State will try to take control of press from 13:30 today

William Hague:

In my case, from a philosophical viewpoint, you have to err on the side of freedom.

The Spectator is clear enough on it:

Lord Justice Leveson reports at 1.30pm [today] and David Cameron has blocked out 90 minutes in parliament to respond. The big question is this: will he introduce state licensing of the media?

A group of 42 Tory MPs wants him to, and No.10 apparently thinks they will rebel if he doesn’t.

Much is made of a supposed huge number of people wanting this control of the press by the government. “By the government” is the big issue here. You only have to go to our site based on material from Ken Craggs and Graham Roberts, to know:

And Witterings from Witney was onto it very quickly:

In his article Gilligan also alleges ‘links’ between HackedOffSovereign Strategy, and Common Purpose and in connection with his accusation about ‘left-wing’ support, it is one perhaps understandable when looking at HackedOff’s list of supporters, amongst whom are Polly Toynbee, Julia Middleton, Helena Kennedy and Chris Bryant MP. It is also worth mentioning at this stage that the Media Standards Trust, set up by 2 Common Purpose trustees – Middleton and Bell – have now got involved in the hacking scandal.

This lot are Common Purpose and there’s been much of them in the MSM of late, let alone today’s news item:

Doubts over ‘manipulated’ poll that suggests majority want new Press watchdog backed by law just weeks after survey gave opposite result

There are sufficient laws of the land as of now to take care of miscreants in the press and we at this blog agree about coming down hard on abuses which really occurred, in order to preserve the integrity of the press. No one is disputing that if there’ve been actual abuses, they must be dealt with but that is a completely different thing to the MST campaign to get press regulation in place, using an exploited crisis as its vehicle.

The issue is partly that of the MST and partly, in adapting the words of the Spectator to us:

As State control of the Press would mean revoking Britain’s 317-year history of press freedom and give Parliament power to set the parameters under which the press operates, if the state seeks to compel publications to join the government scheme, meaning they face a choice: sign up, or defy the new law, then Nourishing Obscurity will have no part of it, no matter what comes down on us from above.

And again,adapting the words of the Spectator to this blog:

We would happily sign up to any new form of self-regulation which the industry proposes, no matter how onerous. But we would have no part of any regulatory structure mandated by the State. That is to say: we would not attend its meetings, not pay its fines nor heed its menaces. To do so would simply betray everything that Nourishing Obscurity has stood for since 2006.

Other countries are also watching to see what happens today and le Figaro is in no doubt as to the issue at stake:

La liberté de la presse britannique fait débat

Feel free to use and adapt any part of this post for your own publication but if using the Spectator’s words, they would need to be attributed.

Thank you.

James Higham [for the authors]
November 29th, 2012


Further reading at The Slog


Supporting press control by government – usual suspects:

* Ed Miliband
* Nick Clegg
* Kenneth Clarke
* Max Mosley
* Michelle Stanistreet
* Hacked Off
* George Eustice and the 42
* Kate McCann

and most predictably:

* The Media Regulation Roundtable Group [Common Purpose Media Standards Trust]


Now what was it someone was saying about them never going for the internet?

2 comments for “State will try to take control of press from 13:30 today

  1. November 29, 2012 at 13:02

    There were some issues raised by one of the blog authors and while he concluded he was not dissenting from the stance, he did point out:

    1. The Spectator was grandstanding and so are blogs who are not even covered by the legislation;

    2. Why jump in and make a statement – let the whole thing unfold first and deal with it after it’s in place.

    My comments:

    Making a statement is not “grandstanding”. It is making a statement, as we’ve had to do on copyright and other issues. The webmaster or blog owner is held responsible for its actions and so policies need to be stated – all medium to large blogs do that.

    Furthermore, if enough people make such statements, you can be sure the bots are about to pick up on that. It happened with the Usmanaov affair [with Schillings] and was nipped in the bud. The PTB need to gauge the level of dissent, from the Spectator down in size, and will plan accordingly.

    That’s why it needs to be upfront and unequivocal, so no one is left in any doubt. Better to be accused of kneejerking and grandstanding than later to be accused of not speaking up when it actually mattered and while something could still be done.


    Just a few words on “signing up to any self-regulation”.

    By definition, self-regulation means that those involved would recognize that there are certain standards to adhere to and in signing up to that, we would be undertaking to write responsibly. That is the limit of that statement. It would not be going to tribunals or any of that – it’s called self– regulation.



    “Lord Justice Leveson has condemned decades of “outrageous” behaviour by newspapers as he urged the Government to set up a new media watchdog underpinned by legislation. ”

    Oh golly gosh, let me put on my thinking cap – now I wonder who that watchdog could possibly be? Let me see – does it start with an M, second word starts with S and last word with T? And which two smug near-crims would be in charge of it? Hmmmm – could the initials be SirDB and JM?

    And did you see the Slog’s take on Bercow’s cave-in?


    And is the Telegraph allowing reader comments on it all? Oh, surprise again – something seems to be wrong with their comments facility.

  2. November 30, 2012 at 08:44

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