The standards of free speech in Britain are abysmally low, worse than in most dictatorships. London is the libel capital of the world and the nefarious rich abuse the system on a massive scale to censor the truth about themselves. Expensive solicitors have set up a whole reputation management industry sending out thousands of dire threatening letters to people who have done no wrong.
Then we have super injunctions, often where a celebrity has created a false family image for commercial reasons and then uses the court to prevent the truth about this being revealed. They don’t want their income to take the same kind of hits that Tiger Woods’ did.
And now we have the ridiculous judges interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights. They are coming down very heavily indeed with article 8 which provides a right to respect for oneâ€™s â€œprivate and family life, his home and his correspondenceâ€ and are pretty much ignoring article 10 which is supposed to guarantee free speech. The balance here is ridiculously distorted.
But as if this wasn’t enough stealing of our basic human rights the lawyers are now trying on yet another angle. Ian Puddick, a plumber, discovered that his wife had been having a 10 year long affair with her boss, Timothy Haynes. Nobody is disputing this. But Puddick took it upon himself to disseminate the information as widely as possible on the internet. Nothing wrong with that you might think. Shockingly he was raided by the City of London Police and is in court for harassment, purely for publicising his wife’s affair.
This is ridiculous and outrageous and the start of a very slippery slope indeed. Our constabulary really could become the thought police and blogs like this would become impossible as I would be raided and put in court for telling the truth about Ed Balls.
Really this government needs to get a grip. We desperately need the equivalent of the American first amendment. And we need the libel laws stripped back to the very minimum necessary to protect the innocent. If they don’t act then people will increasingly use technology to publicly say anything they want to say in total anonymity. This is very easy to do. Then we would have the laws of the jungle.