Well, there was a culture as the two sides got closer together and the background is quite important. There was a major industrial dispute at Wapping in 1986/87. During that period, officially at least, the Labour party was not even talking to the Murdoch papers and Murdoch paper journalists were banned from any briefings or press conferences that the Labour Party held. So the back cloth was not just difficult relations but no official relationships at all.
I joined the Sunday Times a year after that dispute ended. One of my jobs was to cover the Labour Party and the trade unions, and so I did witness the early stages of getting back to normal business, the normal sort of transactions and discussions that any newspaper would have with any political party, and after that, as you know, it ended with the Sun literally coming out for Labour in 1997. Not many people would have thought that likely when the industrial dispute ended.
The reason I say I suspect there was an understanding is that Labour did have a policy previously of restricting cross-media ownership, which would have affected the Murdoch empire. That policy was dropped, quietly forgotten, in the most part, and I suspect, although I have no direct evidence or was not party to any discussion of that -- I suspect there was an understanding, not a written down agreement or some grand bargain but an understanding in the "You scratch my back, I will scratch your back" culture that developed in the relationship between the Labour Party News International. It would have been very odd at a time when the Labour Party was trying to get back in the game, trying to win the support of newspapers and potentially saw the opportunity, certainly under Tony Blair's leadership, of winning the endorsement of the biggest selling daily paper -- it would have bee very odd for them to, at the same time, pursue a policy which would have had a pretty big commercial impact on the Rupert Murdoch empire.
So at one level it was, if you like, a piece of common sense, that the Labour Party, at a time when it was trying to get more favourable treatment, more equal treatment -- the Labour Party was haunted by the treatment Neil Kinnock received as Labour leader and they were absolutely determined not to go through that again. They wanted a fair hearing. If they couldn't get the endorsement, they wanted a more level playing field; as you know, in the end they got the endorsement.
But it would be very strange from their point of view, at the same time as seeking that endorsement or level playing field from one or more you Murdoch papers, to have pursued -- to have retained a policy which would have had a big impact on the commercial operations of the same group.