First they came for the Tabloids, and I said nothing because I read the Guardian on my iPad. Then they came for the Guardian, and I said nothing because I’d assumed it was going bust anyway. Then they came for the blogs, and I said nothing because bloggers are just hairy-handed self-abusers, aren’t they? Then they came for Twitter, which I only use to post pictures of my food, (organic, nach…) so I’ll probably be OK. Then I criticised the Government on Facebook, and there was no-one left to speak for me.
Peter Lilley yesterday said the new regulator has the potential to become an Orwellian ministry of truth, and the press should resist it. If you can’t see how the regulator will have a chilling effect on investigative journalism of the sort that exposed the expenses scandal, you’re a moron. Britain’s chaotic, anarchic, brutal free press will either resist this regulator or be tamed to death. We will see fewer exposes of powerful people doing bad things, which often have dubious sources. Is this price worth it to prevent journalists listening to someone’s voicemail.
It isn’t the News of the World that killed Millie Dowler, and there’s precious little evidence anyone from the paper even listened to her voicemail. The press is being regulated because of Labour’s desire for revenge for this headline:
Because of cheap and chippy spite, we have sleepwalked into a regulated press. Blogs and websites with News-related content will be swept up in the legislation almost by accident, because when have judges ever left anyone out of regulation, even when it’s parliament’s clear intent (for now) to do so?
The victors of this: Politicians, who will face a less powerful press scrutinising their decisions. Celebrities will find their private lives a little more private. And because of this, fewer people will buy papers and the electorate will be less informed.. And the regulation of the Blogs, who have less resources than the once-mighty press-barons, will be easier, now the rubicon’s already been crossed.
The left has long sought to tame the press. That they succeeded yesterday is not because the press were too powerful, but because they’re now so weak. One of the Glories of our democracy was the savagery with which the press dealt with our lords and masters. Not any more.