by Alex Massie
Naturally one consequence of the News of the World scandal (the scandal being that the paper's "techniques" have been uncovered; not the practices themselves) is politicans calling for Something To Be Done. Regulation is always the obvious and lazy answer to anything and everything. Chris Dillow elegantly summarises the case against further government intrusion:
The NotW’s motive in phone-hacking and bribing coppers was to give its customers what they want – which is often, as Orwell pointed out in 1946, a good murder. And it was pretty successful in this: its sales, remember, outnumbered those of the Observer by nine-to-one. In this respect, regulating the press is very different from regulating financial services, medicines or food. In the latter cases, regulation tries to protect customers from products that don’t satisfy their wishes. In the case of the press, regulation tries to stop customers getting what they want.
Quite. As I suggested last week The punters know what they want and deserve to get lots of it, good and hard.