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He loves it really…
The answer, as Brian grudgingly accepted, is nothing…
Video via @liarpoliticians
MediaGuido gives you the best of the best, kicking off with Fraser Nelson versus Patrick Wintour:
Then ex-Hacked Off campaign co-ordinator Thais Portilho-Shrimpton gave Michael Wolff a schooling:
Rounded off nicely with Alastair Campbell completely losing it with Toby Young:
Brian really does bring out the worst in some people…
Neil O’Brien is leaving Policy Exchange to become George Osborne’s new SpAd tasked with developing the next generation of policies that will in all likelihood see their way into the Tory manifesto in 2015. Treasury sources say that the Chancellor likes his policy instincts and his style.
Policy Exchange is like a finishing school for Tory SpAds, in the way that the old Conservative Research Department used to be, alumni include Nic Boles. Other ministers like Gove and Maude were active in the organisation in opposition. Downing Street and ministries have often recruited people like James O’Shaughnessy and Sean Worth who were associated with the think-tank.
David Skelton will be taking the helm at the think-tank in the interim until a new director is appointed. It is a plum job and competition will be fierce…
The frontpage of the Guardian says that by opposing the Hacked Off campaign’s demand for statutory regulation the Prime Minister is defying the victims of press intrusion. Odd, since the Guardian’s own leader on this very subject was
Our own position remains as we argued it before the inquiry this summer. We believe in independent regulation, both from politicians and the press itself. We do believe in a contract system – not the use of statute – to secure participation.
So the Guardian “defies press victims” as well…
Not quite the Croydon Spring Lee Jasper promised as Labour held all three seats in last night’s by-election, but the main talking point is UKIP coming second in both Middlesbrough and Rotherham. Joyce Thacker isn’t the only reason voters are flocking to Farage’s party. The LibDems were decimated, losing their deposit in Croydon North and Rotherham, in fact coming eighth there. When the Monster Raving Loony Party beat David Owen’s SDP he folded up the party…
Worth noting that Leveson refrained from naming too many names and is was clearly keen to avoid making direct accusations. One person he didn’t hold back on though was good old Piers Morgan. While discussing Pier’s evidence Brian claimed:
“This was not, in any sense at all, a convincing answer. Mr Morgan could not even resist a further side-swipe at the Guardian (he had earlier referred to that title as the self-appointed bishops of Fleet Street), perhaps in an attempt to draw attention away from the broader ramifications of the question. When linked with other evidence, his reference to ‘the rumour mill’ somewhat downplayed the quality of the evidence incriminating the industry as a whole. And Mr Morgan chose his words very carefully when asked to speak about the Daily Mirror. Overall, Mr Morgan’s attempt to push back from his own bullish statement to the Press Gazette was utterly unpersuasive.”
In other words…
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They must want to kiss Brian’s big bald head in Downing Street. The Tories are cock-a-hoop that Brown and his ever loyal Watson’s conspiracy theory has been shredded.
Here’s a taste of how hard CCHQ spinners are pushing it:
Labour claimed the Conservatives did ‘a deal’ with NI over BSkyB and other policy in exchange for their support.
But Lord Justice Leveson says ‘The evidence does not, of course, establish anything resembling a “deal”’.
Labour claimed Jeremy Hunt ‘was not judging the [BSkyB] bid he was backing it’.
But Lord Justice Leveson says ‘there is no credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt’.
Labour claimed ‘Cameron should never have given the decision to Hunt in the first place’.
But Lord Justice Leveson says Jeremy Hunt ‘was the obvious candidate to entrust with the decision because of his portfolio… The evidence does not begin to support a conclusion that the choice of Mr Hunt was the product of improper media pressure, still less an attempt to guarantee a particular outcome to the process’.
Labour claimed ‘Jeremy Hunt “was acting as a backchannel for the Murdochs”’
But Lord Justice Leveson says ‘Mr Hunt immediately put in place robust systems to ensure… fairness, impartiality and transparency’ and Jeremy Hunt’s ‘actions as a decision maker were frequently adverse to News Corp’s interests’.
Labour claimed the Prime Minister had discussions with James Murdoch about the BSkyB bid at a dinner on 23 December 2010.
But Lord Justice Leveson says the Prime Minister was ‘perfectly in order’.
Cameron called for the former Prime Mentalist to withdraw the allegations made in the House about a deal. Guido wouldn’t hold his breath…
The Prime Minister seems to have decided he’s not going to be the first leader since 1695 to use the state to legislate the press. He just told the commons he has “serious concerns and misgivings” about using the state to underpin Leveson’s proposals. Apparently he is “not convinced” it is needed and wants to give the press the chance to implement principles of Leveson without it. It’s on…
…Over on MediaGuido…
Outside on the steps of the QEII centre David Davis tells Guido that:
“Giving the government the responsibility for press freedom is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.”
The backlash begins…
The Leveson Report suggests Ofcom could soon wield considerable power over the press. It is recommended that the new regulatory body will be ‘validated’ by Ofcom, the government is to consider allowing Ofcom to regulate newspapers that refuse to join or even becoming the regulatory body itself if the new system fails. So who is the man in charge of Ofcom?
Ed Richards is a former adviser Gordon Brown, who worked in a small office with just the former PM and his PA. He was also a senior policy adviser to Tony Blair. The Guardian describe him as having a background “rooted in New Labour”. Now he could well be the guardian of the guardians. Do we really want Gordon Brown’s henchman in charge of regulating the press?
+ + PCC TO GO, NEW BODY UNDERPINNED BY LEGISLATION + +
+ + POLITICIANS MUST PUBLISH DETAILS OF ALL CONTACT WITH SENIOR MEDIA + +
+ + LEVESON SAYS ‘NO DEAL’ BETWEEN NEWS INT AND TORIES + +
+ + HUNT CLEARED OF BIAS, CABLE CRITICISED + +
Lord Justice Leveson slams press saying “behaviour can only be described as outrageous” across all papers and says criminality was ignored. The police get off relatively lightly, but politicians are slammed for years of turning a blind eye and getting too cosy.
The PCC is a goner. Brian recommends parliament legislate to set up a body to regulate the press that has the power to force due prominence apologies and corrections and fine up a million pounds or 1% of turnover. It should have investigative power.
The press will have to come up with their own body and pay for it. The new body will be “validated” by Ofcom. The body will have no power to make organisations and titles join it but those that do not will be seen in the eyes of the law as negligent and showing wilful disregard for standards and thus face far high costs in civil claims. He says government might want to consider Ofcom regulating those that refuse to join and should be considered as overseeing body if new system fails.
Leveson dresses up new legislation as enshrining freedom of the press and closes with a quote from Sir John Major saying its now or never. Leveson says this is not state regulation but an independent body given powers by the state.
The police are to stop using the term “off the record” and politicians should publish all relationships with senior media figures and brief notes of what was discussed. Estimate of all forms of contact including emails and texts should also be published
On a political note Leveson says there was no deal with the Tories and News Int, criticises but does not name politicians for being too close to media, turning blind eye and failing to get a grip sooner. All too close. Hunt is cleared of bias, though Cable gets a slap for letting his own views get in the way.