Rupert Murdoch has called on British Prime Minister Tony Blair to quit at least a year before the next election, heaping further pressure on the embattled premier to announce a timetable for his departure.
Mr Murdoch said voters must be given time to size up Mr Blair's likely successor, Chancellor Gordon Brown, ahead of the next national election, which is due in 2009 or 2010 at the latest.
The News Corporation chairman, whose best-selling tabloid The Sun helped catapult Mr Blair to power in 1997 when it backed his Labour Party, said it was possible he could switch support to the youthful new leader of the opposition Conservative Party, David Cameron.
"We've been very big supporters of Tony on big issues, he's been a very courageous world leader," Mr Murdoch said in an interview published by The Australian newspaper today.
"But for no reason other than the dynamics of British politics we would like to see at least a year to 18 months' standoff between Gordon Brown and David Cameron so we can decide which of those most coincides with our views," he said.
Well, at least old Rupert is honest. And after Buffett's awe-inspiring charity pledge:
Rupert Murdoch said he wouldn't be giving away his money, preferring to "make a difference" through the social and political influence afforded by his international media empire - but making a difference is not the same as philanthropy. (Murdoch's New York Post ran an editorial this week gently chastising Buffett and arguing there was nothing wrong in giving your children your wealth.)
Good old Rupert is going to keep his wealth and make a difference otherwise. What a champion. It's a good thing his mother, Elisabeth Murdoch, is a marvellous woman, and apparently has a strong influence on him. Be frightening to see otherwise.