With the prospect of another “Leveson Amendment” being sent back from the Lords to the Commons next week, those in our free and fearless press who had previously thought that they had seen off the idea of their past indiscretions being raked over, and under the full glare of attendant media, became significantly more agitated at the prospect. This soon resulted in a temporary loss of bowel control by those at the Murdoch Sun.
While the sight of the Murdoch goons soiling themselves at the thought that the public might finally see the reality of the Fake Sheikh, the interference into the Daniel Morgan murder investigations, and how Rupe’s troops effectively became an obedient propaganda channel for the Thatcher Government through the 1980s might appeal, there is one more most useful side-effect from the idea that Leveson 2 has not yet gone away.
And that is the way in which the impending decision by the Lords shows excellently just who in the Tory Party, and indeed elsewhere, is dependent on the press to get their own particular propaganda out there. Having money is not enough: one needs to also have hold of the megaphone. That is the clear dilemma facing Jacob Rees Mogg, the honourable member for times long past, who features in today’s Sun.
The Moggster tells us “Peers will fail the people if the they demand Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry”. Why so? “There is a rule that the Lords does not oppose manifesto commitments. It was introduced in the 1940s to stop an inbuilt Tory majority blocking the then Labour government’s programme. It has relevance of a particular kind today when a Labour and LibDem majority could vote down any government proposal it dislikes”.
There is also the Parliament Act, but do go on: “the Lords needs to observe this self-denying ordinance if it is to maintain credibility, otherwise it quickly becomes a matter of Peers against the People. In trying to insist on the UK remaining in a customs union, the Lords has overturned a specific manifesto promise by the Conservatives. Removing the date of departure - March 29, 2019 - similarly overturns an implicit guarantee in the same document. These are two of the most egregious breaches of the convention and raise the question: What is the Lords for?” Not always agreeing with Commons cannon fodder?
But ultimately he gets to the point. “Tomorrow, it may be about to get worse. There is an amendment to the Data Protection Bill to require the Government to carry out Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry”. And why is this such A Bad Thing?
“Page 80 of the Tory party manifesto says: ‘Given the comprehensive nature of the first stage of the Leveson Inquiry and the lengthy investigations by the police and Crown Prosecution Service into alleged wrongdoing, we will not proceed with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the Press’”.
What Rees Mogg has demonstrated is that the Tory manifesto for last year’s General Election was based on a blatant falsehood: part 2 of Leveson is not about “the culture, practices and ethics of the Press” (you can see the terms of reference HERE).
So as Rees Mogg’s own party has lied about Leveson, he can hardly expect the Lords to play ball. His whole argument is based on a flawed prospectus. But good of him to let us know he’s in the press’ pocket. As if it were not glaringly obvious already.