There is a small piece of background to the recent decision by the Press Complaints Commission that Julie Burchill’s piece in the Observer was not an offence. (One of their arguments was, incidentally, that they can’t look at cases where a group is defamed, even though some little time ago Lord Hunt, their chair, assured Trans Media Watch that they could.)
The anti-Leveson pack in the commentariat keep telling us that the PCC is not broken. that the Press can be trusted to self=regulate. The PCC does, after all, have lay members…
A few years ago back in 2008, one of the posts for lay members became vacant, and I applied. I was, after all, a respected author of books on popular culture. a reasonably well-known literary journalist, and a former deputy chair of the National Council for Civil Liberties, with a background in the Civil Service. I had references from a former editor of the Times and a Minister at the Home Office. ( My application mentioned that I was active in the causse of trans rights, but did not stress the wilder bits of my past, or views.) On paper, I looked really rather good.
I didn’t even get an interview.
I mostly applied so that they could turn me down. on the assumption that one day, their having turned me down would be useful back story. This is that day.