Thursday, 19 May 2011

No Privacy Laws Here Thank You.

The Dominique Strauss-Khan affair highlights a number of issues.

The privacy laws in France, which allow the elite in society to act with impunity. Given the strict privavcy laws, they feel they can treat what they view as their underlings (i.e. us) any way they like. I mean, to have a law against showing people in cuffs in newspapers seems to be going a bit too far, especially given there is a huge public interest in this most senior of officials allegedly acting in such an improper way.

It seems to be a particularly European thing, the arrogance of the elite. Of course its not restricted to France, as reporters from a number of European countries trying to lift the lid on the dodgy practices at the EU parliament have found. They are summarily ejected from the building even with permission to film and being in a public area. Whether its dressing up in fancy dress to make serious point, or filming MEPs clocking on for a days work leaving immediately, it all ends with the cameras being shown the door.

There seems to be a certain amount of pressure from the great and the good to get something similar onto the statute books here in the UK. Max Mosely  failed to get a simple change to the law implemented and no matter how good his intentions, the law he saught to get put on the books (forcing the media to inform people in advance of publication) would only benefit those with the money to go to court and stop publication. We already have back-door legal actions going on to stop publication of news by the use of super-injunctions, again only available to those with money, or to the courts themselves.

I do feel that all the furore is being whipped up by the elite in order to get some form of legal protection in place for them. I can imagine that they look across to Europe with a hint of jealousy at the protection provided for those of similar standing over on the European Mainland.

The problem with any privacy law is it is a law for the rich and monied: it never protects us normal folk. We could never fight a legal battle against a media giant, so would suffer substantially.

Don't think for a minute that the lives of those of us without fame or money would not be of interest to the tabloids: I think I've mentioned before that I've been close to two newspaper stories and have seen how ordinary people are sucked up, chewed and spat out by the media machine. These were not monied or famous people, but ordinary people that the newspapers felt had a titillating story for their readers. Even though these stories could be considered trivial by most standards, the consequences of them weren't: families were affected and jobs were lost, just for a few column inches. Remember, these weren't stories that had any national interest, nor were serious in any way shape or form, just ordinary people living some of the varied lives ordinary people do.

I would welcome a privacy law if it protected the little people, but of course it won't, because the media storm at the moment is being whipped up by the people that hope to secure their places in the elite no matter how badly they behave. And that sense of security, that blanket is bad in the way it promotes their assumption of superiority, their air of entitlement and their conviction that we are beneath them.

So as it stands I see no need to change the law, given that I fully expect any new legislation however well intentioned at the beginning of the process, to get corrupted to suit the purposes of the elite as it progresses through Parliament. The sad thing is that many people I talk to about the this subject have similar views.

That is the poor state of affairs we have come to, when the population no longer trust those in government, the supposed servants that we elect as our representatives; with good cause given that our representatives seek to hide their actions from the public that elects them to power.

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