When discussing the interaction of politicians and the press, people tend to either consider base or philosophical approaches.
A base approach would be for one party or another to appease proprietors’ personal interests in order to win the support of their media outlets. A philosophical one would be to seek to turn one or more newspapers’ worldviews – or what they believe to be their readers’ worldviews – into policy, in order to wih their support.
What’s more rare is that the practical interests of journalists become a political issue – and yet that’s exactly where we are.
As Janan Ganesh noted in today’s FT, the Labour Party aren’t just rude about the press, they intend to attack them through regulation.
Meanwhile, Keir Starmer – the former DPP, now would-be Labour MP, is campaigning in favour of powers that allow suspects to be held in limbo in police bail indefinitely – an abuse of process to which a troublingly large number of journalists have been subjected in recent years.
Labour’s aggressive stance towards the press evidently hasn’t gone unnoticed – either as a weakness on their part or as an opportunity for the Conservatives. So the process of opening up clear blue water on the issue has begun.
Sajid Javid has announced his intention to protect the freedom of the press in the British Bill of Rights, if the Conservatives are re-elected. At the same time, both Theresa May and Chris Grayling have made encouraging noises about potentially restricting the time limits on police bail.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Tories will be given a free pass by Fleet Street, or that newspapers’ support is in the bag. But it is another weapon in the arsenal come the General Election – another helping hand towards winning the air war.