“I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at Cowley Street.
This morning the Lib dem Ambassador in Wapping handed News International a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11.00 a.m. that they were prepared at once to withdraw their offer to buy shares in BSkyB, a state of war would exist between us.
I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this party is at war with Murdoch.
You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different I could have done (apart perhaps from not talking to two young women who came to my constituency surgery) and that would have been more successful
Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between News INternational and BSkyB, but Murdoch would not have it
He had evidently made up his mind to acquire BSkyB and to attack the British media and political system whatever happened; and although he now says he has put forward reasonable proposals which were rejected by the other media groups in the UK, that is not a true statement.
The proposals were never shown to the other media groups in the UK nor to us; and although they were announced in a Fox News broadcast on Thursday night, Murdoch did not wait to make comment on them, but ordered his henchmen to cross the frontier and pay flipping great wadges of cash for BSkyB shares.
His actions show convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force.
We and the Competition Commission are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, going to the aid of the other media groups in the UK, who areso bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack on their services. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace. The situation in which no word given to news International’s ruler could be trusted and no people or country could feel themselves safe has become intolerable.
And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will play your part with calmness and courage.
At such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from the blogosphere are a source of profound encouragement to us.
When I have finished speaking certain detailed announcements will be made on behalf of the Lib Dems. Give these your closest attention.
The Lib Dems have made plans under which it will be possible to carry on the work of the nation in the days of stress and strain that may be ahead. But these plans need your help.
You may be taking part in the fighting Services or as a volunteer in one of the branches of the big society. If so you will report for duty in accordance with the instructions you have received.
You may be engaged in work essential to the prosecution of war for the maintenance of the free media of the British people – in newspapers, in radio stations, in public television concerns or in the supply of blogs or pithy comments on twitter or other necessaries of life. If so, it is of vital importance that you should carry on with this.
Now may God bless you all. May He defend the right. It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against – brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution – and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”