Freedom of Speech

I am shocked and appalled that it is now an offence in the United Kingdom to distribute pamphlets entitled “Death penalty?” suggesting that homosexuality should be criminalised (perhaps I should say re-criminalised) and that homosexuals should be subject to the death penalty or some other punishment. There is a strong tradition of pamphleteering in this country and prosecuting pamphleteers was a field sport that I thought had become obsolete, but for governments anxious to control the moral behaviour of the governed old habits die hard . Continue reading

A Remembrance

On the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers inNew Yorkthe papers, television and newspapers in theUnited Kingdomwere full of articles and shows about 9/11. The anniversary was treated by our media as an entertainment, albeit a solemn one. Papers were filled and television and radio stations overwhelmed and no doubt much readership was attained and much advertising sold. It was a circus where grief was the clown. Continue reading

The Inconvenience of Democracy

The United Kingdom is not very united and not much of a kingdom. There is one Parliament which makes laws for the whole country and separate elected parliaments which administer and make laws for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The monarch has very little to do with the making of these laws, but signs off on them as a matter of formality.  Continue reading

Back to Work for some and Benefits Withdrawn for Others?

The House of Commons has been called back to work as a result of the riots. The work in the case of the commons is to debate, have meetings, make pronouncements and generally blow their hot air around that famous chamber in Westminster. One thing that the members of Parliament may not like is a suggestion by some 100,000 people that those convicted of rioting offences should have their benefits withdrawn.  Continue reading

Riots: the copycat syndrome

If you have been watching the riots in England from afar then you know as much about them as me. Despite living in London and travelling across parts of London I have not see a brick thrown on anger or any burnt out cars and shops, although they are all very evident from the television pictures. It seems that the media, in particular the television and radio news, are revelling in the fact that they can report these disturbances. They have been trotting out experts to analyse the causes of the disturbances and the lessons to be learned.  Continue reading

Counting the crimes that may have been committed at the News of the World.

One of the shrouds that stifle democracy in the United Kingdom was lifted when the News of the World closed down. It was closed by a man of whom his supporters and employees said there was ink in his veins and that he loved newspapers, but it was closed because that man, who loved newspapers, thought that he would lose a great deal more money by closing a profitable paper than he would if he retained it. This man has more money than he and his heirs could ever spend. Whatever it is that flows through his veins, it is not ink. Continue reading

The News of the World Scandal

I have sat down at my computer a number of times in the past few weeks to write about privacy and telephone tapping by or on behalf of journalists at the News of the World. Each time I turned away from the topic because new allegations were published. I cannot imagine any more serious allegations coming out of this particular corrupt piece of woodwork, and so collecting my thoughts, now try to communicate them. Continue reading