Much hand-wringing has been taking place about the damage to journalism caused by the actions of the News of The World. It is perhaps worth mentioning at the outset what I consider a thoughtful "comment piece" in the Mail, although even this piece seems to have forgotten something. Eamonn Butler has highlighted a very valid point in a post which appears on the Adam Smith Institute website, a post which shows that it is not just the News of The World that has suffered a breakdown of trust.
As with all hand-wringing amongst the press and political elite nowadays, it seems slightly misdirected and, unspoken, repeats the mantra that "lessons must be learned". The Mail maintains that the actions of one newspaper has besmirched the reputation of journalism in general and in so doing inflicted irreparable harm on press freedom. The newspaper continues by saying that it does not dance on the NoTW's grave as the death of any newspaper diminishes democracy. It makes a valid point in stating that if politicians and others are demanding an inquiry into events at the NoTW, then there should have been an inquiry into the scandal of MPs expenses; to which I would add there should also be an inquiry into the actions of 900+ police officers who breached Data Protection laws.
It is all very well for the Mail to write about besmirching journalism and diminishing democracy, but what the hell has the media in general been doing for the past years if not just that with their 'cut & paste standard of journalism; their failure to report and investigate just what this country's membership of the EU entails for every man, woman and child; their failure to report on the outpourings of Kinnock, Heseltine et all and their EU pensions, together with the conditions attached to the receipt of those pensions; and their failure (Booker & Delingpole excepted) to report and investigate the subject of 'environmentalism' and the long-term cost effects it will have on our society. Where has been the media voices criticising the power of patronage that lies within the remit of a prime minister? Where has been criticism of the lack of representation for their constituents by Secretaries of State, Ministers and PPSs as a result of always having to support the government of the day when divisions are called in the HoC? Where has been the criticism, rightly held by a good number of the population, that the press are sitting comfortably in the pockets of the political elite - and, quite possibly, vice versa? Where has been the criticism of the political elite that they did not take much notice of the 'hacking' question until it became known that their own phones may have been targeted? Which media outlet has questioned why that of which the NoTW is accused, is carried out quite legally by the state at all levels of government?
Eamonn Butler is quite correct when he writes that politicians and the media are guilty of self-aggrandisement, that they fail to represent their constituents or arrive at the truth behind what is laughably called "news". Likewise he is totally correct to point out that the lobbying of MPs for new laws, taxes etc only results in yet more bureaucracy, thus increasing the number of vested interests and the opportunity for yet more patronage. Digressing slightly, the latest example of this is picked-up by nourishingobscurity who posts on the creation of a new police ICT company - a further opportunity to practise the art of self-aggrandisement and patronage.
Because of the breakdown in trust of those in positions of power, what insurance can the public have with the judicial inquiry that has been launched into the NoTW affair? What insurance does the public have that should any trail actually lead to the involvement of, for example, Cameron, Clegg or Ed Miliband that that trail will be followed? Having failed so miserably previously, what insurance does the public have that the police will, in fact, act as they should have done?
We have surely arrived at a situation where our democracy, politicians, law enforcement and media are no longer fit for purpose. The last general election resulted in we, the people, being bombarded with a endless calls for the need for "change". What has become obvious is that the "change" that our political elite called for did not involve them, or their ways.
Have we not arrived at a situation where, as the politicians seem unable to effect that change, we the people should do so?