Friday, 15 July 2011

Regulatory capitalism, whistle blowers and co-regulation

It's notable that WikiLeaks has been entirely replaced as the biggest story in the British media by tabloid newspapers, specifically the Murdoch press and their control over broadcasting. This in the week of Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden. One Australian, Mr Murdoch Senior (I know he renounced it for business interests...), replaces another. I know which is more guilty of inspiring female fear of  predation.
In regulatory terms, what we had here was, as Lord Justice Leveson said, a need to watch the watchdogs. More particularly, as the former Prime Minister explained while Tory hyenas barked - including the horrible Graham Stuart who has prettified Cambridge by moving away, and the execrable Penny Maladroit, who went to the States and worked for Dubya in 2000 and 2004 - the IPCC, PCC, police, CPS all failed to act, while News Corp. and the Conservative Party was putting pressure on Ofcom and the BBC, and select committees were being ignored. Result: the Cabinet secretary argued strongly against an independent inquiry, even non-judicial.
What Britain needs is to institute a proper system for protecting and rewarding whistle blowing in both public and private sectors - that is what should be examined as a result of WikiLeaks, the Iraq inquiry, MP expenses, phone hacking. Pigs may fly.
The reforms in the Dodd-Franks Act may be a good start, and it is encouraging to see that the practical implications appear to have created an SEC system whereby it is worthwhile for lawyers to help whistle blowers against their former employers, the masters of the universe...Reading Braithwaite last year, it struck me just how miserable Britain's record at helping whistle blowers is - maybe a reason why Colette Bowe said nothing in 1985, why we were fooled into war in 2003, why Craig Murray is so entertaining but such an example to others in the Foreign Office not to repeat his actions. The British government frame ambassadors who whistle blow, let alone soldiers such as Bradley Manning.
For Leveson LJ, it may be a step too far, but he should certainly consider regulation of broadcast TV and the Internet-  a 'press commission' would be a nineteenth century inquiry.


  1. Qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur -- Regulatory Capitalism one of my favourite books

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