Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New End of the World Date Announced

Those who have sold their houses, spent all their life savings on promoting the big day and have made a contribution to the alleged $100 million donation pot to Rapture need not worry any more; Harold got the date wrong, the world will officially end on October the 21st.

People like Robert Fitzpatrick who spent his life savings spreading the word and Jeff Hopkins who drove around New York with a doomsday sign on top of his car can feel that all their time and effort, and of course money, was worthwhile as Camping only got it wrong by about five months.

And what, in the scheme of things, is five months when you're predicting the end of the world?

If an aircraft carrier was five months late we wouldn't even consider that late, if a major rail or road project was similarly late we would accept that as totally normal, so when a man, who seems to have cornered the market in global Armageddon predictions gets it slightly wrong then we should afford him the courtesy of allowing him a third go; and maybe this time he'll be lucky.

And fair play to Harold, who seems to have no qualms about this slight timing error. After the initial frenzy had calmed down he could be seen on TV giving an interview claiming that 'when May 21 came and went, it was a very difficult time for me. A very difficult time'.

Is this possibly one of the biggest understatements in recent times?

He also claimed that the whole world was under a 'Spiritual Reckoning' from May 21st through to the new end of the world date on October 21st.

The interview Harold Camping gave also had more bad news for his many followers as he announced that he won't give back any of the $100 million raised in donations as this was used to promote the "End of Days" campaign and it still had purpose in spreading the gospel.

So there you have it, no refunds offered and a delay in service.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ryan Giggs named by John Hemming, Lib Dem MP

As if symbolic of how fast news spreads and changes in today's media orientated world John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP, has named Ryan Giggs as the player at the centre of the injunction that has sparked debate across both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Ignoring the advice of the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, the MP cited the fact that 75,000 people on Twitter had already named the player and impractical to imprison them all.

Last week it was Fred Goodwin, exposed by Lord Stoneham for taking out an injunction to suppress an alleged relationship he had with a senior executive in the House of Lords and this week he has been joined by John Hemming MP.

Perhaps we can now say this is the beginning of the end of these ridiculous privacy injunctions as all they have done so far is to serve up more press time than is really deserved for the celebrities who strive to keep their private lives off the front pages.

As MP's and Lords continue to accuse the courts of over-reaching themselves with these types of injunctions, people who decide to go down this route to try and secure some form of privacy from the press must now be aware that as Twitter and other social media outlets are practically impossible to prosecute they could simply be throwing money down the drain.

140 Characters that mean so much..

What an absolute load of nonsense.

The lawyers have spent hundreds of hours, created documents that probably contain tens of thousands of words and probably spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of their clients money yet 140 characters later and it's all left in tatters.

And what have they actually achieved? They've probably created more press coverage and awareness of how farcical these privacy orders are than any MP or commentator could do at any stage during the argument; well done.

As for the alleged footballer, well his name is all over Twitter and now as a result all over the world so he has now probably become the whipping boy the press needed to show how stupidly ill thought out these injunctions are.

At the centre of it, the actual story has now moved to sidelines in the wider debate and become nothing more than yet another titillating scandal involving a high profile star; get over it, there are loads of these types of story every day and the result is always the same; a few headlines followed by some recriminations and then it all blows over.

Nobody actually really cares about these types of scandals, they are not life threatening and hold no purpose in life apart from perhaps creating some light hearted banter over the country's water coolers, but that is about it.

And then we have the laughable prospect that the legal team advising this player, who has now undoubtedly been relieved of loads of cash by their accounts department, are planing to sue Twitter; has anyone actually advised the player that to do this they would have to do it in a Californian court and that also he would apparently have to reveal his identity during the proceedings?

And now, in a further act of defiance of the English courts, the Sunday Herald not only name the player but also put an image of him on the front page and restrict access to the article to Scotland only citing that the injunction has no power in Scotland! Did this players legal team check this fact as well?

All in all what has turned out to be a nightmare case for the legal team and something that has given the anti-privacy law advocates their biggest moment must have left the player to sit and ponder why on earth he ever embarked on this journey in the first place.

However there are far more serious issues that have been inadvertently highlighted by this case, issues that effect real lives and stories of wrong doing that surely should have been placed into the public domain but stopped by the various high court injunctions now issued on an apparently regular basis.

There are no real winners in this case, or are there? The player has been left to reflect on whether this was a wise move after all, the law courts are being made to look totally out of touch with society and Imogen Thomas, the woman at the centre of the scandal, will probably never be able to sell her story. But what about the lawyers? One wonders whether they are either licking their wounds in defeat or are they at this very moment in time creating another angle to stifle the press on behalf of their hapless client? After all, they charge by the hour irrespective of what happens.

But this begs a very serious question of our legal system: if you're rich and you've got something to hide can you suppress the press through the courts? Or am I being totally naive because this has been going on for years?