The British have long tried to apply injunctions, superinjunctions, gagging orders and censorship edicts to the activities of the judiciary and establishment. At the time of the Abdication, they imagined they could keep the news of the King's unlawful infidelity a secret from the nation at a time when whole column metres were devoted to reporting it not only across the Atlantic but across the Channel. As an aside, one of the great freedoms that smaller nation-states can enjoy when not part of a global or continental legal jurisdiction is popular knowledge of establishment wrong-doing. If the EU survives, I pity its poor citizens - who will have to depend on British or US sources for the truth once Brussels closes down internal free information, probably on the grounds that the wealthy and powerful have an absolute right to privacy, even when exploiting the poor, stealing from the state, subverting democracy or stuffing their mouths with gold by criminal malfeasance. We can call this the [NAME REDACTED] school of media licensing.
It now emerges that there were not one but two Censorship Orders issued around a criminal case now being heard somewhere north of Watford. The first we have referred to below, referring to the case itself. This is still in force. The second, now withdrawn, related to the arrest of Tommy Robinson. He has subsequently pleaded guilty to contempt of court - that his activities were sub judice and risked prejudicing a fair trial for those currently in the dock. Frankly, his activities were asinine and in my view his sentence is deserved. Those inclined to protest may consider whether they would also have defended the rights of the brownshirts to smash shop windows and burn books - activities equally anti-democratic and as harmful to us all as disrupting the exercise of justice. Smashing shop windows and burning books are not 'freedom of expression' - they are acts of shameful intimidation. Our courts must be free, open and independent for all our sakes. This is why even though I am deeply suspicious of the first gagging order - censoring any mention of the case in progress, even normally permissible factual reporting - I will uphold it on this blog.
When the trial is over we will learn the judge's reasons for imposing this restriction. If it proves to have been for sound reasons in the interests of justice, fair enough. If it proves to have been made for reasons of political expediency, or for protecting the establishment from scrutiny, then is the time to take to the streets. Until then, we must all pretend we know nothing.
As many Tommy comments as you like in the comments folks but NO mention of the case, the town, the court or the defendants that are the subject of the Censorship Order, please.
I think Guido's Monday Morning view rather cruelly makes the point;