Leveson's great service has been to expose how intimately connected reputedly independent aspects of the establishment really are. We now know that Murdoch's panjandrums, David Cameron and members of the Metropolitan Police have all placed their buttocks on the same horse. That's the reason little will change as a result of the Leveson Report.
The press has to be independent of politicians, but it must not be independent of the law. Self-regulation has failed. We need to establish independent principles, backed by law, by which the press can operate in the public interest, and be judged.
Freedom of political expression – definitely yes. Freedom to tell lies – and this includes presenting made-up stories as news – definitely not. There should be effective penalties against those who publish untruths.
There should also be accessible means to pursue libel cases for those without pots of money.
I wonder if I am alone in finding the media a tad anal in its coverage of the imminent release of the Leveson report? On Radio 2 this morning we almost had a countdown to the hour of the report's release, and the broadsheets (your esteemed organ included) give the impression of a nation holding its breath in the same way it must have awaited the outcome of Neville Chamberlain's trip to Munich in 1938.
I cannot imagine the same degree of nervous anticipation in your pages if this review concerned health and social services or the armed forces, both of which would be more significant.
I will be glad to see all this settled so that months of media navel gazing may end.
No more binge drinking for the working class
The millionaires, David Cameron and other MPs from both sides of the House, seem to believe fixing an alcohol minimum unit price will cure binge drinking. Whether it does or not is not for me to comment on, but "We are all in this together"? I think not.
A pound on a bottle of wine adds 33 per cent for the working class, 3.33 per cent for the middle class and 0.333 per for the rich, based on prices of £3, £30 and £300 a bottle. So, who, obviously, bears the greatest burden?
The Posh Boys will not notice it at all – a drop in the ocean. It's great to know that none of the rich ever drink too much.
So our MPs want to introduce "minimum alcohol pricing" – the price of 45p per unit no doubt to rise year upon year – to "cure hooliganism and binge drinking".
Will those same MPs be setting an example by immediately introducing those same minimum prices in the Houses of Parliament bars, something they can do immediately and without legislation? The British public will judge them by the example they set.
You comment that "it is less expensive in Britain today to get drunk than to go to the cinema. That should not be so." (Leading article, 28 November.) I quite agree. Cinema tickets are too expensive; can the Government do something about this?
Grubby ethics go beyond the City
Terence Blacker laments that the "grubby greedy City ethic has worked its way down to us" (27 November). Is he sure which is the chicken and which is the egg?
The City scandals we have witnessed are simply the highest-profile symptoms of a malaise which affects our entire society. We are increasingly focused on the price of everything while understanding the value of almost nothing; we claim our individual rights while ignoring our collective obligations to a civil society.
This malaise has other symptoms than those highlighted by Mr Blacker, including almost universal willingness to speculate on property prices with scant consideration for the consequences, to become indebted in pursuit of personal consumption, and to pursue, at the expense of all dignity, celebrity as an instant route to wealth and recognition.
I do not disagree that the City (and wider global finance) has proven a fertile nurturing ground for the most obvious expression of this malaise, but I do not believe that it created it. We need to look deeply at our whole society; we cannot just point at the bogeymen in the City while convincing ourselves that, aside from their pernicious influence, our civil society, including its institutions and foundations, are all in good health; they are not.
Haywards Heath, West Sussex
Cunning plan to defeat Ukip
With growing disenchantment about the EU, there seems to be concern within the Conservative Party that support for Ukip could do them electoral damage.
What is needed is some arrangement whereby those who favour Ukip could switch their votes to the Conservative candidate if he or she comes in ahead of theirs but behind Labour or the Lib Dems. I wonder if Messrs Cameron, Osborne or Hague can think of such a system. Oh yes, it's the one they comprehensibly rubbished during last year's AV referendum campaign.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
I am old enough to remember door-to-door brush salesmen. Now that they may be coming back, I can envisage an excellent alternative career for Nigel Farage should his party founder.
Still no jobs
While there are around only half a million job vacancies, yet 2.5 million people unemployed and seeking work, the failure of schemes to get people back to work should come as no surprise (report, 28 November). Training people in interview techniques is no substitute for creating jobs. Such schemes are little more than con tricks for, with all the help in the world, with overnight every vacancy filled, there would still be two million unemployed.
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