Earlier this month, the House of Lords inflicted two defeats on the Government via amendments to the Data Protection Bill, which effectively force the Government to proceed with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, and commence Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. For the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail, this act could not be allowed to go unpunished. So a hatchet job was ordered.
Why the f*** can't I defend my £2.5 million pay packet, dinners with the PM and lack of accountability to the plebs, c***?!?!?
That the resultant article was indeed a hatchet job is confirmed by the name on the by-line, that of Guy Adams, personal purveyor of smears to the Vagina Monologue. His mission, as ever, is to make the available facts fit the headline, which to no surprise is “A very shabby revenge? How a third of the 200 peers who voted to make it far harder for journalists to investigate corruption have been exposed by the media they’re seeking to muzzle”.
Sadly, neither amendment will “muzzle” anyone, although in the longer term they may allow all those little people who the Mail routinely craps all over to find out about the relationship between the press and the Police - like whether it was corrupt in any way - and to get access to redress when they find themselves on the receiving end of the Mail’s vicious and spiteful smears (as opposed to being told to run along by IPSO).
Also sad to see is the easily debunked argument Adams advances, as he tells “For a moment, imagine a dodgy foreign country where lawmakers, whose epic venality had been exposed by the Press, decided to pass a law to stop newspapers investigating such behaviour in the future”. No-one, repeat no-one, repeat NO-ONE has not even hinted at such a move. Nor does his ignorance of recent British history help his cause.
“Doubtless you would be comforted, when reading about this appalling action, by the knowledge that you’re lucky enough to live in a centuries-old democracy which is impervious to such self-interested manipulation of the law”. Britain has only had universal suffrage for both men and women since 1928, so not a “centuries-old democracy”.
And what would the proposed amendments mean? “Both measures would severely limit free speech, deal a devastating blow to investigative journalism, and be a boon to the wealthy, powerful, and corrupt, making it immeasurably harder for Fleet Street to hold them to account - one of the bulwarks of a free country”. Bullshit. The reverse is true. And when did the Mail last do any useful investigative journalism? Don’t make me laugh.
In any case, the idea that this was some kind of revenge for press exposure would only hold water if all those voting the other way had not been exposed by the press in any way. Did Adams bother to find out? Did he heck. It wouldn’t fit the headline.
Moreover, when Adams and his fellow Mail hacks whine about anyone being “unelected” - that line is also regularly used in attacks on the judiciary - they miss out one unelected body. Who might that be? As if you need to ask: the press itself, with its invite-only access to the Prime Minister, its lapdog the backside-wiping sham regulator IPSO, and its ability to wade into any and every controversy without having to take responsibility for the result.
The press is the last unelected, effectively unregulated, and utterly unaccountable bastion of power in the UK. A bastion that doesn’t give a flying foxtrot about free speech for anyone except itself and its pals. That is what Guy Adams is defending. Very badly.