The prime minister signing off texts with LOL DC is funny on two counts. Firstly that as a man in his 40s he is out of touch with text protocol assuming LOL meant lots of love, and secondly there is hint of the unguarded man who is still prime minister doing something unexpected, and perhaps even a little bit naughty. The bigger picture is that he was texting the ex-Chief Executive Officer of News International. But is it really that surprising?

Margaret Thatcher won her first election in 1979 partly due to the Sun for the first time in its history encouraging its readers to vote Tory. The power of the press has always been formidable, particularly in politics.
If the power in politics is to be in government, then the press can have influence on the choice the electorate makes. With all the political parties becoming more indistinguishable from one another, the electorate is more undecided. Power is a force. The nature of power is that it teams up with other power to increase and consolidate its own power. A politician sidling up to the press to bolster their influence is unsurprising.

But yet it still surprises! Perhaps it is the extent of the closeness of the relationship? Or that it is a relationship to a press that a public is titillated by, but at the same time regards in horror?
Is it the press doing it to the press? The Guardian breaking the story on the News of the World.
The broadsheet press catching the tabloid press out?

Let us not forget that the Leveson inquiry set up by the prime minister in 2011 was only going to examine the relationship between the press and the police. The relationship between the press and the politicians was notably absent. If someone somewhere had not been paying attention this might not have been addressed: but for how long would this have been possible?
Perhaps the lesson here is that when powerful forces are at work, nothing appears as it seems, and we all have to pay attention.

North London Counsellor Blog

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