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I look forward to Gove’s next contribution on (or perhaps to) Leveson

Posted on 28 February 2012 | 9:02am

Even after all that emerged at Leveson  yesterday, the Tory strategy to undermine the Inquiry continues. Boris Johnson, journalist and Mayor, talked about the need for ‘the caravan to move on’.

Not quite on a par with Michael Gove’s ridiculous claim that the inquiry was having a ‘chilling’ effect on free speech, but in the same space.

The line of thinking is roughly this … ‘Look, we didn’t want an inquiry and while the whole phone-hacking thing was about a few celebs and MPs, we could hold out, but Milly Dowler took it to a new level, and what with the Cameron-Coulson thing in the background, we had to do something to buy a bit of space … Hence the inquiry … But what we want is for a bit of steam to be let off, then go back to a different sort of self-regulation, perhaps change the name of the PCC, warn them this is the last last chance, and provided that most of the papers support us, we will water down whatever Leveson comes up with anyway.’

Judging by his barb at Mr Gove yesterday, Lord Justice Leveson appears to be aware of what is going on. Given Gove’s experience in the media and in politics, I wonder if he is being lined up as a witness to Module 3 (politics and the press) when he could perhaps be asked to give examples of where the existence of the Inquiry has curbed free speech, and explain why he has quite so many meetings with Mr Murdoch and Co.

Last week at PMQs, Cameron danced rather uncomfortably around the question of whether Gove’s silly (but highly strategic) outburst was made on behalf of the government. I hope that someone returns to the same question at PMQs tomorrow.

Because after what emerged yesterday, the extent of alleged corruption, the extent of police laxity, and what amounts to an abuse of power, Mr Gove’s and Mr Johnson’s contributions look like nothing more than attempts to continue with a culture, no matter how depraved, provided it suits their own political purposes.

One of the reasons Mr Gove gets a good press is because he doubles as the Rt Hon Member for the press alongside his day job. But having seen fit to give his running commentary on the Inquiry last week, someone needs to get a microphone in front of him and get his reaction to all that emerged yesterday. I suspect in these circumstances he might see the sense of suggesting the Inquiry is allowed to take its course.

One thing I know – the fact that right-wing voices have loudly protested at the Inquiry, and at the current police investigation, shows there has been no impact on freedom of speech at all. And what is emerging about what has gone on inside News Corp, and the police, is far more chilling than the threat Gove and Johnson claim to see from Leveson.

  • “…
    the fact that right-wing voices have loudly protested at the Inquiry, and at the current police investigation, shows there has been no impact on freedom of speech at all.”

    Indeed. It also invites us to read between the lines and ponder on what hidden agenda they may have in raising these “concerns.”  In short, “What are they really afraid of?”

  • Ehtch

    Did I miss something, or was there no mention of removal of sanctuary ground? London has become a city of heathenic disrespecters – they have should have left them there as long as they wanted. Seeing the baldheaded baliff jimmies clearing them to elsewhere overnight turned my guts. Boris, yes, you, you are a total wanking cee.

    Pathetic clown.

  • sarah dodds
    I posted this on one of the other blogs here about Gove yesterday, but it is worth putting it here again I think  since the topic of Govedom has come up again.
    Murdoch controls and influence so much of our news and politics. It is healthy in ANY society for him to then control our schools too? I for one cringe at the thought.
    Yesterday I was politely asked to edit a comment on another site when I compared this little love in between Gove and Murdoch to the Third Reich, so I totally and definitely will not do that here. I promise.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Hype or big scandal?
    The Sun on Monday looked a bit different from Sunday.
    Both Brooks and Coulson were warned about widespread phone- hacking in 2006!
    NI paid the hacker-in-chief Glenn Mulcaire over £1m!
    Sounds more like a big scandal to me. No wonder the Tory-led government, News International (NI) and the police wanted us to believe in the one “rogue reporter” theory.
    Police source told Rebekah Brooks about 100 to 110 victims.
    But Andy Coulson and Ms Brooks (Wade) have stated that they knew nothing of phone-hacking.
    Mr Coulson is the only person in history to have resigned twice for doing nothing wrong.
    David Cameron´s poor judgement is once again an issue.
    Phone-hacking has been going on on industrial scale.
    The police tipped off NI (Brooks) about the criminal case and then assured that the case would be buried.
    There appears to have been a “special relationship” between NI and the police.
    Trevor Kavanagh and Mr Gove think all this is just hype.
    But the Sun seems to have bribed both the police and public officials. Access to witness protection programmes has passed to wrong hands.
    Evidence has been destroyed by NI.
    Gossip about celebs is not about public interest.
    Yates of the Yard claimed that investigation into phone-hacking had left no stone unturned….
    We are witnessing a major scandal!
    Friends of Rupert Murdoch have started a fightback.
    But one public servant received £80,000. Senior executives at the Sun knew about the payments.
    This is not a time for collective amnesia.
    The role of James Murdoch needs to have a second look.
    Britain needs to fashion a new media landscape with new laws into media ownership etc.
    Status quo serves no one.

    Ps. Chatham House rules UK? It is not only newspapers that have power. According to a study Chatham House is the most powerful thinktank in UK. With 286 thinktanks in the UK alone, we need to know what these thinktanks are up to. And who are their individual and corporate members. Plus who pays their bills. An inquiry is needed! 

  • Michele

     Was the occupation achieving anything other than just being there Ehtch?  It landed at StPaul’s by accident and didn’t develop in to anything more relevant.
    I hope all its members do still have homes to return to.

  • Ehtch

    oh stuff this, I have my connections down in Canvey Isle, Boris, all I have to say is one word, Boris, and mark two Jags and Daimlers in streams will be coming to bother you, you disrepect,

    If anyone is bothering you Boris, just give me a shout, Imight be able to help you, yanks included, I have my cells in the US, Italiano ice cream sellers.

  • Michele

     There have been reports every day for the past few weeks about appeals and more appeals.
    I was working till about 1am and when I checked the late news  there was live coverage on TV.

    Glad there was no (or little) violence :

  • Gilliebc

    Olli, I would very much value your opinion on this, if you have one.…..  It’s the verbatim  Hansard account of a speech made in the HoL a week or so ago by Lord James of Blackheath about some possibly ‘funny money’ i.e. 15 trillion US dollars that entered our banking system a few years ago via HSBC & RBS among others.  The Bank of England wouldn’t touch it!

    I don’t know quite what to make of it.  But, if there is anything in it then there are obviously very serious implications and ramifications.

  • Chris lancashire

    I think we all know that Mr Campbell is totally obsessed with NI, Leveson et al and not long ago was describing it as “the story of the decade”. Sorry, but the rest of the world has moved on and pompous Leveson, all the QC’s and glitterati (is Prescott glitterati?) amount to a dead duck.

    Just as an aside, firstly I find it truly amazing that senior Labour figures – Mr Campbell, Mrs Blair (now sueing the godfather of one of her children!) for two can forget that they used to suck up to Murdoch and have now performed a complete U-turn to villify him. Secondly, all this happened under a Labour administration.

  • Anonymous

    On inquiries in general, I was originally very happy to see Alastair and Gillian Tett talk about a financial crisis inquiry. However they used Reagan’s S&L crisis as an example, the one where a couple of thousand financiers were jailed. An inquiry with teeth in other words.

    We have had two financial inquiries sort of, the Vickers report and the FCIC. Neither used any of the economists or financiers who predicted the crash and offered ways to avoid it, apart from perhaps Mervyn King (sort of.) They punished noone, and didn’t change much apart from getting banks to hold slightly more capital and ringfence retail vs investment (even though retail banks like Northern Rock were in casino gambling to the eyeballs too.)

    Leveson may or may not turn out toothless. Some people say the Iraq inquiries were toothless, and its good that Alastair doesn’t hide from discussion of inquiries in light of all that. We also have the example of bloody sunday and various others from Northern Ireland where some ‘inquiries; have given vastly different results than others.

    So the questions are:
    – Does Alastair see that him saying the Iraq War inquiry was credible and Leveson isn’t, to the outsider looks like he is simply saying “I liked result of the first one, I disliked the result of the second one”.
    – Why does he think a financial crisis inquiry here will have any more teeth than Vickers or FCIC did unless the government use the guys who predicted the dotcom crash, predicted the credit crunch / housing crisis, predicted the current sovereign debt crisis and predict a currency crisis next – and have/had ideas to prevent all this. There are plenty of respectable experts from left and right, from Harvard etc why not use them?

  • Anonymous

    Surely what has happened across N.I. is highly illegal? Therefore appropriate sanctions MUST include prolonged limitations on the freedom of that and related organisations under common management/ownership to ever bid for an extension of its market share or power? Should not Murdoch be forced to choose between SKY tv and newspaper empire?

    AS in the case of irresponsible financiers there has to be a sanction. This tall poppy must be culled.

  • Gilliebc

    reaguns, I have to admit that when I hear the word ‘inquiry’ my heart tends to sink a bit.  Because what it usually means is 2 or 3 years or sometimes even longer of people being asked all the wrong questions.  They may throw in a few genuine questions for appearances/headlines sake. But the main purpose seems to be not to upset or endanger the status quo.

  • Trevorsmith

    The utterances of Messrs Gove and Johnson are the first pre-positioning moves by the Conservatives with a view to newspaper support at the 2015 General Election.
    After  watching a lot of the Leveson enquiry it is clear to me that there ought to be a judicial investigation into the Metropolitan Police’s actions ( and inaction) in the phone hacking scandal.

  • Michele

     Sorry but comparing Murdoch and Gove to the Third Reich is indeed bad taste.  So is critics of workfair (or whatever it’s called) comparing it to slavery.

    Thug and cling-on?

  • Ehtch

    mmmm, Oktoberfest, mmm
    What were we talking about again?

  • Ehtch

    Secret Alastair, Katsen from Brighton are the front middle or back on your average London orchestra, they are classicaly trained musicians, but it is good to see them really enjoying themselves, as here, on their off time,

  • Michele

     Isn’t it necessary when listing things that have happened to ‘allow’ for the chronology?

    You (or some other similar cynic) have already been asked to advise whether a god botherer can actually refuse to be a god-parent without seeming to be punishing the child rather than his/her parent/s.  I don’t think they should, not if their reason for being a god-botherer means they have a belief we don’t all share.

    The god-parent thing happened before so much else; stop being a silly and transparent opportunist.

  • Michele

     Certain tactics are not avalable to the Police.

    They do not have the same freedom as Nick Davies of the Guardian, in the same way that TV investigators were able to expose paedophilia through generations of one family.  They don’t have to abide by the same codes.

  • Michele

    Hmmmm, perhaps I didn’t recognise the codifier scramble with a previous post?

    I’d mentioned that defamation is illegal in Finland and speculated how different things might be in the UK if the same law applied. 
    If the Press can’t defame, could TV or radio?
    If defamation hasn’t already happened in a national paper does it make it less likely that, with no precedent from those with bigger budgets,  other papers and other types of media would make  defaming exposures?
    Would such a law have restricted Nick Davies/Guardian’s reports?

    It’s not only privately-owned media that defames here. 
    BBC reported all afternoon and evening that at Leveson today it was revealed that the Met had lent Rebekah Wade a horse. 
    Hours earlier another programme on the same channel had explained that it’s usual for Met horses that are being retired to be ‘fostered’ to suitable facilities till a final adoption is arranged.
    As Rebekah Wade’s husband is a horse trainer I’d imagine their home is eminently well-equipped.
    Want to apply to foster a retiring horse ?

  • sarah dodds

     I am not going to get squeamish about offending the likes of Murdoch when he spends his life on a seeming witch hunt of those who are hurting or the most vulnerable.

  • Olli Issakainen

    I am not aware of this case, but I can give you some background info.
    HSBC is controlled by the Rothschilds. DJ Flynt, the chairman of HSBC, is a member of the Bilderberg Group.
    He has worked for BP, a company controlled by Rothschilds.
    The board of HSBC is filled with people who have links to Rothschild-controlled companies like Goldman Sachs, Pearson and the Economist.
    It also includes people with close links to Brookings Institution, Ford Motor Co and News Corp.
    Henry Ford was a freemason.
    Timothy Geithner, US Secretary of the Treasury, started his career at Kissinger Associates.
    His father worked for the Ford Foundation which has backed the Aspen Institute.
    Laurence Summers guided the early career of Mr Geithner, who is also a member of the Bilderberg Group.
    2002 Timothy Geithner joined the Rockefeller-funded Council on Foreign Relations. Then he worked for IMF in which Rothschilds have considerable power.
    He then joined the Rothschild-owned Federal Reserve and also became a member of the Group of Thirty.
    Mr Geithner was involved in the bailout of AIG, and together with Hank Paulson let the Lehman Brothers to collapse.
    A lot of info about bankers can be found at – English translation available.

  • Olli Issakainen

    See also Richard Blackden 28.2.2012 in the Telegraph. Article called “HSBC could face US criminal charges and significant fines over money-laundering”.

  • Michele

     I don’t think it’s the likes of Murdoch you’re risking offending though Sarah.
    I’m not a Jewish (or any religion) person but if I was I would not like my ancestors’ suffering to be exploited just to insult a wormy thug like Murdoch.
    I think his motivation has always been money and bringing down everything we all believe in and hope to build on and improve, it’s a separate type of criminality.

    I can understand how much and how rightly  you hate Murdoch without that.  Don’t wish to seem like I’m ‘policing’ but you did bring the matter across from the other place.

  • Libdem

    Easy money Chris and whoever claimed that any of them weren’t hypocrites? 

  • Gilliebc

    Thank you Olli.  That’s much appreciated.
    The info. you give is very telling in itself I believe. 
    The ‘latest news’ in your ‘further’ post is very interesting also.  Maybe this won’t be swept under the carpet after all.  Only time will tell.
    Thank you again.

  • Patricia Shepherd

    No,but my son would like to loan a police car please.

  • Rosie

    Chanced on live coverage of the enquiry by chance on Monday just as Sue Akers was speaking. Those must have been some of the quietest bombshells ever dropped. Police corruption, public servants on retainers, police/NI communication in 2006 regarding the extent of phone hacking, e-mails linking Crone, Coulson, Brooks. My, My! 

    Then heard Fraser Nelson later on, suggesting that corruption in the UK really didn’t matter all that much, as other countries are so much worse!! Well, that makes it alright then!

    Then there was the matter of the horse. This is becoming surreal.

    However, Cameron said, in parliament,  he “would not be found wanting” if it turned out his former spin doctor had been economical with the truth. Can’t wait.

  • Anonymous

    Well, Alastair, I hope you were reasonably pleased with the sight of Mr Gove squirming at PMQs as Ed Miliband asked for him to be publicly spanked over Leveson. When a child is naughty, it’s most effective to ask the parent to take control.

    I always knew he was the sort who could dish it out but couldn’t take it.

  • Ehtch

    Know I have super strange interest to bit different groups in the world, how about Parralox that I been terribly ignoring for a few months, from Oz, Melbourne, used to speak to the lead singer on Sheffield’s Heaven 17’s forum years ago, and now here she is. She didn’t think much of me, she thought I was sharp, so what’s new? Prod in the guts and get someone up and going is I say, as I was taught in the armed forces. Amii,

  • sarah dodds

    I am quite happy for them to have made the request that they did, just as I would have been happy for AC to have done. As I have said , it was politely and properly done.  
    As for the possible offence to Jews, I don’t see how pointing out that a link exists between media control and education can be anything other than fair given the context.
    I am guessing you did not read the link to have missed the point.

  • Ehtch

    watch out for us five foot nine males, we are bastards…..

  • Michele

    Lend?  Perhaps if the car needs homing (as opposed to garaging), feeding and grooming, his application would be welcomed.

    I can tell you did not read the ad.  What a surprise,

  • Michele

     I had read the link and in fact had pasted the first few lines of it in to another post re one you’d made with it a few days earlier, to encourage others to open the link too and see the info.

    You cannot compare a group that’s ambition was to treat people as vermin to be exterminated with a family that’s ambition is to fill us all with negativity and to break trust and confidence between friends.

    I’m not being melodramatic about the Third Reich, it was of a completely different order than the Murdoch family and its insanely competitive employees. 

    Perhaps you are being melodramatic about the Murdochs but even if so, even if that’s ‘all’ that it is, the point is NOT that you insult the Murdochs with that comment, you insult those that have suffered so much more than the world has suffered under Murdochs/Wade & Co.

    I think if our teachers were telling children that Murdoch et al were as bad as the Nazis we would consider them stupid and totally insensitive.

    Am I being melodramatic myself?  There was a very subtle artistic point made in an otherwise-just romantic film called ‘The Governess’ a few years ago. 

  • Anonymous

    Yep, and its never independent from government. For example in Northern Ireland, whether you agree with some of the enquiries they’ve had or not, you can see how they’d be cynical about using a government agency to investigate basically itself, and then declare itself innocent. Certainly if I ever committed a crime I’d much prefer to personally hold an inquiry into myself than go to court for it!

    There are some exceptions of course but for the most part, like Leveson, its so the government can be seen to do something even though in reality they are doing the smallest amount as possible. Murdoch and them obviously did share tips because he has done the same: Sack Brooks see if that placates the public… it didn’t… ok end News of the World see if that works… didn’t… ok sack James Murdoch…

    As you say, none of them have any intentions of upsetting the status quo. Our bankers continue to have full backing of the taxpayer – this would probably not change following a toothless inquiry, yet this is one of only two things that will stop another crisis, the other would be a proper Reagan style inquiry that will make sure if govt intervenes to save bankers from market punishment, that it inflicts worse punishment on them itself.

  • Anonymous

    There are a couple of very interesting articles from one of the more interesting thinkers on the right Douglas Carswell.

    First of all, in this one he criticises Bank Of England’s Mervyn King for apparently blaming labour over credit problems. Always good to see someone who doesn’t just jump on the party bandwagon the way for example Theresa May or Andy Burnham do:

    More interesting though is this one where he talks about conservatism and the internet and how many Tories are frightened of it. He talks about the effects on different types of Tories ie the authoritarians and the libertarians. He talks about the possibilities the internet offers, that it may mean that someday workers can indeed own the means of production! Strong meat from a conservative!

  • sarah dodds

    When/ where / did I ever say that they were as bad? I am simply pointing out that we are on dodgy ground when we have one organisation controling the press, the politics and the schools. That is not a too dramatic comparison I don’t think. I am not saying that the government and Murdoch are doing it to exterminate a  whole race. I am merely questioning whether we should allow any group or individual such power over our way of life. After visiting Auschwitz I wondered how such evel could ever have been allowed to flourish.
    Do we not have a democracy to defend?

  • Michele

    It’s possible that your post elsewhere ‘qualified’ your comparison by having such details or explanation.  What you posted here did not.
    This is it ……..
    “I was politely asked to edit a comment on another site when I
    compared this little love in between Gove and Murdoch to the Third
    Reich, so I totally and definitely will not do that here. I promise…….”

    …… in fact its end has a jokey aspect to it.  Sorry it fell very flat for me.

  • Michele

     Hope that doesn’t sound stern Patricia (I was off to the dentist 🙁 )

    I think we have plenty to moan honestly about re Ms Wade et al and given that the fostered horses can’t be ridden I would hope the Met would just choose the best possible temporary homes. 
    I wish the Beeb would resist gossip-y crap as much as I wish the rags would (and as I’d said earlier on, the Beeb did know the full details of her being ‘lent’ a horse).

  • Michele

     I hope you heard Yeates explaining for the hundredth time today what his dept was prioritising / concentrating on pursuing in 2006.

  • Michele

     What’s actually becoming surreal is how like the Press some of the public is.

    Bad news is good news for so many.

  • Ehtch

    by the way, Dr. Feelgood in above vid is from Canvey Island, next to the Thames Estuary, for those that missed what I was actually saying, in humour.

  • reaguns

    Disagree with you there Michele, more strongly than I have ever disagreed with you on anything.

    Forced labour is slavery. Now I know the government have tried to be as murky as possible as to whether its mandatory – but if its mandatory its slavery.

    The two arguments against “Its not forced, they can choose not to do it.” Yeah – and then starve. Thats like me pointing a gun at someones head and demanding their wallet, can I tell the judge it wasn’t forced they can choose to have their head blown off?

    Second “Its not slavery they get paid benefits don’t they.” Yes they do. As did slaves. Slaves got shelter,clothes, food and water provided – they wouldn’t have been much use as slaves otherwise.

    I shall be voting for the most anti-workfare party at the next election, even if its the Greens (a totally ludicrous party) and if there are no anti-workfare parties standing, I shall not be voting at all.

    I am no marxist, liberal far leftie – I think dole is too high, and I believe in getting rid of the minimum wage – but workfare is slavery. Only communists and nazis should be in favour of it.

  • Ehtch

    With reference to my Jess Yates “Stars on Sunday” comment a couple of threads back, I refer to the 1960’s, and this excellent clip with Robert Dougall,

    My comment there,

    We sung the SE England song old empire game, but they then destroyed our working lives, to suck wealth towards their desperate SE selves, and forget us, while they still stayed like children – man amongst children, child amongst worlds men, children still.

  • reaguns

    I think my original reply to this had a glitch so I’ll be shorter and sweeter this time:

    Workfare IS slavery, if its mandatory.