Coffee House

Why The Spectator said ‘no’ to David Cameron’s Royal Charter for regulation of the press

19 March 2013

8:11 PM

19 March 2013

8:11 PM

After due consideration, we at The Spectator have decided our response to the proposed Royal Charter system of press regulation. Our answer is given on the cover of the new magazine (above). We fully supported David Cameron’s response to the Leveson Report and agreed with him that the press regulation needs a major overhaul.  But, he said, this ought not to be done by politicians. The press was willing to implement the regulatory changes that Lord Justice Leveson wanted: up-front apologies, £1m damages, everything. Statute would not be necessary. The press would do it themselves, and did not need to be suborned by the politicians. Our ancient press freedom would be protected.

Instead, we have a dog’s breakfast of a Royal Charter which actually makes less sense the more you read it. This is what happens when politicians get together: each wants to proclaim victory, so the language is made vague enough for everyone to read whatever they want into it. It’s perhaps fitting that the Charter is written in archaic language: that’s how they spoke in the 1690s, the last time there was state regulation of the press in England. All together, it’s a recipe for disaster and future power grabs.

Even now No10 doesn’t seem to know if the Charter’s clauses involve, for example, regulating Twitter or not.  The freedom (and proper regulation) of the press deserves a better and more workable solution than one cooked up at 2am in Ed Miliband’s office with a cabal of politicians in one room and Hacked Off in the other. You don’t need to understand the text of the Royal Charter to grasp its key point: this is a clear attempt for politicians to license the press.  It’s a power grab.


But the press has a choice. It can sign up David Cameron’s peculiar Royal Charter press club, with its medieval dress code, or it can decline. I strongly suspect that newspapers will give their own ‘no’ to the Royal Charter – perhaps in a smaller font size –and then produce their own robust regulation with all the essential components of the Leveson deal. Press freedom is worth fighting for, and I suspect the newspapers will now fight.

Yes, there have been horrific abuses by the press. But this was already illegal: this is why so many journalists have been arrested and why so many will go to jail.  No new laws are required. No political oversight is required. The Royal Charter would have done nothing to help the McCanns, Chris Jeffreys – or, indeed, Hugh Grant and Max Mosley. But it would help the ministers who want to speak softly to the press, while carrying a big stick. And anyone who thinks the loss of UK press freedom would not have any international effects should think how often Ireland is being cited as an example for our Press to accept political control.

Debating this on Ch4 News with George Eustace, Cameron’s ex-spin doctor, reminded me of a basic point – about what we’re all in this game for.  The Spectator’s readers expect us to hold politicians to account, not dance to their tune. And that’s what we’ll keep doing. Hopefully under a new press regulatory system which will be the most robust in the Western world – and one set up by newspapers  appalled by this attempt to bury England’s ancient press freedoms in so shallow a grave.

PS We’ve had plenty compliments on Twitter for the cover. It was designed in about ten seconds by Peter Robins, our brilliant production editor. Here’s a high-res version.

And here’s my debate with Eustace on Ch4 News:-

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Show comments
  • john hall

    Incredible that HackedOff should be in such close cahoots with the politicians whilst they are framing the Royal Charter and that those who will be directly subject to its strictures are not even given the chance of liaison..

  • The_Spitfire_Pilot

    If these pygmy politicians had the sense they were born with, they would realise that The Press is the greatest ally they have to clean up a corrupt and incompetent society. Instead, they have deliberately alienated The Press and made enemies of the most powerful communications entity in the world. What fools they are!

  • sonyme

    Well done. I commend Fraser to the newsprint house.

  • evad666

    Comments on this are being censored by the News and Truth Commission.

  • Daniel1979

    Well said Fraser, I for one back this decision

  • paulus

    Well thats genius isn’t it, lambasting the politicians for drafting the legislation without any rational input, at 2 am, then teling us that your response took two minutes.

    You can’t grant a Royal Charter to people who arn’t involved in it,the basis of a Royal Charter is you grant self governance. There being chartered, licensed by Royal assent.If you change the definition in this case, you will change the legal definition of every Royal Charter.

    Either Cameron is a devious genius or a blunderer without any grasp of history


    Did TonyBlair made a donation to Hacked off? Shame on them, if they accepted it.

  • JMckechnie

    This is well written; as you would expect. Fraser Nelson has articulated, rather well, that The Spectator has a responsibility to its readers, that it shall not ignore. This is a brave step, and one that other publications should adhere to.

  • HookesLaw

    You are a joke Mr Nelson.

  • Iain Hill

    Best analysis to date. It is all theatrical posing by the politicians.

  • Aaron D Highside

    Nigel Farage was the only political leader to condemn this atrocious move.

  • Tom Burroughes

    Great stuff, Fraser. This nonsensical arrangement cannot and must not stand. Already, American friends of mine are pointing out how bad this makes the UK look. Far from reducing press freedom, we ought to have a US-style 1st Amendment, a reform of our libel law, and arguably, an even more efficient Freedom of Information Act.

  • Liberanos

    Is it possible for the press to be free to hold the mighty to account…and still behave like bastards to the unfortunate?

  • derekemery

    We need an open press to protect us from the eternal activities of corrupt politicians who would always prefer to keep their activities in the dark from the public. Having politicians in charge of press regulation is a vote for the forces of darkness. You may as well give crooks the keys to jail.

    MPs never voted to allow their expenses scandal to be visible, In fact they were all totally against the data ever coming out so they could continue making money this way in perpetuity. In a similar future situation does anybody think they will allow the press to go to print -never in a million years.

  • anneallan

    New Labour or Hugh Grant’s Labour?

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Well done to The Spectator for standing up to the anti-Democrats in LibLabCON.
    The weakling Cameron should have refused point-blank to any kind of State Regulation of the Press.
    But this is what happens when the Fourth Estate fails to do its job an hold our corrupt Political Elite PROPERLY to account.
    Why hasn’t The Spectator been so clear, so quick and so determined to defend our NATIONAL Independence and Sovereignty. Why has it sat quietly by as more and more power has been transferred to the EU?
    As he sow, so shall ye reap.
    Do your job properly and hold these b+stards to account.

  • Harry

    Your cover took a mere ten seconds to design and I would hazard that your “due consideration” took slightly less.

  • Tom Tom

    What is the purpose on an EDITOR ? On Disqus comments are controlled by a US corporation based in San Francisco rather than a London-based newspaper so it seems control of outpit can be delegated. Hungary already has a Media Oversight Body but the Speccie has never commented on it……..

  • Curnonsky

    UKIP are now the only major British political party backing a free press.

  • Mynydd

    Look people, this is not Mr Cameron’s first, nor biggest failure, remember he failed to win an overall majority in 2010 against Mr Brown which took some doing. The situation now is of Mr Cameron’s own making, he was not man enough to stand-up and take responsiblity for working with the press to producing a code of conduct that met the prnciples in the Leveson report. Why was Mr Miliband involved? he is not the goverment. Equally the press, encluding The Spectator, are equally to blame. Why have they not put before the public a scheme which all publication would sign upto. It’s easy to say what you don’t like, but let us know what would be acceptable to Mr Fraser and the Spectator.

  • Antonia Willis

    Perhaps it’s time the Spectator took a closer, more sympathetic look at UKIP’s policies, which are fundamentally all about trying to restrict further state control, whether via the EU or Westminster.

  • MikeF

    The notion that a fundamental liberty could be compromised by the posturings of the likes of Hugh Grant and Nick Clegg is grotesque. David Cameron could have seized the moment and made defence of that liberty a point of principle on which he was prepared to go to the country – a general election fought on a matter of principle wouldn’t that be something. As it is there will have to be a fight and we will literally have to take to the streets if necessary. This must not pass – that is all there is to it.

  • Gez Sagar

    So brave Fraser. The Spectator won’t have to join a regulator, because it’s not compulsory. You won’t be going to jail, much as you’d like to. Keep calm and stay free.

  • Julieann Carter
  • Gawain

    Thankyou very much. You have stood up for my children’s future today.

  • Austin Barry

    Well done, Fraser.

    Powerful, corrupt entities (including most of our Parliamentarians) are behind this legislation whilst flying the false flag of Dowler and McCann and led by a fifth rate actor whose brains were seemingly aspirated on Sunset Strip.

    Good luck and good fortune.

  • tomwhuxley

    The savings made by foregoing a cartoonist this week should go a little way towards helping the Spectator’s financial position should “exemplary damages” come into force.

    • Fraser Nelson

      We actually commissioned one, from Morten Morland, so beautiful that we almost ditched this whole project and ran the other topic instead. But we reckon it’ll hold another week.


    I find the whole thing a farce.
    Cobbled together late at night. No press representation. So we basically spent millions on the Leveson inquiry when all we really needed to do was pour a few whisky’s and get another student to write a “thesis”.
    I am disgusted at the things the press have done in the past, most especially for things such as Hillsborough and the McCann’s/Dowler’s, however, a free press is and always will be needed. I actually think this is all a “con” to regulate the press via the front door.

    • Carolina Viola

      A real dog’s dinner. What gets me is that the McCanns who, by the way, were never maligned by the press were, used in order to pass this charter. Why are this couple used as an example of persecution by the press when they courted it from the very night their daughter disappeared and were happy as long as rosy coloured stories and phot shots were printed about them, of course, leaving out facts about their most negligent parenting. When the papers started to print the FACTS of the investigation which pointed in their direction, the parents started their victim mode even though what was printed was factual and later confirmed with the release of the Portuguese police files. BTW, they have never been exonerated by the Portuguese justice system but the McCanns don’t seem to mind that lie being printed in the newspapers. It is an insult to the Dowlers when you compare them o the McCanns.


    how quickly have you forgotten or more importantly chose to forget that up until a moment in time no one was arrested . the met chose not to re open cases. yes it was illegal but that is pointless when you have a police and political system that ignores the illegality.

    too little. too late.

    do not sign up. but you have been let down.

  • realfish

    I had hoped that in walking away from talks with Miliband and Clegg, Cameron was shewing statesmanship and had drawn a line in the sand. I now find myself as disappointed with him as I was with the 20 or so Tory rebels who were seemingly prepared to defy him and vote for state regulation.

    It is a dark day for this country when legislation is shaped around the noise made by a group of celebrities and our government ‘bends the knee’ and is outflanked by left wing activists determined to emasculate a free press. Yes! the odious, opportunistic Miliband would yet again have played the ‘Dowler / McCann’ card, but Cameron’s wider obligations to the Nation, as PM, called for him to show REAL leadership, not indulge in populist X-Factor politics. It was Cameron’s job to minimise and outweigh Miliband’s attack in a way that the Country would understand, respect and accept.

    I have always supported Cameron. No Prime Minister in living memory has inherited and had to deal with such a litany of failure, not just an awful economic catastrophe, but failure at every level of government. Almost everything Labour touched in its 13 years, it wrecked. Even the press wrongdoing that led to Leveson happened on Labour’s watch – wrongdoing that Gordon Brown chose to turn his blind eye to.

    But on this, Cameron is wrong. Our historic rights and freedoms have been compromised and it beggars belief to think that ‘Hacked Off’ will stop at what it has achieved this week.

    Today I have put my name to the Government e-petition 47317, calling for the Charter to be dissolved. I hope that anyone that feels equally angry does the same.

  • Rockin Ron

    “The press would do it themselves.”

    That is the heart of the issue – the press have many opportunities to behave decently and a few of them have messed it up for everyone. No instituition can be left to govern itself without the risk of bad behaviour spiralling out of control. I do not agree with this stance and it will not be the position going forward. Too late to be pious now.

  • Andy

    Totally agree with you Fraser. Publish and be Dammed.

    • Theodoxia

      Generally speaking, one dams rivers.

      • The Red Bladder

        That’ll explain the word damnation then?

        • Andy

          Don’t. She’s got her finger in the dam.

  • C Cole

    Great stuff. I hope this farce of a cross-party agreement will help persuade the country’s newspaper proprietors, editors and commentators that politics-as-usual is bust and that a party that dares to be different, such as UKIP, deserves their backing at the European elections and beyond.

  • David Lindsay

    They wouldn’t send you to prison or anything glamorous like that, you know? It would just come out of your proprietors’ pockets. How long do you really think that they would put up with that?

    The real issue is ownership, which was outside Leveson’s remit. Nothing will make any difference until that is addressed, for which we shall have to wait until there is a Government elected contrary to the express instructions of the Murdoch papers. So, 2015, then.

    Now give over!

    • Wessex Man

      Very good point there David, that Lord Nort zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Andy

      Ah ownership. You will be breaking up the BBC of course ? It is, after all, dangerous to have such a monopolistic news supplier who constantly distorts debate.

  • emiller7

    The British press is long famous for its reprehensible behavior in search of “the truth”, long may it remain so!

    • Tom Tom

      Yes and its fictional penchant when facts cannot be found

  • Alexander Hulme

    Good for you, Fraser. I don’t doubt that you’ll get the usual suspects carping about the Barclay brothers, but this has my support, for what little that’s worth.

  • Daniel Maris

    What is required in the current era are laws to protect freedom of the press, not to bind it.

    However, your cause no good by putting on “the side of the angels” the names of those who have used libel laws to prevent people reporting in this country on the conclusions of the Police Service of another EU country in a serious criminal investigation. I have to phrase it like that – and that tells you a lot about what they have done to free speech in this country.

  • Kubrickguy

    Libertarian Party UK supports The Spectator’s right to FRESS PRESS!

    The first thing tyranny removes is Free Press!

    • Tony Quintus

      And the first thing so called Libertarians complain about is wholly unregulated markets.

      • James Strong

        I was tempted to vote this down, but instead decided to ask why you say this.

        • Tony Quintus

          And I did respond, but apparently the truth can’t get by the Spectators Censorship squad. So much for the right to publish.

  • toco10

    It is not for Hacked-Off to decide such matters-as a wholly unelected and often personal grudge group they should be advised that to have influence one must seek democratic election and Red Ed by allowing them inside The Houses of Parliament and buying them coffees will be seen to have been a grave mistake and a hapless piece of judgement on his behalf.Fraser you are right and ultimately this whole sorry matter including the botched agreement on Leveson will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    • Wessex Man

      Have you not heard, Hugh Grant regards the Labour Party as Hacked Offs political wing! Which says every thing about the modern Labour Party, pandering to people like him and Max Mosely!

      We must be prepared !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Patriccia Shaw

        LOL! Do you really think that Cameron cares about press freedom? Don’t listen to what is said, look only at what is done. What he has done is create a system that will allow the state to control all published comment. The revolution is gathering pace.

  • Tony Quintus

    “Debating this on Ch4 News with George Eustice”
    And telling an unmitigated pack of lies, getting sued in the courts instead of going to arbitration is not an illegal government fine which breaches human rights, it is just the fact that you would not have access to the regulatory bodies arbitration system.
    And frankly you can say what you like Fraser, you are merely the editor, it will be the Barclay Brothers who decide whether or not they want to expose themselves to potential punitive damages in future.

  • In2minds

    But Jim Sheridan MP is happy!

  • Archimedes

    I don’t understand how you can decline, Fraser. It’s there, and that means that when the press slips up, which it will because a functioning press always does, then that right to decline will be removed. Alternatively, you have a press that does not function properly because it is too afraid to slip up.

    You should just accept that, and do what Guido and the Commentator does – move the Spectator overseas, and concentrate on your digital subscriptions. If you’re going to refuse, then make it a proper lesson at least.

    • Tony Quintus

      Doesn’t matter if they move overseas, they publish here for an audience based mainly here and are liable to be sued in the british courts for Libel, Defamation or any number of other things. It is the potential court case which the regulator would attempt to handle through arbitration.

      • TRAV1S

        But they don’t publish here. It is your internet browser that publishes content for you. Will Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer have to sign up?

        • Tony Quintus

          Actually it can be argued that work is published when it is uploaded, it is then diseminated via the web, and as I said it is about expected audience, not to mention unwinding the complex legal structures some people are hiding behind, yes Paul Staines I’m looking at you.
          New media is going to make for some interesting case law over the next few years, regulator or not.

          • Tom Tom

            Hardly. The USA already refuses to recognise English Libel Law

            • Tony Quintus

              And that only saves somebody if they have zero UK assets

        • Tom Tom

          No your ISP will simply report you

      • Tom Tom

        Yes but Cameron-Clegg is going to reform the Libel Laws….some time

      • Carolina Viola

        I believe that a law has been passed in the USA which prevents publishers and authors and others from being sued for libel or defamation in British courts for articles and statements made in the USA.

  • judyk113

    Thank you for standing up for press freedom. Especially the freedom to say rude, scornful, scurrilous and disobliging things to the rich and powerful. I very much hope enough of the rest of the press will stand with you to ensure the draconian blackmail threat of hug punitive costs and damages being applied to press litigants who refuse to sign up to politically-appointed regulation is challenged in the Courts.

  • Lab2Law

    *Lord JUSTICE Leveson. He’s not a Lord.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Congratulations. I hope the rest of the media reject Cameron’s lunacy. His bizarre behaviour and abject capitulation on this issue only lends to the view that he has completely lost perspective. The way this was cobbled together was farcical. This Government is becoming as much of a disgrace and embarrassment as the Brown Government previously. They need to be gone!

    • Mycroft

      It really isn’t fair to blame this on Cameron, he didn’t have the votes in the Commons; it is Labour, the Lib Dems and a minority of Conservative MPs who are to blame. If he had not ‘capitulated’, the matter would have been decided on the floor of the House, and the result would have been even worse. His mistake was made much earlier, when he effectively gave a judge carte blanche to lay down the ground rules.

      • Kubrickguy

        He could have stood against this… He is not a true Conservative and he is incapable of making the right decision!

        • Mycroft

          How could he have stood against it if he would have been outvoted in the Commons? Too much of the criticism that is directed against him these days is simply irrational. On this issue he has behaved
          bravely and well.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, he would have died with his boots on, if he was anything but a coward.

          • HookesLaw

            ‘irrational’ is a very polite way to put it.

          • blingmun

            He could have let his government fall on this very issue. Does the end of 300 years of press freedom deserve any less?

            • Tom Tom

              300 years ? Just what did John Wilkes get arrested for in 1763 then ?

      • Smithersjones2013

        I fully understand the nuances of this outcome thank you and it changes nothing. If it had been decided on the floor of the house at least he would have stayed untainted by it but he hasn’t.

        In a desperate attempt to project the image that he is still in charge (which clearly he is not) he tried to make a last gasp effort to save the situation. However it was such an obvious reversal that it just makes him look pathetic.

        The thing is who is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that has ended 300 years of press freedom?

        Its not Miliband, Its not Clegg, Its Cameron! He deserves all the blame. It’s his government and as you point out he has made mistakes throughout!

        The fact he cannot control his government is yet another indictment of his abject failure. For goodness sake they are overtly collaborating with the opposition.

        I’ll take it back further as well. Who was the moron in 2010 who was so keen to take the easy way out and jump into bed with the Libdems in the first place despite the obvious (and since proven) severe risks that that involved. That idiot Cameron. He made his bed and making excuses for him won’t help him lie in it.

        Not only that but ever since he became PM he has proved (what previously some suspected) that he is the village idiot of political strategy.. He is not fit to lead a political party let alone run a government. He’s a fool!

        The sooner Cameron is thrown out of Downing Street the better!

        PS And only fools believe in ‘fairness’ Didn’t your parents tell you ‘life isn’t fair’!

        • Mycroft

          I can see that you hate Cameron too much even to want to consider the point in question in a rational manner.

          • Wessex Man

            I can’t see a lot wrong in Smithersjones arguement, you can’t govern a country by always giving way, it’s time for him to grow a spine or go!

            • Patriccia Shaw

              Cameron hasn’t given way. This is the outcome that was always planned. He poses as someone defending a free press. Labour poses as the defender of the little man. Both get the agreed outcome. The opportunity to control all comment. It is masterful.


            Accusing Smithersjones2013 of Hating Cameron is a Typical liberal argument, why dont you just go the whole hog and accuse him of being Racist as well !

            • Mycroft

              So one has to be a liberal to accuse someone who plainly hates Cameron of hating Cameron? Your mind evidently runs on tram lines.

  • Dominic Adler

    Well said, Fraser.

    • Makroon

      Yes, well said.
      But may we know who the “we” at the Spectator are ?
      Was it the proprietor’s decision ? Did they endorse the management’s decision ?
      Or was it one big happy family decision ?

      • telemachus

        Mattereth not
        The decision is correct
        If only to prevent future troughing MP’s gagging a Telegraph expose

        • Emulous

          I think Makroon’s comment referred to the question of Barclay dictat and thoughts about the Telegraph.

        • Patriccia Shaw

          The decision doesn’t matter. It may or may not be brave. As far as I can see the Spectator already censors itself and refuses to comment on the tidal wave of immigration for instance.

          The threat is to the ordinary blog trying to resist the tide of progress. Quite rightly these will be silenced by the threat of severe penalties. Those who suggest that there is no global warming, for instance, should not be allowed to peddle their views, and will not be allowed to.

      • Peter Martin

        ‘But may we know who the “we” at the Spectator are ?’

        Not too fussed on that one. This, however…

        ‘..cooked up at 2am in Ed Miliband’s office with a cabal of politicians in one room and Hacked Off in the other’

        …prompts a few questions:

        1) Why were representatives of the print media – key protagonists – not invited to this odd Opposition party foyer get-together?

        2) Why were four representatives of Hacked Off?

        3) Have they been named?

        4) Was one the ex-BBC employed founder?

        5) Does the ‘enthusiastic’ BBC not see any conflict of interest in this, as it drove and still drives the narrative on this topic?

        6) Given the Pollard Report has shown us that BBC senior management appears to like holding meetings in corridors with no records and no memories of what was said or agreed, is it a good idea to have free speech and democratic policy of the UK Government getting dictated and run in the same way?

        It’s just that, when I get told that OFCOM ensures Savile/McAlpine couldn’t happen, but it did, moving to redactions and FoI exclusions as the BBC does now daily in support of highly selective editorial, has a historical precedent that is of some concern.

  • The_Missing_Think

    “The Spectator’s readers expect us to hold politicians to account, not dance to their tune.”

    Then why did you happily chant Nein Platform when very valid concerns about mas, mass, mas immigration were raised by tax paying British citizens all those years ago?

    Why is your concern only activated now? Why not back then?

    • andagain

      Because they are supposed to say what they think, not what you happen to think they ought to think.

      • The_Missing_Think

        Under strong (testing) pressure, private thoughts and public writing, can be two different things.

        No one in the alleged ‘free press’, stood up for the BNP’s freedom of speech. It became irrelevant.

        However, years later, most people are beginning to realise that concerns about mass, mass, mass immigration aren’t actually ‘racist’ at all.

        So it was a waste of valuable time to Nein Platform the BNP for 20 years… and the morality of the accusation that smeared any as ‘racist’, was also proven empty. Even Ed Miliband has said so. (twice so far).

        So I think all this trumpeting about ‘freedom’ from the MSM, has a strong element of disguised self interest, but I still agree with it, no British Govt is worth more than our collective freedom of speech (not just the BNP’s), and should be brought down if endangering it.

        • Wessex Man

          oh dear That should have been The_missing _Link.

          BNP were given a platform or was that a pratform on Question Time and managed to completely turn the rest of the nation off of them and steer this odious party toward oblivion by their own efforts.

          Now lets get back to the proper debate!

          • The_Missing_Think

            Are you trying to discretely Nein Platform me, when you order me to get back to ‘your idea’ of a ‘proper’ debate? Where did you get the moral authority to set and control the parameters of this debate? Did you earn it, or just assume possesion, due to your innate superiority, over the plebs and riff raff of life?

            But the plebs were right, as Miliband (et al), have massively u-turned on the subject.

            And that’s the point you’re missing, they were right, and the ‘free’ press’ muffled the people that were right, they failed the test of gritted teeth endurance, for the love of free speech.

            So all this hand on heart teary rhetoric, just doesn’t cut it with me.

            They were tested, and they failed the society that hosts them. This is highly relevant.

      • Tom Tom

        oh yes and what the NUJ lays down as approved

  • DeadlyInArms

    How long would it take you to get a brand new regulatory system up and running that shows it is capable of doing all the things Leveson recommended (huge fines, proper apologies for lying, etc. etc.)

    Something that hasn’t really been discussed: should there be a different version of regulation for the tabloid press, seeing as the issues arising from their faults are completely different in nature to those arising from the proper newspapers? (like paparazzis, topless photos, phone hacking – although Sunday Times does kinda ruin this point)

  • George Cazenove

    Many congratulations on and thanks for your principled stand.

    I have written to my MP (hopefully not sounding too mad) telling him that I cannot vote Conservative at the next election following Mr. Cameron’s compromise on this critical issue. It’s a small gesture but all I can offer.

    • Mycroft

      Would it have made things any better if he had refused to compromise?

      • Kubrickguy

        Yes, it’s about principles and that’s what everyone can see Cameron compromises. The mark of a great leader is the ability to stick to principles…

        • Mycroft

          If he hadn’t tried to reach a compromise, an even worse measure would have been passed, and then everyone would have been criticizing him for that; it seems that he can’t win whatever he does.

          • Smithersjones2013

            No he can’t win. He made the most humoungous strategic error in even contemplating a coalition with a highly duplicitous unpredictable unreliable left wing party and now and possibly for another two years or so he is going to pay for it until the electorate finally throw him out.

            What you are witnessing now from Cameron and his clique is the longest political suicide note in history!.

            • FrenchNewsonlin

              Quite right. Pusillanimous and spineless leadership by Cameron, a man of little principle apparently. His ‘solution’ is a betrayal of a nation whose liberal values and staunch defence of individual freedoms and liberties were once admired around much of the English-speaking world. As an ex-South African who, under the apartheid regime, has been there on the issues of press and individual freedoms, draconian restrictions on rights and liberties etc, this is exactly the slippery slope down which that country slid. Won’t be long now before your lawmakers take further succour from the despised Afrikander Nationalist government of the time and put Suppression of Communism, Indefinite Detention Without Trial and similar freedom-engendering Acts on the Statute Book. British politicians (Conservatives!) should be wearing hair-shirts and hanging their heads in shame, except that word appears to have been expunged from the vocabulary of today’s young ‘progressives’.

          • Patriccia Shaw

            He hasn’t tried to reach a compromise. He has achieved exactly what he set out to do. Indeed what the political leadership set out to do. And sheep like you think that it was a matter of discussion and debate. It was only ever a matter of PR and appearance and you fall for it every time.

            • Mycroft


    • Boudicca_Icenii

      The ONLY Party which opposes State Regulation of the Press is UKIP. You know what to do.