The past year will be remembered as a time when authority became more unaccountable; when potential sources learned that they could be fired and sent to court; and the journalists who talked to them learned the same.
The police, prison service and armed forces are the coercive arm of the British state. We should want them to be leaky. We should want those in charge to fear that the public can find out what they are doing. Now they are more secretive than ever. The people who are cheering on the round-up of the despised tabloid hacks are the same people who want to scrutinise the state. They are about to learn that censorious power does not only target those the respectable despise. Once unleashed, it oozes across boundaries and suffocates stories that right-thinking people rightly believe the media must publish.