Many ques­tions raised over Os­borne ap­point­ment

The Guardian - - JOURNAL -

Ge­orge Os­borne’s ap­point­ment (Re­port, 18 March) merely con­firms what Lon­don­ers have al­ways known – that the Stan­dard is a rightwing rag. For­tu­nately its in­flu­ence seems to be min­i­mal, ev­i­denced by Sadiq Khan’s tri­umph in the may­oral elec­tions de­spite the cam­paign the Stan­dard ran in favour of Zac Gold­smith, of which some as­pects were racist in tone. Much more wor­ry­ing is the ap­point­ment of Sarah Sands, who was in charge of the Stan­dard dur­ing that cam­paign, as ed­i­tor of the To­day pro­gramme de­spite fail­ing to have any ex­pe­ri­ence of broad­cast jour­nal­ism, for ex­am­ple.

The bias shown by To­day against the Labour party in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tion – wit­ness John Humphrys’ de­ri­sive tone to­wards Ed Miliband in his fi­nal in­ter­view, com­pared with the re­spect­ful ac­cep­tance of every­thing said by Nick Clegg and David Cameron in their in­ter­views – and the de­ri­sion they have sub­se­quently heaped on Jeremy Cor­byn, is wor­ry­ing devel­op­ment and this ap­point­ment may only ex­ac­er­bate it.

Chris Wal­lis Stock­port

• I find it odd that the Stan­dard wants an ed­i­tor who has no jour­nal­is­tic ex­pe­ri­ence or qual­i­fi­ca­tion (and lit­tle time) and, if I worked there, I’d be very dis­ap­pointed not to have been given the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for the job. But what re­ally wor­ries me is the fact no one else seems to find it wrong that highly paid, highly re­spon­si­ble ap­point­ments can be made with­out any proper open process. The only one of Os­borne’s jobs to have any sem­blance of hav­ing been gained in open com­pe­ti­tion is that of MP for Tat­ton, and that is a de facto pocket bor­ough for the Tories. He lives in a world of priv­i­lege and sinecure that should shame us all.

Steve Lup­ton Manch­ester

• Ian Jack’s hatchet-job on Daily Mail ed­i­tor Paul Dacre (Book of the day, 18 March) car­i­ca­tures him as a rant­ing monster try­ing to force his own agenda on Bri­tain. Yet noth­ing is said about how Dacre fought harder than any Fleet Street ed­i­tor for the lib­erty of the press when he stood be­hind jour­nal­ists like me caught in the Met po­lice’s Op­er­a­tion Elve­den witch-hunt. In the end, af­ter mul­ti­ple ac­quit­tals, even the Guardian agreed with the Mail that it would have been wrong to jail jour­nal­ists who had to pay for in­for­ma­tion to ex­pose scan­dals in the pub­lic in­ter­est. Away from the news­room, Dacre is a kind man loyal to his friends, and is it re­ally so shock­ing that an ed­i­tor loses his rag at edi­tion time? And no, I don’t work for him.

Fer­gus Shana­han Fel­sted, Es­sex

• Through­out all of the cov­er­age of press own­er­ship and im­pro­pri­ety from the Leve­son in­quiry on­ward, we have heard the press’s key de­fence against any in­ter­fer­ence, reg­u­la­tion or crit­i­cism of its prac­tices – that its free­dom must be pro­tected at all costs from con­trol by politi­cians. Has any jour­nal­ist pointed out the rank hypocrisy of the Stan­dard in ap­point­ing a cur­rent MP to the top edi­to­rial job on its staff ?

Will Piper Lon­don

• Putting Ru­pert Mur­doch’s Fox in con­trol of an­other piece of our news me­dia (Reg­u­la­tor to in­ves­ti­gate Mur­doch’s £11.7bn Sky bid, 17 March), given Fox News’s rep­u­ta­tion for sen­sa­tion­al­ist news in the US, and the pre­vi­ous his­tory of lies and de­cep­tion over phone hack­ing by News Corp news­pa­pers in the UK, is like set­ting a fox to guard a hen house. The fre­quent vis­its of Mur­doch and his se­nior ex­ec­u­tives to No 10 add a fur­ther worry that our gov­ern­ment is be­ing sub­verted for US cor­po­rate in­ter­ests and not the UK peo­ple’s ben­e­fit.

He who con­trols news can con­trol a coun­try’s ap­par­ent point of view. Fif­teen per cent max­i­mum of for­eign, non-res­i­dent own­er­ship should be ur­gently leg­is­lated in order to end ex­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence and in­ter­fer­ence in UK pol­i­tics.

Nigel Cross­ley Folke­stone, Kent

• Why is Os­borne’s role as chair of the North­ern Pow­er­house Part­ner­ship (what­ever it ac­tu­ally is) es­cap­ing scru­tiny now he’s the new ed­i­tor of the Stan­dard? True, he’s un­paid as NPP chair. But the or­gan­i­sa­tion is cur­rently re­cruit­ing a head of me­dia and ex­ter­nal af­fairs, some­one “to drive the cre­ation and de­liv­ery of a me­dia strat­egy across re­gional and na­tional chan­nels”. Thus, ed­i­tor Os­borne’s role at the NPP is a rel­e­vant in­ter­est.

Alex May Manch­ester

• I’m wor­ried about the hours that Ge­orge Os­borne must be do­ing to meet his work obli­ga­tions. There is leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect him. The work­ing time reg­u­la­tions (orig­i­nat­ing from Euro­pean leg­is­la­tion) set this at 48 hours per week. I won­der if he’s opted out of this?

Jane Ed­wards Sh­effield

• When they next com­pile the statis­tics for the num­ber of peo­ple in work in the coun­try, pre­sum­ably Ge­orge Os­borne will count as three.

Alan Wee­den Ep­som, Sur­rey

Fre­quent vis­its of Mur­doch and his ex­ec­u­tives to No 10 add worry our gov­ern­ment is be­ing sub­verted for US cor­po­rate in­ter­ests Nigel Cross­ley

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