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What the papers won’t say | 1 November 2012

The chilling effects of Lord Leveson are already being felt in every newsroom in the country — and it is the rich, powerful and influential who are reaping the benefits. I know this because after 17 years working in national newspapers, the last seven of which I spent on the Daily Mail, I have just

Whose freedom? Whose press?

A love for freedom of the press inspired Milton, Voltaire, Jefferson, Madison, Mill and Orwell. Ringing declarations of the right of citizens to read and write what they choose have run through constitutions and charters of liberties. Modern Britain being the way it is, however, the lofty rhetoric of the past has sunk to debates

Sandy in the suburbs

We live in the age of managed expectations — of projected outcomes and likely damage. It will be some days before the actual effects of the tropical storm absurdly named Sandy are computer-assessed, news-reported and blog- and Twitter-dissected. And debated too, one suspects. Already some wonder whether Sandy is this year’s ‘October surprise’, meaning, in

Should Alice marry Bob?

Two problems: 1. You are in an airport and are walking from the main departure lounge to a rather distant gate. On the way there are several moving walkways. There is a small stone in your shoe, which is annoying enough that you decide that you must remove it. If you want to get to

Losing the ashes

I’m pessimistic about the ash trees. It seems unlikely that a fungus that killed 90 per cent of Denmark’s trees and spreads by air will not be devastating here, too. There is a glimmer of hope in the fact that ash, unlike elms, reproduce sexually so they are not clones — uniformly vulnerable to the

What I’m fighting for

I’m often asked why I keep banging on about the press. Am I a lefty? I’m not. I’m not a righty either. I drift. (And in terms of impartiality, by the way, the same goes for Hacked Off – as a campaign group we are determinedly hermaphrodite.) Am I a muzzler? I really don’t think

Leveson and Jimmy Savile

Last December I received a telephone call concerning Jimmy Savile’s apparent sexual abuse of underage girls in the 1970s. The details I heard were pretty chilling, but the negative reaction when I tried (unsuccessfully) to report the claims in the national press was equally troubling. There is every indication that the Leveson inquiry into press standards was

Turning toxic again

Five years after the run on Northern Rock, four years after the epoch-making crash of Lehman Brothers, the clouds over Britain’s banking sector remain as dark as ever. We may have been the first country to recapitalise our banks when the crisis struck, but as the years have unfurled the sheer scale of the legacy

Reform at last

A decade ago I wrote here about the way financial advisers are paid. I told you how, instead of giving you a bill, your adviser is allowed to sell you investment products in exchange for a commission from the product provider plus a cut of your assets every year for as long as you continue

Markets love lame ducks

Next week’s too-close-to-call US presidential election must make a big difference to the way stock and bond markets perform over the next few years — or so you might think. Yet experience suggests that investors should probably stifle a yawn rather than place too much significance on whether Obama or Romney comes out ahead. In

All together now | 1 November 2012

Fraser Nelson British politicians have long dreamt of regulating the press, but have always been hampered by the basic point that the press isn’t theirs to regulate. Only now, with the industry on its knees, do the enemies of press freedom feel able to strike. Their hope is to appoint a press watchdog who would


London Notebook | 1 November 2012

What is a real woman? My difficult client, the Australian gigastar Dame Edna Everage, is seriously miffed at BBC’s cancellation of her forthcoming appearance on Have I Got News For You. She flew from Australia especially to record this show, installing herself, as usual, in the Oliver Messel suite at the Dorchester Hotel at her