Today, I watched Doctor Who and I was amused, moved, and enthralled. I was watching An Adventure In Space And Time. (Available on BBC iPlayer til New Year’s Day.)
And then I watched the Doctor Who Christmas Day episode.
The basic story was simple:
If you have a massive and very public Internet meltdown on your business Twitter account, right in the middle of all your potential customers, this is not how to apologise for it:
The mobile device which controls all SECRET PLUMBER accounts had been lost on Friday evening. The twitter account was hacked on Saturday. I apologise for all offensive tweets, it was not “the secret plumber”
I was inspired to write this, if that’s the word, on reading Fleet Street Fox on the Leveson Report: The devil is in the detail, published yesterday in the Press Gazette.
It’s a fine example of a rant as you will ever find from an MP explaining with tendentious authority why the general public have absolutely no right to know about their Parliamentary expenses and how it will ruin a free democracy if this is allowed: you would think this was an investigative journalist who sees censorship on the cards, not a fox demanding the right to be unmuzzled in the henhouse.
But the devil is in the detail, and the detail of Leveson is the bit which will muzzle the Press as effectively as Hannibal Lecter strapped to a luggage trolley.
Leveson wants this backed up by law which is plain wrong, because there’s no bill ever passed by Parliament that wasn’t tinkered with later. Hacked Off and other campaigners may feel the suggested law is fine, but it’s the law it may mutate into which is why it should never happen.
So, we can’t have laws in the UK, because however nice a law looks when it’s proposed, Parliament may change it into something unspeakable, so all laws are wrong. We should instead trust to the kindness and gentility of the likes of David Grigson.
Okay. That’s nice, Fox. We should live in a lawless society because we can’t trust Parliament.
Let me answer a simpler question.
When is muzzling the Press appropriate and can you recommend a certain kind?
By and large, muzzles are used to keep the Press from biting or causing injury. There are two types of muzzles: prohibitive (also referred to as the “tyrant’s muzzle”) and regulatory.
Will the world come to an end on 21st December 2012?
It better not. I’m having my carpets cleaned that afternoon.
We could all die of plague! There’s one sweeping the land at this moment. (True, but not lethal, unless you are very old, very young, or otherwise very frail – and also very far from any hospital.)
God will smite us – Ireland is going to pass legislation that will give girls and women whose lives are threatened by pregnancy a clear if limited right to access abortion.
By Friday 23rd November, MPs will have to decide whether the UK should be in defiance of an ECHR ruling or David Cameron.
David Cameron says:
“no-one should be in any doubt: prisoners are not getting the vote under this Government.”
Lord Lester of Herne Hill, a QC who sits on the Commission on a Bill of Rights, said
offering a ban was merely political posturing, and it was inevitable prisoners would get the right to vote.
Asked if the Government would have to the vote to prisoners in some form, he told The Daily Telegraph: “Of course – either that or we are in the same position as in Greece under junta. Greece had to leave the Council of Europe.
Please note that it’s not even a question that “all prisoners must have the vote” – it’s perfectly legitimate to ban some prisoners from voting. Continue reading
For those that need the warning, further down this blog I discuss child abuse.
I’ve been thinking about names and Internet privacy since Jeremy Duns asked the internet:
The answer to me is obvious: yes, they are. My personal unfavourite is the Herald, which bans all pseudonymous commenters: the New Statesman, which is just a complete muddle, is probably the next worse. Facebook is problematic, and Google Plus is a cosmic screwup all of its own. Part of that reason is that most computer systems do not handle names very well: see Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names.
Jeremy Duns has, fairly enough, got valid reasons to detest people who use multiple pseudonyms on the Internet, aka sockpuppets, which the Urban Dictionary defines as:
An account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an account, for the purpose of posting more-or-less anonymously.