SOAPBOX: Dermot Finch - Head of Public Affairs, Fishburn Hedges

Now that the News of the World is no more, what's the longer-term political fallout?

Soapbox
: Dermot Finch
Soapbox
: Dermot Finch

First, public trust in the establishment has taken another hammering. Already disillusioned with MPs after the expenses scandal, and with the banks, the public are now questioning the integrity of not just the media but the police as well. Just about every pillar of the establishment has lost trust in the last couple of years - apart from the Royal Family, that is.

Second, David Cameron is now facing the most difficult phase of his premiership so far. His judgement is being questioned, and he's been running to catch up with the agenda - instead of setting it. Hugh Grant has done a better job of articulating the public's outrage. The PM needs to regain his grip, and quickly.

Third, Jeremy Hunt's in-tray suddenly looks very different. News Corporation's full acquisition of BSkyB, a near certainty last month, is now hard to imagine. The Press Complaints Commission's days are numbered, despite Christopher Meyer's protestations to the contrary. And the long-term decline of the print media has just been accelerated.

Ed Miliband, meanwhile, has been gifted a major opportunity to assert himself and his leadership. Ridiculed only a fortnight ago for that 'loop' interview, Miliband now looks more like a contender. But his strategy is not without risk - he will now incur the additional wrath of the Murdoch press, and he will need to ensure that his own press team is squeaky clean.

Finally, Vince Cable must be reflecting on his 'declaration of war' on Murdoch last year. Although more people will now agree with him, he needn't have bothered. Murdoch's own goal has achieved more than Cable ever could. Indeed, had Cable kept his counsel he could now be presiding over the withdrawal of News Corporation's bid.

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