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The continuing ghastliness of many Tory MPs, ctd

“Our MPs are now limbering up for a post-Leveson era where their menaces matter. Where they can speak softly, while carrying a big stick. Where the journalist knows that the MPs can ratchet up press regulation any time they want: that we won’t like them when they’re angry. Right now, the British press is in the very lucky position of being unaffected by the flattery or threats of MPs. And its this hugely important principle which is now at stake. In America, this principle is enshrined in the constitution. In Britain, we’ve relied on a commitment to liberty being in the DNA of our elected representatives. Jeremy Paxman once compared the relationship between a journalist and a politician to that between a dog and a lamppost. The lamppost has had enough, an wants to strike back. That’s understandable. But it’s a shame that so many Tory MPs should share that urge.”

Writes Fraser Nelson, Spectator editor.

Given the current state of near-hysteria over the child sex abuse case surrounding the late Jimmy Savile and others, the recent MP expense excuse scandal and the case of newspapers having broken existing laws to hack phones, etc, we are now in a very dangerous situatiion where MPs from all parties have an incentive to try and licence the press and wider media, and secondly, that a large chunk of well-meaning but deluded members of the public apparently feel okay with such regulation, no matter how counterproductive or oppressive this might be.

These are depressing times to be a friend of liberty, but we need to try and take whatever wins we can on the way.

11 comments to The continuing ghastliness of many Tory MPs, ctd

  • VftS

    Paxman was just copying from H L Mencken

  • For the same reason they don’t like armed peasants. Look what happened to that nice man Nicolae CeauÈ™escu.

  • RRS

    As Billl infers, possibly one of the ultimate reactions to the effects produced by the Political Class will be that it becomes so physically perilous to be a member of that class that its growth will slow and perhaps regress somewhat.

    However, what those personae who would otherwise have sought to join that class will bring with them as Western Civilization stagnates and declines may likely contribute the same force to that decline as the current growth trends of the power and demographics of that class today.

  • MakajazMonkee

    I’ve been thinking recently that this whole BBC nonce thing might not have been so bad if the Labour party hadn’t effectively tried to nationalize the pop music industry at its inception in the 60’s. If the nonce inclined DJs etc where still working on pirate radio stations they probably would have had a lot less power to cover up their sick behaviour. Leftism really does just empower scumbags and generally fuck everything up doesn’t it

  • AKM

    I’m not particularly inclined to care about the freedom of the press-corps, on the grounds that they have never cared about any one else’s freedom. To me this looks like nothing more than a tussle between the two main power-blocks in the UK; the media and the professional politicians. These two groups have always been somewhat jealous of each other’s power and/or influence, even though they often seem to be largely indistinguishable. If the politicians want to clip the wings of their rivals I doubt it will make a hell of a lot of difference to anyone else in the short-term. That said, I can see one possible advantage: If the politicians win some control over the media it might start a process of the media power-block reconsidering their blind support of bigger government. You never know, pigs might fly. :/

  • Paul Marks


    Unlike the United States – many British newspapers have a lot of doubts about the wonders of government (they are not yet totally dominated by “School of Journalism” types).

    If government gets more control of the press (via licensing and professional qualifications and so on) it will have the exact opposite effect to the one you describe.

    By the way – only a small minority of Conservative M.P.s are supporting this.

    I was pleasantly surprised.

    But then I always expect rabid statism.

  • I think I agree with Paul there: there is rather more diversity of opinion in British newspapers than mainstream American newspapers. Television is the opposite, though.

  • Gordon Walker

    The BBC deserves the same fate as The News of the World. This time next week nobody in the BBC should have a job.

  • Steven

    It’s interesting that in the UK the press is lighting for their very freedom from regulation, yet in the US the free press, which has zero regulation, is little more than the Democrat Party newsletter and is quite happy to be Big Government’s lapdogs.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Steven.

    And the “Schools of Journalism” concept and the cult of “objective scientific journalism” is the cause of the media problem in the United States.

    Newspapers (and other such) should openly argue for points of view (for political beliefs) as they did in the 19th century.

  • Paul Marks


    ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and PBS are just the same as the BBC.

    “But what about Fox News and Fox Business”.

    Cable and sat.

    And look how they give in also.

    First the “Half Hour News Hour” comedy show went.

    Then Mr Beck went – the much mocked person, mocked by leftists (and some non leftists) who had never watched a full show.

    And what will happen to the rest of Fox News now?

    Castrating what remains must be high on the agenda of the Progressives – and there are various ways that pressure can be applied.