One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Tory ministers should be ashamed of strangling a free press

The United Kingdom, which led the way in establishing a free press as the central component of a robust democracy, is now slowly but surely choking it.

Karen Bradley, Theresa May’s so far colourless cypher who is now apparently in charge of the Department of Culture, is a prime cause.

Brexit, we are repeatedly told by the Government, means Brexit. So, similarly, should any regime of press regulation mean the vigorous, no-compromise upholding of a free press. Some Tories get it, but an awful lot of them seemingly do not.

The Leveson Inquiry into newspaper conduct – set up by David Cameron to please Nick Clegg – predictably turned into a multi-million pound witch-hunt against capitalism and populism.

The BBC set the framework for these ominous developments towards intolerance when the Trustees adopted from 2008 the doctrine of ‘due impartiality’. This severely diminished in national debate the role of ‘extremists’ - in effect, all those they regarded as right-wing  or ‘populist’ commentators such as so-called climate ‘deniers’, those who wanted to leave the EU, and opponents of mass immigration.

Then came the group Hacked Off!, led by figures such as Hugh Grant and Max Mosley and driven by a revenge agenda aimed mainly at the Murdoch empire and the Daily Mail.

Gunpowder was added to the mix by the adoption by the establishment, including David Cameron and much of the Conservative Party, of many of the tenets of the EU-related human rights creed, which is underpinned by Marxist dogma.

This has now put on the statute book ‘hate crimes’ on a gargantuan scale and has thus helped cast in legislative stone social divisions and acrimony where before – in the United Kingdom especially – there was a deep tradition of reasoned debate and tolerance, flowing back to the Civil War.

Next week (January 10), a Department of Culture ‘consultation’ on Leveson closes. On the table still is a measure which will force all British publications, including those on the web, to become part of a new State-run press regulation body called Impress.

Impress is the direct recommendation of Leveson. Visit its website and weep; within seconds its true repressive nature becomes crystal clear, if only from the biographies of those who are staffing it.

Its creation has been sanctioned by the Government and is funded largely by Max Mosley, along with a raft of left-leaning foundations and celebrities who hate press freedom and are intent on destroying it.

Every aspect of this organisation is a chilling threat to press freedom. The chief executive is Jonathan Heawood, who was previously chief executive of the Sigrid Rausing Trust, and a key lieutenant is the former readers’ editor of The Guardian, Chris Elliott.

Guido (among others) has recently chronicled their true ‘hate the press’ (especially the Daily Mail) motives and agenda. He noted:  "Likewise, Máire Messenger Davies – Impress Code Committee and Board of Directors member – openly spouts hatred of the Mail. She has promoted social media posts calling the Mail “Total scum” and its editor Paul Dacre “evil“. Her unhinged attacks on Dacre are personal in nature: she shared a mock up of a Mail front page with a picture of the editor next to the headline “This Hate Preacher Must be Stopped”."

This madness has happened under a so-called Conservative Government, and Bradley sanctioned in the autumn that it will continue. She could have, as one of her first acts, nipped this regressive, sinister organisation in the bud, but chose not to.

Max Mosley, that paragon of virtue, crowed on Today on Tuesday morning, that a prospect still on the table is that (as Leveson decreed) any journalistic body that does not submit to regulation by Impress will be forced to pay for all costs in libel cases brought against it, irrespective of the truth of those accusations.

Mosley portrayed this as a chance for poor people to redress newspaper lies and untruths. Poppycock. It will inhibit massively what little investigative journalism that is still carried out in the UK, and be such a major threat to the already beleaguered regional and local press that they will effectively be neutered. And even sites such as TCW would be in danger of attack.

The reality is that virtually the whole Leveson exercise has been a crude attempt to muzzle press freedom and free expression by an unholy alliance of figures such as Mosley who fear (for a wide variety of self-interested reasons) the public gaze, and the Left, who are venting their long-standing hatred of the capitalist press. It is a disgrace that a Conservative government has presided over this farrago. And more so since, as 2017 begins, there is still a real prospect of press regulation by a mixture of quangocrats and nakedly sectarian interests.

A huge contradiction in the equation is that the BBC has emerged from a year of scrutiny by Parliament virtually unscathed and with its lavish funding guaranteed for a decade. By contrast, newspapers, especially local and regional ones, are fighting for their survival – effectively with a gun at their heads.

(Image: FCO)

David Keighley

  • Colkitto03

    Yes the press can be awful on occasion but the overall benefits of a completely free press far outweigh and downside. The actions of a few should never be allowed to suppress the investigation powers and free speech of the press. They shine a light on the corrupt elements of the establishment and the hypocracy of the media and celebrities.
    Any attempt to shackle the press should be fought off with great vigor. It essential for any healthy democracy.

    • RingedPlover

      Shackle the Press? Or destroy it?

      • Both, I’d say. That ship has sailed. The dead tree press, especially in America, has signed its own death warrant.

        • Colkitto03

          It certainly has, and the staff of the NYT and the Guardian are wondering where they can hire a pedalo.

    • Groan

      Could not agree more. Its simply anti democratic. Everyone knows the biases and modes of the press. So they are frequently sceptical. The really dangerous idea is that there can be some board of worthies creating some mythical “truth” , they won’t see their own prejudices and presume they are “right”. These will become the established view.
      Its tiresome I know but the whole point about democracy isn’t that it results in constant perfection, but that it constantly responds to change and most importantly enables change without conflagrations. Similarly with the “free press” it is always going to be a bit of a dogs breakfast but this means that its regarded sceptically and scrutinised. The Beeb is so dangerous because it has all the prejudices of its producers yet it has an aura of being factual and of “balance”. After all its printed version the Grauniad is famously PC so no one reading it has any illusions about its prejudices nor any expectations about “balance”.

      • The Banana

        As you already see with the BBC.

        I guess the goal is to have the entire press be a clone of the BBC.

    • weirdvisions

      Shining lights cannot be allowed. It will reveal the dirty tricks of the authoritarian parasites as they slither from beneth their rocks.

  • Owen_Morgan

    Both by tolerating the concept of “Impress” as a supposedly independent regulator (by conniving, indeed, with the notion that such a press regulator is even needed) and by appeasing, yet again, the BBC, the Conservative government is feeding the enemies of freedom and democracy, again. There are any number of reasons to rein in the BBC: it’s an anachronism; it’s hopelessly biased; it pleads poverty while supporting phalanxes of overpaid supernumeraries; its standard of programmes is abysmal; et c, et c. Yet the government constantly imagines that, by letting the Beebyanka off the hook, it will prompt a miraculous transformation, as well as making the organisation pathetically grateful.

    With the Beebyanka unreformed and Impress empowered, the establishment would have the subservient media of which it has always dreamed. Not just in the UK, either. American readers often get accurate, important stories about the United States from British publications, because newspapers and networks in the US won’t cover them.

    • klm

      The UK Daily Mail is the first website I go to when trying to get details about breaking news events in the US. Our media is very biased and that is evident when it comes to what they choose to cover and how they choose to cover it.

      • Yep, the Mail, for me it used to be the Telegraph, no more credibility there. Mostly though, I have about half a dozen websites that I pretty much trust, if they corroborate each other.

        • weirdvisions

          In truth the Telegraph has been steadily migrating left for several years now. When a newspaper alienates it core readership it must be on a hiding to nothing as it’s southbound circulation spiral reveals.

  • Owen_Morgan

    It’s quite simple: if journalists do break the law, they can be dealt with in accordance with the law. That’s what laws are for. As Guido has pointed out, dozens of journalists were given pretty heavy-handed treatment by the police, with no convictions resulting. The laws were there and the journalists did not break them.

    Impress is a way to bypass the law. You don’t need to break the law. The accusation is enough to shut you up, to elicit an apology, however unmerited, or to bankrupt you. Once you’ve run out of money, of course, the judgment inevitably goes against you and your sin achieves immortality. Meanwhile, your career turns out to be significantly more finite.

    This is Britain’s equivalent of Canada’s notorious human rights commissions, against whom Mark Steyn battled (Mark Steyn: “Lights Out”).

    • CheshireRed

      Exactly. The process is the punishment not the outcome, so fighting a legal case where you’re picking up BOTH tabs would be a fools game. This stupidity has to stop.

  • The liberal establishment aren’t going to go down without a fight. I suspect we’ll see much worse from them yet.

  • Ken

    It would be simpler to allow courts impose substantially higher fines and penalties on the Press when they have been found to have distributed false and malicious news. If you put yourself in the public eye, then expect the public eye to look back at you.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      That’s the BBC for the bailiffs’ first call for fake news, then.

    • Owen_Morgan

      Either way, it should not be left to a regulator to determine what is “false”, or what is “malicious”. After all, something inaccurate may be “false”, but innocently so and deserving of no more than a public correction. As for actual malice, I’d sooner have that determined by a court than by Mosley’s mercenaries at Impress.

      • Reborn

        Mosley enjoys paying people to do his bidding, I am informed

  • TheRightToArmBears

    Will I be able to sue the BBC for infringing my personal safe space by saying that Brexit is a bad thing for Britain?

    • Sgt_Bilko

      The way things are going it will be the BBC suing you saying you want Brexit. They’d file a hate claim case or some other nonsense.

  • deepeekay

    I don’t think the press fully appreciates how scared the public are of them. Cases like Milly Dowler, the treatment of the McCanns and Cliff Richard and many, many more actually scare people who fear they might, through some personal misfortune to themselves or their family, incur the attention of the immoral press pack. I’m afraid you brought this on yourselves.

    • Andrew Briggs

      One small change otherwise I agree with you – ‘I don’t think the press fully appreciates how much the public is filled with disgust by the immoral, illegal and dishonest behaviour of those in the media’.

    • Johnnydub

      Cliff Richard – I don’t see the BBC being held to any sort of accountability.

    • weirdvisions

      Yeah the public are so scared of them the majority don’t bother nipping down to the local newagent’s to chuck coin at keeping the gutter press, and that includes broadsheepts, in ink and expense accounts.

      It isn’t fear, it’s disgust.

  • Andrew Briggs

    I’ve just had a brilliant idea – if the media doesn’t want external regulation but are incapable of regulating themselves (see PCC and half a dozen previous incarnations) all that needs to happen is for journalists, reporters, editors, photographers etc etc to act with personal integrity, honesty and respect for others.
    Oh hang on……..that’s not going to happen is it.

    • realfish

      Whose integrity, honesty and respect? Whose truth?

  • ethanedwards2002

    To be fair I trust even the Daily Sport Journos far more than I trust LibLabCon politicians.
    If regulators are needed then politics needs them the most imo.

  • James60498 .

    I think that part of the problem is, a major part and it’s implicit in the headline, is that these are NOT Tory ministers.

    Certainly not if we mean Tory to be in any way conservative.

    • Reborn

      There are Tories, to whom I do not warm.
      And there are conservatives, of whom I am one.
      Probably 40% of Conservative/Tory MPs are conservative.
      As are about 10% of Labour MPs.

      • James60498 .

        My MP would certainly claim to be conservative. Though I am not sure how his support of adoption by gays fits in with that, but otherwise he is reasonably sound.

        BUT. Other than occasionally voting against the government he is useless. He told me after the last election that now that we had a fully Conservative Government things would get better.

        If you are right, and you may well be, in your view that 40% of Tory MPs are conservative, then what is the point of them? We still have the BBC. We still have jackbooted “liberal” OFSTED. We still have “Cameron values” under the name of “British values”. We have Government proposals that all state employees should swear their allegiance to “equality”. We have schoolchildren being required to go on trips to mosques. We have OFSTED approved state funded childcare for all whilst those paying higher rate tax have lost Child Benefit even where the mother stays home to look after her children because we can’t afford it. We have universities enforcing gender neutral speech.

        Was it one Tory MP who publicly celebrated the defeat of the monster, Clinton?

        I could go on as I am sure you could.

        I suppose they could argue that they work silently and that without them it would be even worse.

        But if conservative MPs can’t make their voice heard when we have a Conservative Government then they are useless.

        • weirdvisions

          And gutless.

  • Colonel Mustard

    One of the worst parts of this illiberal crap is the introduction of third party complaints which will give every rotten left wing campaign, lobby group and fake charity the opportunity to shut down anything they don’t like.

    Unless the Conservative party get a grip we are heading for complete left wing hegemony where it comes to the free expression of opinion in this country.

    Shame on you politicians, all of you, that your spineless cowardice has brought this about in England, a once free country.

    • David davis

      Well, people like you and me allowed the British Government to generate 4,265,897 British “unis”, in which all these foul people have been getting spawned. They were able to get these outfits into operation while our backs were turned trying to earn our bread.

      I and you both know what the solution is, but sadly we can’t say it here or I’d be blocked.

      • weirdvisions

        If it involves lots of horrid triggering without a safe place in sight to upset our globalist snowflakjes then please count me in. If it involves village stocks then one of our local towns still has a set in the market square. I’ll happily supply the rotten tomatoes and slimy cabbages.

  • Sgt_Bilko

    Ah yes, this so called Conservative government. We haven’t had a proper Conservative government running this country since the day Maggie left 10 Downing street.

    All we’ve had for 25 years now had been shades of Blairite style liberal left government with a control freak nanny state fixation. The faces may change following a general election, but very little else does.

  • Derek

    It will means that the news errant politicians and extremely rich want to suppress will move outside the UK and onto the web. Juicy corruption stories will still get though, but be sourced outside UK jurisdiction which is what government apparently wants. A recent three-in-a-bed story which was illegal inside the UK was readily avialable over the web.
    Deadwood press circulation figures are declining so the future is the internet – but that doesn’t have to mean news about UK corruption or cronyism being broadcast from a UK site. The web is so large that stopping news will be almost impossible. In any case they will be no suppression overseas and many millions travel abroad every year. They will bring the suppressed stories back with them.The US will not allow suppression of discomforting news

    • I agree, and in doing so also say, “Thank God for Jemmy Madison.” His work on the Constitution has saved us from many a battle, but there are more to be fought here as well. And yes, American websites care more than we sometimes admit about the cousins still at home, we’re here, and we too are watching.

    • weirdvisions

      Which renders Impress and all its jack-booted chums and accolytes redundant. I’ve gotten my news off the web for years because you can’t get it in UK newpapers. Not even the “populist” capitalist press whatever that is.

  • EUman remains

    Against the tide I have reverted to buying newspapers regularly in recent months, sometimes two per day (e.g. Sun for Rod Liddle, and Times today). Online petitions may be signed, but printed press needs our support. Use it or lose it.

    • St Louis

      Don’t bother about the Times. Acceptable collateral damage…

  • Wally-Jumblatt

    If Max Moseley could have started his own Watchdog with just a few local papers in tow, why weren’t the major press barons awake and taking some steps themselves.
    I understand the grave risk that Moseley and his friends present, but the old Press Complaints Commission was useless, and the mainstream media have never done anything to address the problem of a sensationalist press down in the gutter. Their smug superiority will do for them, I fear.
    I am well aware how serious this is going to be, it doesn’t seem that they were.

    All newspaper press in UK is getting worse. There is barely any journalism any more, from the Daily Star to the Telegraph. Just double page adverts and lazy pre-fed reporting.

    One would think that newspaper don’t really care about their role in society. maybe they just forgot.

    • Colkitto03

      I agree with most of what you say. But i would ask, without the press, who will be holding the establishment to account? The BBC?

      • weirdvisions

        The public will hold the press to account. You can see it in action as circulation falls. Curiously it is the failing rags Impress seems to want to preserve at the cost of the “populist” press. What makes Impress think that people will want to buy authoritarian lefty guff in the absence of populism? Industrial strength hubris and stupidity perhaps?

      • Wally-Jumblatt

        A fearless press is as important as a police force or a judiciary. Freedoms are not preserved without a vigilant press (cos the rest of us are too lazy to register discontent or speak out.)
        A captive press is worse than nothing, we have mostly a captive press in the thrall of the advertisers, entertainment and the powerful. Imagine what things would be like today without the awesome broadcasting power of t’internet.
        The press needs to be saved from itself, maybe the internet IS the press nowadays (so of course they are trying to block it).

        If the traditional press is to survive, maybe there needs to be two types. The comics -full of glitter and gossip and titillation- and the highbrow press with gravitas and investigative thunder. We need to want to pay for that, otherwise it won’t happen.

        Maybe Guido Fawkes is the new model, to be supplanted when they make too much money from advertising.

  • The Banana

    Max Mosley, like father like son.

  • “A BBC report that focused on Jeremy Corbyn’s views on a shoot-to-kill policy breached accuracy guidelines, according to a provisional decision by a watchdog. However, the “drafted finding” by the BBC Trust to uphold complaints against the News at Six item by Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg is now being looked at “afresh” following feedback from the BBC.”

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15000158.BBC_Trust_to_review_own_decision_upholding_complaint_about_Corbyn__shoot_to_kill__report/

    Ah, Kuenssberg, “Journalist of the Year” or something. As my friend Alex Nunns, the author of the definitive book on Corbyn’s rise, puts it on Facebook: “After the Paris attacks, the BBC ran a story saying Corbyn would not allow armed police to kill terrorists in a similar situation. It was one of the big negative stories that really cut through and shaped how people saw Corbyn. It turns out that it was fake news—the BBC/Laura Kuenssberg did a job on Corbyn, taking his answer to another question and presenting it as if he was talking about Paris.”

    The Orgreave Broadcasting Corporation is still at it after all these years.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The interview can be seen here. People can make their own minds up about Corbyn’s views. His answer to her clear question was a fudge but it is apparent where his instincts lie.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34832023

      The guy tries to promote this “reasonable” man image but underneath is the same old radical, anti-establishment contrarian. The result is a conflicted presentational image as all who are not zealous Corbynistas can clearly see and no amount of propaganda from you will alter.

      • But that’s not news journalism. It’s just not Kuenssberg’s job.

        • Colonel Mustard

          You are dodging the issue again.

  • Peel

    Karen Bradley is simply not up to the job, probably has no idea what she is supporting and the catastrophe for Britain. Mrs May probably does know, and is not stopping it, any more than HS2, Hinckley Point, the outrageous railway system hitting ordinary people savagely, and not cleansing the civil service. She is doing nothing to stop evil, defaulting to the Cameron heir-to-Blair and Clegg quicksand. This is desperately bad news. Nothing from UKIP on it….

  • Trojan

    May’s appointed Ministers are indeed a questionable bunch. Maybe it is time to ask who May is actually working for.

    • weirdvisions

      Well I get the impression it isn’t the people who pay her salary.

      • Nockian

        We aren’t allowed to discuss that massive great elephant in the room. We aren’t even supposed to mention its name for fear of being smeared, stained and thrown out of ‘civilised’ discourse.

        As the saying goes: “if you want to know who your rulers are, then find out who you aren’t allowed to criticise”.

  • James Chilton

    “Tory ministers should be ashamed of……………”

    Finish the sentence with any observation you like – it’s almost bound to be true.

  • Grammar Grub

    Karen Brady, Lord Sugar’s assistant on the ‘Apprentice’ and vice chairman of West Ham says ‘If we leave the EU we will have no foreign players anymore.

    • David davis

      That’s probably good. Then we can get back to playing football, using ordinary guys, in towns, on Saturday afternoons.

    • Jethro Asquith

      So, the UK Government, in her eyes, would not be able to, for instance, pass legislation allowing football clubs to sign foreign players? Is she saying without the EU we cannot make rules? Or, perhaps, is she scaremongering?

    • Odo Saunders

      Another government appointee, who has been promoted way above her limited abilities.

  • i found it interesting this morning, we had a case, in Chicago, where four blacks spent 24-48 hours torturing a intellectually challenged white gut (kid, really), yelling racial epithets on their Facebook live presentation. The CPD, of course, denies it’s a hate crime, but let that pass, for now. What I found interesting is that a commentator that I trust, was one of the BBC radio programs about it. His write up is here:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/the-bbc-follows-up-on-hate-crime-in-chicago.php

    Short form is that the other five people were almost completely Black Lives matter folks. Nothing like a good cover-up.

    • Colkitto03

      You are spot on. The BBC (and most other UK TV Media) are in complete denial about this horrific incident.
      Its reminiscent of the Cologne sex attacks. A mainstream broadcaster refusing to deliver truthful news to its paying public.
      If the attack had been five white people on a black person I guarantee we would have had blanket coverage for days.
      That said if we had, had four white s attacking a black person there would have probably been dead Police officers on the streets of Chicago by now.
      Remember everyone knows the names of Thomas Mair, Dylan Roof and Anders Brevik but no-one can tell you the names of the Nice lorry driver or the guy who shot five officers in Dallas.
      That tells you all you need to know about left wing media bias.

      • weirdvisions

        They don’t mid telling you about how Putin allegedly hacked the US election though (and Brexit too apparently). Unfortunately they don’t seem to be too clear about how he did it. Other than – fake news.

        Perhaps they think we all came down in the last shower.

        • Colkitto03

          Spot on ! They really do think we came down in the last shower. But the power of TV news is minimal now.
          Do you remember when Michale Gove told Faisal Islam (Sky) that the British public did not beleive ‘experts’ anymore?
          Faisal jumped on this comment (eyes gleaming with expectation) thinking he had got a ‘gotcha’ moment. But then he realised that the audience were applauding Michael and not himself. A significant part of TV influence died that day.

          • weirdvisions

            Died but the corpse, zombie like, is still lumbering about.

          • Colkitto03

            yes, its called Channel 4 news! Somebody please call them and tell them its not 2006 anymore!

          • weirdvisions

            Sky News is another culprit. They never fail to live down (basement level 15) to realist expectations.

      • choccycobnobs

        We have all heard of Stephen Lawrence but not many have heard of Kriss Donald thanks to MSM

        • Colkitto03

          To my shame I had to google Kris Donald, but that only emphasises your very valid point choccycohnobs.
          There is a league table of life importance that the MSM runs. White British working class, people are invariably lower league, maybe even non league..

          Two years ago two female Police officers died in Manchester in the line of duty, protecting the public, as they had sworn to do. They had families, kids and colleagues who loved them dearly. Heroines by any description, in any era.. But who today can tell you their names?,
          But everyone can tell you about Jo Cox.

          • Sadly, I did to, although I did remember the crime.

            If it keeps up, well at some point there will be counter riots, and they will be horrifically bloody.

          • choccycobnobs

            Yes true. I believe it was a TCW poster that used the phrase: St Jo of the blessed church of Remain, which neatly sums up the MSM bias.

      • Exactly the point on the bias of the media, there, or here. Barely covered in our MSM and yes, if reversed, we would have had riots in the cities.

    • Nockian

      The fact they were screaming “f****** white people and f****** Donald Trump” seems to have been omitted from MSM reports.

      Of course this is precisely what Soros, Obama, Clinton and their masters have been intent on creating within the population. Division amongst the general population is the aim and management of the chaos is the game.

  • Nockian

    It’s been a long time since we had a free press, it’s one of the reasons that newspapers/reporters have increasingly been marginalised and have devolved towards covering ‘tattle’ and ‘celebs’.

    I do sometimes wonder if we shouldn’t just accept a headstone being placed on a once proud, noble profession by the likes of Mosley. At least we could pay our final respects by the grave “here lies the remains of the once great bastion of free speech, may we remember it with fondness”. We could at least have closure and prepare a Phoenix.

  • Odo Saunders

    Karen Bradley is obviously a spineless individual, who clearly should not be in a government claiming to represent the interests of a democratic state. She only has an eye on carrying out the will of the Metropolitan elite, otherwise this threat to the British press would have been seen off long ago. The fact that May was prepared to appoint her to run the Department of Culture, does raise a question mark against May’s competence, as witnessed by the list of people appearing in the recent honours list. We might as well have Posh Spice in that role for all the difference it would make! It is interesting that May, although claiming to be a long-time opponent of the European Union, chose to support the Remain camp during the Referendum, despite not actually contributing to the debate. Why? She is no more than a political schemer, without any political philosophy to call her own. May clearly understood that as the opinion polls were so close, the vote could go either way. If Cameron lost he would be honour bound to resign, while leaving her as the strongest possible alternative to lead the Conservative Party. At least Andrea Leadson was a woman of great principle and courage, who on reflection might have served their country better. If these draconian reforms go through, and the press is effectively muzzled, the Conservatives will have lost my vote at the next election. The Conservative Party at present has too many M.P.’s who clearly lack a sufficiently independent stature and political perspective. The same could also be said about the other parties. I recently wrote to my local Conservative M.P. to ask his views regarding the persecution of minority religions in Syria. His reply was that everything will be fine in that country once Mr. Assad leaves power! I replied that Mr. Assad is going nowhere, as long as he retains the support of the Russians and Iranians, to which I received no further reply. He is clearly looking for an appointment as a junior minister in the foreseeable future, and does not want to say anything that might be seen “to rock the boat.” It is interesting to note that this person was appointed to represent the local Conservative Party on the basis that he was in favour of leaving the E.U.. During the Referendum campaign, he suddenly stated that he was supporting the Remain camp, no doubt with the idea of obtaining future promotion to the government with the assistance of a grateful Cameron. God help us!

    • If they are anything like our congresscritters, and I’d bet money I don’t have that they are, their most serious lack is a bone structure known as a spine.