Shock and awe at Leveson…
Another day, another round of shock-horror headlines from the Leveson Inquiry. However, I seriously doubt many people outside of the inquiry room, press gallery and world of political punditry are that interested. Leveson ran out of steam in the public mind ages ago to my mind and, consequentially it has lost its ability to shock and outrage the masses. This is often the way with scandals, they do have a life-span. The reason this one has probably been shorter is it brought something into the collective public psyche that was already known but not really acknowledged. Even before the entire phone-hacking scandal, opinion polls regularly showed people feeling Rupert Murdoch had too much power and influence. The shocking details of events at the News of the World merely forced people to acknowledge this previously established fact; similarly, the interweaving of the media and politics was already known, and fretted about, but consciously repressed and accepted as the norm.
Similarly, it is likely this mood will allow Jeremy Hunt to survive long enough to be discretely moved on when all the fuss has died down, I suspect most people if pushed would say he should resign but are not really prepared to bay for his metaphorical blood. Having been forced into acknowledgement of the facts, the mood has now slipped back into nonchalant acceptance and this is the danger for people who want to see Leveson deliver real change to how our media is run and operates. Removing a vested interest like the Murdocracy from its position of power requires real momentum, the like of which vanished from this issue long-ago. Far from being a tool to facilitate this, the Leveson inquiry has actually become an absolute fetter on this happening, all it will propose is tinkering at the edges, nowhere near the radical reform needed.
Campaigners who want this reform need to take matters into their own hands and not just form a united campaign which demands anti-monopoly legislation from the state but which actually supports social and democratic new media, enabling it to flower and grow and challenge the media barons on their own terms. It would be an absolute tragedy if no change were to happen in this key area of our democratic life and we were to let the dead hand of Leveson kill the very noble cause of press reform.