No wonder politicians out to constrain press

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You have been warned. There will be a concerted attempt after the general election, by some MPs, to impose the restraints and shackles of the infamous Leveson Inquiry on the media.

That would be an outrageous erosion of the freedom of speech and the ability of the press to winkle out the ‘bad apples’ in the Establishment.

For, make no mistake, it has been Fleet Street and the broadcasters who have done far more than any other section of society to weed out dodgy politicians, greedy politicians and sexually depraved politicians.

Only this weekend has the press unearthed allegations about a Tory parliamentary candidate plotting with far-right extremists to stir up racial hatred in what has been described as “a cynical bid to win votes”.

Others, including ex-Cabinet Ministers, have been caught out trying to make money through their closeness to ministers.

And scores of MPs were exposed immorally misusing taxpayers’ money to feather their own nests in the expenses scandal.

And it has been the press in all these cases, and many others, who have unearthed these outrages.

No wonder politicians are out to constrain the press with a hint of a police state.

If these MPs had their way, it would become far worse.

Her Majesty’s Opposition has a right – indeed, probably, a duty – to take George Osborne’s Budget to pieces and to analyse and probe every detail of it with a critical and hostile eye.

But what cannot be denied, irrespective of the merits or demerits of the Budget’s contents, is that the Chancellor’s presentation of it was a masterclass of parliamentary theatre.

Osborne has politically grown up leaps and bounds since those first halting days as Chancellor in 2010. Last week he was brimming over with confidence. His optimism and freshness cast a warm glow over those who heard or saw it.

Britain “the come-back country” is “walking tall”. “The sun is starting to shine and we are hitting the road.” No wonder Tory MPs were waving their order papers enthusiastically when he sat down after 59 minutes.

Maybe Labour was right in castigating it as the Budget no one believes and the Chancellor as someone nobody trusts. But they cannot deny that his performance was brilliant.

He deserved an Oscar for that.