Following yesterday morning’s breakdown of cross-party talks on press regulation, when Young Dave pulled the plug on his no longer jolly good idea, it has not escaped the notice of the Fourth Estate that there is a real possibility of next Monday evening’s Commons vote heralding a truly independent regulator underpinned by statute, for many editors a frightening prospect.
But here a problem entered: what would be the line to take when dumping on the politicians who might not take kindly to once again being bullied into line? The Mail’s James Chapman was on the case: “Labour 'the political wing of Hacked Off': Hugh Grant 'contacted senior party figures to urge them not to accept Cameron's Press regulation compromise'” was the political editor’s headline.
Yeah, see, Labour types, you’re just being manipulated by a bloke who got caught being given a blowjob in the back of a car! How pathetic is that, then? So just think on to the next election and all the reminders we’re going to give the voters of who really pulls the strings! You know which lobby to walk through next Monday if you want to keep being an MP, so be told!
In this, there was impeccably ranting support from Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre: “A tawdry alliance and a threat to a free press ... deplorably cynical short-term motives ... holding Parliament to ransom ... sabotage ... shameful ... opportunistic ... hatred ... scandal”. So a pretty good summary of his own behaviour, then.
And once again, the target is Hacked Off, which is held to be “a self-appointed cadre of Press-hating zealots, tarnished celebrities and small-town academics”. Then Dacre pulls the ball onto his own stumps by suggesting Labour and Tories were about to close a deal, which they most certainly were not. So where has the Mail got the idea that a relatively small lobby group is controlling the opposition?
Ah well. Here we find just how desperate – and incapable of decent journalism – the Dacre attack doggies really are: they got the idea from trawling the blogosphere. Seriously. “The Leveson deal debacle shows that Ed Miliband's Labour Party is letting Hacked Off dictate its policies” was from yesterday morning, introducing a post by Dan Hodges at Telegraph blogs.
That is true desperation, as are Chapman’s invented “sources”, without which he would have no story (as usual). Lobbying, for the Mail, is fine when Paul Dacre visits 10 Downing Street for a personal meeting with Cameron, but A Very Bad Thing Indeed if Brian Cathcart phones anyone to offer an alternative point of view. The Vagina monologue’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Again.
As for the public, they’re not important so long as they keep buying those papers.