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Leveson Inquiry: Sharing alarm bells with a prime minister
IT speaks volumes that a Conservative prime minister should have alarm bells ringing over any state interference in the press.
I thought David Cameron was impressive in his response to Leveson. He made it clear that the status quo is not an option, that Leveson has laid down a way forward, but he draws the line at the moment on the proposed "underpinning" by legislation.
He describes it as a "crossing of the rubicon" which we should be very careful about - and he's right. They are the same alarm bells going off in my head.
What the PM seems to be saying is that legislation may not be necessary if the press comes together behind the main recommendations of Leveson - for a beefed-up independent regulator. The question is: Will it?
I said on Wednesday that the price for retaining self-regulation would be an all-inclusive independent system. If the press fails to agree to it, then the alternative is much worse - state regulation. I know which one I'd prefer.
Ed Miliband says there are no more last chance saloons for the press and we should move straight to the Leveson model in its entirety. Hold on, Mr Miliband - don't forget you're talking about a minority who've been drinking in the last chance saloon, and this decision will affect every journalist.
We have a firm proposal on the table for an independent regulatory body - let's see how the newspaper industry reacts to it, in an established timescale, before deciding whether we really should cross the rubicon.