How did the Government come to reject the press’ Royal Charter? After all, many hacks, pundits and editors truly believed the guff about it being “tough”, and swallowed the spin about “£1 million fines”, so how could a Coalition, most of whose members were Tories, not see its merit? There had to be a dark and sinister force out there. Their side could not possibly have made such a decision.
Who to blame? It’s all very well putting the boot in on Hacked Off, only for it to be pointed out that they’re representing many of the victims of press intrusion. Much as some of the less principled hacks would love to go dirt-digging in order to discredit Christopher Jefferies, the Dowlers and the McCanns, not even the current crop of editors will allow their papers to sink so low.
Fortunately, Maily Telegraph deputy editor Benedict “famous last words” Brogan has found the answer, and this is to blame everything on that amorphous mass called The Left. Yes, never mind that the victims live in cosmopolitan Clifton, or a Leicestershire village, and that many donors’ identities are not made public – for rather obvious reasons – they’re all tools of The Left.
“Hacked Off's drive against the press is a Left-wing political operation to shaft the centre-Right” proclaims Brogan. He says it again in rather more detail: “the drive against the press led by Hacked Off is an effectively run political operation on behalf of the Left to shaft the centre-Right media”. And he’s wrong on several levels: Hacked Off aren’t “against” the press. And it’s not connected to any party.
Check out its key supporters: Evan Harris is a former Lib Dem (not Labour) MP, Brian Cathcart is a lecturer, and Hugh Grant, who has been on media duty today, is well known not through his politics, but his acting (ditto Steve Coogan, and the thought enters that Brogan may be another who didn’t get an invite to that bash near Brighton the other week). Some leftist conspiracy that is ... not.
The whiff of paranoia has extended to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have proclaimed “Hacked Off in Bed With Reds”, but then, their representative at the Labour Party conference failed to gatecrash the Coogan party, too. Their killer connection is that Hacked Off uses a media firm set up by a Labour Party member.
Which is rather like suggesting Dixons supports UKIP because Stanley Kalms is staunchly anti-EU. The firm concerned also works for the British Society of Cinematographers, so perhaps the Fawkes folks should avoid visiting a cinema in case they get tainted by the red plague. Or perhaps they should stop recycling a 60-odd year old frightener in order to suck up to their new masters.
After all, just because they’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get them.