A few days ago, your humble Devil was notified that someone was trying to get contact details in order to sue him. I was, I admit, mildly concerned and waited the email with some trepidation.
It was from one Allyson MacVean, complaining that I had defamed her in a post last year.
I understand you are responsible for the Devils Kitchen web page.
On those pages are material relating to myself which is defamatory. I
would ask you to remove it otherwise I will seek legal redress and
The name didn't ring a bell, but I managed to track down the post; it related to a BBC article in which Ms MacVean is quoted thusly...
Prof Allyson MacVean, director of the John Grieve Centre for Policing and Community Safety at London's Metropolitan University, welcomed the move but said police should be able to search sex offenders' homes and computers.
"Internet addresses are so easy to make up and it doesn't give any sense of who the person is or where their location is," she told the BBC, "which is why the police do need to have access to their computers without them needing to go and apply for a warrant."
I unkindly called Professor MacVean a number of decidedly naughty names, because I determined that anyone who would call for the police to be able to break into someone's house and access their computer—on the basis of no evidence whatsoever—was, in fact, a very dangerous and unpleasant person.
However, I see that the BBC news story has now been amended and reads as follows:
Prof Allyson MacVean, director of the John Grieve Centre for Policing and Community Safety at London's Metropolitan University, said police should be able to search sex offenders' homes and computers.
"Internet addresses are so easy to make up and it doesn't give any sense of who the person is or where their location is," she told the BBC.
She said this was why the police needed access to sex offenders' computers without needing to apply for a warrant.
So, did Professor MacVean say this or not? One has to wonder...
Anyway, despite receiving legal advice to the effect that Professor MacVean had little chance of securing a judgement against your humble Devil, I decided to amend the post.
And I would like to thank Professor MacVean, because I believe that the substituted text is actually rather more powerful than the insults that I threw at her. Said text now reads as follows:
I genuinely think that anyone who wants the police to be able to break into an innocent person's home without having to present prima facie evidence before a judge is, in fact, directly encouraging a police state. After all, if the police are able to bypass the law at any time, this is, surely, almost the very definition of a police state.
And this authoritarian measure is, it seems, what Allyson MacVean is lobbying for (unless, of course, she has been misquoted?). Needless to say, your humble Devil views anyone who advocates that a police force should be able to invade a person's home and lock said person up—without having to produce a shred of evidence of wrong-doing—to be deeply illiberal.
Yes, yes: we all know that it will only be for paedos, but picking out minorities and persecuting them is what totalitarian states are so very good at—just ask the Jews, gays and cripples of Nazi Germany (or Stalinist Russia, for that matter).
I am happy to clarify Professor MacVean's position on this matter.
Thank you for your attention.