Was David Cameron’s reaction the Leveson report any great surprise? One of the starting points of the inquiry was the concern that politicians – including Cameron himself – had got “too close” to the press. Forecasting that he would side with the press interest rather than the public interest took no great insight. And it looks like we’re heading that way. One might argue that this is simply one further illustration of the problem in question.
The response from parts of the press was similarly predictable, on at least two levels. First, it was predictable that the papers, particularly those who came closer to Lord Justice Leveson’s attention, would come out strongly, and pre-emptively, against statutory regulation. It’s the thin end of the wedge. It opens the door to totalitarianism. Type of thing. Second, it was predictable that the way in which they would portray Leveson’s proposals would in no sense represent fair reporting. One might, yet again, argue that this is a further illustration of the problem in question.
All “thin end of the wedge” arguments should, as far as I’m concerned, be dismissed out of hand. Whether or not the Leveson recommendations are implemented will make no difference to any future clampdown on the free press, if we were foolish enough to elect a totalitarian government.
And it would, in any case, be a peculiar state of affairs if we were to afford the views of perpetrators pride of place in determining our future strategy for dealing with their crimes and misdemeanours.
The liberals online and on my timeline seem seriously divided in their response to Leveson. Continue Reading →