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The noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, referred to a conflict between the views of current editors and those of former editors of newspapers on the influence of owners, pointing out the frankness of former editors on the issue and the slight reserve of the current ones. The noble Baroness, Lady Scott, pointed out that the report had taken some time, as indeed it did. In parenthesis, I wish her luck in the election in which she is engaged. The noble Lord, Lord Inglewood, pointed out that we are not in the days of Lord Beaverbrook, who stood over editors saying, Thou shalt do this and thou shalt do that. Editors now operate in an envelope rather than under that detailed instruction.
I particularly thank the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam, who patiently listened to the contributions to our debatevirtually everyone who has spoken has been on the committeeand who was constrained to make a speech of only a few minutes. He has vast experience, so that was a great pity. His points were important, including the point that the BBC should be careful about losing public support. I think that all of us who support the BBC would wish to send that message.
I thank the other two Front-Bench speakers, the noble Lord, Lord McNally, and my noble friend Lady Rawlings, for their contributions. I also thank the noble Lord for his support for the committee. I almost left out the noble Lord, Lord Maxtonthe noble anorak himselfwho only very occasionally agrees with the chairman of the committee. I think that it is fair to say that his views are firmly anti-religious. My greatest achievement ever when chairing the committee was to get him and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester to agree on our report on religious broadcasting. I am not sure how I did that, but the noble Lord probably regrets it.
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