18 July 2011

Does Scotland need its own Operation Motorman?

Last week, Love and Garbage composed a post provocatively entitled "Salmond's failure on press regulation".  The Maximum Eck has issued the following trimming pronouncement on the ongoing hacking scandal...

“What has surfaced this week is the huge controversy over the total, abject failure to regulate the press in any effective way. We now know that the information commissioner presented evidence in November  2006 covering our major publications – thousands of instances of potential breaches of the law – and yet the Westminster government did absolutely nothing to bring the range of houses into order.”

Salmond presents us with an image of the virtuous devolved authority, faces writ with concern, looking on as Westminster authorities did sod all. It's beyond my control, it says, with a sorrowful shrug.  It wisnae me, he implies, and on press regulation suggests - or near as damn it - that the SNP would haven regulated differently, but couldn't, so didn't. You can almost hear the distant refrain our opponents find so tiresome ~ "in an independent Scotland..." In fact, in terms of Scottish press regulation, the proper formulation is that the SNP could have done something and didn't - in large part because like (almost) everybody else, the party wasn't wildly interested in the Information Commissioner's (2006) report What price privacy? The Unlawful trade in confidential personal information and the follow-up six months later, What price privacy now? To imply otherwise is understandable but clearly dexterous positioning in the prevailing political atmosphere.
 
There are number of dimensions to this. Firstly, the devolution settlement. Is press regulation within Holyrood (and thus the SNP's) powers or not? Secondly, what does it tell us that most folk (even one suspects in the parliament) might be surprised to discover the answer to my first question is yes? Thirdly, what are the implications of Holyrood's freedom to act here? What actions might it consider taking, and why?

Can Holyrood regulate the press?

Firstly, the issue of powers. Nobody expects the SNP to regulate Fleet Street, but what about Scottish titles and their journalists? For reasons Love and Garbage clearly outlines, from a Scottish perspective, for Salmond to take a tackety-boot to the Westminster Parliament is misleading and none-too-subtly self-serving...

"Salmond has been the First Minister of Scotland for the past 4 and a bit years. The government he has led, and leads, can act within the powers set out by the Scotland Act 1998. At times the government has suggested legislation that some of us feel push the boundaries of legislative competence. So proposing to act outwith competence does not usually hamper Mr Salmond and his party. However, on this topic press regulation is firmly within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

The issues on which the Scottish Parliament (and Scottish government) cannot act are broadly set out in Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998, which includes a reservation in relation to certain topics regarding culture and the media in Head K. The reservations include broadcasting, public lending right, a government indemnity scheme, and tax related transfers of national heritage. The press and regulation of the press does not appear in Head K. Regulation of the press does not appear anywhere in Schedule 5. This is a devolved topic. And if the SNP government had the will to do anything about the potential implications of press behaviour in Scotland after Operation Motorman they – and not Westminster – could have acted. In fact if Westminster had acted across the Uk the Scottish Parliament would have required to pass a Sewel motion to assent to Westminster dealing with devolved territory."

This analysis must be correct. Unlike Wales, the Scotland Act 1998 is structured by the explicit reservation of powers, rather than explicitly granting them. Thus climate change fell within Holyrood's purview, as it was not explicitly reserved to Westminster under Schedule 5, which sets out the list of reserved matters beyond Holyrood's competence. Some of these have a clear purchase on the political consciousness. For instance, the defence of the realm [Schedule 5, Part 1, s9] and international relations and foreign affairs [Schedule 5, Part 1, s7] - and curiously enough, treason [Schedule 5, Part 1, s10]. More specific reservations follow under a range of headings, from Misuse of Drugs to currency; immigration to firearms; betting, gaming and lotteries to consumer protection; time and space - and so on. The list is long and includes many profoundly important areas of public policy. However, it categorically does not include press regulation, though the Data Protection Act 1998 is reserved [Schedule 5, Part 2, sB2].

There is a wider point in all of this. If you are a sovereign parliament, there are still going to be complexities when drafting, scrutinising and enacting Bills. Existing statutory regimes are often fearfully knotty, some of them with difficult European Union law dimensions to be contended with and mammoth processes of consequential amendment. Legislation in Westminster is by no means easy.  However, its members and its government are at least mostly relieved of the difficulty of asking: is doing policy X within our powers at all? They enjoy a basic liberty of action. Not so, with Holyrood. To use a picturesque phrase sometimes deployed, the Scottish Parliament was not born free. The limits of the Scotland Act - and the way powers are implicitly granted rather than explicitly enumerated - call for a high level of legal sophistication if the full extent of the parliament's powers are to be understood. This can be particularly challenging if you stray outside the familiar, well-trodden areas of Holyrood legislation. Unfortunately, there are not many signs of such sophistication, either in the press, or on the benches of the parliament. 

Paradoxically, as with press regulation, this limited understanding of the full extent of the Scottish Parliament's existing powers results in an SNP government and parliamentarians treating issues which are within their powers as being concerns properly limited to Westminster only.  Alex Salmond issues statements of the sort quoted at the beginning of the piece, which leaves the profound but erroneous impression that he and his Ministers and the Scottish Parliament are fettered and tied. They can only sit back, pull constructive faces, demand better consultation with Westminster authorities - and wait for Sewel motions, which are passed on the nod. It is worth remembering what these legislative consent motions are all about. Conventional instruments rather than mandated by strict law, at their most basic, these motions are used where Westminster legislates concerning devolved matters. Although many pieces of legislation emerging from Westminster might concern commingled reserved and unreserved issues - when you see a Sewel Motion, the proposed Westminster Bill before you addresses, at least in part, devolved powers and consent is simply not solicited in areas reserved to the London Parliament.

Moreover, it is simply absurd to imagine that the SNP's masterly inactivity on press regulation in Scotland was a policy consciously adopted, better to cultivate the impression that Holyrood wants powers it should otherwise have - and that it would be a better custodian of those responsibilities than Westminster has proved. Salmond's response is one governed by events. And understandable it is too. Given the current predicament, for Scottish nationalists blessed with low animal cunning, it is an obvious calculation that it does the independence argument no harm to cultivate the impression that London is a new Babylon, whose public life, manners and creatures are degenerate, decadent and corrupt. No political benefit accrues from an honest response, which concedes that the party's attitudes to these matters is ultra-mundane at best.  However, as the Burd has reminded us this week, it is vital to keep in mind that amid the viscera-spilling in the British political sphere, Scotland is not excepted from the toxic soup of cronydom, elite capture and cosy corporate connections. Nationalists may be minded to rail against the British establishment of which they are resolutely not a part, however, that's no excuse not to give Scottish establishments their own rattle. It is a matter of taking sides in Scotland, as well as taking Scotland's side, as someone once said. 

Which brings me back to the Information Commissioner's reports in the light of Operation Motorman. The Commissioner's second document contains a breakdown of transactions showing the extent to which journalists from different media outfits had made unlawful bargains to secure private data about individuals who attracted their curiosity. The table is dominated by papers published on a UK wide basis (there is no separate record, for example, about the News of the World operation in Scotland), but includes the Daily Record, with 7 transactions where private information was unlawfully tafficked for by two Record employees. A number of other papers have (or had) Scottish wings. The Commissioner does not break down these confirmed transactions by jurisdiction, so it is impossible to say on the basis of the published data what "share" Scotland might have in the News of World's 228 positively identified transactions, nor for that matter any of the other papers (many of whom ratcheted up far, far more identified transactions than the defunct News of the World).

Scottish legal magazine The Firm have a poll on their site, asking, "Should a Scottish judge be appointed to inquire into the relations between media, Government and the police in Scotland?" Although those are hardly exacting terms of reference - and politicians of a particular stripe are unlikely to be happy about the including the government in this - prima facie, it seems to me that we do have good grounds to consider some sort of general and independent investigation of practices of the Scottish press and police in this area. The present turmoil in the press is, understandably, focussed on London and the metropolitan police, both as investigators and participants in unlawful escapades at the expense of the public. Given the apparent scope of hacking and blagging behaviours in the press (and not just the tabloid press), and the indeterminacy of the Commissioner's reports with respect to these things in Scotland, there seems to me to be no good reason at all blithely to assume that villainy respects the banks of the Tweed.

26 comments :

  1. Operation Motorman?

    You jest.

    Something more fundamental and substantial:Way in more depth and breadth so.

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  2. "...we do have good grounds to consider some sort of general and independent investigation of practices of the Scottish press and police"

    There may be something in what L & G is saying, but it is surely also worth noting that the SNP don't start from the same base as other political parties because its political gains have been despite the undifferentiated hostility, not to say hysteria, of the press and the BBC. Any policy initiative would have been rather tricky even, say, a year ago, without a media firestorm of opportunistic comparison of Salmond and Goebbels, and a welcome gift to the hapless Iain Gray and Tavish Scott in Holyrood. As there's apparently now a general and better-informed consensus it would, as you say, be worth seeing what some independent inquiry might make of it.

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  3. hector mcglashan18 July 2011 16:20

    ratzo
    'the undifferentiated hostility, not to say hysteria, of the press'

    Doesn't the Scottish Sun support the SNP?

    LPW
    Is there any chance that The Great Leader will tell us who leaked the police video of Gail Sheridan's police interrogation to the BBC?

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  4. Operation Motorman?

    For a brief moment I had a blissful vision of armoured vehicles ramming into the Scotsman offices...

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  5. Politicians dont't have to explain the finer points of jurisdiction.
    They have to win elections.

    Academics are aggrieved when the debate is not on their terms and turf. And complain the politicians don't steer it that way.
    That's no use. They won't do that. And you can't make them.

    The debate is turning to press regulation (and investigation, whatever that is).
    I'd settle for the laws of the land being applied equally to everyone.

    Now where's the Lord Advocate?

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  6. David

    What particularly do you have against the Information Commissioner's Motorman investigation?

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  7. ratzo, hector mcglashan

    The behaviour of (almost) the whole media in the 2011 Holyrood campaign presents us with an interesting conundrum. Gray got pummelled, many endorsed the SNP. Some of this was undoubtedly owed to Labour's campaign, which proved sufficiently disastrous at the level of leadership, strategy and message that it was difficult to write much else about it. However, does this falsify a general proposition that the SNP is faced with a relatively hostile media environment in Scotland? It certainly commends thinking about the nature of the relationship more deeply - but I'm not convinced it is as black and white as - the Sun backed the SNP in 2011, after clubbing us about in 2007 - ergo the newspapers are strenuous takers of Salmond's side. It certainly raises issues about the total anti-Nat depravity and bias some folk would want to attribute to the mainstream media. It certainly renders that reading of the press' behaviour problematic.

    On your second point Hector, there have been questions asked in Holyrood about that in its last session. Question and answer here.

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  8. Conan,

    Still sore, eh? I've always thought revenge fantasies serve a useful cathartic function. Not least, since they mean that you shouldn't ever have to avail yourselves of my services in court, for taking your own chariot on a trip to the bottom of the Royal Mile...

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  9. Pat,

    I don't know about you, but I have a more expansive ideas about what politicians should do with themselves. Getting elected is a means to an end and not the end in itself. Although I have some sympathy with your diagnosis of this as obscure and legalistic - it really isn't. I don't raise this out of a desire to transform Holyrood into a site where the nicer legal points about the parliament's powers are endlessly discussed, to get things on "my terms and my turf", in your phrase. The point is, this is their turf. Knowing what Holyrood can and cannot do isn't an obscure issue. It radically informs just what sorts of debates and policies the institution adopts. It is one thing to know what one can do - and to choose not to do it. It is quite another when a lack of knowledge about your freedom to legislate and act actually inhibits what policies you undertake to promote. That doesn't strike me as an idiosyncratic, grouchy or self-indulgent point, flung from the Ivory Tower.

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  10. What on earth are you talking about? The Scottish Government has no powers to "regulate" the press. In order to do anything in the way of regulating the press would have required them to unilaterally revoke the existing regulatory regime set down by Westminster. In what way do you think they could have acquired the power to do that?

    And just what do you think the polical reaction would have been if the SNP had tried to give itself the right to control the print media?

    That is an extraordinary suggestion. It would have been universally regarded as an attempt to muzzle a critical press. I suspect that had the SNP attempted any such thing during its first term of office you might have been a bit suspicious of it yourself!

    In any case the issue is not so much the "regulation" or lack of regulation of the press, it is systemic corruption. That relates to the lack of properly enforcable regulation of course but lawbreaking is properly a matter for the police, not for politicians - although clearly in this case the police were part of the problem. But what on earth could the SNP have done about that? The Metropolitan Police are clearly way out of their jurisdiction.

    On the broader issue it seems to me that people are confusing the relationships which exist - and which will always exist - between politicians and the media and the evidence which has emerged about wide scale criminality. So yes, by all means, have a judge led enquiry into the relationships between politicians, the media and the police - though I suggest that such an enquiry would be somewhat meaningless unless it added in a fourth category - lawyers. Because our learned friends leak stuff to the media at least as much, if not more so, than politicians and the police so why leave them out of it, eh?

    But even supposing you do find some way of making all the transactions between these parties fully transparent, in what way would that directly address potential criminality on the part of the tabloids?

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  11. Good article, cogent and balanced.

    However the comment re Salmond's position round 2007 is simply answered by a minority trying to instigate a functioning inquiry against a majority of self serving box-tickers who benefit from the MSM bias.

    Post May 2011 that no longer applies. But, perhaps sadly, for all his iconic status he is still a politician and may be waiting to gauge the depth and viscosity of the sludge slide on Westminster.

    We have after all great expectations of this man - he may be waiting for a Dickensian Westminster to advance his, and our, opportunities.

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  12. LPW and LG

    firstly you neglect that those endorsements in 2011 were grudging, last minute and after weeks of abuse.

    You neglect the reaction to the decision by the SNP to not place adverts in the press, something RELATIVELY innocuous compared to Press regulation

    You neglect the difference between 2007 and 2011. In 2007 The Sun was part of the support for Labour in Westminster. In 2011 the Sun had dumped Labour so the Sun reverted to it's decision in 1992 of supporting the SNP as a counter to Labour, the Tories getting nowhere in Scotland.

    To try and analyse the situation, but to neglect that information is at bet Niaive and at worst being selective in your arguments

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  13. Thanks for your reply LPW.
    The FM and his team have paid legal advisers.
    Is it possible to know what they tell him? And are they proactive or do they just give advice when asked for?

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  14. Indy,

    Several points. Firstly, devolution empowers Holyrood in several areas unilaterally to revoke and replace legal regimes set up by Westminster. The only limits on its capacity to do so are the reservations set out in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act. If you can find something in that which prevents press regulation, I'm happy to be corrected. Clearly some aspects of this are reserved - I explicitly mention data protection, for example. If so, I can't find a legal basis to say press regulation per se is outside of Holyrood's competence.

    Secondly, there are two issues here (1) investigation of the activities of the press and their potentially corrupt connections with police officers, unlawfully trafficking in private data and (2) the general regulation of the press.

    I explicitly note that nobody expects the SNP to regulate Fleet Street - or for that matter, the Metropolitan police. Personally, all I'm making a case for is (1), given the uncertainties about the Scottish dimension of the Motorman investigation.

    The whole issue of general press regulation and its failure was raised not by me, but by Alex Salmond. That being so, it is relevant that press regulation is prima facie a devolved matter.

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  15. Anonymous,

    At no point in the piece do I discuss press endorsements of the SNP during any election. Not having tried to analyse that situation, I don't know how my silence can be naivety, neglect or selective argumentation.

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  16. Thanks Crinkly,

    As you say, Holyrood's third session was a different barrel of herring.

    Pat,

    I'm afraid that government legal advice is not publicly disclosed and, on my understanding (which I'd caution, I'd have to properly source to be absolutely sure), can't be forced into the public domain. Unless, that is, like John McTernan, you manage to convince someone in the legal service to leak to you...

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  17. Hey LPW

    I included you in as you were responding to LG

    Should have made that clearer.

    LG made that connection early on and was, I think, presenting an incomplete picture

    G

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  18. No bother G,

    I just like to make sure I'm actually guilty of the villainies and follies, of which I am accused! I'm sure Love and Garbage can speak for himself.

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  19. Sure it was raised by Alex Salmond. This whole area has been investigated repeatedly and repeatedly the various committees and reports - in 2003, 2007 and most recently I think in the 2009 Select Committee report into Press Standards, Privacy and Libel - have reaffirmed that the existing largely self-regulatory system through the Press Complaints Commission was correct.

    You say that no-one expects the SNP to attempt to regulate "Fleet Street" by which I assume you mean the main UK tabloids.

    In which case you are suggesting that they should have attempted to regulate the likes of the Daily Record, Herald, Evening Times, Scotsman etc. And the local press perhaps.

    On what basis could they possibly have done that - either legally or politically?

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  20. This piece of info is very useful for me, thank you!

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  21. James Morton20 July 2011 00:05

    I think this situation shows how changes in technology, and how media is distributed, have left politics and the law looking like a pair of fully paid up numpty members of the flat earth - moon is made of cheese society.
    they appear to be so behind the curve on this and are always so clumsy and cack-handed in their dealings with the media. The media may appear two faced and they may well be, but in reality they are not molding public opinion but following it themselves. I mean if the media were all powerful, the SNP simply would not have won. Ian Gray would be first minister. but hey guess what? he didn't win...he got flat out beaten like the other two contenders.
    But they will keep chasing after media "skirt" because they think it will make them popular. Most people have already made up their minds based on other things...mostly the things that affect them directly. As for regulation most people are surprised that there doesn't seem to be any that would sort this out. if you agree that there are some things that media should not be doing, then you regulate to ensure they can't. Is it really that hard to say "you cannot hack peoples phones...especially dead peoples phones?" or "you can not bribe officials for sensitive information?" or lastly "you don't get to have influence over government, that's the prerogative of the electorate"
    there are times when I feel nothing but disgust and loathing at the so called political class.

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  22. No response to my question?

    You see it is quite difficult for people to come to any conclusions about what the SNP Government should or could have done to regulate the press if there are no specific suggestions.

    The report published by the Information Commissioner after Operation Motorman did make some receommendations - as well as identifying the publications which had participated in the illegal trade in personal information to support stories. That is quite interesting information. The publications (and the number of illegal transactions identified is below.

    Daily Mail 952, Sunday People 802, Daily Mirror 681, Mail on Sunday 266, News of the World 182, Sunday Mirror 143, Best magazine 134, Evening Standard 130, The Observer 103, Daily Sport 62, Sunday Times 52, The People 37, Daily Express 36, Weekend Magazine (Daily Mail) 30, Sunday Express 29, The Sun 24, Closer magazine 22, Sunday Sport 15, Night and Day (Mail on Sunday) 9, Sunday Business News 8, Daily Record 7, Saturday (Express) 7, Sunday Mirror magazine 6, Real magazine 4, Woman’s Own 4, Daily Mirror magazine 3, Mail in Ireland 3, Daily Star 2, Marie Claire 2, Personal magazine 1, Sunday World 1.

    There is only one Scottish paper in that list – the Daily Record. So it is suggested that on the basis of those seven incidents the Scottish Government should have introduced legislation in the Scottish Parliament to regulate the press in Scotland.

    But even supposing they decided that was politically desirable, how would such legislation have been framed? What would it actually have sought to achieve and to prevent? If we go back to the report's recommendations that might give some indication of action that could have been effective.

    The first recommendation was to amend the Data Protection Act to introduce custodial sentences for breaches. The Scottish Government could not have done that.

    The second was to make the Security Industry Authority include a caution or conviction for a Section 55 offence (breach of data protection act) among its grounds for refusing or revoking the licence of a private investigation agency. The SIA reports directly to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Is it your belief that the Scottish Parliament could unilaterally amend that act? Because that Act is classified by the Scottish Parliament under the heading of “Entangled Responsibilities”. The SNP opposed that at the time but they lost, I would suggest however that if the SNP HAD decided to pick a fight on that particular issue they would have required to provide some grounds which would make it appear a reasonable thing to do. At the very least they would have needed to provide evidence that there was a serious problem in Scotland which required legislation. What evidence could they have provided? Not the evidence from Operation Motorman because that did not support an argument that there was widespread abuse in Scotland – actually quite the reverse.

    The third recommendation concerned the Association of British Investigators which is not a statutory body.

    The fourth recommendation concerned the Press Complaints Commission and the
    Code of Practice Committee of Editors – again not statutory bodies.

    The next recommendation concerns the Office of Fair Trading which is reserved.

    Then there are a series of recommendations about various other non-statutory professional bodies.

    So essentially only one of the recommendations - about legislating to require the Security Industry Authority to behave in a particular way – could have conceivably have been introduced by the SNP Government and even that is highly debatable.

    Therefore any moves to regulate the press would have required to address different issues - though how and why is far from clear to me.

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  23. hector mglashan20 July 2011 21:43

    What % of papers purchased in Scotland is produced in Scotland?

    Of the papers produced in Scotland what % of the content is produced in England?

    Would there be any real point in having separate rules regulating the press in Scotland?

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  24. Indy, Hector,

    Not neglect or bashfulness - I've been away from the old keyboard for much of the past day or two.

    My point is quite simple. Firstly, we've no idea about the extent to which the activities identified in the follow-up report in 2006 applies to Scotland. We know that the Daily Record was included - prima facie, therefore, we have evidence that unlawful breaches of privacy is not limited to London and England. This isn't surprising. However, it doesn't answer the broader point. Given that endemic feature of UK papers, to what extent is such conduct practised in Scotland? Given the way data is presented by the Information Commissioner, I don't see that Motorman allows us to deduce much at all about Scotland. This is concerning and could only benefit from concerted public investigation. Although Cameron noted that the Lord Justice Leveson's examination includes Scotland, one can be reasonably sure about where he will truly concentrate.

    Depending on the answer to that question, attempts at regulation might have followed. You mention a number of areas, which I concede are problematic. Then again, it is hardly surprising that the Information Commissioner would speak to issues particularly associated with this (reserved) remit.

    Put most simply, I'm not the one proposing regulation or Westminster regulatory failure, Alex Salmond is. Now, you may go through a process of identifying areas in which Holyrood can act (and Act) and those in which it cannot. I strongly doubt, however, whether the SNP government did anything remotely like this in the light of Motorman. If they did go through such a process after 2006, and ruled out action along the lines you suggest, they kept exceedingly quiet about it.

    Interpreting that quietness, it is relevant that Holyrood has more powers concerning the press than many (most) may suppose.

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  25. I think what Alex Salmond did was to state the bleeding obvious. It’s not about trying to shift the blame because where the blame lies is clear. Various House of Commons committees and UK Governments have looked at the issue of press intrusion repeatedly and always came up with the same response - that self-regulation is sufficient, that yes there might be a few bad apples but they could be dealt with under existing laws and there was no need for regulation.

    Now, with the scale of the systematic lawbreaking being exposed, that response is also exposed as being almost ludicrously inadequate - and is making a lot of people wonder why politicians appeared to collude with the tabloids so meekly.

    I think the answer to that is that many MPs, from the PM down, were motivated by personal fear about what the tabloids could do to them and their loved ones by printing details of their sexuality, their private lives, their personal family matters and so on. Effectively they were being blackmailed, I don't think that is putting it too strongly. And that also explains the tangible feeling of release and relief that MPs are showing now that it has all come out. That is the most shocking thing of all. The fact that Gordon Brown felt he had to go to Rebekah Brooks’ birthday party two days after she had made him weep by publishing a story about his baby son’s medical condition shows what a power these people had over politicians.

    But the idea that Holyrood could have stepped in and done something about it is daft. They could not have done anything about any of the incidents which have been related and examined. To argue that the Scottish Government could or should have attempted to regulate the Scottish press in case similar things were happening is a red herring. There is no way, politically, that they could have succeeded in doing that even if it were legally possible. They had no grounds to do it.

    You say that "we've no idea about the extent to which the activities identified in the follow-up report in 2006 applies to Scotland" but that is not entirely true. There is one very important difference - the relationship between MSPs and the press are entirely different here.

    It is not that MSPs have nothing to fear from the press - but they fear different things.

    Politicians in Scotland are not generally brought down by having their personal secrets exposed but by journalists poring over the intricate details of information which is all in the public domain. Their office allowances, their claims for taxi expenses, the donations they declare or do not declare, letters they write in support of constituents, whether or not they travelled to a party political event in a government car - these are the things that get politicians into trouble in Scotland, not their sexual orientation or whether they are faithful to their spouses.

    The blackmail culture which seems to have been endemic at Westminster is not replicated here. MSPs and Scottish ministers simply did not have the same reason to suspect that journalists routinely used stolen personal data to support stories or paid private investigators to hack into phones in the same way that MPs had reasons to suspect that because it did not happen to them.

    Of course there is one notable exception to this and that is Tommy Sheridan but I would suspect that it was the very unusualness of that case that made Tommy think he could get away with taking them to court.

    Not that any of this means there is nothing to investigate. I would think that the relationship between the Daily Record and the police would be worth looking at in light of what we now know, given their obsession with gangster culture and crime stories. But the political centre of this story lies in Westminster, not in Holyrood, and that is the reason the SNP have not been jumping upand down about it.

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  26. Ah, it appears the Scottish Parliament does have devolved power in this area to regulate the press. I was right about that all along. Well colour me shocked and stunned.

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