Sunday 2 December 2012

The real issue about Leveson

I have a feeling that, whenever people talk about reaching a compromise between different Liberal imperatives - as Nick Clegg has about the Leveson Enquiry - it often means that we have missed the key Liberal point entirely.

I don't know whether Leveson included much on press and media ownership.  The political debate has been entirely over what balance between state, legal and self regulation there should be, with everyone wanting versions of pretty much the same thing.  But the real evil is not there: it is the hold that the Murdoch press managed to have over politics because of the extent of their media dominance.

If the ownership of the media was more diverse, Murdoch would have had less of a strangehold over national debate.  This is not an issue about state control of the press.  It is an issue about monopoly.  Until we introduce some anti-trust powers over media ownership, we will be back right bang into the Last Chance Cafe all over again.

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