» Friday, November 11, 2005

Sir Christopher Meyer

Asked for the Prime Minister’s view in relation to the Foreign Secretary’s suggestion that Sir Christopher Meyer might not be the best head of the Press Complaints Commission given the kind of information found in his book and in the press, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister had made clear on Monday at his monthly press conference that it was better that Downing Street did not get involved in talking about people’s books and we would continue not to do so. Asked if the Prime Minister broadly endorsed the Foreign Secretary’s sentiments, the PMOS said that the Foreign Secretary had been expressing his view, as was his right to do so. We had found in Downing Street that it was best not to get involved in book reviews. Asked what the Prime Minister’s view was on the right of people who had worked in Government to recount their experiences in general, the PMOS said that the best person to talk about this was the head of the civil service, Sir Gus O’Donnell. Sir Gus O’Donnell had made clear his distaste for this kind of book. The critical thing, as he had stressed, was the importance of the relationship between civil servants and Ministers and the ability for Ministers to trust the impartial advice and confidentiality of civil servants.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Something on the news tonight about Sir Christopher Meyer "breaking cover" – which seems to suggest that his account is accurate – but folk who have something to hide don’t like it…..

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 11 Nov 2005 on 10:54 pm | Link
  2. It\x92s not surprising that Blair\x92s spokesperson declines to criticize Sir Christopher Meyer, or to call for his resignation from the Press Complaints Commission, because what links Blair with these latter two is fraudulent self-regulation. Meyer\x92s belief in this principle speaks for itself, and it is entirely appropriate for him to head up the Press Complaints Commission. This is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the corporations which own the UK press, just as the equally fraudulent Advertising Standards Authority is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the advertising industry. The PCC was created in order to fend off any suggestion that the public should exercise any control over what newspapers print, and to leave them free, under cover of pretending to \x93regulate\x94 themselves with voluntary codes and the like, to be as mendacious, partisan and intrusive as suits their frantic pursuit of market share.
    Similarly, no-one is more dedicated to the principle of self-regulation than Tony Blair. As a war criminal, the last thing he wants is for there to be any citizen power to call him to account by initiating a prosecution over his complicity in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis as a result of the illegal attack on Iraq. Blair hypocritically calls on the Serbs to hand over Karadic and Mladic for trial by the International Criminal Court while sheltering behind his own immunity from prosecution. Regulation is for others, but not for himself, and especially not where crimes are concerned. So it\x92s hardly surprising that the PMOS has not a word of criticism for Meyer (especially as he supported the invasion of Iraq) or for the PCC, which is an important arm of the apparatus of power and mystification Blair depends on, and a like believer in the fraudulent principle of self-regulation.

    Comment by Michael McCarthy — 12 Nov 2005 on 9:37 am | Link
  3. It’s difficult to believe that a Government which so assiduously replaced any impartial senior civil servants with others more to their liking, and which has fostered the dramatic increase in powers of ‘political advisors’ can be serious about ensuring the impartiality of public servants.

    Straw and most of his colleagues actually are intellectual pygmies and his pathetic attempt at character assassination on the radio should be recognised for what it was. Better by far to have kept his loose mouth shut – at least he might have emerged with some dignity.

    If ministers genuinely want to have confidentiality they need to understand that this is a two way street. Who knows? It might even turn to mutual respect, but not in the lifetime of this Government, I guess.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 12 Nov 2005 on 5:21 pm | Link
  4. Meyer broke the Government’s trust. But the Government already broke our trust, so forfeited any rights they might think they had.

    Comment by Julian Todd — 12 Nov 2005 on 5:33 pm | Link
  5. No point, Michael, in just pointing out the most obvious villainy in the self regulatory circus. There’s the cops, the docs, the lawyers, the accountants, the military, the clergy and the rest all policing themselves. ALL professions are a conspiracy against the laiety. I think George Bernard Shaw said that.

    Comment by tasty macfadden — 13 Nov 2005 on 9:17 pm | Link

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