15 June 2012
Few will be surprised by the responses of the British Prime Minister to the Leveson inquiry. Over the last few months the evidence has familiarised all who are interested with the interconnectedness of politics, press, and the police. A constitutional convention that good government is strengthened by the independence of these agencies, preserved by their arms length relationships, has taken a serious knock. Ministers – and would be Minister – have been shown to be very close to the media.
David Cameron’s diaries reveal that during opposition he met Rupert Murdoch ten times, James Murdoch 15 times and Rebekah Brooks 19 times. And that is likely to disregard weekend meetings and social events . He said that he had over 1,400 meetings with “media figures” in his five years as leader of the opposition. That works out at 26 per month.
Politicians and the press have become “too close”, Mr Cameron told the inquiry. In what is an argument for lobbying disclosure he admitted that.. “Politicians do have an interest in not being investigated…” transparency initiatives have helped mitigate that closeness. “…the pendulum needs to swing back a bit…” He acknowledged that the closeness between Ministers and publishers has prevented successive governments from reforming the media.
Apparently another three people were arrested yesterday in connection with News of the World payments to police officers. That brings the total to 33.
Corruption of the best, is the worst!