Friday, 8 July 2011

People: Do politicians represent them, police protect them and the press inform them ...?

This morning David Cameron has tried to come out fighting ... but 'boxed in' ... he has had to resort to using a little bit of honesty. Firstly he provided details on the two public inquiries being planned. 

The first, led by a judge, will get to the bottom of the specific revelations and allegations seen ... e.g. the illegal and utterly unacceptable practices taking place (e.g. phone hacking and illegal payments to corrupt police officers) ... to find out what happened ... and how it was allowed to happen.  This will include finding out why the first police investigation failed so abysmally ... what exactly was going on at the News of the World and what was going on at other newspapers, with this inquiry starting as soon as all police/criminal investigations are complete.

The second inquiry involves action associated with learning the wider lessons for the future of the press, conducted by a credible panel of figures drawn from a range of different backgrounds and who command the full support, respect and above all confidence of the public. They should be truly independent, without any motive but to seek the truth and clean up the press. In doing so they will look at the culture, the practices and the ethics of the British press, and in particular they should look at how our newspapers are regulated and make recommendations for the future (NB Cameron made clear self regulation and the Press Complaints Commission had failed).

He tried to limit the damage of his close personal relationships with Coulson and Brooks, but his final comments were the most damaging/telling of all ...

"But there is, as I said at the outset, a third question that this scandal asks of us, and it is not an easy one for me to answer. Because as we’re considering the devastating revelations of the past few days, it is no good just pointing the finger at this individual journalist, or that individual newspaper.

It’s no good, actually, just criticising the police. The truth is, we have all been in this together – the press, politicians and leaders of all parties – and yes, that includes me. We have not gripped this issue. 

During the last government, a police investigation was undertaken, it was inadequate and not enough was done. There were reports from the Information Commissioner and they went unheeded. There were Select Committee reports on phone hacking and there was no follow-up. Throughout all this, all the warnings, all the concern, the government at the time did nothing. And frankly, neither did the Opposition.

To be fair, it is difficult for politicians to call for more regulation of the media, because if we do so, we’re accused of wanting to stifle a free press or even free speech. But the deeper truth is this: there is a less noble reason. Because party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers we turned a blind eye to the need to sort this issue, get on top of the bad practices, to change the way our newspapers are regulated.

It’s a bit like MPs’ expenses. The people in power knew things weren’t right. But they didn’t do enough quickly enough – until the full mess of the situation was revealed.

Now, when the scandal hits and the truth is plain for everyone to see there are two choices. You can down-play it and deny the problem is deep – or you can accept the seriousness of the situation and deal with it. I want to deal with it.

These inquiries give us a chance for a fresh start and I want us to take it. Look, it’s healthy that politicians and journalists speak to each other; know each other. Democracy is government by explanation and we need the media to explain what we’re trying to do. But this is a wake-up call.

Over the decades, on the watch of both Labour leaders and Conservative leaders, politicians and the press have spent time courting support, not confronting the problems.

Well: it’s on my watch that the music has stopped. And I’m saying, loud and clear – things have got to change. The relationship needs to be different in the future. 

I’m not going to pretend that there’s some nirvana of two separate worlds, relating to each other on the basis of total transparency and ethical perfection. That's not real life.

But we can do a hell of a lot better than we’ve done so far. Because as this scandal shows, while it’s vital that a free press can tell truth to power it is equally important that those in power can tell truth to the press.

For people watching this scandal unfold, there is something disturbing about what they see. Just think of who they put their trust in. The police to protect them. The politicians to represent them. The press to inform them.

All of them have let them down.

So when the inquiries are over, the questions have been asked, and the truth found out I want a police that has proved itself beyond reproach, a political system that people feel is on their side and a press that is yes, free and rigorous; that investigates and entertains; that holds those in power to account and occasionally – yes, even regularly – drives them mad.

But, in the end, is a free press that is also clean and trustworthy. That is what people want. That is what I want. And I will not rest until we get it".

Indeed so ... but it's the collusion, corruption, and the blatant abuse/misuse of Power that is now clear for all to see ... not just with the Politicians, Media and Police ... but with the banks, corporate leaders, landowners and the whole judiciary too. e.g. if you started photocopying bank notes (and lending it out at interest) you'd be locked up ... yet this is what banks legally do everyday!

Such blatant abuses of Power are not going to go away ... not until more people wake up and smell the coffee ... and do something about it that is!

Aristotle famously said:

"Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers"

"In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme"

"The trade of the petty usurer is hated with most reason: it makes a profit from currency itself, instead of making it from the process which currency was meant to serve. Their common characteristic is obviously their sordid avarice"

"No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye"