Sunday 29 June 2014


Defying the European court's rules on privacy

I hope I am not alone in finding the behaviour of Andy Coulson in listening in to some people's phone messages a lot less disturbing than the shabby conspiracy of vested interests - politicians of all parties, seedy celebrities and self-regarding millionaires, many of them embittered by the press exposing their bad behaviour - who are attempting to restrict the freedom of the press.

Phone hacking is wrong but apparently Coulson might get two years. Surely a heavy fine on the newspaper would be more like it and quite sufficient to deter them by hitting their pockets?

No good will come of all this and powerful people will thrive in their oppression of vulnerable people, hiding their misdeeds behind privacy and libel laws - and press restrictions which the "great and good" create behind closed doors in the middle of the night over a slice of pizza (story here).

The most recent evidence of creeping acceptance of press restriction was the appointment of Steve Coogan to Index on Censorship (story here) - an eye-popping absurdity and an astonishing decision of an organisation many of us used to respect.

All this in the same week in which we heard more about the crimes of seedy celebrity and self-regarding millionaire Jimmy Savile, including details of how he abused people with a serious mental illness in Broadmoor Hospital.

It is a matter of record that Savile understood well how he could use the law to protect himself, safe in the knowledge that he could break and bankrupt any newspaper which attempted to expose him.

A pity nobody hacked his phone.