The Curmudgeon


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Royal Buggery

One of Britain's many scumbag tabloids, the News of the World, has been carrying out "a sustained bugging campaign" targeting a royal or two, as well as "two government ministers, a newspaper editor, an England footballer and a string of celebrities" (encouraging news: the distinction between England footballers and actual celebrities is being made at last), and may soon have to give up its Battenberg Belfry soap editor for a year or two at Her Majesty's pleasure. In this case, no doubt, the pleasure would be considerable. Meanwhile the Prince of Wales, like many modern celebrities, has apparently lost all perspective on the function his family serves; he is, it seems, "unhappy" about the tabloid photographers who represent the delivery side of his sons' contribution to the low-brow entertainment business, and this despite the fact that the potential for misbehaviour prevention under the gaze of so many piggy little eyes must be considerable. If only the Vicar of Downing Street and his pocket Tebbit could arrange for every young couple in the country to be tailed by a pack of paparazzi everywhere they went, the number of teenage pregnancies might plummet; and even if it didn't, the resulting pictures could well be a source of revenue to rival the present taxes on smoking and drinking. However, in the absence of a cue from Tony, who is busy today predicting victory in Afghanistan, the information commissioner has contented himself with a purely legalistic announcement: "Information obtained improperly, very often by means of deception, can cause significant harm and distress to individuals. The information commissioner has called for prison sentences of up to two years for people who take part in this illegal trade in personal information." In these days of surveillance cameras, identity cards and ever-increasing police records for every man, woman and child in the country, it's reassuring to find that people who take personal information for free, or who charge the non-celebrity for the privilege of being intruded upon, as the Government plans to do, need fear nothing; and that there is still some sense of the sanctity of private life where the rich and privileged are concerned.


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