Coffee House

Waiting for Leveson

10 November 2012

5:00 PM

10 November 2012

5:00 PM

One issue that is in the background of nearly every political conversation at the moment is the Leveson Inquiry and how David Cameron will respond to its recommendations when it reports in the next few weeks. What Cameron does will do a lot to shape the political and media mood between now and the next election.

Cameron is keen not to be seen to pre-judge the matter, hence his warning to Tory Cabinet Ministers recently to watch what they say about it, and is playing his cards close to his chest. But those close to him are well aware that there’s a danger that Miliband and Clegg—who have The Independent reveals been holding talks on the matter—will come out almost immediately for what Leveson proposes. This could leave the Prime Minister looking isolated.


This is why some allies of his were so irritated with Friday’s letter from Tory MPs to The Guardian opening the door to statutory regulation. They feel this restricts Cameron’s room for maneuver and will encourage the other parties to call for a free vote on Leveson’s recommendations.

But amidst all this politics, we shouldn’t lose sight of the principles involved. Yes, sections of the press behaved appallingly. But the crucial point is that nearly all of their actions are already covered by law. Statutory regulation of the press will simply serve to make our society that little bit less free.

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Show comments
  • Justathought

    Our society will be a little more free after the news that the BBC’s Entwistle is to sling his hook. The last of the Labour old guard are on notice!

  • ButcombeMan

    Leveson has been looking at the wrong thing. Leveson will be an irrelevance because of that.

    Why did the Police not do something about the illegality? Who made the crucial decisions. What did they get in return?

    As you correctly say, there are laws already.

    • eeore

      Because the police were bought off.

      The other question is why is the inquiry meddling in matters that should be before the courts and potentially prejudicing prosecutions?

  • anyfool

    If anyone in the media had an ounce of courage they would be asking for more freedom, not as they appear, cowering in terror that the politicians might protect worthless celebs who have supplied the media with easy low cost page fillers.
    For gods sake get a spine and demand a Fox News type of freedom, make politics interesting and at the same time put the fear of god into them about lies and not who they are lying with.

    • eeore

      Surely you are not suggesting that the news should be free interference from the police state?

      Who else will tell me to eat fructose corn syrup, or drink bottled water to give me this attractive B cup. Or hunt down muslim terrorists while at the same time accepting the double speak that muslim’s are not terrorists (and ignore that Al Queda is controlled by the west), or invest my money in 100% mortgages in an inflated house market and then attack the sick and disabled when the health service has been run down, in precisely the areas that the sick and disabled need, and the government is spending £900billion to subsidise my mortgage. They are bone idle the lot of them. If you don;t believe me look at that report produced by New Labour. How can it be that so many people are suffering from mental illness now, when back in the 1980’s there were so few. SHUT UP! I don;t want to hear that the asylums were closed down, and drug companies started pushing drugs for invented mental illness, that created genuine mental illness’s. Or that the security services that protect me are actually running the drugs trade, and only busting those who refuse to accept their control and think that it is a free market. I am grateful that me pension relies on the washing of money in the city, and the growth of gambling. And that is why I like the controlled media because they don’t tell me that. And I like that my football team is sponsored by a gambling company. I need it to dumb me down or I might point out that Alan Sugar and his car ariels couldn’t happen today because of the minimum wage, high rent, various council officials chasing you round the market market to fill out their forms and 100 and 1 other reasons that didn’t apply when he was starting out. It’s probably an invalidation of your insurance policy to fit the ariel yourself. Who else will promote hatred of children? Or breastfeeding? – ooops back to fructose corn syrup promotion through bottled milk – meh they are going to eat fast food anyway, might as well pour it down their throat – I need a media of middle class types that peddle the idea that we all need to pay for our carbon foot print through carbon taxes and high fuel prices, while they spend their fees on buying into enclaves on the very coastline they claim will disappear (probably because they are in on the secret that the high oil price is all part of the the soft war on China – as is Egypt, Libya, Syria and the forthcoming war on Iran, that is all to do with nuclear weapons and nothing to do with oil contracts to China).

      No sir. The last thing the media news is freedom.

      Besides who is going to believe what this free media says?

      Conspiracy theorists that’s who. The very people that the unregulated media tells you to ‘debunk’.

      You sir are a very dangerous person and at the earliest opportunity I am going to report you – no wait, no need google has already done that, and since you were using a laptop it has taken your picture (while the microphone has noticed you have got a dog and is pushing adverts for canine toothpaste) – oh and the light bulb the government set you to cut you fuel bill has already set the entire contents of your computer via morse code through the power cables. Ha, that’s what terrorists like you deserve.

      Right I am off to pleasure my barren partner with a sex toy, as we take our responsibilities as citizen of the world very seriously and have been very careful not to reproduce. And even if I wanted to, the aspertame in the diet food I eat to stop me getting a D Cup has made me obese and impotent.

      How dare a terrorist like you ask for freedom.

  • FrenchNews

    “Statutory regulation of the press will simply serve to make our society that little bit less free.” Is that supposed to be understatement? Statutory regulation is a grotesque perversion in a democracy and there should be truck with any such proposal. Press freedom is indivisible from all freedom of expression — ask Lenin. Stand up and fight Mr Forsyth, you might not get another chance.

  • Paddy

    Or Cameron could put a ‘D’ Notice on it……as Blair did with Operation Ore!

    • Swiss Bob

      This is not about the large numbers of Labour party Councillors, mayors or MPs guilty of said offence, it is about embedding the meme ‘Tories, Thatcher, Peados’ in the public mind.

      Job done for smearer in chief Tom Watson.

      • eeore

        I thought it was about planting false stories in order to get the twits tweeting in order to call for restrictions on the internet.

  • Richard 111

    I am not sure why we expect definitive words of wisdom to come from such inquiries. In recent weeks there have been problems with Taylor (Hillsborough) and Waterhouse (Wrexham abuse). I am not sure there is universal respect for Hutton (Iraq) and even MacPherson (Metropolitan Police) has had its problems. We await Chilcot on Iraq (set up over 3 years ago) whilst Saville (Bloody Sunday) was some 12 years in gestation.

  • 2trueblue

    Laws are already in place so what else do we need? The police must do their job. The media was too close to the previous government and Liebore have managed to slither under the radar with all the speculation over the period. But when you have the main TV organisation batting for you what hope does anyone else have. Hopefully the present circumstances will change that.

    It is outrageous that the Chilcot enquirey has not yet been published.

  • HooksLaw

    Cameron had to set up an enquiry, so there is no point pretending otherwise.

    The activities of Newsnight rather shoot in the foot the argument voiced in the last sentence

  • Swiss Bob

    Yes, sections of the press behaved appallingly.

    Sections? You mostly seem to be a spineless bunch of chancers feeding off the crumbs fed to you, afraid to rock any boats, doling out the lines required of you.

    If the MSM disappeared tomorrow it would be no great loss.

  • rob

    Our society a little less free?

    We have a corrupted media, corrupted law enforcement agencies, corrupted financial institutions, corrupted politicians and add to that mix the current allegations of paedophile rings. A heady concoction that makes up our “high” society.

    That’s where freedom of the press, to “boldly go” where none have dared before, has got us so far with most of the corruption having occurred long before the so called “chilling” effect of Leveson.

    Why try and pre empt Leveson? He has stated openly during the Inquiry he doesn’t want to go down the statutory legislation route. And what is wrong with a “free” vote in Parliament. Or is it only journalists that should have “free”dom of action?

    The mantra of the elite should be amended to “The market rules – but the winners are those who disobey them”. That’s what it seems like from the outside.

  • anyfool

    That he ever set up this useless inquiry is a testament to his weak character, he truly is a product of the the celebrity culture that seems to have caught on in politics since that chancer Wilson was PM.

    He should throw it in the bin and then start governing properly, beginning with making useless coppers do their job and prosecute offenders especially in the media and Parliament.

    He should then do the decent thing and resign as Eton stresses honour as one of the attributes that make you a man.

    • telemachus

      Eton Ah yes Eton

      The key to England today

      8 Million Londoners ruled from Eton

      60 Million Brits ruled from Eton

      300 Million Anglicans ruled from Eton

      Yes the PM was weak to set up Leveson

      So Leveson did not make Eton but ate good food at Merton while Cameron played croquet at Brazenose and Boris played politics at Balliol
      They are all in it together

      • Fergus Pickering

        Interesting us of the word ‘while’. Leveson is 65 years old. And when he was at Merton he was a hard-working Jewish boy, the sort of grey man Bulllingdon hoorays threw in the fountains. Frankly, I think they had a point.

  • Paddy

    Why doesn’t Cameron kick this into the long grass……just like Labour would do.

    Does anyone know when the Chilcott Enquiry are due to report their findings? Thought it was about 2 years ago.