It is amazing what a few days off can do for the soul; an excellent neurone refresher, too, I find. Something to bear in mind for the year ahead, perhaps? In the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, yet another group of unsuspecting innocents are bracing themselves for a dose of statutory regulation, and perhaps waving a fond goodbye to the last remnants of any kind of self-regulation. It isn’t often you see the words ‘unsuspecting innocents’ and ‘journalists’ all in the same sentence, is it? But noting the wavering entente between Dave and Nick after the Leveson Report was published, I am offering to help. Your luck is in lads, because there is an off-the-shelf form of regulation that has already been successfully applied across an extraordinarily diverse range of sectors. It’s called the Care Quality Commission. The beauty of the concept lies in its simplicity, because you can assess and regulate humungously large hospitals, infinitessimally small dental practices and private care and nursing homes, using exactly the same assessment criteria. By way of a practical illustration, CQC inspectors can catch MRSA and C.difficile within minutes of walking into two of the above environments, and spend a lifetime in a dental practice without the slightest risk of doing so. This means the inspectors can very quickly work out where they are – which has to be a help.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel when working out how best to regulate the British press. When they cross the line of acceptable behaviour, they only ever do it in the public interest, you know – not just to make money.