Leveson: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question 192

I am with David Cameron and Rupert Murdoch in one respect on the Leveson report. British mainstream politicians are still more repulsive and self-seeking than the British mainstream media, and state regulation of the media, however modulated, is not good.

But Leveson was answering the wrong question.

The real problem is the ownership structure of UK mainstream media. Newspapers and broadcasters function as the propaganda tool of vast and intertwined corporate interests, shaping public opinion to the benefit of those corporate interests and ensuring popular support for politicians prepared to be complicit with those interests.

The only answer to this is to break up the corporate structure of the UK mainstream media. The legislative framework to do this is not difficult. What needs to be changed are the criteria. I would propose something like this; no organisation, state or private, should be allowed effective control of more than 20% of the national or regional newspaper market or the television market, or more than 15% of those combined markets.

The extraordinary thing is that Leveson specifically states that plurality issues do fall within his terms of reference, and that he must address them. He then completely fails to address them. At pages 29-30 of the executive summary of his report, he acknowledges that the current situation is unsatisfactory but makes no recommendations for change, only urging “Greater transparency on decision making on mergers”.

Leveson has provided us with the distraction of an argument about a regulatory body to look primarily at invasion of privacy abuse. The important factor for Leveson is not what Cameron or Clegg think of that idea. It is what Murdoch and the media corporations think of it, and the truth is that they could live with it, after huffing and puffing, because it would have zero effect on theirfinancial bottom line.

But what Leveson has totally failed to do – and doubtless never had the slightest intention of doing – was anything that hurts the corporate financial interests. Leveson’s failure seriously to address the question of media ownership and its use in the nexus of commercial and political interests is itself an appalling act of establishment collusion. Very successfully so – in all the “debate” going on about the regulatory body, the media ownership question has completely vanished. Brilliant.

192 thoughts on “Leveson: Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question

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  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Hmmmmmm….anyone at home?

    The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to open its nuclear programme for inspection.

    The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to six with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) “without further delay” and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting against were Israel, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

    Resolutions adopted by the 193-member general assembly are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight. And the resolution adds to pressure on Israel as it faces criticism over plans to increase settlement in the West Bank, a move seen as retaliation for the assembly recognising Palestinian statehood.


  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Jeez. His tenure was even shorter than that Pope that died.


  • Dreoilin

    “The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to six with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) “without further delay”

    Bibi is going to throw another hissy fit.

    As for Morsi, he left the palace, not the job.

  • Cryptonym


    You should have read it more callously. Global rank inequality is of course insoluble under capitalism and with the prevailing might is right use of arms against the defenceless. Without addressing global inequality, but simply ameliorating western or just national extreme inequality, any economic adjustment needed to ditch and consign nuclear power to history would only marginally affect the 1 percent. I wasn’t auditioning for Miss World and hoping to solve world poverty as you’ve misinterpreted it. I’m challenging Clark’s fearmongering contention that it’s nuclear power or back to living in dark caves; who wouldn’t be leery of faith-based unproven, untested non-existant solutions, propounded with a zeal that eerily resembles religious belief. If there were something so good, so wholesome as tolerably safe nuclear(ish) power, capable of bringing even a pot of water to the boil, we would have had it already in spades. With almost totally switching to infinite renewable sources, the only questions are how soon it will be too late to change without significantly affecting the relative prosperity of the many and will vested doomsday calculating interests allow it. It shouldn’t be left to cancer-riddled old men in the twilight of their lives avoiding hard decisions and condemning future generations to even worse fates than they’ve brought on themselves, for the sake of a piddling cash bung to anaesthetise them through their own agonised exits. Rather reminds me of super-villain logic, that if they can’t live forever then no-one else is going to live at all if they’ve got anything to do with it –muhahah.

    If only we had some unbiased, honest news source -some sort of non-profit state broadcaster.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    NATO placing Patriot missiles on Turkish border, ostensibly to protect against Scuds with chem weapons.

    Cursory search for evidence of chem weapons in Syria……this explosion in 2007 was rumored to be the result of an accident as Iranian and syrians attempted to load mustard gas on a missile.

    The explosion was documented sans explanation…..http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6916941.stm

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    I say no explanation, because ambient air temp is unlikely to be the cause. The claim is that the hottest day in question was 50 degrees C. In fahrenheit that’s 122 degrees. Aleppo was 111 that day, just 6 miles from the site.

    It takes more heat than that……

    see pg 7 http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA314271

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    When you corner a desperate animal, you can expect some blowback.

    “The CIA SAD and JSOC, along with the Israelis, are now publicly preparing a preemptive strike including special forces on the ground to take the launchers. For a close-up, on-the-ground view of the aftermath of a special forces attack on a Scud launcher in Libya last year that left the missiles and trucks largely intact, but nothing left of the crew other than neatly-lined up piles of entrails, see http://www.youtube.com/….

    Such preemptive air or ground attacks, however, would set off scenario: 1) and then 2):

    1) The Syrian leadership finds itself boxed into a “Use-‘Em-or-Lose-‘Em” Dilemma with regards to its missile forces and CBW stockpiles, and
    2) As Israel, the US and possibly other countries begin decapitating air strikes and commando attacks on mobile missile transporters, the regime initiates a Deadman Trigger Scenario, that assures launch of at least some of its surviving warheads.


  • Clark

    Cryptonyn, I was completely opposed to nuclear power before I discovered Alvin Weinberg’s work with molten salt reactors (MSRs), and the strange circumstances of his being sacked from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    I’m really not trying to spread fear; please read my comment at 4:35 pm. I’ve been looking into MSRs as a way of cleaning up nuclear “waste”. I put “waste” in quotes because in reality it is nuclear fuel that is about 1% used; the other 99%, the energy that solid fuelled reactors can’t extract, is what constitutes our “disposal problem”.

    This isn’t “faith based”. Two of these reactors were actually built; both ran successfully, the second for several years. My amateurish investigations so far suggest that MSR technology really can clear up the existing nuclear mess, something the anti-nuclear movement remains silent about. I’m now approaching the point where I’ll need to study nuclear engineering to investigate further.

    You would like the mess cleaned up, wouldn’t you? Or do you think we should just sweep the problem into a deep hole and try to pretend it never existed? I’m sure you’re aware of the long-term dangers of that “solution”.

    Ironically, the reason that MSR technology hasn’t been developed seems to be corporate vested interests and government short-termism. Big Nuclear gets plenty of taxpayers money from government. They don’t want small, economical reactors that run on “waste” to be developed.

    Look, we’re off-topic here. If you have some understanding of nuclear physics / engineering, please e-mail me. I, too, am suspicious of the nuclear lobby, and I could do with some knowledgeable nuclear sceptics to help me really analyse this problem.

  • Clark


    “When Weinberg became convinced that reactor safety was an issue of the greatest importance, that loss-of-coolant accidents were not unthinkable, he was punished by the nuclear advocates. […] In a conversation about reactor safety, Chet Holifield, then chairman of the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, told him, “Alvin, if you are concerned about the safety of reactors, then I think it might be time for you to leave nuclear energy.” Soon after, Weinberg was fired from his job as director of ORNL. That was in 1972. In 1979 Three Mile Island fully justified Weinberg’s concern”

  • Mary

    O/T I wonder how those struggling on unemployment benefit, low pay or retired with little in the way of savings, feel when these christmas food adverts are relayed on TV screens incessantly. In this M&S one, the food shown is expensive and out of range to most of us.


    They are all at it in one form or another. Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Tesco etc. The John Lewis one of two snow persons apparently cost £6m to make. Crazy or what?

  • mike

    My hot button topic is the Middle East, so I’ll burp a little comment if I may.
    I suppose the big thing with Syria is what China and Russia will do. Surely they know if Syria falls – and assuming Hezbollah is somehow neutralised – Iran is going to get whacked. What can, or what are they willing to do, to try to stop that?
    In the shorter term, there don’t appear to be any huge fractures within Syrian society yet, i.e. the regime facing a truly national uprising. Perhaps the various ethnic and religious groups realise just what a brutal, fundamentalist (Western-funded) lot the Free Syrian Army are. Can it really be better the devil you know?

  • nevermind

    MSR’s are not only good for getting rid of all sorts of nasty waste our children are supposed to sit on and watch over for the next 500 years, Cryptonym, they are also very good at recycling vital elements we all so value and need for a sustainable future.

    reinhardbuetikofer.eu/wp…/Rare-earths-study_Oeko-Institut_Jan-2011.pdf –

    What is more important, rare earth elements, for example to make motors/wind/wave and sea current power more efficient? or squander it on little Jack/Jills short while, I pods, mobiles, kindles and other gizmo’s the little darling will throw into the corner in a hissy fit when he realises that the economy is being fucked up by the Osborne’s of this world, an implement that will be thrown away, cause Britain has no circular resource economy, hasn’t got a clue what it means to recycle.


    I hate PWR’s and BWR’s, cause they are stupid, over engineered, expensive to build and to look after and dangerous, merely here for the military industrial complex to extract plutonium and a liability/risk for our kids to deal with.

    MSR’s are the way forward, as a last resort, and those stupid enough not to see that they are actually cleaning up our children’s liabilities should educate themselves.
    Why was Alvin Weinberg fired?, when he designed most of the concepts of nuclear power?
    answer, because he had the sense to speak of MSR’s as a counter weight and was not happy how the drive for inefficient nuclear power generations went, only adopted to generate plutonium.

    Now to Britain and its pubescent attitude to alternative energy. Energy saving is almost a swear word here, it has the most leaky housing stock in the whole of Europe. Why has nobody mentioned that small producers/communities have the same rights to buy/install and run their own alternative energy generators? because its old boys first and ueber alles, corporate Britain, Norwegian companies, the Royal estate, large landowners, who are supping at the taxpayers subsidies, not Joe Blocks and the rest of his village, they can pay for the establishments riches.

    they are being whipped up by shysters like the Countryside Guardians, poo faced share holders of PWR’s, establishment figures who want to have all the pies and eat them.

    Now to one syllable Heretic, your six inches of Holocaust pride are not exposed or threatened here, its just as boring as royal offspring and its zionist propaganda. Most of us are of one mind here, we do not deny the Holocaust and those fuckwits who have learned nothing else at school ‘, because that was their ‘yawn’ curriculum in a vacuum for the last sixty years, just cant let go of arguing the toss over numbers of death.

    That is exactly what the Shoa circus/world wide museums wants us to do, to spread the priory of ‘theee Holocaust’ forget about the rest, a Zionist agenda, it so nicely detracts for one’s owns massacres and fascists behaviour does it not? And what greater and better thing has ever happened to these isles, wow, WW2 what a big thing that was eh?

    I piss on those who mention the Holocaust to detract from what is happening elsewhere, not because it is relevant, but because their brains are on fire.

    That said, I wish you all good night, demand that your local school drops the Holocaust from its curriculum, replace it with the history of peace negotiations, their outcome and adherence to negotiated settlements.

  • Cryptonym

    Clark, I’m aware that this is straying off-topic (you started it!), I’ve no desire for an email exchange on the subject, and possessing no specific nuclear physics background cannot evaluate assertions from nuclear science experts with correspondingly strong vested interests. The pdf doc says the economics of it will have to be evaluated, in other words they haven’t and probably still haven’t or are not favourable (for power generation if not for converting waste to other forms). I would note that the salt (tonnes of it) has to be heated to 450 – 600 degrees C, before being fed to the reactor, requiring huge energy inputs. It isn’t a one off pre-heating to get the stuff liquid and molten as the outflow after heat exchange to helium or similar and from that to water/steam for turbines means that the material -then substantially cooled, must again be brought up to 450 – 600 C again outside the reactor before feeding it back in, it isn’t a continuous self sustaining cycle, optimum increase in temperature in the core, by old dirty hard to control fission techniques to 700 to 800 C (with no assurance it can’t go higher, much much higher) is a marginal gain.
    Its large graphite structures and enclosures as our own UK reactors have shown, will become embrittled, and crack hideously. I don’t think it could ever be safe or economically viable.

    At least it isn’t ‘pebble reactors’ or similar which proponents have assured us would be so safe we could have one as a focal point and ornament in our living-rooms and sell the surplus power to our reactor-less neighbours to boot!

    Nature gives us for free all the energy we could ever need, every day without fail. We have the technology to tap it and a shrinking time window in which to do so on the largest possible scale, as well we need to tackle energy storage and load management along with energy efficiency. The need is for far-sighted wise government action, not muddle-headed free market bunkum and scapegoating the poor and the sick and the young. It is as much a problem of that which the wasters of Westminster have already done as that they have mendaciously left undone, an abdication of responsible government resulting in avoidable chaos. The next riots will be a whole lot nastier and personal but never were so necessary.

  • Mary

    Are Cameron, Osborne and Enda Kenny all in it together? Wednesday 5th December is MORE OF THE SAME ‘AUSTERITY’ DAY for the UK and Ireland.

    Ireland budget: Tax hikes and spending cuts expected

    Mark Simpson BBC Ireland Correspondent

    Not everyone is convinced of the need for more austerity

    Eurozone crisis
    What if Greece quits the euro?
    Q&A: Greek debt crisis
    Are euro summits a waste of time?
    Compare European debt levels

    The Irish government will present its sixth hard-hitting budget since the collapse of the country’s Celtic Tiger economy on Wednesday.

    More tax rises and spending cuts will be announced as the government hopes to save another 3.5bn euro (£2.8bn).

    The first sentence of Simpson’s report needs editing. It reads as if the collapse of the Irish economy took place ‘on Wednesday’!

    PPS What does a Celtic Tiger look like?

  • Mary

    The madness of Homo ‘Sapiens’ 1945-1998

    A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 – by Isao Hashimoto http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LLCF7vPanrY#!

    Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

    Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing “the fear and folly of nuclear weapons”, It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

  • nevermind

    whilst accountants scramble for words on radio 4 this morning, just as those CEO’s stuttering in front of arch tax evader Margaret Hodge, she should resign forthwith, Levenson’s tabloid subjects are falling over themselves telling us all about morning sickness and how the child has already improved the tourist tat-economy.
    measnwhile Lancashire and soon Cumbria are struggling to get used to some new slogans, @ ‘Come to the Lakelands, the only place were you can experience regular earthquakes’ as Osborne is throwing caution to the wind and allowing fracking concessions.
    The producers of Lancashire spring water from the Bowland trough, in wardle, as well as the breweries in Lacashire in Burnley and Blackburn will now have their supllies threatened by these hideously lazy and polluting technologies. As if we can’t build wave power machines or use our sea currents scouring the eastern coastline to make power from benign sources.

    Nope Lord brown would not earn much money on that would he, too many others involved, this new wheeze is easily controlled and exploited.

    We are coming closer to another riot Cryptonym, but this time it most likely will be everywhere, not conveniently centred for the Met to deal with.

    The few problems you mentioned with MSR’s are insignificant compared to the long term problems with the PWR’s and BWR’s, and we can solve them. Superheated salt, in a highly insulated vessel holds its temperatures for a very long time, its a great backup, not just for the MSR technology, but also for the 400 billion desertec project, as a back up source for the night time energy production.


    I know its very fashionable to live it up on future generations resources, but we are rapidly approaching crunchtime and this issue is a key issue, for recycling and for energy generation from badly used nuclear resources.

    Using nuclear waste to make energy, with plenty of it to go round, rather than carry on polluting and being dependent on Russian gas gangsters, with no sense of the impact they are creating, and French plutonium pushers, is simply not acceptable to our already hard pressed taxpayers.

    Whatever we argue about, as usual, will be solved by the Chinese, they are going full steam ahead with developing this technology and with a US grant. Like with everything else, its petty arguments and squabbling that holds us back, until it is too late for our own expertise to thrive, more convenient and acceptable to operate Chinese build plants here, after all we are teaching our kids Mandarin now and can read the instructions.

    If Micheal Heseltine would have took the coal levy, some 3.odd billion £ in 1984, used hard working miners and the mining supply industry to build up and alternative energy industry in this country, it would have been us that are at the top of alternative generation technologies today and the wind/wave/and other alternative source energy contracts would have come here. Its the Tory’s who missed that train, instead of providing hope and employing these hard working communities in a new energy sector, they have thrown generations of miners on to the scrap heap.

    If we do not start to recycle in this country and go ahead with shitty, dirty last millenium incineration technologies, winding up a better informed electorate something rotten, google KLWIN, then this country is finally ready for a well deserved revolution.

  • Clark


    the molten salt circulates, returning to the reactor core at ~550 centigrade; see diagram, page 3. The cycle is self-sustaining. The initial energy required to melt the salt for a 1000MW power station is comparable to the smelting required to make a single 5MW wind turbine.

    There is no water or steam involved. Hot helium drives a gas turbine directly. The higher temperature differential raises thermodynamic efficiency from between 30% – 40% typical in steam / water cycles to over 50%.

    As core temperature rises, the fuel salt expands, lowering density and reducing core reactivity and therefore heat production. MSRs self-regulate to the demand placed upon them, and have no need of actively operated control rods. Fission only proceeds when the core is held in a compact shape. If the pipes or core vessel were to fail, the fuel salt would spread out in a spill, terminating fission.

    I am within my abilities in technical understanding to verify the above points myself. Cracking of graphite structures goes beyond that point, but one MSR design proposes graphite granules suspended in the fuel salt.

    There is indeed abundant energy available in our existing surroundings (I don’t use the term “natural” because nuclear fission is natural, too. It is nuclear fission that keeps Earth’s core molten), but that doesn’t help us dispose of “spent” nuclear fuel. Harnessing that energy requires magnets and photovoltaic cells made from rare earth elements, over which wars are already being fought in Africa. Rare earths are currently produced mostly by China, because the “waste” from rare earth mining is mostly thorium which is classified as a nuclear hazard, and China has regulations that are sufficiently lax. Ironically, thorium is one of the fuel components for – you guessed it – molten salt nuclear reactors.

    Your criticism of free market economics is self-contradictory. Without government subsidy, current nuclear power stations would not be economic, and thus in a free market wouldn’t have been built. But the same reasoning applies to wind farms and roof-mounted photovoltaic panels.

  • Clark

    Cryptonym, I think that a more fundamental point is illustrated by our argument. We are all on this planet together, nuclear physicists and naturopaths, entrepreneurs and altruists. We have different colours, ethnicities and religious backgrounds. The task facing us is to work out how to fit all these puzzle-pieces together amicably and constructively, such that our whole can be greater than the sum of our parts.

  • Clark

    Mary, thanks for the nuclear explosion animation link.

    One of the reasons I’m interested in MSRs is that they can be used to “burn” the cores of nuclear weapons and make electricity. Swords into ploughshares?

  • Heretic

    Blatant fictional claims of Israel presented as historic facts go totally unopposed by a BBC ‘journalist’. What other fictional claims are being made, at my expense, totally unopposed by the state broadcaster?


    The same broadcaster who gave six year old kids a primer on binary chemical weapons and the evils of the Syrian government on Newsround a couple of days ago. Sick stuff – dragging kids into supporting war of aggression is totally Nazi.

  • nevermind

    Great animation, Mary, I recommend some stale reading based on the 2oooplus nuclear explosions, at all levels and underground.
    Its by Chris Busby, much maligned and torn scientists who wrote about the health effects of these explosion to human health and who has been attacked ever since.

    Even low levels of radiation has hurt us. His book ‘Wings of death’ deals with the outfall, mainly via precipitation and I recommend it.


  • Heretic


    UAE making US/Israeli attack on Iran acceptable to China – guarantees oil supply. Bypasses Hormuz with new pipeline which will be used “in case of any disruption”.

    Coupled with the deployment of Patriot missiles on Syrian border, and the up-tick in Chemical Weapons booga wooga on the news and Russia organising the withdrawal of its citizens it looks like last summers postponed false flag chemical weapons attack is back on, which is of course a pre-cursor to the attack on Iran.

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