Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

Coventry University Conversation 

April 23, 2009

There is no doubt that there is a need for expert political advisers at the heart of government. Ministers should be free to draw on specialist advice, they should be able to hear an alternative opinion to that of the civil service. There is also no doubt that in the past there have been highly-politicised media handlers in previous Labour and Conservative governments. The names Joe Haines and Bernard Ingham spring immediately to mind.  But equally there is no doubt that it was the incoming Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997 which created the wheeler-dealing, shoot-from-the-hip political spin doctor of today, a party activist paid for by the taxpayer, pulling the strings in Downing Street and Whitehall. 

Unesco could be replicdebate, Portcullis House, Westminster, 3.5.2007 

Nicholas Jones spoke for the motion: That this house believes world media freedom is in retreat:

You might well ask: “How could a former BBC correspondent of thirty years standing, living in a country like the United Kingdom which is so rich in media output, possibly fear that there is any threat to the freedom of our journalists to investigate and report?” I make that case because while we are output rich, we are becoming increasingly content poor. Our news gathering, in its scope and depth, is nothing like as strong as it once was. And, I fear the trends we see here in the UK ated around the world.