The Sketch: In the court of public opinion, Nick and Ed believe they have the winning argument
The report was delivered with the air of a cross head imposing a whole school punishment
There they were, on the bank of the Rubicon, weighed down by the longest and most detailed report ever compiled on the state of British newspapers, wondering whether to cross or not to cross. David Cameron looked nervously at the angry legions on the other side commanded by the press barons. He thought that on the whole he would rather stay put.
But in that great unexplored territory called public opinion behind him, the disorganised forces of Hacked Off appeared to outnumber greatly the organised army of hacks, which made Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband want to risk a crossing. Most of Miliband’s troops are sufficiently sore from injuries inflicted by right-wing newspapers as to be more than willing to bring out the heavy weapon of Commons legislation. Clegg’s troops feel the same way, and he seized his chance to show he is a commander, albeit of a smallish army, not a staff officer.
Lord Justice Leveson has set out some sensible principles by which journalists ought to abide; most will try to, a few will not. David Cameron is wary of making it the Government’s task to deal with the few. Understandably, he does not want the national press lined up against him on an issue on which his own party is divided. Clegg and Miliband believe they speak for public opinion. So does Leveson, who had the air yesterday of a cross headmaster imposing a whole school punishment.
Yesterday’s Commons statement had its first moment of high comedy when John Bercow threw the discussion open to backbench MPs and after exhorting them to ask “short questions without preamble” turned first to the venerable Tory Sir Peter Tapsell. Sir Peter observes brevity like Boris Johnson does chastity, and delivered an exposition on how Leveson had failed to address the problem of “bad men and sometimes foreigners” who own national newspapers. It ran to 90 words. But to be fair, that is barely 0.007 per cent of the length of the Leveson Report.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...