The arguments against a Leveson law are eerily similar to those used against the formation of the NHS in 1948. The commissars will control science and medicine, Lysenko-ism given a free hand to bend the laws of nature to political ends.
“This is not, and cannot reasonably or fairly be characterised as statutory regulation of the press.” That’s what Leveson said yesterday. I believe him, not the Murdoch Arse-Licking Politicians. The only freedom under threat by such a law, now or in the future, is the freedom to destroy lives for profit and manipulate politicians at will. The predicted hypothetical nightmare future dictatorship which will amend a Leveson Law to enslave us all is far more likely under the current dictatorship of the corporate media barons. It is the status quo.
The argument is that a future ruthless tyranny (with a majority in the Commons) would amend a Leveson Law to manipulate the press to suit itself. Amendment being easier than enacting a new law. But since any government ruthless enough and with a big enough majority could enact whatever law it chose, the Future Thatcher argument collapses. The hindrance of starting from scratch would be a minimal barrier to the kind of regime being depicted, or remembered.
Many Britons now realise that the past 30 years have been exactly the kind of nightmare predicted by the Murdoch Babes. Not least the traduced and defamed population of Liverpool, and those who were at Orgreave. And that the only way to end the nightmare is to stop denying the fact of corporate media power, and confront it.
Mass circulation press is driven by profit, and therefore controlled by its advertisers and bankers. It has always been as free as they allow. In its industrial history, print journalism has probably suppressed more truth than it revealed simply from practical reasons of space, but especially in the last 30 years of Murdoch domination, when space was created for lies whenever convenient.
As Cameron tries to dig himself out of the hole he is in, he has to balance offending the people against offending the press barons. The fact that the press is on his side won’t help him this time. Their stench will rub off.
Sadly, Leveson did not address the real problem, which is the sheer size of a monster like News International, which has to create its own morals to survive in the marketplace. Size not only matters, it is everything. The bigger the better the more powerful the more profitable the better.
And becoming the biggest in a shrinking and increasingly competitive market demands that corners be cut, phones be hacked and lives ruined for Fun. That entire cities be slandered for decades, crimes concealed, the history of over ten years perverted, and a country driven into an illegal war which is still raging. That is the legacy of the Murdoch-style ‘free’ press, the one Cameron is still in hoc to. He is desperately trying to buy time, and concoct a way of derailing the demand for the power of the media corporations to be curbed. But however much he wriggles, it is crunch time for Cameron. Does he support the people he democratically represents, or support those who make money misrepresenting the people? It is a clear choice between democracy and profit.
The reason we need to enshrine freedom of speech in law and curb the power of the media corporations is to end the nightmare of the last 30 years, when our actual personalities were distorted by the disgusting vision of humanity relentlessly peddled by the gutter press. We are all in fact worse people because of national lies like Hillsborough and the Miners’ Strike. That is damage which can probably never be mended. But at least we can try to make sure that those with most control over information are monitored most. Without protection from corporate abuse, the ‘free’ press is a sham. It simply enjoys the same freedom the robber baron enjoys over the peasantry.