Press Regulation, the Euro, Who Does the School Run

Leader Conference, Series 1 Episode 2 of 4

2/4. In a new series, Andrew Rawnsley chairs a live debate with fellow journalists in the style of a newspaper leader conference. They discuss which three top news stories at home and abroad should be the subject of leading articles and what points those editorials ought to make and why.

From tabloids to broadsheets, from London to Edinburgh, from left, right and centre the gamut of journalistic opinions are on offer as the newspaper leader conference comes to the air. Top writers on Britain's newspapers distil the complex events of the week into a concise, easily digested summary and seek to put it all into perspective.

Andrew was joined by Anne McElvoy of the Economist, Nigel Nelson of the People, Sean O'Grady of the Independent and Philip Stephens of the Financial Times.

We debated:
what the new judicial inquiry into the press should recommend on press regulation; the tumult in the Eurozone; and Nick and Miriam Clegg and the demands of work and family life

A better British press
Some News Corp's businesses have helped revitalise the British newspaper industry in recent years and we should recognise the successes of BSkyB. But the unlawful conduct of the News of the World has outraged the public and mandates more effective regulation of the press. The law of libel and the growing readiness of the courts to safeguard privacy already offer significant protections to those facing press scrutiny. But we advocate self-regulation with teeth - not statutory regulation which could stifle press freedom. Specifically, we advocate visibly independent regulation by credible outside figures - not the state nor newspaper editors. They should ensure a faster, more transparent and more user-friendly complaints process. This has to include quicker and more effective sanctions - in particular, requiring corrections to inaccurate stories to be published as prominently as the original reports themselves.

How to fix the euro
The travails of the eurozone profoundly affect UK trade and prospects for growth. Britain is not immune. We propose a twin-track approach to ensure the euro does not collapse in chaos, thereby endangering economic recovery and prompting another banking crisis. First, if Berlin really believes in the future of the euro Chancellor Merkel needs to show much stronger leadership. Second, the debt of the weakest countries should be consolidated and denominated as eurozone debt, rather than "Greek debt" or "Irish debt". As other countries run surpluses this would enable the debt burden to be managed with greater stability and at lower cost. Third, internal currencies could be established in countries like Greece. These would have no value outside their own borders but would enable day-to-day trade to continue - as happened in South American countries during their debt crises in the 1980s.

Let's hear it for Nick Clegg!
Contrary to what some of our rivals have written about the Deputy Prime Minister, it is a good thing that at the top of the government we have politicians with young families who have to juggle Cabinet meetings with the school run. But they cannot complain about the pressures this places on their home lives. The rest of us have to get on with it and so should they. So fewer complaints, please. As we curse yet another eight o'clock traffic jam, let's celebrate the insight into the lives led by millions of voters which this daily routine provides!

Producer Simon Coates.

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45 minutes

Last on

Wed 13 Jul 2011 20:00