Monday, 23 May 2011

And so it begins...Should we be proud of Mr Hemming MP?

Whether anyone will ever read this blog I don't know but I might as well start it as I mean to go on:

The first online page of the Guardian, Sun and even Daily Mail today are adorned with headlines of a Liberal Democrat MP unmasking a certain footballer as the source of the recent super-injunction scandal.

Great! What more do Liberals want than our parliamentarians standing up for the right to freedom of expression. Whether it be Trafigura covering up an illegal toxic waste dump in a third world nation or a footballer sleeping around, liberalism surely wins when we can rely on our MP's to reveal such miscarriages of justice in the Commons.

Except...I'm not quite sure liberalism has won out here. Our guiding principle must be that everyone must be free to do what they want as long as it does not unfairly infringe on others rights to do the same. And I'm not really sure how Mr Giggs protecting his private life from universal publication and speculation infringes on anybody else's freedoms unfairly.

Do we have a right to know about Ryan Gigg's private life? I don't think we do, however I don't think this is a blanket rule for all celebrities. Take a certain well known ex-bank chief executive, his alleged affair with a member of his corporate staff could be said to be very important information for a public who had to bail out his bank after a colossally bad takeover of a major Dutch bank.

Similarly, if Mr Beckham had an affair (not that such a thing has ever been suggested in the red tops...) then I think his right to privacy might be less than Giggs. Simply because Beckham has profited massively off his own personal image. His contract at LA Galaxy gives him a significantly higher salary for his image rights than for kicking the round ball about. So since Beckham profits from publicising his image and the public adoring it, anything amiss in his personal life should also be known to the public (a la Tiger Woods).

As far as I can ascertain, from anecdotal evidence of people who have met Giggs and also a bit of searching around Giggs has not really built much advertising income on a squeaky clean image of fidelity.

As liberals we should always remember that rarely will we find absolutes, so we should avoid statements like 'super-injunctions are always wrong', there will nearly always be a counter-example where one seems to be correct. The Giggs case might not be clear cut but I would argue that it was in no way one-sided enough to justify Mr Hemming's unilateral action in parliament today. I do not think there was a significant risk as of yet of legal action to Twitter users or journalists in order to justify it either.

So a Radical Liberal's Perspective concludes that the Ryan Giggs' super-injunction may or may not be justified but we are not at the point where liberals need to be making grand gestures to protect free speech over it.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that it was illiberal, theres 1 law for the rich and for the poor with super-injunctions