Monday, May 23, 2011

Why The Law Is An Ass

There is a direct connection between the jasmin revolution in the Mhagreb and the Middle East and the current fiasco over superinjunctions in the UK in my view, and piracy, disclosure and the power of the media and the judiciary are all in play.

At a time when the President of the IMF was paraded in cuffs through the streets of New York, any thought that European courts can protect the identity of highly public personalities accused of immoral behaviour is just wrong. The UK's interpretation of the so called 'privacy' directives from the European Courts seems very misguided: after all, European regulation simply talks about 'respecting' privacy. And this certainly, by any measure, should not extend to polluting multinational corporations, miscreant bankers and (allegedly) unfaithful footballers.

The internet, not for the first time, is making a mockery out of the law. And the reason is simple, the people making and, especially, those interpreting the law are totally out of touch, not with technology, but with ordinary people.

Most people think that democracy is built from the ballot box, but it's as much a product of a fair judicial system.

And in the UK we have no judicial 'system' at all - we only have a judicial elite. Only the very, very rich and the very, very poor can afford lawyers, leaving most ordinary people outside the law. The same goes for companies - the big bully the small so that we end up with oligopolies or straight monopolies, officially sanctioned by our stupid politicians. We have simply allowed the cost of legal services to become totally ridiculous. Let's try this - maximise the rates that lawyers can charge to TEN times the minimum wage. Even then, this will be beyond the cost of most individuals and businesses.. And listen to the liberal solicitors, barristers and judges bleating at this suggestion...

Currently, we have a legal system where the parliamentarians believe that you can go against file sharers, but not tweeters, that you cannot re-purpose music you have paid for, but can potential libel superstars. And where the small guy can't defend themselves, but the rich guy can buy anything from the law.

Well beyond this, murderers seem to spend a paltry time in prison, we have a Justice Minister who wants to open the goal doors, and most ordinary people truly believe that the legal system is to blame for much of what is going wrong in our society as offenders get little or no sanction and return to offend again and again. If the UK government wants some cost savings, policemen I have spoken to reckon that a small handful of miscreants are responsible for the vast majority of crimes, but they can't be touched thanks to, er... human rights and soft judges.

So, we have judges who see file sharing as a criminal act worthy of serious judicial sentences and serious assault on pensioners as being a 'slap on the hand' offence. What is going on ?

Parliament needs to do more than tackle superinjunctions or even the appalling interpretation of 'human rights' and needs to reform the whole UK judicial system to make it more accessible, accountable and efficient in the world we live in today, otherwise the people (or rather a dispossessed, unemployed and highly educated and media literate generation now in their twenties) will decide that our so called 'democracies' further North could be next, perhaps starting with Spain and Greece and eventually ending up in the UK.

Ironically, it's a revolution that I can never see happening in the US.