“…Journalism is a trade, not a profession; the idea that its practitioners should be licensed, that it should be a closed shop that only people who have passed a test can enter; and that a politically created quango can determine who is “right” and who is “wrong” and should therefore be banned is appalling and dangerous. It is a sure route to eliminating free speech and ensuring that only “approved” views can be aired. These days, there is a continuum between a lone tweeter or blogger with a dozen followers to a star broadcaster who speaks to 10m people every day. One cannot arbitrarily draw a line between journalism and non-journalism any more. All should be protected by free speech; all should be held responsible for what they write or say.”
Allister Heath, talking about the disgusting idea of a UK Labour Party shadow cabinet member to licence journalism. It is important to note – as Samizdata regular Guy Herbert has from a Facebook comment I saw, that the sins of someone like Johann Hari would not have been picked up had he ticked all the right boxes by attending a J-school.
As Brian Micklethwait notes below, it appears the Labour leadership has disowned the idea – so far. You know how it goes: an idea is floated, is immediately rejected by the senior folk, but gradually keeps getting more and more traction.
I cannot overstate my loathing for the political class in this country. Glenn Reynolds says of the US equivalent that it is the worst political class since before the US Civil War (not exactly an encouraging thought). God knows what sort of epoch we can compare this lot to in the UK.