I was (for my sins) in Westminster last week for the revealing of the Leveson report.
I was (for my sins) in Westminster last week for the revealing of the Leveson report. Months after the main submissions had been heard, C-list celebrities had stopped appearing on the news looking haggard and a lot older than when they were properly famous. The whole process had become rather boring. The hundreds of victims stopped being newsworthy long ago, so the press had resorted to attacking the report in advance of its publication just in case they didn’t agree with it. Lords Black and Hunt had drawn up some alternative plan on the back of a few napkins that involved a new and improved system loosely (almost entirely) based on the old one. The press were anxiously backing that plan instead of Leveson’s report. As it turned out, they were probably right to do so. Nobody, once given a taste of raw freedom, would offer for their freedom to be curtailed and their profession nearly wiped out – which is what must inevitably happen to traditional broadsheet hacks.
The atmosphere in the committee room was surreal as we awaited Leveson’s statement. Half the people there seemed to want full statutory regulation and the other half were just aggressive media critic loons. The announcements were made, and then we gathered round a projector screen. Brian Leveson sat down at a blue desk in front of a blue background to announce that he had written a 2000-page blue book that almost nobody was going to read. To be honest, I wasn’t really listening, because Lord Justice Leveson has all the charisma of a draught excluder. What I did understand was that he had recommended that the press be made to behave. Everyone started whooping as he said “independent” …but nobody booed as he followed it up with “self-regulation.” Independent self-regulation? Pull the other one. Brian ‘Captain Slow’ Leveson also called for increased transparency, which I’m assuming will mean something along the lines of cutting more eye-holes in newspapers.
Lord ‘Big Chief’ Leveson was not the only one making a speech though. David Cameron came to the despatch box in the Commons to announce that he would be ignoring the enormous unread blue book and doing sort of the same thing but in a slightly different way. The loons up in the committee room did not like that at all. One of them, who, judging by his sedentary position occupying the swivel chair in the centre of the room must have been the leader of the loons, started shouting and jabbing his finger at the screen. The effect of this was that he began to revolve, like the world’s grumpiest merry-go-round. Back on the screen, Ed Miliband was announcing full support of an enormous blue book he had only had for four hours and had no intention of reading. After that, the brown-nosing Meerkats set to work, jumping up and down from the green benches, eager to praise their leaders.
Leaving Parliament was something of a relief after that. However, I moved on to a HackedOff press conference where a line of people looked disappointed as the spokespeople explained how disappointed everyone was. Even the journalists didn’t seem interested though. They seemed as confused and apathetic as everyone else, awkwardly shuffling as they admitted they hadn’t read Emperor Leveson’s report either. I’m beginning to wonder if anyone actually has.