WT Stead was the Godfather of British Tabloid Journalism. Jailed when Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette by a corrupt Victorian court for exposing the scandal of child-prostitution in London, he went on to dominate his newly invented profession until going down with the Titanic in 1912. After his death, he retired to Cornwall, where his disembodied spirit haunts our office, and leaves occasional, vitriolic and completely uncensored opinion pieces lying around. Here’s the latest.
It’s a fair old time since I boomed sonorously from the pages of a good old-fashioned free uncensored scandal-rag, but may I say, that the stark rebellion this week, of the good old-fashioned scandal-rag reading British public, against my old arch-enemies in the bent and perverted secret world of the disgraceful British courts, emboldens me to take a deep and revolutionary Victorian breath and boom once more.
We have a little club up here above the clouds, founded a couple of space-folds back by some luminaries of free speech through the various ages, my humble self included. And I’m glad to say the ‘Olympus Club’ (Honorary Patron: J. Christ), dedicated to those unjustly persecuted for exercising their right to free speech on Earth and taking its name of course from the late Twentieth Century dictaphone, rather than the cruel mythical oligarchy of the Greek Mount, has been a modest success.
Although not much is doing in the way of a recreational club by the standards of my age, it is always fascinating to muse over developments down below, and a post-match chin wag with Zola, Gilbert, Voltaire et al about what it can all possibly mean is always, as our vigorous new member Mr Leary likes to call it, something of a ‘Gas’. It’s refreshingly and rightfully rare that we agree of course, but over the last Earth month, it has proved impossible to differ on one increasingly obvious and rather exciting point.
We see a battle looming in Britain between orthodoxy and reason, between fascism and freedom, between bogus officials and citizens.
Up at Club Olympus, as you may guess, we are firmly for the freedom, and all bets are on.
The mockery that ordinary people armed with QWERTY keyboards made of Britain’s fat, sick and corrupt civil courts this week marks the first real strike home for our side.
And just because it all centred round some dozy git with the brains of a baboon and the tackle of a Grand National winner getting stitched up by a BFH, doesn’t make it any the less of a blow.
What the complete destruction of Ryan Gigg’s stupid super-injunction tells us is that people in Britain are sick of being told how to live their lives.
We, you seem to say, are not daft monkeys. We are free men and women, and it is for no-one but us to decide what is in our “best interest”.
You, the public, have for once asserted to those in power that you are – as your collective name literally suggests – ‘grown ups’ (public, from “publicus”, from‘pubes’ – meaning “adults” – with thanks to our club etymologist Senator Juvenal)
And that means you can all “bloody well decide for yourselves” (attrib: Juvenal – May 2011) what you should and shouldn’t know.
75,000 Twitterers among you decided you damn well deserved to know anything you liked about a juicy sex and blackmail scandal involving a TV starlet and a footballer.
Bizarre beginnings perhaps. But Bravo all the same. And where could, or should, it all lead? Well that’s the interesting part.
Let’s break down this tabloid scandal in full.
Now as your humble muck-raking reporter see it: in the case of Giggs, the decision of old Judge Eady to side with the sportsman was a fairly benevolent one.
Dear old Imogen Thomas appeared to be blackmailing Giggs, and Giggs, rather than go to the police, cried to the civil courts, where Eady took pity on him and his bulging bank account.
But idiots like Ryan Giggs and Imogen Stubbs and their unpleasant private lives are not the point – and they are not the problem.
The problem is a legal culture in which Eady readily believed himself to be right to ban a newspaper from telling the public about this first-rate scandal. And this illness of reason is not just Judge Eady’s disease. It represents a widespread anti-democratic cancer that is well into Stage 2.
Because it’s not just the silly tabloids that are denied their right to free speech by British courts. Millions of people across the country are gagged by secret courts every day. And the growing trend for more secrecy in the remaining public courts stems from this terrifying fact.
In Cornwall, for example, everything that ‘Children, Young People and Families’ (trans: Social Services) do to ‘families and children is secret. And everything that the inextricably linked ‘family courts’ do is secret too.
So most lawyers and council officials operate in secret, and are accountable to no-one.
One of the myriad evils arising from this secrecy, is that the colleagues of the secret officials and lawyers, those who still work under public scrutiny, notice what is going on. And what they chiefly notice, day in day out, is how their less capable colleagues in the secret world never get into trouble, because nothing they do, however wrong, is ever made public, making say, a ‘family’ lawyer or a ‘social’ worker better off in every way than say, a criminal barrister, or transport manager. And these public officials – like Justice Eady – fancy a bit of this magic all-forgiving secrecy for themselves.
Most law firms today live off family cases. This is because the fees are as secret as everything else, so are never held up to public scrutiny. The cases are a doddle too: you just make it up as you go along: after all – what juror is going to disbelieve you, or what reporter expose you for your mad decision about, say, little baby Peter, to the public? There are no jurors or reporters. There aren’t even any pesky old rules of evidence to trouble your wretched excuse for a mind. If tired or grumpy old Judge Elwen sends little Peter and Jane to live with highly-paid foster parents in Stirling in secret and pronounces that father or mother can send them an appropriate message by carrier pigeon at Christmas for no other reason except that he’s got indigestion – so what? No-one will ever be the wiser. It’s just ’10.00am Re: X Court 1’ – closed session, end of story. The press can’t go in, if Mum or Dad go to the press, they can’t publish it, and if they tell their mates, we jail them, and they can’t tell anyone about that either! So we can do whatever we like, for ever, and while there’s no threat to stop us, there is an enormous network of other inter-related ‘family professionals’ with a massive vested interest in keeping this highly profitable system of endemic injustice going.
It’s a sick world in which super-injunctions are the rule and fascism is the result.
Now a secret bureaucracy like this will grow, unchecked by civil society. It will grow, and is growing, like a Cancer, and Justice Eadys coming down with his terrible case of super-injunctivitis is a symptom of the secrecy disease spreading to the other organs of the democratic body politic. The ‘family’ courts and ‘Social’ Services are already completely cancerous and can only be removed, if democracy is to return to anything like its former health. The criminal and civil courts could still be saved. So Twittering Justice Eady’s secrecy out of existence at least provides some palliative respite, if no cure.
Now I’ve quoted Mr Bentham, who as I write sits in his slightly bizarre disembodied state alongside me at the Olympian table, before about this. Mr Bentham put it most neatly when he said simply that ‘without publicity, there is no justice’. But I get the impression you’re quickly forgotten by a media-soaked world, so this time, let me quote from an advocate of freedom who still labours on your Earth, and so commands air-time.
Julian Assange – not by coincidence the victim of a risible attempt by the authorities to stitch him up on a censored prosecution for ‘rape’ – said this to David Frost when defending his publication of secret Government documents on Wikileaks.
“Secret institutions become corrupted in their purpose. They are able to engage in secret plans, which would be opposed by the population, if the population knew about them, and then carry them out for their own internal purposes. So they are not performing the function that the people demand that they perform.”
He could have been talking about how in December 2006 Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys signed a secret document ordering the assassination of Government officials. He could have been talking about how in March 2003 the US Army at Guantanamo Bay secretly denied the Red Cross access to prisoners. But he could just as well have been talking about Ryan Giggs, or Cornwall’s ‘Children and Young People and Families’ council departments and our ‘Family’ courts.
Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was exposed – for all the difference it made.
Guantanamo Bay should have been closed – but hasn’t been.
Ryan Giggs is on the front page of every newspaper in Britain.
Perhaps the British public could extend that courtesy to Britain’s family lawyers and social workers?
There is enormous pressure for the ‘family’ courts to open but greater resistance from within those courts – for the simple reason that they know it will mean Game Over. The public – and particularly juries – would never stand for the state sponsored child abuse that goes on in the ‘family’ division. Many bloggers and web users do publicise the crimes of the ‘family’ courts and of social workers, and even the old press pushed hard for the courts to be opened. In fact in 2009 Jack Straw did open them – at which point the legislature – in the form of former corporate lawyer and cretin Sir Mark Potter – blatantly and openly defied democratically elected Parliament, by sending a note to all ‘family’ division judges giving them a list of reasons for closing all and any of their ordered-open courts ‘in individual cases’.
In January 2011 Mail reporter Steve Doughty wrote in a news article that “Judges have effectively kept the family courts closed” without fear of any contradiction or press complaint, and his is an exact description of what has happened.
That’s the sort of official misbehaviour any dictator would be proud of: the actions of a bureaucracy completely out of control. Democratically elected Parliament passes a law ordering a group of officials to end their official secrecy – and the officials disobey it, and they get away with it.
The new Government promised a ‘review’ of the ‘family’ division as this farce rumbled on, but a year in, and the self-policing document produced has proven yet another sham, and it’s left to random Twitter users publicising salacious home-grown controversies and public-spirited contributors letting Wikileaks or campaigning websites beyond the grasp of UK law know about international scandals and throw up two fingers to a thoroughly corrupt legal system: fingers that legal system is trying harder and harder to break with yet more and more secrecy and censorship.
It’s no coincidence that the embittered Swedish prosecutor gunning for Assange – whose website exposed him as a lying fraud – is using the device of a censored ‘rape’ prosecution. Rape prosecutions, in Sweden as the UK, are highly secret on your behalf if you’re the alleged victim, but very public if you’re the accused.
In fact the censorship of rape cases is a classic, public and clearly demonstrable example, of how legal secrecy fuels lynch-mobbing and mass hysteria, and supports tyranny. Nobody gets to see the horrible injustices of the ‘family’ court and ‘social’ services, because they simply refuse to obey the law and open up, but we can see, in horrible detail, what has happened in traditionally open criminal courts in rape cases, when just some of the injustices from the secret fascist bureaucracies have crept in.
Political correct legislators excused their decision more than a decade ago to censor the name of the accuser but name the accused in rape cases by saying it would help more victims of rape come forward and get more rapists convicted. Even if you accept this ropey argument for censorship, it’s impossible to see how naming the accused helps spare the accuser her blushes. But arguments and logic were never part of this legislation. It was law based on political prejudice and misandry (a little heard term describing the pathological hatred of men) and drawn from the hysterical belief that rape is a common crime, a lunacy in turn born out of the famously insane assertion of fascistic sixties and seventies feminists that ‘all men are rapists’, which of course makes about as much sense as saying ‘all women are baby-killers’.
Of course, all-but no men are rapists, as we all now know beyond reproof. And the results of trying to unearth, or failing that create, thousands of these rapists of bigoted myth, by abusing the law and censoring the press, have much more closely resembled a medieval Pogrom than an enlightened legal reform. The indiscriminate offer that the law made to millions of women of massive financial compensation, bucket loads of unquestioning sympathy, bulletproof legal anonymity (and as an added bonus from Chomsky’s self-censoring corporate media whores, heroine status and another £2,500 odd quid if after a successful conviction they sell their story), created a sickening witch-hunt, which even its feminist high priests proved unable to justify to themselves, because the statistical results have been the exact opposite of those they proclaimed they intended.
The rate of rape convictions has sunk to an all time low. It’s sunk because Juries (Juries which, it’s probably worth pointing out for the benefit of the many imbeciles who react to any questioning of feminism by accusing the questioner of some antique mythical chauvinism, are almost always dominated by women) throw out wild and outrageous politically inspired or just plain raving claims of rape against innocent men.
So the actual result of censoring and twisting perfectly good laws to prevent and punish rape, laws that previously applied equally well to allegations of rape as to murder, has been a massive nationwide scandal of false allegation, uncovered, to their credit, by vigilant jurors. Rather than lots more guilty rapists being prosecuted, a deliberate and extreme dilution of the definition of rape to include almost every kind of sex has led to officials taking the most ludicrous allegations before public courts. There time and time again good honest citizens untainted by legal or political prejudice have thrown these bizarre cases out, reducing the rape conviction rate yet further to about five per-cent. The only area in which related convictions have risen – is in the few cases where a woman lying about being raped has been inarguably proved to have done so by the police – and the alleged victim has wound up prosecuted for perverting the course of justice. Not that the generally very lenient sentences handed out for this will have proved much comfort to the intended victims of the 21st Century’s rape pogrom: many of the men dropped into the Kafkaesque nightmare of being put on trial for a crime they didn’t commit but which nonetheless branded them as social outcasts killed themselves, and God knows how many lie in jail today convicted of rapes they did not commit, jury scrutiny notwithstanding.
And what has all this to do with Ryan Gigg’s super injunction? It has a lot to do with it.
For a start, there’s a shared principle here, which is that if you censor the law and interfere with open justice, you get secret injustice as a reward.
Everyone who appears in a court in a democracy should be named, or it’s not open justice.
Ryan Giggs is Ryan Giggs, and in a democracy, when he goes to court he should remain Ryan Giggs, not suddenly become ‘CBT’ – as court proceedings called him.
Likewise, Tracey Connelly and Steven Barker, should be named as the parents of a baby called Peter: not ‘Baby P’ – as court proceedings called him.
And in just the same way, the children fed through barbaric secret court cases held in Truro have NAMES – they are not called ‘X’ – as they appear on the censored list.
Until reporters can go into those court cases and name those children, everyone in the court, and report every decision that is made, cruelty and injustice will prevail.
It is not a coincidence that the MP who blew the final whistle on Ryan Giggs and Fred Goodwin was John Hemming.
Hemming is Britain’s primary opponent of the ‘family’ courts.
And – although the old media never reported it – he only named Goodwin and Giggs in order to highlight the case of a constituent subject to a similar gagging order.
Lee Gilliland was the man Hemming named in the same breath as Fred Goodwin.
Social workers and lawyers stole Lee’s home, then banned him talking about it with the usual ‘family’ court super-injunctions, and his MP wants them punished.
To Hemming – as to any right mind – Lee Gilliland was just as much as victim of censorship as were you, the adult public, over Giggs and Goodwin.
In committee last month Hemming revealed an even more mortifying case of how secret courts flout democracy and mock personal freedoms.
The MP told a ‘Bill of Rights’ committee family lawyers had threatened to take away another of his constituent’s children if he spoke to his MP!
Court documents showed ‘Family law barrister’ June Williams telling Andrew France he wouldn’t see his kids again if he went to Hemming with his story.
How does this happen?
Simple: secret courts and secret officialdoms all act together to pervert democracy.
Not by coincidence – What France wanted to tell his MP and the press was how he was falsely accused of rape and wrongly imprisoned after censored court proceedings,
When France won his appeal and was cleared, he tried to clear his name in public.
He demanded to tell his story to the papers about how a social worker stitched him up for a crime he didn’t commit.
The social worker responded with an action to remove France’s child, which because it was heard in the secret ‘family’ court – allowed for the routine press blackout, and made the whole scandal conveniently secret again.
Thrust back into the hell of a secret court, France found himself threatened by his own barrister: threatened that if he even so much as told his MP what was happening, the court would indeed take away his child.
Some barrister: but so it goes in the courts of fascist countries.
Were it not for Hemmings brave constituency work, no-one would ever have known anything about this appalling abuse of power by secret officials.
An unapologetic maverick, the Lib Dem MP is one of the few lights at the end of this depressing tunnel of tyranny, and a man confined to the backbenches.
But – thanks to randy Ryan and unfaithful Fred and daft old Judge Eady – his message is now being heard by MPs with stronger political career prospects.
Conservative MP David Davis is widely held to be the man who should be leading the Tories.
The son of a single mother, a modern man, and a brilliant mind, he is a heartfelt Liberal where Cameron is a scheming fraud.
The parliamentary record of Hemmings ‘Bill of Rights’ Committee shows a shocked Davis asking Hemming to repeat his evidence about France for the stenographer.
After doing so Davis said this:
“What we are seeing, and it has got worse over the course of the past 22 years, is the interests, prejudices and career risks of the organisation dealing with the individual, be it a solicitor or even a family or social services officer, put to the fore-not always, but sometimes-ahead of the interests of the constituent. Those officers of local authorities, courts and so on have put their interests or privileges ahead of ours, and it has happened time and time again. In my constituency, teachers have been accused of sexual misdemeanours which were later proven not to be true, and people have been threatened with their children being taken away-a whole series of areas.
“Our job is to be the defence of last recourse for the individual. We stand between the individual and the misdemeanours of the state or, indeed, the lynch-mob law at the other extreme. That is why, in modern terms, and not just in terms of the ancient rights, our access to information is fundamental to continuing freedom in Britain. Once our right to have that information is taken away, the freedoms of our citizens and constituents are undermined. Parliament itself-its officers and the Speaker-should take a stand and make a statement to the effect that we have those rights on behalf of our constituents.”
Yes. Well, hurry up about it. Because the sooner it’s not just Ryan Giggs we’re naming and shaming on Twitter, the better.