This was effecting all includes, scripts that make use of soap, and fopens, etc.
Just traced it a few minutes ago to the gateway address on the NIC of the old webserver. It somehow disappeared during all of the changes.
The only good thing about this is I located a bug thread here:http://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=11058
Its a closed bug thread, but I will post it here at CelticRadio.net and hopefully the search engines will allow some future poor soul the grief I encountered the past 12 hours! It seems to be a common problem for people setting up new servers or transfering to a new server. While for me it was the gateway address, it is possible that an underlying problem with DNS, nameserver - could result in the same issue.
We are going to take our time moving the website over to the new server after these events! I am cleaning up the server room and going out for breakfast. Sorry, will not be able to answer emails for the next few days. Need a break from this!