Of course, you didn't believe me when I wrote the other day that I was waiting for young Master Fraser Nelson of The Spectator to tell me whether or not I approved of the vile stew of festering rot that is intended to be the new Press Gagging System - er, you didn't, did you? It was just that young Nelson is much cleverer than me, as well as being a better writer, and I just knew that his critique would be informed and therefore deadly, where-as my old mis-firing blunderbuss might have missed targets.
Anyway, in this week's Spectator he confirms an earlier decision to ignore the "mess of pottage" cooked up by blow-job specialist Hugh Grant and chronic spanker Max Mosley which 'Edenoidal' Miliband and 'Chubby-Smuggy' Clegg couldn't swallow fast enough! Incidentally, you will now see the truth contained in my retitling of Clegg's party as the 'Il-lib-non-Dem' party. Clegg and his acolytes are as authoritarian as any commissar or gauleiter and their eagerness to set up a Board of Censors says all you need to know about them - and the sound you can hear in the background is the shade of poor old George Orwell howling, although whether it is with anguish or laughter I cannot say.
Nelson begins by a sort of back-handed compliment to Cameron:
Whatever else is said about David Cameron’s hand-ling of press regulation,
there can be no doubt that the deal he struck on Monday demonstrated masterful
sleight of hand. Just days earlier, his differences with Ed Miliband and Nick
Clegg had seemed irreconcilable and the Prime Minister was heading for defeat in the Commons. But then, overnight, everyone united around a compromise: a state regulator which insisted it was no such thing. It was the political equivalent
of Magritte’s ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’; Britain’s first piece of legislative
What an utterly useless 'bendy man' Cameron is! I expect prime ministers to be both supple and subtle but there are some things which transcend our day-to-day politics and which deserve to be fought for as a matter of principle. Anyway, Nelson continues:
At first, the newspapers treated news of the charter with stunned silence.
What started out as a sensible attempt to regulate the 21st-century press
somehow ended up lost in the 17th century. The language was kept deliberately
vague to allow every political party to claim victory: if no one knew what it
meant, how could anyone object? But one thing was clear: a cabal of politicians
had gathered in an office until 2.30a.m. on a Monday morning to stitch up a
deal, with the campaign group Hacked Off in the next room. They were acting on a shared premise: that the press would at last be theirs to regulate.
It was Nigel Lawson, a former editor of this magazine, who observed that the most dangerous moments in our democracy come when all parties agree. Consensus means no proper scrutiny, and that glaring flaws go unnoticed. So it is with the Royal Charter. It is deeply illiberal, proposing a new system of ‘exemplary damages’ for non-licensed publications that may yet prove against European law. Worse, it solves none of the problems that have so dogged the British press and appalled the public, and by invoking the most egregious examples of press intrusion, and the disturbing notion of victims’ justice, the political class is attempting an audacious power grab. [My emphasis]
All the phone-hacking and document-theft are, and were, covered by existing law, and if the 'Plod' - from the top to the bottom - had managed to put down their mugs of tea as they counted the bribes they had taken from hacks and drag themselves out of their canteen to do a bit of policing, they could have taken action years ago. This new set-up - an exact description! - does not add or subtract an iota from the situation as it stood before all this furore broke loose. The imperative driving many of the 'Hacked Off' group, like Grant and Mosley, is obvious but that which drives so many of our Right dis-Honourable Members of Parliament is equally so. They are still smarting from the revelation that so many of them were rank thieves stealing from the public purse via their inflated expenses. They cannot wait to see the press bound and gagged forever.
Read Fraser Nelson's piece, it's worth it!