In 2010 of the Labour government made cuts to legal aid with deeper cuts by the coalition government in 2012. The deepest cuts coming after 2013 when LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act was passed by Parliament. The cuts meant many people facing family, civil and criminal cases were defined limits imposed on their legal rights in aid. It would be fair to say those mostly affected were from poorer households. Cuts were accentuated in a time of austerity where the coalition government imposed huge cuts to disability entitlements, which saw thousands commit suicide. Into thousand 17 the Crown Prosecution Service declared they would be cracking down on social media hate speech.
Freedom of Expression guidelines broadly define hate speech as “forms of expression which incite violence, hatred or discrimination against other persons and groups, the tick Lily by reference to vet ethnicity, religious belief, gender or sexual orientation...” The guidelines make no reference at all to disability either mental or physical. The guidelines also acknowledge there is no universally accepted definition. This leaves interpretation open and vague, which could cause more problems than solve, as interpretation could be manipulated to fit an ideology or narrative. It would therefore not take into consideration other factors such as mental health.
As mentioned in M.L. Perlin’s book: The Hidden Prejudice Mental Disability on Trial, in chapter 12 Exposing the Prejudice, Perlin touches upon the law prioritising focus groups such as feminist jurisprudence, economics, critical legal studies and critical race studies, ensuring deep research, great funding and plenty of attention. These groups have been involved in criticising freedom of speech and demanding crackdowns on hate speech over the Internet. They argue that free speech can be offensive and runs the risk of causing psychological harm to otherwise healthy people.
However, what their arguments do not consider is whether the person causing offence is doing so intentionally. It is frequently assumed that offence is often done with intent. But what if the person who has caused offence does not understand this? What if a person who was caused offence is struggling with mental illness? Perhaps the person speaking undesirable fort suffers with depression, bipolar, personality disorder? Maybe they have suffered a traumatic crime at the hands of a person belonging to a marginalised group and are speaking publicly about that event. Speaking of such an experience will inevitably be offensive to some.
Perlin, who wrote this book in 2000 notes the extensive research provided to these various focus groups regarding law in comparison to mental illness which received its last research investigation in the 1980s. A two-decade timespan. Furthermore, research has been non-existent since the year 2000 and seems only to be done in America. Perlin discusses therapeutic jurisprudence and defines it as recognising rules, legal procedures and roles with consideration of those with mental health disabilities with anti-therapeutic jurisprudence providing a negative impact on that group. The CPS crackdown could be considered reflective of anti-therapeutic jurisprudence regarding mentally ill people using social media. It is not Perlin’s intention to create a therapeutic state but instead consider mental health with regards to legislation. This is not believed to be taking place.
It is also Perlin’s concerned that research will be limited to academic circles preventing necessary changes in the legal system or within the fast-evolving society. Despite the extensive literature over the decades regarding mental illness it has continued to be ignored by the judicial system. In Europe under article 14 of the European Convention on human rights individuals have protection against discrimination. However, the freedom of speech guidelines proves this to be wrong, displaying discrimination towards disabled. Perlin provided with research almost 2 decades ago identifying very little research in Western society is provided or considered regarding mental health and the legal system.
So why is this?
Perlin identifies sanism as a dominant psychological force which distorts rational decision-making, encourages pre-textuality and teleology, and prevents focusing on questions are meaningful to therapeutic jurisprudence enquiries. Sanist decisions operate in an anti-therapeutic world. Until this system sanist biases are confronted and social science data is intelligently weighed and assessed, mental health will lack consideration in this way. Perlin has also criticised sloppily drafted law as further evidence to the problem facing therapeutic jurisprudence, which highlights the lack of care and attention legislators devote to mental disability. Also identified is the age of legislation still used in action today as sometimes decades, even centuries old. Apathy towards and disinterest in precision and accuracy in terminology reflects the sanist ways that both legislators and judges subordinate mental disability law issues. So why does this matter?
Is history repeating itself?
Mark P. Mostert wrote “useless eaters: disability as genocidal marker in Nazi Germany” in 2002. Mostert’s chilling first sentence states, “the methods used for mass extermination in the Nazi death camps originated and were perfected in earlier used against people with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities.” Mostert observed the focus remaining on the extermination of Jews with little attention paid to precipitating events serving as a catalyst to the Holocaust. Societal and scientific perceptions of difference extended to state policy, which was intensified and codified with the rise of national socialism and Hitler's assumption of power in 1933. Notions of difference were first expressed in state sanctioned killings of children and adults with a wide range of physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities. Mostert examines the manipulation of key variables which allowed a highly sophisticated Western society manipulate via state law and policy to sanction and eventually murdered phase with disabilities.
The outbreak of World War I caused social and economic repercussions for Germany. With the need to ration food and provide care and medicine for those injured in the war effort, facilities became overcrowded with high-levels of neglect and deprivation on such ill funded institutes. Today, in a time of austerity the consequences are noticeable on our public services including our National Health Service and the prison services. The reallocation of resources saw a divide between those who were healthy and able to contribute and those who were not. That has been notable with the Conservative government review of disability entitlements in the UK in recent years, which sadly saw many suicides as a result to austerity cuts. In Germany it was seen that extensive and expensive care could not aid Germans economic recovery.
Therefore, inappropriate or undesirable behaviour by those who were disabled were often considered a threat to public decency and social order. Today, we have seen a remarkable compassion for most people of marginalised groups, but still notably reject compassion or empathy towards those with mental illness. This acknowledges that physical differences are frequently met with compassion in today’s public sphere, but hidden illness receives less empathy. Mostert states, inappropriate public behaviour by people with disabilities was often dealt with through legal action and the criminal justice system melding disability and criminality in the public mind. Even in today's society many people go undiagnosed with mental illness due to fear of stigmatisation. Furthermore, in today's society there is huge pressure on the public to conform with social ideologies and with this huge pressure anyone who does not conform is targeted and labelled negatively. Labels such as Nazi, Islamophobic, racist homophobic are often thrown out to shame and ridicule those who do not follow the social order. However, there is currently no label for those who lack empathy for those with disability or mental illness. Why is this?
It is rarely argued in today's society that those who are not conforming to social order might be emotionally incapable of empathising or intellectually ill-equipped to understand these new social orders. Why is this not a consideration? As someone who has suffered a traumatic experience by someone of a different race, I wish to speak publicly about this and warn others. In doing so I risk offending many other people and the law, in its discriminatory, sanist way does not cover me for the trauma which I have suffered and the offence which I might cause.
As discussed in a previous blog post, in his 2014 speech “What’s in a name? Privacy and anonymous speech on the internet.” Lord Neuberger reflects on history, observing the benefits of offensive speech actioned by a political critic who wrote under the pseudonym of Junius. It is important to question whether governments are ordering these crackdowns for their own narcissistic fears of being criticised, or whether it is sincerely concerned for marginalised groups. If it is for concern for these marginalised groups, why have they chosen to discriminate against one particular group? If governments fear history repeating itself, then why are they repeating history? John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism and came up with the harm principle. The basis of the harm principle was considered that as long as no one is harmed, the only justification for interference with other people's freedom would be to prevent harm to others. It is the marginalised groups who argue this and claim that freedom of speech can cause psychological harm.
But as it is raised in this post, it would be harmful to segregate those with mental illness and mental disability from others for fear that their freedom of speech may offend others with the possibility of causing psychological harm. As seen in history, to target and identify marginalised groups, such as those with mental disabilities would be far more harmful than the words they express. In today's society we see more discrimination against those with mental disabilities than any other marginalised group. What is distinctly disturbing, is that this marginalised group receives little protection under the law as it currently stands. This group is once again at the highest risk of being imprisoned for unintentionally offending others and therefore institutionalised.
Governments across the world tell us they are concerned that history is repeating itself. They are right to be concerned, for it is. But as has been seen in the past where governments have been responsible for the discrimination of the mentally ill, today's governments are repeating the exact same patterns. Governments claim to be concerned that history is repeating itself and yet they are ensuring that it does. It is up to us to question why.
the I wrote a blog post regarding Western pornography and its effects on African men, here. And here I would like to further the debate on Western pornography and discuss whether it should be considered freedom of expression, noting the limitations on freedom of expression including harm which may be caused. I would like to then consider the possible harm caused through pornography using the conservative argument, the feminist argument and compare it to the meaning of freedom of expression.
Speech should be context dependent a point illustrated by the judgement by the US Supreme Court in Schenck v Hodges , a case whether defendants were prosecuted for distributing pamphlets arguing against the drafting of soldiers to fight in World War I. “Whether the words used are used in such circumstances and of such nature to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent... If an actual obstruction of recruiting service were approved, liability for words that produced that effect might be enforced.” Proving that freedom of speech would be limited where a real danger or harm could be caused, the law will seek to limit it. But what accounts for freedom of expression?
Article 10 the European Convention of human rights states; everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Article 10 seeks to expand on speech by including the use of symbols, cartoons, plays, a particular type of dress et cetera in its use of freedom of expression. The first Amendment to the US Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise there of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a readdress of grievances. The ECHR expands its understanding of freedom of expression but limits it with responsibility and duty, where as the first amendment concentrate solely on speech with no acknowledgement of limits to that freedom.
It is therefore fair to say that pornography falls under freedom of expression under article 10 ECHR. However, Ronald Dworkin an American philosopher and jurist, questioned whether pornography should count as free speech, thus benefit from free-speech protections and whether it could cause harm to individuals of a wider society. In 1981, he wrote “the majority of people in both countries would prefer substantial censorship if not outright prohibition of ‘sexually explicit’ material with many of that majority themselves consumers of what ever pornography is on offer, who would strongly prefer that their children, not follow them in that taste.” However, since Dworkin made this statement the accessibility of pornography has progressed.
To define what pornography is, Justice Stewart a US judge famously said in 1964, “I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it”. The Oxford English dictionary defines pornography as “the explicit description or exhibition of sexual subjects or activity in literature, painting, films, et cetera in a manner intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic feelings.” However, feminist thinkers Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Macakinnon (1988) defined it as “the graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women whether in pictures or words,” further explaining the representations dehumanising women as sexual objects or commodities, or as experiencing sexual pleasure in being raped. The problem with this definition however, is it excludes gay and child pornography and also assumes wrong morality with no evidence to prove this. Therefore igniting controversy surrounding the definition of pornography.
Should the law restrict pornography? With this question comes the moral, harm and feminist arguments. So we should explore the Conservative argument first. In 2012, West stated the main opposition to pornography from moral and religious conservatives, was due to its sexually explicit, obscene and morally corrupting content. He explained that according to conservatives, “pornography is deeply offensive to decent family and religious values and citizens who hold these values. Consumption is bad for society, undermining and is stabilising the moral fabric of decent and stable society. It encourages sexual promiscuity, deviant sexual practices that threaten traditional family and religious institutions. It corrupts the character of those who consume it preventing them from leading a good family life... The state is justified in using it is coerces power to uphold and enforce a community's moral convictions understood as ‘legal moralism’, to prevent citizens from harming themselves. Conservatives believe it is legitimate for the state to prohibit consenting adults from publishing and viewing pornography, even in private.” It will also be argued that not all conservatives feel this way about pornography or the prohibition of pornography.
With West’s argument in mind, it is necessary to explore the harmfulness of pornography. Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University created a survey of 20,000 young people of which 75% were men. It was observed young men, who played videogames to excess, excess being about five or more hours a day, and their average viewing time of pornography. That viewing time equated to around two hours per week, but Zimbardo, recorded the psychological change in mindset through excessive use of video games and pornography. He noted how rather than concentrating on work in class boys minds drifted to wishing they were playing computer games. And when in the presence of girls, boys would rather be watching pornography due to never getting rejected. Zimbardo, therefore claimed that this was leading and had already led to a crisis. He noted the change in brain function, the change to the reward centre in the brain and the evidence that it happens more in boys brains than girls brains. He claimed that boy’s brains were becoming digitally rewired.
It was argued that we currently see young men of today drink less than they once did, take less drugs than they once did, they are less violent than they once were, and in other words the picture is not as bleak as what Philip Zimbardo was claiming. Zimbardo argued the less violence is due to their not leaving their room. They are not drinking alcohol because they are drinking Coke and addicted to sugar. He argued young boys are becoming ‘fat arses’. With the increase in obesity, that also increases the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes a consequence of which is reduced libido. Kids are getting turned on by watching video but physiologically they are less aroused. It is called PIED, porn induced erectile dysfunction. The solution offered by Zimbardo, is for parents to become aware of a number of hours the child spends doing these things. He recommends using a time journal and listing how much time children spend with friends, spend exercising, spend reading and writing. The point which will become realised is that the parents will be alarmed when they do this and therefore set more stringent rules, such as don't do play videos until you finish your homework. Zimbardo, believes media especially American media is to blame providing negative images of men being slobs, or being undesirable. Here Zimbardo has provided mental and physical harm created by pornography.
And now we arrive at the feminist argument. As previously mentioned some feminist writers argue pornography should be censored due to the detrimental impact it can have on the women within society. One such author is Prof Rae Langton. Rae Langton uses the feminist definition of pornography explaining the graphic, sexually explicit subordination of women portraying women as sexual objects, as things, or commodities, enjoying pain or humiliation or rape. She goes on to clarify she is concerned only with the type of pornography that does subordinate women and acknowledges not all pornography does that. Rae Langton believes the solution lies in certain material being justified in censorship but prefers an opt in system rather than an opt out system within obtaining pornography through the Internet if you really wanted it. Her concern is not so much that it turns men into rapists but that it dehumanises women and changes the views towards women within society.
As Zimbardo’s study acknowledges, men have become more fearful, not of women but of rejection and therefore avoid them out of preference to their own psychological needs. However, my concern raised in my previous blog post regarding the impact of Western porn on Third World men does reinstate the fear feminists raise with regards to men turning violent having watched pornography. The problem here in lies that those proven to act violently having watched pornography are those who we are deliberately inviting into our society. It would infringe on human rights for studies to take place on particular segments of society to reach a more clear perspective with regards to the effects of pornography on particular societal demographics. With these men now being invited into our Western culture but political correctness suppressing freedom of speech, to dispute this action or discussion the feminist concern with pornography has now become legitimate.
With Mills argument in mind, that is the state should only limit individual freedom if harm is caused to others and having considered all the arguments raised, I now handover this information to you for you to reflect upon and come to your own conclusions as to what should happen with regards to pornography and censorship.
The Rwanda genocide, otherwise known as the genocide against the Tutsi saw the Hutu majority government commit mass genocidal slaughter of the Tutsi in Rwanda, over a 100-day period in 1994. It is estimated 500,000 to 1 million Rwandans were killed resulting in 70% of the Tutsi population and 30% of the Pygmy Batwa population. The genocide was planned by members of the political elite occupying positions at top levels of national government. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, during the period of the genocide requested that militias be sent from the capital, Kigali, to her home region in southern Rwanda. She directed her son to organise these malicious ordering the massacre of the Tutsi population and ordering the militias (including her son) to rape women and young girls and force people to remove their clothes before boarding the lorries that would take them to their deaths (BBC News, 2011).
Pauline Nyiramasuhuko was convicted of genocide by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and sentenced to life imprisonment. Other genocidaires were convicted of genocide by the Rwandan courts. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko the Minister of family and women's affairs in the Rwandan government had previously been a social worker. She was found living in a Congolese refugee camp after the genocide in 1995. When questioned by the BBC she denied involvement in the killings. “I couldn't even kill a chicken. If there is a person who says that a woman, another, could have killed, I will tell you truly and I am ready to confront that person.” (BBC News, 2011). Interestingly she used her gender as a defence to explain why she, a female would not find it possible within herself to commit genocide on up to 1 million people and order rape against them. This is therefore worth remembering when considering other female political leaders who may use their gender or other so-called oppressed feature as a shield to encourage loyalty and promote a false sense of empathy to mankind.
Prosecutor v Akayesu
Akayesu was a landmark case in international law, the judgement marked the first time that rape was prosecuted at an international level as a crime against humanity and as a genocide. Jean-Paul Akayesu, a mayor of the Taba province in Rwanda was accused of encouraging, aiding and abetting criminal acts including sexual violence which amounted to genocide as well as to crimes against humanity.
14. On 2 September 1998, trial chamber I of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, composed of judges Laity Kama, Presiding, Lennart Aspergren and Navanethem Pillay, found Jean-Paul Akayesu guilty of nine of the 15 counts proffered against him, including genocide direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination, murder, torture, rape and other inhumane acts). Jean Paul Akayesu was found not guilty on the six remaining counts, including the count of complicity in genocide and the accounts relating to violations of article 3 common to the Geneva conventions and of additional protocol II thereto.
16. The trial chamber held that rape, which it defined as “a physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive”, and sexual assault constitute act of genocide insofar as they were committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted group, as such. It found that sexual assault formed an integral part of the process of destroying that of Tutsi ethnic group and that the rate was systematic and had been perpetrated against Tutsi women only, manifesting the specific intent required for those acts to constitute genocide.
The importance of this case is significant to myself, in that I was raped by a migrant in my own home. Not only this but there are estimated to be 1 million British women and children of white race who have fallen victim of the Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs throughout Britain across 72 towns and cities. In this case rapes were encouraged through enabling due to the authorities’ refusal to act upon these crimes despite knowing about them. These crimes which had been taking place ‘at a systemic rate’ against predominantly white British females, and continue still today. Not only have these crimes taken place within UK, but various countries across Europe in various forms and the political elite, continue to enable ongoing rape of European women and children.
Media is actively suppressed by the political elite on such subjects so as not to report on the crimes taking place against white European natives by opposing cultures actively invited and encouraged to our continent by the political class. It was in 2010 that Angela Merkel admitted that “multiculturalism had utterly failed”. That was closely followed in 2011 by then Prime Minister, David Cameron also stating that multiculturalism had failed. Despite these public acknowledgements the European political class including Angela Merkel continue to encourage more migrants to our European shores fully aware of the harm caused against the native women and children.
I therefore bring your attention back to the fact that under international law and recognised by the United Nations UN, sexual assault constitutes acts of genocide destroying a targeted group. Our European leaders and British leaders are very aware of the genocide which is taking place against us recognised by the UN international law and rather than prevent it they have chosen not only to enable it but continue it by encouraging more possible perpetrators. I also bring to your attention to just because many of our leaders are women, we should never underestimate the wickedness those in power hold regardless of gender or race. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko who started in a care career is evidence of this.
It seems clear to me, considering past international cases and the mounting evidence the mass rapes of British girls and Europeans across our continent, it could be not only linguistically defined but also lawfully defined as genocide when considering the legal aspects of previous cases. Definition in that case including International law alongside the evidence, rather than just acknowledging the definition within a dictionary make this a very real statement. However, as previous international crimes such as illegal wars have concluded, it is unlikely we will get justice as victims. This is more evident in how few victims are speaking out about the atrocities against them. This is likely due to the suppressive effects of political correctness which enabled such genocide in the first place. It is likely due to fear that they will not receive the necessary support should they find the courage to speak out.
For these reasons and the current effectiveness of political correctness but also some radical remarks made by the far-right, I can only foresee the political class of our Western society who have by legal definitions at least, committed genocide against the European peoples will inevitably get away with these brutalities.
Feminists, social justice warriors and various political alignments are frequently, actively encouraging more empathy towards those victims of rape like myself. This is something I particularly appreciate under the circumstances however there is a hypocrisy which has arisen with that. In this new day and era of multiculturalism and diversity we seem to be losing our way.
Society had been heading in a place where women's rights were made equal to those of men and we seem to have been progressing to a greater opportunity of fairness and equality within society as a whole. This, for the greater number of citizens was something we embraced. But it must be recognised that equality cannot be an absolute. It is recognised that most sexual assault victims are female. With that in mind and society's desire for equal women's rights, we must approach some difficult subjects.
Over the last few decades here in the UK, there has been systematic grooming of young girls predominantly white, for sexual exploitation by Pakistani Muslim men. MPs often raise this fact but are forced to backtrack due to fear of how it will affect Muslims within our society. By backtracking on these facts that enrages not only the victims or their families but also people who have not been directly affected but fear that they could in the future. This is obviously understandable, and anybody would feel the same threat, and want to have an open and honest discussion about that threat. It is not a racist to discuss a very real and very violent threat to people of a certain race, even if that race is a majority race.
This has been noticeable across Europe also with the migrant rape crisis which I am a victim of. And in many progressive European countries, police avoid taking down the race of perpetrators and the victims; frequently female feel guilty in their part as a rape victim. This is very concerning because it inevitably means that people are now starting to speak forgivingly and empathetically towards rapists, based purely on the fact that they have different coloured skin. After years and years of educating the European population on the crime of sexual assault and rape all in the name of equality and action against crimes against women, by providing empathy towards rapists we have now regressed into a society which is fundamentally against women's rights. In fact it appears social justice and feminists are initiating the patriarchy.
As a trauma victim myself as with any trauma victim, it is important we be allowed to feel angry about what trauma has taken place on us and to be able to express that anger without fear of being arrested for a hate crime or offending another person. Too many people get offended when I describe the man who raped me. The man who raped me was an Asian (Indian or Pakistani) male who was a migrant to this country. He was not a British citizen; his English was poor, and his accent was not an English accent. Were police offended when I described the rapist to them? If I had described him simply as a male would that have been more appropriate? With the rapist still being at the large; should he rape again will the next victim describe him simply as male, or provide a description? Or will the victim describe his skin colour and that he was not a British citizen? With my rapist at large, I feel it is my duty to describe him. If only to let others know there is a rapist out there and this is what he looks like.
So why are there people who are offended by my description of the rapist? In fact, these people are so offended by my description that they frequently fail to recognise what harm a rapist can cause to a victim. Immediately these people pursue me as a Nazi or a racist or a xenophobe based on my description of this rapist. They are not upset by the harm that this rapist has caused and that he has every opportunity to continue to cause again. They are simply concerned that I haven't approached this in a politically correct manner which doesn't cause them offence.
This inevitably means that a rape victim like myself who is white, and has been raped by a minority race is offensive just by means of describing the person who raped her. Additionally, this means that the victim has to carry with her excessive guilt, stress and pressure. With this excess emotional baggage forced upon her for the fear that she may offend, or she has offended, it obviously prevents any kind of significant recovery to that trauma. This inevitably means that our laws which are supposed to prevent discrimination prevent the effective help and understanding and empathy towards such victims in their recovery.
By preventing effective recovery in the sense that a victim of a politically incorrect crime should be silenced our governments are acting negligently. Our governments and authorities have a duty of care to their citizens. Already we have seen our authorities turn a blind eye to crimes which do not fit the narrative of political correctness. The reason for this is presumably to not create tension between the different races within our diverse and multicultural society. But by turning a blind eye and by silencing victims and by preventing open discussion this has had the opposite effect.
People have lost faith in the ideologies of social justice, equality and are far keener to take a utilitarian position on society. And consider this; reverse psychology is a technique involving the advocacy of a belief or behaviour that is opposite to the one desired. The expectation is that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what is desired. It is very hard to believe that those in power, those in government and those leading our authorities lack any intellect or common sense in recognising that to act in these ignorant and deceitful ways would create a calm, friendly and relaxed society.
These ignorant and deceitful behaviours were ordered from the top, and understandably have shattered societies trust within each other. Not only that but the powers that be repeatedly invite more risks within our society. This will inevitably cause great hostility, further segregation and civil unrest with in our nations. Moreover, it is there to question whether these actions have been deliberate. Of course, many people do question if this has been a deliberate action and those people are right to question it. But what would be the benefits of such a society like the one described? Perhaps more governmental control? Perhaps more contracts for more corporations in buying and selling security? Perhaps more news for the media to sell? Who knows, but the fact of the matter is those who question whether this is being staged are right to do so without being labelled a conspiracy theorist. To lack such intelligence and common sense in such a high position of power is absolutely intolerable and reckless.
The speech by Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court made in September 2014 questioned “What’s in a name? The speech was about privacy and anonymous speech on the Internet. He touches upon a writer pseudonymously known as Junius. Junius wrote controversial anonymous letters published in the public advertiser. He was a strident critic of the government and his attacks contributed to the resignation of the Prime Minister the Duke of Grafton in 1770. Even members of the judiciary were targets of the writings by Junius. In 1769 Julius addressed a letter to the King which was published stating “Sir, it is the missed fortune of your life, and originally because of every reproach and distress which has attended your government, that you should never have been acquainted with the language of truth, until you heard it in the complaints of your people.”
Junius's letter continued to complain of the violations of the laws and attacks upon the vital principles of the constitution. The publication of this letter led to the trial of Henry Woodford the publisher of the public advertiser, for seditious libel. In 1770 the case came before Lord Mansfield who is now considered one of the greatest ever Lord Chief Justice is who himself was a favourite target of Junius he once termed him “the worst and most dangerous man in the kingdom”. In 1771 Samuel Johnson a lexicographer and famously high Tory wrote of Junius that “his safety was provided by impenetrable secrecy where Junius enjoyed all the immunities of invisibility”. In fact Junius “drew most of his strength from his anonymity whereby he was able to make criticism of the powerful and face no prosecution.” In his criticisms Junius offered a firm voice prompting both political and legal change, and is now remembered as one of the greatest political writers yet his identity remains a mystery. It was once raised with Johnson, whether it was right to conceal Junius's identity. Johnsen's response was “supposing the author had told me confidentially that he had written Junius, and I were asked if he had, I should hold myself at liberty to deny it, as being under a previous promise, express or implied, to conceal it. Now what I ought to do for the author, may I not do for myself?”
The point of Junius, brings us to modern day technology and the Internet with anonymous blogging and videos. Among the mainstream press we now have those who resemble the anonymous Junius in the blogging sphere. For many this is used as a release of frustration or confessional and has therefore thrived. A well-known example would be political blogger Guido Fawkes who barely maintained anonymity of five months before being unmasked by The Guardian. The more successful and popular a blog becomes the greater interest in the identity of the author by the mainstream press. Lord Rodger stated, “What’s in the name? A lot, stories about individuals are more attractive than stories about unidentified people. They risk not being read and passed on which could threaten the viability of a newspaper or magazine and would not make enough money.” It is therefore in the presses interest to publish names. The Sunday Times laid the onis on the bloggers claiming, if bloggers were made aware anonymity was not always an absolute then bloggers would be more careful.
It is also important to question whether knowing the authors identity is in the public interest or rather just of public interest. Night Jack another blogger make critical allegations and observations of police activity. In this case Mr Justice Eady stated that blogging was a public not private activity so should therefore not enjoy the expectation of privacy. This raises the question to what extent can one expect with anonymous speech as what Junius enjoyed in the Internet age? If these activities are classed as public activity it may be difficult to argue for the expectation of privacy. After all, email hacking as what happened in this case and led to the Levenson Inquiry, and then an apology is possible. This brings us to anonymous speech and privacy on the Internet. By the end of 2014, it was estimated 3 billion people approximately 40% of the world's population use the Internet. In Reno v ACLU at the US Supreme Court the Internet was termed the most participated form of mass speach yet developed and therefore deserving the highest level of protection. Under European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), Internet speech engages article 8 rights going beyond “privacy” encompassing personal autonomy and self-development as well as the right to develop relationships with others.
A person's article 8 rights reinforces his or her article 10 right, freedom of expression. This has led to a technological arms race. In China there are real name registration sites leading to direct and indirect censorship and South Korea instigating a similar policy with a hacking attack leading to the loss of 35 million users data. This data protection is something we enjoy under ECHR. But, consider the United States anonymity rights where they get to browse and communicate with greater anonymity under the most robust protection. Under European law tension exists between article 10 rights which may trump the authors article 8 rights where it could be suggested that it's the public's interest knowing the anonymous identity outweighing what the author has to say. And what about press freedom which is not expressly protected by article 10 but however is under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This suggests an offer of an anonymous blog should enjoy the protection rivalling the protection of an anonymous press source. It is frequently observed in newspaper articles details coming from an anonymous source. After all article 10 paragraph 2 of the Convention states that the right to freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities.
It was in 2014 that this speech was made and since then we have seen the growth of nationalism and populism within our societies in Europe and in America. With this growth of nationalism and populism on both continents we are seeing great suppression of information and opinions especially since 2016, whereby governments are using legislation to crack down on so-called hate speech which may defy a political agenda set by our elites. It is likely that with the growth of nationalism and populism in the political sphere controls on the Internet and regarding anonymity will become much tighter with greater legislation both on the European continent and in the US. This will no doubt affect all political ideologies in their criticism of our governments. It is therefore important that we work together on this probability to ensure that global elites both political and those of corporations do not take over our human rights.