Well, that super injunction worked then didn’t it?
The unnamed top flight footballer – or Ryan Giggs to you and I – failed miserably in his attempt to hide his affair with ex-Big Brother star Imogen Thomas after being outed by MP John Hemming.
His downfall appears to have been started by the aggressive stance he took, not only to hide his name but to try to hunt out and sue the tens of thousands of people that mentioned his name on social networking website Twitter.
If there’s one thing us Brits don’t like it’s someone rich and famous appearing to throw their weight around to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do. Had he not taken the super injunction/suing route I doubt his face would have been on every newspaper and television news broadcast with such prominence.
The Giggs saga has put privacy and what should and shouldn’t be made public firmly into the spotlight.
In this chair you come across a fair few people who don’t want stories or details getting out in the public domain and more and more of those are for bafflingly unjustified reasons.
This week we attempted to find out the current situation over the sale of the Welland Hospital in Spalding.
The tired old NHS building is in desperate need of a new owner – and its sale would benefit every one of us.
Apparently though, according to the NHS, the details of the sale, including even the name of the estate agent marketing this former public building remains “commercial in confidence”. (A pretty appalling example of non-English).
I’m no marketing man but wouldn’t it be a good idea to be telling everyone, including would-be buyers, how they can part with their cash for the hospital?
Sadly they feel otherwise so you’ll have to make do with all we have on page 10.
Sometimes an excuse for something being confidential is laughable – sometimes there isn’t even an excuse.
When Norfolk police recently described a man mentioned in a press release as “from the Spalding area” I asked them to be more specific (that could, after all, be any part of this patch).
The press officer said they couldn’t narrow that down to the exact town or village. When I asked if there was a reason why not they said “not at the moment”. Presumably they hadn’t had a chance to make one up yet.
It’s not just press officers though – a host of people seem to use the terms “data protection” and “commercially sensitive” in ways they don’t understand, in the hope you’ll buy it and leave them alone without considering what utter tosh they are talking.
Disappointingly this seems to have crept into the mentality of some of the schools, who don’t let us publish the names of pupils next to their photos. Everyone should rightly have child protection at the forefront of their minds but I always feel it’s an overreaction not to use names at all in positive pieces that will hopefully stay in family scrapbooks forever.
Maybe Ryan Giggs’ privacy furore can mark the moment we step back and apply common sense to what we can say in public.