Coffee House

The new press Royal Charter must be ignored

30 October 2013

6:11 PM

30 October 2013

6:11 PM

The foxes have voted, and after careful deliberation concluded that they should be in charge of the chicken coop. No one should be surprised by the outcome of tonight’s Privy Council meeting: a group of politicians, masquerading as the voice of crown, has just approved a Royal Charter which gives them power to set the terms under which the press operates in Britain. The decision was taken in secrecy and the newspapers are suing. It’s a royal mess, but one with a very clear solution.

This new Royal Charter does not force newspapers to join. It’s a bizarre new club, looking for members. It must now be ignored. What it proposes is nothing less than the state licensing of the press via statutory regulation: something that (as a Commons committee once said) is a “hallmark of totalitarian regimes and risks undermining democracy.” So why go along with it?

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Britain’s warring newspapers now have their own collective fate in their hands. Do they sign up to this idea, and play into the hands of the bizarre array of celebrities and priapic moguls behind Hacked Off? Or do they thank the politicians for their deliberations and carry on as normal?

It’s a no-brainer. Because, as my colleague Nick Cohen argues, press freedom is not ours to give away. No newspaper can, in good conscience, hand power to this lot — with their Privy Councils, their Tom Watsons and their hear-ye, hear-ye Royal Charters. And what they propose is, anyway, illegal. A new regime is coming, as the press has already agreed to set up the toughest regulatory system in the Western world with £1 million fines. They have agreed to do, to the millimetre, what Lord Leveson proposed. But on their own terms.

So the politicians have not ended press freedom. They have, this evening, asked a question of each British publication: do you want us to regulate you? There is only one respectable answer (pictured on a mug, above).


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Show comments
  • Danny Stone

    It’s the EU regulation, It’s happening in other EU countries in the same time. Search the internet.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Press Freedom isn’t yours to give away, so you fight for it.
    Our Sovereignty wasn’t theirs to give away, but the media did NOTHING to try and highlight the outrage or try to stop it. And it still doesn’t.
    First they came for the Jews ……….
    You reap what you sow, Fraser.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, these Speccie teenagers have well-sown this field.

      Enjoy it, laddie. You’ve brought this all on.

      But don’t worry, they’ll be calling you onto the BBC any minute now. So you can still cash in there, along with all the other luvvies. But make sure to behave just so… there’s a good lad. We wouldn’t want to be forced to have you cut off.

  • Daniel Maris

    Yes of course it must, but there are so many things you self-censor on I am afraid you don’t have our respect.

  • David Booth.

    Again my comment about Hugh Grant and the girl from LA has been deleted. Mr Grant has some friends on this Blog.

    • Daniel Maris

      That’s positively divine darling. S uck on that!

  • David Booth.

    Why has my comment about Hugh Grant and Divine Brown been deleted?

    • Fergus Pickering

      What did you say? Had bonking anything to do with it? How dare you? That nice Hugh Grant would never do such a thing.

      • Daniel Maris

        Hugh Grant is famous for his floppy protuberances.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …yes, he is a sort of litmus test for Weimar burlesque , from which you NSDAPer types always make hay, no?

  • David Booth.

    I may not trust a few journalist but I don’t trust any politicians especially when allied to the likes of Hugh Grant that famouse supporter of
    “working girls”. I wonder if Grant still keeps in touch with that nice girl he met in LA Divine Brown I think she was called?

    • Daniel Maris

      Look, whatever you think about Hugh Grant, Hacked Off have the backing of highly moral individuals like Steve Coogan who stood by Courtney Love in her hour of need, and the McCanns – who need no introduction or defence, since Carter Ruck have got that covered.

  • paulus

    You have to be careful, there can be legal consequences. Its best to apply for your own straight away, they are mis-using the Charter status. You have to apply for it , not have it imposed on you, its a precidence in Law

  • robheggie1

    Well done Spectator!

    • tele_machus

      No my child
      The soft reasonableness of Fraser encourages the Murdochs and Dacres and is much more dangerous to the liberty of the individual to live their lives in peace and tranquility

      • David Prentice

        Yeah, well done Spectator.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Stupid tripe.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Patronising tripe.

  • jason green

    These same publications publish in Eire under almost identical legislation with no problems.

  • Steve Riseborough

    Wow, this comments section has way more nutters than The Guardian’s. How entertaining. It’s also refreshing that readers of this colossally irrelevant publication are doing their best to make a name for Fraser Nelson. Who is he again?

    • David Prentice

      He got a rise out of you though, Steve.

      I’m here all week.

    • Daniel Maris

      I think you’ll find the Clunking Bores Conference is down the corridor.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …not surprisingly, you seem quite familiar with it.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Facile. You managed to wander in here with your agenda and a face that manages to look angry and smug at the same time didn’t you.

  • Rockin Ron

    Odd that many times Fraser has written about his trust of certain politicians, his support of political policies and his wholehearted belief in politics as a means to improve the economy, education and so on. Yet, now he suddenly discovers his dislike of a straightforward, limited and triple locked piece of light regulation to ensure the press behaves in a reasonable manner. Well, Mr Nelson, you can’t favour political ‘solutions’ in other parts of life and reject them when they affect you. That is gormless.

    • JamesdelaMare

      Mr Nelson isn’t likely to understand that and most of the other commenters are unlikely to be interested in a sensible point like this because they’re so occupied in thinking up clever little purposeless rejoinders to each other. Nonetheless it’s good true point that the others should have marked up.

      • Colonel Mustard

        You seem very obsessed with other commentators and your own “little purposeless rejoinders” are not too shabby.

        Meanwhile we are free to disagree with press regulation and to express that whether you and Mr Coercion there like it or not.

    • HookesLaw

      Perfectly true.

      Its not gormles – its self serving rubbish fully in tune with his key demographic.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Suggesting that those who do not sign up to the regulation will be required to pay costs even if a complaint against them is unfounded, unproven, frivolous or malicious is hardly “straightforward”. It is coercive and unfair.

  • FrenchNewsonlin

    Keep on fighting the good fight Mr Nelson. Press freedom is indeed not anyone’s to give away. Freedom of expression is everyone’s to lose however should the authoritarian assortment behind Leveson have their way.

  • London Calling

    Hello Fraser………..

    Happy to see your office mugs have a new logo, a fitting one as well……….
    I just saw you on this subject on the BBC news, well done for fighting back……………….a worthy cause…………:)

  • Chris lancashire

    “Priapic moguls” – absolutely excellent; one of the best insults I’ve seen. Although I’m not sure that either of the pair are “moguls”.
    Boycott this awful idea.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …that would mean boycotting your Cameroonian buddies, lad. They’re all in on the censorship, like all the LibLabCon clones.

      • Chris lancashire

        Who took you off the medication?

        • Daniel Maris

          The Nurse…he threatened to tell her one of his anecdotes and she succumbed.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, that’s often how you NSDAPers deal with those you wish to eliminate, as enemies of the Fatherland.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Does anyone else see the irony that on the day when News International executives, who were the justification for this atrocious attempt by the establishment political underclass’s attempt to hijack press freedom, are in court for offences relating to phone hacking that the UK Government in support of the US Government is dismissing allegations that they have been ‘monitoring’ foreign leaders communications on the basis that ‘they’re all at it’.

    You couldn’t make it up really……

    • dalai guevara

      SJ2013, political leaders all around the globe will go berserk about his, and they will do so joined up.
      This is a PR disaster of the highest order which Obama cannot win.
      Obama of course knows of nothing, yet will he be able to muzzle his
      dogs? That story, the story of ever-increasing US intelligence
      gathering, will finally come to a head. It is about time it did.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …any way we can get him and you censoring Levesonistas in the same dock, lad?

      • Smithersjones2013

        No they won’t. Why should they?They are all at it and its only that same sad bunch of urban liberal elitists (especially those in the MSM) who have hissy fits over phone hacking who will have palpitations over this (probably because they could not bare their own grubby little secrets to be aired in public).

        Regimes will chunter about it because they are expected to but nothing will change really and the only people who are getting off on it are sad little Guardianistas. As Tim Marshall on Sky pointed out spying is the second oldest profession. Of course everybody is spying on everybody. Wouldn’t you keep an eye on Merkel when she’s cosying up to Putin if you were the US Government or our own?

        As for the Spanish their own spies apparently provided the US with the information on their politicians!

        Anyway all that aside what does Obama care? He’s only got three years to go and he’s done…..

        • dalai guevara

          Ok, SJ2013 – you insinuate I wasn’t aware of the fact that “they” are all at it.

          Have you seen the brand spanking new BND HQ designed by Kleihues and Kleihues in Berlin? From the inside? 2.7 million sqft of loveliness, those rhythmically interchanging facade panels? Boy oh boy, larger than any other building ever constructed in Berlin (!)

          We know they are all at it. But what can “they” do? “They” will all rethink their positions and it will not work out in Obama’s favour.

          • ButcombeMan

            No they will not re-think, they feel obliged to make a noise.

            Nothing very much will change. The US and most certainly the UK, will never sign up to any international agreements on this.

            Spies spy, newpapers occasionally do things they should not. It will always be thus. It probably has to be thus to protect our freedoms.

            • dalai guevara

              Nothing will ever be signed, correct. This requires an agreement between gentlemen.

          • Smithersjones2013

            The only thing “they” have to do differently this time is a bit of ‘Outraged From Bavaria/ Madrid’ etc etc in order to play to their domestic audiences because it got into the public domain. The US has already stuck two fingers up today and told them to swallow it.

            There will be some joint statement down the line at the next G “however many turn up” conference making some conciliatory noises about respecting privacy and then everything will go back to normal.

            As I said the only people who will get in a froth over it are a particular type of liberal.

            PS I didn’t insinuate anything. I fully expected you to be aware of it. I just straightforwardly disagreed you and explained why.

            • dalai guevara

              This kind of stuff does not go down well with the kids. The kids pick up on everything. The noise will be noise that resonates within a generation.

              • Smithersjones2013

                The kids? What kids? The only noise ‘the kids’ will hear is the music on their IPOD!

                • dalai guevara

                  No it isn’t. The concept of the Amerika Haus will return. If it doesn’t, what will stop those kids going on holidays/school exchange to Mockba or Beijing?

                • Smithersjones2013

                  Well I imagine the same things that may or may not stop them going to Moscow and Beijing anyway. I hate to upset your seemingly rather dated worldview but the Cold War is over and has been for twenty years or more.and relations with China have softened considerably since Globalisation (my daughter was there teaching English the summer before last).

                • dalai guevara

                  Exactly! And now the Americans are found guilty of spying on everyone. Thousands of intelligence agencies, millions working for those intelligence agencies. That wears off on a nation, the mental state of its people.
                  And your daughter has already made her choice, the kids pick up on everything.

      • ButcombeMan

        I am not convinced that the general populus is really troubled by the fact that spies spy, certainly in the UK that seems to be the case.

        That is despite Rustbucket desperately trying to keep the ball in the air to get hits on his US website.

        These are truly desperate times at the Grauniad. The money is ebbing away.

        Wonderful.

        • dalai guevara

          Hehehe. You like monopolies. I don’t (unless the nation owns it).

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …yes, you types do seem to prefer the NSDAP course, don’t you?

  • monty61

    Gaun yersel Fraser. You are absolutely right in everything you say, unfortunately the great unwashed prefer the Hugh Grant/’priapic mogul’ (hope you copyrighted that) version of this saga and that’s what the feckless politicians have picked up and acted on.

    Be interesting to see who voted against when the list comes out – bit of an acid test to determine whether there is any functioning grey matter/residual set of libertarian principles in our body politic.

  • dalai guevara

    We will follow with great interest who it is that signs up to this.
    And then we will vote with our feet.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …yes, you socialist Levesonistas will support any form of censorship with your feet, as we know .

      • dalai guevara

        Carbon isn’t oxidised carbon.
        Manchester is no longer capitalist.
        Leveson isn’t Privy regulation.

        You get it wrong every time, like Swiss clockwork.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …but fortunately, you socialist Levesonistas will soon be able to excise all the “wrong”.

          Marvelous thing, this censorship, eh laddie?

          • dalai guevara

            You don’t get it. Fraser has explained it to you, “to the millimetre”. You will not listen.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …um, I think if you check, laddie, the Speccie teenager is for once on the right side of things, and agreeing you censoring Levesonista nutters are to be scorned.

              • dalai guevara

                stoopid!
                Nurse!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …yes, your censoring ways are stupid, lad .

                • Daniel Maris

                  Nurse and two orderlies!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …will these stormtroopers be wearing red armbands and khaki, lad?

      • Daniel Maris

        You like censorship. You’ve admitted you are a Francoist. Remember, Grandad – or have you forgotten?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No, laddie, you’re fantasizing again. You’re the fascist.

          We conservatives cherish freedom and liberty. You fascists seek to destroy it, as with your censorship here.

    • Two Bob

      Bless.

  • ant

    Press freedom sacrificed thanks to the efforts of a failed MP, a grotesque, expenses fiddling socialist, a third rate professor and a bunch of degenerate celebrities, all backed up by supposedly elected politicians. It’s enough to make you take Russell Brand seriously.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    OH doughty campaigner for Press Freedom!

    Oh doughty campaigner for the Coffeehouse Wall!! ….erm.. I might have got that bit wrong…

    • Alexandrovich

      No no, not at all. Remember the determination with which he exposed that Neathergate thingy? Now that’s what I call Press Freedom.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Indeed. A bit of Gramscian or Marcusian obfuscation worthy of a Year 10 English student.

        • Daniel Maris

          Still he stood up for traditional British culture… well if naming babies is Mohammed is traditional British culture…which I suppose it is now. :) Yep, can’t fault him on that.

  • WatTylersGhost

    Does the government seek to encourage non print media to embrace the Royal Charter?

    If so, I expect that the pitiful BBC will sign up this evening.

    • Smithersjones2013

      The BBC has its own charter and TV has its own regulator so none of them need to sign up. They are much more tightly controlled than the press.

      You get the feeling watching the news that in no small way are all the TV stations are enjoying watching the press squirm over this in a now you are going to suffer like we do sort of way.

      Of course the way the BBC Charter is manipulated by politicians through the charter renewal process at times demonstrates perfectly why politicians should not have control over such things. A typical example was when Tessa Jowell started making public statements about the subsequent Charter renewal just at the time when the BBC was getting rather uppity over Iraq (Auntie Beeb really disapproved of that whole Iraq affair).

      • Fergus Pickering

        Did she really? She had a pretty funny way of showing it. Like sacking Andrew Gilligan.

  • Two Bob

    Rather unnoticed, UKIP is the only party to oppose the Royal Charter for press regulation! They are your only friends in the political world. You need to back them.

    • Hello

      “Rather unnoticed, UKIP is the only party to oppose the Royal Charter for press regulation!…You need to back them.”

      You think they should get behind someone that went “rather unnoticed”? Is that like backing Vatican City in WWII?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Depends on who it is that’s rather unnoticing them.

        That would be the Speccie teenager Camerluvvies, of course.

      • Two Bob

        Unnoticed because woe and behold the big three wont let them get a word in edgeways.

        • Hello

          My point stands: there is nothing to back.

          • Two Bob

            Of course you are correct – if you dont agree with them. As it happens I (as well as many millions of people) do agree with them so there is plenty to back.

            • Hello

              If a tree falls in the forest…

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …if a PM’s head gets mounted on a spike…

    • dalai guevara

      Ukip are not at the table. This is not about Ukip. This is far bigger than U effing kip. If Ukip were at the table, their best men would leave that table as soon as the heat rises. This was proven by the press on several occasions.
      Lightweights will remain lightweights.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and socialist nutters will remain socialist nutters.

        • dalai guevara

          I have branded you many things. Vicedude, nuclear door salesman, Dubya groupie, tovarishch, 同志, but never before stoopid.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …there’s good reason for that, laddie. It’s a metaphysical impossibility for anyone to be more stupid than you .

          • neotelemachus

            I may be wrong but calling someone ‘gay’ (even in Chinese) could be construed a homophobic hate crime and land you in the guardroom craphat. I would delete the offensive comment were I you before the Speccie moderator wakes up and calls the MPs.

            • dalai guevara

              you are wrong, but yes hahaha. It has gravitas.

              • neotelemachus

                If you are five in the school playground maybe, but on a serious blog? Craphat.

                • dalai guevara

                  Send me a link to your serious posts.
                  Go on, make me laugh.
                  And then, answer the question, you know, the one that has given you a sleepless night.
                  And for God’s sake, stop posing as neo imposter. Child.

      • Two Bob

        I dont care what you say, they are the only party against it. That is the point. Of course they are not at the table, but backing them really is the only way in the long term. As it happens my comment has the largest number of ‘likes’.

        Says it all really!

        • dalai guevara

          Good luck, Two Bob. I mean it.

  • CharlietheChump

    I will watch closely for that nice boy Rusbridger to sign on the dotted . . .

    • tele_machus

      Alan Rusbridger has condemned the idea of Royal Charters regulating the
      press as a “medieval piece of nonsense”.

      Speaking at a debate organised by the London Press Club entitled “Can
      Investigative Journalism Survive”, he condemned the idea of a Royal
      Charter-backed press regulator.

      Rusbridger’s Guardian Media Group has also been stronglycritical of the rival publishers’ plan for press regulation saying it would hand too much power to Telegraph Media Group, Associated Newspapers and News UK.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?

  • Slicer

    Yes, it should be ignored. It’s a pity we can’t just ignore everything that parliament does.

    • tele_machus

      Too many Makhnovist posts on this blog
      *
      No doubt you would wish vicious hacks to read the next Millie Dowlers texts and messages and delete a few to give her poor parents hope
      The dreadful salacious News of the World which hounded a few to not only misery but early death should have been shut long ago
      I would have had some truck with the libertarian instincts of Fraser if there was evidence that the press could behave
      But there is none

      • Smithersjones2013

        Nobody deleted those texts. It was an automatic function of the phone service subscribed to.

        You would have far more credibility if you didn’t perpetrate the lies that were peddled to stir up lynch mob hysteria in order to callously hound hundreds of mostly innocent people out of their jobs.

        Frankly the behaviour of Watson. Miliband, Prescott and their stooges in the media was little better morally than the behaviour of the News Of The World.

        • tele_machus

          Maybe
          However they were the agents of the will of the people

          • Colonel Mustard

            They usurped the will of the people and pretend to speak for it, as you do.

            Labour – 29% of the votes in a 65% turnout. “Agents of the will of the people”? Hardly. But a deceit they and you tediously indulge in.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Did you really say that/ Yes you really did. Agents of the will of the people? Like Stalin eh? But I forgot. You are a fully paid-up Stalin fan. What is your take on Robespierre? Just asking.

            • tele_machus

              The radical jacobins had a lot to commend them
              The French were more free under their tutelage than the English toiling under the yolk of a so called free parliament run for and by the aristocracy
              A bit like the current dictatorship thru parliament of the public school elite

              • Fergus Pickering

                Not at all like that.

              • neotelemachus

                The English toiled under an egg did they? My ancestors toiled under a yoke but then they weren’t as stupid as yours Idiot #1.

          • neotelemachus

            How would you know the will of the people you Stalinist Idiot #1?

      • Colonel Mustard

        As an admirer of Stalin you have no truck for libertarian instincts full stop. Your position on this issue, tagged as usual to the top comment for maximum visibility, is no surprise and entirely consistent with your repressive authoritarian national socialist instincts. You believe in the proscription of commentators you disagree with, you label them and abuse them, you call for the gulag and for “trumped up charges” against perfectly legitimate political parties of which you disapprove.

        You peddle this tedious and repetitive would-be tyranny from behind a mask of “reasonable caring” that fools no-one. Your own sinister and unpleasant Fabian wolf is all too apparent within your sheep’s clothing.

        • tele_machus

          No Fabian should apologise for his efforts on behalf of the people
          Press freedom is not won and lost in Frasers machinations. Freedom is something that emanates from the homes and workplaces of people across the country. Right now when at the kitchen table many families are making the choice between heating and eating, they deserve politicians who will defend them from the Press Moguls

          • Colonel Mustard

            No Fabian ever apologises full stop. We’ve noticed.

            • tele_machus

              There should be no apologies for pursuing equalities for all

              There are many tracts of our philosophy but I quote from just one, the seminal work of Robert Fraser

              “To equalise freedom we must
              equalise economic opportunity.

              The Liberals of last century
              believed that the battle for freedom

              would be won by the assertion of
              men’s equality before the

              polling booth. It is now apparent
              that political freedom without

              economic freedom is an illusion.
              The freedom enjoyed by the

              son of a miner is not comparable
              to the freedom enjoyed by the

              son of a millionaire.”

              • Colonel Mustard

                You don’t pursue equalities for all. You pursue power for some to impose “equalities” for some, mainly those you deem to be “victims”. Are the “little english” victims of your genocidal instincts? Are they “equal”?

                “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”. Your creed as perfectly satirised by Orwell and we see that all around us now. The rule of law determined by bereaved parents or angst-ridden feminists. Unelected single issue pressure groups and shadowy “change” organisations driving their unequal agendas from behind the scenes.

                How can it be “equal” for Hugh Grant, an actor and a convicted felon, unelected by anyone, to sit down for a cosy chat about what should be the rule of law with Miliband and Clegg? Because his phone was hacked?

              • Fergus Pickering

                Is that a poem?

          • Hexhamgeezer

            Hilarious. Beyond parody.

          • neotelemachus

            Why not stop eating yourself you fat Idiot #1?

        • Airey Belvoir

          I nominate Telemucous for ‘Wind-Up Merchant of the Year.’ This site would be a duller place without his inspired ability to raise the hackles and generate all this eloquent repudiation. Keep it it up!

      • MikeBrighton

        This is not true and even if it was is an indescribably pathetic rationale for giving up hundreds of years of press freedom. The left and all politicians involved in this should be ashamed.

        • tele_machus

          The chant of the bleeding hearts
          The press have forfeited the right to freedom
          *
          Freedom is a precious commodity which must be earned even in a liberal democracy
          The rights of the majority to a trouble free existence trumps press freedom

          • Colonel Mustard

            Freedom is the birthright of every Englishman and an unruly press free to outrage and provoke is the cornerstone of that freedom. It is not something to be earned or granted by the likes of you and your comrades. You cannot take it away. Sneer “little englander” as much as you like you offensive bigot but you will NEVER control what people think.

            • tele_machus

              To outrage and provoke the weak who have no redress like the Dowlers
              We have a duty to protect the poor and weak from the likes of Dacre and Murdoch
              Murdoch should be starring in EC4 as we speak

              • Colonel Mustard

                Dacre and Murdoch offer no threat to the “poor and weak” that could not have been dealt with under the existing rule of law if New Labour’s secret policemen had got off their fat, complacent far too cosy with journalists backsides and done their job. But Dacre and Murdoch do represent resistance to your orthodoxy which is precisely why they have been targeted.

                And you represent the kind of mob incitement and hate speech that has whipped this extravagant hysteria up. Your sham concern for “victims” and use of Yvette Cooper-type emotional blackmail to suppress dissent is in the cynical pursuit of power to determine what people should be allowed to write or say – and even think. You represent tyranny not freedom. And like all socialist tyrants from Lenin to Pol Pot you people pursue that by demonising those you see as enemies and waving your banners from the shoulders of your “victimised” chosen.

                Stop conflating the moral certitude of quasi-religious cult dogma with politics. It makes you an extremist, a fanatic, a propagandist. An identity which the OTT promiscuity and tediously repetitive content of your comments here reinforces.

                • Tom Tom

                  The MSM is far too concentrated. Once you get News International controlling so much media space corruption becomes inevitable. Look at todays Mail, why is Evgeny Lebdedev owner of Independent visiting troops in Afghan and writing a puff piece in the Mail about “our” troops – he is Russian ! Is the Mail going to acquire the Indie ?

                  The system is corrupt and newspapers are merely mouthpieces of corporate interests losing their readers. The abuse of power has damaged lives of ordinary people but protected charlatans like Bob Maxwell, Jimmy Savile, Geoffrey and Mary Archer, Cyril Smith, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson etc etc

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which is still no justification for replacing the monopoly by newspaper magnates with the monopoly of Common Purpose and Gang when it comes to who can say what and how. Leveson doesn’t address those concerns anyway.

                  If monopoly was of real concern the question should be asked why the left-wing Guardian is still subsidised via a monopoly on civil service advertising and whether that monopoly taints the impartiality desired in the civil service. The experience of 1997-2010 and activities of McBride suggest that it does.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  Col.M. Perhaps adverts for public jobs are put into the Guardian because a) it’s not so commercially minded and rightist as the other papers from the Murdoch, Barclay and Rothermere companies, so they’ll get a better cross-section of candidates, or b) the readership tends to be more intelligent, better educated and with more females than the other papers?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which if true adds insult to injury and merely confirms the elitist pretences of the many socialist snobs afflicting our society. The quasi-moral concept that “rightist” is wrong and the left of centre somehow the approved norm is precisely the nonsense that the left have been strenuously peddling since about 1997 with increasing stridency, hyperbole and hate speech. You fall for it if you want to but it runs counter to democracy and fairness and all the other causes the left pretend to champion but which in reality they demonstrate the greatest threat to.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  Col.M. – On, and on, and on, and on you go with your absurd grotesque obsession with “socialism”, “socialist snobs” socialist “elitism”, and all the rest of the warped nonsense you throw at us readers in comment after comment in these columns. It’s as bad as McCarthyite America after the war. And made all the worse (as well as less credible) when those like myself who are accused by you are nowhere near being socialists, never have been and never will be. You really should start with sorting yourself out before you enjoy the impudence of telling the Spectator’s readers what they must guard against from the anonymity of a code name instead of your own proper identity.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The problem is not my “obsession” with socialism but rather the obsession of others in imposing socialist and soft-socialist ideologies into almost every aspect of our lives. Not once in this thread have I accused you of being a socialist so you can belay that.

                  And since the use of a pseudonym is perfectly legitimate here (check the other commentators) and a matter of personal free choice your final ad hominem is redundant. Seeking to make an issue of smug moral supremacy out of that is probably not the act of a conservative.

                  My comments are just comments – not impudence – and I am a Spectator reader too. Unless you believe that dissent from socialist orthodoxy and expressing intense dislike for it and its advocates is impudence. You are free to ignore them in either case. I suggest you look to yourself.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  Well, if you’ve got a name, why don’t you use it here as you’d expect journalists, politicians, local and government officials, health officials, business and banking people to do in normal life? What’s the matter with your doing so as well? No point in going on complaining about smug moral supremacy in others and so on. Taken with hiding away under a codename, it only looks like an inferiority complex.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Oh do shut up and stop singling me out for harassment when this blog is full of comments under pseudonyms and there is no rule against it. Why not harass others? Why not harass ‘telemachus’ on the same grounds? Hmm.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  When I came in this afternoon I found no less than three disputatious comments on the computer from you personally addressed to me. It would have been discourteous to have ignored them.

                • Tom Tom

                  I thought Boy Gideon was going to put public sector job ads on a Government Website. Did he ? I don’t care about newspapers, they are basically propaganda sheets without real news content designed to make Britons feel they are the centre of the world whereas it is clear it is a backwater. There is so much NEWS on the Internet direct from News Agencies it is hard to see why newspapers are anything more than comfort blankets for those with heads in the sand

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …which is why newspapers are dying. Which is why government wants to censor dying newspapers, so as to get their foot in the door for the coming censorship of the internet, which is the fascists’ real prize here.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  But this government hasn’t tried to censor the newspapers, and isn’t “fascist”. Many seemingly want to exercise control over parts of the internet, and over much else, which isn’t what this government is doing (reluctantly, pushed by public opinion) by trying to bring in some proper standards of press behaviour because of earlier despicable abuses. Be reasonable.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, this government is trying to censor the newspapers.

                  Yes, you fascists are using the ancient fascist tactics. Black is white, up is down, censorship is freedom.

                  Forward, comrades. The internet is the future, and the future belongs to us.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Can’t disagree with that. They are all largely mouthpieces for the self-righteous bubble but the Guardian’s holier than thou act is especially nauseating.

                • MikeBrighton

                  Agreed. Lots of carping by lefties, but no one had offered any structured rationale for curtailing press freedom beyond puerile slurs about the Dowlers!

                • Makroon

                  The BBC has been ignoring it’s charter for decades, so, ‘what’s sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander’, I guess.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            and the rights of the majority to truthful reportage unfiltered by NUJ Marxism wouldn’t go amiss too.

          • Fergus Pickering

            There you go again! A trouble-free existence kept happy bya caring atate. Yup! Stalin rules.

          • MikeBrighton

            I take it you define who earns freedom and who does not?
            “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
            Who else spoke In history of the “rights of the majority” (over a minority) ah yes step forward Mr A. Hitler

            • tele_machus

              It goes on

              *

              “Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.”
              *
              It is our duty to prtect the weak like the Dowlers from the Murdochian Oppressors

              • Colonel Mustard

                Very appropriate that you should quote from Animal Farm (unattributed again) and completely miss the point of it in order to promote your freedom-threatening agenda. No self-awareness and total self-delusion to quote from a satire against soviet socialism within a debate on press freedom.

                You are a soviet socialist apologist and admirer. It runs through your comments like the name through a stick of rock, from your hagiography of Stalin to your relish at the the thought of the persecution and proscription of your perceived political enemies.

                All should take note of it and what really lies behind Labour. The stark red face of soviet-style authoritarian “communism” – essentially national socialism (one nation, one people, one leader), the single party state, the politicised police, the imposing ubiquitous bureaucracy of officialdom, the privileged elite, the coerced conformity, the wielding of the groupthink mob to intimidate and alienate, the monitoring and persecution of dissent, the manipulation of language, the clamour to ban what is disapproved of. The Fabian wolf in sheep’s clothing. An archaic and irrelevant lunacy dreamed up by a tiny privileged elite in the context of society over one hundred years ago. A cult as secretive, token ridden and riddled with ritual as freemasonry.

          • HookesLaw

            The press have every right to freedom and they have it under the proposed legislation.
            Thanks to your repetitive rubbish we regularly have to suffer a screed of rebuttal.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …and thanks to you socialist Camerluvvies, there is censorship of the press, imposed on the lands.

            • Colonel Mustard

              That comment vastly underestimates the pernicious tactics of single-issue agenda groups in manipulating public opinion, which this regulation will strengthen and allow them to exploit. Leveson, the dreary fool, extends the rights of the “victim” (itself an elastic criteria that no longer requires proof beyond reasonable doubt) to third parties, enabling them to complain of offence on behalf of unidentified “others”. We have already seen the exponential growth of the taking offence industry in this country and this will just add enormously to the potential of offendees and those presuming on behalf of offendees (real or imagined) to stir up malevolent trouble and to bully and intimidate their way to full-blown censorship. A trend we have already seen, which is growing and which this stupid regulation will endorse.

          • JamesdelaMare

            TeleM – It doesn’t trump the right to a trouble-free existence for the majority in the minds of the commenters here who’d evidently class themselves as Conservatives. For them the trouble free existence (“press freedom”!!) is for the press people to do as they like to stoke up profits by sensation – as always through the ages – no matter who gets hurt. Such is the moral level of many of today’s commenters in the Spectator, those who’d be (rightly) ridiculed and treated with contempt elsewhere.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if these evil internet commenters could be censored, like the press is now censored.

              All in good time, comrade. All in good time. The future belongs to us.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Worry less about the morality of the commentators here sonny. That is not for you to pass judgement on however smug you are or whatever delusion of superiority you swagger under. Our ancestors learned the lesson well that a raucous and unfettered press is one of the best measures of our freedom. And I mean “the press” per se and not the demonised lefty hate figures like Murdoch or the Daily Mail. You and the other tweenies have been unlearning that for the past few decades and stoking up problems for our democracy, constitution and rule of law with your cherry picking “something must be done” hysteria that are tantamount to uninventing the wheel and going back to log rollers.

              It is very tedious to target views you dislike and suggest that they are somehow morally wrong rather than just politically different. That is not the reasoning of a conservative and it doesn’t say much for your understanding of political pluralism and diversity.

              If it smells like a socialist etc., . . .

          • MikeBrighton

            So Freedom has to be earned. Who decides whether I’ve earned it or not? You?
            So in your vision of society we are not free, but kind of indentured slaves to socialism unless we have proved we are good enough to be free. You are essentially proposing a fascist or dictatorial society ruled by a small cast of enlightened people who know best for the “rights of the majority”. It didn’t work out very well in Russia or North Korea.

        • Allygally

          the left? its cam that’s bringing it in…

          • MikeBrighton

            Huh, Cam is a lefty social democrat. Same as Blair

            • HookesLaw

              Cameron is a conservative who is probably somewhat to the right of Harold Macmillan, Willie Whitelaw and Geoffrey Howe to name but 3.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Call Me Dave is a pure socialist, just like you, lad.

              • JamesdelaMare

                HL – Interestingly, that’s more or less true, though I’d group him in the tradition of conventional Bow Group politics as we used to know it fifty years ago.

                It’s curious that so many commenters here simply slag off those who see for themselves and take an independent, informed or considered view, as socialists, marxists, stalinists, and so on – just the small-time sham politics of a conversation in the bar by a group of narrow-minded provincial Tories. The very same people, of course, who’ve voted them in time after time while they’ve messed up government for all of us since 1945!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …apparently, the socialists don’t like it up ’em.

            • Allygally

              : ) I like a joke. Well done.

        • JamesdelaMare

          “Hundreds of years of press freedom” have not been given up. There is widespread public dissatisfaction with many aspects of some large newspaper groups, their conduct and that of their management. Like any civilised nation we’d expect them to behave properly if they are vastly privileged, influential and wealthy, as indeed they are.

          What “freedoms’ do you suppose are being given up? Did the press back up Snowden when he made unprecedentedly important disclosures in the public interest? No! They didn’t. They went along with the alarmist nonsense put about by politicians about threats to “national security”! Yet they’d been prying and phone tapping too. Damned hypocrites supported by the hypocritical and spurious lovers of a “freedom” that they won’t allow to the public itself.

          • MikeBrighton

            Yes James. A public dissatisfaction whipped up by the enemies of freedom and liberty of which you are clearly one.
            This is black or white stuff. Either you stand on the side of freedom for a free press, or the side of evil for a state regulated press. Can I suggest that a state regulated press under the whip hand of say Campbell or McBride would have rapidly become a muzzled and shackled press.
            You should take a long look at yourself in the mirror and feel ashamed.

            Ps look up “Non Sequitur” on Wikipedia re your para about Snowden.

            • JamesdelaMare

              Mike – I’m surprised you’ve ventured to class me as an enemy of freedom and liberty given that I’ve been a thorn in the side of authority for so long. It passes belief that you and others commenting here continually blame socialism, stalinism and such for the supposed loss of freedom of the press, when there isn’t a loss of freedom.

              A loss of freedom to behave badly is acceptable and even laudable in a civilised society. A loss of freedom to behave well is not acceptable. The press hacked phones and so far a small number of suspects are on trial. We don’t know how many others may have hacked and may never come to trial. Yet the state hacks millions of phones here, in the US and elsewhere, but when Snowden tells us, the press, politicians and authoritarian Tories hate him! A non-sequitur???

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, up is down, black is white, censorship is freedom.

                It’s amusing, that you Fabians are still at it, after all these years. The lie, always the lie. The bigger the lie, the better .

                • JamesdelaMare

                  V’sG – Being called a Fabian or a socialist on here these days (the Spectator’s readers weren’t always so ignorant) is rather like being called a racist fascist by the extreme left. Such utter abusive drivel in both cases from minds evidently incapable of understanding (and certainly acknowledging) truth or reality.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, you Fabians hurl abuse when confronted, as ever.

              • MikeBrighton

                I’ve never blamed socialism or Stalinism for a loss of freedom, but that is concomitant with both Ideologies. Try for example stating that immigration is wrong on Twitter and see what happens in socialist Britain.
                The press broke the law (to be precise if you want, RIPA 2000), for which they are being suitably prosecuted as you say. That is not a reason to curtail press freedom but to be frank it’s an excuse being used by the left who now dominate our establishment and institutions to attack the last centre of power that they don’t control. It is utterly appalling let’s not bs around you know why you are doing it and you know we know why, so why not admit it.
                Don’t tell me that it’s being done by the conservatives who I regard as sopping wet left- liberals.

                I do agree with your point though that laughably it’s illegal for the press to hack phones but for the government to do it in a systematic manner is clearly fine. I don’t hate Snowden I just think he’s broken the law and is threatening our national security. He should be fully prosecuted for what he has done.

                • JamesdelaMare

                  Mike – Thanks for your response to my comment. I’ve been saying for more than fifty years that the levels and type of immigration we’ve had to the UK since 1945 was wrong and divisive, damaging and foolhardy, but of course nobody takes any notice because they’re frightened by the intolerance in 1930s Germany and by seeming to be unreasonable towards citizens of the former Empire. Not said, but clear as well, is the welcome addition of labour to do jobs the British won’t now do.

                  I cannot understand why you and others here are criticising me personally for inhibiting freedom of the press? I have nothing whatsoever to do with the policy, in any shape or form, and moreover I have stated clearly elsewhere that I have no allegiance to Labour, socialism or the left in general. There is a foul little paranoia running through these comments from people writing under fatuous codenames instead of using their own identity honestly (not apparently yourself, though) which makes their remarks and criticisms despicable and contemptible when they become insults and personal attacks. How the Spectator has attracted this sort of commenter in recent times, I don’t know, but it’s very regrettable the articles are polluted by them.

                • MikeBrighton

                  James, we completely agree re immigration. What surprises me is that the left who supposedly care for the poor and the “working man” (whatever that is) encourage mass immigration damaging these groups most with employment, housing and services competition.
                  I apologise if you feel I’ve criticised you personally I do however feel very passionately that press freedom is essential and to be frank I do not trust the Labour Party to not abuse this power when it eventually slithers back into power. The evidence of its behaviour in office (Campbell, Mandelson, McBride) shows it will abuse and crush the not-free pressing it’s narrow political interests.
                  Let me make another point, you’ll note that the targets of this press freedom curtailment is the right wing press and constant refrain against Murdoch, Dacre and the Barclay brothers, Well Mirror journalists are being prosecuted for phone hacking but no Mail journalists are as Dacre forbade it.
                  I do agree there is a lot of ad-hominem attacks on here which I would prefer stop, but if you look at the chai here clearly some people feel very passionately about what is happening.

            • frank100

              But the press is not free when so much of if is owned by wealthy billionaires and the editors know that they must represent their views. Nothing so blatant as direct instruction you understand, all it takes is a nod and a wink.

              • MikeBrighton

                Press freedom has nothing to do with the ownership model of the media outlet, it’s major shareholders or it’s capital structure. It’s er about the legal and regulatory framework applied to the press

          • Colonel Mustard

            The “public” is not the socialist mob that seems to operate within our society as the loudest voice, even unelected. Don’t conflate “widespread public dissatisfaction” with the petty aspirations of socialist inspired and disproportionately influential single issue agenda groups and change organisations.

            It was and is a vendetta.

            • JamesdelaMare

              When there is abuse of power the opposition to it almost always begins with a small number of enlightened people who’ll put themselves at risk of criticism by the abusers and the supporters of status-quo.

              Looked back upon in history it’s almost always the case that it is that minority, or even an individual, who oppose abuse that leads to reform who’ll be remembered with gratitude, and very seldom those who try to obstruct reform. This is not any sort of “vendetta”. It’s not socialist. It’s dissatisfaction with abuse by huge commercial organisations.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Rubbish. You can dress it up however you like but those behind it are not the “enlightened”- or even disempowered and vulnerable – but those with an axe to grind and disproportionate influence over the rule of law. The “abuse” was adequately provided for under existing law. Do you think it just coincidence that the Royal Charter is approved the same day that Brooks et al appear before the beak?

                The whole thing has been manipulated by propaganda of which the perhaps unwitting – or half-witted – Cameron is an integral part. Hoist with his own petard is the phrase that comes to mind as he initiated this dog’s breakfast of regulation in response to the crimes of conspiring power during New Labour’s tenure – politicians, the police and Westminster bubble journalists. Labour, as always, have got off scot free and now manipulate malevolently in the background after jumping on the bandwagon.

      • Fergus Pickering

        You are misrepresenting what happened in the Dowler case but then I would expect no less of you.

      • neotelemachus

        Stop perpetuating lies you Idiot #1.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Neathergate.

      • tele_machus

        Neather had the absolute wrong end of the stick
        The immigrants are here to drive us forward to greater prosperity
        I have waxed lyrical on this many times

        • Lady Magdalene

          Yes. ‘Cos we really NEEDED immigrant Big Issue sellers claiming welfare and social housing on the back of what is basically begging.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Too many times but hardly lyrical. More like the utterly false sloganism of the soviet propaganda poster.

        • neotelemachus

          The only waxing you have ever done is the excess hair from your back you neanderthal numpty Idiot #1.

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