The level of desperation to which much of the Fourth Estate has sunk over the weakness of its position on press regulation can be gauged by the equally desperate tone of its pundits when broaching the subject, and today Simon “Enoch was right” Heffer, recently passing through the revolving door from Maily Telegraph to Daily Mail, has really gone over the top as he rants about the whole business.
“The spectre of Red Ed’s thought police” thunders the headline, managing to work both Orwell and Bond baddies into the mix. In a piece which, as with so much post-Leveson copy, has abandoned any pretence at sticking to the facts, or even including a few of them, the Hefferlump throws all his toys out of the pram at once as he gives readers a “chilling insight” into a Labour future.
The press, he tells, “occasionally does bad things, but also does many very good things”. Really? So we have to tolerate the monstering of Lucy Meadows because there are good things. And what may these be? Hey, it’s gone quiet. Seriously, what good things have the tabloids done recently, apart from keep schtum while the broadcasters and broadsheets do the real investigative journalism?
Never mind, though, what’s the main thrust of his argument? “Ed Miliband’s shameful reaction to the Budget and his support for state regulation of the Press proves that a government led by him would be motivated by spite, dishonesty and authoritarianism, despise democracy, and be utterly incompetent”. He isn’t supporting state regulation of the press.
And how does an elected Government “despise democracy”? And while I’m at it, what’s the Daily Mail, apart from a bastion of spite, dishonesty and authoritarianism? Which, by the look of it, employs some utterly incompetent pundits. But he’s got something to tell us: “I can reveal that former supporters of Tony Blair are increasingly worried about Labour’s direction”.
Bullshit. Name one. You don’t, because you can’t. You made that up (like most of the rest of the rant, then). Any Blairite who shared an opinion with a Daily Mail pundit would by definition have simultaneously sprayed their credibility up the nearest wall. Like Heffer’s statement that reducing the top rate of income tax “will actually raise more money for the Treasury by reducing tax avoidance”.
That’s why tax revenue went down when it was reduced, then. But Heffer is off and running: “he favours anti-democratic bodies ... in thrall to Hacked Off ... Press-hating zealots ... sinister mindset ... anti-democratic ... Brussels ... European super-state”. Then he talks about discarding “the historic liberties ... of the British people”. This from the paper that wants to strip us of our human rights.
Meaning Labour is doing well, and his boss is not. Tough. Get over it.