Posts Tagged ‘Nadim Zahawi’

Whisper it quietly, the government maybe about to back Leveson

23/11/2012, 10:32:09 AM

by Atul Hatwal

So now we know, it’s next week. Lord Leveson will finally publish his long delayed report on Thursday 29th November, complete with recommendations on the future of press regulation.

For many months now, the conventional Westminster village wisdom has been clear: Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will back the report while David Cameron will demur.

The prime minister will kick the report into the long grass and accept the public’s opprobrium because (a) backing the newspapers’ position will guarantee better coverage for his government as the next election approaches; and (b) most people already think the worst of him on this issue with few swing voters likely switch their allegiance on the basis of press regulation.

But, as Lord Leveson’s report goes to the printers, this wisdom is looks increasingly askew. It fundamentally misreads the credibility of the newspaper owners’ blandishments and threats – and the evidence suggests number ten knows this.

The owners might privately brief the government in warm terms about better coverage tomorrow if Leveson is blocked today, but word are cheap; would they really follow through?

There is a deep scepticism within number ten that the attack dogs of the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Sun will meekly roll over and give the government a pass for the next three years.

A story is a story and in the cutthroat competition of the newspaper market, few will refuse the opportunity to hurt the government if it drives sales.  At the margins, perhaps some stories might be soft pedalled, but collectively supressing major news would be commercially counter-productive.


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