What is the Government’s need in the negotiation with Newscorp over its acquisition of the remaining shares in BSkyB? Firstly, the Government is anxious it will lose respect in the eyes of the electorate if it is seen to be kow-towing to Mr. Murdoch. In negotiating terms this is a “respect need”.

Equally, it needs to be seen to be acting sympathetically to Mr. Murdoch so it can continue to have his support. In negotiation terms this is a “belonging need”.

The delay in the publication of Ofcom’s report may be attributable to the Government struggling to reconcile these 2 conflicting needs.

This may result in some fudge which makes it look as though the Government is acting strongly and independently whilst not really harming , Newscorp’s interests. A referral to the Competition Commission would fall into this category.

Alternatively, it may be that the Government simply has to choose between these two conflicting needs.

In the hierarchy of negotiating needs, a “belonging need” will always require fulfilling before a “respect need”, so if it has to choose, if the Government has to choose, it’s more likely that satisfying Mr. Murdoch will come first.