Sunday, 31 January 2010

What Dave should be asked about JT

There is a lot of coverage of the private life of England football captain John Terry in the Sunday newspapers.

The failure of a Terry super-injunction is being seen as an important case in the issue of media freedom, as John Kampfner argues, though it remains the case that we have developed quite extensive privacy case law with very little Parliamentary or public scrutiny.

The more parochial football question is whether Terry should be England captain in a World Cup year. The 'cash for access' allegations in December made over Terry's involvement in tours to the Chelsea training ground seemed potentially more serious than the FA acknowledged publicly. (Terry claimed the money was going to charity). It is harder to see why Terry's private life is relevant, especially as a good deal of the criticism seems to focus less on his having an extra-marital affair but that he did so with a teammate's ex-partner.

You might well expect politicians to steer clear of the JT question.

But there is surely one political leader who ought to be asked about the implications for his own flagship policy.

Conservative leader David Cameron is very keen on sending "signals" about marriage.

Isn't this the perfect opportunity for him to explain to us all why John Terry, the
£170,000 a week England captain who is worth an estimated £17 million, certainly merits the Cameron pro-marriage tax break?


Shibley Rahman said...

I feel that it's more fundamental than that Sunder. It is a question of the limits of "judge-made law", and the separation of powers in the legal system. We can all cite examples where it seems that the lawyers (especially the House of Lords panels) have avoided making new law in their judgments. The reason for this is the law should be made by the legislature, not a slow war of attrition by Carter-Ruck. Gordon Brown and even the head of the PCC have become united in their mission to review the future of the "super-injunction", and it is only correct that the legislature - whether under under Brown or Cameron/Clegg = do this, not law firms specialising in English media lew.

Tom said...

Parliament is free to legislate on privacy whenever they want to, and the judges have repeatedly dropped hints in judgments that maybe parliament should do so. But until they decide to, the courts will continue to apply the old English law of confidence, modified by the right to a private life from the European Convention on Human Rights, as is their duty.

There's actually not a lot wrong with our substantive privacy law; superinjunctions are a matter of procedures and remedies, which can be more problematic.

Simon said...

I can just picture the briefing now -

Andy Coulson - Right Dave, let's go over this one more time. John Terry is the England captain.

David Cameron - Really, I thought it was that Strauss fellow?

AC - No that's cricket.

DC - Got it. So what's he done wrong.

AC - He's been playing away.

DC - Don't they do that every week.

AC - No it's a euphemism it means he's been cheating on his wife.

DC - Gosh, not to worry though, these things happen in a 'broken society'.

AC - Quite but you're going to be asked whether you think he should still be England captain.

DC - Instead of Borthwick?

AC - No that's rugby

DC - Right, well no problem, we all make mistakes, I believe in giving people a second chance and in your case Andy, 3 or 4.

AC - Thanks. Not that simple though, he was involved with a team mates girlfriend.

DC - Tricky one.

AC - And Capello's a bit of a disciplinarian.

DC - Who's Capello?

AC - The England manager.

DC - Funny name for an Englishman.

AC - He's Italian.

DC - Bloody typical. Under Labour it's johnny foreigner who gets all the jobs. Well when I'm Prime Minister...

AC - If you mean.

DC - Yeah whatever. "If" I'm Prime Minister I'll make sure the England manager is English. That'll be worth a few more marginals eh what?

AC - Er no. Capello's pretty popular.

DC - Why???

AC - He's very good at his job, better than the English managers are.

DC - Right, scrub that idea. What shall we do about this Jonty fellow?

AC - John Terry.

DC - Right

AC - Well you should say that someone who trades on being voted Dad Of The Year and is a role model, should have higher moral standards.

DC - Whoooaah, hang on a mo, we'll be in government in a few months, don't want to set a precedent.

AC - Fair point, so what will you say.

DC - Usual guff, blah blah blah "broken society", blah blah blah "personal matter", blah blah blah, "Greek tragedy", blah blah blah "all Brown's fault" and then I'll smile charmingly. Usually does the trick.

AC - Lovely. Shall we get back to watching Andy Murray.

DC - He's English isn't he.

AC - Scottish if he loses, British if he wins.

DC - Fabulous.

Sunder Katwala said...

Simon, Fantastic , thanks for that.

David Cameron isn't much of a football fan, but he does now claim allegiance to a team. He supports Aston Villa: they were the first team he saw, when his uncle took him to a game when he was 13.

That got him into The Times '50 worst famous football fans. The paper wrote: "Man of the people Dave forgot to mention that he was taken along by his uncle, Sir William Dugdale, who just happened to be the Villa chairman at the time".

Robert said...

Who the f*ck cares, the way the FA and that moron Crozier worked it, the FA is a voice and not much more, MUFC run the country, Chelsea want to run the country, Ronney slept with anyone and everyone so long as it was cash for sex. England world cup hopes here we go again. nobody in the real world gives a flying F*ck except of course the Media tycoons.