The press is about to unleash hell on Ed Miliband. I hope he’s ready.

November 29, 2012 4:26 pm

No-one can say that Ed Miliband is not brave. His decision to back the Leveson recommendations in full (rather than the “Leveson style” plans proposed by the Prime Minister) will see the press (both right and left) unleash hell upon him. The vitriol in tomorrow’s papers will be a thing to behold. It will be shown in media classes for years to come as an example of a full throated and relentless, 360 degree media attack.

The press would be right to oppose plans that would see them fall under the control of the government (although Leveson’s plans do nothing of the sort). Yet the same press are comfortable with the current arrangement, where all too often politicians seem to fall silently but certainly under the control of the media. There are few (if any) “deals”, but everyone understands the rules of the game.  Miliband’s imminent punishment beating will show exactly what happens to anyone who messes with the press consensus.

The best press in the world are about to let themselves down in an orgy of poorly aimed revenge.

As a rule it’s best to be concerned when the media have adopted a cosy consensus. We are currently seeing a cosy consensus motherlode. This is exactly the kind of concentration of power amongst vested interests that both Miliband and Leveson has warned against.

It is exactly why Leveson’s failure to adequately deal with the relationship between the press and politicians is such a huge problem, and shows why the press’s inability to be self critical, and examine the role of their own relationships with politicians and the police (focussing only on their own fears about regulation) is such a monumental failure. Whilst those who have so much to benefit from the way in which the media curently works lambast Leveson for focussing on the regulatory framework, the press should ask themselves why they have fallen into the same trap. In fact, their focus on regulation, as opposed to the other areas of the Leveson remit, may have increased Lord Leveson’s focus on just the area they wanted him to avoid.

If only so many of our most widely praised media commentators could see that Leveson’s proposals are light – modest even – compared with the scope of what has been uncovered. The media, the press and the police became dangerously and devisively intertwined. The independence of politics and politicians came under question. The public suspected – and still suspects – widespread corruption in the corridors of power. Such misdeeds brought into the daylight in any other profession would certainly see the press united in one of those dangerous consensuses, demanding retribution, regulation – severe change.

Yet Lord Leveson did not enact retribution, and the changes he proposes are not severe, but that’s not an pinion that’s likely to receive an airing in the press over the coming days.

How predictable that post-phone hacking Ed Miliband is to be pilloried by the press whilst David Cameron is held up as its defender. After all that we have learned about the collusion between politicians and the press. After Leveson has spoken of Cameron and News International “in it together”. After Ed Miliband led his party on the dangerous and rarely travelled road to criticise some of Britain’s most profoundly vested interests. They are never to be questioned it seems, and their authority must remain untrammeled.

This is not a question of press freedom – it never was – this was about a struggling industry refusing to accept that ordinary people must be allowed redress when they are wronged, and more – should be defended against such wrongs in the first place.

The battle lines are drawn.

Miliband must be sure that the media bloodbath is worth it to gain the respect of the people for his leadership. I hope he’s right.

  • occasionalpremium

    I don’t think there is any evidence to support the assertion that the British press is anywhere near the best in the world. Even the so-called ‘quality’ press covers issues superficially (with no real reporting of background facts) and, in the case of politics, focuses on the soap opera elements of the Westminster village rather than matters of substance. Pick up any European broadsheet (or, indded, many tabloids) or regional daily in the US and you’ll see what proper journalism looks like. The British press has saturated us with their views rather than news for so long that we can no longer see what a debased product UK journalism really is.

  • leslie48

    Ed, Harriet and Nick Clegg performed extremely well this afternoon in parliament and in this case we need a strong coalition of interests to expose Cameron’s ‘ripping the heart out of ” Lord Levison’s report. Cameron made his first major error back in the spring when he reduced the income tax on the richest people in the UK and now has made a second significant mistake in supporting and colluding with the tabloid press establishment. No wonder Ann Diamond on PM tonight ( the press intruded on her privacy by taking pictures of her carrying her child’s coffin) could say she was extremely disappointed by Cameron. The Tory press in the UK has been and will always will be the same. Anyone who believes anything will change without statute is the one who has gone “bonkers”

    • Hugh

      ” The Tory press” rather gives the game away, particularly since Leveson seems to have concluded the Mirror was guilty of hacking too.

      • leslie48

        Maybe although I have not heard of anyone of the 90+ ‘professionals’ so far arrested and charged coming from that publication. However the general point stands the PM is ‘colluding’ with the press establishment who have largely and mainly will always – support the UK Conservative party. Cameron and his political class depend entirely on the drip, drip effect of the D/Mail/Express/Sun/ Times/ Telegraph bias which day in day out has kept England one of the most conservative states in Europe. Opposing Levison’s central recommendation is both pay back for him and his advantaged male middle class MPs He does not have to see anyone or speak to anyone – its just there deep in England’s political culture. His ‘duty’ so to speak.

        • Dave Postles

          I think he’s just Gove’s sockpuppet.

        • Hugh

          By the press establishment, you mean the papers that sell? With the Mirror, Independent and Guardian being left-wing. Even the Times and Sun supported Labour for the majority of the last two decades.

          • leslie48

            you are correct – they did but boy what we had to do to get elected after what was 18 years of right wing Conservative rule. We had to become New Labour, we had to have a bright clever Oxbridge leader and promise little or no tax increases etc, we had to have smart Peter M. and Alastair ., – mainly because Murdoch-ism gripped UK society and people like polemical Kelvin McKenzie set the agenda. We had to totally undo the loony Left propaganda of those 18 years. We all cowed before that empire- the one some of whose some press people are now going before the courts today. Its time for change if only in a small but significant area: rights to privacy from a vicious uncaring tabloid press. .

          • Hugh

            Yes, just the way the Conservatives had to get elected after 13 years of Labour rule – and it might have been 17 had Gordon called an election at the right time. And the Tories had to promise not to cut the NHS and get in lots of media specialists too – and still didn’t win a majority; and then had to form a coalition with the Lib Dems.

            Establishing rights to privacy (not a good idea either in my view) doesn’t require statutory regulation of the press of the form envisaged.

          • leslie48

            My final word on this – it clearly does – the hacking scandals and intrusions into victim’s private lives which went on for so long and on such an industrial scale was in the words of the Lord Chief Justice- “outrageous”. No democracy could tolerate any more of it. I end where I began Ann Diamond’s baby’s funeral.

          • Hugh

            No, it clearly doesn’t, since the judiciary have already been working up their own right to privacy (which inevitably has been largely useful to the rich wanting to control their public image, often for obvious commercial gain). Expanding access to justice to enforce such rights, such that ordinary people could avail themselves of this protection and tightening the law and enforcement on harassment do not require a statutory press regulator.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            Can we not simply disbar unattributed quotes and facts from mainstream press articles*? That would stop the salacious gossip that relies on unsuitable (/illegal) sources: no journalist will want to announce that “heather mills’ voicemail today confirmed that…” in their article.

            * I appreciate the principle will be easier than the practice as there will be cases where naming of people will necessarily be withheld, so the rule may need to be nuanced where e.g. court rulings, minors, and whistleblowers (which will need to be defined I imagine in political or corporate context)

          • Hugh

            “That would stop the salacious gossip that relies on unsuitable (/illegal) sources”

            It would also have stopped Watergate.

          • Hugh

            Sorry, I notice you allow for exceptions, but frankly these would need to be so wide as to be meaningless or would pose a serious risk to the press’s ability to do its job. And how on earth are you going to stop “unattributed” facts in opinion pieces and news analysis? Even in news there are many cases where attributing every fact would make it practically unreadable.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            I agree you cannot make every fact a hyperlink to your research (at least not on paper), but we can start with quotes always linked to the person making them.

            My strongest objections are to the sort of nameless briefings that told us how Hillsborough was the fault of the fans, or Jean-Charles De Menezes vaulted the tube barriers in his IED-laden coat. Killing the gossip-soaked celebrity pages would simply be a happy side-effect.

          • Hugh

            I see no way you could possibly stop nameless briefings of the sort you mention regarding Hillsborough or Jean-Charles De Menezes that would not also kill off important investigative journalism.

            It also seems slightly odd to insist that examples of arse covering, negligence and barefaced lying on the part of the police are the strongest argument for statutory regulation of the press.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

            A “ban” on unattributed quotes need not necessarily be statutory in origin, although legally definitions would clearly help define the edges.

          • gunnerbear

            “We had to totally undo the loony Left propaganda of those 18 years.”
            The behaviour of the Loony Left was hardly the fault of the Press.

  • therealguyfaux

    When the Press DO introspect and attempt to self-criticise about the whole incestuous mix of pol’s, hacks, and coppers, they’re accused of being self-important narcissists who believe that they ARE the story. They can’t win for losing. Of course, the police, and especially the political class would never be called narcissistic nor self-important, eh, Tom Watson?

  • Serbitar

    What’s new?

    What does Miliband expect from a hostile mostly right-wing press? Plaudits?

    To be honest I’m more concerned that from the beginning of next month sick and disabled claimants may be shanghaied into sentences of unlimited workfare.

    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-programme-memo-082.pdf )

    And concerned about the hundreds of thousands of guileless people who sign up to the incredibly creepy Big Brother-like Universal Jobmatch website who may be sanctioned and lose benefit because they make a wrong selection with their mouse while perusing the job advertisements and fall foul of the powers that be inadvertently. I have never seen a website that surveils people to extent that Universal Jobmatch does, or that is quite so intrusive, so stalkery, or that a site so obviously designed and set up to trip people up and catch them out.

    (http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/universal-jobmatch-or-jobseekers-home-grab/)

    And I am heartbroken about the 73 people who purportedly die on a weekly basis as a result of Work Capability Tests administered by satanic Atos.

    (http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/tag/wca/)

    I could go on and on about things like this of real moment which Labour seems so nonchalant and unconcerned about the party seems almost complicit with the Coalition but I won’t. But why in God’s name isn’t the Labour Party more outspoken? Why isn’t the Party standing up for the rights and trying to publicise and defend the interests of the helpless and the vulnerable in the way it did pre-Blair? All Labour seems to care about now are the career prospects of its hierarchy and possible electoral prospects in 2015.

    I see no bravery here.

    None.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

    What else can Ed Milliband do? Disagree with Leveson’s conclusions or say nothing? Sometimes the right and honourable thing to do is the hardest. As for the press in this country?! I have lived in several countries and have seen nothing like the British press. Simply appalling. I long ago gave up buying any newspaper and frankly would not use most of them as even lavatory paper!

  • AlanGiles
  • kb32904

    For the love of God Mark, please will you change that photo of Ed – I hope you’re not on of those lining up to attack him but with your choice of photo, it makes me wonder ?!

    Ed did a great job today and I’m glad to be on the same side of the argument as him.

    Polling has shown that the public want the press to be kept in check therefore they should support Eds stance.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Are those Ed Miliband’s balls I hear clunking. Eeek.

  • David B

    Thr law of unintended consequence is what we must fear. Press freedom is to presious to play with but if we learn anything from the pleathoria of legislation passed by the last government it is that once we start down a statutory route the thing we claim is not at risk quickly falls to the legislation. Just look at the campaign by Rowan Atkinson, the assurances he was given and guess what he was right.

    The Leveson Report appears to have popular support but the difficult position is to support what is in the countries long term interest and not for the short term political points that will improve opinion polls but ensures the real vested interest of future governments are kept hidden

  • LondonStatto

    “The press would be right to oppose plans that would see them fall under the control of the government (although Leveson’s plans do nothing of the sort)”

    I’m afraid you’re wrong.

    Leveson’s proposals are for the press to be regulated by an organisation whose Board is appointed by Ofcom, which is an organisation whose head is appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport.

    This cannot in any meaningful sense be described as independent of government control.

    • Dave Postles

      It takes two to Quango – quasi-autonomous.

  • franwhi

    We see it in Scotland incessantly where the Scottish press have a cosy consensus against the SNP administration and the First Minister in particular which is actually quite appalling in its bias. I hope Ed Milliband has the “right stuff” cos he’ll need it to deal with this onslaught. The whole concentration of power of the press is the great elephant in the room here. Even post-Levenson will politicians feel any braver about speaking out against the press ? If they still hold the press in awe then how can ordinary people expect to get a fair hearing and redress when things go wrong ? This debate has only just begun but it has huge implications for democracy across the UK

  • Hugh

    Any chance of a few links to the “hell” being unleashed on Ed Miliband this morning after his fearless decision to agree with Hugh Grant?

    The Sun doesn’t appear to mention him: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sun_says/4508014/The-Sun-says-Fooled-again.html

    Stephen Glover in the Mail does say he finds it “depressing that Ed Miliband should have embraced his Lordship’s findings with both hands” – is that the sort of onslaught media studies students will be studying in years to come?

    Meanwhile the Guardian has Steve Coogan writing “disgusted that the PM has sided with the Fleet Street bullies”, while the Independent has Joan Smith speaking of the “disbelief” about Cameron’s opposition and assuring him “he has a fight on his hands”.

    • AlanGiles

      Kelvin McKenzie was on LBC News Radio earlier. A slightly (but only slightly) upmarket version of Jeremy Clarkson and Jon Gaunt. Listening to that arrogant, bumptious little chap, sneering at Channel 4 news, and remembering his disgraceful Sun front page in the wake of Hillsborough, his insousciance tends to make me agree that stronger regulation is necessary, and that people like McKenzie should have no part in it.

      • Hugh

        “Kelvin McKenzie was on LBC News Radio earlier”

        And?

        • AlanGiles

          And…. plainly you didn’t hear him.

          Earlier on Radio 4 Trevor Kavanaugh, another of the old Sun shower popped up as well.

          Their arrogance is matched only by their stupidity.

          • Hugh

            I’m sorry, but I think allowing a couple of people you object to onto the airwaves falls someway short of unleashing hell on Miliband – or of any sort of coherent case for the necessity of statutory regulation.

            And the BBC and LBC are both, of course, already regulated.

          • AlanGiles

            I did’nt say this pair of old hacks were unleashing hell, what I was saying was the extraordinary ambivalence of them – especially Mckenzie. He made mention Hillsborough – for 23 years he had been under the impression that some police officers had been telling the truth. He also mentioned an elderly pop singer who had received £1million in damages because McKenzie’s paper had alleged the man used rent boys – because a rent boy told him that. Like the policemen he was lying. Whatever else McKenzie is, he is not naive, and surely it must have crossed his mind that some policeman, and rent boys, like politicians and journalists have a great love of easy money, and if you have your chequebook open they might tell you something you’d like to hear, true or otherwise. People like him want power without responsibility – if he made a mistake it wasn’t his fault, even so, even though his judgement was so faulty, he has learned nothing and thinks that people like him should be allowed to carry on in their old ways.

          • Hugh

            It took MPs 23 years to get to the bottom of the police’s lies over Hillsborough, but the editor of the Sun should have just known? And the £1 million in damages in the other case rather suggest a measure of responsibility is already enforced. Short of putting in place some sort of pre-approval process for stories, how exactly would one deal with the second case more severely?

            I assumed your comments were related to Mark’s predictions of the press unleashing hell because you posted them in reply to mine on that topic.

          • AlanGiles

            He should have had the commonsense to know that policemen running to his paper with “information”, knowing they were going to be well paid for doing it (and which is against the laws they are supposed to maintain), might well embroider, distort or even lie to get a bigger pay-off.

            Did Mr McKenzie, in all his years pontificating in and on tghe media not realise that there are confidence tricksters (even in blue uniforms) who will say anything to get a bung, especially when they know they are protected by anonymity.

          • Hugh

            And yet the police lied to all sorts of others in the same way – the public, inquiries and so on, without any financial incentive to do so. And, as I’ve said elsewhere, I find is a bit strange that the police lying, breaking the law, and failing to uphold the law is a particularly compelling argument for tighter regulation of the press, particularly since as you point out – like phone hacking – the actions were already against the law.

          • AlanGiles

            Hillsborough occured on a Saturday afternoon. Two days later the Sun published a front page which caused (and continues to cause) massive offence to the victims families. The Sun must have got the story on Saturday or Sunday and less than 48 hours later were printing these allegations, rather more than allegations – they could hardly even have bothered to start to check the voracity of the story, If you are going to make really outrageous allegations, I think you owe it to your readers, your staff – and yourself, to go through a much more forensic examination. Even a cheap gutter tabloid should do that. McKenzie to this days really has no shame or regret about this – just his anger that he was lied to. During his reign just how many liars was he gullable enough to believe and cause distress and misery to those wrongly accused of titillating stories to spice up his front pages.?. Perhaps he really is naive – he will be hanging up his stocking in a few weeks for Father Xmas no doubt

          • AlanGiles

            Hillsborough occured on a Saturday afternoon. Two days later the Sun published a front page which caused (and continues to cause) massive offence to the victims families. The Sun must have got the story on Saturday or Sunday and less than 48 hours later were printing these allegations, rather more than allegations – they could hardly even have bothered to start to check the voracity of the story, If you are going to make really outrageous allegations, I think you owe it to your readers, your staff – and yourself, to go through a much more forensic examination. Even a cheap gutter tabloid should do that. McKenzie to this days really has no shame or regret about this – just his anger that he was lied to. During his reign just how many liars was he gullable enough to believe and cause distress and misery to those wrongly accused of titillating stories to spice up his front pages.?. Perhaps he really is naive – he will be hanging up his stocking in a few weeks for Father Xmas no doubt

          • Hugh

            If reiterating the problem was sufficient to prove statutory regulation is the best solution, you’ve have a compelling argument. But it’s not.

          • AlanGiles

            I begin to think you must have shares in News International, Hugh! :-)

          • AlanGiles

            I begin to think you must have shares in News International, Hugh! :-)

          • AlanGiles

            I begin to think you must have shares in News International, Hugh! :-)

          • Hugh

            No, I don’t even read the Sun, and I’m not very fond of the Times. My position on statutory regulation of the press would be the same if the Mirror and the Guardian rather than the Sun and the Telegraph were the country’s best selling newspapers. I’m less than convinced many of those who support it could say the same.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • Hugh

            I agree with all of that, frankly.

            Most of it, unfortunately, is not able to be saved by the type of regulation proposed, which would actually hit mostly the parts of value that remain.
            It probably would help with the intrusion you mention (of ordinary people, rather than those whose jobs and lives are given to publicity). But there’s far better ways of addressing that that have little impact on press freedom.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • AlanGiles

            That WAS a joke, Hugh (as indicated by the smiley).

            I mentioned the Sun in particular because that is all McKenzie and Cavanagh were interested in. ALL of the press (including the Mirror) has declined in recent years. Even what were once regarded as “serious” newspapers now fill their pages with twaddle about soap operea plots and the private affairs of their stars, and there is no point in buying a paper on Mondays, since the big news is who got voted off that geriatric dance programme on the BBC or that amateur talent contest on ITV.

            It has got to the point that, certainly on Mondays, and quite often the rest of the week, if I happen to be near the station I pick up a free Metro. That has also got more than it’s fair share of “showbiz” and tarts and boorish attention seekers in the jungle, but it doesn’t cost anything, which is just about what it is worth.

            It is though appalling that men like Mackenzie can ruin and intrude on other peoples lives and not be personally held to account for it.

          • Hugh

            If reiterating the problem was sufficient to prove statutory regulation is the best solution, you’ve have a compelling argument. But it’s not.

  • Conrad

    Good piece, but at risk of being devil’s advocate, please consider the free press is an issue, and always has been – the laws regulating the press are among the toughest around, and libel is something of a tourist industry in the UK. All of this makes for a difficult starting position for Leveson and Milliband when they make their case, although not impossible, because of the emotive issues at stake. Please let me know your thoughts here, and vote in the poll http://newshacked.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/leveson-believe-it-or-not-papers-have.html

    • Dave Postles

      It’s not a free press; it’s a plurality of opinions from organizations which are privately owned.

  • markfergusonuk

    If I was going to attack Ed Miliband, I wouldn’t do it with a choice of photo.

  • Hugh

    Exactly.

  • Hugh

    Does that make Miliband Steve Coogan’s sock puppet?

    • Dave Postles

      Who is Mr Coogan?

  • http://www.facebook.com/colin.adkins.52 Colin Adkins

    Interesting juxtaposition of questions on QT last night. We start with Leveson and arguments for and against statutory underpinning of regulation. Next question is on on the UKIP foster parents. Criticism ensues of social workers – a regulated profession re underpinned by statute.

  • Public_Doesnt_Know_Anything

    What ordinary people?
    I’m just calling that what it is, Bullshit.
    The phones in the UK have been taped for over 10 years. All of them. They have masses of data, there just isn’t enough processing power to analyze all of it. This phone tapping
    shit is just a limited overhang, trying to draw attention from real problems, that involve real people not these cartoon characters made up in the gutter press. The Council taps your phone, the Police taps your phone, and large multi-national organizations are involved, with HIGH technology.

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

    Luckily Cameron and a couple of others seem to be the only politicians who haven’t broken free from a fear of Murdoch. Good on Ed, Nick etc…

  • Hugh

    A minor celeb who has it in for the tabloids because they’ve been mean to him: basically like Miliband.

  • Hugh

    A minor celeb who has it in for the tabloids because they’ve been mean to him: basically like Miliband.

  • http://profiles.google.com/chesilbeachboy Sungei Patani

    And when is this onslaught going to start?

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