EXCLUSIVE: Hunt business links to Newscorp revealed.

Educational product cooperation laid bare, raising doubts about Murdoch influence on Gove’s school reforms.

A Slog exposé Special

Hunt…a lot to explain at Leveson

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has direct and potentially very beneficial partnering links with the Newscorp empire run by Rupert Murdoch. He has never declared these – which, for a Minister of the Crown appointed to independently adjudicate on the success or failure of a crucial Newscorp bid, is an obvious abuse of his position.

Both Hunt and Newscorp work in the field of educational information supply: the Newscorp Company Milkround is a carbon copy of Hunt’s main money-spinner Hotcourses. In the world I came from, this alone would’ve disqualified Jeremy Hunt from handling the BSkyB deal: for one thing, as on the surface the two are competitors, Hunt would’ve faced a ‘moral hazard’ in that he could’ve scuppered Newscorp’s chances and thus injured a major competitor. (Camerlot as an entity rarely detects the moral hazard, as for this to happen one needs a functioning moral compass.)

But setting aside the tedious impropriety concerns of an old blogger, the relationship between Hotcourse companies and Newscorp companies should have raised concerns at a level far more obvious than the above. Here’s why.

Do any search about media companies like Newscorp, and you will find umpteen sites like this one. It provides details of subsidiaries in one market niche or another beyond the main activities such as bribing coppers, hacking cadavers’ phones, owning Congressmen, and advising Ministers on whether to start a war publishing newspapers, running news stations and so forth. Usually included in such analyses are partnering sites under the heading ‘Related To’.

Under websites related to Newscorp at the link above is an entry for one company called Schoolsnet.com. Sites tracing its ownership use the phrase ‘Registrant obfuscated – see raw whois data’. The website itself says in tiny letters under the brand name ‘Powered by Hotcourses’. And surprise, surprise…there’s an ad for Hotcourses on there.

In fact, schoolsnet.com appears to be a trading name…and every effort has been employed to hide who is behind it. But the trail leads very clearly back to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

This company is a wholly-owned trading name of Hotcourses….which is owned by Jeremy Hunt and his partner Mike Elms. The registrant is clearly named via this link as Hotcourses Ltd Jackie Smith  First Floor, Bedford House 69-79 Fulham High Street London, LO SW6 3JW. Bedford House is the property upon which Jeremy Hunt avoided £100,000 worth of tax liability last year. It is the Head Office of Hotcourses…and several other previously useful (but by now dormant) companies such as Sheffield Data Services.

Are there further links between these two companies? Yes there are.

On 9th June 2011, this Job ad appeared on The Times website – a Newscorp publication. The employer named in the ad was Milkround. There is nothing suspicious in that: but what’s damning about this advertisement is that while the employer is Milkround.com, the specific position is ‘Web Experience Executive , Hotcourses Ltd’.

The Culture Secretary surely needs to give us an explanation as to why The Times ran an ad in which it is clear that a Hotcourses executive will in reality be employed by Milkround…a Newscorp company. Especially given that, exactly three weeks later, Jeremy Hunt approved the Newscorp bid for BSkyB.

Meanwhile, back on the schoolsnet site, we see this openly boasted tie-up with Newscorp:

‘Every year, Schoolsnet provides information to The Sunday Times for its much-praised Parent Power CD-ROM; the last publication was on November 19 2006.’

No wonder Mr *unt has been such a cheerleader for Rupert Murdoch on his constituency website: he is a partnering stakeholder in Newscorp. Based on the evidence presented above, no other conclusion is possible.

Update for Mail readers: three days after this piece appeared, the MoS ran it as a top ‘news’ story…..with no credit for The Slog. When I comment threaded to point out their oversight, the pinched goblins of Dacreland didn’t publish it. Ah, the sour smell of rotting grapes at Associated Newsnazis.

——————————————–

The tentacular links between this Government and Newscorp make an octopus look like a paraplegic. And we need to consider this very carefully in the light of Jeremy Hunt’s main area of business interest – education – and his undisguised desire to one day be Education Secretary. For the current education supremo is of course Michael Gove. The closeness between Murdoch and Gove is clear for anyone with eyes to see it: Gove is a former Murdoch employee. Before going into politics, he was a leader writer at The Times, where his wife Sarah Vine is still employed. He was infamous among the Wappers for writing enthusiastic pieces about Roop, describing him once in print as ‘the greatest godfather of mischief’ (hard to dispute that one), and a man who possesses ’18th-century pamphleteering vigour’. So then, another drum majorette for the Sino-American Digger.

But there’s a lot more to it than that.  In November 2010, Michael Gove, turned up in east London to inspect a deserted stretch of dockside land near City airport, where Rupert Murdoch had offered to build an academy school. In fact, News International offered £2m to sponsor an academy in east London – close to the company’s headquarters at Wapping – it emerged at the Leveson Inquiry.

Gove was accompanied by Rebekah Brooks, then News International chief executive, and an entourage of other top Murdoch staff, including James Harding and Will Lewis. Murdoch described himself in a speech at the ‘ceremony’ as the saviour of British education, thanks to his company’s “adoption of new academies here in London”.

At the Leveson enquiry we learned from Rupert Murdoch himself that he met the Education Secretary, Michael Gove on numerous occasions after the May 2010 General Election, in order “to discuss plans for wide-ranging reform of the schools system”. Can you imagine a schools reform designed and bankrolled by Newscorp? Our education being ‘saved’ by Rupert Murdoch? Airlifted by Newscorp off the Titanic….onto the Hindenburg.

We should all take careful note of what’s going on here: the media, the cultural tone, and the educational model. All of them being directly compromised and perverted by one man – Rupert Murdoch. A man who has dumbed down the tabloid reader (and increased his appetite for savagery, heartlessness and tits) via The Sun, and was being clearly helped by Jeremy Hunt to make a successful BSkyB bid that would challenge and eventually rout the BBC in the UK market. That man Jeremy Hunt is now being defended by the Prime Minister David Cameron; and the more tentacles that appear linking Camerlot to the Newscorp hydra, the more obvious it becomes why Scameron has to do so: he dare not alienate Murdoch any more.

The view at Westminster and Fleet Street seems to be that Cameron will make a judgement on Hunt’s future, but only when he has been given a chance to defend himself at the Leveson enquiry next week. While I realise that Cameron’s judgement on most matters is beyond help, I will still want to know by next Wednesday how any Government can allow Jeremy Hunt, in the light of this latest and previous evidence of obvious bias, to continue in a role he has so blatantly abused.

We shall see.

For the full file on Jeremy Hunt, mosey over to Hunt Balls.

33 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Hunt business links to Newscorp revealed.

  1. It is clear why they are so desperate to control the internet, without which most of this could be easily hidden away and unobtainable.
    I wonder just how long these kind of “arrangements” have actually been going on, has Government always been the same way, and now we are finding out, or is it just that all moral compasses have been disabled?

  2. Proper journalism John, great job. Might wake up one day to see MSM actually reporting this or better still justice served for institutionalised corruption. A side show to Europe but the parallels are obvious, politicans driven by personal agendas.

  3. “…every effort has been employed to hide who is behind it.”

    Not really. Given that schoolsnet.com’s own website says on the front page “powered by Hotcourses” the connection between them and between them and Hunt is not being hidden. schoolsnet.com’s ISP is Adapt Services and the website runs on IP Address 85.133.48.68. It has offices located in Munster Road, Fulham, SW6, contact is Michael McCann at Connaught.net: http://ip-lookup.net/index.php?ip=%0985.133.48.68

    However, schoolsnet.com does seem to have broken (or incomplete) DNS records, not uncommon nowadays.

    Schoolsnet.com Postal Address:
    Schoolsnet
    150-152 King Street
    Hammersmith
    London
    W6 0QU

    I think you’re really looking for a connection between Schoolsnet.com and NewsCorp but there isn’t one that I can see. It is possible that Hunt has been doing what a lot of people do nowadays: start up a company and get some business and then sell out to one of the big corps in the same business.
    Recall Huffington Post and a big bunch of others.

  4. Pingback: John Ward – Exclusive : Hunt Business Links To Newscorp Revealed – 24 May 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  5. Given that Whois has a list of all ISP servers and their client users,how were the Americans,with briefcases of “servers”,able to resurrect a type of internet during the Egyptian and Tunisian uprising?
    Mr Murdoch’s propensity for having Chinese clients to the Chelsea flower show was quite interesting.The clients were strict about cameras but photographed everyone and everything particularly when their children came down from Oxbridge this last Monday.
    The Russian geeks have been having a boondoogle over the last few days and when I showed them the whois site fell about laughing at the naivety of it.Are we being taken for schmucks as to the technologies ability to leave us behind?
    I fear our amoral MPs and PM are incapable of seeing right from wrong and view us as mere cattle ready for mince.In the mean time we are being herded into the mincer,when exactly do we rebel?
    I fear this cannot end well for us 99%ers,after all the 1%ers and less have the guns.

    • So Tony B.Liar thinks he “did Iraq a favour” ………1,000,000+ people died, orphaned, widowed, homes destroyed, lives destroyed ,families destroyed ….more damage than Saddam Hussein could have done in a thousand years.

      This man is a real *unt!

      • Amazing isn’t it?
        A man who should be prosecuted for murder, or at the very least planning a war of aggression is instead a multi-millionaire, feted by the great and the good!
        And he’s still a bloody brilliant political performer! WTF? The world turned upside down indeed.

  6. Who needs enemies with’ friendly, favours like that.
    All modern politicians everywhere are corrupt,just in
    varying degrees of culpability.
    Hang them all..

  7. Pingback: Hunt Business Links to Newscorp Revealed | Sovereign Independent UK

  8. I’m sure all the political *unts will be right behind this idea. Start with all the readers of the Sun ……

  9. I suspect a lot of these oily opportunists are hoping to eventually shrink school time to a couple of hours a day (save money on teachers and real estate), and the rest of the time pipe pre-made * educational programmes through the wickywickweb into junior’s Attic bedroom.
    All for a bucketload of moolah.
    * and propagandist I suppose.

    You can bet your bottom dollar the ~Hunt is already on the ground floor of that one.

    • Interesting coincidence that News Corp recently bought a US company called ‘Wireless Generation’, a leading provider of educational software products. And Jeremy ‘unt co-owns ‘Hotcourses’, a leading provider of educational software products. Join up the dots……….

      As the astute ‘Deep Throat’ advised at Watergate, “Follow The Money”.

  10. Wonder if Murdoch is following the Washington Post model?

    Wapo subsidiary Kaplan runs for-profit colleges in the US, slurping up taxpayer $$$ (see also: private prisons; private healthcare; private military contractors…) Not all is rosy, though:

    http://www.republicreport.org/2012/wash-post-kaplan-alec/

    Washington Post Company-owned Kaplan, which is under investigation by at least four state Attorneys General, where 68 percent of college students drop out before graduating (the worst overall dropout rate of the top ten recipients of post-9/11 G.I. bill benefits), and whose previous CEO received a $76 million compensation package when he left.

  11. Pingback: OFFICIAL: DAILY MAIL CLOSING GAP ON THE SLOG….NOW ONLY 3 DAYS BEHIND. | A diary of deception and distortion

  12. Have you heard of a site called Hotcourses….I hadn’t, apparently it has nearly 6000 facebook likes but we all know how they can be fiddled – at least us techies do.

    So what’s special about Hotcourses Carl ?
    Well Jerememy Hunt is about to earn £17 million for his share of the site, that’s an awful lot of money for such a site. It is when you’re techy enough to check with Alexa that it gets less than 1600 visits a month (see pic). It is after all just a website to pick courses from and leads you to suppliers of the Courses…..Seem’s an awful lot of money the Secretary of State for Health will pick up.

    Now I wouldn’t allude that there’s anything fishy going on….NOOOOOOOOOOO God Forbid this is a fine upstanding Tory member of the Government. He would not get involved in something as sordid as picking up a bribe for selling off part of the NHS and picking it up by way of selling a Website worth nothing ……Would he ?

    All the same, just 1600 visitors a month hmmmm whomever bought this knows little of websites if he’s handing over that amount of cash eh !

    Sorry have to go, be back soon, there’s a peculiar smell and I think it’s emanating from Parliament.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Jeremy Hunt joins Cabinet rich list with £17m sale of company

    Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, is set to become the richest member of the Cabinet after it emerged that he is in line for a £17m windfall from the imminent sale of his own company.

    Hotcourses, an education listings service Mr Hunt co-founded before he became an MP, is believed to be close to a deal to be bought for £35m by the private equity firm Inflexion. Although he stood down as a director in 2009, he is understood to hold a 49 per cent stake in the company.

    Mr Hunt, who declined to comment today, had the idea for the listings service while teaching English in Japan after graduating. He wanted to produce guides for people who were looking to study abroad as well as travel.

    If the deal goes ahead, Mr Hunt, who is said to be worth £4.2m, would overtake Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Defence, as the wealthiest Cabinet minister. Mr Hammond is worth £8.2m, according to a survey last year by Wealth-X, which provides intelligence on the super-rich.

    Mr Hunt was under pressure to resign as Culture Secretary last year over his special adviser’s close links to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, but has bounced back since becoming Health Secretary, positioning himself as a consumers’ champion.

    The disclosure of the business deal revived the debate over whether Mr Cameron’s “cabinet of millionaires” is out of touch with ordinary people struggling during Britain’s “cost of living crisis.”

    Grahame Morris, a Labour member of the Commons Health Select Committee, said: “What most people want is a government that is representative of the people they are elected to serve. What we have is a cabinet of millionaires having no experience or empathy with the daily struggles of ordinary families in Britain.”

    Dave Prentis, the General Secretary of the public service trade union Unison, said: “This is the man who has been let loose to slash the heart out of our NHS, and he can pocket £17m at a stroke. How can a man of such wealth possibly understand the problems of ordinary people or the value that we place on our public services?”

    However, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman insisted: “He has a very strong ministerial team and a cabinet team with very talented individuals. One of the strengths the Prime Minister would point to in the Cabinet is the range of experience that is reflected within it.”

    Labour claimed that the chief executives of the “Big Six” energy companies are set to receive a reduction in the amount of tax they pay amounting to about £530,000, the result of the Coalition’s decision to reduce the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p in the pound in April 2014. The Opposition’s figures are based on last year’s pay and bonuses and recent statements about this year’s levels.

    Catherine McKinnell, a Labour Treasury spokesman, said: “Not only is David Cameron refusing to take on the energy companies and opposing Labour’s price freeze, he’s made them better off while ordinary people are worse off. Once again we see a prime minister who is totally out of touch and who only stands up for the privileged few.”

    Rich list: Cabinet ‘makers’

    In 2012, the consultancy Wealth-X listed the wealthiest Cabinet ministers. The top 10 were:

    £9.6m Lord Strathclyde (no longer in Cabinet)

    £8.2m Philip Hammond

    £4.8m William Hague

    £4.8m Jeremy Hunt

    £4.5m Caroline Spelman (no longer in Cabinet)

    £4.5m George Osborne

    £3.8m David Cameron

    £3.2m Francis Maude

    £2.9m Dominic Grieve

    £2.2m Andrew Mitchell

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-hunt-joins-cabinet-rich-list-with-17m-sale-of-company-8930024.html

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