Since the vote that paved the way for a properly independent press regulator, there have been discussions about how the new framework will affect those of us in the blogosphere. The answer, as announced exclusively on Liberal Conspiracy yesterday afternoon by Sunny Hundal, is that we’ll be exempt, with the choice of being able to “opt in”. This is very good news.
Not chilling bloggers, despite the hype
This means that the Fourth Estate, and its obedient servants who pose as mere bloggers and brave warriors for freedom, have to spin the story, in order to kick someone. To this end, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have stepped forward to suggest erroneously that this is some kind of defeat for the Hacked Off campaign, which it is not.
Fire in the nether regions no shock horror
“Victory: Guido’s blog will remain unregulated” proclaimed the Fawkes folks, apparently unaware that this meant they would be holding on to their cherished positive trust rating of, er, 4% (even Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Sun manage 10%). And, as the man said, there’s more: “Government tells Evan Harris to ‘Blog Off’”. It does? But you know the answer already.
Spinner wakes up and reads LibCon sensation!
“Blog Off” refers to the lame campaign mounted by Staines’ pals at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), who are equally concerned about press regulation, because like The Great Guido they use the Fourth Estate as a reliable conduit for their selectively researched propaganda. Bad news for Astroturf lobby groups everywhere if their whoppers are easier to call out.
Personal opinion says Fawkes folks fibbing ...
So what of the Fawkes assertions about Hacked Off, and specifically about Evan Harris? But you know that answer already, too: Harris, who you can tell as he’s a Doctor, was in favour of this result all along. Hence his proclaiming via Twitter that this was “good news for bloggers”. He stressed the choice of “opting in”, which the Fawkes rabble will not take – more fool them.
... and again via Hacked Off
And this attack is significant twice over: Evan Harris has been at the forefront of libel reform, this being attempted via the defamation bill now making its way through Parliament. Anyone who values free speech and the ability to mount a public interest defence of fair comment against corporate forces using libel laws to silence critics and stifle debate would be expected to favour such reform.
That The Great Guido is so keen to lay into Harris merely underscores that Staines has sold out to his new bosses, who would be happy to leave the libel laws as they are, so they can trample on the little guys while telling anyone without the means to sue them to run along – then use those same laws to shut their detractors up. The Fawkes rabble bang on about free speech, but they’re full of wind and piss.
And they’re in hock to the Fourth Estate too. Another fine mess, once again.