Today’s award for hyperbole goes to Ken Clarke. He has just told the Leveson inquiry that, ‘The power of the press is far greater than the power of parliament.’ Given that parliament can still make the law of the land, this is a rather absurd statement. (Though, I do regret that parliament has given away so many powers to Brussels and the courts. But I doubt that was what Clarke meant.)
Clarke’s statement seems to stem from a belief that MPs buckle under pressure from the press, that they’d all be a lot more liberal if it wasn’t for those pesky tabloids. I just don’t think this is true. To take one example, I suspect that most MPs oppose prisoner voting not because the papers tell them to but because they don’t think it is right on principle.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.