It all sounds ‘apple pie and ice cream’, but should we trust Leveson? In the public interest, let’s look at evidence and report it in a straight and ethical way.
Many people believe this inquiry is necessary, seeing that the press and media have, over time, adopted practices which are intrusive, sensationalist and, as with the phone hacking scandal, unlawful.
Private Eye Spots The Rot
Private Eye’s Hislop has hit the nail on the head, stating to the inquiry ...
I do think that statutory regulation is not required. Most of the heinous crimes that came up and made such a splash in front of this inquiry have already been illegal.
Contempt of court is illegal, phone tapping is illegal, policemen taking money is illegal. All of these things don’t need a code, we already have laws for them.
The fact that these laws were not rigorously enforced is again due to the failure of the police, the interaction of the police and News International - and let’s be honest about this, the fact that our politicians have been very, very involved in ways that I think are not sensible with senior News International people.
Hislop added that he hoped Lord Justice Leveson would call Prime Minister David Cameron and his predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to give evidence - little chance we feel.
So if laws are already in place to control press, media, police, ministers and others, why the need for Leveson?
The trail begins with the appearance of the Media Standards Trust. The Media Standards Trust claims to be an independent registered charity which aims to foster high standards in news media on behalf of the public. “We’re a ‘think-and-do-tank” .... to promote quality, transparency and accountability in news. We are committed to the freedom of the press, and are not aligned with any political party or particular media company.”
In reality the MST is anything but independent, being funded by a shadowy network of vested foundation interests - Esmee Fairburn, Gatsby, Joseph Rowntree, Eranda, MacArthur, Knight, Nuffield, Pearson, Cohen, Story and Scott. Dig deeper and the threads include Sainsbury, Rothschild and Guardian Media Group. Deeper still is David Halpern’s Institute for Government with a board of ‘stars’ - Lord Sainsbury, Sir Roy Anderson, Sir Brian Bender, Jocelyne Bourgon, Sir Andrew Cahn, Lord Curry of Marylebone, Sir Christopher Foster and Lord Heseltine.....then there’s the Cabinet Behavioural Change Unit.....the list goes on and on.
The Board of the MST is also interesting. Chairman Sir David Bell Chairman Financial Times Group and Deputy Chair Julia Middleton - are both kingpins with the political charity Common Purpose. Their board colleagues include: Amelia Fawcett Chairman Guardian Media Group, Anthony Sulz N M Rothchild, Charles Manby Goldman Sachs, Will Davies Said Business School Oxford, Robert Peston BBC Sir Robert Worcester MORI, and journalists, judges and others.
The mix of vested interests in high powered banking and media is notable. And then there is Common Purpose.
From the outset the MST has repeatedly attacked and criticised the Independent Press Complaints Commission almost as if the MST saw itself as a Cuckoo in the press and media regulation nest. The incumbent IPCC needed to be ejected.
The UK Column exposed in August 2011 that the MST set up a website “Hacked Off” which then proceeded to inflate the phone hacking scandal at every opportunity. Using MST people and associates to do so.
Hacking Website Registered Before Hacking Scandal Broke
The Guardian newspaper broke the story of the hacking of Milly Dowler’s voicemail on 4th July 2011. The MST was quick off the mark, setting up ‘hackinginquiry.org’ on 5th July 2011. Amazingly the domain name ‘hackinginquiry.org’ had been registered on 15 June some two weeks before the hacking scandal broke surface. Clairvoyance or a foot in both camps? The real answer is most likely information gleaned and influence wielded via Common Purpose’s extensive network of insider ‘graduates’ loyal to their new Common Purpose ‘leadership’ cause, and CEO guru Julia Middleton.
On July 7th, 2011 Middleton posted an interesting piece on her blog. Entitled “Should you encourage leaders for being brave?”, Middleton declares that:
I went to the House of Lords last night in my role as a trustee of the Media Standards Trust to support the launch of Hacked Off, a campaign to get a proper enquiry into phone hacking. The meeting was set up a while ago so you could say that after the announcement yesterday it was no longer needed, but of course that’s not true. It’s not just about getting an enquiry, it’s about getting the right enquiry, with the right brief and the right time scale. We can’t wait two years!
There were some great people there who have stood out from others in their bravery. And its real bravery – if the media does not like you, life can be very tough. But as we congratulated Chris Bryant, Max Mosely, John Prescott, Norman Fowler and many others, you could see some looking around nervously. Hugh Grant was there too, catapulting himself into this – I hope he keeps on being brave. I hope they all do.
Apart from calling for an enquiry, rather than the correct inquiry, Middleton gushes her role and self importance in safeguarding media standards. She also gushes support for individuals, whom many people would consider by their grubby actions, to have received the media treatment they deserved.
Leveson’s David Bell Attacks IPCC
Elsewhere MST boss and Common Purpose guru David Bell joined the action by stating:
Our research has shown that the current system of press self-regulation is failing the public. It is fundamentally flawed and in urgent need of reform. We believe that the Press Complaints Commission is constitutionally and structurally unable to deal with these threats, particularly in the context of the rapidly changing new media environment.
Could it be that Bell was gunning for the Independent Press Complaints Commission because it upheld a complaint against corporate Common Purpose sponsor Johnston Press ( Sheffield Star ) when it published libellous and defamatory comments about a whistleblower, who on 5 November 2008, exposed the links between Common Purpose, child abuse and paedophilia, and Common Purpose insider dealing and fraud within Sheffield City Council executives?
How strange then that Bell was happily chosen for the Leveson panel. Public concerns raised with the Solicitor to the Leveson Inquiry regarding his connections with Common Purpose and its background in breaches of Data Protection, Membership Secrecy, insider dealing at Cabinet Office level to win contracts, insider dealing to procure public funding, failure to procure CRB checks, blatant hostility to public scrutiny via Freedom of Information, and the promotion of secret meetings with private and public individuals, were all swiftly rejected.
Leveson Rejects Common Purpose Concerns
In an unsigned letter from Ms S Hiles dated 13 September 2011, Leveson’s legal team simply ignore concerns raised by the public and provide an arrogantly dismissive reply:
The individual assessors were identified by the Secretaries of State sponsoring this Inquiry, in consultation with Lord Justice Leveson to provide expert assistance to him over a range of areas central to the Inquiry, and in view of the impartiality with which they could be expected to approach their functions. In the circumstances which gave rise to the Inquiry, and in the light of its subject matter, Lord Justice Leveson and the assessors were clear that they wished to make public declarations of interest, whether or not they were legally obliged to do so.
The Inquiry website levesoninquiry.org [gives] the declarations made by the assessors and Sir David Bell states that he is Chairman of Common Purpose. He also states that Common Purpose have had several dealings in the past few years with the office of the Information Commissioner in connection with comments that have been made about it on the web.
Contrast the Leveson brush off on matters of honesty and probity, with more of Julia Middleton’s blog:
This [hacking] is about people in institutions losing sight of what they are about, people trying to act above the law, people doing unforgivable things to others, people who as leaders refuse to accept responsibility for what happens around them. If we duck this, and don’t help the brave to be brave, we are in trouble.
But it was not just the public that were alarmed at Bells position on the inquiry panel. Associated Newspapers also flagged up concerns with Bell. Martin Moore of the MST quickly came to his defence saying “The specific attack by Associated on Sir David Bell is entirely without merit.” How nice. Typically he then praises Bell’s work with political charities like Common Purpose as a plus point.
In 2009, aside from Common Purpose and links via funders for MST, Bell held over 20 directorships plus close links to the Rothschild Group via its partnership with Rare (a diversity recruitment service) of which Bell is Chair of the Advisory Board.
‘Stepping down’ from the MST whilst he enjoys the Leveson Inquiry, Bell is still enmeshed in personal and business interests which make Leveson transparency and probity as clear as mud.
Investigative Journalists Die Early
If the UK Column is right that Leveson’s Inquiry will ultimately result in Bell’s Media Standards Trust replacing the Independent Press Complaints Commission, then we are in dire trouble. For MST is Common Purpose, and it is Common Purpose perverse political ideology which is being pumped through our public and private sectors at an accelerating rate.
Common Purpose control of the press and media, backed by their ongoing high level collaboration with Cameron and his Cabinet Office, means the end of free, open and accurate press and media reporting in the UK. Add the dangerous catalyst of Behavioural Change via Common Purpose and the governments Applied Behavioural Psychology units and we are in a Soviet State. Just a coincidence then that the roots of common purpose and common cause is Gramscian Marxism - itself closely aligned to Alinsky ideology embedded in Tory and Labour policy.
Journalists and media people need to wake up and very fast.