Friday, 14 December 2012

Missing the light touch

It's been a week that has seen an evolving theme of alleged high-handedness in official circles depicted in the media. No prizes for guessing the motivation involved.

The anti-Leveson brigade quickly seized upon the incredibly unwise actions of Craig Oliver who phoned up the Telegraph in an attempt to 'finesse' a story on alleged expenses irregularities attributed to culture secretary Maria Miller. His throwaway comment to the paper that they were about to trash the reputation of a minister who was "looking at Leveson" was given all the appropriately sinister connotations.

The big surprise was that among a press fraternity keen to preserve current licensing hours in the last chance saloon, it was the Guardian who followed up by questioning Ms Miller's ancillary role in government moves behind a potential ban on gay marriage ceremonies.

Meanwhile you get the impression that Whitehall could take a leaf out of the book used by Welsh local government when it comes to reinforcing the natural top-down order of things.

A couple of examples worthy of note are how Carmarthen council has developed its own way of dealing with unwelcome press scrutiny and the ejection of Plaid Wrecsam who mistakenly thought it was reasonable for him produce contemporaneous tweets on cabinet proceedings from the public gallery. We also hear that intimidatory practices have been employed at Swansea Council to put some irksome councillors back in their box.

More on this unhealthy trend in future posts.

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