A few days ago, if I was asked if I had heard of a man named Ryan Giggs, my answer would probably have been, “Erm, he’s something to do with sports, probably football,” and that would have been it. My total lack of interest in sport, sporting ‘personalities’ and anything to do with the whole business of ‘gossip’ has insulated me from such people for a long time, and I feel the better for it.
But suddenly, because this creature of low morals has tried to keep his sordid sexual life out of the public gaze, we are all reading about him, his marriage and his alleged seven-month affair with some slapper from Big Brother. The fact that he denies these events is fair enough, but when he gets a high-powered law firm to shower injunctions against the very mention of his name shows how stupid is the track he has chosen.
Has he or his lawyers never heard of the Streisand Effect? Barbara wanted a photo of her beachfront mansion removed from a database, on the grounds that her privacy was being invaded. As a direct result of her legal action, which she lost; 420,000 people visited the low-profile site to view the photo! It is a good thing to remember Denis Healey’s First Law of Holes; if you find yourself in one, stop digging!
If Americans can read about the allegations regarding Ryan Giggs, but we are to be ‘protected’ from such stories, the last thing in the world I feel is being protected. What I feel is a great sense of injustice, and as I wrote before, the last time we were denied knowledge of those who are deemed ‘more important’ than others, we eventually saw the Abdication of Edward the Eighth.
Frankly, I couldn’t care less if Ryan Giggs has, or has not, been breaking his marital vows with some slapper or other, but I do care passionately about the right of everyone to write or comment on, these events. If he hasn’t been doing these things, and it can be proven in court that I maliciously wrote so, fair enough; but if I am denied that right to write in the first place, that is wrong on so many levels. I do care very much about my right as an Englishman to write what I like, when I like, and about whom I choose to write about.
The noble or rather the slightly-less-than-noble Lords have gone one step too far, in my own opinion, by uttering warnings that newspapers or any other publisher should be restrained from publishing or commenting upon matters which are discussed in Parliament, especially if those matters are also the subject of ‘injunctions’ issued by their Lordships. They have no right to censor Parliament, and it is indeed a chilling spectacle when they attempt to do so!
If I write that Lakshi Mittal has done something, or is covering something up, which he either disputes or does not want known about, he has, besides all the money in the world the legal right to take me to court and have me found guilty of libel; but I do not believe he should be protected against the very publication of the fact that he has gained an injunction. That way lies only one thing, Fascism, the Rule of a Dictator, and the abolition of our right to Free Speech, and it should be argued against on every blog, newspaper, pub and street corner around this Nation.