Bronwen Maddox introduces the January issueby Bronwen Maddox / December 12, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
It has not been hard to list 10 trends that may lend 2013 a surprisingly optimistic cast—so much so that I’ll start with two that are the opposite.
One is the Leveson inquiry into regulation of the media. I used to make a point of defending Nick Clegg. A few marks for the pragmatism of coalition. A few more for resilience even if the day had brought only rebuff (often, it had). And most for being, it sometimes seemed, the only liberal in town. But after the response to the Leveson inquiry by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, I’ll give it a rest. Probing too little into the implications of statutory control of the media, he surrendered the claim to defending liberal values to David Cameron. Ed Miliband was worse; tangled in his opportunism, he conveyed nothing clear except his desire to link the prime minister with Rupert Murdoch.
The anger towards the media that the inquiry revealed was dispiriting; so was the ignorance. Critics took for granted the media’s role in exposing hypocrisy, contradiction and fraud, wanting investigation without intrusion, and were too casual about the necessary conditions for any of this to take place—not least, financial survival. Alexander Lebedev’s interjection that he could not on his own support the Independent’s losses any longer was pertinent. Most foolish, giving the 2000 page report instantly an antique air, Leveson overlooked the vast galaxies of the internet, describing only as “problematic…