If you live outside the UK you probably don’t have newspapers like the News of the World. Just thank Freya. It’s not even possible to describe them adequately but the link might give you some idea of their idea of “news”
The NoW recently lost a privacy case based on its deeply unpleasant activities – paying dominatrix prostitutes thousands to secretly film a client (who was already paying more than my month’s salary for an evening of their services) and to add a fake Nazi element because his long-dead father had been a well-known fascist.
(Well, it makes a change from Amy Winehouse. Just don’t get me started on the Amy Winehouse coverage.)
You might think “comically distasteful, but definitely none of my business.” The good old News of the World tried to pretend this was somehow our business because his father had been famous in the 1930s and because he’s the boss of Formula One or something.
Well the guy won his court action and got a fairly huge sum, plus they have to pay some part of his incredibly huge legal fees. This seems fair enough to me, and nothing to do with freedom of the press. I can’t see what the private behaviour of the Formula One Boss has to do with public interest. To be honest I don’t even know what Formula One is. But, even if I did, I can’t believe I would base my private morality on the actions of its multi-millionaire boss.
Not so Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, apparently. He has written – in the News of the World, no less (LOL) that this judgement set a dangerous precedent.
Without public debate or democratic scrutiny, the courts have created a wholly new privacy law. In itself that’s bad enough.
But, as a Christian leader, I am deeply sad that public morality is the second victim of this legal judgement.
Unspeakable and indecent behaviour, whether in public or in private, is no longer significant under this ruling.
D’uh? D’uh, again? So, to the Archbishop, the News of the World’s use of techniques normally associated with blackmail isn’t “unspeakable and indecent” behaviour? Fear of the gutter press is a pillar of public Christian Morality?
More from the ex-Archbishop-
In the past, a public figure has known that scandalous and immoral behaviour carries serious consequences for his or her public profile, reputation and job.
Today it is possible to both have your cake and to eat it. But a case can be clearly made for a direct link between private behaviour and public conduct.
If a politician, a judge, a bishop or any public figure cannot keep their promises to a wife, husband, etc, how can they be trusted to honour pledges to their constituencies and people they serve?
Can the ex-Archbishop not see the difference between being the boss of some racing sports association and being a politician or a judge? Is this man’s public exposure actually doing any service to his wife? Who else is he supposed to have made promises to? What’s his constituency?
Lord Carey is upholding a view of “morality” that barely touches upon any version of the concept that I can recognise. I started to disentangle the contradictions in this argument and its bizarre conceptual basis but I gave up because it seems so self-evidently ludicrous.
I can only assume that the Church of England doles out a really mean pension to its ex-leaders, so they are reduced to producing moral underpinnings for the NoW’s prurience. Please, up the man’s stipend, ffs, Church of England. Thor only knows what shameful activities he may be forced into next in the search to earn a crust.