By Billy the Dog McGraw – our legal correspondent.
By and large I don’t like censorship. But I find myself writing on a site that is now censoring comments and have to admit that I see the need sometimes. (At the moment we have the issue of people who come onto the site, look at an article and then write about something else. Despite the fact that we have said time and again that this is not on, they still do it. Odd really.)
Anyway, generally speaking I think that rich footballers who fool around (as the saying goes) deserve what they get in the papers. But then I know if my private like (which is of course spotless and whiter than the driven white stuff) was splashed around on the papers, I’d be upset.
But for the Giggs fellow is a special case, because it seems to me he has been very happy to be part of a PR campaign in which he has been described as purer than pure – the wonderousness of the modern footballing man – kind, gentle, hardworking, honest…. Ah yes, honest, that is the problem one.
That’s really the point. I’ve never set myself up to be any of those things. In fact if ever asked (which of course is rare because no one gives a toss about me) I generally state that I see myself as a bit of a prat with a minor talent for planting cabbages and talking to imaginary friends. As such if I cheat on the good lady wife, that’s my problem and her problem, and the problem of the third party. No one else much would get involved.
But the Giggs is different.
My dislike of Mr Giggs comes from the fact that his PR is untrue, but successful. He is presented as the great ambassador for Wales, and yet he refused year after year to play friendlies for his country. In fact he went nine years without playing a single friendly for Wales, and didn’t play his first away friendly until something like 2006.
Ah, but I heard you shout, isn’t that hypocritical on my part given that I have written from time to time how much I hate all internationals, particularly the useless, pointless, pathetic, childish friendly? Well, up to a point. But you see Mr Giggs presents himself as Mr Honest, Mr Honourable, Mr Clean, Mr Wales. But in fact he is more Mr Manipulating, manipulating the media to suit his image – an image that has been created so that when the footballing is done, he can pick up a life as an ambassador, and an advertiser – always being Mr Clean.
So, what happened?
Well the silly man had an affair. Bad move. But having manipulated the media over the fact that he doesn’t turn out for Wales if he doesn’t fancy the game, he thought it would always work in his favour, and so went to court and asked for an injunction to stop newspapers writing about the affair. Bad move as it turns out, because not satisfied with that he asked the courts to rule that the newspapers not only could not talk about his affair, they could also not talk about the injunction.
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He’s not the first to do it – in fact in England it is becoming common place. But in this case it all went wrong – for several reasons.
First, the word got around and people started to talk about it on Twitter. Then a judge said that you can’t have Twitter breaking the law, and demanded information from Twitter on all the tweets that had been doing the round.
In response half the Twitter account users interested in football talked about Mr Giggs, and effectively said, ok arrest me too. I reckon something like 500,000 UK citizens got involved. I don’t think we have enough prisons.
Then a member of the House of Lords mentioned that it was Giggs hiding behind the super injunction. MPs cannot be prosecuted for what they say in Parliament, but since Parliament is broadcast live on TV all the time, anyone watching would have known. Then a Scottish newspaper ran the story saying the injunction only applied to England. Oh silly lawyers! How we laughed. Mr Giggs paid them millions and they completed the wrong legal form or ticked the wrong box. Ho ho.
Then an MP in the House of Commons (the lower house in the UK parliament) said “It was Giggs” just in case anyone missed it.
Next Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that the injunction preventing the naming of the Giggs was still valid even though the media had reported that he had been named by John Hemming in the Commons.
As the judges declared war on Parliament, the judge added, just for fun, “this is not about secrecy this is about intrusion” – meaning, while the Giggs fellow had been named as a dirty cheat, developing the story by trying to obtain information from Imogen Thomas, the lady involved, was still not allowed.
Next up six reporters who were camped outside the Giggs Mansion were beaten up and had their equipment seriously damaged. Oh naughty Man U supporters. I wonder if they are going to be arrested by Man City supporters?
The judges now say that whatever the Giggs has done he is a victim. I find this hard to take, as much as I find it hard to take that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of RBS, a bank which basically took the UK economy to the edge of utter collapse with its insane policies, should have been able to get an injunction to prevent reporting of an alleged affair with a senior colleague.
In response Mr Justice Eady said that there was “ample reason not to trust” the young woman, which seems a bit tough, when in reality there are ample reasons not to trust R Giggs – especially when talking about injuries that stop him playing friendlies for Wales.
Meanwhile those rather jolly lawyers, Schillings, have attempted to get another court order to force Twitter to erase tweets that named Giggs, and to hand over all the information about everyone who had mentioned him. I am sure they are jolly good legal chaps who know their stuff, but I am not sure about that ploy. We will see.
Meanwhile the Giggs is not only not playing for Wales, but also seemingly not training all the time for Man U. What a turnip.
Does this have anything to do with Arsenal? Not really. I just don’t like R Giggs.