Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Michael Gove, Leveson, and the case for liberty

Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Education Micharl Gove gave a spirited defence of freedom of speech. He was a Roundhead surrounded by Cavaliers; a Whig amongst Tories; a radical nonconformist in a sea of conservative catholics. His speech is not available (yet) on YouTube, but here is a quite marvellous exerpt of the transcript:

MR GOVE: ...I think the general case for free expression has to be restated in every generation, because we all collectively benefit from a feeling that we are and shouldn't be inhibited in stating our views on whatever platform is available to us on matters that engage us.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Mr Gove, I don't need to be told about the importance of free speech. I really don't. But I am concerned that the effect of what you say might be that you are fact taking the view that behaviour which everybody so far in this Inquiry has said is unacceptable, albeit not necessarily criminal, has to be accepted because of the right of free speech. Is that right?

MR GOVE: I don't think any of us can accept that behaviour necessarily, but there are a variety of sanctions. There is social ostracism, disapproval. There is the penalty that someone pays who chooses to use a commercial outlet to publish that which is inappropriate or distasteful. But by definition, free speech doesn't mean anything unless some people are going to be offended some of the time.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Don't you think that some of the evidence that I have heard from at least some of those who have been the subject of press attention can be characterised as rather more than "some people are going to be offended some of the time"?

MR GOVE: I'm sure that there are cases where journalists and others will behave in ways which are deplorable. The question remains, however: what is the most effective means of ensuring that individuals do not behave in a deplorable fashion? It's often the case that individuals reach for regulation in order to deal with failures of character or morality, and sometimes that regulation is right and appropriate, but some of us believe that before the case for regulation is made, the case for liberty needs to be asserted as well.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Well, I think I've spoken about liberty and I'm not going to repeat myself. I am concerned that over the last 50 years, there have been repeated concerns about the conduct of the press, repeated chances, opportunities, last chances, to quote a former secretary of state, then further incidents -- the death of Princess Diana -- then further problems -- and I've passed Calcutt 1 and Calcutt 2 -- and here we are, yet again, with a real public concern about how certain parts of the press are behaving. Now, do you dismiss that public concern as something which should be put entirely subject to the freedom which I absolutely endorse, the freedom of speech?

MR GOVE: No, I think there is undoubtedly real public concern and I think you are quite right to say that that public concern has existed over the last 50 years. I think that that public concern pre-dates the last 50 years. I would simply say that when we're thinking of what the means of addressing that concern should be, that we should think carefully about the effects of regulation in the same way as a legislator, when any particular proposal is put before them to deal with a particular evil, thinks: is this legislation necessary or proportionate? Is it the right remedy for the particular problem that's been identified? And I'm unashamedly on the side of those who say that we should think very carefully before legislation and regulation because the cry "Something must be done" often leads to people doing something which isn't always wise.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Well, I am prepared absolutely to agree that I should think carefully about the effect of anything I suggest, and believe me, I am thinking very carefully. I equally accept that one can't knee-jerk react. The dangerous dogs legislation of which several people have spoken may be thought to be an example. I'm not saying it is, but it may be thought to be an example. But would you agree that in the context of the repeated concern, time after time -- and it may be more than 50 years, you may be absolutely right -- does suggest that where we are now is not entirely fit for purpose?

MR GOVE: I think the situation now is certainly not ideal and there are abuses. This Inquiry has heard about them. They have caused widespread public disquiet. My instinct is, if we look over time at how we have reacted to other abuses and errors and crimes that have been identified, there has been a tendency -- it hasn't applied in every case but there has been a tendency to meet that particular crisis or scandal or horror with an inquiry. That inquiry has come up with recommendations, some of those recommendations have been wise and thoughtful, others perhaps less so. But what has subsequently happened is that the regulation or the intervention which has flowed from that inquiry has then been gold-plated and applied in such a way as, in the terms that I used in my speech to the press gallery, to be a cure worse than the disease, and in my speech to the press gallery, I mentioned the way in which the vetting and barring scheme had grown and the way in which the Every Child Matters agenda had grown, and the way in which the Food Standards Agency had grown to interpret its brief in a particular way. Now, those were three examples where I believe -- and it's perfectly open to others to disagree with me passionately, obviously -- but where I believe that an unfortunate tendency arose, which is a belief that we could, you know, mitigate against the evil which is inherent in human nature by setting up bureaucratic bodies or enacting regulation.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Right. Well, in the same way that you recognise others are entitled to their view, you are absolutely entitled to your view and I welcome it, and I was keen to make sure that it was appropriately discussed by the Inquiry. I would further agree that bureaucracy is extremely unsatisfactory and that laws don't necessarily solve problems. But if some sort of regime is to be in place -- and you may say that we don't even need a PCC, that it should just be a free-for-all. But if you don't take that view -- and I'll be interested to know if you do -- then there has to be some structure -- not corrected to content, I entirely agree -- that permits those who wish to complain that their liberties are being interfered with, that their rights have been infringed in order they can 62 obtain redress, hasn't there?

MR GOVE: Yes, I do believe -- the first thing that I would say is that there is a case for reform of the law itself and certainly for reform of the law of defamation. I think it's also the case that there's an evolving jurisprudence as a result of the ECHR as we balance the right to a private life and the right to free expression, and I follow that debate with interest. And it's certainly the case that there may be room for improved regulation. All I would say, and sought to say, is that the experience that we have of regulation over certainly the last three decades is that sometimes good intentions can result in the curtailment of individual freedom and they can also result in an unrealistic expectation of how individuals behave.

MR JAY: So are we clear then, Mr Gove, from your speech, that you were throwing up ideas for consideration and making it clear that in your view there was a burden of proof to be discharged before freedom of speech was impeded or restricted by regulation, rather than setting up a final position which effectively said, "Freedom of speech is preeminent, touch it at your peril"; is that it?

MR GOVE: Yes. I have a strong -- some might call it a bias, a prejudice, a predisposition to favour free expression, but by definition, one of the reasons that I favour free expression is that I believe that it is through public debate, the clash of ideas, that we can arrive at a better form of governing ourselves, a better method of helping the next generation and it's entirely possible -- it's happening often enough -- that I will be proven wrong in open debate and it may well be that the fears that I gave expression to in this speech prove to be phantoms.

MR JAY: Because, of course, under the ECHR, as you mentioned, if you're outside the realm of Section 12 and interim injunctions as you well know, Article 8 and Article 10 have the same status, don't they?

MR GOVE: Again, you're more of an expert than I am. I have followed the debate but I cannot follow it with the degree of authority that you can, Mr Jay. But it is the case, yes. I have seen people wrestling with the equal weight given, as I understand it should be, to both articles.

MR JAY: One might be forgiven, reading these words, that -- not that I mean this abusively; this is straight out of JS Mill -- that Article 10 is being given a predominant status, particularly the last paragraph of your speech. Would you agree with that observation?

MR GOVE: Yes, I would agree with it except in one regard. I don't think it's at all abusive to be compared to JS Mill.

MR JAY: No, I wasn't intending to convey that. I reassure you of that. I think that's probably as far as we can take this, Mr Gove. You're expressing a cautionary view and that's where we are, is it?

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: I think we can go a little bit further. Let's just test a couple of those ideas. One of the possible ways forward that I have been considering is to reflect upon the very real cost of litigation and to reflect also upon the inability for those who are not of substantial means to obtain redress for sometimes destructive invasions of privacy or libels. That has led me to consider and to suggest -- and I've not reached any conclusions as yet -- that some sort of mechanism could be devised which allows for small claims to be resolved outside the court and to enable people to obtain swift redress. Of course, that would require consensual submission but it would enable both the individuals and the press to save a great deal of money, and it might also encourage responsible titles to join a new regulatory regime that enforces the code. Would you consider such an appropriate desirable or not?

MR GOVE: At first blush, it seems fair, but the devil would be in the detail.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: I recognise that issue, but I'm not dealing with the detail at this stage. If one did visualise such a system, which also provided redress by way of apology or publication of a correction, as the PCC presently does, would you agree that it would be sensible, if not imperative -- but let's say sensible -- that all responsible titles signed up to it?

MR GOVE: I think there is a lot of merit in newspaper titles that consider themselves to be responsible, holding themselves publicly to a high standard. Absolutely. The only additional note that I would enter is that as the nature of the modern media changes, the definition of what is a title inevitably changes with it.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: No, no, I agree with all that and I've had the debate of everything from the conversation in the pub, through Twitter, through blogs. I'm on top of that additional complication. No, that's not the true. I'm aware of the additional complication. But assuming that such a system could be devised, where the detail did not create the concerns that you are obviously wary of, as you identify, and assume also that one could articulate a respect for the freedom of expression which is your fundamental starting point, in the same way that, as I explained, section 3(1) of the Constitutional Reform Act recognises the importance of the independence of the judiciary -- it's a statutory recognition of that fact, so one could equally have a statutory regulation -- wouldn't one need, in order to provide the form of small claim redress court, some statutory framework not to touch what's happening, not to touch content, not to touch the decision-making but simply to permit enforceable decisions to be made in this not formal -- ie not court system -- set-up?

MR GOVE: I can see the merits in the case that you're putting forward. I'd have to give it appropriate consideration. A couple of thoughts occur to me. The first is that part of the case that you make is a case for reform of the law of defamation in order to make it easier for people to have access to the redress that that can give. There's another concern as well. There must inevitably be a grey area where you or I might consider that something was inaccurate or indeed offensive or intrusive, but the newspaper, journalist or blog concerned would disagree, and I'm not sure how such a dispute would be easily resolved.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Well, we have that today, don't we, with the Press Complaints Commission?

MR GOVE: Indeed.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: And they resolve it, and it's resolved by a body that is, at least in part, entirely independent of the press and, speaking for myself, I don't immediately see a problem. There will always be issues and provided one is being careful to respect the importance of freedom of expression, but equally to weigh the importance of privacy rights or other Article 8 rights, then that balance has to be made by somebody. Somebody has to make a decision. If you come to court, it's a judge. It could equally be, in an arbitral system, a combination of those who represent the industry, those who are independent, bringing a different judgment, a public judgment, to bear on where the line is, bearing always in mind the importance of free expression. But balancing. That's what we do all the time.

MR GOVE: It may be the case that some titles would willingly join 0 in such an arrangement, and that they would consider it to be a badge of pride that they were willing to abide by such an arrangement, but it may be the case that there are other titles or writers or websites that may say, in a way: "We regard that as a cartel arrangement and we wish to be buccaneers, outside it." Would such an arrangement apply to a journal like Private Eye, for example?

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Well, Private Eye would have to decide. What I might suggest to them, or to such a buccaneer -- I don't know whether Mr Hislop would call himself a buccaneer; perhaps he would -- that if you deprive the public of the opportunity cheaply of obtaining redress and you say, "No, if you want to obtain redress, you're going to have to start very expensive proceedings, and if you can't afford it, that's just too bad", then it may be the court could then say, "Well, fair enough, if the paper is right, if we agree with the paper on this particular occasion, fine, then they succeed, but if we don't agree with the paper, then there is a risk that, for example, exemplary damages might flow because the paper could have had this resolved very easily in a different system", and then Private Eye would have to decide: do we want to be inside the system or outside the system?

MR GOVE: Absolutely, but Private Eye might decide that this system is a less effective and speedy way of giving redress to those who legitimately have concerns about what we've written than our editor, exercising his own judgment, and in that sense we're saying that a particular method of organising one part of an industry is preferable to a different method, within that broader industry, of co-ordinating their affairs. Now, it may be that we decide that that is appropriate, but it's undeniably the case that people who take a libertarian view would be sceptical.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yeah, well, they may be sceptical and that libertarian view, they must accept, if they're wrong and so they've created additional cost, they'll have to pay for it.

MR GOVE: It's arguable. What I infer from what you've said -- and I'd have to give it proper consideration -- is that the law would punish those who chose not to enter a voluntary method of regulation.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: I don't use the word "punish" actually quite in that way. What I say is that if there is a sensible, approved system cheaply for resolving complaints, those who choose not to take advantage of the system must expect to be visited with the additional cost that is as a consequence created.

MR GOVE: All I would say is that -- sensible to whom? Approved by whom? If the court says that you must be part of this voluntary association, otherwise you pay a particular price, then the law is making the judgment between one method of remedying problems, which is -- by its definition, it has to be a voluntary arrangement if it's going to work -- and other methods. As I say, I think it's an interesting idea which clearly deserves careful consideration, because I can see the merits behind the case, but I can also see some dangers, and those dangers would be the creation of a club of which you have to be a member if you are not to face more serious punishment in the courts if you happen to make a mistake.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Or more serious cost, certainly.

MR GOVE: Quite. Costs as a punishment.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: The whole point is to avoid everybody -- I mean, it's not actually my mission in life to deprive lawyers of money, but it's not a bad idea in this field, where a lot of people actually can't afford to take on the press.

MR GOVE: Well, I think you're absolutely right, and the prior point that I made is that we do need to look at the law of defamation. There are at least two problems with the existing law of defamation. One is that it costs a great deal for the average citizen to bring action. The other is that the wealthy can use the courts to silence dissident voices, and we have had situations where citizens from other jurisdictions have used the English courts in order to silence people who have been drawing attention to wickedness, tyranny, corporate malpractice and all the rest of it. So I absolutely accept that the law of libel is inadequate at the moment, both in terms of redress and in defending free expression. The proposition that you put forward is undoubtedly a thoughtful -- it's not for me to say it's thoughtful; it's manifestly a thoughtful and significant way of addressing the problem, but I'm not certain that the case is made.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Well, we'll have to see. Everybody will approach these issues from a slightly different perspective and reach their own conclusions as to the way forward, but I do not hear you suggesting that there should be a complete free-for-all.

MR GOVE: No. I think that it's important that we ask ourselves: what are the means, whether it's changing the existing law or looking to other remedies, for dealing with this issue? My point is not to argue for a specific end-slate, to say that there should be a free-for-all or that there should be this method of regulation. Quite properly, this Inquiry will come forward with recommendations, having taken time to listen to the evidence from many witnesses. My intervention in this debate was a reflection of my view that when faced with the case for regulation, the case for liberty sometimes needs to be asserted as well in order to ensure that the public debate around the Inquiry's deliberations is as plural as possible.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: That's precisely why I was keen that you have the opportunity to develop your thoughts in the same forum as everybody else.

MR GOVE: And I'm very grateful to you for that invitation.

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: It's obviously not straightforward. If there was an easy answer to any of it, then there would be an easy answer. Actually, the solution that I'm talking about might also help in relation to the attempts by the very wealthy to muzzle, but we'll have to see. Mr Gove, thank you very much.

MR GOVE: Not at all. Thank you.


Blogger bluedog said...

Michael Gove's performance is superb, Your Grace, good to see a first class mind at work.

One can conclude that Leveson is toying with some contraption that will justify his stipend, and Gove did well to warn against the unintended consequences. Perhaps Gove missed an opportunity to challenge the ECHR, which seemed to be accepted as Holy Writ by both Leveson and Jay.

One could hardly imagine Dave giving such an impressive performance.

Boris, yes.

30 May 2012 at 10:56  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

It's a pity Gove's mind is not so switched on when it comes to the issue of selective schools.

30 May 2012 at 11:32  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

GOVE: ...I think the general case for free expression has to be restated in every generation...
The most honourable and important statement made by any politician this Century.

30 May 2012 at 12:17  
Blogger Andrew Ampers Taylor said...

Have to admit, selective schools were widely adopted by the Russian Communists, so you are right to have doubts. If left wing communists had them, they should be treated with suspicion.

I prefer comprehensives, with private schools for the higher classes.

We don't need grammar schools for the poorer people, they then compete with the higher classes for the better jobs.

30 May 2012 at 12:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CCHR is a contract between the individual citizen and The State, written by the State for the sole purpose of defining 'good and not-good'.

For example, no child has a right to an ubringing from its natural parents. A casual puchase is all that is required to secure the greatest minds have no contact with their gentic roots. Placing sheep among goats.

J S Mills stated: "Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

Egos do not have souls, having supplanted them in their allegence to the most dominant Authority.

The BBC already edits news like a soviet propeganda machine, so if the state regulates the free press, citizens will no longer learn about political prisoners who uttered when drunk, the truth of their abject poverty. They would be words legally expunged from any print medium.

From the Levinson 'Enquiry', the State may decide press infractions should longer be redressed in a court-of-law, but in Star Chambers where truth is no defence. Decreeing that kings and queens were offended, and 'national interests' are the preserve of governments alone.

30 May 2012 at 12:36  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

To be honest, I read Gove's speech as being pretty much the old conservative position of don't mess around lightly with the status quo for fear of something worse. It is actually a very good thing that there should be such a challenge as those of us with a nonconformist or radical bent can get carried away when we are not reined in or questioned.

The real nonconformists are usually the ones raising the questions e.g. how good is the press/other media at actaully delivering free speech and allowing alternative views and ideas to get a hearing? If and how should the balance be restruck when freedoms come into conflict e.g. the freedom of speech, the freedom of investigation by the press, the freedom from defamation, the freedom to pursue a personal life.

My worry about Leveson is that becuase he is largely addressing one particular problem then any solutions identified will only be partial, and will actually put the wider debate that needs to be had on ice. I also tend to believe that such matters should be for all of us to consider through Parliament rather than being left in the hands of judges - but that may just be my roundhead/non conformist ancestry speaking.

30 May 2012 at 12:48  
Blogger Grumpy Scot said...

Having watched Gove yesterday, this really needs to be seen in the context of Gove's having at that point just created the impression that he saw no grounds for any restraint on the press whatsoever

He seemed to neither see, nor make, any differentiation between the freedom to offend and the freedom to damage/harm/destroy.

It is the impact of the latter issue that is being addressed by this inquiry, and the press's behaviours, lack of ethics and professionalism, (which if you have been following this diligently have been demonstrated to Leveson & Co in spadefuls), in pursuing their somewhat tainted thirty pieces of silver.

That Leveson & Jay had to point out to Gove the problems in his stance, demonstrate why it was flawed, and have to lead him through the changing of his stated position to something which was more tenable, almost without his even seeming to notice it, which was the afternoon's true work of saints

30 May 2012 at 13:23  
Blogger therealguyfaux said...

Somebody please ask the Yanks how they manage to get by on the free-speech front without that sort of regulation which seems to be a given in the UK. The US's main concern seems to be that there is too much free speech in terms of political opinion dispensed openly by talk radio on the Right and openly and covertly on public-affairs-type programming on television on the Left; each side claims the other has too much sway within its bailiwick. Interestingly, as to the question of whether that's a fit subject of regulation, it is the Left which seems to think that it is incumbent upon government to re-impose the "Fairness Doctrine," a discredited and ultimately scrapped bit of business which imposed upon broadcasters the duty of presenting "all sides of an issue by responsible spokespeople," which regulation was side-stepped by broadcasters avoiding public-affairs broadcasting beyond a prescribed minimum, so as to avoid having to make determinations as to who the responsible opposing viewpoint espouser should be. The result was that very little public-affairs discussion took place. It was the rise of Cable TV, and the abandonment of music formats by AM stations in the 1980's, coupled with the abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine under Ronald Reagan, that made for the robust political discussion in the US media that some believe contributes to the perception that America is a polarised society when in fact it is characterised more accurately as a "swing-vote" society based on which party seems to have the better grip on what's going on and a more coherent policy in regard to it. The prevailing wisdom in the US is that the cure for "bad speech" is "more speech," and not regulation, as a first resort and in practical terms a last one as well.

30 May 2012 at 13:31  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Don't expect any freedom of speech from homosexuals !

I know the tactics of homosexual activists, and they are not sociable or nice. Gay activists will gather their storm-troopers, well-versed in the ‘gay agenda’. They will send angry letters to everybody, from national governments and international pro-gay quasi-governments to the Advertising Standards Authority and the local grocery store and Uncle Jim in Cardiff. And, probably, his cousin, who runs a used-cycle shop. Oh, and The Simpsons as well.

They will spit out the usual sad epithets: tiresome yawn-inducing words like ‘bigot’, ‘religious fanatic’, ‘ignorant’, the ridiculous word ‘homophobic’, and much more (usually with added pornographic and colourfully-foul language). Their aim will be to make you look stupid, uneducated, a hater of humanity, or just nasty. They will do this because it is part of their agenda (read any homosexual angry letter and you will see they all use the same worn phrases and words! I think they must have a pro-forma, with standard foul language and sexual imagery. Not very original, but that’s the limit of their thinking).

Has anyone noticed gays are reversing common-sense and facts? (This occurred in the 1980’s when AIDS and HIV became a concern: they blamed everyone else in society, even though only homosexuals had the disease!).

But, there you go, eh? All citizens need to know the truth, to avoid being steamrollered into accepting homosexual propaganda and losing their freedom of speech along the way.

30 May 2012 at 14:06  
Blogger Jon said...

Naomi, change the record would you? Yeesh. I'd suggest you were a caricature, but no one would believe it!

I thought it was an interesting debate - it reminded me a bit of David Hume's "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" with three parties and one holding a clearly sceptical position. Maybe that's just because there's three of them, though.

Grumpy Scot - you should in some ways be proud that yet another of your countrymen is present to remind the English to remain committed to freedom of expression! ;-)

30 May 2012 at 15:06  
Blogger Roy said...

I wasn't going to say anything about Gays but, just for once, I feel obliged to say something in their defence!

Naomi said "in the 1980’s when AIDS and HIV became a concern: they blamed everyone else in society, even though only homosexuals had the disease!)."

You would have been correct to say that in the West most people with that illness at that time were homosexuals. In some places, such as San Francisco, it might have looked like an almost exclusively Gay disease then, but a look at the continent where Aids almost certainly originated would have proved otherwise.

30 May 2012 at 16:43  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Their aim will be to make you look stupid, uneducated, a hater of humanity, or just nasty.

Bulls Eye.

30 May 2012 at 17:05  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Well said Naomi

In Jon's world we can all have freedom of speech, but only with due regard to the party line.


30 May 2012 at 17:06  
Blogger Roy said...

There is a suggestion in the Telegraph today that calling someone "fat" should be a hate crime.

Calling someone 'fatty' could become a hate crime

Riciduling someone as 'fat' or 'obese' could become a hate crime under an idea being floated by a group of MPs and a leading charity.

Dawn French better not make any jokes about her own figure in case she gets arrested!

The very concept of "hate crime" is a threat to free speech. You would think from some people on the left that a murder is something to be disapproved of but if the murderer makes racist remarks then it becomes really serious!

A few years ago a disabled mother took her own life and the lives of her children after being taunted for yobs by years. She had complained to the police numerous times without getting any effective action from them.

Afterwards the local police chief said they had learnt a lesson and had added "people with disabilities" to their list of vulnerable groups. That was precisely the wrong lesson! The implication was that the police would have helped the woman if she had belonged to one of the categories in their existing list of "official victims."

Laws about hate speech encourage the police to take a tick box approach to crime.

There is another danger with approach that many people on the Left hope the Leveson Inquiry will take. (Not all - there are still some left-wing defenders of free speech). That is that in politically correct circles not everyone has an equal right to be offended.

To the PC mind (including the minds of some of our police constables) blacks have a greater right to be offended than whites, women have a greater right to take offence than men, gays have a greater right than straights (I prefer the word "normal" to "straight"), Moslems have a greater right to take offence than do adherents of most other non-Christian religions who, in turn, have a greater right than Christians (unless they are Jews and cannot demonstrate that they disapprove of Zionism), poor people have a greater right to be offended than rich people unless the rich people are enlightened Guardian readers and the poor are white, male and working class in which case they are obvious bigots!

30 May 2012 at 17:07  
Blogger Jon said...

Oh Phil, you can say what you like, I couldn't care less. I'm just saying that you drive more people away with rants like Naomi is prone to, than you attract.

That's the trouble with dog whistle politics - you end up surrounded by dogs.

30 May 2012 at 17:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace, all a bit of a mystery to the Inspector, this phone hacking lark. If the newspapers can do it, have done it, then anybody can do it. If those people in the public eye, who are under the delusion they are somehow important, you know, minor ‘celebrities’ and the like, don’t want their conversations overheard, then they shouldn’t use radio telephones. Bit obvious really, but there you go, you have to point out these things to some people.

Now, the Inspector isn’t totally dismissive of these people’s grievances. For example, in the 39-45 war, a chap could ring another and both agree to press the scramble button on their phones. Not beyond science to recreate this encrypting device on these modern hand held things one would think. Probably have to pay top dollar for them, but hard luck. Anyway, these fame types like to think they’re something special, and will jump at the idea thinking they’re worth it.

Pip Pip !

30 May 2012 at 17:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, Inspector knows that Mrs King has come under censure for mentioning the evils of homosexuality ad tedium, but it does help if you take a shot of single malt, and imagine that she is, in fact, DanJ0’s grandmother…

30 May 2012 at 17:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"but it does help if you take a shot of single malt, and imagine that she is, in fact, DanJ0’s grandmother…"

Actually, we're estranged. I couldn't stand the smell of urine and old fish any more.

30 May 2012 at 18:28  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Oh! I'm surprised there Danj0 usually homosexuals like old ladies and vice versa.

30 May 2012 at 18:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“Nan, I love you”

“I wish you wouldn’t son, you’re a poof, a f__king disgrace”

“Must be off now, I’ll come round to do your shopping again next week then”

30 May 2012 at 18:47  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Ad tedium, ad nauseam, ad infinitum...

Call it what you will, but Naomi King's posts are making me cry in anguish as my eyes bleed from the battering of "Gay this", "Lesbian that" and "Homosexual the other" upon them.

I would rather be stuck in a room with Ken Livingstone, Medhi Hassan and Ed Miliband for a year than have to read another thread that brings up sexuality when the topic was anything but!
May the Lord have mercy on ALL our eyes!!!

30 May 2012 at 19:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta. These types have declared war on our society. Fight the good fight, old chap, or roll over and allow them to lick your privates...

30 May 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 May 2012 at 19:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's everywhere these days. Even the England squad seem to be at it! :O

30 May 2012 at 19:27  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

An illuminating post regarding a man that has integrity and is prepared to say what he feels is right, even if it goes against the flow. Well done Mr Gove.

Aids almost certainly did not most come from Europe. Back some 45 years ago, a neighbour who was a research medical scientist was traveling to various parts of Africa, investigating a new disease that was life threatening. Back then it was not even called aids but that’s what it was. The prolific multi partner sexual activity was causing it to spread rapidly, as it does today. The spread through homosexuals was because of their lack of fidelity and its ease at being caught through anal sex.

Phil Roberts,
You are right to praise Naomi, the other side don't like us talking about it, but it will affect us more than them.

Youth Pasta,
I appreciate your concern re SSM discussion and to an extent I agree. The point being raised though was about the right to speak out. Now if you are young and maybe not married but working in a church, do you want to be Partner 1 and Progenitor 1 rather than Husband and Father? Are you willing to have SSM marriages in your church once the ECHR decide that there is inequality by not allowing SSM in religious buildings?
Because the SSM argument is coming over as being a reasonable thing to do, it is our duty to shout out about it with well-constructed arguments wherever we can.

30 May 2012 at 19:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Mr Integrity. The African disease that was almost certainly AIDS was colloquially called “Slim”

30 May 2012 at 20:11  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


So that's what Alex Ferguson means by 'Squeaky-bum time' ;-)

30 May 2012 at 20:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

English chap travels to the 2010 South Africa world cup, and is in a stadium watching a match. Turning to a South African, he asks “What’s that damn noise, I can’t hear myself think”. The South African says “It’s alright it’s just a health survey – anyone one who is HIV positive or expects to be has been asked to blow down a plastic tube”.

heh heh

30 May 2012 at 20:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In the spirit of community, I've found some evidence for Naomi to help her back up that otherwise ludicrous ebook thing. Apparently, some of the typical gay activities she has identified have even achieved the status of an olympic sport now! It's only a matter of time before we take over the world.

30 May 2012 at 21:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

GrumpyScot @ 13.23, have you never heard of the Schumpeterian concept of 'creative destruction'? What works in economics may have other applications. Don't be afraid of the truth, how ever painful.

Realguyfaux @ 13.31, the US has a real Constitution and remains a sovereign nation. The rest is easy. But if you surrender your sovereignty to an alien tradition managed by unaccountable bureaucrats in a foreign capital you get the state of the United Kingdom today!

30 May 2012 at 21:22  
Blogger Roy said...

Mr Integrity said...

Aids almost certainly did not most come from Europe.

Why on earth did you say that? I never suggested that it came from Europe. When I referred to "the continent where Aids almost certainly originated" it should have been obvious to anybody who knows anything at all about Aids that I was alluding to Africa.

30 May 2012 at 22:11  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DanJo - your'e not helping; Mrs K will be having an other attack of the vapours with all this rudery you're presenting - shame on you!

30 May 2012 at 22:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Roy. Look old chap, you don’t have to allude to anything here. The Archbishop has created a site for free speech. It’s alright if you tell it how it is. If it’s not how it is then detractors will soon be on. In a healthy democracy, we need to hear the views of everyone...

30 May 2012 at 22:29  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Mr Integrity - I realise that Naomi has attempted to link to the subject, but nowhere in either the blog or the preceding comments did the idea of homosexuality appear.

In addition, the idea suggested is completely fallacious! Whilst I would agree that SOME in the pro-gay movement would like to see any speech against them banned and punished, it is by no means the entirety and almost certainly not the majority.

And whilst, as I have said many times, I am in no way theologically condoning homosexuality, but neither am I condoning a blatant misrepresentation of those who choose to go against God's design.

30 May 2012 at 22:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta. Any lack of will will be seized upon. Any weakness shown exploited. Now, if you do not have the stomach to take on the militant homosexuals, then butt out, and let us sterner types engage...

30 May 2012 at 23:04  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Go shove it up your rear, Inspector. You are a racist, classist bigot who rarely has anything good to say about anyone who doesn't hold to your own point of view. Regardless of whether this is a character-based theme that you are playing or who you really are, you are a shame upon God's Church, which you claim to be a part of, and anything you might have to say on the matter is a living embodiment of Luke 18:10-14. You preach the word of the law, but deny the spirit. You are a whitewashed wall and you should be ashamed of yourself!

30 May 2012 at 23:18  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Regulating or controlling free speech creates underground secret movements and societies, that then burst forth like a volcano after it has brewed up to boiling point. I think this was what Michael Gove was alluding to.
The only way society moves on and improves is though open discussion and debate. We have to be allowed to discuss everything however awful otherwise life becomes miserable and fearful and we end up like a communist country.

But then again those people in North Korea who have known nothing else for generations are probably quite happy and would be terrified at the thought of being set “free”
Like long term prisoners that are released and commit crimes to get back inside because they are frightened and unable to cope living on the outside.
We have known freedoms and to have them eroded away is equally cruel.

30 May 2012 at 23:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Deary me, such stern words from Youthpasta ! Beloved fellow communicants, the Inspector wishes that you avert your eyes from what is about to happen....

Now listen you faint hearted pansy of a Christian, you’re damn lucky you’re not face to face with me otherwise you would find you suddenly had your head slapped. We just don’t need c__ts like you around to let the side down. You do your little bit in your church, which if it must includes sucking the gays, well keep your damned mouth shut. Now, with that out of the way, go in peace, my son. The Inspector will say a quiet prayer for you tonight. God be with you.

30 May 2012 at 23:31  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

As an American, I highly value the right of free speech. Except for journalists, of course. Journalists are scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, carrion eaters. And those are their good points. This debate sounds like it might have something to do with journalists behaving according to their scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, carrion-eating nature. In which case, I would probably be more sympathetic to the Cavaliers in this matter - even though by nature I am a Roundhead.


31 May 2012 at 00:04  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Bluster, bravado, waffle and sanctimonious drivel. No change there then, Inspector! Still, at least Il Papa can sit you on his knee and kiss it better!
Now I think I might follow Proverbs 23:9

31 May 2012 at 00:30  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

Our Inspector General is a living personification of a Jesuit education.

A self-proclaimed Christian, whose views have as much in common with those of his supposed savior as Vlad the Impaler on a bad hair day.

On the subject at hand

The details of this enquiry are as boring as they are largely irrelevant, for the ultimate outcome is IMO preordained.

It is currently impossible for the public to understand what the point of this enquiry is. The enquiries remit seems to be so incredibly wide that its true reason for being have already become totally obscured from view.

Therefore only by its ultimate outcome can its original purpose become at all known.

The Common Purpose of this ridiculously lengthy enquiry will be found in the legislation which is seen to result from it.

As we should surely know by now, we must always judge our judges, politicians, and other related habitually dishonest and wholly corrupted criminals not by their words, but by their actions.

We should also know that we much always judge these actions by their consequences, and do so in the full knowledge that they are very rarely of the unforeseen variety.

31 May 2012 at 03:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Harrumph! Missed yet another delightful evening at the Archbishop's virtual pub (Archie's e-Pub?) with patrons musing, venting and turning over chairs. A good time was had by all. With me being dog-tired and most of you slumbering, I'll just pipe in to say that freting about the freedom of the big press and the paparazzi is important, but not if it distracts from the bigger worry, the dark and gloomy threat to our fragile Internet freedoms, such as they remain. The Net's where the real action is, not with the dying papers and the senile talking-heads. The shadowy "they" would surely like to see the Net spayed and dressed in a tu-tu. The Net slapped the Old Media on the side of its head, mortally mangled the global warming balloney racket and makes it all but impossible for governments to issue their garble without at least a good amount of nasty grumbling. For dessert, it's making clowns out of your BBC and the Grauniad, the Aussie's ABC, our CBC and the Yanks' NPR and their entire cable network and the big-TV cosa nostra. Be sure too that someone, somewhere in your fair Albion has cast a jaundiced eye at His Grace's blog, raging, Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?"

And, yeah, next time your native blogger, "Tallbloke,"* gets picked out of the crowd and hassled by the Norfolk Constabulary poltroons, don't just leave it up to Americans, Canadians and Aussies to raise a racket and the defense funds. Stand up instead, pound yer manly chests and shout with a mighty roar, "I am 'FOIA'!"

* For those who've been wintering on Mars, Tallbloke was the first blogger to announce the release of the Climategate 2.0 emails, an act which terribly upset the Obamanator, which in turn made your mighty Dave jump high enough to get the Norfolk flatfoots to put the screws on a little blogger. See:

PS: Those who still don't know what Climategate is...well, it's ok, don't worry about it now.

31 May 2012 at 06:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Gove talks about the benefits of a marketplace of ideas, to use JS Mill's phrase. JS Mill limits the role of government in this area as he does in others. I base my position regarding a secular State on this sort of thinking. It's interesting to see religious people siding with Gove on this as liberalism of this sort doesn't seem to sit comfortably with many religionists.

31 May 2012 at 06:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ah, there you are Youthpasta. The miscreant always returns to the scene of his crime, don’t you. Well the Inspector forgives you. Go sin no more, there’s a good fellow...

As you were and carry on.

31 May 2012 at 08:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Shrugged. The Inspector is a Christian soldier, not some hand maiden to walking wounded of society, which seems to be a popular Anglican stance...

31 May 2012 at 08:08  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Danjo @ 06.35, one of the best arguments for free speech is the simple premise that there are no secrets. In other words, every fact and every idea, how ever repressed will always emerge at some point. This was the experience in the Eastern bloc under Communism. It follows that if a society limits free speech in anyway it simply creates a black-market in the truth and in ideas which is a form of corruption, being false witness.

As an Anglican I really don't like corruption and hence defend a free market in the truth and in the competition of ideas. You don't need to be an Anglican to feel that way but it may help. Recent attempts by certain parties to limit certain ideas are therefore to be condemned.

Mr Inspector @ 08.08, what did you sprinkle on your wheaties today?

31 May 2012 at 08:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

No offence meant, Bluedog, but when a church is determined to be ‘inclusive’, you’ll one day look around and say “Now, where did we put Jesus and God”.

31 May 2012 at 08:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Youthpasta believes there are Moderate Gays.

Sorry to disappoint you, they don't have fluffy down and there aren't any innocent virgins... it all starts in the mind.

There is no nice parallel universe.

31 May 2012 at 09:20  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...


While I agree with you about the dangers of limiting free speech - I'm afraid it just isn't as simple as allowing a complete free for all - should there be a freedom to use speech to defame, threaten and incite? Or should there be a freedom to invade peoples' privacy to get information that you can then use your freedom of speech to broadcast? And you also make the assumption that reasonable freedom of speech exists at present, if so when the press says something about you that is not true might I suggest that you try and get your view across when you don't have access to expensive libel lawyers or other prominent media channels. And what about the rights to a fair trial when the press trade their version of events and facts before a charge is made?

31 May 2012 at 10:00  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...


You only put the positive side of the story however - one problem with the internet is that its sanctions for those who abuse freedom of speech (i.e to lie and libel) are pretty hit and miss.

I don't think it is beyond the wit of man to come up with mechanisms for doing this that don't endanger the positive side - but it certainly hasn't happened yet.

31 May 2012 at 10:09  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I think what Lord Leverson is aiming for is a small court or arbitration that anyone can apply to put right errors that have been printed in the press and come to an agreement without the expensive and lengthy complicated court cases.

Doesn't journalism currently define between serious investigative journalism where wrongdoing is uncovered like backhanders for contracts, insider dealing,fraud, corruption etc.. and the trivial hounding of people for gossip to increase readership.

And don't people in the public eye have a right to a private life as long as it does not effect their public role or is not breaking the law. And anybody using taxpayers money has to be open and honest about what they use it for so the press have every right to snoop there.

Who cares what Max Moseley got up to as long as he turned up bright and fresh to perform properly and honestly in his public roles. If he wants to dress up as a Nazi and swing from the chandeliers that's up to him as long as he doesn't do it when he supposed to be at work.
And if he wants to sleep with prostitutes in his private life then that's also up to him he has to wrestle with his own conscience after and deal with any STD's as long as he doesn't pass them on to anyone else.
That's why there is the Church for moral guidance. If the Church fades away and there are no messages being broadcast to the people to try and lead a better life.

31 May 2012 at 11:35  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

You are of an age when we as kids got a good smack around the head from dad or the local bobby if we messed around. If only those days were still here.
Youth Pasta;
The Inspector is a lovable old rogue and he adds a touch of humour to what are otherwise boring subjects. (No disrespect Your Grace). Love those Gays but don’t let them suck you in (excuse the pun). They are cantankerous individuals, nice as pie at one time but then turn on you like a bated fox. I know because I have to work with some of them.

31 May 2012 at 11:49  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 May 2012 at 11:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

We have laws that provide for action of Libel, Slander, for Defamation of character and for Actions likely to cause a Breach of the Peace etc; we do not need specific 'hate' laws that are nothing less than thought control tools, to suppress democratic freedom and progress. To be accused of causing hurt, offense or embarrassment to someone is causing no offense at all; it is entirely subjective it is one man's interpretation of intent against another's perception of injury.

Criticising a set of ideas, a religious book, icon, or strongly held belief can't in all seriousness be regarded as causing offense to inanimate objects or ideas and how can a person's hurt 'feelings' be quantified, measured and tested in court - it's plain crazy - Orwellian fantasy made real.

The Internet, posters and banners are the Graffiti Walls of the world. But the internet in particular because can relatively anonymous, unbelievably fast and far reaching, needs to be treated with extreme caution and at the same time, protected in equal measure.

As Dickens said 'it was the best of times - it was the worst of times': the point is, that it is here as long as the satellites stay up.

For the first time in the history of mankind, anyone so inclined can have a platform from which to share their thoughts and opinions, be they journalists, academics, politicians or oppressed people witnessing of the humbling of tyrants.

Hands of the internet and the freedom to speak aloud - if you don't like something turn it off, walk away or stay and argue the point, but don't change its open form.

31 May 2012 at 12:03  
Blogger bluedog said...

Tory Boy says, 'I'm afraid it just isn't as simple as allowing a complete free for all - should there be a freedom to use speech to defame, threaten and incite'.

The point being made before your re-interpretation is that the truth will always out. Witness the recent futility of gagging orders taken out by celebs trying to lock skeletons in cupboards, without success. In fact the balance of power in the media has shifted, thanks to the internet. The citizen now has media access in ways that were not previously available, courtesy of sites such as that provided by His Grace, and if not in the UK, then elsewhere. The internet is global and viral, there is nowhere to hide.

It is a pity that Leveson has introduced the idea of a press ombudsman in terms of statutory control of free speech. An ombudsman is explicitly not a control mechanism but is merely an external dispute resolution scheme, a very different thing. One could argue that ASA Ltd's functions could be replaced by an overall media and advertising ombudsman. A press and advertising ombudsman could be financed by industry levies as in the case of ASA Ltd. All appearances before an ombudsman are voluntary but binding to the parties who consent to conciliation. In most cases the monetary value of claims is capped at a relatively low level to prevent vexatious claims. A satisfactory resolution of dispute may be no more than a public retraction of false claims.

There is nothing in this to limit free speech and the Irish introduced a press ombudsman in 2008. The exposure of appalling practices by the Roman Catholic Church was in no way inhibited by the creation of a press ombudsman.

You would agree, Mr Inspector, would you not?

31 May 2012 at 12:16  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...


As someone with a pretty thick skin I take your point about the freedom to be offensive but even in that case there has to be limits relative to the context e.g. burning a bible during the middle of Evensong might warrant some restraint.

31 May 2012 at 14:18  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Probably come under some rabid Health and Safety rule I would guess ;-)

31 May 2012 at 15:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Mr I: "They are cantankerous individuals, nice as pie at one time but then turn on you like a bated fox. I know because I have to work with some of them."

Yes because, just like black people, we're all the same. You've worked with one, you've worked with all.

31 May 2012 at 17:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bluedog. at 12:16

Indubitably old chap. God alone knows what our masters, or certain fallen members of the RCC, would be getting away with, with a muzzled press. Makes a fellow faint just thinking about it…

Mr Integrity. The Inspector’s father threatened to ‘skin him alive’ if he ever brought the family name into disrepute. Of course, that goes back to a time when everyone had a father who lived in, and was expected to provide for the family he started. Hmmm. If we could only find a way of getting that one on the statute books. The savings from the welfare budget would mean we could get our aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, back from the pawnbrokers, and even afford planes for the two carriers in building.

A failed ‘experiment’, single parenting, in cases where it was planned that way. Instead of emptying the state coffers to provide them poor money, no subsidized accommodation should be made available for them. They should live with the mother’s parent(s) and bring the child up as a sibling. The worst of the women of easy virtue should be put in the care of Irish Catholic nuns, and made to work in a laundry - while their bastards are put up for adoption. It would then be doubtful if any of the said bastards would have the wrecking effect on society the crime pages of the local press report today…

31 May 2012 at 18:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oh that would be so lovely to go back to Magdalene asylums, especially with Catholic clergy in charge.

31 May 2012 at 18:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Stopped them having six children by six different fathers, though, and saved us all a small fortune...

31 May 2012 at 18:49  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

I fear the Inspector reads a very thin New Testament, assuming he ever opens it!

31 May 2012 at 19:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta, you really ought to give hard line right Christianity a hearing. Especially as evidence points to us having a hard line right Creator who calls the shots...

31 May 2012 at 19:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

It would then be doubtful if any of the said bastards would have the wrecking effect on society...

How can you make a statement such as this, condemn without the slightest compassion or legitimate cause, and still maintain that you are the product of a Christian upbringing.

Truly astounding.

What you have just posted is a gross and deeply bigoted statement even by your standards Inspector - and there was I thinking you had mellowed. I appreciate you like to outrageously provoke responses to sidetrack and reduce debate to your preferred a pantomime knock-a-bout format which I must confess I find essentially nauseating if not a little sad.

Looks like our Christmas football kick about is over Herr Inspector - let the hostilities re-commence.

31 May 2012 at 20:36  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Youthpasta said...

I fear the Inspector reads a very thin New Testament, assuming he ever opens it!


Presumably you are happy in your Gospel of works. After all God is on your side because you are such a loving person and you stick up for the weak and you don't judge anyone etc. Such a nice guy, God must love you for all these nice things you do...

Perhaps brother you have more of a Gospel of Job's friends than of Christ.


31 May 2012 at 20:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dreadnaught. Radio Times commissioned an interview from David Attenborough last year. In it, he was asked if he was religious. He said that in Africa, there is a tiny worm that buries into childrens’ eyeballs and sends them blind by the age of ten. He said that he couldn’t possibly contemplate a creator who could allow this. And do you know, at a prima facie level, he’s correct.

But then you think about it and say, well just a moment, we’re not here to define God, we’re here to understand Him. Now, in that same spirit the Inspector asks you this. Do you want to huddle up to a woman who would have six children by six different fathers ? For them to grow up without direction, because the only moral compasses they have are school and their mother ? And at the age of adulthood, to copy her if they are girls, or rob you if they are boys ?

Leave it out. The Inspector has no intention of having his pocket picked by these types. Remember this friend, being a Christian is NOT the easy way out. If you want that, DanJ0’s liberalism is for you. If it feels good, do it and sod the consequences to sum his attitude up...

31 May 2012 at 21:42  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Your Grace,

This is such a queer blog in so much as you can sympathize with some-one whom you totally disagree with.

At least Inspector is consistent with his views- I disagree with most of his right wing views- but I do recall that Youth Pasta said to me many posts ago that the Old Testament law still applied - which was why he was against gays! Given Patas' picking and choosing... Must be an Anglican via media thingy.

31 May 2012 at 22:06  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Phil Roberts, you are so laughably off target that the audience are running for cover.

Inspector, the reason that I say your New Testament is thin is that you clearly have no concept of love. You may claim it isn't so, but your language to all outside your narrow-minded understanding of the world as it should be is as clear as anything to your true mind. I say again, you whitewashed wall, you are as poor a representation of a Christian as anyone who declares homosexuality is God's intentional design for the world.

Naomi King is like the Pharisees that cried in horror whenever Jesus visited the house of a person they disapproved of. Indeed one could say she is worse as she declares her hatred of them before they, or things related to them, are even mentioned!

The Christian message is to declare the Good News of Christ as Saviour of the World. It is of His love, shown once, for all upon the Cross. The Church's charge is to go and share and help to bring change to people's lives, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and to see the world restored to God.
We are not called to pour scorn on those who disagree with us. Sure, discourse and argument is fine as this is how ideas are shared and the opportunity for change is offered. But the way that some people speak about, and to, those who are either gay or supportive of pro-gay views in the comments section of this blog is so unchristian, particularly in the light of this being a Christian blog that is predominantly inhabited by self-professing Christians!

31 May 2012 at 22:30  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Anna, you misunderstand my views if you think I am picking and choosing. The Bible is very clear on homosexuality. The Law IS still in place! However, this does not mean that bringing it up in nearly every comments section, particularly in a way that is clearly both abusive and unchristian in delivery, is right or Biblical. As the Good Book says, all things in love.

31 May 2012 at 22:36  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


We are not called to pour scorn on those who disagree with us

Pot calling the kettle black?

But the way that some people speak about, and to, those who are either gay or supportive of pro-gay views in the comments section of this blog is so unchristian…

References? Having pro gay views are Christain? You castigate Naomi but at least she gives us the references not just pious utterances.

Look at the log in your eye Youthpasta!

It is right to pour scorn on pro gay views. Would you be “supportive” to anyone who describes a fetish for murder or sex with children would Jesus say “come in mate I know just the Church for you, they are willing to “accept” anyone no questions asked” Sorry I cannot find any references to Jesus saying anything like that. It was more "go and sin no more".


31 May 2012 at 22:55  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

...we’re here to understand Him...

You may be convinced 'HE' exists - I say you're nuts to believe in something which can't be proved to be anything but a regurgitated pure anthropological fiction plus a few additions - just like Islam and a thousand spin offs throughout the last 2000 years.

But, in a free society that is your right; your right to believe in what you want is your choice - it does not and never will make illogical claims logical, or make your arguments automatically valid ot true as far as I am concerned.

31 May 2012 at 23:04  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Do you want to huddle up to a woman who would have six children by six different fathers ?

What business of yours is this even if I did - NONE.

Any way for what it matters - What does your bible tell you of how JC dealt with 'fallen women'? Was he not, according to your holy book, most often criticized for His work with the prostitutes during the time He was here on this earth. I challenge you to substantiate your claim to be a follower of Christ while making comments such as highlighted above.

31 May 2012 at 23:24  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Phil, you are an angry one aren't you, and clearly following the Inspector's example of being unloving to all you don't agree with. Ever heard of this chap called Jesus? He was a bit of a chatty guy a few years ago, you know. Said all sorts o PDF things, including that people should love their neighbour as they love themselves, even if their neighbour was a racially impure, God-forsaken people who had deliberately chosen to go against God's commandments. You might want to remember that when you speak about anyone, particularly given that your neighbours include Christians (those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for our sins would be the definition you are looking for on that) who may have views different to you on homosexuality and homosexuals themselves!

Forget the log, you seem to have an entire forest there!

1 June 2012 at 00:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I say you're nuts to believe in something which can't be proved

I await your proof of the existence of 'good.' Or do you not believe in 'good?' In the meantime I shall conduct (in vain) a search for the scientific proof that inert matter somehow organized itself by random processes into a irreducibly complex self-aware living organism.


1 June 2012 at 00:02  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...


I was in the film Magdalena Sisters as an extra! Got £60 a day for dressing like an eejit and standing around. Hot weather though and plenty of ale had to be consumned.

My Parish Priest was horrified I was in the film!

1 June 2012 at 01:27  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: admit it, you were Sister Bridget, the Mother Superior! ;o)

1 June 2012 at 02:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

YP: "However, this does not mean that bringing it up in nearly every comments section, particularly in a way that is clearly both abusive and unchristian in delivery, is right or Biblical."

Yes. It's the intention and delivery that matters. The content can be used in a number of different ways, some good and some bad. I think the intention with much of it is nothing religious.

1 June 2012 at 06:18  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


I await your proof of the existence of 'good.'

You are deploying the oldest trick in the book by deflecting from answering the question posited, with your own question. But I'll go along with your game.

Religionists and other pursuants engaged in the study of similar abstract concepts, will have regarded themselves at some time or other to be in possession or close to possession of the key to the ultimate 'truth'(at least in their own understanding of the meaning and application of the word) and succeed in discrediting their competition - they can't all be correct but they still claim it. It is also worth of note that such a possession has an uncanny association with the issue of land, water, animal and mineral rights of 'ownership'.

Of course, if in danger of failing to convince the other party, they invariably recourse to violence in the name of the totem of their belief.

However, back to the word 'good'.I suggest for the sake of debate, that in the history of mankind acts of individual or group experiences of examples of simple 'goodness' were rooted in altruism, kindness or the preservation of life for instance, in the face of adversity. I further suggest that such recognisable acts would have been in practice long before the concept of goodness was claimed by followers of any theism.

I don't believe it at all necessary if even possible to define the word 'good' to your satisfaction any more than it is necessary to conceptualise and describe the limit of the Universe. I personally don't need to know the answer to that to enjoy life and deploy my efforts positively and existentially during my time alive.

From my own perspective Life is too short for such futile self inflicted mental torment.

1 June 2012 at 08:36  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Ah, but what if you are wrong, Dreadnaught? It is true that if we who believe are wrong then our with has no ultimate meaning, but it doesn't tend to do any harm to believe. Indeed many acts of altruism occur due to a person's beliefs, like the teachings of Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek or to love our neighbour as ourselves.
However, if we are right then the impact goes far beyond this mortal life and means infinitely more.

1 June 2012 at 08:50  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


'but it doesn't tend to do any harm to believe'...

I say belief without evidence is at best either a guess or simply fatuous; even if the believer is totally sincere in their conviction, it does not add one iota to the argument. You may as well say prove what is meant by proof.

The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.
Sigmund Freud

1 June 2012 at 10:57  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Dreadnaught - And yet you say "I personally don't need to know the answer to that to enjoy life"

Surely, if there is the possibility that you are wrong then you cannot ignore that as blindly as your statement suggests?

1 June 2012 at 13:20  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Between you and me, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it - no mortal has yet come back from the dead or sent a message to confirm that there is 'another side'.

Now I don't know how many humans have trod this Earth, but the odds of just one - any single one (out of how many billions?) coming/or reporting back has done so. I reckon any Bookie would give you odds of millions to one if you were daft enough to put your savings down.

Promulgating fear of the unknown through some claimed divine revelation, is what men do to strike fear into those they wish to control. In the past, if there was resistance, it invariably involved shedding the blood of the dissenters - in those situation, even I would be a 'convert'.

1 June 2012 at 17:08  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


"Phil, you are an angry one aren't you, and clearly following the Inspector's example of being unloving to all you don't agree with."

It is not who I disagree with but what the bible teaches. If I am being unloving so is God. However, I think you just have a warped view of what love is.

Think of a small boy walking with his Dad holding his hand, the Dad picks him up and cuddles him tight (Affirming his love) later the Dad tells him off for trying to run off into the road. (Saving him from danger)

When is the boy most loved?

Love does not mean we agree with everything you do. Often the loving response is to point out the dangers and try to prevent what they are doing to themselves and others.

When Jesus said love your neighbour as yourself, he was looking for what was the motivation in your heart for what you do.

The trouble is that the liberal majority in the CofE has equated love with acceptance of virtually all perversion, Bible revision and murder of infants as being acceptable and unquestionable because of the false use of “love your neighbour as yourself”


1 June 2012 at 17:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta. your narrow-minded understanding of the world as it should be

Let’s call that defined limits of what is expected of us by God.

you are as poor a representation of a Christian as anyone who declares homosexuality is God's intentional design for the world.

Gays are here. They did not sign up to be homosexuals. They have a cross to bear, and am somewhat relieved that of the crosses I bear, that is not one of them. They are therefore part of God’s plan, unless of course they are the devil’s work. And their part in the plan ? Not sure, but it does seem that celibacy is required of them. Now, that doesn’t go down with them at all well.

Dreadnaught. at 20:36

Rather disappointed with you old man. Thought you were made of sterner stuff. As you see, the Inspector is. He has the ability not only to know what needs to be done, but the will and determination to see it through.

Dreadnaught at 23:04

After ‘gross bigot’, the Inspector is now ‘nuts’. We are here and we don’t know for sure if it’s by sheer chance, or by designed plan. Inspector goes for the latter, but he is not so arrogant as to call those who opt for the former as ‘nuts’. Interestingly, scientists are putting great store in something called dark matter and dark energy. They can’t see it/them or detect it/them, that’s where the ‘dark’ comes from, but ‘It just has to be there’ they wail. Sounds like they’re nuts. What do you think ?

Dreadnaught at 23:24

If you want to huddle up to a woman who would have six children by six different fathers, then best of luck. One fully accepts Christ’s work with the prostitutes but his message was don’t sin again. So there you are, justification complete and rather delighted to find am still a Christian. Final thought - Christianity is seen by many in this country as some sort of roll over creed. It is most certainly not, at least from where this man is standing…

1 June 2012 at 18:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


You are deploying the oldest trick in the book

No, I pointed out that your argument can be used against your own position. You live in a world with the illusion of compelled belief. I pointed out just two examples.

Your description of 'good' hinges upon observation. You see an act and judge the outcome 'good.' But that act of judgment presumes the prior standard. "Act X produces outcome Y. Outcome Y is better that alternate outcome Z. Therefore X is good." I am asking you to prove the standard that you are implicitly using to make that judgment. It is after all a fact that your average Chekist would have answered the question quite differently from you.

As for abstract concepts, we all employ them. I trust you would have little problem with the idea that "all men are equal." And yet this is nothing more than an abstract concept asserted without empirical evidence. Men are dramatically unequal by every available metric. Without exception. Position. Power. Intelligence. Wealth. Wisdom. Standing. Influence. Character. Drive. Initiative. Creativity. Name any characteristic of man, and you will find that it divides men into unequal groupings. So why then do you insist on the equality of man when all (and I do mean all) the available evidence suggests otherwise? You presume without proof and yet you presume.

I personally don't need to know the answer to that to enjoy life and deploy my efforts positively and existentially during my time alive.

You would if you lived in the Ukraine in the winter of 1932. The relative security and prosperity of the West is what enables this attitude. But let the Chekists once come and things would change.


1 June 2012 at 19:06  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Good shooting carl. Another liberal ethicist bites the dust!

1 June 2012 at 19:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

That describes god hypotheses very well: an abstract concept existing in the human mind. And only in the mind too, in all probability. We're all okay about the concept of good because it's linked with human agency which is largely uncontentious in everyday life. The problem with a god hypothesis, and a major difference with the abstract concept of good, is that some people imbue it with its own agency. That's the point where people are fully entitled to ask: Why should we accept that? We also ought to ask: Why accept that but not the existence of magical things such as faeries and pixies?

1 June 2012 at 21:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The "all men are equal" thing is an equivocation too. It's not about equal attributes in its normal usage, it's about what is due.

1 June 2012 at 21:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. “All men are equal”

Yes, before God alone. As for all men being equal on Earth, it never was, never is, and never will be. Don't forget that now...

1 June 2012 at 22:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Yes, let's just completely rush past explaining why inherently unequal men should be owed equal treatment under the law. Your assertion that men should be "due" equal treatment is predicated upon the idea of ontological equality between men. But you cannot establish that equality by any measure. You simply presume it despite the evidence.

By nature, you are due what you can take, and you can possess what you can keep. By nature, there exists no authority to impose obligation, and so men can't be "due" anything. Indeed, the whole of human history demonstrates that men are due nothing at all.

The only rational basis for equality is our moral equidistance from God. Otherwise it is just a convenient fiction that men tell themselves in the face of obvious empirical contradiction. Many, however, are the historical examples of men who have recognized that obvious inequality and acted upon it to their own benefit. To do so is the natural behavior of man.


1 June 2012 at 22:34  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


Your description of 'good' hinges upon observation.

Firstly I have no idea of what a Checkist is.

I don't believe that 'good' exists in itself like a packaged commodity of a shelf or simply exist in one singularly definable format.

The human experience of something worth the label 'Good' is subject to the physiological reaction to an experience in life, that through the release of seratonin and other biological chemical enzymes which induces a mental perception of something pleasing, satifying and perhaps a pleasant feeling of well-being. Good, as distinct from right and wrong, rests entirely within the instinctive concept as it is experienced by naturally by the individual or individuals. This experience, equally shared and exhibited within the prevailing societal norms establishes its validity as something desirable to be shared and repeated.

Are you suggesting that the human experience of something 'good' happening is impossible to comprehend without years of studying a stitched together album of often contradictory claims of events that were recollected, collected, shuffled and adapted to suit the political conditions of the time? Do you think the concept that I regard as being of a natural phenomena, was not experienced by humanity before the introduction of divine ordination?

I think you should explain is your definition of 'good'.

"I trust you would have little problem with the idea that "all men are equal."

I don't - but you as a Christian or as a Jew or as a Muslim may certainly have a problem with this if you believe what is written.

Again - this statement depends on many interpretations and applications. If you mean in the context of the ADI then it clearly did not; the writers who employed their collective wisdom, guided and justified in their actions by their understanding of an omnipresent omnipotent god as a European white-man, delegating them with the task to dispossess and enslave with his divine approval. Especially with god on their side - then no - not all men were deemed to be equal.

The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves.


1 June 2012 at 22:36  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The only rational basis for equality is our moral equidistance from God.

Contextually using Rational and God in the same sentence is oxymoronic

1 June 2012 at 22:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, this might help. For the Inspector, the equality of man was never a philosophical issue. Walk down any high street in the UK. If you shake most peoples hand, they could be your friend for life. A small number of course would murder you for the contents of your wallet. Where’s the philosophy in that ?

1 June 2012 at 23:02  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


I find all the relevance to understand the simplest and basic needs of humanity is expressed perfectly within the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Any way I'm shagged - I bid you a good night - oops - I almost forgot to call you a Bastard - that as well. ;-)

1 June 2012 at 23:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Yes, let's just completely rush past explaining why inherently unequal men should be owed equal treatment under the law."

Yes, let's. It was enough for me to point out the equivocation. The rest is a different discussion.

2 June 2012 at 07:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Yes, before God alone. As for all men being equal on Earth, it never was, never is, and never will be. Don't forget that now..."

Well, you might choose to recognise that the human condition involves having interests, and that we fair better or worse depending on our interactions. The fact that we're self-aware is key to it all as recognising our own interests implies that we recognise others have interests too. While individuals may well jostle to satisfy their own interests in specific cases, there's a case to be made for setting up a social structure which takes account of everyone in the general case. I'm thinking in a John Rawls type way here.

2 June 2012 at 07:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "The only rational basis for equality is our moral equidistance from God."

Don't you believe in the concept of Unconditional Election? No doubt there's a load of religious complexity and wooo weirdness there that would make me shudder but, at least on the face of it, there doesn't seem to be much equidistance there.

2 June 2012 at 07:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dreadnaught. The Inspector is indeed honoured that despite your tired state last night, you still managed to type out your thoughtful 'good night bastard' farewell to him !

In return, he offers you a simple prayer - ”May your houseboat never take on water in the middle of the night and go down swiftly with you in it” :->

2 June 2012 at 12:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. The Inspector would sum up his thoughts herewith “There is me and mine and I interact with the world solely in that interest and that alone”. It’s the very bones of it all. Very much a family orientated stance.

2 June 2012 at 12:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's ironic isn't it? You claim to be a Christian and I am an atheist yet look at the manifestation in your words and mine. Of course, it comes as no surprise to me but it might to the silent reader.

2 June 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Yours reeks of socialism. And we can’t have that !

2 June 2012 at 13:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Yours reeks of socialism. And we can’t have that !"

It's got nothing to do with socialism, you numpty.

2 June 2012 at 13:49  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. Now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

4 June 2012 at 17:54  
Blogger Jon said...

Inspector, Naomi, I notice neither of you answered DanJ0's question as to whether you believe in Unconditional Election.

Perhaps it's because you are afraid of the can of David Attenborough's eye worms you're opening?

6 June 2012 at 12:06  
Blogger Peter Kirsop said...

Your Grace ,
you will of course remember the reason the Leveson enquriy exists: that the press broke the law, for example- that journailsts hacked phones in a way which the police are not allowed to do without a court order.
Your Grace will also remember that this was originally denied. lied about and concealed by a company that seemed to think it was above the law, not even the King as your near contemporary Lord Coke reminded James I is above the law.
Your Grace will also remember -as do some of your readers who like me are of a certain age- the Profumo affair, and then what happened when Brigadier Profumo to use your Grace's majestic words made restitution and satisfaction according to the uttermost of his powers by working (origianlly by cleaning the lavatories at Toynbee House) so long and for so little earthly reward that he was honoured by his Sovereign with a CBE and was honoured by Lady Thatcher who sat him next to his Sovereign at her 70th birthday party. At the time the good Brigadier received his CBE the Murdoch press revived all the old scandal.
You may say that that is true, and yes it is but in the words of Lord Devlin- hardly a radical
'if the press wanted to continue operating free of a government statute guaranteeing the right to privacy, it should regulate its own behaviour and should not try to profit from a man's sins, follies and misfortunes'.
It has not done so and so it should now be regulated.

21 June 2012 at 12:47  

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