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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 June 2012

Leveson: contradictions and a crisis of credibility

Ben Norman

Since the Leveson inquiry began in November politicians have taken turns to take the stand, profess a desire to defend press freedom and lament the power of the media tycoons they once courted, before being given the opportunity to re-write history.

This week the cast list featured the most senior politicians in Westminster, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The first to re-write their page of history however was former prime minister Gordon Brown.

In office Brown equalled Tony Blair in epitomising New Labour, only with less media panache. As the architect of New Labour's pro-market polices he courted big business - indeed Rupert Murdoch claimed Brown to be the prime minister he felt closest to.

Brown also ran an obsessive media operation through spin doctors Charlie Whelan and Damien McBride, which ruthlessly briefed against political enemies, both inside and outside his own party.

Yet Brown's testimony portrayed a man bullied by the press, who knew nothing of the machinations of his press officers, and who felt bound by office to dine with Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, whose own evidence he contradicted.

If this version of history lacked credibility it was no less dubious than the evidence of chancellor George Osborne who sneered his way through a testimony in which he dismissed conspiratorial ties between the Murdoch empire and the Tories as the imaginings of fantasists.

The chancellor claimed to have 'no view' on the Murdoch bid for BSkyB, the political furore over which still threatens to force Tory minister Jeremy Hunt from office. Osborne went on to casually defend his appointment of Andy Coulson, who was recently arrested for perjury in relation to the trial of Tommy Sheridan.

If the evidence given by these politicians seems far from convincing, the fact they could present it unchallenged exposes the limitations of the inquiry. Osborne may scoff at conspiracy claims, yet his government exists in a world where corporate lobbying and political favours are the norm.

While conspiratorial criminal activity within News International has been revealed, what the inquiry truly casts light on is the collaboration of the ruling class. From media moguls to politicians, the judiciary and the highest ranks of the police force, the wealthy in society will always network and collude to advance and defend their interests.

The inquiry continues to lay bare the class realities of how the establishment operates and as David Cameron re-writes his own history on Thursday he will now struggle to hide the fact that his party governs on the orders of boardrooms and businessmen - not the ballot box.

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In The Socialist 13 June 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

No to austerity! - Turn anger into action

NSSN conference agrees call for one-day general strike against austerity

Leveson: contradictions and a crisis of credibility

No to local government pensions deal

The class divide in elderly care

Fast news

Them & Us


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs national meeting

My workfare nightmare

From pillar to post: reassessment for ESA

Super-rich Beecroft targets workers' rights


International socialist news and analysis

Spain: bank bailout can't stop Euro death-spiral

Wisconsin Recall: Democrats paved the way for Walker's victory

Kazakhstan: Oil workers jailed by rotten regime

International day of support for political prisoners in Iran

Threat from far-right in Greece: Time to build defence committees


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tamil protest scores victory as Rajapaksa cancels speaking engagement

Bolton Uni: Reinstate Shana Begum!

Greece comes to Southampton

Olympic's sponsor exploits workers

West Lancs Against Cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

Sheffield recycling centre strikers supported by 90% of public

Council admin workers in Kirklees strike against cuts

Olympics - a fair deal for transport workers

Coryton refinery closure protests

Striking against academies

Workplace news in brief


 

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