March 16 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
An interesting point came out of an interview the Eastern Daily Press had with Defence Minister Peter Luff today about the current relations between politicians and hacks.
I wrote in my column last week that I’ve observed a deep mistrust between the two groups recently, sometimes verging on paranoia in extreme cases.
In particular it has manifested itself in the belief that “they are just doing it to get back at us”. Journalists got back at MPs with the expenses scandal, MPs got back at journalists with Leveson and now this from the Luff interview...
Mr Luff remained adamant that the budget should have been more positively reported, highlighting that it saw thousands lifted out of paying income tax, including 75,000 next year in the eastern region.
“Somehow those messages have got lost, we can speculate on the reasons for that. Sometimes I think the Leveson Inquiry had something to do with it in my darker moments,” he said.
The Leveson Inquiry was set up by the prime minister in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and may result in new legislation which restricts the media.
Mr Luff explained that he had noticed a “cynicism” which he found “deeply depressing” and a “hostility” to all politicians in the national press, but argued that MPs of all parties went into politics to do the best for the British people.
“The people that believe in public service will be driven out of public service and I think the media have to be extremely careful about their agenda.
“I’m worried. But I pay tribute to local papers, because I don’t see that in local papers and regional papers, I see the old standards of journalism where politicians are held to account and criticised for wrong-doing but celebrated when they make the right decisions,” he added.
In my column I said that politicians and hacks are going to have to get to a point where they trust each other more. But I don’t think that can happen until Leveson is out of the way.