Just to weigh in with my tuppence on the UK attempt to regulate the media, which is proving to be grimly fascinating in the manner of a slow-motion car accident, this item by the Guardian newspaper points out that the local UK media, such as regional newspapers and the like, could be crippled by the prospect of “exemplary” damages and a cumbersome complaints procedure.
It is, I suppose, a bit late in the day for a leftist newspaper such as the Guardian to notice that heavy regulatory moves weigh particularly on smaller firms. That sometimes is the point – so that big firms can flourish. Notice how bigger firms tend to be more pro-European Union than smaller ones, for example.
In the UK’s financial sector, the wealth advisory industry has been put under what is called the “Retail Distribution Review”, which is designed to stamp out use of commission on sales and force up standards for advisors. A result has been that hundreds of advisors have gone out of business, or been forced to sell their firms to rivals, and so forth. The cost of purchasing financial advice has risen, putting it out of reach of often the very people who need it the most. Result!
There comes a point where one grows weary of fighting against this period of sustained lunacy. When an entire political establishment, such as the current one in the UK, feels determined to lash out, the results are terrible. Eventually, one hopes, this nonsense might get overturned, as may happen as court cases concerning the press regulation show it to be the pile of dog-mess that it is. Nick Cohen explains what a legal minefield this will be.
There appears to be no clear idea of what sort of internet-based publications will be affected. I suspect that those organisations that are not already hosted outside the UK will move, as will some of the people involved. The UK government has, along with the the opposition side, just given another reason for anyone with a love of liberty to get out of here while they still can. People overseas have noticed what a joke the UK is becoming on this issue. Let’s hope it doesn’t give Mr Obama ideas.