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The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has said reports that GCHQ are gathering intelligence from phones and online sites should not concern people who have nothing to hide. Hague's refusal – on security grounds of course – to either confirm or deny the UK's links with the US Prism secret surveillance programme is a source of further disquiet.
The disagreement about Leveson purports to be a debate about 'press freedom'. In those terms, it is monstrously distorted. Powerful interests are disingenuously trying to portray as lingering 'state control' a reasonable attempt to give an arms-length independent regulatory framework legal underpinning as a matter of last resort.
Many years ago, during the first weeks of a music degree, I was in the university library researching for an essay on 16th century instrumental writing. A fellow fresher, an Indian student whose English was still not quite up to speed, asked me in a worried whisper: “Excuse me please. What is wirginals?” I showed him an illustration of the instrument in the book before me. The anxiety cleared from his face. “Ah – I see!” He smiled at his own misunderstanding. “Not like Wirgin Mary.”