Why was Leveson clapped earlier?
Mr Jay was even signing autographs…
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.
…Over on MediaGuido…
Fancy yourself as a Google-based investigative citizen journalist? ITN are setting up just the thing for you: an online channel allowing amateur conspiracy theorists to broadcast anything from UFO sightings to, inevitably, stories of the more sinister kind. ‘Truthloader’ will be coming soon to a YouTube channel near you. Finally somewhere for Phillip Schofield to air the findings of his peerless detective work…
Hold the front page: Gordon Brown is speaking in Parliament today. And why is the jet-setting Prime Mentalist gracing us with his presence? He’ll be speaking in a debate on Scottish independence, but don’t let that fool you. The only reason Gordon is speaking, today of all days, is that he somehow got wind of the huge celebrations planned tomorrow to mark the one year anniversary of the last time he spoke in the House. That’s right, the last time Brown spoke in Parliament was on the 30th November 2011. His utter contempt for serving Parliament and his constituents knows no bounds…
Outside of the Leveson bubble there are some actual, real, political events also going on today. Perhaps most interestingly the by-election in Rotherham. Labour’s nerves are reaching a crescendo, and not just due to the prospect of the Homeland candidate splitting the left-wing vote. This morning Peter Watt warns that the party are losing votes to UKIP by the bucket full:
“UKIP will take votes from Labour as well as the Tories in Rotherham today…the assumption that UKIP is just a threat to the Tories is dangerous and the fact that the Rotherham foster-carers were former Labour voters is not really a surprise. The quicker we wake up to the fact that most voters are not like people who attend Labour party meetings the better. Some of them even read the Daily Mail.”
While Harry Wallop notes in the Telegraph:
“Today, Rotherham goes to the polls in a parliamentary by-election. That all the talk is about Ukip rather than Labour, which has provided the town’s MP since 1933, is a remarkable turn of events…Despite the momentum, Ukip is still small, with a mere 19,000 members – the equivalent of just a few tables of pub drinkers in each constituency. But these sums appear to hold little truck in Rotherham, where the lack of jobs and prospects are the main concerns.”
UKIP’s price in Rotherham has come in to 8/1. Guido reckons that Labour are still going to take their ‘safe seat’, but numbers are going to be very, very interesting…
To mark the Guardian’s ‘Offshore Secrets’ week Guido has been exposing some home truths of their own over the past few days. On Monday GMG’s Cayman Islands company was shown to still be active, while yesterday a special Guidorama investigation revealed that their King’s Place offices are owned by a tax-exempt offshore investment trust. Guido can now reveal that last month the Guardian hosted a seminar in which attendees were openly advised on how they could avoid tax:
“Guardian investing’s seminar will introduce and explain the principles, benefits and risks of investing and help you determine whether you could be making more from your money, with the aim of helping you achieve your financial goals. During the seminar we will also introduce our unique proposition Monitored Informed Investing (MII), discuss what you could do to mitigate Inheritance tax and protect your estate from a potential 40% Inheritance tax bill and look at how you can effectively plan for retirement.”
The seminar, held at the Guardian’s tax efficient offshore-owned York Way offices in October, was organised by Guardian Investing, GMG’s personal finance advice team. This is no third party operation, the Guardian has approved, condoned and even put its name to helping people avoid inheritance tax. Their high-minded journalists wax lyrical about hiding money from the Treasury’s coffers, all the while encouraging tax avoidance on the quiet. There is no end to their hypocrisy…