Leveson trundles on, but with few answers

Photo credit: dcMS

Photo credit: dcMS

Over the last few weeks the Leveson Inquiry has began to heat up, but despite big names facing interrogation there are questions over whether progress is actually being made.

Currently there seems to be a bit of a blame game going on where each individual is motivated by protecting themselves. So have we actually learnt anything?

Last week we heard that Rebekah Brooks claimed her and David Cameron were “definitely in it together” after The Sun pledged allegiance to the Tories.
This is hardly much of a revelation though; of course the paper will work with the party to promote their cause if they have pledged allegiance. After all The Sun would like to claim it won the election and can only do that if the party is successful.

At the moment we are not really getting to the bottom of corruption in government and the media. Currently it is just a face-off between differing opinions and claims. Take Gordon Brown’s claim that the Tories agreed to cut funding for the BBC and Ofcom in return for political support from News International.

Cameron said this was just because Brown was “very angry and disappointed” at The Sun’s decision to switch support from Labour ahead of the 2010 general election.

Maybe there was some sort of informal deal but without any real evidence the public are left to make their own judgement on who is telling the truth.
As for Tony Blair, who had clearly rehearsed well for his appearance at the inquiry, he arguably did not reveal anything of high significance.
The majority of politicians facing the inquiry are guilty of courting the media and only minor details of their efforts really seem to be getting revealed. What went on in private meetings we will never know.

Last week’s revelation from Alex Salmond that The Observer newspaper hacked him has, though, shown hacking was rife all over Fleet Street, across both tabloids and broadsheets.

Evidence of this has not, however, come to light supporting this claim. If he was concerned about his bank account being hacked why did he not contact the police?

Salmond’s was an appearance typical of those facing the inquiry in that like others he failed to actually answer any of the questions. Those involved are being let off too easily on the important and crucial questions.

Nick Clegg gave his backing to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, calling his account “convincing”. Although the Deputy Prime Minister stopped short of full support when his Liberal Democrat MPs abstained last week on a motion over whether Hunt should be investigated by Sir Alex Allan, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests.

Whether he actually believes Hunt we may never know, but this is another example where those facing the inquiry seem to be more focused on protecting those connected to them than constructing a new model for the British press.

At the end of this whole saga it is hard to tell whether there will really be a reformed press or not. A strong press is needed in our society, as we saw with the expenses scandal, but the disgraceful corruption that has taken place needs to be eradicated from the media.

With more arrests taking place, as both the inquiry and police investigation continue, there is hope that the threat of real punishment may lead to an effective but law-abiding media when this is all over.

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