Behold! Cameron Jesus.

April 10, 2014

Christ_Pantocrator_Deesis_mosaic_Hagia_Sophia

There is a worrying trend among high ranking members of the Tory Party recently, to insist upon all of us, that the UK is a Christian country. Baroness Warsi doesn’t seem to understand secularism, whilst Eric Pickles thinks non-Christians should be quiet and accept we’re inferior. The Prime Minister today reiterated Pickles’ comments , and so by extension of this anti-secular, Christian-privilege position, it further implies that those of us who aren’t Christian, are not to be considered as valuable or as ‘British’ as Christians. Perhaps we should be thanking Christians for allowing us to live on land that they themselves have decided that they own. Or perhaps they should try to grasp the concept that in an Enlightened world, it should be quite obvious to all that a piece of land does not belong to any religion, instead belonging to the great melting pot of all who live in it and contribute to it.

Today, the Prime Minister took their new found obsession with Christianity a step further, by claiming his flagship ‘Big Society’ (a creative code for ‘cutting the state in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest, and hoping everyone else will have time to run libraries and care for the sick and disabled, whilst working longer for less pay’) was invented by Jesus, and that he is merely carrying on the work of Christ. The absurdity of such a statement lends itself wonderfully to social media parodies. And so:

cameronjesus

When religion and politics cross paths, the result is usually disastrous for all the wrong reasons. This time, was one of those rare occasions when the mixing of religion and politics produced a disastrous response for all the right reasons. Well played Twitter, well played.


The Osborne Delusion

August 17, 2011

I am not going to comment on the Clive Goodman letter, needless to say, Cameron’s decision to bring Coulson into the heart of government, is just another example of the blatant hypocrisy the Prime Minister is exhibiting recently, in his new self appointed role as guardian of all morality.

So I will focus my attention on the Chancellor instead.

Every couple of years a mad American Christian will insist that the end of the World is fast approaching. They will it, because their religious delusions, they believe, could not possibly fail them. Logic and evidence are shunned for dogmatic religious doctrine that they refuse to give up on, despite the failure time and again of their religion to provide any substantial justification for its existence and its claims. George Osborne is a Tory whose doctrine is about as far right economically as one could possibly get. He will insist his doctrine is the only one that works, despite its massive failures time and time again. Neoliberalism is a religion, George Osborne is a manic preacher who cannot let go.

It was more than obvious before the general election, to most free thinking Englanders, that George Osborne’s assessment that the UK was on the brink of bankruptcy was entirely false. The 6th largest economy in the World, with a triple A credit rating coupled with low inflation and falling unemployment, after the deepest recession in living memory, is not on the brink of bankruptcy. It was a nice little phrase to use in order to attempt to win an election….. which they didn’t.

We knew that England wasn’t Greece. We knew that 80% of our debts matured in 14 years as opposed to Greece’s 3 years. We knew that Greece is in the Euro zone and so has no exchange rate flexibility. We knew Greece is ranked 109th in the World for ease of doing business, with the UK ranked 4th. We knew that Greek public debt is 142% of GDP whilst the UKs was 76%. We knew that Greece was a CCC rated country according to credit rating agency Fitch, whilst the UK was AAA rated. We knew that what George Osborne was saying, his comparison of the UK to Greece, was simply the case of the Tory machine trying to win an election.

But it didn’t stop there. He’s still at it. Either he knows he’s very very misleading, or he’s genuinely insane. Osborne has been insisting recently that he has apparently saved the economy from total collapse. He claimed recently, in an article in the Telegraph, that:

In retrospect, the use of political capital to implement immediate efficiency savings, pass the emergency Budget, agree the most difficult Spending Review for generations and put in place long-term fiscal reforms to pensions was an excellent investment in our country’s economic stability. Thanks to these decisions, the credit rating agency Standard & Poors took the UK off negative outlook and reaffirmed our AAA rating.

– The problem with that statement is, Standard and Poors reputation as a credible source for credit ratings, is rather inadequate. Ezra Klein writing in the Washington Post, said of Standard and Poors and the bursting of the credit bubble:

Standard Poor’s didn’t just miss the bubble. They helped cause it

– They did this, by assigning Triple A credit ratings, to collaterised Debt Obligations, that were risky enough to cause the entire system to crash. Investors bought up the CDOs thinking they were safe, when in fact they were standing on the edge of a cliff, with a hurricane behind them.
Just this month, the US Treasury found that the downgrading of the USA’s Triple A credit rating by Standard & Poors was based on a $2tn mistake in their calculations. The US Treasury said:

The magnitude of this mistake – and the haste with which S&P changed its principal rationale for action when presented with this error – raise fundamental questions about the credibility and integrity of S&P’s ratings action.

– To use Standard and Poors as a sign that our credit rating was saved by the Tories, Osborne is quoting a woefully incompetent source.

So how well is “Plan A” working?
Osborne claimed that Britain was leading the way in growth. He also claimed the latest 0.2% growth figures for the second quarter were a good sign. Here is how that “good sign” looks on a graph:

– Do you see the blue line edging ever so slightly downward? How in the first quarter of 2011, growth was at 0.5%? How it fell 0.3% and how Osborne thinks that’s a “good sign”?
0.2% is apparently great news, for Osborne, yet when growth in January 2010, under Labour, was 0.1% following the recession, Osborne said this:

If you’re looking for the reason why the British economy couldn’t have weaker growth at the moment, literally statistically, it’s only 0.1%, the reasons for that is that businesses are uncertain about the future, there’s no government plan for the recovery, there’s no government plan that is credible when it comes to dealing with the deficit and answering those things would help job creation.

– So the difference between terrible economic growth, and fantastic news, is +0.1%? Fickle Osborne. What about his insistence that the UK is leading the way out of the mess in Europe? Well, whilst the UKs second quarter growth figures were 0.2%, the second quarter growth figures for Italy were 0.3%. Spain was 0.2%. Poland was 1%. Ireland was 1.3%. Finland was 0.8%. Estonia was 2.4%. Sweden (with its large tax rates and well funded public sector) was 1%. In fact, the entire Euro zone growth was 0.2%. Suddenly, Osborne acting as if he is Superman is a little bit more comical than when he blamed the snow.

The inflation rate – the Consumer Prices Index – rose by 0.2% in July from June. It is now at 4.4%. Clothing and footwear measured for CPI saw the biggest rise on record.

The BBC reported today that rail users will see prices increase by 8% next year due to the inflation statistics. A great example of the “efficiency” of the privatisation project over the railways.

The Office For National Statistics revealed that manufacturing in the UK fell by 0.4% in June, and the trade deficit in goods and services grew from £4bn in May to £4.4bn in June. The ONS also point out that overall production output in June 2011 was 0.3 per cent lower than in June 2010. Mining took a hit, at 13% lower production levels than June 2010.

Imports are down. Exports, due to austerity across the World, is down. So to base a Nation’s recovery on manufacturing (Osborne insisted on an export led recovery), whilst exports are down – leading to the fall in production, is walking a very very thin tight rope. We will be relying on the service sector, because the manufacturing base of the UK was absolutely destroyed under the previous Tory administration.

According to today’s figures, unemployment rose to 2.49 million, a rise of 38,000 in the three months to June. Soon to hit the 3 million mark? Unemployment among 16-24 year olds rose to 949,000, up 15,000. Welcome to the 1980s.

The Council of Mortgage lenders said that repossessions had dropped by 24% to 36,300 in 2010. That figure is now rising, and is expected to reach 40,000 by the end of 2010.

Doingbusiness.org ranks countries by their ease of doing business. In 2010, under Labour we were ranked 4th in the World. In 2011, we are ranked 4th in the World. Absolutely no change. Despite drastic cuts, tax breaks, the desirability to do business in the UK has stayed the same. Yet, ease of starting up a business in 2010, we were ranked 16th. Now, in 2011, after the Chancellor saved us…. we are ranked 17th. Brilliant. We dropped a place.

The big six energy companies have announced plans to increase prices. Npower stated it would increase electricity prices by 7.2% and gas by 15.7% by October. This increase comes after they announced first quarter profits, up by 130%. The rise will add an average £140 onto bills. And Npower’s hike, is the lowest of the big six (other than EDF, who haven’t announced yet).

The Office of Budget Responsibility, created by Osborne in May 2010, said that the target of 1.7% growth this year, was highly unlikely, and that growth would be relatively weak. The Chancellor announced a target of 1.7%…. the Chief of the OBR said there there “aren’t many people” expecting that to happen. To hit 1.7% growth rates, the UK needs 1% growth rates over the third and fourth quarter. Given that it was 0.2% in the second quarter, it would appear that the Chancellor was so miserably wrong, it actually hurts to think of how we managed to be stuck with such a person in charge of the Nations finances.

According to BBC Panorama, when adjusted for inflation, the average UK employee takes home £1,088 a year less than two years ago.

So, to sum up, inflation is rising; if it hits 5% the increase in earnings compared to the increasing in prices will reach 3%, exports are down, unemployment is getting worse, manufacturing is falling, train prices are beyond ridiculous, wages are stagnant, disabled children in poor areas are suffering more, people ARE losing their homes, growth is all but flat lining, and energy and gas prices are going to bankrupt most of us. Is this what leading the way to recovery is like? Can we swap it please?

With stagnating wages, rising inflation, rising unemployment and harsh austerity, is it any wonder that growth figures are so low? Where does the demand come from, when people have no money, no help, and are constantly afraid of losing their jobs and their homes? Is it any wonder that imports are down? There is no demand. When the Government “saves” money, so does the public. Under the atmosphere of stagnating wages, rising energy and gas prices, high inflation and harsh austerity, it is indescribably insane of the Chancellor to have expected growth of 1.7%.

Phrases like “difficult decisions” for millionaires like Osborne, who watch the poorest, riot in London from his holiday home in California, are beginning to sound very tiresome. It is impossible to justify taking vast amounts of money from disabled children, from EMA, and at the same time back the bail out of Portugal and invest in a war in Libya that has achieved absolutely nothing. To continue to allow the very wealthiest to get away with tax avoidance, by changing the rules on profit brought back to the UK so those profits are now not taxed at all, whilst keeping VAT high, is not a plan to deal with the economic woes of the Country, it is simply Tories being Tories. We’re in safe hands, as long as George “I avoid paying £1.6m tax on my trust fund…we’re all in this together” Osborne is in control.

Is there any good news? YES!!!…….. oh wait, no, no there isn’t.


Tweeting Tottenham

August 7, 2011

What an eventful day. Whilst David Cameron is away, and George Osborne is on Holiday in California (coincidentally, the same week that the US credit rating is downgraded…. that’ll teach them, for letting him into the Country), from my tiny screen in an old miners cottage in Victoria, Australia, I have followed minute by minute coverage of the Tottenham riots. Twitter is a great tool. It has the power to both inform, and be woefully incorrect. The riots have been the top trend today. So I followed along on Twitter. More specifically, following the right winged reaction to the riots in Tottenham.

The causes remain unclear. All I know is that a man was shot and killed by police, which led to community outcry over the abuse of power by the Met. The Met is saying that their officer was shot at first, and fired back, shooting a gangster who was armed. In that case, I have no sympathy for the man. If you fire at the police, then don’t express shock when you’re fired on. It is hardly a case of police injustice and brutality, if the man had shot at police. That actually is about as much as anyone knows. Twitter is alive with people telling me about their “reliable witness“. As if i’m supposed to just accept the reliability of a supposed witness. If it is true that the guy shot first, the fact that he even carried a gun, suggests he wasn’t exactly an innocent victim of police brutality. The problem is though, many people claim he wasn’t armed and didn’t fire. Given the Met’s recent record, one can hardly trust their statements. I am not entirely sure who to believe, and think the adage of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to both the Met and the dead man on this one. No one knows the truth other than the police officer involved.

The riots seemed to start with a protest against police brutality, and just turned into a mass loot. The community of Tottenham this morning will be in ruins. The riot will have caused more pain to the innocent people of the city, than anyone else. It cannot particularly be defended.

The Right Winged outcry was the most outrageous of the comments sweeping Twitter, shortly followed by Sky News journalists begging the public for information, given their own apparent incompetence.
Here are some of my favourites:


– The opportunistic attacks on multiculturalism are a little unnerving. The situation in Tottenham is not a multicultural issue. Muslims are not fighting Christians on a daily basis across the Country. People live quite happily 99/9% of the time, side by side. Kids play with each other in schools regardless of cultural background. Multiculturalism has absolutely worked. On the whole, people live together in harmony. That is a testament to the brilliance of multiculturalism. I can sit discussing football with Sikh, Muslim and Jewish friends without it becoming a full scale riot.

The people tweeting comments like those above, tend to conveniently ignore the 99.9% of the time when absolutely nothing is happening in the way of destructive race relations, and focus on the 0.01%. The Tottenham riots, are not a part of that 0.01%.The used it as a chance to express their vicious Nationalistic ideology, their fascist bullshit. And when brought up on it, they say the following:

– I then asked this idiot to elaborate on the correlation between Marx’s Das Capital, and the Tottenham rioters. He responded with this:

So far, right winged tweeters have blamed black people, jewish people, Chinese people (One had wondered why a Chinese takeaway hadn’t been looted and thought it convenient), people on benefits, socialists, students and anyone with slightly darker skin. Amazing.

The entire thing could have been avoided, had someone shone the Bat Boris signal. Only Boris could have stopped the madness, from his Boris Bike.


The wisdom of Philip Davies, MP

June 22, 2011

Twitter Philip Davies MP

A couple of nights ago, Twitter was alive with the news that Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies had stood up in the House of Commons and said this:

“If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn’t, and they have got to pay them both the same rate, I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on.

“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that, given the employer was going to have to pay them both the same, they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk.

“My view is that for some people the national minimum wage may be more of a hindrance than a help.

“If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that’s some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.”

Philip Davies ideal England is one in which sweatshops, full of people with disabilities create cheap goods for the overly privileged Tory benches to feed from, whilst the sweatshop bosses drive up to the gates of Downing Street in their brand new Mercs, accompanied by a lovely big donation for the Tory Party.

Perhaps we could use the £161,300 in expenses he claimed rather dubiously in 2009, on top of his £65,000 a year salary, to pay people a better salary? On the subject of his expense claims, he claimed the most of all Bradford MPs, and claimed £10,000 more on his second home allowance than Bradford North MP Terry Rooney. I am not entirely sure how that’s warranted, or helps him does his job to a greater degree. Incidentally, claimed for more in second home allowances than my dad makes in a year. Unsurprisingly, he clings onto this gravy train by opposing much needed Parliamentary reform. The lobby for Parliamentary reform, Power 10 label Philip Davies as one of the six MPs who will happily block reform of Parliament. This isn’t surprising, given just how much he has financially benefited from the current corrupt nature of Parliament.

Nevertheless, there is an unnerving essence to a member of our national legislature, insinuating that a person’s worth should be based solely on their physical or mental capability, and then using defensive rhetoric, heartfelt sentiment, to sound as if he only wishes to help disabled people, rather than line the pockets of his Party’s donors, and make it easy for employers to exploit without worry. It is equally as unnerving for a politician to tacitly suggest that wage discrimination is not only acceptable, but entirely the fault of those who are being discriminated against. His words sound as if he is suggesting being disabled is a lifestyle choice, that requires a bit of a punishment. That punishment should apparently be an agreement to work for less money that one needs in order to live, along with the added expense that comes with certain disabilities.

It would be right to point out that those with disabilities, who Davies wants to be paid less, did not cause the financial problems we’re now in. Ironically, for Davies, it was the private sector’s excessive greed (of which he clearly has no problem in promoting) that caused the mess, through unproductive excess profit being used – not to pay people better even when it had accumulated enough to easily manage paying more – but on dodgy asset deals. The problem in 2007 wasn’t that there appeared to be a lack of capital caused by the need to pay disabled people, or anybody a national minimum wage, but by the fact that there was an abundance of concentrated excess capital that wasn’t being put to good and productive use. Wages were stagnating for the majority of people, whilst wages at the very top climbed higher and higher. That, is entirely the fault of the private sector. Is Davies saying that if we dropped the minimum wage, wages would flourish, failed Tory economics would be proven right, and disabled people would be working shorter hours, for a loyal boss, who paid wonderfully? Because I foresee a bunch of employers driving even bigger Porsche’s whilst their £2 an hour disabled employees can no longer afford adequate care. Davies certainly didn’t offer any added benefits that some disabled people may require due to being paid below minimum wage. Grants for specialised equipment? Incomes and the ability to pay for necessary care and equipment cannot always be planned for even on a week to week basis, for those suffering certain disabilities. To promote the idea of wage discrimination against those with disabilities, at the same time as cuts to Disability Living Allowance take hold

It is a minimum wage for a reason. Do we really believe employers wouldn’t use an “opt-out” for their own advantage? Wages at the top are already obscenely high in the private sector. In 2009, for example, the chief executive of the Anchor Trust, which provides home for the elderly, took home £391,000. Anchor Trust is a charity! Whilst donations are down and employees are facing redundancy it is ludicrous for a CEO of an organisation that so many people rely on, to take home almost £400,000 a year.

I continue to be of the opinion that if an employer cannot afford to pay somebody a decent enough wage to live on, he/she shouldn’t be running a business. They are a danger to the public. £5.89 is not a lot of money, and to suggest that the rest of us are entitled to at least that, whilst a disabled person is entitled to less, purely because of a natural affliction is sensationally regressive.

The far right narrative is the problem, not minimum wage legislation. Philip Davis is attempting to remove responsibility for fair pay away from the employer, and onto the employee. Citizens UK found that of the companies in London willing to sign up to paying their lowest paid members of staff a “National living wage” rather than a “National minimum wage”, of £8.30 an hour, they managed to lift 3500 families out of poverty in 2009. It didn’t have an adverse affect on prices, in the same way as the minimum wage introduction in the late 1990s didn’t have an adverse affect as many Tories claimed it would. Campaigners for a National Living Wage are screaming out at Tesco, who have failed to ensure their cleaning staff are paid a fair living wage, despite the company making £3.8bn profit last year. Employers do not, ever, take paying their staff a respectable wage seriously. Ever. Surely if they were made to pay more, of which they can definitely afford, the money would be divided among a workforce who would pay more tax, and use the added disposable income on goods and services from businesses across the Country, rather than wasting it on the very very small band of wealthy elites?

A study in America called “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant. I wonder if Philip Davis thinks black Americans should agree to work for less money than their white counterparts, purely because they are black? What about a black person with a disability? Back to slavery?

We should though, not be surprised by the ignorance that Philip Davis displayed. Here is an MP who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which state that it is unlawful to discriminate when selling goods or services, education or facilities based on sexuality. Davies therefore thinks it is acceptable for a school to expel a gay student. Or for a shop to ban a lesbian lady purely for her sexuality. He also voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. So, he wants more freedom for shop owners to ban people based on sexual orientation (individualism and all that Libertarian bollocks) yet that same individualism, he doesn’t extend to the most privileged of people passing that privilege onto their children, who may or may not have worked or produced anything worthwhile in their entire lives? Oh the hypocrisy.

In 2011 he even invented his own logic based on a lie, when it comes to making cigarette packaging plain:

“I believe that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes is gesture politics of the worst kind. It would not have any basis in evidence and it would simply be a triumph for the nanny state and an absurd one at that.”

– The objection I have with the line “it would not have any basis in evidence” is that it does have basis in evidence. Cigarette companies spend millions on their packaging, and over the last couple of decades, they have used the idea of “light” packaging to sell products to people who believe smoking “light” fags, means less danger. A 2004 British Medical Journal research article found that:

The increase in lung cancer risk is similar in people who smoke medium tar cigarettes (15-21 mg), low tar cigarettes (8-14 mg), or very low tar cigarettes (≤ 7 mg)

– So smoking a cigarette from a package that claims to be “ultra light” means nothing. But do people really believe “ultra light” means they are at less of a risk of developing lung cancer? Does the advertisement on the packaging work? If it does, then Davis is either a liar, or a massive idiot. Well, surprisingly……. he’s a liar or a massive idiot. A University of Toronto research paper, titled “‘Light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes: who smokes them? Are they being misled?” published in 2002 found that:

In 1996 and 2000, respectively, 44% and 27% smoked L/M (light and mild cigarettes) to reduce health risks, 41% and 40% smoked them as a step toward quitting, and 41% in both years said they would be more likely to quit if they learned L/M could provide the same tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes. These data provide empirical support for banning ‘light’ and ‘mild’ on cigarette packaging.

– The policy of plain packaging is absolutely based on evidence. It is time we started to ignore the “nanny state” hysterical screams from manic, misinformed, ignorant right wingers.

Not only that, but in 2006, after an act of vandalism was initially blamed on a group of Muslim men, Davies said:

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– It later turned out that the act of vandalism was caused by white men. Davies did not apologise, nor did he take the same tough far-right, BNP-esque line with the white vandals as he had done when he imagined the vandals were all muslim.

You might think the incessant stupidity stops there. You’d be wrong. In 2009 Davies asked:

“Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person? Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?

Maybe he would be happy for black people to take a pay cut after all.


The era of the injunction

April 23, 2011

In a Galaxy time far far away – 1534 to be precise – a pretty messy year for advocates of free speech and those who disagreed with the Crown took place. First, the Act of Supremacy was passed, which insisted that Henry VIII was the ONLY head of the Church in England, and if you disagreed, you would be subject to the next law that passed… the Treason Act of 1534. The Treason Act stated that a person was guilty of treason if he or she were to:

do maliciously wish, will or desire by words or writing, or by craft imagine, invent, practise, or attempt any bodily harm to be done or committed to the king’s most royal person, the queen’s or the heirs apparent [Elizabeth], or to deprive them of any of their dignity, title or name of their royal estates, or slanderously and maliciously publish and pronounce, by express writing or words, that the king should be heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper of the crown…

In other words, if you spoke ill of the Crown, you were guilty of treason. It was designed to quell any sort of rebellious talk. The time period was a period of great change; the Catholic Church had ruled for centuries, was the pillar of every community in the Country, and now in a very short amount of time the Church was being destroyed. It was a massive reformation that would have profound affects on the lives of all citizens. Thomas More famously executed under the Act.

Today, it would be politically ridiculous for a government to demand complete obedience in an age of democracy, but just as modern day celebrity gossip evolved from Court gossip of the old Monarchy regimes, we have a new breed of anti-free speech legislation designed to protect the people who rely on them.

Celebrities seem to be taking out “super injunctions” all over the place. The power of the rich and the famous to be able to censor the reporting of their slightly dubious antics has become more common recently. A Super injunction is an odd product (and it is a product). An injunction bans the reporting of a certain story. A super injunction bans the reporting that an injunction has been taken out. However, under a super injunction, an MP is allowed to raise the injunction in Parliament under Parliamentary privilege, and Parliamentary statements can then be reported by the press. Though it is against the law to report anything more than what was said in Parliament. The ridiculous nature of this little arrangement came to a head when Lib Dem MP John Hemming stood up in Parliament earlier this year and said:

“In a secret hearing this week Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him being identified as a banker. Will the government have a debate or a statement on freedom of speech and whether there’s one rule for the rich like Fred Goodwin and one rule for the poor?”

– He is correct on both assertions. Goodwin has indeed taken out a super injunction preventing anyone from referring to him as a banker. Breaking this law, means the CRIMINAL could face a massive fine, or a jail sentence. Yes, a jail sentence. Criminal damage = a telling off. Calling Fred Goodwin a banker = Jail. That’s how the law works. Interestingly, if you change one letter in banker, you get a far more accurate representation of what Sir Fred Goodwin actually is…… and joyfully, we can say it. The wanker.

Oil trader Trafigura, in 2009 managed to get a super injunction last year against the Guardian, preventing them from revealing the leaked details of the Minton report (which you can find here) that showed that Trafigura knew damn well that chemical waste they had dumped in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, would have deep health issues. The chemical dump is actually caused the deaths of fifteen people and the illnesses of over 100,000 more. The fifteen had died from ” fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide”. The press officer for Trafigura tried to edit the Wikipedia page for the ship that delivered the poisonous materials, to remove any mention of Trafigura. In October 2009, The Guardian were handed a copy of the Minton Report, which conclusively showed an admission from Trafigura, that they were responsible for the chemical dump, and knew the implications. Trafigura sought an injunction to ban the Guardian from releasing the report, they got it. The Guardian were ready to take Trafigura’s legal team to court over the injunction, but the legal team backed down and the injunction was lifted. Here is the injunction document in question.

A hyper injunction goes one step further. It bans anyone from talking to their MP, or journalist, or absolutely anybody really. Journalists who are investigating an incident, could be jailed for talking to victims of the incident, under a hyper injunction. In 2006 a person had been banned, by hyper injunction, from claiming to anyone, including an MP, that paint used on a passenger ship could be poisoning the water. The person was banned from talking to any other ship company, or coastguard, or talking about the details of the injunction to anyone, on fear of imprisonment. The individual got a two week suspended sentence for discussing the matter with a lawyer. A massive Corporation has essentially bought the law.

It is of course mightily ludicrous of papers like The Mail to claim the moral high ground against adulterous celebrities. The moment someone wishes to sell a sordid sex secret, the Mail will jump on it. Sexual morality and the press are not very compatible, so to be calling these people all sorts of names for being promiscuous, is laughable at best. The antics of the celebrities is not what concerns me. A footballer having an affair is hardly something new, nor interesting. The fact that they take out court orders preventing it from being spoke of, is what interests me. Gagging the press for futile reasons, is a dangerous and worrying precedent to set.

I am pretty certain that I am not allowed to name the people who we know have super injunctions out. We know that a Premiership star had an affair with Imogen from Big Brother (I know who it is), we know a World famous British Actor paid for sex with a string of prostitutes including one who previously slagged it up with Wayne Rooney (I know who it is), we know a British actor in a British TV show has had affairs (I know who it is) and all of whom have taken out super injunctions. There is also a rumour that an ex-England star has been involved in an affair with a TV Sports Presenter, and both have super injunctions out. Now, usually this kind of pointless nonsense would just be supremely boring to me. But the fact they have gone to the length to block their names being reported, is what intrigues me, and what I suspect, intrigues millions like me. We wouldn’t care if it came out that (for arguments sake…..obviously) a famous Manchester United player who isn’t from England or Scotland has had an affair with a reality TV star. It’d die within days. It is unimportant. But the fact they have spent an obscene amount of money to keep it all covered up, is something that should be ridiculed, and they ridiculed for it, at every given opportunity. Their secrets are not putting anyone’s lives at risk, it isn’t a matter of national security, it is simply a way to stop the highest paid idiots from being embarrassed and protecting their sponsorship deals.

A lady working on a loved British TV show was sacked after having an affair with her co-star. Both were married. The absolutely shameless male was denied an injunction because the Judge ruled it had a public interest angle, given that she lost her job because of the affair. He appealed, and won. The Judge ruled that the News of the World who had the story, could not print it, and the work colleagues of the shameless male must not talk about the affair. Shameless, i’m sure you’ll agree.

It is a ridiculous manipulation of the law. Some sources claim more than 20 super injunctions have been taken out over the past year. That is ridiculous. It isn’t so much that I want to publish the names of celebrities who are shagging around. But when you discover who these self important celebrities are, you REALLY want to post their names, just for the sake of it. I don’t watch Big Brother, but if someone were to say “Watch tonight, one of the contestants has a massive break down, takes a dump on the table, and then proceeds to throw it at everyone else and the cameras”…. I would most certainly watch it. Similarly, I don’t care that celebrities (who seem to be in a galaxy far far away from our own) shag around – actually, I’m all for keeping private lives private – but when they throw their own shit at the general public by going to court to seek to stop anyone even talking about it, then I become intrigued.

Henry VIII would be proud.