Toon and country

I told them so. Call me a bighead if you like, but ever since I abandoned my full-time media career in favour of the peace and calm of Paradis-sur-Tweed I've said the same thing over and over: if you don't like what you read/see/hear in the media, don't just moan, do something about it.

I told them so. Call me a bighead if you like, but ever since I abandoned my full-time media career in favour of the peace and calm of Paradis-sur-Tweed I've said the same thing over and over: if you don't like what you read/see/hear in the media, don't just moan, do something about it.

But what can we do? wailed the Moaning Minnies. Who'd listen to me?

Who? From now on Rupert Murdoch will, for one. According to suffering celebs and picked-on politicians as well as you, Mr and Mrs Everyman, bullies don't come much bigger than the Australian-born American publishing tycoon.

All the more commendable, then, that this week the Mighty Mogul bowed to the wishes of the Moaning Minnies by cancelling and pulping US publication of OJ Simpson's odious money-for-murder book, If I Did It, and junking the planned two-hour interview already taped for a Fox TV special.

Furthermore, he apologised "for the pain caused by this ill-considered project" to the families of Simpson's dead wife and her murdered friend.

Since ceasing to edit newspapers for a living - including one or two Murdoch titles - I've argued in newspaper articles, on TV and in countless radio interviews that the media can, and often should, be brought to heel.

It happened to the Murdoch empire this week: within a few days of plans for the book and TV programme becoming known, it was engulfed in a tsunami of criticism. The rest, and the project, is history.

TO London, as Pepys would say, to celebrate a friend's wedding, do a bit of radio and attend a black-tie dinner at the rather medieval-sounding Tallow Chandlers Hall.

Medieval the Tallow Chandlers certainly are, a livery company founded in the 1300s whose membership these days comprises City grandees rather than the candlemakers for whom it was created. A Masonic feel to the occasion: men (and only men, I regret) with odd-sounding titles sharing loving cups of wine and passing both port bottle and communal silver snuff boxes to the left.

An unusual yet glittering evening, not unlike a recent crowded dominoes night at the Blue Bell when I was arguing renewable energy policy with my dairy farmer friend Malcolm, known fondly hereabouts as The Byreman and a man implacably opposed to my David Cameron-inspired ambition to have a wind turbine in my garden and a solar panel on my roof.

"Rubbish!" he snorted, "what happens on a cold frosty night when the wind doesn't blow or a dark winter's day when there's no sunlight?"

I was, I confess, stumped. "Coal's the answer!" cried the sozzled old son of the steading, jabbing a careworn finger at a story in The Journal. "Says here they're building a new coal-fired power station that will produce zero emissions and power a million homes."

Anyway, I recalled that conversation at the black-tie dinner where, seated conveniently next to the technology director of a major oil company which has recently boasted its credentials in the renewables area, I ventured to reveal my wind and solar plan.

"Pipedreams, I'm afraid," he said with a sigh. "Wind stops blowing, sun doesn't shine and we're back with oil, gas and nuclear. Or coal, of course.

"Did you hear that Centrica plan to build a zero-emission coal-fired power station?"

I had, of course. From The Byreman, back home in Crookham.

And he won the dominoes.

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