Yesterday, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps led the daily Downing Street press conference with news of new transport infrastructure to help us in the current crisis and beyond. But the mainstream media used up all of their questions to ask about the decision by the Prime Minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings, to isolate himself and his family in Durham, rather than in London, when his wife fell ill with Covid-19.Read more
I’m partial to a bit of Beeb
On a day when I am learning it may be OK to eat red meat after all, I’m also having to re-think my attitude to the BBC.Read more
Invitation to a duel
A few weeks ago, I spoke at an international conference on regulation. One of my fellow panellists told me, as we took our seats, that he was against regulation. I rubbed my hands with glee in anticipation that sparks would soon begin to fly. Sadly, the only sparks were the evidence of us getting on like a house on fire. He wasn’t against regulation; it was just bad regulation that he couldn’t tolerate. Me too.Read more
We disagree … so you must be lying?
From working as an independent expert witness, I know only too well that it is not unusual to find one’s client acting as though nothing the opposing party says can ever be believed. As a mediator, I have seen this attitude taken by both sides simultaneously. Sometimes in a dispute, both sides are inveterate liars. But quite often I would see two parties who were both incapable of seeing that their opponent’s point of view was not built (entirely) on falsehood. It seems that is where we are now with Brexit.Read more
A couple of matters caught my attention this morning, from the world of journalism and coffee shops.Read more
Reporters Sans Frontieres: not my idea of a knock out
I was disappointed to read recently that the UK has dropped to 40th place in the World Press Freedom Index. Among the 39 countries which are said to offer the press greater freedom than the UK are South Africa, Surinam and Namibia, according to the ranking body Reporters Sans Frontieres. But then I noticed that the UK’s ranking was three places ahead of the USA which guarantees freedom of the press under its constitution. What’s going on here?Read more
A pressing need for regulation …
In 2012, when I clicked on a link in order to watch a family friend appear in front of the Leveson Inquiry, I little realised just how much the subject of press regulation would get under my skin. Sometimes in a good way. But, all too often, it’s more like formication.Read more
Moses and the Culture Secretary
It has been a strange week for those of us who took a keen interest in press regulation as a result of the Leveson Inquiry.Read more
Has the press done to Miller what police did to Mitchell?
It is not that long ago that the press were pointing to Andrew Mitchell MP and asking: “If the police can do that to a government minister, what chance the rest of us.” I now find myself asking whether we shouldn’t just substitute “press” for “police” and “Maria Miller” for “Andrew Mitchell”.Read more
Leveson – Is the battle already lost?
What are the chances of being able to write a 2,000 page report on press regulation and walk away with all-party support (or even all-Party support)? Plainly, not very high. This final stage of the inquiry could have been – should have been – handled differently.Read more