Re: The elephant in the room @NSLD
I pretty much agree with you about the wrongdoings of the Met, but this regulator actually would have nothing to do with that. In a proper world, this would still be a crime for the police to deal with, all the regulator would do is refer the matter to the police. Despite the FUD being put out there, the regulator is not going to decide whether what the press did was illegal or not, it is not within their remit nor should it be.
Unfortunately we do need a statutory body even we would rather we didn't. As someone who has had to deal with the press, I can tell you that you would be amazed by just how much fiction they write. I am not talking about opinions or the government is wrong/corrupt sort of stuff I do mean outright fiction about people and events and basic stuff that should be factually reported. Any professional in any other kind of organisation would be fired for such poor quality work. You cannot legislate this sort of thing and you definitely cannot have politicians acting as judges. The whole issue is influenced too much by politics and a small group of rich white men. The whole rotten mess needs a kicking because the newspapers have to get their act together on this, you have no idea just how damaging it is.
Remember when Russia split up and went 'capitalist' after the Berlin Wall came down? (Damn I am old!) So many people in Russia suddenly started acting like gangsters and paying for illegal goods, buying up state assets on the cheap etc because that is what they thought capitalism/democracy was all about thanks to Soviet propaganda. It almost caused a major collapse in their fledging democracy (arguably it did as it created a situation where Putin had to act like a dictator to sort it all out). Our own press are creating the same sort of environment, history has plenty of examples. It is all because too few people have too much control over the information being put forward to the public.
I have sympathy for the concerns of The Register and Private Eye etc as they are getting caught up in this for no fault of their own, but the current situation is simply unsustainable. This problem was first flagged up over 40 years ago and politics and the media did nothing to fix it. Thus the chickens have come home to roost and something has to be done to counter both the power of the media and the politicians.