Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Misuse of Powers - Addendum

Following my piece earlier today, it seems that the implied threats against the Daily Telegraph for investigating Maria Miller's expenses has been elevated to a higher level, to none other than Craig Oliver, David Cameron's director of communications. Apparently, he phoned the editor to express his concern  that Mrs Miller was “very distressed” about her family being questioned over her expense claims. He reminded the editor that Mrs Miller is currently overseeing negotiations about a new system of press regulation, and said that she was considering making a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. (see here)

As far as I am aware, the Telegraph is one of the few papers which hasn't been tainted by the scandals surrounding phone hacking and  bribery of public servants, and for the time being holds the moral high ground. They state that before publication of the news items about Mrs Miller, they made sure that they had double checked all the facts. They claim that their reporter had a friendly discussion with her father who is a Telegraph reader, and it would seem to me that Mrs Miller's "distress" at her family being questioned more likely stems from the knowledge that they now know what their daughter has been doing, something that a person of my generation might find rather upsetting.

A number of those involved in the talks now suggest that Mrs Miller should withdraw from all negotiations on the Leveson report. The Prime Minister, through his press secretary has now become personally involved in the matter, which strikes me as yet another example of his  extremely bad  judgement. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to reading about the basis of her complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, as it seems to me that the Telegraph has done nothing more than carry out a piece of  perfectly legal investigative journalism. I think that this matter will run for some time yet!

But whatever happens, this further action by Craig Oliver illustrates very clearly that there is no way that politicians should have any control over our media. It may not be the best, but at least, subject to the laws of libel, it is free and can say what it pleases.

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