Cameron’s half truth over his Leveson exoneration

Lord Justice Leveson: Pic courtesy of Leveson inquiry website

Lord Justice Leveson: Pic courtesy of Leveson inquiry website

Yesterday’s clash between Ed Miliband and David Cameron over the Coulson affair was dominated by the Prime Minister’s assertion that he had been cleared by the Leveson inquiry of doing anything wrong.

He could happily quote Leveson’s findings which clear not only him but Rebekah Brooks – also now cleared of knowledge of phone hacking by a British jury – of behaving badly in any improper relationships between Number Ten and  the Murdoch empire.

But delve a bit deeper into this rather contorted report – all one million words of  it – which probably neither Cameron nor Miliband have – and you will find quite a different story.

Go to Volume Four and Appendix Five – and get one of the most devastating critiques of the incestuous relationship between top politicians and the media I have ever read from a High Court judge in my 27 years of political journalism.

As I reported before “he attacks what he calls the ” inappropriate  closeness” between media bosses and successive governments not just now – but for over 35 years. Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron are all indicted in a damning charge sheet.

He baldly states “ politicians have conducted themselves in a way that I do consider has not served the public interest”.

He accuses them of being vulnerable to unaccountable interests, missing clear opportunities to address  public concern about the culture, practices and ethics of the press and  seeking “ to control ( if not manipulate) the supply of news and information to the public in return for expected or hoped-for favourable treatment by sections of the press.”

He concluded that all this gave rise to “legitimate perceptions and concerns that politicians and the press have traded power and influence in ways which are contrary to the public interest and out of public sight. These perceptions and concerns are inevitably particularly acute in relation to the conduct by politicians of public policy issues in relations to the press itself.”

Some exoneration for Mr Cameron and his predecessors!

If Labour had been sharp enough yesterday Ed Miliband could have rebutted Cameron’s confident assertions. But it may not be surprising that he missed it – because of the mismatch  between  Leveson’s conclusions and his comments on the sad state of the relationship between leading politicians and  media proprietors. It has close similarities to the way the Hutton inquiry exonerated Blair and Campbell despite revealing some devastating facts.

But in no way can either Cameron or Murdoch be complacent about their respective roles in trading power for influence which is at the heart of why both the mainstream media and politicians are widely distrusted by the general public.

And with more to come no politician can afford to brush this aside as ” a here today, gone tomorrow” story!

 

8 thoughts on “Cameron’s half truth over his Leveson exoneration

  1. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    I said the facts would start coming out AFTER Cameron had his say – here’s the first instalment, with thanks to David Hencke for trawling the Leveson report. I had considered doing the same; I’m glad I didn’t try.

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  2. I’m in full agreement with Lord Justice Leveson and his report, especially his words on the politicians and the media. I’ve known about it for years, and I’m only a disabled housewife with a basic grasp of law and politics.
    I believe that Brookes is guilty, as is her husband – and that Cameron has been implicit in the covering up of them.
    It will all come out eventually, but Cameron will not be the PM or the leader of the Conservative party when it does happen.

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    • A jury has decided that she and her husband are not guilty based on what was said at court.- so that is the case, but you are entitled to your opinion. Very interesting piece in The Guardianby Nick Davies today did show the imbalance between the money poured into her defence case by Murdoch and the money available to the prosecution to pursue the case against her.

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  3. Pingback: “Inappropriate closeness” between media bosses and successive governments | Political Concern

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