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Spreading the word(s)
Updated 14 May 2013
Gap in ethics
DESPITE A number of European clothing firms, including Swedish-owned H & M, signing an agreement to improve health and safety conditions in Bangladesh US-based firms have not been so forthcoming. To the surprise of many Wal-Mart have called for the closure of one factory and an examination of another following its own investigation but have not signed up to the agreement reached. Gap say they are prepared to sign “today” but only after changes to the resolution of disputes in the courts. PVH/Calvin Klein have signed up.
Press groups to drop veto
THE LARGER press groups, including Associated Press and News International, are set to abandon plans to maintain a veto on appointments to a new press regulator. It would seem that the aim is win support from the Financial Times, Guardian and the Independent.
Alleged spook to keep eye on press
PRIVY COUNCILLOR, and private secretary to the Queen, (Sir) Christopher Geidt, is to be a lynch-pin in any version of a Royal Charter. He has history. He successfully sued journalist John Pilger and Central TV when a programme broadcast in 1991 suggested Geidt had links to MI6 in relation to his activities in Cambodia. A “gagging order” was granted that suppressed material about MI6 or the SAS. The Guardian seems to be coming to its senses declaring in a 8 May leader that the involvement of a “private equerry [...] smells bad, looks bad and is bad.”
UKIP mouthpiece, Nigel Farage, has — perhaps unwittingly — revealed the object of his party’s existence. Unwittingly? It can be difficult to tell sometimes given that he is clearly in fierce competition with Health Secretary, James Hunt, to bear the most smug perma-grin going. Farage has made an analogy with the former SDP and their role in reshaping the Labour Party. The implication would seem to be that he would like to have a similar effect on Britain’s Tories. It may be sad but we may have to hope that former Labour voters who are supporting UKIP realise that Farage is a toff with a serious Thatcher addiction. His next fix could be very expensive.
Post-Leveson saga continues
THE POST-LEVESON saga is still running. Major national newspaper groups (Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Times) are set to draw up their very own version of a Royal Charter to oversee a new regulator. Clearly, the introduction of Privy Councillors and other medieval debris was not at the top of the reasons for opposing the cross-party version passed by parliament. Their major concern would seem to be how to protect industry influence and power even over the selection of “independent” members of the regulatory body; the continuing dominance of editors and former editors — and so forth.
In a guardian leader of 25 April a petulant swipe was taken by those who have pointed to existing criminal law. “Ouch!”, said Private Eye.
In short, the newspaper groups above (including, so it would seem, the Mirror) are more interested in preserving the unaccountability of proprietors. They may think that a MP calling (allegedly) a copper a pleb is good copy but they don’t really like the idea of plebs having access to inexpensive arbitration in complaints against their newspapers. Would you really trust Murdoch or Dacre with defence of freedom of the press?