Thursday, 21 May 2009

Martin In The Margins: Festival surrenders to boycott blackmail

Yet again we see the hypocrites shutting down free speech whilst proclaiming themselves its champions. Ken Loach, who has blackmailed a credulous Edinburgh Film Festival, will always defend free speech unless it is the speech of those he opposes.

Martin In The Margins: Festival surrenders to boycott blackmail

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Jewel of Medina and Censorship

I think the Index on Censorship website is a good thing. Censorship, whether open or covert, prevents us from making informed judgements and, in doings so, subverts the democratic process. There are, of course, other means of managing and distorting public opinion but the website provides a small bastion against the encroaching darkness.

However, Sherry Kones, the author of the book Jewel of Medina, who protests there, may not provide the most outrageous case against censorship because there is the other relevant issue that her book is, by all accounts, really bad. Jonathan Moeller's blog offers quite a thoughtful condemnation of the craven publishers in the face of self-appointed Islamists, albeit the author's daughter took exception to his description of the book as trashy. However, even the couple of lines he quotes from it are sufficient to persuade the reader that the book really is trashy, which may have contributed to a lack of any rush to publish it. Nonetheless, she does seem to have got publishers and the more noise she makes the more sales she achieves. Amazon UK and USA both show it ranking just below 50,000th in their sales rankings, which is not bad for a boddice-ripper

Monday, 18 May 2009

Is Chiropractic Bogus?

So the British Chiropractic Association has sued the science writer Simon Singh for a Guardian piece in which he wrote

The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.

Sadly "
According to a report by Jack of Kent, the presiding judge in the English High Court, Sir David Eady, decided last Thursday that Singh's passage was a statement of fact. But more surprisingly, the judge decided that

The word "bogus" meant deliberate and targeted dishonesty. So it did not mean that chiropractic for the six named children's ailments (including asthma) was simply wrong, or that it was contrary to established medical practice or research, or even that it completely lacked evidence.

"Bogus" meant a lot more. The judge held that by the mere use of the word "bogus" Simon Singh was stating that, as a matter of fact, the BCA were being consciously dishonest in promoting chiropractic for those children's ailments."

Read the whole of the article on the language blog. It is worth it.

You do wonder about some elements of the British Legal System. Dr Singh has been hit therefore, with a massive legal bill for the use of a word in a context that most English speakers would not believe to have the meaning ascribed by the judge. I think that the word bogus can be taken to mean complete rubbish without implying conscious deceit. And anyway, it is outrageous that he can be successfully sued when the substance of his article is true!

There seems to be no evidence to support

Speaker Martin

John Stonborough was PR consultant to the unlovely Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin. He writes in his blog explaining how he warned of the likely embarrassment resulting from publication of the Speaker's expenses. Whilst it has the taste of personal revenge eaten cold, his account also bears the ring of truth.

Apart from his monstrous self regard and record of inept judgements, the man now finds that people he has slurred, hurt and blackened over the years are now taking their revenge. Only an idiot and a truly nasty person builds such an edifice of enemies.

Go Speaker Martin, go.