Douglas Carswell

24 JAN 2013

Leveson can be beat

It has really cheered me up. I'm not referring to yesterday's announcement of an In / Out EU referendum, but to a letter I received from a constituent this morning.

They wrote to let me know that they've changed their mind about press regulation.

Yes, they're still seething about how some newspapers have behaved. Yes, those guilty of wrong doing must, they insist, be brought to account.

But, they explained, my letter to them explaining why I will not vote for statutory press regulation has changed their mind.

Leveson means that every newspaper - including our local Gazette - would be made accountable to a committee of grandees in London. Editors, who ought to answer outward to their readers, would answer inward to a remote panel of "experts".

Of course newspapers sometimes do wrong. But when that happens today, those wronged by what is written about them have little redress - unless they are fabulously rich.

Instead of proposing to put grandees in charge of the press, I think Leveson should have recommended how ordinary folk might gain affordable access to justice through the courts.

Perhaps if judges, like Leveson, were able to administer justice more cheaply and effectively, those wronged by the press might be able to do something about it, without having to be zillionaires?

Of course, affordable access to justice might mean their lordships doing more for less .....

The more I think about it, the more loopy Leveson's proposals seem to be. But if the case against statutory regulation is made, Leveson can be beat.

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