The First Law of Television

This morning’s Observer column

The case for net neutrality is abstract, sophisticated and long term. It was therefore a racing certainty that US Senators, who respond to corporate lobbying much as Pavlov’s dogs did to the ringing of a bell at mealtimes, would struggle with it. And so it has proved. On Wednesday, the Senate commerce committee rejected an amendment to a new telecoms bill which would have enforced net neutrality, thereby opening up the prospect of electronic tollbooths.

So has the die been cast? Not quite: the issue may be contested on the floor of the Senate. But at the moment there are lots of dire predictions about the consequences of the committee’s vote…