Socialist Worker

Troublemaker special - Max Mosley and the Leveson inquiry

Issue No. 2594

Moseley in 1969

Moseley in 1969


Max Mosley inherited his fortune from his father, Sir Oswald, the 6th Baronet of Ancoats.

Oswald led the British Union of Fascists. His son inherited his father’s views.

In 1962 Mosley drove across Europe to a weekend party in Venice hosted by his father. The guests were former Nazi generals and neo-Nazi politicians. During the same trip he also visited the Dachau concentration camp.

He called for a ban on black immigrants.

In the 1930s, Sir Oswald’s uniformed Blackshirt agitators, inspired by the Nazis, had been prevented by protesters from entering Jewish neighbourhoods of east London in the Battle of Cable Street. In 1940 Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley were interned for supporting Hitler, who had attended their wedding.

Mosley published leaflets in a by-election in 1961 which blamed black immigrants for leprosy, venereal disease and tuberculosis, and called for Jamaicans to be repatriated.

The evidence implies he lied when he was questioned about whether he had produced such leaflets. He denied the allegation as “absolute nonsense”.

In the 1960s a list kept under lock and key at party headquarters contained the names of Communists, Jews and other opponents of Mosley. The list was reported to comprise of anti-fascists who had disrupted meetings.

A Nazi told the Daily Herald at the time, “These files will come in very handy when the time comes—we know our enemies.”

Mosley is trying to use the Data Protection Act to force the media to stop publishing details about his sex life.

He won a privacy case with the News of the World over its report on his sadomasochistic orgy with women working as prostitutes. The court found that they were not Nazi themed.

It did emerge that that he had spent £75,000 in a year buying his sexual pleasure.


Tories cancel Leveson two to press relief

The Leveson Inquiry into the “culture, practice and ethics of the press” made lots of bad recommendations and heard lots of bad evidence.

What it didn’t do was look into “unlawful practices within News International and other newspapers”. While that is what most people thought it was for, this is Part II—described by Lord Leveson as the “who-did-what-to-whom” bit.

Leveson could have have lifted the lid on the corrupt relationships between press and police, and indeed between press and politicians.

It could have shed light on “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood or the scandal over the Daniel Morgan murder.

In truth that was somewhat unlikely.

But now it is certain it won’t as the Tories cancelled Leveson two last week. Out of Leveson one came the state-approved newspaper regulator Impress. It was funded with £3.8 million through a charity backed by Mosley.

The papers paid millions to avoid court cases over hacking. Mosley paid millions to get his way with press.


Careful what you wish for in news regulation

The demand to implement Lord Leveson’s proposals in full is a dangerous one.

On top of the regulator and the libel laws, Leveson proposed changing data protection laws to make it illegal to handle leaked documents.

This could include the accounts of a failing PFI trust or an MP’s expenses.

He wants to make it easier for the cops to get journalists to reveal their sources. He argues that “genuine whistleblowers will use confidential avenues rather than feel it necessary to break confidences by bringing about much wider public dissemination through disclosures to the media”.

He also writes, “The names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released to the press or the public.”

Tightening reporting restrictions would move justice, and injustice, further from public view.

  • Libel law is a way for the rich protect themselves from scrutiny. It is good that Section 40 on libel is set to be abolished. It meant if a publication didn’t sign up to the state regulator, even if it won a libel case, it would still have to pay all the legal fees. A single case could have closed Socialist Worker.

Hate mail hypocrisy

With a remarkable lack of self awareness the Daily Mail declared war with Mosley. So they have dug up information on his Nazi past. The Mail, like Mosley, says it has changed its views.

At the beginning of the 1930s, the then Viscount Rothermere owned the Mail and the Mirror.

In January 1934, he wrote articles for both. The former was headlined, “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”. The latter was headlined, “Give the Blackshirts a helping hand.”


Publish and be damned

Troublemaker is against press regulation, not because we believe in the right of powerful media groups to act any way they see fit. Rather we believe that the state should not be in control of the press.

The cosy and corrupt relationship between the media, politicians and the cops is clear. But that is an argument for making those relationships weaker, not stronger.

The Leveson Inquiry was set up to calm the crisis over the phone hacking scandal.

The corporate media portray their opposition to regulation as a defence of “freedom of speech.” That is hypocrisy.

Their interest is only in defending their class.


Pay up Watson

Tom Watson is under pressure to return £500,000 in donations from Max Mosley.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has suggested that Labour’s deputy leader took the donations on the basis that the privacy campaigner had changed his views from the days when he was a supporter of the far right. Watson is shadow digital, culture, media and sports minister.


Labour MP Max Moseley?

In 1997 Labour decided to ban tobacco companies’ sponsorship of sport. Convinced of his own political talent, Mosley organised a meeting in Downing Street with Tony Blair. He wanted to pay the Labour Party £1 million to delay the introduction of rules to ban sponsorship of Formula One by tobacco companies despite the party’s manifesto commitment.

The donation was also intended to ease the way for Mosley to become a Labour MP.


The things they say...

‘We do not believe that reopening this costly and time-consuming inquiry is the right way forward’

The Tory culture secretary, Matt Hancock cancelling Leveson two

‘I’m proud to call Max Mosley a friend and I’m delighted he has made a financial contribution to Labour’

Tom Watson in 2017

‘A very decent person’

How Max Mosley today describes Walter Hesketh, the fascist candidate who he campaigned for in 1961

‘All that I have come across, yes’

Mosley asked at Oxford if he shared the views of his father by a student paper. The college shut the paper down

‘We were scraping the bottom of the barrel, Mosley, when we took you’

A tutor at Oxford University to Mosley after a friend of Mosley got young Max a place despite him failing the exams.


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 6 Mar 2018, 13:59 GMT
Issue No. 2594
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