Cost of the Leveson Enquiry: c £3.5million… and counting

I didn’t see these figures published anywhere prominently. So I’m publishing them.

The total was £2,840,800 at the end of March. In the previous two months, it had risen by £900,000. Assuming the same rate of increase, the total is probably running today at about £3,500,000.

Who’s paying for that? You are.

Think about that for a minute. £3.5m buys:

This is not chicken shit money. And £3.5m isn’t the final bill. There could be many more months of this.

I was a supporter of the initial impetus for the Leveson Enquiry, so I’m not an ‘interested’ anti-Leveson agitator. Quite the contrary.

After a year of this Enquiry, though, I’m asking some basic accountability questions, viz:

1. Are we really happy about spending this much – with more to come? I mean, it seems to me that the second six months of the Enquiry really haven’t thrown up anything that the first six didn’t. Is there really anything more to discover that’s worth discovering?

2. Is the continuing humiliation of newspapers and newspapermen really, really improving or helping our democracy? Sure, Leveson’s shone a light on some utter wankers. But guess what: we knew there were utter wankers in the press long before day 1 of Leveson. How does it help to discuss the wankers in detail if doing so costs the same as 140 nurses’ annual salary?

Just asking. Convince me I’ve got my priorities wrong.

3 Responses to “Cost of the Leveson Enquiry: c £3.5million… and counting”

  1. Lee Says:

    The whole issue of cost of something like Leveson is interesting, particularly in the light of calls for a judge-led enquiry into interest rate fixing. I think Leveson is worth it: you can’t, with hindsight, say it should’ve stopped halfway through. In any case, recent evidence has included hugely important excerpts from key politicians, directly contradicting evidence from eg Murdoch Snr. A lot of very important stuff has gone on the record, on oath, and yes, a lot of this does cut to the heart of how we get to engage in our democracy. As such, the numbers you quote aren’t in my view excessive, although it is interesting that they haven’t been much yet discussed.

  2. Soilman Says:

    Lee hi
    I’m not sure I agree. None of the people facing charges were exposed by Leveson – all evidence against them was found by the police. Not by Leveson. Rebekah would be facing charges whether Leveson had happened or not. So would everyone else.
    News International was already facing phone-hacking civil suits before Leveson. They would have gone through with or without it. We’d know all about the celebrities who were hacked in any case. Guardian and Beeb would have seen to that.
    Both Murdochs were exposed by Leveson as either crap managers, lousy liars or hopelessly forgetful – take your pick. But I could have told you they were rats without Leveson (any journalist could). They are both still running their empire (which is still intact, BTW). We still have the NOTW, albeit by another name. What, really, has changed?
    What specific evidence from Leveson has helped police in their investigations? Only the police could tell you that. But from what we’ve seen, it’s clear the police have been doing fine on their own. Remember: Rebekah’s being done for conspiracy to pervert, not phone-hacking. And that’s all police work after the fact.
    £195 million for the Savile Enquiry was arguably a price worth paying to publicly expiate Britain’s guilt via some judge-led self-flagellation. It was really a foreign policy operation – the bill should have gone straight to the FCO. As the pre-condition for Good Friday and all that followed, it was dirt cheap at the price. The UK’s saved billions in security costs in NI.
    Does Leveson really have the same value? The ‘important stuff’ you mention might be important in the court of public opinion (it’s certainly a gift to socialists itching to bash the right-wing press). But is it important in the absolute sense? Does it change anything material?
    I see no material change – only a large bill getting larger.

  3. Tom Says:

    Leveson has properties of enjoyable panoramic overview that those marvelous Victorian paintings by William Powell Frith such as “The Railway Station” or “Epsom Derby” epitomise.

    Jay is painting a picture of our political elites. The picture is actually too much to take in in one go. Like a painting, it’s full of the obvious – which defies understanding by dint of its normality. But, bit by bit, its significance sinks in, and one acquires a different sense of it, one that I would say is improved.

    A few million quid for this sort of thing is peanunts, IMHO, tho’ I accept what you say that the money could be usefully expended in other ways.