Monday, May 23, 2011

Leaping the wrong way

Well, it seems that Ryan Giggs has finally been named as the footballer who gained an injunction to hide an alleged affair with Imogen Thomas (who was apparently on Big Brother)— a somewhat inevitable outcome after all of the media hype even if, as EUReferendum points out, there are far more important matters (and far more important injunctions) that our MSM might turn its jaundiced eye towards.

The MSM have been vocal in their outrage against super injunctions, although immensely coy in protecting their own wallets—preferring instead to rely on the distributed voices of the Twitterati and blogosphere to do the dirty work on their behalf.

As such, the dead tree press have been assiduous in reporting the turds of "wisdom" falling from the lips of our Masters in the Commons and the Lords, all of whom seem to have agreed the same form of words with which to condemn such legal instruments. Indeed, many in government have been extremely keen to witter on about how...
... laws should be made by the legislature, and not by the judges.

Well, yes: and, as I have long argued, MPs would serve this country better by concentrating on making good law—after all, no one else in this country can—rather than spending most of their time being over-paid, over-active wet nurses to their constituents.

Now, obviously, there are two ways in which such a law could go. The first is that enunciated by Matthew Sinclair on Twitter...
People keep saying we need new law to clarify #superinjunction issue, if it is modelled on 1st amendment, I'm game.

Indeed. Contrary to what many people in this country think—even though the vast numbers of special interest "hate" laws that have been passed in the last few years should have made it pretty fucking obvious—we have no right to free speech enshrined in our legal system.

This is partly, of course, because we tend not to make laws which specifically allow certain things, because our legal system is based on the idea that you can do anything that is not specifically banned. And we don't have a specific ban on free speech, only bans on certain types of speech—which means that we have no right to free speech.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to have the right to free speech enshrined in law. Do you think it will happen?

Nope. That would be to leap in entirely the right way—towards more liberty, more freedom.

Instead, the sack of shit known as Ken Clarke has opined—since it is axiomatic that we should not have privacy laws made by judges—that what we need is not to remove all curbs on free speech. No, any curbs on free speech should be made by our legislature.
Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has indicated that a new privacy law will be introduced after warning that the public is not entitled to “know about the sex lives of footballers”.

Maybe. But then, I don't think that footballers have the right to curb free speech in order to hide the sordid details of their sex lives. As Lord Tebbit observes...
Soon after I entered the House of Commons I was approached by someone suggesting that I should take a particular course of action which I thought was somewhat inappropriate for a Member of The House. I asked the advice of Sir Harry Legge-Bourke, the Member for the Isle of Ely, Chairman of the 1922, an ex-Guardsman of distinction and as straight as a ramrod.

“Entirely a matter for you, dear boy,” he told me. “I wouldn’t dream of giving you any advice about that. But if you would not like to read in the Daily Mail tomorrow that you had done it… then don’t do it.”

It is not a bad test. Of course many of us may fail it at some time. But what is really shameful is to do something discreditable, then to purchase an injunction by pretending it was a private family matter, when it was not.

The old economic saw of "revealed preferences" determines that you can divine what people really think by observing what they do, not what they say.

Bearing that in mind, it is a measure of the true liberal intentions of the members of this Coalition that—when faced with an opportunity either to increase liberty or constrain it—they have decided to embrace the illiberal.

No matter who wins the election, the authoritarian fucking politicians always get in, eh?

EDIT: I have edited some of the first sentence to be couched in slightly more careful—as in legally compliant—terms, e.g. adding "alleged", etc.

5 comments:

Peter said...

http://www.devilskitchen.me.uk/2008/02/welsh-is-piss-poor-language.html

It is only three years since you were praising her as "a rather pretty lass: dark and fun".

How short the memory!

Devil's Kitchen said...

Hello, Briff! And you're right—I'd entirely forgotten that.

Whoops!

DK

JuliaM said...

"No matter who wins the election, the authoritarian fucking politicians always get in, eh?"

Spot on.

And it was immediately obvious on Twitter who was most outraged by Hemming's action. Lawyers!

the a&e charge nurse said...

"The old economic saw of "revealed preferences" determines that you can divine what people really think by observing what they do, not what they say" - a principle that seldom let's you down.

I agree entirely with the sentiments of this post although the prurient Daily Mail test reflects more on the closed minds of it's readership rather than the choices consenting adults make in their private lives.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"I agree entirely with the sentiments of this post although the prurient Daily Mail test reflects more on the closed minds of it's readership rather than the choices consenting adults make in their private lives."

As you probably know, A&E, I have stuff all interest in who footballers might be shagging.

I do, however, have an interest in what our Lords and Masters are up to, and the last thing that I want is them voting to give themselves de facto immunity from reportage.

DK