Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch likes to back winners Reuters

His star may be on the wane post the phone-hacking scandal but Rupert Murdoch still likes to tweak the Establishment's tail whenever he can.

The media mogul has never really forgiven the Establishment for the way it treated him as an unsavoury Oz interloper when he first got a foothold in the UK in the late 1960s.

All those taunts about the "dirty digger" driving good honest British newspapers downmarket stung.

And he was less than impressed at the way that, after years begging for his support, politicians ran screaming from his presence as the phone-hacking scandal unfurled, once it was clear he might damage their prospects.

Now it appears he is at it again with stories about him meeting Ukip leader Nigel Farage for private talks and his ongoing friendly relationship with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond. These are two men whose entire popularity is based on being anti-establishment.

It has even been suggested by the BBC's Andrew Neil - a former editor of The Sunday Times and close confidant of Murdoch - that the owner of the Sun and Times may be ready to use his newspapers to urge Scotland to vote for independence on 18 September.

Neil tweeted: "He [Murdoch] thinks [the] hacking scandal was revenge of the British establishment on him. Break up of Britain would be his revenge."

The prospect of the Sun in Scotland carrying one of its famous front pages, perhaps telling Westminster politicians where to stick their Union could bring some new drama to the campaign. Not that it has been short of drama in the last few days.

But Murdoch is, above all things, an operator who likes to be on the winning side.

Traditionally, he uses his tabloid newspaper to back a political party at the general election only when he is confident from the opinion polls that they are going to win anyway.

He has been extraordinarily successful in backing the right horse at just the right time for it to appear his support was a factor in the victory.

If he wants to pull off the same trick in Scotland, he will have to announce his position pretty soon.

And that will raise the far more interesting questions of whether, post-hacking, anyone cares what he thinks anymore. Worse, might he be a negative force?