Today is the closing date for journalists to enter the George Orwell Prize, one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on political hacks. Previous winners include Polly Toynbee, David Aaronovitch and Jenni Russell (let’s draw a veil over the fact that Johann Hari won in 2008). Indeed, I'm not too modest to point out that my Telegraph blog was long-listed for the Orwell Prize for blogging. However, I won’t be entering this year.
The problem is, the Orwell Prize is administered by the Media Standards Trust, the same body that launched the Hacked Off Campaign. It seems pretty clear to me that the present aims of Hacked Off – namely, to see all of Leveson’s recommendations implemented in full, including the statutory underpinning of a new, independent press regulator – would not have found sympathy with Orwell. Indeed, I don’t see how the Media Standards Trust can, in good conscience, support Hacked Off and continue to invoke Orwell’s good name.
There are three reasons why I believe Orwell would have been against implementing Leveson in full. (To read more, click here.)