Why does he keep on telling the same story, and why do supposedly reputable newspapers keep on giving him space? Simples. We’ve got to the Squeaky Bum Time part of the press regulation debate, and so Fraser Nelson, who wants to keep on saying no to the point of forthright dishonesty, has been wheeled out by the Mail. And much of what he writes is easily filleted.
“The newspapers have already agreed to implement, to the millimetre, the recommendations of Sir Brian Leveson’s inquiry into press regulation”. No they haven’t, hence their version of the Royal Charter being chucked out. “The press is proposing what would be the toughest system of regulation in the Western world with beefed-up rules”. Wrong, it would be a Mark 2 PCC. Try again.
“And fines of up to £1 million for titles which defy them”. That’s “£1 million”, as in the Robert Maxwell Mirror bingo prize. And, if you’re going to quote Monty Python, remember that “up to” includes the figure Zero. “You can’t have a little bit of Government (or ‘statutory’) control any more than you can be a little bit pregnant”. There would not be any Government control.
“This assault on press freedom is coming not because the press is so strong, but because it has never been weaker”. Calls for properly independent regulation that actually works are down to persistent bad behaviour. “The Guardian cried foul when one of its couriers was apprehended at Heathrow Airport with state secrets in his computer”. You’ve got bugger all idea what he was carrying.
“The BBC is also an actor in this drama”. Brownie points from Paul Dacre, but bullshit. The Beeb is in the stands, not on the field. “Its interests are aligned with those of the Guardian”. See, anyone not serving up news as the editor of the Spectator demands is part of a rotten lefty conspiracy. “The nation’s top news source is BBC One”. Yes, mainly because you and your pals can’t be trusted.
“So let’s not pretend – as Hacked Off does so brazenly – that this is about curbing ‘excessive’ power of newspapers”. They don’t, and it isn’t (see above). “I have been called by a Labour member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee who wanted me to take action against a Spectator writer”. That’s your fault for giving houseroom to the likes of the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole.
“A Tory Minister also called me”. That goes with the territory of editing the Speccy. All editors get phoned by those they write about. “These phone calls did not come a few years ago”. No, because you weren’t editor of the Spectator then. And no doubt he got paid for trotting out this drivel, even describing Leveson’s report as prescriptive, which it most certainly was not.
Still, it reminds everyone how desperate the game is now. No change there, then.