IT HAS emerged that Leveson, whose current inquiry was brought into being by Prime Minister Cameron, complained to the UK’s top civil servant after a cabinet minister, Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove, a former Murdoch employee at the Times newspaper, raised ‘concerns’ that his inquiry was targeting the freedom of the press.
Gove complained in February, prompting the judge to contact Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.
Leveson was said to have been worried that Gove was speaking for the whole cabinet, the obvious implication being that the cabinet, and not just Gove, was seeking to discredit a body that had been set up by the Prime Minister, and the government.
Gove told a press gallery lunch at Westminster that there was ‘a chilling atmosphere towards freedom of expression which emanates from the debate around Leveson’.
When Gove gave evidence to Leveson in May, the judge told him: ‘Mr Gove, I don’t need to be told about the importance of free speech, I really don’t.’
He added: ‘But I am concerned that the effect of what you say might be that you are in fact taking the view that behaviour which everybody so far in this inquiry has said is unacceptable, albeit not necessarily criminal, has to be accepted because of the right of freedom of speech.’
The concern of many members of the public was that Gove was leading the die-hard Murdoch majority in the cabinet in trying to bury Leveson just when it was starting to get interesting.
Earlier in his evidence, Gove had described News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch as ‘one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years’.
Gove is, no doubt, referring here to Murdoch’s defence of freedom and liberty exhibited in his full support for the Thatcher government’s provocation of, and imposed war on the miners. This was when her announcement of mass pit closures and mass sackings touched off the 1984-85 miners strike.
This support was reciprocated by Thatcher who gave the full support of the state to Murdoch’s 1986-1987 year-long war to smash the ‘tyranny’ of the Fleet Street print unions, so as to liberate the printing industry from the tyranny of trade unions generally, sacking 6,000 trade unionists, in order to operate out of the Wapping plant using ‘free’ non-union labour.
This is the freedom that Gove, Murdoch and Cameron glory in, where the boss has the freedom to dictate.
In fact, Gove’s misgivings about the Leveson inquiry have been shown to have had some substance.
It was meant to be a delaying tactic but has liberated a little bit more of the truth and shone a little more light on the Murdoch-Tory partnership.
We have been treated to a fantasy of a Culture Secretary who did not have, or want, the slightest control over what his special adviser, Adam Smith, was telling Murdoch.
We have seen the allegedly ultra-gullible Cameron, a gift for the average con-man, who believed every word that Coulson told him, despite all the warnings to the contrary that were being given, and whose defence was that he may have been gullible, but then so were the police, the MPs and ‘everybody else’ who believed Coulson’s ‘assurances’.
This exhibition of togetherness was crowned by the Brooks’ text to the Tory leader hailing the fact they they ‘were in it together’ and that she was his number one cheerleader.
Coulson now faces charges of perjury, and Brookes of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – no wonder Gove wanted the Leveson inquiry discredited or abandoned.
Gove and the libertarian wing of the Tory Party, of which Cameron is a leader, can see only one way out of the current capitalist crisis, that is to liberate the working class from its NHS, its welfare state, and its basic rights. This is why they have been marching arm in arm with Murdoch.
Liberty and freedom however have a class aspect to them. The working class must exercise its liberty and freedom, through a socialist revolution, to put an end to the freedom of the one per cent to super-exploit the 99 per cent if it is to have a future.