Zip me up before you go go

by Mark Pinder

Fresh in from those lovely Taiwanese people at Next Media who brought you the definitive  version of events around the Gordon Brown bullying claims, and possibly the most incisive coverage of the Asley Cole air rifle affair. I am now free to report, that it would appear the premier league footballer at the centre of the Imogen Thomas injunction affair is…….er………George Michael!

Actually, no, there’s something not quite right here? Correct answers on the back of a court order to………

Good taste, (and squeamishness), prevents me from looking for their coverage of the Osama killing!

More seriously though, I find myself conflicted about the whole thing. Admittedly, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, but hubris aside, I’ve often been annoyed by the tabloid press’s ability to conflate what constitutes ‘in the public interest’ with what’s of interest to the public which are generally two entirely different things and just adds to the cheapening and dumbing down further of what increasingly passes for public discourse in modern Britain.

Whilst I have always liked to believe the fantasy that the law is blind, what depresses me is that in reality the law, (where it relates to libel and privacy at least), is skewed firmly towards those who have either the deepest pockets or wield most power.

Whilst I find the shenanigans of Giggs and Co amusing, the affair, (no pun intended), will probably only serve to allow for the tightening up of privacy laws and allow for even more egregious abuses of power, such as that perpetrated in the Trafigura scandal in what probably amounted to serious corporate misbehaviour and environmental abuse, where the injunction and super injunction was used to try and trample legitimate reporting and debate not only in the press, but reporting of proceedings in that highest institution of British democracy, Parliament itself.

Whilst it’s always amusing to see former deputy PM John Prescott blow a gasket, I think he had a point on Newsnight the other evening, when he became increasingly agitated and exercised at Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, (the MP that used parliamentary privilege to name Giggs), when he accused Hemming of grandstanding. A point difficult to deny especially when there are infinitely more serious abuses of judicial process and democracy being perpetrated by corporate interests and the powerful, that he could have chosen to highlight instead. A point which Prescott unfortunately failed to make. Then again, Prescott has his own axes to grind after his own affair with his diary manager not to mention penchant for croquet was revealed by the tab’s, so perhaps his indignation was more self serving than a simple defence of judicial sovereignty?

In a shock revelation today a footballer admits playing away from home, cheating on his wife, taking drugs and indulging Bacchanalian tendencies in a hotel room. In further developments, another bear has been spotted shitting in a wood and the Pope outed as Catholic. Coming up later, a tabloid editor denies all knowledge of phone hacking, (file under real fiction).