"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Press Standards, Privacy & Libel

A grilling of Coulson, Kuttner, Mylor & Crone by the Culture, Media & Sports Committee chaired by John Whittingdale and comprising the following members:

Mr Peter Ainsworth MP, East Surrey, Conservative
Janet Anderson MP, Rossendale and Darwen, Labour
Philip Davies MP, Shipley, Conservative
Paul Farrelly MP, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Labour
Mr Mike Hall MP, Weaver Vale, Labour
Alan Keen MP, Feltham and Heston, Labour
Rosemary McKenna MP, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, Labour
Adam Price MP, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru
Mr Adrian Sanders MP, Torbay, Liberal Democrats
Mr Tom Watson MP, West Bromwich East, Labour
Now, I'm not saying the above is as good as it gets but sitting through three and a half hours of unremittingly aimless dross is definitely not my idea of a good time. The company at the live chat did mitigate it somewhat though (and if you don't know where I go for Live Chats these days, you have only yourselves to blame).

Ultimately, you might thank me for being so lax in paying attention to tv/radio messages and think it's fortunate that I haven't yet received my new Sky viewing card because my recordings all failed leaving me with no reference points: nothing, zilch, nada whatsoever except my crumbling memory and a few numbers jotted down in between making a cup of tea and having a late breakfast.

Let's put it this way:
Tom Watson @ 1.40, (the one who needed to be helicoptered in through the window because he couldn't navigate the stairwell and whose braces put WoaR in mind of seatbelts) thinks he has a brilliant, dissecting brain: he hasn't. He's just another Labour shill who spouts crap and needs two chairs to accommodate his ample frame. He thought he was being clever with his questions - but no, no, no, no, no, Tubby. P*ss off out of politics and enjoy your new job at Finchley Catholic High @ £22k pa (who the heck believes that story?)

An exchange between Adam Price & Andy Coulson was really quite good at showing how and why these 'Committees' usually fail to get to grips with the real issues: they concentrate on their own agenda and approach issues from a subjective viewpoint.

Kuttner, former Managing Editor of News Int'l, did extremely well despite first appearances when he came across as as just another dry old stick. He was actually very confident, in fact supremely confident, of his facts.

Mike Hall (Lab. Weaver Vale) and Janet Anderson (Lab. Rossendale & Darwen) came out rather badly. You can tell a lot about the calibre of a person by the questions they ask - and their questions showed no real insight or quality at all.

Watson (Lab. Fat Tw*ts BracesRus) seemed at first quite keen to get in on the action; at times he was pensive but at others he shifted uneasily between his two buttocks. He failed to do what he wanted which was to skewer Coulson. I believe Mr Swiss Bob has a video of some of the Watson/Coulson exchanges.

In the end, it was just about catching someone out: preferably Coulson but if Murdoch could be roped in on the side, all well and good. It didn't happen. Kuttner, Coulson, Mylor & Crone batted away every single question with ease.

It makes one wonder what value this sort of 'inquiry' has - I assume there will be a Report published at some point and this Committee Hearing will make a 'valuable contribution' to any new laws on privacy, libel and press standards. Unless the Report says that this type of hearing is a waste of time and money then I fail to see what the Report can contribute to any such revision.

Towards the end, it did become rather personal, for example a question was asked by Watson about Coulson's resignation package from the NotW: I'd like to know what Coulson's finances have to do with phone tapping or privacy issues. It was a sitting-back, braces-twanging, fingers-over-the-mouth, stroke-pretend-beard waste of time by Watson during which I could have been out and about searching for Suki.

The Committee did their best, even marking out 'others' for not understanding Nu-speak, but the NotW team weren't being led down the garden path and into the shrubbery for a good old righteous lefty kicking by the likes of any on this Committee.

Sorry it's incomplete but there you go - put it down to the vicissitudes of being a lazy s*d lately and having to rely on memory - we all pay a price eventually.


  1. Great resume and many thanks. If nothing else we see yet again the utter uselessness of this Labour Government. All this twaddle for cheap revenge on The Tory opposition because they are about to sweep these crap merchants out of office. Just 316 days to go.

  2. Thanks OR - I'll post some videos later in an attempt to pull it all together. Btw, isn't it time you put me on your blogroll?

  3. Well done GV, excellent assessment of the occasion. As you say it will have about as much impact as the much heralded Finance Committee who 'looked into' the Icelandic banking seizure. Nothing's happened and it was purely a talking shop. So many people prepared for weeks for that particular one and have been ignored. Except the bankers of course, who got their 15 minutes of fame to attempt the word 'sorry'.

  4. Thank you SR - though I wouldn't even dignify it by calling it a 'talking shop'. The committee had Coulson in its sights rather than any real assessment of libel/privacy and the press - they were always going to be losers.

    Btw - did you hear that the Icelandic Parliament has voted in favour of joining the EU? There'll be ructions to come because the people don't want it - and they brought down the last govt. They have more guts than the Brits I'm afraid.


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