Don Foster: an apology

by Stephen Tall on June 5, 2007

I have in the past been rather unkind about the Lib Dems’ culture spokesman, Don Foster. In particular, I suggested his knee-jerk opposition to super-casinos pandered to illiberal populism.

May I therefore take this opportunity to commend his support of Channel 4’s decision not to pull tomorrow’s documentary, Diana: The Witnesses In The Tunnel:

“While any programme about Diana’s death will cause distress to some members of the Royal Family, there is a legitimate public interest in the event, especially from a programme which provides new insights.

“Most commentators who have actually seen the programme praise it for the sensitive way it deals with a very delicate issue.

“Editorial decisions should not be made by ill-informed media hysteria but in the public interest and within existing broadcasting codes.”

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4 comments

The show seems to me to be in the public interest in the same way that a road crash is ‘in the public interest’. It is of interest to the public, ergo it is in the public interest. But it isn’t necessarily so.

Don is railing against a false premise here – there is no suggestion that the photos should be pulled because of ill-informed media hysteria, rather that they should be pulled because the sons of this dead woman don’t want photos of their mother used in this way.

Channel 4’s decision seems fundamentally inhuman to me to be honest. I haven’t yet seen a good explanation for WHY this programme is ‘in the public interest’…

by Rob Fenwick on June 5, 2007 at 8:49 pm. Reply #

The Gambling Act 2005 sets up huge regional monopolies for a service ( super casinos) and then puts a state controled quango in charge of deciding who gets the monopoly rights. Its a dreadful piece of legislation which offends my economic liberalism more than my social liberalism. Good for Don for being so consistant on it. I appreciate that the opposition has been a “rainbow alliance” including a lot of social conservatives but I don’t see this as a “liberalising” bill quite the opposite.

by Cllr David Morton on June 5, 2007 at 9:33 pm. Reply #

Rob – but without the ill-informed media hysteria, the Princes wouldn’t have become involved. Even Nicholas Witchell has been saying that those who watch the programme will wonder what all the fuss was about. Why should the princes’ understandable distress outrank the distress of families of 9/11 or 7/7 victims when shows investigating those events are broadcast?

David – my point in my original article is that Lib Dems should have been championing the rights of local authorities to take the decision about whether super-casinos are allowed in their areas. Don initially did that, then drew back and took the more populist line instead. I’m no gambler and I’ve never visiited a casino. But I don’t see why the government should tell Blackpool it can’t have one.

by Stephen Tall on June 6, 2007 at 8:03 am. Reply #

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