Monday, 29 December 2008

Depressing

There is something about this time of year that just causes the news to be bleak, this year instead of the headlines being taken up with a natural disaster, it is mostly about both sides in the middle east being utterly, depressingly stupid. Hamas has played the part of the small child in the lion enclosure perfectly, despite having been told to stop poking the lion with the stick it carried on and true to for the lion has decided to gouge the child, even though it knows full well that it will get admonished for doing so. Everyone out there who is shouting at/about one side or the other being to blame is being terribly naïve about the huge amounts of anger both sides have after thousands of years of various flavours of oppression. Unfortunately there is no-one about who can bash their heads together and send them both to bed early without any supper.

Closer to home the truly saddening part of Andy Burnham's proposals for the internet isn't age ratings, they aren't oppressive so much as completely unworkable, but that the Government is considering changing libel laws to give people access to cheap low-cost legal recourse if they are defamed online. This country is world renowned for so called 'libel tourism' and how easy it is to bring actions for defamation in our courts even when there is the scantiest connection between the materials and people concerned and this jurisdiction. This reputation is so poorly regarded in places like the US as an anathema to free speech that there are even attempts to legislate to deal with the issue.

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