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The Difference Power Makes

May 25, 2012

It is a world away from what most people have to worry about at the moment – their jobs, paying the rent, water bills and rising food costs – but the compulsive Leveson inquiry into journalism is beaming light into some of the pretty murky corners.

Murky and entangled as all the stuff on the Murdoch empire and the Tories is, this seems to be the core of it.

Jeremy Hunt is the Secretary of State for Culture. (a job with a salary of £134,565 – which obviously means he should be good at it). As he is appointed by the Prime Minister, he can be sacked at any time.

Rupert Murdoch and his company already own many of our national newspapers, most of our local newspapers and a sizeable slice of TV broadcasting. They want more.

Vince Cable, who should have considered the bid, was removed because he was against it.  It was supposed to be an impartial decision so David Cameron appointed Jeremy Hunt, who had said he was for it.  Most of us are already thinking this does not make sense but Cameron and Hunt both had their best sincere faces on and promised it was all fine.

Jeremy Hunt’s Special Adviser made it clear that Jeremy Hunt favoured the bid, would feed information to the Murdochs and help in any way possible to give them an advantage. Once discovered as his emails emerged at the Leveson Inquiry, the Special Adviser resigned and claimed it was all his own fault. Jeremy Hunt said he knew nothing about what this key employee in his office was doing, agreeing it was all the employee’s fault.

There is a mechanism for investigating Ministers accused of breaking the rules.  David Cameron refused to put that in motion, saying that the Leveson Inquiry would look into it. Leveson made it clear that it was not his job to look into whether Ministers broke the rules but David Cameron repeated it over and again and somehow he got away with it. Perhaps all the people worried about their jobs, bills and rising costs have more than enough to worry about already.

The Leveson Inquiry marches on, revealing all kinds of scandalous detail, private emails, parties with the Murdochs and conversations at celebrity events.

Jeremy Hunt is still in post as a well paid Minister. David Cameron may be too busy playing with his iPad to give it too much attention or perhaps he is giving more thought to implementing the recommendations of a Tory donor and businessman who wants to remove employment protection from workers and make it easier for bosses to fire people.

According to the Guardian:

Tory MPs spoke out in favour of the change, which they said would encourage businesses to hire workers by removing the worry that they may not be able to afford to get rid of them if they do not perform.

Downing Street made it clear that the prime minister David Cameron had not dismissed the proposal out of hand.

That’s power: your friends get to stay in well paid jobs, even when they don’t do them as they should, have a big question mark over their integrity and have no idea what their employees do.

Then you put laws in place that mean people who are struggling with rent, bills, rising food costs, can be fired at will if it suits those in charge.

Mind you, the idea that you get high quality work out of people you can fire at any time seems to have been blown out the water.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2012 9:10 am

    I should declare an interest. As a civil servant who worked with departmental ministers, i detested the special advisors who could overturn months work of research and analysis with ‘i don’t think that is what we want to be doing at this point in time’.

    I dealt with numerous SpAds in my last 6 years with Defra and they are not were not only the mouthpiece of the Minister but the gateway through which all must pass. In the case of the worst Ministers the SpAd would be setting the agenda, in the case of the stronger Ministers, they would be completely attuned to what the Ministers thoughts and feelings would be on any particular policy and act for them in word and deed.Senior civil servants were in no doubt that for good or ill, the SpAd spoke with the authority and the voice of the Minister.

    Hunt cannot hide behind the ‘rogue SpAd’ defence…after all look how well that worked with the ‘rouge reporter/private investigator’ defence on phone hacking…

  2. May 25, 2012 2:13 pm

    Thank you Jude, a salutary reminder of how one rule operates for the Tory party and quite another for us, surely this was never part of the deal between the state and its citizenry

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