‘Hacked Off’….Andrew Gilligan says that they have engineered a ‘coup…..one of perhaps the most important constitutional change yet of the 21st century.’
A ‘coup’….’constitutional change’? Shouldn’t the BBC be asking who Hacked Off is, and is it fit and proper that they had such influence over such an important and consequential piece of politically contrived ‘legislation’?
I don’t know what you think about Hacked Off’s successful campaign to create that political fix intended to muzzle the Press but Andrew Gilligan may have hit the nail on the head:
‘This was a sort of coup, by people even more unaccountable and unrepresentative than the average newspaper owner.’
Hacked Off wants to “force the press to serve defined social and political objectives – at the expense, if necessary, of the right to free expression.”
Who are Hacked Off? And how did Brian Cathcart and a small group of even more obscure allies come from nowhere to write perhaps the most important constitutional change yet of the 21st century?’
He’s not wrong is he? Three hundred years of Press freedom sacrificed in some sort of ritual slaughter to appease a few washed up celebrities, their secretive millionaire backers and venal, unscrupulous politicians.
You might have thought that such a historic, momentous and politically significant event would have attracted far more scrutiny from the BBC than it has.
They might be more interested if they found that their own journalists were only able to report when ‘approved’ by a government minister.
Who are the mysterious millionaire backers that helped fund this grubby deal? Who indeed are ‘Hacked Off’?
Why is it that a highly political pressure group is able to not only influence but sit in on the actual negotiations, in Labour Party offices, without serious comment questioning the appropriateness of that?
In the end we have to ask, as always, who benefits? Is it the Press? The Public? Or is it someone else entirely? Was this just a charade exploiting the Millie Dowler story in order to force through a highly contentious deal on Press regulation that would allow politicians, in the end, to say what can and cannot be published…all guided by left wing concepts of ‘human rights’ and a convenient ‘respect’ for privacy…when it suits?
Janet Daley thinks she knows the answer to that….
The ‘BBC Left’ is using hacking to get revenge
Left-wing politicians and broadcasters do not want to debate ideas but they do want to remove their opponents.
‘….that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse – of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre. The influence of the BBC as a monitor of what is politically admissible is almost incalculable: the entire Tory modernisation project was effectively made necessary (as its chief architects often admit) by the need to get a fair hearing on its news coverage.
This is as close as the BBC gets to criticising Hacked Off and its grubby deal set up in the dark hours of the night……by James Landale, BBC Deputy Political Editor
‘There is an old trope about sausages and law. You don’t want to see how they both are made. Here is why.
The deal was agreed in the early hours in Ed Miliband’s office at the House of Commons. The Labour leader was there alongside his deputy Harriet Harman. The Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was present as were four members of the Hacked Off campaign group whose leading light, Hugh Grant, describes as “a few dandruffy professors…a slightly insane chess champion ex-Lib Dem MP and a couple of threadbare lawyers”.
Representing the Conservatives was Oliver Letwin, the minister for policy, a man who once left parliamentary papers in a bin in St James’s Park.
No one from the press was present. There were bleary eyes all round.
So there was no white paper. No pre-legislative scrutiny. Just rushed, late night law driven as much by politics as by principle.
Thus is law made. Perhaps we should inspect the sausage for horsemeat?
So the BBC knows that there is something possibly slightly sinister about all this….but doesn’t want to go to town on it.
These are some of the choicer cuts from Gilligan’s article…but read it in full:
‘Brian Cathcart has become a lot more black-and-white. In his new role as director of the Hacked Off campaign for a controlled press, he now claims that “most British national newspapers ruthlessly chose to exercise their great power for evil”.
Press inaccuracy has become a disease curable only by a state-backed regulator, and the McCann case is Exhibit A in what Hacked Off calls the “atrocities” perpetrated by the press.
Who are Hacked Off? And how did Brian Cathcart and a small group of even more obscure allies come from nowhere to write perhaps the most important constitutional change yet of the 21st century?
Hacked Off did it by using all the red-top tricks they claim to hate – broad-brush condemnations, simplistic arguments, distorted facts, behind-the-scenes political deal making, celebrity stardust and the emotive deployment of victims.
Their key skill was in presenting the crimes of some newspapers as the responsibility of all, and defining the issue as what Gerry McCann, on the Hacked Off website, called “a binary choice: the newspaper barons or the people they abused in search of profit. It is as simple as that.”
It is of course nothing like as simple as that.
Hacked Off is a campaign not just to tame the press, but to claim the country for the authoritarian Left. It does want to stop newspapers victimising individuals. But it also wants to force the press to serve defined social and political objectives – at the expense, if necessary, of the right to free expression.
As its key intellectual inspiration, Prof James Curran of Goldsmiths College, put it: “The problem is that the press was the principal cheerleader of the deregulatory politics that landed us in the economic mess we’re in.
“Our concerns should be confined not only to individual abuses, but to media moguls who distort the national conversation.”
Newspapers to be forced to reflect “a fair selection of the day’s events”; a regulator, in other words, would decide what stories they covered.
At the May 17 event, numerous Left-wing speakers outlined their view of how the “public good” or the “public interest” as defined by a press regulator, should override freedom of expression
Leveson has been persuaded to embrace unquestioningly a profoundly ideological description of the relationship between the British press and democracy, previously held only by a small group of Left-of-centre academics.”
“These are likely to be people you intuitively distrust, dislike and despair of. If they are what we need to win, however, we must understand their value and not confuse their values with our intentions.”
This was a sort of coup, by people even more unaccountable and unrepresentative than the average newspaper owner.
Prof Natalie Fenton, another Goldsmiths academic and a key member of CCMR, is a director of Hacked Off. She co-chaired the meeting with Cathcart and is seen on the platform at most of Hacked Off’s events.
Writing on the “New Left Project” website, Fenton attacked the “excessively liberalised press” and the “naive pluralism” of “assuming that the more news we have, the more democratic our societies are”.
Here is an update by Gilligan:
‘Arrogant, entitled, lying and hypocritical, in Brian Cathcart and Hacked Off I think I’ve found my new Ken Livingstone. What fun we’re going to have together!
When Hacked Off talks about making the press “accountable,” what they mean is making it accountable to people like them.‘
Whilst on his blog you might want to read his reports about Tower Hamlets…something else the BBC conveniently ignores, or covers superficially.