There is something rotten in the state of Britain. One stark illustration of this is the escalating police campaign against tabloid journalists - a campaign that appears to be not so much an act of political persecution, more a bizarre PR stunt on behalf of the Metropolitan Police in response to the Leveson Inquiry. But whatever the motives, it poses another threat to the future of a free press and investigative journalism in the UK.

Since the News of the World phone-hacking scandal exploded in 2011, the Met has been running three big investigations into the alleged crimes of the tabloid press. Taken together, these have become the biggest investigation in British criminal history. A few months ago, the senior Met officer in charge of these operations told MPs that the anti-press campaign, involving 185 investigators, would last another three years and cost £40million. Since then things have escalated further still.