Coffee House

Pizzas banned as politicians get set for crunch press talks

8 October 2013

It’s funny that the pizzas that ministers, advisers and lobbyists munched as they thrashed out a deal on press regulation in March have become a symbol of all that was wrong with those late-night negotiations. Today when Maria Miller decided to distance herself from the talks in Ed Miliband’s office, a source close to the Culture Secretary explained that this included ‘the Miliband office, the pizza, it was the presence of Hacked Off’. Obviously the presence of Hacked Off was more menacing than a few boxes of ham and pineapple pizza, but both have been banned from the three days of talks that the parties will now go into, ahead of a final decision on Friday. Labour says it will ‘be speaking to the victims’, which means Hacked Off, but no campaign groups will be present during the negotiations proper.

As Fraser explains, neither the charter on offer now or whatever Maria Miller, Harriet Harman and Lord Wallace cobble together over some kind of healthy alternative to pizza is palatable to those publications who fear political meddling with press freedom. But it is interesting that Miller made a point of telling the Commons this afternoon that ‘I have to say that the optics around 18 March did not help a difficult situation’. Aides insisted that she wasn’t blaming anyone when asked whether Miller blamed Oliver Letwin, who led for the government in those March talks. But she is clearly trying to wrestle back control of her brief, suggesting that she would have done a better job on the Pizza Night. But she hasn’t given any indication that what is on the table now won’t kebab the press.

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Show comments
  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Costco do this really great line in pizzas. Eat in or to go. And all the same price, none of that “extra cheese” BS.

  • Denis_Cooper

    It is essential that the press is placed under full government control by 2017, just in case we do have that promised “in-out” referendum on the EU.

  • swatnan

    Politicians used to love pie charts, but because of the PC lobby and pasty tax theyve gone for pizza charts. Now even these are to be banned. How then can you demonstrate percentage GDP growth or the proportion of people hacked off by the Media without pizzas? its beyond believe, and so petty.

  • sunnydayrider

    A good reason to fear political influence over the press is the possibility of a Labour government next. Imagine Len McClusky pulling the strings.

  • telemachus

    Pizza may be nutritionally bad
    However Miller is equally bad for the Nation
    Leveson spoke
    All MP’s should heed
    We are fed up of Tory Press Barons calling the shots on this and everything else

    • Colonel Mustard

      I’m fed up WITH Baroness Ashton.

    • telemackus

      Hacked off represent the voices of reason and progressive national socialism and must decide what we read and write. We cannot allow foreign owned publications to criticise Ed.

  • telemachus

    What is bad about a pizza?

    1. It is high in salt
    Salt is like a leech that sucks and damages all the other nutrients that it encounters. People think that it is not so bad for you when you are trying to lose weight but they couldn’t be further from the truth.

    And, it is the salt that ruins the lovely tomato paste. Huge amounts are added to enhance the flavor.

    2. High in fat
    Not all fats are bad for you but, alas, the fats in pizza are. Saturated fats are found in the pizza base and the cheese and usually amount to about 20 grams. With nine calories for every gram of fat that makes pizza not a good choice.

    3. The sugar
    But, the real fat loss killer is the sugar. As in almost any take away or man made food that you can find there is more sugar than you can poke a treadmill at. And the fact of the matter is, low-fat foods are particularly high in sugar. As painful and confusing as it is to hear, not all low fat foods are good fat loss choices as they are so high in sugar. How else are they going to make it taste good?

    • Colonel Mustard

      You should create an Anti-Pizza Charter and go preach it on Pizza forums, away from here.

      • telemackus

        We should call it Pizza-Off.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          United Against Pizza.

    • telemackus

      In our progressive national socialist future all pizzas and reactionary Darwinists will be banned. We will control blogs like this to allow only the voices of reason like me and my friends Lindsay and Arsebore.

    • Harold Angryperson

      You are Mr Logic from Viz comic and I claim my £5.

  • Smithersjones2013

    No pizzas? Well that will keep Tom Watson away for sure…

    Deciding the refreshment menu is just about Maria Miller’s level

  • Peter Stroud

    Had Cameron allowed the law to take its course, and await the police Inquiry to complete its job and prosecute the erring journalists; Leveson would not have been necessary. But he panicked, and got things wrong. So, we are now waiting for numerous journalists to be tried, convicted or discharged; and government pushing through a bill to allow politicians to interfere with the Press. Thanks Prime Minister, you have left the press, and those of the population who believe in press freedom: completely betrayed.

    • Smithersjones2013

      But this was never about ensuring proper behaviour in the media this was about politicians control freakery. It’s a symptom of politicians failure.

      The more things go wrong and politicians lose support and respect the more they compensate by having to control everything. Of course the more they impose themselves on people and control them the more they are viewed with contempt and in doing so they lose further respect and the spiral of decline continues

    • figurewizard

      I entirely agree with your comment. The fact of Levenson makes no sense at all when police investigations were being vigorously pursued, resulting as these have in a number of serious charges awaiting trial. There can be no doubt that as those trials take place we shall all learn that the law as it stands is more than adequate to deal with any wrongdoing by the press. To pander to the demands of groups such as “hacked off” either before or after justice has taken its course would be quite wrong therefore.

  • toco10

    It looks like the BBC’s Labour news hacks may get the monopoly on what is broadcast to us mere mortals.These multi millionaires on programmes such as the ‘Today Programme’ and ‘Question Time’ seek to create one wholly dominant force in news spinning in the UK and that is the BBC with some crumbs thrown at The Guardian and The Independent as their combined circulation is less than one million and in any event they are leftist peddlers of Labour inspired thinking.We live in very dangerous times regarding freedom of the press and need to be vigilant and cognisant of the strategy followed by many of the BBC’s news hacks and presenters.

    • 2trueblue

      The BBC already has the monopoly and we pay for it. They spend their time telling us the facts as they see it and it is on 24/7. How often do you see Liebore challenged on the BBC? It is just all so cosy and there is no rebuttal.
      Balls talking about the ‘Baby P” case was just unbelievable. All this happened under his governments watch and was that mentioned? We spent 13yrs learning about education, the NHS, the great things they were doing. 13yrs is at least 2 generations through senior school and what did we get during that time? Not a lot, but each day we were told that they were doing a great job. That is why we need a free press.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Even BBC Drama is full of subliminal and not so subliminal propaganda. Many historical dramas are presented with revisionist or leftist perspectives (lots of class war stuff) and the modern dramas contain appalling role models and impoverished dialogue.

        Then there is their array of leftist “comedians” and manufactured yoof celebrities wheeled out in dreary talk shows and infantile quiz shows.

        • 2trueblue

          Agree with you. But then what can one expect from a group who are run totally for ‘themselves’. They are totally self indulgent and have a free hand, with huge funds they do not have to account for. Great work if you can get it.

    • Smithersjones2013

      How can they have a monopoly if you refuse to watch such rubbish. BBC domestic viewer/listener figures are far less than they were in the 1980’s. I have not watched a BBC current affairs programme for at least 5 years (or much else of their purile output for that matter). Instead of wasting your time writing at length about it do the most direct thing you can do and boycott the BBC. If their viewing/listening figures continue to spiral downwards then they are beaten. The less people in the UK who use their services, the less they can justify the licence fee or their elitist attitudes.

      Seriously I use commercial TV and radio and having dumped the BBC I don’t miss it and its fetid urban liberal attitudes at all. Politicians will no longer be interested in them if they continue to decline domestically.

      Yes the BBC is a squalid organisation but don’t give it an importance that has long since left it.

      • Reconstruct

        I think this is the only practical answer. The BBC is the most powerful political player in the UK, and no government needing to be elected once every five years will dare cross it. So we’re stuck with it. The only thing you can do is boycott it. Obviously, you’re going to lose nothing by not watching its news and current affairs TV output, but you’d also be surprised at how much better your day is if you don’t let the Today program into your life.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Its influence is insidious, however. Think of all the joornolista yobs clamoring to appear. They’re cashing in, and they want to keep cashing in. So the influence goes beyond a single broadcast. It’s out in other media circles. It’s insidious.

        • Reconstruct

          I certainly agree that the BBC’s entire output should be systematically boycotted by all conservative politicians: no appearances on the Today program, on the News, on Newsnight, on panel shows or ‘celebrity’ events. Nothing – absolute radio silence. There are, after all, many other ways to interact with the public than through the BBC.

          In addition, it would be helpful if all print journalists of a conservative persuasion also refused to cooperate – they are simply being ‘useful fools’. In the even that these journalists are unable to resist the BBC’s shilling, their BBC earnings should be noted in every column, as full disclosure.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Absolute boycotts can be successful at time, but a more passive approach might be a better first step. The old saying is, never get into an argument with a guy who buys ink by the barrel. Politicians can’t be the lead here, I should think.

            Naming and shaming malefactors is critical, and the new media must take the ball here. That’s why Leveson and company ultimately aims to silence them.

            And new media must name and shame the jooornoolistas who profit off them, as you mention. How much cash do they pocket? What are they advocating?

            Ultimately, the attack must focus on editorial content of the publicly funded broadcaster. It must be even handed, and forced into compliance with that requirement. While it might be best if the public didn’t have to pay for any of this, the next best outcome is to remove instititutional bias. Here’s where the politicians must get involved.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Talking of BBC, have you noticed that “Myanmar” is now politically correct? Obviously HMG gave Auntie the nod after the Myanmar government let it be known than if Britain wanted contracts it had better start referring to the country by its non-colonial name. So I was right all along. Gloat, gloat.

        • Toby Esterházy

          You really are a stupid pedant suffering from both talking-to-yourself autism and the OCD, aren’t you?

    • dalai guevara

      Assuming it was as you stated, would this not worry you for entirely different reasons?

      I will elaborate: how can it be that a free country as proud as Britain would choose to dumb down its citizenry so profoundly? All these red tops are an indicator of quality, say it as it is journalism? All these illiterate (dyslexic) pupils leaving our schools, we afford ourselves all these millions of fuel poor, pension and penniless suburbanites in Tottenham, Salford and Birmingham whilst socialist France can afford to run HS2 since 1981? What is wrong with us, why do we f e a r our own people?

      We do, don’t deny it. We display deep contempt with regards to their situation – badgers, foxes and dogs get more positive attention than they ever would.

      There is of course a root cause to all of this. The root cause of me me me morals, so comprehensively developed when the country went down the pan last time round. We have learnt nothing. There we have it, I am done for now.

      • Colonel Mustard

        “how can it be that a free country as proud as Britain would choose to dumb down its citizenry so profoundly?”

        Because since 1968 socialists (Fabians) have relentlessly undermined everything that used to make us free and proud. It’s no good blaming Maggie. She was just one brief, effective rearguard action in the face of the socialist advance.

        • dalai guevara

          I did not blame Maggie, but those people misunderstanding her.
          And now an exclamation mark (!) because I believe it is due.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I’m sorry. I did not mean to infer that you were blaming Maggie, although I acknowledge it can be read that way. It was more a general observation about the way that those on the left often tend to blame her for everything.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        No, it bothers him for the same reason it bothers everybody who cherishes freedom and liberty. They don’t want you socialists to censor speech, and steal the People’s money and give it to your propagandists.

        And that’s exactly what you and your mate Leveson have in mind.

  • 2trueblue

    The EU is involved in supporting the Hacked Off organisation. It would be interesting know who is who in Hacked Off. There are limitations on the press in parts of the EU which the Eu would like to extend Europe wide. Once the freedom is gone it is gone.
    Hacked Off should not have been there that evening, never mind the pizza. Cameron should have seen to that.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …and they should be named and shamed even now.

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