Silly old Carter-Ruck
Went for a superinjunction
Thought it was clever
Till they found they had never
Spotted the internet’s function.
There’s a new word for the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary. Will it be “word of the year”?
The first lesson — and last — is not to discount the power of the many against the few. The traditional media are few and centralised; and therefore controllable. The new medium is hydra-headed and dispersed; and cannot be suborned or cowed.
There’s the nature, strength and persistence of an international internet. As far as Malcolm knows, that infamous membership list of BNP members is still on-line at some North American site, well away from any local nay-saying. Short of Chinese walls of security, unpalatable materials, some of them truths-to-be-told, are now always out there — somewhere. Search engines help us to dig for them.
Similarly, all those books which are unavailable in the UK, either because of legal actions or — more sinister — because the publisher fears such constraint, are readily got through a quick Googling and the wonders of mail-order. Short of Customs opening every package, the way the Irish Inquisition once undertook, the truth (or a loose approximation thereof) will get through.
Even when things turn really nasty, light shines through the gaps. Did “Lord” Trimble manage to suppress those allegations that he was associated with the “The Committee”? Although Sean McPhilemy’s book has been suppressed both sides of the Atlantic, it doesn’t take much effort to name names and make connections. There was even one second-hand copy, going remarkably cheaply, in a “well-known” New York book repository, the last time Malcolm went looking.
Malcolm’s memory reaches back to Spies for Peace, in the early ’60s. The Government had decided the ordinary Joe Soap could not be trusted; and so suppressed all reference to the “Regional Seats of Government”. Thanks to four thousand copies of a pamphlet distributed on an Aldermaston march, and the periodical Anarchy, every university campus knew where to go looking. And did. All RSGs were unofficially signposted: doubtless to the great distress and dudgeon of the securocrats.
Today’s little business tells us something else about the local cybersphere; and how it is maturing into something powerful and integrated. What needed four thousand pamphlets in 1963 today needs a few internet postings. Despite the shrill partisan nonsense, currently mainly concentrated on the Right, there is a community of interest which covers matters of personal freedom and freedom of information. This surged to the fore overnight and this morning. While Paul Staines poses as a “libertarian”, he is no more liberal or open than dozens, if not hundreds of other political bloggers. Today, they all mustered against a common enemy.
What happened was, in a small way, heroic and reminiscent of: