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The British press is still trapped in a fight for survival

1 December 2012

11:01 AM

1 December 2012

11:01 AM

The newspaper industry is apparently working this weekend on a new response to the Leveson inquiry. This should be an interesting exercise. Throughout this imbroglio, the British press has proven itself almost comically incapable of collusion; to collectively agree on anything is not in the nature of our fiercely-competitive newspapers. This makes for healthy competition and democracy: no one can ‘square’ the press in Britain because there are too many newspapers who dislike each other too much. But this has been a problem for the press, in general, during the Leveson inquiry.

Hacked Off produced a very well-run campaign and presented a united front. But as Charles Moore argued in The Spectator, the press got to work insulting and exposing each other. The ordinary voter – looking on at this fight between journalists, politicians, celebrities and their lawyers – might think it a shame they could not all lose. But just as capitalism needs to be saved from the capitalists now and again, the free press needs saving from the press.

Some newspapers are even arguing against press freedom: The Guardian wants state regulation which would no doubt create an environment better suited to its own style of journalism. The BBC, which had signed an anti-Murdoch petition when the Dirty Digger looked like he wanted to apply rocket boosters on BSkyB, was leading last night’s news bulletins on a spurious “petition”from Hacked Off with 25,000 signatures demanding (as Ed Miliband does) the full implementation of the Leveson Report.

A friend told me he put “Donald Duck” down ten times on the Hacked Off petition, and watched its system register click up ten times – so I’m not sure how real this petition is. Or how much they (or the BBC) care how real the names are. The war is still going on – and some are still fighting for a Leveson world where a government-validated pious elite (like the folk in the Media Standards Trust, which begat Hacked Off) oversees the press. It’s a shame that it has acquired the nickname Whacked Off, because its aim is not (just) to make life easier for priapic celebrities or F1 magnates. It is about something worse: the notion of the press conforming to the values of a panel of the great and the good.

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Most people don’t take a national newspaper nowadays, and journalists – who have never been a much-loved species – now rank with estate agents and the winter vomiting bug in the national unpopularity stakes. This creates a problem for Cameron. In protecting press freedom, he embraces a deeply unpopular cause. He has said he’d like to save it, but needs to see what improvements the press can make to their proposals for self-regulation. Hence the pressure on the newspapers to come up with something more than their last proposal (a system of fines and contracts).

Even if Cameron rejects Leveson, the threat of state regulation will survive in the form of Ed Miliband. The Labour leader said he accepts all 1,990 pages of the Leveson Report (he said this before he’d read them) and I suspect Osborne’s lack-of-progress report on Wednesday will remind us that Labour is still of course to win the next general election.

The Spectator’s position remains simple: we will never sign up to any state-mandated regulator, we won’t attend its meetings nor pay its fines, nor pay any other surcharge that may be levied on an unlicensed publication. Given that editors are personally and legally responsible for magazines, this raises the question of what would happen to those of us who reject state regulation on principle. As editor, I’d find out. And I’m pretty sure The Spectator will not be the only publication taking this stand.

So will Miliband keep Leveson as a manifesto pledge, meaning the tradition of press freedom that began in 1695 might end in 2015? It is a major (and deeply illiberal) position, and Hacked Off would have Miliband believe that the public demand it. I’m not so sure. The indications are that everyone’s bored of this already. Look at the most-read stories from the BBC to the Daily Mail – Leveson doesn’t even make the top ten.

In 1981, some 72pc of us read national newspapers. Now it’s 36pc and declining rapidly. Contrary to what Nick Clegg said in his statement, the press is not horribly powerful today. Newspapers are, collectively, haemorrhaging sales, power and influence. They have never been weaker at any time in our modern history. Look closely and you can see that the appalling scandals stem from the weakness and disaggregation of the media. This meant subcontracting reporting to ersatz outfits like the “Bureau for Investigative Journalism”, or getting hooked on illegal dope supplied by hackers rather than journalists.

The arrests will have told every journalist what now happens to those who get stories thanks to illegal information bought from hackers. They don’t need state regulation to take this lesson to heart. But the real problem is seemingly terminal decline of print. The industry is on the wrong end of an industrial revolution. On current trends the FT, Guardian, Express and the Independent will be gone within ten years.

The newspapermen may survive Leveson, for now. But they are, collectively, still trapped in a fight for survival.

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Show comments
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Firdaus-Kanga/1102916649 Firdaus Kanga

    I am a published writer of two books and a journalist. Can anybody who reads this help me to find or create a publc petition against state regulation, strangulation of thepress. i am asking because my severe disability is limiting my mind! email: fidoo@hotmail.co.uk

  • Robbie Dog

    I strongly believe in the freedom of the Press. Just imagine what corrupt MPs would get up to if they thought they could manipulate the media through legislation. I wish someone would start a petition AGAINST Levison’s recommendations. I would sign it immediately. It is time the majority had its say instead of a noisy minority.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

    Its curious how much the Daily Mail is campaigning for free speech now, considering the campaigns it has run for

    Statutory regulation of the internet
    Statutory regulation of video-games
    A ban on ‘violent’ pornography
    And in the 1980’s was the key moral panic newspaper for the video- nasties scandal.

    The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      You appear to be confusing free speech with violence, they are not the same thing at all.

  • Roy

    When truth counts the British press have not enough freedom. They are so restricted by the abominable racist/religious agendas of the libel laws. Laws that appear to be made for the swath of claims by hurt foreigners who delight in claims unheard of in their home country. This accommodated by judges who also delight in satisfying their ego to mollify the present day thugs, taking advantage of the outdated statutes and make fools of the establishment. One would like to assume the law of the land would favour to some degree the endemic population, but no, if anything, it is to disadvantage it.

  • Roy

    When truth counts the British press have not enough freedom. They are so restricted by the abominable racist/religious agendas of the libel laws. Laws that appear to be made for the swath of claims by hurt foreigners who delight in claims unheard of in their home country. This accommodated by judges who also delight in satisfying their ego to mollify the present day thugs, taking advantage of the outdated statutes and make fools of the establishment. One would like to assume the law of the land would favour to some degree the endemic population, but no, if anything, it is to disadvantage it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.gerard.900 Anthony Gerard

    This is a load of hyperbole. I would bet Nelson a Million quid that the British Press will still be here next year and the year after etc. until owners decide to liquidate their assets in decades from now.

    Nelson should cut down on the hysteria.

    • Colonel Mustard

      You and your petition signing friends from the Great Leftist Collective of Angst and Hand-Wringing should cut down on the hysteria.

    • Colonel Mustard

      You and your petition signing friends from the Great Leftist Collective of Angst and Hand-Wringing should cut down on the hysteria.

  • Tim Bullock

    Where is the petition against press regulation? Search for it on Google and you only get to the pro Leveson one. The silent majority will remain so unless mobilised.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

    You may well dismiss the ‘Hacked Off’ petition, Fraser, but 150 people an hour are signing the one on the Government’s own website. You and your chum Donald Duck might be giggling now, but the people will have the last laugh.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      Which people? The people in the security services who are logging the email addresses?

      Odd sort of way to campaign for privacy by handing over your personal details – it must be why I have always avoided those Downing Street petitions – no don’t worry, it’s just a quick shower before you move onto your dormitories…

      • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

        I’ve nothing to fear from the Security Services, and I certainly don’t see any connection in bringing a rabid, Corporate press to heel and the Nazi’s wish to eliminate their real and imagined enemies. In fact, you make the case for state intervention rather well, eeore, as evident hyperbole such as your own is too easily banded about nowadays.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          You see no connection between corporations pushing for state control of the press and the baleful history of the 20th century?

          • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

            Sorry, eeore, but which corporations are pushing for state control of the press? The powerful interests in favour of the status quo, NewsCorp, the Daily Mail and General Trust, Northern & Shell and the Barclay Brothers, are all wealthy and self-serving lobby groups. And no, I do not see implementation of the Leveson report as a one-way ticket to totalitarianism. For one thing, the press wouldn’t stand for it. Or is the Fourth Estate not the guardian of liberty that it pretends to be?

            • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

              The Rothschilds and by extension Bilderberg.

              As for the press not standing for it, how would they stop it?

              • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

                Uh, you forgot the Illuminati, Rosicrucians and other adept organisations. As for your question as to how the press could stop it? Well, how about suspending its current practice of spreading lies and mendacious smears for a decade or so, then publish news rather than comment and try and endear itself to the public, rather than regard its fellow citizens as mugs who can’t think for themselves.

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  Nope, I am very specific.

                  Unfortunately you undermine yourself by the way you dealt with the first part of the reply, as you respond in the exact way you accuse the press of acting.

                • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

                  Just because I don’t believe in your fantasies of an arch-financial elite, hell bent on destroying our liberties in pursuit of an unknown, yet nefarious goal, doesn’t mean that I can’t be facetious. However, the way I responded – by stringing a few words together – was, as you correctly state, the preferred practice of the press.

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  Which makes it all the more odd that you do believe in a conspiracy by the corporations that you named earlier. All of which are, to a more or less extent, owned and controlled by the arch-financial elites that you call fantasy.

                • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

                  Somebody else owns and controls Rupert Murdoch? Do tell…

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/oct/03/rupert-murdoch-shareholder-news-corp
                  “Murdoch and his family own about 12% of the media giant but control 40% of the vote because of News Corp’s dual class share structure.”

                  The board of directors
                  http://www.newscorp.com/corp_gov/bod.html

                  the major shareholders
                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/8841452/Top-ten-News-Corp-voting-shareholders.html

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  You might also be interested in this tit-bit, based on leaks from the 2011 Bilderberg conference…
                  http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/june2011/billg626-2.htm

                  “The second most discussed issue involved was growing publicity about the group and its plans for global government and the growing public opposition to not only global government but opposition to Bilderberg and its annual meetings. In conference discussions, there was a consensus that the unregulated internet is the primary factor enabling opposition to grow and possibly bring a halt to Bilderberg and its plans and goals for global government. Conferees discussed new, legal measures being undertaken to regulate, control and eliminate internet websites and emailing messages. In other words, new laws and regulations are being
                  developed to legally censor internet content and make opposition to
                  global government a criminal offense. Look for censorship efforts to
                  step up and take hold in the next six to twelve months.

                  Along these same lines, the Bilderbergers were highly concerned and angered by the growing opposition in America, taking form through the American Patriot and Tea Party movement. This opposition is being taken as a serious threat to globalization plans. The group singled out media magnate, Rupert Murdoch and his media empire’s coverage of globalization and of Bilderberg. Private attempts are being made to convince Murdoch to force his empire to scale back publicity and coverage of attempts to create a global government. The attendees were stunned by the presence of demonstrators at the conference and the presence of alternative media reporters providing coverage through the internet.”

                  The internet leak is in part confirmed by this piece from Charlie Skelton at the Guardian, at least as far as the internet is concerned
                  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/16/bilderberg-2011-tipping-point

                  Though a clearer indication is the proposal by Nielie Kroos, EU commissioner and Bilderberger, for e-indentiies.

                  Though perhaps an indication of the Murdoch story is that shortly after the meeting, the FBI launched an investigation, which is still ongoing, into phone hacking allegations relating to 9/11. Though they appear perfectly unconcerned about Piers Morgan and his CNN TV show.
                  http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/14/nation/la-na-murdoch-fbi-20110715

                  For a report of this years event, Daniel Estulin – who was covering these events when people claimed the Bilderberg group was a fantasy – has a nice summary, of some of the discussions
                  http://www.danielestulin.com/bilderberg-reportinforme-2012/

                  Which must make worrying reading to anyone who has a mortgage with one of the ex-building societies that Labour sold to Santander.

                  And here is a list of attendees
                  http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/bilderberg-2012-the-official-attendees-list/

                • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

                  Cheers eeore, I’ll try and read that all later.

            • Colonel Mustard

              God how naive. No wonder so many useful idiots have signed the silly petition. Good luck with that.

              • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

                So you believe that it is naive in the extreme to contemplate the press reforming itself, eh Colonel? So a little judicial cajoling might not be such a bad idea, after all.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  But you are not contemplating the press reforming itself, you are positively salivating at the prospect of the government taking control of the press. Oh, incrementally at first of course, just “underpinning”. You think that is where this will end? Naive beyond belief.

                • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

                  You’re just paranoid, Colonel.

                  A flak helmet (lined with aluminium foil) may help.

      • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

        I’ve nothing to fear from the Security Services, and I certainly don’t see any connection in bringing a rabid, Corporate press to heel and the Nazi’s wish to eliminate their real and imagined enemies. In fact, you make the case for state intervention rather well, eeore, as evident hyperbole such as your own is too easily banded about nowadays.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Because most people in this country seem to be stupid and will blindly follow any fad as long as there are a few celebrities fronting it. Turkeys voting for Christmas.

      • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

        The elitist attitude of the Fourth Estate in a nutshell. Thank you, Colonel.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I am neither an elitist nor a member of the “Fourth Estate” but I do have libertarian tendencies and I am aware that the freedom of our press which has exposed many abuses of power throughout its history is under threat because of the hysteria of silly people who are putting stock in a posse of aggrieved celebrities with an axe to grind, egged on by authoritarian leftists who would just love to control and censor free speech.

          • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

            ‘Most people seem stupid, blindly following, Turkeys’ – nope, no elitism there…

      • http://www.facebook.com/steven.efstathiou Steven Efstathiou

        The elitist attitude of the Fourth Estate in a nutshell. Thank you, Colonel.

  • http://twitter.com/notnix nick porter

    If you’re going inside for a spell better start campaigning for better conditions.Whats you’re position on rendition now?

  • oldervoter

    The case against the Leveson Report is overstated. Cameron and the press cannot be trusted. What sort of Prime Minister so easily gives commitments that he has no intention of keeping. Trust Leveson a Court of Appeal judge who has come up with a workable model. If the Government cannot draft the legislation then give the job to any competent constitutional lawyer. Cameron cannot be trusted.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      Not trusting Cameron is not a case for supporting Leveson’s Byzantine proposals.

    • Colonel Mustard

      A workable model of muzzling the press for a future government even more authoritarian than New Labour. The same press that violated the privacy of the “victims” exposed the parliamentary expenses scandal and many other state abuses of power. The petition is foolishness on an epic scale.

    • Colonel Mustard

      A workable model of muzzling the press for a future government even more authoritarian than New Labour. The same press that violated the privacy of the “victims” exposed the parliamentary expenses scandal and many other state abuses of power. The petition is foolishness on an epic scale.

  • David B

    State regulation of the BBC ensured high standards of journalism on Newsnight! And offcom ensured people were not wrongly accused!

    The reality the press made some very bad errors, but the chances are a regulator, backed by statute or not would not have stopped it.

  • Troika21

    The Spectator’s position remains simple: we will never sign up
    to any state-mandated regulator, we won’t attend its meetings nor pay
    its fines, nor pay any other surcharge that may be levied on an
    unlicensed publication.

    God, I wish I could do that.

    Refuse to play by the rules that is.

    • Fergus Pickering

      There is a hero in a Nabokov novel who says he never signs anything that he has not himself written or words to that effect. Mind you, due to this his son is murdered by the state and he dies trying to assassinate the dear Leader.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.gerard.900 Anthony Gerard

      The Press is elitist and pampered and makes up their own rules unlike the rest of us Plebs.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Nothing stopping you from refusing to play by the rules. If you have the conscience to do so and the courage to take the consequences.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        There are no consequences to printing what the spectator prefers to print. Fraser is not in much danger. Unless he mentions common purpose or Neather. In which case he is not in danger from the courts or from his readership, but from (possibly) his owners and (definitely) the political class.

        Safety first.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Nothing stopping you from refusing to play by the rules. If you have the conscience to do so and the courage to take the consequences.

  • MarilynDHunter

    Your friend Donald Duck is pulling your leg, or perhaps you are pulling ours. I have just signed the petition, and in the minute it took to sign once the signatures increased by 60. My second attempt from the same email address was rejected. Ergo you’re full of it.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      It’s really difficult to open a hotmail account… or two.

      • MarilynDHunter

        So Mr. Duck opened 10 hotmail accounts, and watched the signatures increase by 10, because there was no-one else emailing at the time? To prove a point? I see.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          There is that aspect.

          However those wishing to sign the petition would be well advised to set a hotmail account to do so. These things have a tendency to lead in directions that they didn’t expect. Rather like what happened at the Occupy events in the USA when groups outside the George Soros organised groups began to get involved.

          • http://www.facebook.com/fraser.nelson.9 Fraser Nelson

            No, I’m told you just concoct an email address. Donald1@duck.com, thedon2@duck.com etc.

            • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.gerard.900 Anthony Gerard

              You can have a good laugh mocking the parents of murdered school girl, Milly Dowler, with your millionaire pals Nelson.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Anybody can sign a petition. Ever heard of the Chartists?

      • Daniel Maris

        Proportionally they produced the biggest ever petition in this country. Also, nine out of their ten sensible demands have been met. The only one not to have been met – annual parliaments – is a very sensible measure that ought to be introduced. It would stop the sort of Cleggy nonsense where you promise to keep student fees down and then go and raise them.

  • David Lindsay

    Did you oppose the statutory regulation of trade unions? I am not necessarily saying that you should have done. But did you?

  • Daniel Maris

    I don’t disagree with anything you say Fraser, but I do wonder where you were when Common Purpose got started and spawned the Media Standards Trust, which in turn established the “Hacked Off Campaign”. Why haven’t you been exposing their nefarious doings from the outset? Was it because Cameron is so close to the Common Purpose mob.

    Where are you on free speech about Islam? And where have you been during all the McCanns’ manipulation of the media?

    You have finally taken a strong principled stand – that’s good. But let’s hope these free speech principles are applied across the board.

    • Swiss Bob

      Maybe, like many politicians it’s because he has no conviction and this is just ‘positioning’.

      I do not think this is necessarily true but Neathergate leaves some room for doubt.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      Common Purpose did not spawn the Media Standards Trust, it is pure coincidence that David Bell is on the board of both, and in his role as Leveson assessor three of David Bell’s ‘charities’, MST, and it’s off shoots Hacked Off and BIJ, were called as witnesses.

      Just as it is pure co-incidence that Hacked Off and the media are making great play of the Dowler story, when the Guardian apologised for their claim that the phone had been hacked and the messages deleted by a journalist, two days after running the story.

      • Andy

        And the apology was buried on the inside pages unlike the original pack of lies. But The Guardian always demand equal prominence, save for its self of course.

  • Noa

    Fraser. Are you banking that a future Labour government will not compel all publications to comply under pain of imprisonment of its editors and staff?
    If so that would be a very courageous stand to take.

    And of course the press media having once been brought to heel, the internet will be next.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fraser.nelson.9 Fraser Nelson

      No, big chance Miliband will introduce it in 2015.

      • Swiss Bob

        Plenty of time to set yourself up in Switzerland-

        Give me a call 🙂

      • Noa

        Yes. Almost certainly he’ll use the legislation in course of being drafted,warts and all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700430683 Tony Webb
  • HooksLaw

    Will Miliband keep press regulation as a manifesto pledge?
    Yes of course he will. He will continue to use Dowler and Rowling …and Coogan as a stick to beat Cameron with and paint a distorted picture right up and until he has to legislate – then we all know what will happen, there will be a fudge and change of mind.

    And of course the UKIP brigade will continue to attack the conservative party and undermine its ability to form a govt and present victory as a gift to Europhile Miliband.

    • Colonel Mustard

      That might all be true but in fact I commended Cameron’s first speech on the subject and lamented his apparent climb down in the face of Clegg and Clamour. The situation for the conservative party was not aided by the 42 Tory “rebels” who saw fit to join the Guardian’s Hysteria-Fest.

      UKIP paranoia is not the issue. You very succinctly identify the enemies of freedom above. Cameron needs to identify them too and to show strength and resolve in opposing them not trying to ingratiate himself with them.

      “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700430683 Tony Webb

    You are aware that Julia Middleton is the common link throughout the Hacked Off, The Media Standards Trust, and those that would seek to use the press as their toy of manipulation, the Fabian Society and Common Purpose? Labour of course seek control, and the free press need to cut the head off the snake, not tinker around the edges. Julia Middleton might as well be the EU weapon of choice.

    • IRISHBOY

      And wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one Lefty group which was funded by those who wish to join it, instead of gorging at the public teat like Common Purpose funded not by the individuals who attend its courses, but by the public service bodies that they work for! Then, despite all the anti-discrimination laws these CP ‘alumni’ (though they often don’t seem that bright to me, low cunning being their modus operandi) promote one another into fabulously well-paid jobs or appointed to enquiries to discuss freedom of speech, but paid for by me!

      If there are so many socialists and it’s as good an idea as they all keep screaming, let there be voluntary socialism. But then we’re back to the question of choice and freedom.

      • telemachus

        Forget Lefty’s

        Julia gets the essence os leadership in Society as a whole

        “A deeply frustrated friend came home the other day muttering “some people can actually do it, but most just act it”. He was talking about a group of leaders he is on a board with. “They act it, leadership, well; they have been really, really well trained; they know what to say and how to say it, and they say it with such conviction. But underneath, they simply are not leaders”.

        I had been at a meeting too that day, with a man who appoints interim leaders to failing organisations. He was desperate – his pool of talent needed new skills now. They couldn’t simply work the numbers, move them around, appoint consultants and “drive through” a new strategy. They would actually have to lead – and become vulnerable in so doing – because there was no alternative turnaround option.

        The world is revealing the difference between people who act it (and act it well) and people who really are leaders – brave, bold, inspiring, unpolished, driven and difficult.”

        • IRISHBOY

          . . . . . . and Marxist.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        Perhaps the most disgraceful thing about the way Common Purpose appears to work is that it gets funded by taxpayers via the courses Irishboy mentions, to undermine that very society it has bamboozled into paying for itself to be destroyed. Hydra-Headed Evil.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          There are stories that their funding comes in more unusual ways than simply paying for the courses.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Do tell.

            • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

              I’ll have a look and see if I can find it again.

              • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                Can’t find it tonight, it was nothing really, just allegations of embezzlement from the council treasuries. Not that the charity will need to worry about that now they have rich bankers behind them 😉

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      Julia Middleton is not the common link. David Bell and Lady de Rothschild are.

  • Austin Barry

    A commuter train in the1950s: a bowler-hatted gentlemen occupies a corner seat. He smokes a pipe and reads a broadsheet. The compartment is fugged with tobacco smoke and weekly-bathed bodies. His unwashed hair is smarmed down with grease and he wears thick glasses.

    A commuter train in 2012. Everything has changed. The only constant is the newspaper. It will be gone soon and we’ll all be checking the Internet on our phones and tablets.

    Leveson thinks he is surgeon proposing radical, heroic surgery but he is an undertaker, just choosing the embalming fluid and selecting a tasteful face rouge for the soon-to-be corpse.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I’d quite forgotten those Amplex ads. Mind you, there are still plenty of unwashed people, often selling heather and the like, who smell quite rank.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I’d quite forgotten those Amplex ads. Mind you, there are still plenty of unwashed people, often selling heather and the like, who smell quite rank.

  • Wilhelm

    The Spectator and Nelson is out of control, it has to be moderated

    • IRISHBOY

      Despite his willingness to face the wrathful sanctions of Leveson and his Common Purpose travellers, Fraser remains circumspect in his chosen subjects to discuss here. He was swift in correcting a factual error above in an earlier post of mine, but he won’t address the central point I made.

      “Hacked Off produced a very well-run campaign and presented a united front.”, says Fraser, but is it really irrelevant that a man sitting beside Leveson has connections with Hacked Off? Is it his genetic Edinburgh discreetness which prevents Fraser using this as part of his attack on Leveson, or is David Bell’s Xmas Card list another one he doesn’t want to be stuck off?

      • David Lindsay

        He is named in the latest Private Eye as one of the “right-wing Common Purpose” being deliberately put together.

        Based on the list of names, it’ll never work: traditional Tories such as Roger
        Scruton and John Hayes slumming it with the likes of Michael Gove, David
        Willetts, Matthew Elliott, Daniel Johnson, Janet Daley and Damian Thompson.

        But this is Fraser Nelson’s, and with him The Spectator’s, opportunity to declare once and for all whether he and it are paleocon or neocon. Which are they?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Neither.

          They’re leftists, like you.

          • David Lindsay

            Well, that certainly answers the question in your case. Not to anyone’s surprise.

            Still as committed as ever to the vision of 1968, and therefore to how it all worked out, inevitably, in the 1980s, the model into conformity with which the whole world now has be bombed.

            Nothing to do with American, British or any other kind of conservatism. But almost completely successful in having supplanted them.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              What in God’s name do you know about “conservatism”, son?

              • David Lindsay

                An awful lot more than you, clearly.

                Freddy Gray, of this parish, used to have me writing for The American Conservative.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  “Used to” being the operative words, no doubt.

                  Your bizarre worship for Biden’s ghoulish infanticide pretty much explains your “conservatism”.

                • David Lindsay

                  Freddy moved back to Britain, and TAC moved on to other projects. As did I.

                  It is far too cerebral for you, of course. It baffles me that you are a Spectator reader. How have you ever even heard of it?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, you’ve “moved on”.

                  There’s only so many things to be said for infanticide, afterall. But none of them conservative, I assure you.

                • David Lindsay

                  Of course, in itself, that statement is correct. But you still wouldn’t know.

                  And of course you supported an abortion *profiteer*, a man who draws an income from it, for President of the United States. Mercifully, most Catholics did not, and that swung it for the bad-but-not-evil alternative.

                  Don’t you have a Tea Party to be getting along to? Or are they no longer being held, now that their job of destroying the Republican Party is complete?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, actually, your statement is false. Supporting infanticide and ghouls like Biden and Obama is what you leftists do, not we conservatives.

                  Are your fantasies drug induced, or do they come natural?

                • David Lindsay

                  It hardly seems worth bothering now that he has lost, but on the Romney abortion profiteering (presumably to have been continued while he was in the White House), as well as on the fact that Romney legalised taxpayer funding of abortion (from which he profits personally) in Massachusetts whereas Obama specifically ruled it out of ObamaCare of which it therefore forms no part, see – http://ncronline.org/news/politics/which-presidential-candidate-truly-pro-life.

                  No wonder that, decisively, Obama carried the Catholic vote.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  What a fool. ObamaCare specifically rules in infanticide, just as was intended.

                  And what is your fixation with the other infanticide Biden/Obama clone Romney? Do you leftists fantasize due to drug use, I ask again?

                  And why is it you enjoy watching human life being destroyed and thrown into the hog slop bucket, is the most important question?

                  By what diseased thinking do you call that “conservative”?

                • David Lindsay

                  You have no idea what you are talking about. Or when you are beaten. You are so stupid and ill-informed that you thought that Romney was pro-life. Mercifully, the number of your compatriots who were as stupid and ill-informed as you translated into a mere one third of the Electoral College.

                  Indiana, which switched from blue to red in the Presidential Election, on the same day turned out a not very pro-life Republican Senator and replaced him with a totally pro-life Democrat. There would also have been pro-life Democratic gains in Utah and Tennessee if the GOP had run Tea Party candidates instead of elderly, as you would see them, RINOs. Next time…

                  You still don’t get the message: uneducated old white men shooting their mouths off can no longer expect unconditional obedience. For all the electoral difference that you now make, you may as well not vote at all.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, you’re lengthening up again, so time to put you on ignore.

                  But let me assure you, we conservatives know and knew full well what Willard is. Just as we know about your leftist hero baby murderers Obama and Biden, longtime supporters of infanticide.

                  Are your fantasies drug induced? By what diseased thinking do you call your muddle “conservative”?

                • David Lindsay

                  And the point is proved.

                  You still voted for Willard, though. A man who, unlike his opponent on both counts, not only legalised taxpayer funding of abortion, but derives an income from it.

                  Not that it made any difference. For all the difference that the votes of white men now make at Presidential level, you might as well not have the vote at all.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Actually, no, lefty, I didn’t vote for Willard. That’s merely another of your drug induced fantasies.

                  Much like your fantasy that your drooling worship for infanticide and the Obama/Biden supporters thereof is “conservative”.

                • David Lindsay

                  Wouldn’t have made any difference if you had. In Presidential Elections, white men now might as well have no votes at all. Call that a good thing. Call it a bad thing. But it cannot be gainsaid as a fact.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  What can be said as fact is that you are a lefty and support infanticide. But then, down through the decades, you leftists have always supported the slaughter of innocents, so this latest is just more slop for the hogs, in your preferred grand scheme. Well, yours and Obama’s, and Biden’s.

                  I’m still curious though, lefty. How is it you arrive at calling infanticide “conservative”?

                • David Lindsay

                  Bless.

                  No wonder that you are angry. Your party put up an even more pro-abortion candidate than the other one did, and that was quite a feat. Most of the only people whom you think should have any say voted for him. But he still lost, so that the only people whom you think should have any say might as well have had no say at all.

                  Ah, the rage of impotence.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  So proven wrong about who I voted for, you’ll now stumble forward and fantasize which “party” I belong. You are a rather strange fantasist.

                  You should stick to what you and we know as fact: You promote infanticide, and infanticidal politicians. Oh, and you fantasize that to be “conservative”.

                  Still waiting for an explanation on that, if the drugs lapse long enough to permit such.

          • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

            I doubt Common Purpose are leftists, despite the covering ideology.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              They’re doing a mighty good imitation, then.

              • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                Mike Yarwood did a good impression of Brian Clough, but he didn’t pick the team.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fraser.nelson.9 Fraser Nelson

        I’m from nairn, not Edinburgh.

        • IRISHBOY

          Fraser, your correcting, again, a relatively minor point of fact is no more pertinent to the questions I raise than me pointing out to you that I imagine Nairn is usually spelt with a capital N.

          I don’t mind if you don’t like the character of the way I write here, and if your two replies to me today are a veiled way of showing that, fine. Daily personal criticism is an every day feature of my profession too.

          But Leveson himself asked, who shall guard the guardians? And judging by the number of upward arrows my thoughts have received here, I’m not the only one to find the composition of Leveson’s panel as much part of the problem that it was set up to investigate.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Who cares whether the dinosaur media survives, other than you and your fellow media dinosaurs? You’re not fit for purpose. You legacy dinosaurs only stick around because of the cachet of a legacy masthead, and its power to draw eyeballs. But that won’t last, as the legacy cachet fades, as we’re seeing around the globe. And then, left to your own individual devices and abilities, you Speccie dinosaurs will be sinking into the tar pits with the rest of the dinosaurs, bellowing all the way, with another 14 more consecutive blogposts, no doubt.

    The problem with Leveson is that it wants to censor speech, and this new censorship compounds the already existing censorship that you and your fellow media dinosaurs practice, as you censor what is real and relevant, and only discuss what your fellow dinosaurs and censors and paymasters and benefactors and bubblemates find suitable to discuss.

    That’s why you’re dying, because of all that existing content censorship, and your proven lack of trustworthiness.

  • swatantra

    DC and The Press seem to have completely misread the public mood. We are in fact pretty hacked off with the tricks the Press got up to and side with the victims and the awful treatment meted out to the likes of the Jeffiries McGanns and Dowlers. We are less sympathetic to the likes of the Prescotts, Mosleys and Coogans and probably regard them as fair game, because we don’t like hypocrites.
    But I must say as celebrities go Hugh Grant put up a pretty strong case for Hacked Off and was pretty effective in demolishing all the agruments put up by friends of the Press.
    He should go into politics.

    • MirthaTidville

      No they haven`t, most of the public couldn`t give a toss. Much more important things to worry about…Silly things like this appeal only to lefties and other assorted gullibles

    • Colonel Mustard

      Who are you to speak of the “public” as “we”? Typical of the presumptive left. And the last thing we need are more celebrity politicians and pundits, especially in the Hugh Grant mould. I realise New Labour did a very good job of abolishing the concept of shame in the public eye but even so . . .

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000717517119 Robert Williams

      “The indications are that everyone’s bored of this already.”

      Seems so:-
      Hugh Grant’s phone hacking documentary gave Channel 4 a low audience on Wednesday night (November 28).

      The Love Actually star’s one-off investigation into phone hacking, in the lead-up to the publication of the Leveson report, could only muster 471,000 (1.9%) in the 8pm hour.

      Read more: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a441761/hugh-grants-channel-4-phone-hacking-doc-draws-470000.html#ixzz2Do8YMZFM

  • IRISHBOY

    Fraser, am I wrong (a meringue?!) about this or is there another reason why you ignore the fact that Hacked Off, although presented as if it’s a spontaneously formed pressure group of ‘victims’, is actually an off shoot of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (like all Lefty organisations they tend to be the opposite of what it says on the tin) which is headed by Sir David Bell who is also a honcho at Common Purpose, oh and incidentally, was sitting by the side of Leveson judging on the amount of freedom they might allow us?

    And so far in the coverage of Leveson, we’ve had no mention of the BBC and its use of a poll tax (with criminal sanctions for non-payment) to promote a partisan view, and ditto the Guardian which is sustained, or rather has its haemorrhage staunched, through public sector advertising.

    • Fraser Nelson

      Hacked Off is an offshoot of the Media Standards Trust. The BIJ is from City University, but I suspect it’ll be closed/renamed soon…

      • IRISHBOY

        Thank you for this Fraser – I’ll get googling on that! Though I still think the position of David Bell raises questions which, well, aren’t being raised.

        • telemachus

          Julia is a very perspicacious lady

          She gets the essence of blogging on a free site such as this

          “I wrote that down fast when the chair of a Strategic Health Authority in the UK said it to me the other day. What’s the point in talking things through with people who agree with you? So why do we spend our time doing it? And why do we get so worried when people do have different views? And why do we do we believe that homogenous teams are the most successful?”

          • Colonel Mustard

            But nevertheless she wants to control the press, or at least meddle in its regulation. If Middleton’s creed was so beneficial, so advantageous why is it not in common currency like so many other self-help and improvement techniques? Why the secrecy? Anyone with nothing to hide, faced with such controversy, would open the doors and invite the critics and conspiracy theorists in to see the innocuous truth. Has she? If not, then why not?

            Also, all of her questions to herself remain unanswered. And could be perceived as hollow. Since she is busy rolling out homogenous Common Purpose teams she must indeed believe them to be most successful.

            • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

              The answer is that what Common Purpose is presented as, a left wing version of the Masons, is not what it is. And attacking it as such – leftists, commies, socialists, etc is missing the point. In doing so, all you are doing is feeding it’s support network, by blowing dog whistles.

              The ideology, is second to the outcome.

              • telemachus

                And the outcome is self evidently impressive
                It is little wonder that the revanchist right are running scared

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  Hardly impressive.

                  All Common Purpose has done is open themselves up to blackmail by the forces that have used them.

                • telemachus

                  Blackmail?

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  Yes it is an ugly word isn’t it.

                  Shall we call it unpleasant duties in return for investment.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  What are these unpleasant duties?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  How so?

                  How can you blackmail useful idiots?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Well, I didn’t mention leftists, commies or socialists in the comment to which you are responding but I agree that the ideology is secondary to the outcome. However, many of the projects and causes associated with them can legitimately be described as communitarian.

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  I wasn’t suggesting you were using that language, but many do.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                If you’re point is that they’re useful idiots, I agree.

                That doesn’t mean they should not be stripped of power and influence. They should.

          • IRISHBOY

            “perspicacious’? Nothing a good spray of Lynx won’t put right!

        • Airey Belvoir

          The Media Standards Trust has also been supported by a big wheel at Goldman Sachs, no friends of fearless reportage.

        • FrenchNewsonlin

          IRISHBOY •

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, it’s government creating a lobbying group to lobby government.

            It’s government governing itself, to the exclusion of the governed.

            It’s a really neat trick.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Not just Common Purpose either. The whole fake charity scam needs examination since New Labour tweaked the criteria for charitable status in 2004. It would be interesting to know just how much taxpayers money is provided to charities which lobby government with it.

            • IRISHBOY

              Indeed. It is the feigned ‘independence’ of these ‘charities’ which needs to be exposed and punctured.

            • Daniel Maris

              Not just charities. There are certain people who use companies limited by guarantee to pose as charities, whilst they benefit personally from those companies. In some cases the public have given millions of pounds out of the goodness of their hearts to such charities thinking they have a noble purpose, but the money gets eaten up in providing financial benefit for the people concerned and income for their friends and family, or gets swallowed up in things like lawyers fees and PR exercises.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        Mr Nelson: The BIJ may well be based in City University but the circular links to Common Purpose/ Sir David Bell /Hacked Off/Sovereign Strategy/BIJ/a member of Leveson’s advisory panel et al were documented by Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Telegraph of 24 Jul 2011 and further in the Daily Mail’s 12-page blockbuster on Leveson/Common Purpose late November. There should be no dissembling on what’s at stake. Press freedom, free speech and human freedoms in a democracy are inextricably intertwined and these pressure groups are working to end them all. Time to be fundamentalists about Free Speech, no ifs and no buts..

      • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

        In your articles you make no mention of the police and their corruption,are you blind? Leveson protected the police and you say nothing of this?

  • HooksLaw

    Collusion?
    By their efforts The Guardian have brought all this on the industry. They made the furore over deleting Dowler emails, which did not happen. Now the Guardian do not know how to respond.

    They want to wipe out Murdoch for their own political reasons, but now they have shot themselves in the foot and find that Labour want to legislate against the press.
    As far as Labour are concerned then the Guardian might suppose that its just Miliband posturing and yes we can see how labour would slant any regulatory body. And of course politically they have succeeded in seeing Cameron being blackguarded by the heroine of children all the world over, JK Rowling, and all manner of sad innocent press victims,,, and Steve Coogan. So they will argue that is one job done, pretty ironic really since the UKIP crowd for once agree with Cameron.

    In the middle of all this I do not see why it should not be possible to underpin regulation by law but still keep the law makers, parliament, at arms length. But nin doing the right thing Cameron has made himself wide open to all manner of emotive ‘victim betrayal’ type attacks. The Spectaor and its UKIP cheerleaders should note that.

  • RKing

    I’m sure that Leveson is very important but I do feel that there are some VERY important things that also need discussing.

    Cameron is to impose a “tax” on alchohol in order to save the lives of young people.

    Is he considering putting a CAP on heating to save the lives of older folks?

    An additional 24,000 died last year while energy companies made excessive profits and even more increases to come from the Loony Dims green policy.

    A suggestion…. use the money he collects on achohol to pay the heating bills of the elderly!!

    The silence is deafening!!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Don’t worry. The alcohol hike will come to nothing. The EU will stop it.And old people dying from the cold will save the NHS countless billions. Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Oh and have the old considered hot water bottles?.

      • Swiss Bob

        You moron, older people need to keep warm from head to toe or soon start to deteriorate, become ill and die.

        Ed Miliband passing the climate change act could end up in the hit parade of socialists responsible for genocide.

        • MirthaTidville

          I think you will find that Fergus had his tongue firmly in his cheek with that last remark

          • Swiss Bob

            It was the hot water bottle remark.

            24,000/year, a quarter of a million a decade and they’re going to stick with this until 2050, well done Ed Miliband, you’ll single handedly have sent a million people to their grave early.

            Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Ed Miliband, great socialists of their time.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I am an oldish person and I get cold. I have found hot water bottles keep me warmer. I hve one now. And please read my previous sentence. There is always an upside. Are you a frothing lefty? They do tend tom throw out words like moron and think that is an argument.

          • Swiss Bob

            Yes, yes, the first part of your comment was quite amusing but I wouldn’t rely on a hot water bottle to keep you warm:

            It’s harder to judge temperatures as you get older. Use a thermometer to detect changes and act quickly. Keep your living room at 70°F (21°c) if possible.

            Exposure to the cold during the night puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Keep your bedroom at 65°F (18°c).

            It’s a common misconception that sleeping with the window open all year round is healthy. Keeping windows open on a winter night puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night.

            Protect your fingers, mouth and head – these parts of your body are more sensitive to changes in temperature. Breathing in cold air can increase your chances of becoming seriously ill. Wrap up well when you go outside.

            Hot water bottles are not sufficient. I have 80+ year old parents and if you think I’m a lefty you’ve never read any of my comments. i.e see below.

            • Fergus Pickering

              You are forgiven. My parents are dead and you can’t get colder than that. Never get old, never get sick, and stay out of jail. Who gave us those wise words?

        • 2trueblue

          And the BBC threw their weight behind. We know that it is not proven so why are we still being beaten with that stick?

    • HooksLaw

      The govt give a heating allowance every winter. I believe pensioners over 80 get £300. this still buys a lot of gas. Last years excess deaths was 8% down.

      It seems that in Europe its the milder climates that have the greatest excess winter deaths. Studies have shown no socio economic link to excess winter deaths.
      Have you ever heard of influenza? Typically this accounts for 12,500 excess deaths
      Opinions are fine if they are based on facts.

      • Swiss Bob

        New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today show that 21,700 older people died last winter from cold-related illnesses – a 3% drop on the previous year.

        Don’t you ever check your facts?

        • HooksLaw

          Blame the BBC. 3% may be on top of 8%.
          Influenza is a significant cause of winter death. The facts are that the govt provides significant extra funds for heating, the lack of which was the original accusation.

          As for the ONS
          http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2010-11–provisional–and-2009-10–final-/stb-ewm-2010-11.html#tab-Causes-of-excess-winter-mortality
          ‘Previous research has shown that although mortality does increase as it gets colder, temperature only explains a small amount of the variance in winter mortality, and high levels of excess winter mortality can occur during relatively mild winters (Brown et al, 2010). Curwen and Devis (1988) showed that both temperature and levels of influenza were important predictors of excess winter mortality. Thus, the relationship between temperature, influenza and winter mortality is complex.’

        • Fergus Pickering

          Cold-related? That’s like the statistic that 1000% of road deaths are alcohol-related?

  • Colonel Mustard

    The petition is meaningless. The bullying minority that thinks it will get its own way by shouting loudest. It is the modern equivalent of the Paris mob and sadly in need of the modern equivalent of the ‘whiff of grapeshot’ from a courageous politician prepared to put his head above the parapet. The noisy and demanding pressure groups need to be put back in their box and reminded firmly that the majority is no less valid for remaining silent.

    This includes the fairy tale writer and Labour supporter Rowling whose unelected opinion in this matter should carry no more weight than that of an anonymous pensioner in Rye.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Indeed it should not. And neither should the opinions of the unfortunate parents of murdered children; the press, whatever else they did, did not murder them. As for the opinions of actors and chat show people – words fail me.

      • HooksLaw

        Words may fail you but in the real world, as opposed to the one you would rather live in, this is what happens.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Terrorism, murder and other unpleasant things happen but that does not make them right or desirable. And until these vociferous minority pressure groups are properly challenged and weighed as to their ‘popular’ support (claimed but seldom evidenced) we shall continue to have their niche aspirations imposed upon us. The current fad of giving private grief a public platform and using it to stifle opposition to specific agendas needs to be questioned.

          • HooksLaw

            Jumping to murder and terrorism from the travails of their victims seems somewhat metaphysical.
            I am not sure that there is any evidence for anger at the press being a niche opinion.
            The fact is of course that in this real world Cameron has made a ‘brave’, in the Sir Humphrey sense, decision which Labour and their fellow travellers seek to exploit. It seems highly likely he is going to end up on the wring side of the argument (even if he is theoretically right) and its just one more hammer to help labour with their nailing down.

            UKIPers need to really realise which side their bread is buttered on.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Anger at the press might not be a niche opinion but it is a niche that seeks to harness that anger and translate it into an instrument of control. And the imperative for that niche appears to be subjective personal angst. I thoroughly disapprove of some of the antics of the press and am angered by them but once again we seem to be in the territory of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, of seeking to punish the many for the sins of a few.

              And the polarisation will seek to thrust me into the press camp and accuse me of having no feelings for the tragic victims. Unhelpful.

              • HooksLaw

                If your child has been murdered and the press intrude then I think you are entitled to be angry. If one of your tenants is murdered and the press try to fit you up then again I think you are entitled to be angry. I do not think its reasonable to expect such victims to be fair. I can only imagine how I would feel. The issue is how there can be an element of self control imposed on the press and how excesses can be penalised.

                I do not see your equating these victims with cold blooded murderers helps anyone. You can pick holes in Levenson but I do not see it as a sledgehammer.

                You will note I take a different view to Cameron over this. I doubt we will see the UKIP leadership rushing to praise him, but given that labour are the party likely to benefit politically they ought to.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Since these people are angry their judgement is not to be trusted, nor should it be. This idea that working class parents nver leave their children unattended uis such obvious bollocks it scarcely needs attention. God God they go on holiday for a fortnight a thousand miles away, not nip over the road for a drink.

                • HooksLaw

                  The angry people did not write the Levenson report any more than the people who made them angry did.

                • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

                  Generally, the less involved parents are in their kids lives, the more successful their kids are.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  If that were true the all successful people would have been abandoned on doorsteps. Not a very sensible remark, I think. Most of those who grow up unloved never get over it, just as mnay, most of those who were abused as children abuse their own children or others. What, I wonder, was Savile’s childhood like?

                • Fergus Pickering

                  If that were true the all successful people would have been abandoned on doorsteps. Not a very sensible remark, I think. Most of those who grow up unloved never get over it, just as mnay, most of those who were abused as children abuse their own children or others. What, I wonder, was Savile’s childhood like?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I’m not equating them with cold blooded murderers. That is a weak attempt to invalidate my argument. No one is denying their right to be angry but anger is no basis for good law. They are focussing on one aspect of the press but clamouring for regulations that would probably have unintended consequences for many others.

                • HooksLaw

                  We were talking about the reactions of people who had had children murdered and you said ‘Terrorism, murder and other unpleasant things happen but that does not make them right or desirable.’ – its a big stretch.
                  its the way the press treat these and other people caught up in these matters which have brought them into disrepute. I think that celebrities who by their lifestyle throw themselves into harms way is a bit different, but ethics still come in to it.

                  I thought it a bit pathetic of the BBC to wheel out Charlotte Church on QT, when she had pretty much laid herself wide open (in a manner of speaking by her own antics and her TV show.

                  Press regulation is a joke, the press themselves are a

                • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

                  “Lawyer David Sherborne last week told the Leveson Inquiry how the mother of Charlotte Church, Maria, whom Sherborne represents, featured in a 1995 story, under Andy Coulson’s famously hands-off editorship, about her partner’s alleged infidelity and cocaine use. That the NoW published it, though instructive, isn’t the point. The point is that, she claims, hacks then threatened to run another piece unless Maria Church gave them an exclusive interview.”

                • Ron Todd

                  Is letting the victims decide the punishment ever a good way to get justice?

                • telemachus

                  An excellent point
                  We are all victims of the coalition but I know my anger would not be good for Cameron’s health

                • Ron Todd

                  Is letting the victims decide the punishment ever a good way to get justice?

                • telemachus

                  An excellent point
                  We are all victims of the coalition but I know my anger would not be good for Cameron’s health

                • telemachus

                  You really need to heed the revanchist Ukipoid Ossitt

                • telemachus

                  You really need to heed the revanchist Ukipoid Ossitt

      • telemachus

        Yes the parents

        I was astonished at the vitriol metred out on the blogs when I mentioned the McCanns on Thursday

        But then I got to thinking stoked up by Gerry ranting to the Media about Cameron.

        Then I read this superb analysis, the best I have seen of the Madeleine aga, one which I can relate to. I am not usually a fan of David Ossitt but he is spot on here

        “The father of Madeleine McCann is now busy on the television and on the radio demanding that the prime minister accept the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry in full.

        He and his wife two educated people, both doctors; had left Madeleine who was not quite four years old and her two, two year old twin siblings alone in the bedroom of a ground-floor holiday flat whilst they ate dinner with a party of seven friends at a local restaurant some 130 yards from this holiday flat, this occurred on the 3rd May 2007.

        From the outset this case filled me with very mixed emotions, on the one hand as a parent of three, I could well understand and have empathy with their grieve and pain at the loss of their young daughter but I was also extremely angry that two highly intelligent high earning individuals had not better protected their children, either by paying for a baby sitter ( a baby sitting service and a crèche were available) or else taking it in turns to stay with the children alternating each and every hour or even to take the children with them.

        All children are precious, infants and babies are doubly so, the sad fact that they left these infants alone and unprotected, at best shows a gross dereliction of their duty and at worst wilful criminal negligence.

        Had this occurred in the UK and if all of the children were in fact safe and sound then the McCann’s would have been as guilty of criminal neglect as would be the council housed, drug taking single parent who leaves her brood to obtain her ‘fix’.

        None of us can ever know the full truth about this sad event but I am sure of two things, it is my belief that the parents feel the guilt to their very core of their being, they then used the press in their attempt to find the child but only on terms that they would try to dictate much of this as a way of easing their feelings of guilt.

        Sadly for them it will never be over, the young siblings when they come of age might well ask, why? Did you value us so little?

        I for one, do not want the McCann’s; or any of the other high profile individuals who now rant and rave demanding that the press be regulated, to be the cause of our free press loosing one scintilla of that hard won freedom”

        • Andy

          All of which is what some of us said, only you are too stupid to see it. The McCann’s have been delft at manipulating the media but it does not alter the fact that Madeleine would never have ‘gone missing’ or whatever happened to her had the McCann’s been responsible.

          • Ron Todd

            For all their complaining they could have been treated a lot worse by the press. If working class parents had left their children in an unsecured room while they went out boozing with friends the press would have been demanding their prosecution for neglect and the removal of the other children. And more than likely some middle class left wing social worker types would have removed the other children.

            • Andy

              Quite agree. I said on another thread that they had got the press they deserved, and I rather think the press have been mild to them. As you say had they been working class parents, not as articulate or media savvy as the McCann’s, there other children would have been taken into care. We might never know the truth of what happened that day: we merely have a version of it.

              • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

                So,you are criticizing them for not being overbearing, control-freak parents?
                You are aware that the 1m NEETs in this country are the product of ninnying, overbearing control-freak parents?
                We have a strange attitude to parents where we scream about neglect but think its perfectly acceptable for them (mums especially) to turn their kids into social cripples with no friends, purely to serve their narcisistic ways).

                • Colonel Mustard

                  This is such a typical “So, you” response, putting words together that were never articulated or intended. Do you even begin to understand the difference between responsible parents and “overbearing, control-freak parents”? Do you understand that taking reasonable measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of very young children – e.g. not leaving them alone at night in a strange apartment in a foreign country while you go off to eat and drink somewhere else – arranging for a babysitter – is far from being “overbearing, control-freak parents”?

                  Frankly, you make me sick.

                • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

                  Fact is, children need to learn self-sufficiency as early as possible. The reason our economy is failing is because of parents who won’t allow their children to grow up at a normal pace.
                  The younger a child becomes independent, the stronger they become, and the more successful they will be.
                  Mothers are deliberately making their children into weak social cripples and “neckbeards” so they can have permanent control over them, its pure narcicism. Childhood is ridiculously extended in this country.

                • Andy

                  The McCann’s left their children – who were how old exactly at the time ??? Do remind us – in an apartment while they went off to dine and drink with their mates. All they had to do was arrange for a babysitter through the apartment complex. They were too mean, stupid and/or irresponsible to do so. The result of this idiotic decision was that their child disappeared. How you can think that any of this was being ‘overbearing, control freak parents’ is frankly beyond me.

          • telemachus

            Even telemachus can learn

            I posted this for 2 reasons

            1) The opprobrium from many attaching to my highlighting their plight illustrated the correctness of some of the media comment
            2) The vicar’s UKIP/Islamophilia site sometimes has a good post

            • Andy

              No you don’t. Your still a bleedin Socialist.

            • Austin Barry

              Surely you mean ‘Islamophobia’ – or ‘reasoned judgment’ as we infidels call it.

              • telemachus

                There are in fact other epithets for the vicars site
                I read today about the brave patriotic BNP

        • HooksLaw

          Cameron has done all he could to support the McCanns and help find their child.
          Its not clear to me that the Levenson report curbs press freedom

        • Austin Barry

          The McCanns were culpable. They made some fugitive intellectual accommodation of leaving their kids alone while they swapped presumably commonplace wine-fuelled observations with their honking compatriots. Then they played the Press, the Press played them. Now they want to complain. It’s a cliche, but hard, or unusual, cases makes bad law,

          • Airey Belvoir

            All the focus is on the McCanns, as victims – a status which they are working hard to encourage and reinforce in the public’s mind. Yet the real and only victim is a little girl, who, following parental incompetence, went to an unimaginably horrifying death. So lets have a bit less ‘Kate and Gerry’ and remember poor Madeleine.

            • telemachus

              Yes
              Sympathy we have in the search

        • Sarah

          Good God. Check yourself.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          Is it vitriol to point out the hypocrisy of the McCanns?

          The issue is not the circumstances of how their child became lost, but the way in which they behaved afterwards, i.e exactly like the worst elements of the tabloid press.

          The case also asks questions directly relevant to wider issues that feed into the Leveson debates. Such as the role of charities, the way in which media advisers control ‘the story’, and why the press do not report the wider story.

    • Wilhelm

      ” fairy tale writer JK Rowling.”

      You mean scribbler of gibberish.

      • HooksLaw

        Well we might agree with that – I never got past the first page of the first Potter.

        It just shows you what the production line of British character actors and film production values can do.

        Rowling is of course a paid up campaigning socialist and will be quite happy to see what she regards as the right wing press muszzled.

        • Wilhelm

          Strange women that Rowling, she’s never off the television telling us how shy, private, doesn’t like the limelight, introverted she is.

          Plus she’s done White Flight, lives in Perthshire.

          • HooksLaw

            there is no end to the way you can manage to bring race into any subject is there?

    • telemachus

      I do not consider JKR one of us.

      Rowling may mock the wealth and snobbery of Harry’s foster parents.

      She may show Harry himself as a Cinderella figure, snubbed and oppressed in the house.

      But the so called private school is a mild parody of private school goings-on. Not particularly subversive, but a joke all the same.

      Having said this ask JKR what she is doing for the urban poor with her millions

      • Colonel Mustard

        “I do not consider JKR one of us.”

        You might not but she does and so do many of your comrades.

        • Andy

          Aye aint that a fact. Funny thing is I understand that the minute she had her wad she ditched all her old friends – the ones who helped her when she had nought. Fair weather it be.

    • 2trueblue

      Amazing how the whole thing happened during Blairs years, nothing was done and now it has been thrown at Cameron. No matter what he decides it will be wrong as far as Millipede and Clegg are concerned.

      The whole investigation is showing signs that it in itself was biased.

      • HooksLaw

        Quite correct. The police were soft on a Labour supporting paper.

        • http://www.facebook.com/gary.wintle1 Gary Wintle

          The police have been in bed with the press since the 80s; Hillsborough being a clear example of the press doing the police’s dirty work (smearing those who would criticise the police). This also happened in the case of De Menezes; the press printed the police propaganda, then, when the police came under attack for lying, the press conveniently started running smear stories about Menezes and his family.
          The police are supposed to be working for you and me, but they seem more loyal to their mates in the gutter press.

          • dalai guevara

            The content of your post can not be overrated. It baffles me how all this discussion about whether some middle class family did or did not look after their children in an appropriate manner, and thus whether the opinion of a ‘victim’ can be dragged out as sole reason to discredit the message, diverts from the fact that the police are never in the frame.

            And what these guys talk about is ‘freedom’? What a disgraceful bunch of followers this paper attracts.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Why are you here then? To stand on the sidelines and lob your morally superior hand grenades at the “disgraceful bunch”? Or maybe, like telemachus, you think the opinions expressed here need “re-constructing” to your view of the world? Socialism and fascism – two cheeks of the same arse.

              • dalai guevara

                Fergus is making a point, you are not. Oh no you are, you are talking childish nonsense. Now, until you revert to making an intelligible argument, I will just assume you have booked your annual holidays in Bavaria – in devotion.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Why are you here then? To stand on the sidelines and lob your morally superior hand grenades at the “disgraceful bunch”? Or maybe, like telemachus, you think the opinions expressed here need “re-constructing” to your view of the world? Socialism and fascism – two cheeks of the same arse.

          • Fergus Pickering

            The police have been in bed with the press since time immemorial. When I was young the police beat up a guy they wanted to fit up for a murder. The press were complicit in sweeping it under the carpet. None of this is new, nor will it stop. What I want to know is if underv the new dispensation the press are supposed to run every story past these minders FIRST. Oh, and the Telegraph stuff about MPs expenses would never have been published because the material was obtained criminally i.e. stolen. This would suit the political classes down to the ground. In France President Mitterand had another family and all the press knew. But nobody else did. Is that the press you want? It’s the press the politicians want but is it the one YOU want?

            • dalai guevara

              A Mitterand type press control? Is that what is proposed? Tell me tell me.

          • Fergus Pickering

            The police have been in bed with the press since time immemorial. When I was young the police beat up a guy they wanted to fit up for a murder. The press were complicit in sweeping it under the carpet. None of this is new, nor will it stop. What I want to know is if underv the new dispensation the press are supposed to run every story past these minders FIRST. Oh, and the Telegraph stuff about MPs expenses would never have been published because the material was obtained criminally i.e. stolen. This would suit the political classes down to the ground. In France President Mitterand had another family and all the press knew. But nobody else did. Is that the press you want? It’s the press the politicians want but is it the one YOU want?

    • http://joelpearce.wordpress.com/ Joel Pearce

      So 70,000 people signing a petition is a “bullying minority”, but 5 media barons controlling British newspapers is a “free press”? Not so sure about that analysis…

      • Colonel Mustard

        Well, 70,000 people from an orchestrated campaign of hysteria is still less than 1% of the population and the comparison is fatuous. And it’s not an “analysis” but a comment I’m entitled to make. The 70,000+ need to understand that not everybody has to agree with them – or will. Got it?

        • http://joelpearce.wordpress.com/ Joel Pearce

          The Hacked off campaign is no more or less hysterical than the scaremongering of the major newspapers, but I accept that not everyone will agree with the petition. All I’m saying is that when a sizeable number (admittedly a minority) mount a grassroots campaign then they should be taken into account, otherwise what kind of democracy are we living in?

          • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

            It seems pretty hysterical not to meet with the Culture Secretary to discuss the government’s concerns about the proposals.

            • http://joelpearce.wordpress.com/ Joel Pearce

              Were they invited?

              • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                Is it now being spun that they weren’t?

          • IRISHBOY

            Except it’s not a grassroots campaign, it has been orchestrated by an organisation who has had on its board, up until the beginning of the Leveson enquiry, a member of that same enquiry and whose name still appears on their website.

          • Colonel Mustard

            They have been taken into account. Anyone would think Cameron had thrown the Leveson report and its recommendations in the bin. This is orchestrated pressure motivated by party politics masquerading as a “popular” front. Don’t forget that freedom of the press also exposed the MP expenses scandal and many other abuses of power. The Hacked Off “solution” is like cutting off your foot because a toenail is ingrown.

        • http://joelpearce.wordpress.com/ Joel Pearce

          The Hacked off campaign is no more or less hysterical than the scaremongering of the major newspapers, but I accept that not everyone will agree with the petition. All I’m saying is that when a sizeable number (admittedly a minority) mount a grassroots campaign then they should be taken into account, otherwise what kind of democracy are we living in?

      • Fergus Pickering

        You can get 70,000 people to sign anything, and it is self-evidently a minority. So is 700,000. And are you sure here are no Donald Ducks amongst them. Doesn’t sound like any petition I’ve ever seen.

      • Fergus Pickering

        You can get 70,000 people to sign anything, and it is self-evidently a minority. So is 700,000. And are you sure here are no Donald Ducks amongst them. Doesn’t sound like any petition I’ve ever seen.

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