a media commission