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The Leveson Pattern

May 19, 2012

Leveson is part of a pattern.

Like an entire nation of cack-handed explorers, we are encouraged to look at everything through a telescope – first through the wrong end, so that everything appears minute; then through the magnifying end, so that everything looks gargantuan. Look! The problem is tiny: one rogue reporter. Look! The problem is huge: the ethics of all the press. In truth the problem is life-size and right in front of us.

And this approach has become quite a favourite. The problem is one rogue fundraiser – the problem is all party funding. The problem is one very evil cleric – the problem is all European Human Rights legislation. The problem is one very naughty special adviser; one over-enthusiastic lobbyist; one closeted minister; one Christmas dinner; one park bin; one disobedient civil servant.

The net result? In order to save a Secretary of State (a job which, it is increasingly apparent, life-forms which crawled out of a swamp five minutes ago could do, part-time, while drunk) we sacrifice the head of Border Force. A few months before we host the biggest international event in four decades. Cue – total disarray at the borders, three-hour passport waits, Joan Collins’ shoulder-pads in a twist.

We stand there in our safari outfits, looking at our compass, wondering “However did we get here?”

And “how we got here” matters a great deal. Because these are important, precious, fragile, vital issues. The Freedom of the Press; Human Rights; Immigration control; Accountability in public life. To reform them, requires to approach them openly, generously, make suggestions without fear, be open to recommendations. If, instead, we go into them because of a cock-up, those who need to give information are tight-lipped, those who should make recommendations are afraid, those who would accept them are defensive.

We’re trying to repair our priceless vases with a hammer, in a panic. And if we end up smashing them – rest assured: The problem will have been one rogue, European, Muslim, immigrant, benefit-scrounging, homosexual, butterfingers restorer.

______________________

A little personal plug; actually two.

You can read my first article for the New Statesman here: “Lazy, Feckless Greeks” 

I have been part of Rory Bremner’s writing team for his Radio4 show “Tonight”. Exquisite satire, executed with military precision by the team. Listen to the first two episodes.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. russ permalink
    May 19, 2012 12:32 pm

    Congratulations Sturdyblog! Much deserved recognition. Keep up the great work.

  2. Rory Bremner permalink
    May 19, 2012 1:42 pm

    when he says Military Precision, he means US Military Precision. We’ve been known to miss spectacularly, mostly when distracted by elaborate dog puns. With significant collateral damage. Keep writing Alex. You’re a tonic in this madness.

    • May 19, 2012 1:56 pm

      It’s true you have given dog puns a new leash on life with your inalsasiable appetite. Some were a little ruff, some gave paws for thought, but you mustn’t put your self down.

  3. May 19, 2012 4:57 pm

    Reblogged this on defytheeconomy and commented:
    Reblogged for this alone: Like an entire nation of cack-handed explorers, we are encouraged to look at everything through a telescope – first through the wrong end, so that everything appears minute; then through the magnifying end, so that everything looks gargantuan. Look! The problem is tiny: one rogue reporter. Look! The problem is huge: the ethics of all the press. In truth the problem is life-size and right in front of us.

  4. May 19, 2012 9:02 pm

    Great article on Greece. Have lived there-I know they are not lazy people -far from it! Suppose it’s not surprising that the racists and blame merchants come out at a time like this. I love Greece very much and so am grateful that you are eloquent enough to give me arguments with which to counter the ignorant views of my colleagues. Thank you.

  5. May 19, 2012 10:14 pm

    We love Greece as well and the image the mass media portray is so far from the truth. However the pity is that the masses are kept in the dark by our Square Mile loving politicians.
    The challenge is getting the truth to everyone on this and all the major issues. Thank you for your excellent and succint article that goes some way in meeting that challenge.

  6. May 19, 2012 11:28 pm

    Quite apart from what you say (I am partisan) I love the way you write: elegant, witty, sharp, well-researched. And fucking hilarious.

  7. May 20, 2012 12:59 pm

    Short but sweet and incisive. And fantastic article in New Statesman too, which I’ve Twittered and Facebooked because it is so. Great to see that written communication can still be so good, but such a shame that more people don’t make time to read what’s being communicated. In a way it is very racist to judge the Greeks as they are being (aka lazy and feckless), because you cannot, repeat CANNOT judge anyone until you have tried to understand them! Q.E.D.

    In the plethora of information that hits my inbox these days, I am always pulled up by sight of the ‘SturdyBlog’. Keep up this great standard of communication, Alex.

  8. May 29, 2012 7:45 pm

    A lot of sense in the post and a good article in the Statesman-well done.

    Cannot understand the mindset of commentators who argue ‘my plight is worse than your’s!’

Trackbacks

  1. Why we’re in the shit we’re in » 21stCenturyFix.org.uk

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