The Telegraph's Political Priorities

What has Dave unleashed? There are those that say The Telegraph has dumbed down in recent years, and those that can see that the Guidoisation of the media is almost complete. Colonels will be doing a little more than choking into their corn flakes when they see the latest from Assistant Comment Editor Lucy Jones:

Well Lucy, Guido can put you out of your misery. They were in fact Lisa Nandy’s boobs. Who, he hears you cry? One of Miliband’s, until recently, rather bland, new-model rent-a-mob.

Dave's Line Might Not Be a Winner

Cameron evoking Michael Winner at PMQs with “a calm down dear” has led to Labour kicking off and press releasing a demand for an apology. Presumably they are upset that he didn’t say “honorable dear”. Lets hope that someone doesn’t say Go Compare at the dispatch box next week.

Silencing Court Jesters

The role of a court jester was subtler than you might think, he made fun of the king and his courtiers in such a way as to often tell truths which could not be said directly. A strong king did not fear the role of the jester, knowing it was a safety valve for dissent and an indirect source of intelligence that would be otherwise difficult to convey to his face. A wise king who was lucky enough to have a clever court jester could learn much from how the court reacted to his japes and court observers could learn from how the king reacted more than might otherwise have been known.

Only a king too weak or too arrogant would find a jester insufferable. Jesters strengthened kingdoms.

It seems to Guido that today the rich and the powerful are too arrogant and perhaps too afraid of the media, much as weak kings feared the jester, they fear an unfettered free press.

In an age of moral relativism the court of public opinion is so often the only one we have in which to judge public figures. The politician who disports himself naked in parliament – like Nigel Griffiths did – may feel no shame, his wife may be blameless, his party may stay silent, but should he really be able to hide his foolishness from the voters? Should he be able to go to the Courts to protect his privacy after literally cavorting with his lover in the public offices of parliament? He won an injunction to stop a free press reporting the full truth about him to his voters. That seems to Guido to be dangerous to our freedom and to the exercise of informed choice in a democracy.

Celebrities who use their wholesome image to endorse products similarly protect their commercial value using the Court to cover up their sordid reality.

Celebrities, soap stars and footballers go to Courts of Law to avoid being judged by the court of public opinion. If they succeed they escape censure and society is worse off in two ways; public figures get away with behaviour which society rightly disdains and they still manage to project a false self-image without the truth being exposed to the society they deceive. Secondly there will exist in society those who know the truth about public figures – mainly people in the media, politics and the law – and those who are kept ignorant like Roman plebeians.  That can’t be right.

Fear of widespread humiliation and popular opprobrium are two social restraints on the tendency of flawed humans to succumb to their baser instincts. It is an unfortunate fact that many of the characteristics which drive men to power are the same that make them scoundrels. If society wants those who rise to fame and fortune to behave less scandalously, society should keep the justified fear of exposure by a free press as a restraint. Muzzle the press by protecting the privacy of public figures and public life will be even more dominated by unreported scoundrels.

QotD

Jackie Ashley writes without irony…

“Now, perhaps, it’s time to shine the light on the one profession that has too often been able to work quietly, in the shadows, without full disclosure or scrutiny – journalism.”

POLL : Permanently Marred?

As the anger grows over Andrew Marr’s audacity at paying to hide his own public interest story, while being paid to probe the lives of the rest of the political class, Guido thought he would gauge opinion:

Don’t forget we pay him £600,000 a year for the pleasure. No wonder he could afford the luxury of an injunction and to support a child that wasn’t even his.



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