May wants to foil plans for tighter press regulation. No wonder our biased media love her

I wouldn’t be surprised if the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary simply printed a photograph of Theresa May as its definition of the word “corruption”. She wants to end attempts to hold the press accountable for their actions – in order to make it possible for the right-wing, Tory-supporting media to continue with such activities as the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone, the disruption of a murder investigation, and the moment they gave false hope to a grieving mother. These are all recent examples of behaviour the Leveson Inquiry…

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Liars exposed! Why has nobody been sacked yet?

This blog asked yesterday whether Downing Street communications chief Craig Oliver was a liar, an incompetent, or both after he denied that government officers threatened the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses. It turns out he was both. The Telegraph has now published a recording of the conversation between reporter Holly Watt and Miller’s advisor Joanna Hindley, on which its allegations are based. There can be no doubt that the reporter did indeed have Leveson held over her (corruptly); there can…

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The Telegraph must stand firm against Downing Street bullies

Is Downing Street director of communications Craig Oliver a liar, or incompetent? Or is he an incompetent liar? These are the questions we should ask after he denied threatening the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published details of its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses. The Telegraph reported that Miller’s parents were living in her taxpayer-funded south London second home, implying that she had fraudulently claimed expenses for it, in December 2012 – and immediately followed its report with another, alleging that government advisers tried to bully the…

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Bad apples?

The highly confrontational former managing editor of both The Sunday Times and The Sun has been named as the new director of communications at the Department for Work and Pensions. Richard Caseby takes over after former comms boss John Shield was hired by the BBC last September. Gosh, what an incestuous world we live in! The BBC, now confirmed as little more than a mouthpiece for the Conservative Party in its political news content, hires the former press officer for the Tory-run DWP. The DWP then hires an executive from…

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Syria: The right decision for the wrong reason?

It looked as though we were all heading for another pointless adventure in the Middle East, but a day in politics really is a long time, isn’t it? On Tuesday evening, there seemed to be consensus. The leaders of the main UK political parties had met to discuss the situation in Syria – in particular the evidence that an attack involving chemical weapons had taken place – and had parted in broad agreement that military action was warranted in order to discourage the use of such devices. But then Labour’s…

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Farage meets Murdoch; Leveson has achieved nothing

Was the Leveson Inquiry into media standards just an incredibly lengthy distraction from the ravages being wrought on the British system of government by the Coalition? In the light of current evidence, it seems so. The inquiry found, and I quote from the executive summary, “the political parties of UK national Government and of UK official Opposition, have had or developed too close a relationship with the press in a way which has not been in the public interest. In part, this has simply been a matter of spending a…

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Miller’s ‘killer’ instinct homes in on the press

The new culture secretary, Maria Miller, loves to throw her weight around, doesn’t she? I wasn’t going to write about how she claimed £90,000 towards a mortgage and other expenses associated with the south London house where her parents live – the Daily Telegraph has already done a very good job of it – but then, it seems, she decided to try bully-girl tactics. While the newspaper was researching the story, we are told, Mrs Miller’s special advisor – one Joanna Hindley – warned a Telegraph reporter that the paper’s…

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The great Leveson whitewash

Oh, all right – greywash. Please note: This is an initial reaction to the Leveson report, based on Lord Justice Leveson’s speech today (November 29). The report itself is 2,000 pages long and may contain much more that is of interest to us. But that will have to wait for another day. Lord Justice Leveson has come out with his report which, in effect, advocates as little change to current press regulation as he thought he could get away with. Jeremy Hunt, the Murdochs, George Osborne and David Cameron can…

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Cameron, Brooks, and an embarrassment of emails

How embarrassing are these emails that David Cameron withheld from the Leveson Inquiry? I’m sure you know the story by now – Mr Cameron held back dozens of emails, including (it’s believed) messages to Andy Coulson while he was still an employee of Rupert Murdoch, after taking legal advice. It seems they’re not “relevant”. The trouble is, things that aren’t “relevant” have a nasty habit of grabbing the public interest. I want to know the contents of every single one of those emails, and I don’t think I’m the only…

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Cabinet reshuffle: Does Cameron think he’s the Joker?

Today’s blog entry will be relatively short. I had an operation on my leg yesterday (September 4) and it seems to be affecting my ability to think. … And if you think that’s bizarre and illogical, let’s have a look at the decisions made by David Cameron in yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle! Firstly, the really shocking news: George Osborne is remaining as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not really news, I know, but at the outset it makes a mockery of a process that is supposed to be about improving the government…

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