The last-minute pleading before the courts having been thrown out, the cross-party Royal Charter on press regulation was yesterday evening signed off by Her Maj, duly sealed, and delivered back to Parliament. The press’ attempt to secure judicial review was not just declined on a technicality, it was thrown out. So will the newspaper industry accept the new reality?
Might be moving on from blaming Brian
Not if they can help it: this morning, the Mail was merely grumbling, but no-one should imagine that the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre will take this attempt to create a press regulator that he cannot readily bend to his will lying down. The Vagina Monologue will right now be boiling with rage at the effrontery of a democratically elected House of Commons doing what it is there for.
And still the bleating at “political interference” continues, as witness today’s Maily Telegraph editorial, “The fight goes on for press freedom”. Tony Gallagher insists that we should all “look over there” at a potential for interference that does not exist, so that the more easily led do not see the real reason for the protests, which is that any recognised new regulator would be truly independent.
“It is about ensuring that responsible newspapers have the freedom to publish what they wish and that the public have the freedom to read what we publish” protests the Tel, but that is not under threat. The “two-thirds of Parliament” applies to both Lords and Commons, and in any case, any future Government could interfere merely by pushing through legislation with a simple majority. This is a smokescreen.
And who is this perpetrator of thuggery?
And so is the continuing talk of “chilling effects”, typified by yet another tedious rant in freesheet City AM, this time from Mick Hume of Spiked, which, if its content is of the same level, certainly should be. Meanwhile, the loathsome Toby Young is pretending it doesn’t matter: “Privy Council's approval of the press Royal Charter is a meaningless political gesture”. That’s not what his editor thinks.
That's who. And he even names the target
Tony Gallagher has today let slip what the next press campaign will be: they’re going to go after the Culture Secretary. “324: the number of days since the Parliamentary sleaze watchdog started its glacially slow investigation of charter architect Maria Miller” he Tweeted this morning. So Tobes is talking out of the back of his neck – there is nothing meaningless about the Charter being sealed.
If the event really had been meaningless, Gallagher would not be signalling a fresh campaign of vindictiveness, to go with all the others, mainly, it must be said, by his pals at the Mail, against any and every public figure that has dared to speak out in favour of properly independent press regulation. And it shows just how low the Fourth Estate is prepared to sink to keep marking its own homework.
That is why those wanting change will not go away, whatever the level of abuse.