Free the Press, Free the Judges

John Rentoul

781px Middlesex Guildhall 16 May 2011 300x230 Free the Press, Free the JudgesThere is just one tiny problem with we brave freebooters of the Ethical Vacuum, the “Nice” people on Guido’s little list, the defenders of the freedom of the press.

Which is that when we (I) point out that having Ofcom or another government-appointed body “verify” a system of “independent” self-regulation it is no longer independent, we could make the same argument against the supposed independence of the judiciary.

I am grateful to Rick Role for pointing out in the comments on my previous blog post that Chris Grayling’s veto over Supreme Court judge appointments is similar to Maria Miller’s over the appointment of the Ofcom chief executive.

I had not realised that the Lord Chancellor (that’s Grayling, although his day job is Justice Secretary) can reject candidates for the Supreme Court (pictured) “when in the Lord Chancellor’s opinion the person selected is not suitable for the office concerned”.

So, not only do we have to defend the press from the heavy state hand of Ofcom, we are going to have to campaign to free the broadcasters from the diktat of Chief Censor Ed Richards, and we are going to have to fight to liberate Lord Neuberger and his fellow judges from the Grayling jackboot.

We had better get to work.

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  • Rick Role

    Bless you – occasionally vacuous, but ethical to the core.

    Clearly MPs have an unhealthy influence in running the country at present. The obvious solution is to establish a rival government as a counterbalance to elected power.

    Mr Cameron and Parliament should rule on as lords temporal, but tempered by the anointment of the Murdoch dynasty as our new lords spiritual. No doubt Archbishop Welby will welcome his subordination in this much-anticipated separation of God and Mammon.

    With Rupert as the holy Lear of our Most United Kingdom, His Imperial Grace James II would be perfectly placed to take day to day responsibility for the Grand Archdiocese of All England (a welcome distraction after recent adventures).

    Lachlan would appreciate the Presbyterian air of Scotland, and a Golf War with Alex Salmond would hearten both sides in the forthcoming referendum. Liz would enjoy cultivating the emerging opportunities in Northern Ireland (perfect place for some Freudian PR), and Prudence would appreciate the tranquility of Wales.

    The Isle of Man would make a discreet retirement present / exile home for Rebekah Brooks. That leaves the Channel Islands as a starter tax haven for young Grace and Chloe (friendly feudal rivals for the Sarky Barclay brothers). Divine rightness restored.

    Magna Britannia! Checks and balances, from power into glory. Amen.


  • Rick Role
  • Gaby Charing

    In the first sentence, shouldn’t “we” be “us”? (Yes, it should).

  • ZacMurdoch

    No, it shouldn’t.

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