Sunday, July 31, 2011

Actor who's married isn't actually married? (Part 3)

Your Reaper has been writing about this person for a little while now. In the first post, which has since effectively become a series, I wrote about an actor and comedian who is relatively well known in the UK who wanted to hide something rather bizarre about himself. It's widely thought that this man is married to a woman who was previously a model. I revealed that I had been informed this was not the case. The man in question is not married, but in a long-term relationship that has produced teenage children. Why would anyone want the public to believe they were married when they were not?

In the second post, I wrote more about this man's private life. Some months ago, he obtained an injunction in order to prevent what I called "a matter of a sexual nature" from being reported in the press. I also disclosed that this man has not told the full truth to the judge who was at the hearing to decide whether an injunction should be granted. Whilst there is no suggestion being made that the man has lied, it is clear that the full story was not given to the presiding judge either. Over a number of years, he conducted several affairs with dozens of other women that he met through the use of false identities on social media, some of whom still haven't been deleted to this day.

Today, I shall reveal some more of the information that I have been given. Have you ever seen the film The Night Porter? It was an Italian film that was released in 1974 starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling. In the film, Dirk played the role of Maximilian Theo Aldorfer, who was a former Nazi SS officer. Charlotte Rampling, meantime, played Lucia Atherton, a concentration camp survivor. The two had what could be defined as an unconventional relationship. Whilst Max could be seen in the film tormenting Lucia, he could be seen in others acting as her protector.

Sadomasochism is a regular theme in the film, occuring particularly when they meet up again after thirteen years. The film is certainly not to everyone's taste, as it features a fair amount of BDSM - the act of receiving sexual pleasure from acts involving inflicting or receiving pain or humiliating others. The actor in question is quite a fan of this practice, and a number of his fantasies involve Nazi porn and abduction. When you also consider that this is a man who has had largely unprotected sex with a number of different women, this really takes things into another realm. Would the public really welcome back a man who behaves so appallingly?

It makes one wonder why the media aren't running any of these claims. The injunction exists, of course, which is the main factor. However, if it were not there, chances are that this man would still be relatively safe from the chance of exposure - media exposure, that is.

In all probability, the reality is most likely that the media are much more hesitant to run these stories especially after the Max Mosley case. He sued the News of the World after they claimed he had taken part in a "sick Nazi orgy". In his case, Mr Justice Eady ruled that there was "no evidence that the gathering on 28 March 2008 was intended to be an enactment of Nazi behaviour or adoption of any of its attitudes.". More likely than not, a similar ruling would be reached here.

This is a man who seems to have rather a lot to hide. Worst still, the law appears to be on his side. Right or wrong?

Sunday drivers? Not at all...

Your Reaper doesn't blog about local matters particularly often, but I shall make an exception for this one. Here's a funny to start your Sunday. It's the Peel P50, one of just 20 that remains in the world, and this one just happens to be around in County Fermanagh.

Head over to UTV's website to watch the report. My only comment is that, with a top speed of 35mph, it does seem to be capable of going faster than a good chunk of the cars currently on the road here...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back To Teh New Skool: Richard Dinsdale

This is another one of those sets where the quality of each tune is phenomenally high, even if it does consist entirely of Richard Dinsdale's own tracks and remixes. A fair amount of stuff on here hasn't been released yet, my favourite of which has to be the disco-influenced grooves on "See Me Through". Dinsdale is a producer who has been around for around seven years now, starting out with electro-house and veering on tech-house, before now moving his direction. In a sense, it's a move forward but also a move backwards. As I said yesterday on Back To Teh New Skool, much of what he does now reminds me of house music in the 1990s, meaning this set was like going back in time.

He reminds me quite a lot of what Richard Grey and Sebastien Leger used to do in their very early days. They used to put out a large amount of material like this with the 1970s disco sound clearly in mind. Please, please, PLEASE let this kind of sound make a comeback. You can download the mix by clicking the Download button below, and you can also download a free copy of his remix of "Big Love" from HERE. Enjoy!

1. Aly-Us - Follow Me (Richard Dinsdale Remix) // Strictly Rhythm
2. Richard Dinsdale - Summer Time In NYC (Original Mix) // Strictly Rhythm
3. Just Gone 6 - See Me Through (Richard Dinsdale Dub) // Play All
4. Pete Heller's Big Love - Big Love 2011 (Richard Dinsdale Remix) // White Label
5. Carl Hanaghan - Untitled (Richard Dinsdale Remix) // Hed Kandi
6. Richard Dinsdale - She's Hot (Original Mix) // Spinnin'
7. Ralph Good Feat. Polina - S.O.S. (Richard Dinsdale Tanzanite Remix) // Spinnin'
8. Grant Smillie Feat. Zoë Badwi - Carry Me Home (Richard Dinsdale Remix) // Neon
9. Richard Dinsdale, Sam Obernik & Hook N Sling - Edge Of The Earth (Richard Dinsdale Remix) // Stealth
10. Richard Dinsdale Feat. Byron Stingily - Shake It (Original Club Mix) // Toolroom
11. Richard Dinsdale - DJ, You've Got My Love (Original Club Mix) // Toolroom

Anonymity and the threat from Google+

Here is Old Holborn making a guest appearance on an article on the Beeb's website, although his choice of top leaves much to be desired on this occasion. The article is about that new shiny thing called Google+, and asks why exactly they insist on having your real name being used. I haven't been tempted by it, for that very reason.

Obviously, your Reaper is going to defend the principle of internet anonymity. I use it myself, for the simple reason that I don't wish to disclose my real name to the world at this time. I'd never say never to the idea of blogging under my real name, but that isn't something which interests me at the moment. There are a number of perfectly valid reasons for remaining anonymous on the internet. Yes, there may well be some particularly dodgy individuals using it, such as the actor and comedian who uses social networking sites in order to find women to have unprotected sex with, but most people who use the internet anonymously do so with good reason.

Some people, for example, choose to hide their identity in order to avoid being contacted by people whom they would prefer not to speak to. That seems a fair enough reason to me, by and large. You then have a number of others who use anonymity on web forums so that they can discuss issues in their private lives that they do not feel they can do with people that they physically know. Again, there's nothing wrong with that. You also have a large group of people who live in countries where being identified could have serious implications for them, especially those associated with certain political views. China comes to mind at this point.

No, the reason that the likes of Google+ demand that you use your real name is nothing to do with attempting to create a more responsible and friendly online community. If you wanted to create that, there are far better ways of doing it. It's far more to do with the fact that real names are considerably more desirable to advertisers. The people who pay to advertise their services on Google want to know as much as possible about the people that will be looking at their adverts. The more that Google know about you, the better their skills at targeting you with specific adverts tailored to your interests will be. Ask anyone with a Facebook profile if you don't believe me.

There may well be downsides to internet anonymity, such as trolling or abuse, but that's no reason to mean that everyone else who uses their anonymity for right and proper reasons should suffer. Perhaps Google would do well to remember its motto, and to not be a force for evil.

Spam catching software on Twitter is censorship, says John Demetriou

Fresh from reminding me of the ruling of the Boatang & Demetriou Blog Regulation Committee that your Reaper must not link to Obnoxio The Clown's blog - which I do not do so here, and nor do I do on the blogroll - comes another diktat fresh from the desk of John "Stan Herbert" Demetriou and his wife Kevin "Pam Herbert" Boatang.

Unfortunately, this blog seems to have fallen foul of quite a few edicts from the B&D Blog Regulation Committee recently, and we seem to have done so again. This time however, it's not the content on the blog which Mr Herbert, sorry I mean Demetriou objected to.

It was the fact that your Reaper insists that people go through the TrueTwit process in order to follow his Twitter feed. In case you don't know what TrueTwit is, it's a tool which can be used to verify whether someone who wishes to follow you on Twitter is genuine and not a robot. It helps reduce spam, although it sadly doesn't eliminate it. That's the reason it gets used, and it works quite well.
Sadly however, the Boatang & Demetriou Blog Regulation Committee do not see it that way. Having denied this blog's recent accusation that he blocked me on Twitter earlier on in the day, John Demetriou sent me a tweet, which I clearly do not link to, where he stated "So why you have Twitter follower validation grim? Looks a bit like censorship to me.". This latest ruling from the committee appears to suggest that we are now no longer permitted to use spam controls of any kind on our blogs. And rightly so. How dare bloggers insist that their comments section are not taken over by persons trying to sell them printers or breast enlargements. How long until the committee extends its reach to our emails and introduces a similar, sensible edict in the same area?

Obviously, it is not for a mere mortal like The Grim Reaper to question the judgement of a being of such stature as John Demetriou, so I shall therefore be happy to obey the ruling as soon as I can be bothered to do so*. I also reiterate that I obey their other rulings, and that I do not link to their website or Stan and Pam's individual Twitter pages. Nor do I link to Obnoxio The Clown's website. Anyone who did do carry such links in defiance of this ruling would be acting in quite an inflammatory manner, would you not say.

As I have previously mentioned, I would never want to disobey the wishes of the Boatang & Demetriou Blog Regulation Committee. Definitely not. I wouldn't want them to see me as someone who does not do as they tell him to whilst still calling themselves libertarians, and I certainly wouldn't want them to call me a cunt because they see me as someone who does not do as they tell him to whilst still calling themselves libertarians. Perish the thought.

* Never, in a nutshell.

Tuesday, August 2nd: the day Barack Obama loses power?

Your Reaper apologises if this title sounds rather melodramatic, but I do increasingly suspect that this is what's effectively going to happen next Tuesday in the USA. There will not be an immediate removal of the President, however. More detailed background on this matter is available here and here for anyone interested, but the gist of it is the USA is due to run out of money on August 2nd, due to the debt ceiling being reached.

In layman's terms, the USA has a $14trillion overdraft on its bank account and they'll reach it next Tuesday.

There was no sign of a deal when I wrote about this on Monday, and there still isn't now. It's not looking good, and both sides seem determined to play politics with the economy rather than sort out the matter. The Democrat-controlled US senate blocked a Republican debt-ceiling bill last night, which would have lifted the borrowing ceiling temporarily in order for the US to get back on its feet. This seemed probably the best compromise in a dire situation, but it was rejected. Democrats thought it went too far, whereas Tea Party influenced republicans thought it didn't go far enough.

Frankly, this is nothing short of disastrous. The libertarian in me should be delighted it was not passed, but the reality is that it should have been. A temporary increase would have been acceptable to me, provided that it was followed by spending cuts in order to start getting the debt down The ceiling could then be reduced gradually over time in order to prevent this from ever becoming an issue again. If the USA fails to reach agreement on this issue by Tuesday, it will mean that its creditors won't get paid - for the first time in the country's history. Long term, this could put the country's credit rating at huge risk and puts the USA at a serious danger of going bankrupt.

If the USA goes under, it's going to take down most of the world with it. Never mind whether James Murdoch lied to the phone-hacking inquiry or stories about cats that look like Adolf Hitler, this is the one we should be worrying about.

"Everyone's got their price" says Hugh Bonneville

That's right, you read that correctly. Hugh Bonneville has said that "Everyone's got their price". What's my source for this? None other than Colette Fahy from BANG Showbiz, who define themselves as "the premier entertainment news agency providing the most exciting celebrity news to online, print and broadcast media outlets across the world. BANG was established in 1997 by Fleet Street showbiz columnist Rick Sky - who was entertainment editor on The Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Star - to serve the UK and world media with entertainment stories.".

At the time of writing, she appears to have got hold of an interview with the dearly beloved 195-carat actor and is currently getting everything from the tape and onto pen and paper. She tweets to the world her joy by saying "Transcribing my downton interviews and LOLing at Hugh Bonneville's 'everyone's got their price' quote".

Why would Hugh Bonneville, this blog's favourite thespian, know about everyone having their price? And why is Miss Fahy so amused by this comment? I don't know, but I do know that it will make for an interesting interview when it is picked up by the newspapers.

F1 and a barrage of unfair criticism of the Beeb

Petra Ecclestone and Slavica Ecclestone pictured yesterday. Bernie's in the picture too, if you look closely enough. On the left. You may need to get a mirror to see him.

Much fuss is being made today over the news that the BBC will no longer be showing all of the Formula One races live. From 2012, they will be showing roughly half of the races, following a deal with Sky Sports. Those people who will wish to view the races will now have to fork out for a subscription, barring the highly unlikely event that Sky agree to show the coverage unencrypted.

As ever, the Beeb is being criticised from all quarters for allowing this to happen, and as ever in these situations, it cannot win no matter what it does. The most sensible voice on this debate that your Reaper has heard so far comes from Chris Moyles. That should be a cause of great concern for most of us, but let's not get bogged down with that detail right now.

Yesterday morning, he was speaking on his Radio 1 show and he responded to someone who had made the criticism that the BBC had "sold out" to Sky over this matter. I don't remember the exact words he used, but the gist of what he said was "If you've got the money, you compete. If you don't have the money, you don't.". And that, my friends, sums everything up.
The BBC is often criticised for wasting public money, and that criticism is often justified. It's an organisation which can be hopelessly inefficient and profligate. Yet on this occasion, when it decides to exercise a possibly unusual caution with our money, the Beeb doesn't get praised for being so reserved - it still gets criticised. And as usual, the loudest criticism is coming from the Daily Mail. If the Beeb competes, it's trying to distort the market or pricing private companies out. If the Beeb doesn't compete, it's not standing up for the national interest.

Besides, what nobody has ever managed to successfully explain to me is why exactly should sports coverage of certain events be available on terrestial television. The last time I checked, terrestial television channels did not have the divine right to show sports or anything else. It might also be worth considering that an organisation like Sky would be able to invest money in order to improve the coverage, and would have a greater incentive to do so. After all, if Sky Sports was rubbish, people wouldn't subscribe, so they either have to do a better job than everyone else or die. The likes of Sky should be able to bid for absolutely anything they wanted, in my opinion.

Obviously, it's a shame for those people who enjoy the F1 and will no longer be able to watch it because they cannot afford it. However, I do wonder how many of these people there actually are. I get the feeling, amidst all the hysteria over this, that their numbers are being rather exaggerated.

Pippa Middleton? I just can't be arsed

There is a brand spanking new rumour doing the rounds, and due to be explored further in a documentary called Crazy About Pippa which goes out during August. It appears that Prince Harry apparently had a relationship with Pippa Middleton.

Your Reaper can't possibly understand why he would have wished to do any such thing. I genuinely cannot see what Prince Harry might possibly have seen in her, if these rumours are, of course, true.

Methinks that these rumours have more than a hint of bum note about them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Back To Teh New Skool: D. Ramirez

Your Reaper featured the first edition of this series back on Tuesday, showcasing a set by Brighton based duo Prok & Fitch. As it's Friday night, here's another set which I've stumbled across. This time, the man in question is D. Ramirez, sometimes known as Dean Marriott. He's a man that I've mentioned on the blog before, notably on the Back To Teh Old Skool series - he was one-half of the Lisa Marie Experience, possibly the best and the most camply-named duo in dance music in the 1990s.

Like many from that time, he's still around and still producing records. Listening to his sets, you can tell that he's got a fairly diverse ear, with influences coming from a number of areas. D. Ramirez never has been a man to stick to one thing for too long - the stuff that he was putting out 15 years ago sounds nothing like what he releases now, for instance. This was also the man behind THAT remix of "Yeah Yeah" by Bodyrox in 2006, the one that probably did more for the electro-house movement than any other, but his sound has moved on yet again since. Some stuff here, such as his tunes "Ups And Downs" has an almost acid house quality to it.

It's somewhat unfair to highlight individual tunes in a set like this, but I have to admit I absolutely love everything that Richard Dinsdale is putting out at the moment. After sticking to a slightly soulless electro-house sound a few years ago, much of what he does now reminds me of house music in the 1990s. Pretty much every collaboration that D. Ramirez has included in this set hits the spot for me, whilst Gary Beck's "Hands In Mine" sounds better each time that I hear it. Head over to his own website if you fancy downloading the set.

1. D. Ramirez & Steve Mac Feat. Robert Owens - Ups And Downs (Original Mix) // Toolroom
2. Shafe - Lo Cuts // Ritual Music
3. Sharam Jay - Shake Your (Nicole Moudaber Edit) // Toolroom
4. D. Ramirez & Richard Dinsdale - Nothing Habitual // White Label
5. DJ Tonio - Get The Funk (Olivier Giacamotto Remix) // Definitive
6. D. Ramirez & Smokin' Jo - Red Hot // Toolroom
7. Tom Flynn - Freak // White Label
8. D. Ramirez & Kristoph - Shrimp Paste // Toolroom
9. Peter Horrevorts - Crackhouse // Suara
10. D. Ramirez & Kristoph - Feelin' High // Toolroom
11. D. Ramirez - Jump It Up (Original Mix) // Toolroom
12. Gary Beck - Hands In Mine // Saved
13. Tom Flynn - Shiny Disco Balls // White Label

Victory for Chris Jeffries, a hollow victory for everyone else

Remember how Chris Jefferies, a man who was briefly a suspect for the murder of Joanna Yeates, but was since cleared of any involvement in the case? You may remember that your Reaper wrote about his many concerns on this case in the past, and I also revealed quite early the rumour that Jefferies was considering suing a number of newspapers for libel. In April, his lawyers announced he was suing no less than six of them. Today, no less than EIGHT national newspapers are being forced to pay him libel damages.

The full list of libellers consists of The Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Record, the Daily Mail, the Daily Star, The Scotsman and the Daily Express. They have also apologised in court, although some details are not yet clear at the time of writing this post.

It's unclear, for example, whether these eight newspapers are going to print apologies in the next editions of their newspapers, which would be tomorrow for all but the Sunday Mirror. It's also unclear whether each newspaper will have to pay a six-figure sum in libel damages, or whether they will all have to contribute to a pot that totals six-figures. Somehow, it would not seem right to me if the second were the case.

Am I alone in thinking that the newspapers have got away with it, and that they're about to do so again in the case of Rebecca Leighton?

Was ANYONE left alone by the phone hacking brigade?

That has to be the only question that's left to be answered by this stage. Journalists hacked other journalists in order to make sure that other journalists hadn't got hold of their stories. Journalists hacked celebrities phones in order to get some of the most intimate details of their private lives.

Journalists were even prepared to hack into the phone of a woman whose child had been murdered at the hands of a paedophile. The only reaction that your Reaper has towards the news that Sarah Payne's mum had her phone hacked is one of utter disbelief. Was there anyone they wouldn't have considered hacking their phone?

We already know that it wasn't just the News of the World that was doing it. Guido Fawkes has been running with revelations all week about what was going on at Trinity Mirror whilst Piers Morgan was editor of the Daily Mirror. He's provided a number of examples of stories from the Mirror's archive which may have been obtained from phone-hacking.

Large sections of the press are remaining silent on the issue, or covering it in the most modest way possible. Morgan himself is simply claiming that they're lies, to which Guido issues a retort along the lines of "If you're so sure I'm lying, why don't you sue me?".

This one has got a long, long time left to run. Apologies to everyone who's bored rigid of the phone-hacking scandal - and even I'm starting to reach my limits on this one - but there's a hell of a lot more yet to emerge.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A day looking at wedding reception venues

It doesn't sound especially exciting to your Reaper, but I'm afraid that's what I'm going to be doing for much of today. Appointments have been arranged, alongside another appointment to get my eyes tested at Specsavers. And that, in a nutshell, is what my Thursday is going to consist of.

Great. So I've not only been blocked by Hugh Bonnefail, but I've also got to trawl around venues whilst trying to look interested and attempting not to let my jaw drop to the floor when they give us their prices. Someone up there clearly doesn't like me.

Blogging will probably be minimal. I shall keep an eye on Twitter as much as possible without irritating the missus. Feel free to let me know if an interesting political story develops during the day. If it involves Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and rusty spoons, there's probably an injunction covering it.

A rare moment of fail by Hugh Bonnefail

Even an actor as great as the family man and 195-carat bloke that is Hugh Bonneville can make mistakes, it seems. Your Reaper noticed something quite astonishing this morning - it appears that I am not following Bonneville on Twitter. So I went to try and rectify this oversight on my part, and headed over to his Twitter page.

On attempting to follow Mr Bonneville, I received a message which rather startled me. Twitter informed me that "Your account may not be allowed to perform this action. Try logging out and in again". Shocked, I did just that and lo and behold, the same message came up again.

I could be wrong, but it appears I have been blocked by Hugh Bonneville on Twitter. Was it something I said? I know I've said plenty about this thespian, whose past credits include Scenes of a Sexual Nature and Conspiracy of Silence, but I really hope I haven't upset him.

Truly, I am bereft at this development.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What are Perth and Kinross Council trying to hide?

This is really quite a staggering case that The Grim Reaper has come across. It seems that data protection laws are now conspiring to prevent serious allegations of corruption in public life from being published in the media.

A local Scottish newspaper called The Courier have been on the tail of Perth and Kinross Council for some time now, over allegations that three employees within the council's building standards department had effectively received bribes in order to approve building warrants that they had drawn up themselves.

The allegation is especially serious as those who had paid for work could have been without indemnity insurance, and that unsafe buildings could have been erected as a result. The publication discovered about this in February 2010 and informed the council, but they sat on the information for months. Perth and Kinross Council preferred to stonewall demands for transparency on the matter, insisting that the privacy of the individuals allegedly concerned with the matter was more important.

When an internal investigation eventually opened, three staff were suspended following allegations into their own conduct. One employee has since been sacked and lost a subsequent employment tribunal against their dismissal from the council. Another has received a formal warning over their conduct whilst a third decided to resign during the investigation. Reporter Alan Richardson send a Freedom of Information request to the council, where he asked for details of the internal investigation to be disclosed. The council refused to comply.
He then contacted the Scottish Information Commissioner. In her ruling, the head of enforcement Margaret Keyse said:

"The commissioner considers that there is a general public interest, where complaints have been raised about the service and conduct of front-line staff in a public authority to understand what action, if any, has been taken to address these complaints. This interest also ties in with the general public interest in ensuring that public authorities which receive and spend public money are both transparent and accountable. The commissioner also accepts that (a journalist's) role leads him to write about matters of local and national interest regarding the workings of public authorities, which affect the public.

Part of this role includes ensuring that local government is transparent and accountable and that its staff act in compliance with relevant rules and regulations, which ties in with the wider public interest of ensuring that, where complaints have been raised about the service and conduct of front-line staff, relevant actions are taken to investigate and address these fully. Having considered all the comments from the council and (The Courier) the commissioner has concluded that The Courier does have a legitimate interest in obtaining the information."

So the reporting of the allegations IS within the public interest. Unfortunately, Keyse then goes on to say:

"Given the general expectations of confidentiality associated with the disciplinary process, the commissioner recognises that the individuals who were interviewed or who provided information within the disciplinary process would expect that the information they provided would be taken into account in the disciplinary process, but they would not expect that information to be disclosed into the public domain as part of a response to a FOISA request."

In other words, the individuals who have been disciplined have a right to privacy and therefore, The Courier does not have the right to publish the full details of the story. The only way that the newspaper would be able to obtain the documents now is by going through the courts - an option which is prohibitively expensive for local newspapers. One can only wonder whether the national newspapers might like to step in and discover more about what Perth and Kinross Council are hiding from their taxpayers.

Shouldn't Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi be dead yet?

It appears not, unless this appearance on the TV was a cleverly orchestrated hoax. He was freed by the Scottish government in 2009, on the grounds that he had just three months left to live. He was dying from cancer, apparently. Had this been true, the mass murdering Lockerbie bomber who served just 8 years of a 27-year sentence for murdering 270 people - the equivalent of 11 days per person whose life he took away - would have been dead for almost two years by now.

Yet the cunt is still alive. Given the circumstances therefore, shouldn't the Scottish government now admit its mistake, and shouldn't Labour admit that they colluded with the Scottish government to get the man released, despite their denials at the time? I can only assume there are two possible reasons why neither will do this. The first is that both of them would have to admit that the price of his release would have been a dead body a few months later. That sounds cruel, but that was basically what this was about.

The second is that neither wants to admit that a considerable number of trade deals with Libya and neighbouring countries were at risk if the Scots hadn't freed him. Reports emerged last year that he could have over ten years left to live. In that case, it will probably take even longer for the truth about this murky affair to finally emerge - and quite a few of those politicians responsible for this will have left the political limelight by then.

Isn't that a terribly convenient state of affairs?

Actor who's married isn't actually married? (Part 2)

Your Reaper wrote nearly two weeks ago about an actor and comedian who wanted to hide something rather bizarre. It is widely believed that this man is married to a woman who was previously a model. I was informed that this wasn't the case, and that he wasn't even married. It later transpired that the man in question wasn't single, but was in a long-term relationship. He also has teenage children.

It turns out his private life is much more complicated than I first thought. This particular person has obtained an injunction some months ago in order to prevent a matter of a sexual nature from being reported in the press. The judge in the case was told that he wished to protect his children from being bullied in the playground as one of the grounds for wishing to obtain the gagging order. All was not as it seemed. The comedian in question didn't tell the judge about the full extent of what he liked to get up to in his spare time.

I hear that he conducted several S&M sex sessions with dozens of other women over several years. These were women who he had contacted through the use of false identities on social media, and he also apparently used adult fetish websites in order to indulge his hobby. The sex sessions in question were largely of an unprotected nature, meaning that the comedian in question could well have caught something in the process. Given that he is in a long-term relationship, should his partner not have the right to know about this risk?

And is it not a criminal offence to deliberately infect someone with a sexually transmitted disease? Whilst your Reaper has no idea whether this man has one - the man himself may not even know - he does know that Nkosinati Mabanda was jailed for four years for knowingly giving one woman a death sentence in the form of HIV. He may also have infected up to seven other women. If this particular celebrity had caught something, he could well be in considerable trouble with the law.

It makes you wonder just how much else this man wants to hide.

Make money from phone hacking? It's not hypocritical when we do it

Newspapers that made money from stories obtained by phone-hacking were condemned. So why not the politician and journalists who now wish to do the same?

During the past few days, the phone-hacking story has gone to the back of most people's minds. It's a story which is still around, and a story which is undoubtedly important, but it's also a story where there has been a complete overkill in terms of media coverage. Frankly, everyone's got bored rigid of listening to the claims and counter-claims being made by various politicians, celebrities or media executives, and it's all rather tiresome.

It's also been overtaken by other events, such as the bombings in Oslo. Suddenly, the fact that Rupert Murdoch seems to have no idea what is happening within his own companies doesn't matter so much.

One politician who has received a great deal of praise during the phone-hacking scandal, much of it undeserved in your Reaper's humble opinion, is Tom Watson. The MP for West Bromwich East has, to be fair, been banging on about this for many years now. Many Labour politicians are guilty of only speaking out now that they have been thrown into the cold by the Murdoch press, but Watson is certainly not guilty of that charge.

It's also fair to say that he has been quite vigorous in his attempts to get to the truth about the phone-hacking scandal, although whether he has managed it is another matter.
If, however, there was a time when I would have praised him from the rooftops for his diligence, I certainly do not now. For it appears that Tom Watson is just as hypocritical as many of the other people involved in this sorry saga. It was wrong for newspapers to make money by publishing stories which they had obtained from hacking into people's voicemails.

Yet it's right for Tom Watson to make money by publishing a book about those very same newspapers that made money publishing stories which had been obtained from hacking into people's voicemails. How else can the news that he is currently co-writing a book with Martin Hickman of The Independent be interpreted?

Not only that, but it turns out that the man who did so much to expose this - Nick Davies from The Guardian - is determined to make as much money as possible from the scandal as well. The lesson from all this? If you're exposing a scandal, it's perfectly okay to benefit financially from it.

But it's obviously not hypocritical when the likes of Tom Watson and Nick Davies do it. Goodness, no...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Miss Reaper and an Angry addiction

I must admit to an increasing level of concern for Miss Reaper at the moment. There is an issue in our relationship which is rather bothering me, and I have struggled with this dilemma on my own for all too long. I don't normally talk about my relationship woes on the blog, not least because it's really not an appropriate place to do so. Oh, and there's also the fact that most of my readers would be bored to tears if I were to become a Liz Jones style figure, pathetically pontificating about every detail of my private life and then wondering why nobody likes me.

On this occasion, however, I am prepared to make an exception. I am afraid that Miss Reaper has fallen to an addiction. It's a cruel addiction, and one that can ruin... ooh, several evenings a week, at least on my part. Granted, it's not as pernicious as an addiction to something like tobacco, or alcohol, or cocaine, but this particular addiction seems to bring about the same effects - especially when a supply of it is withdrawn from the patient, who can be moody enough at the best of times. No, the reality is that Miss Reaper has an addiction... the Angry Birds game on her HTC phone.

There, I said it. Night after night, I come to my bed only to see the sight of Miss Reaper playing the game or telling me she is having trouble with a particular level. Naturally enough, she doesn't bother to check Google herself to find the Angry Birds walkthrough. She always gets me to do it, for some reason. I really shouldn't indulge her habit, but it's easier just to do it. She has even tried to get me hooked onto the game in question, by asking me to help out as an if-all-else-fails option when she's really, really stuck.

I can only hope that it goes the same way as her previous addiction, to the game Bubble Buster. That one lasted a few weeks in the end. I wonder if this one will persist for any longer. We shall soon find out...

Back To Teh New Skool, anyone?

Your Reaper has been hoping for some time now to start a new feature on the blog of a musical variety. As readers may be aware from the existence of Back To Teh Old Skool, I rather like my house music and it's been my intention for a while to try and do some DJ mixes of my own to upload. It's something I've done in the past on blogs that have long since disappeared from the internet. Unfortunately, real life issues continue to mean I don't have as much time to devote to that as I would like.

In the meantime, you could do much worse than listen to this mix that I can recommend from elsewhere online. The first is from Prok & Fitch, two guys from Brighton that go by the name of Ben Prok and James Fitch. Your Reaper first came across these two in 2008, when they had a spate of remixes released in a short period of time and I've kept an eye on what they've produced ever since.

This mix kicks off with one of my favourites at the moment "Runaway Love" and also contains a promo by Marco Lys and Michael Gray which I am quite keen to get my hands on all of a sudden. You can subscribe to the Prok & Fitch podcast on iTunes by clicking here. In the meantime, here's the tracklist and then you can listen to it straight from Soundcloud below.

1. Rita Campbell vs Sam Young - Runaway Love (Prok & Fitch Remix) // Floorplay
2. Adam Fierce - Circa // CDR
3. Grant Nalder - Tropical // CDR
4. DJ PP - Massive // Muzik Express
5. Richard Dinsdale, Sam Obernik & Hook 'N' Sling - Edge Of The Earth (Prok & Fitch Floorplay Mix) // Stealth
6. Richard Dinsdale - She's Hot // Spinnin'
7. Marco Lys & Michael Gray - Remember // CDR
8. Konstantin Yoodza & Heartik - 11 Hours // Agile
9. DJ Tonio - Get The Funk (Olivier Giacomotto Remix) // Definitive
10. Fedde Le Grand - Metrum (Manuel De La Mare Remix) // Toolroom
11. Layo & Bushwacka! - Love Story (Matt Samuels Remix) // CDR
12. Chris Lake & Marco Lys - Atari Funked The Amstrad // Rising Music

Gained weight? Then it's NOT your boyfriend's fault

Your Reaper should know better than to read this kind of clap-trap, but I end up reading it just as much as anyone else. Liz McClarnon, she who used to be in the truly dreadful Atomic Kitten all those years ago, is in the press complaining that she's gained some weight.

She's so depressed about the fact that she's gone up from a dress size 8 to a size 12 that she's contacted Closer magazine, and agreed to let them take a picture of her in a swimming costume which will be published in the latest issue. Because when you're feeling down about your weight gain, talking to a magazine about it is what you obviously do.

These sorts of articles often appear in the Daily Mail, and are usually nothing more than puff pieces written in order to promote the latest issue of Closer. More than likely, McClarnon is also heading down the clever but well-worn route of complaining about weight gain now, and then releasing a fitness DVD just in time for Christmas, or early in the New Year. It's a slightly cynical marketing technique, but it's one that's worked for countless other Z-listers in the past, so why not now? It's also quite astonishing that it still works, even though everyone now knows about it.

Moving on, McClarnon says a few things in the extracts that the Mail seem to have been given. And it's not long before she completely contradicts herself, in the way that women always seem to whenever it comes to talking about their weight and appearance. In one breath, she tells us that:

"My boyfriend is really tall and I end up eating the same amount of food as him, so that's why I've put on weight. I used to be a size 8 and now I'm probably a [size] 12."

Okay. I can understand that, and I can even relate to it, to an extent. Miss Reaper has tried this old chestnut on me as well. She always tells me that she's gained weight ever since I moved over to Northern Ireland to live with her. Which is a strange claim to make given that she's exactly the same dress size now as she was when I made the move almost two years ago. Barely five minutes later, and the article informs us that:
"Liz, who has been dating her new man for the past eight months, admitted she started gaining weight through her love of food, stemming from winning Celebrity Masterchef in 2008. And despite losing a stone in December 2010, taking her from a size 10 to an eight, Liz says the weight has slowly crept back on."

The weight gain that you've experienced in the past seven months has probably got absolutely nothing to do with your boyfriend and a lot more to do with the fact you love food and admit you don't do enough exercise. That, of course, is what a cynic would say. The Grim Reaper couldn't possibly be impertinent enough to comment on such claims.

Honest to God. What is it with you women and weight issues? McClarnon has got absolutely nothing to worry about, as far as I can tell. My understanding is that the average British woman is a size 16, so even if you have gone up to a size 12, you're still under that average. She also appears to complaining about things she hasn't even got - you do not have a muffin top, Miss McClarnon. Look in the mirror. They're not there. They don't exist. Get that into your head and stop complaining.

If only more women could have the attitude of a certain Miss Lucy Gamble, whom your Reaper mentioned back in February. As I said at the time:

"Women everywhere, please get this into your heads once and for all - men really aren't that fussed when it comes to your bodies, and you probably look absolutely fine anyway. There's few things worse than a woman who endlessly drones on about how much she hates her arse and her boobs and whatever."

Oh, and feel free to replicate Liz McClarnon's suggestion of walking around naked in front of your boyfriends...

All you need to know about Ed Balls, in one handy graphic

Just keep an eye out if you see Balls in the news today, talking about the poor economic growth figures that have just been unveiled. Watch as he attempts to keep a serious face on as he talks about the bad news, and watch as he struggles to avoid cracking a smile, noticing the opportunity for political advantage that the figures provide for him.

Your Reaper guarantees you'll see it.

The Vatican's (lack of) response to the Cloyne Report

As your Reaper has previously mentioned, Miss Reaper is a Catholic. I am not personally and have no plans to convert, but I attend mass with Miss Reaper each weekend, although I do not take communion. In case you're not familiar with mass, here's the gist of what happens. A few prayers are normally said, and there would be three readings from the Bible. People stand during the third as the priest reads. After that, people sit down and the priest will then spend around ten minutes or so talking about something or other - sometimes relevant to the reading he has just made, sometimes not.

Last Saturday, we attended mass as normal and the priest started speaking. He started talking about the lack of trust that people have for authority nowadays. He mentioned that there was a huge lack of trust in the Catholic Church nowadays, and cited as evidence of that the fact that only one priest had been ordained in the diocese in the last 15 years. When he was starting out, it was not unusual to have around 30 to 40 priests ordained in a diocese in the same period. It wasn't long before he mentioned the Cloyne Report, and it sounded like he was going to make quite severe criticisms. However, he started holding back all of a sudden, and I couldn't quite work out why. I left mass that evening wondering what on earth had happened that night.

On Sunday afternoon, Miss Reaper and I were discussing this one whilst at her granny's house. Miss Reaper said it was as if he'd lost his train of thought halfway through the sermon. To me, it just seemed like there was something he wanted to say, but couldn't quite bring himself to actually say it. Either way, he sounded like a man who was deeply worried about something.

Given the background which he's currently working against, I can't say I'm surprised and I do wonder whether his sermon on Saturday reflected the true mood of a number of priests currently working within the church. Your Reaper wrote about the Cloyne Report when it came out nearly two weeks ago, and again last week. I return to it today with yet more condemnation to heap on the Catholic Church. This report was first published in the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, July 13th. As reports go, it could not have been much more damning.

It revealed that the Catholic Church was unhelpful and behaved in an obstructive manner as the investigation went on. It pointed out that Bishop John Magee, the man who used to be the Bishop Emeritus of Cloyne until March 2010 not only obstructed the inquiry at every turn, but lied to the inquiry when he was eventually forced to answer questions on the subject. There has still been no condemnation of his lies by the Pope, a man whom Magee is supposedly quite close to in the church.

When the report was first published, the Vatican's response was that it wanted some time to read the report first and would not comment on it simply in order to indulge the demand of a news-hungry 24-hour media. To an extent, this seemed reasonable enough. If a report has only just been published, one is going to need a little bit of time to read it before responding, and many people were just about prepared to tolerate this line from the Vatican. However, it increasingly seems that even now, the Catholic Church is determined to frustrate people over this report by delaying their reaction forever more.

Only yesterday did we discover that Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Leanza, the Vatican's envoy to Ireland, has been called back to Rome to discuss the impact of the Cloyne Report. In other words, a full 12 days have passed since the report was published and only now, nearly a fortnight later, is the Vatican's envoy to the country concerned actually being asked to head back to Italy to talk about it. If any other country attempted to perform this kind of cynical manoeuvre designed simply to delay and obfusicate over a child sexual abuse scandal, there would be outrage. Yet because it's the Catholic Church doing it, it gets away with it.

Frankly, this is nothing short of a disgrace. It's becoming increasingly clear that those people in the Vatican have got absolutely no intention of dealing seriously with accusations of child abuse within the Catholic Church. Whenever any accusations head in their direction, their response is to contact their lawyers, who just happen to be the most inefficient, slow and unproductive lawyers in existence. Yet these people still claim to be doing the work of God. What an insult.

The last time I checked, God's work did not involve frustrating and blocking people trying to get to the truth about the most serious allegations of breaches of trust that can exist between an adult and a child. God's work isn't to treat rules about the reporting of allegations of abuse as mere guidelines that can be ignored whenever it is convenient. And God's work certainly does not involve lying to those who are trying to get to the truth about child sexual abuse within the church - take note, Bishop John Magee.

The people working in the Vatican should be truly ashamed of themselves.

The triumphant return of David Threlfall

There are a number of great actors whom your Reaper feels we don't see on the television often enough at the moment. I talked the other day about David Schneider, that great comedian, who has been away from the public eye for the past three months or so. I have talked several times about Hugh Bonneville, that 195-carat actor, who has been on television quite a lot lately in between talking about his family - although curiously, not about his wife. Another man can now be added to the list - David Threlfall.

In case you're not familiar with him, Threlfall is the man who plays Frank Gallagher in Shameless. Why do I mention this? Because the second half of the current series of Shameless is about to be shown on Channel 4, starting next month. Wonderful news. There's absolutely naff all on TV at the moment - the schedules in the past few nights have been dire beyond belief. It'll be wonderful to see this programme back on our screens, where it belongs.

Unfortunately, I do fear that this part of the series may not be as good as it has previously been, and that is because Frank is now a single man again. Earlier this year, it emerged that Pauline McLynn, the woman who had played Libby Croker on the show, had decided to leave the show. She claimed that the reason was after a "difficult year". Why the difficulty? Well, it's a long commute between Manchester, where the show is based, and her homes in London and her native County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland, isn't it?

Infact, here is a picture of David Threlfall and Pauline McLynn playing their respective parts on the show. I include it simply to prove the above point - that I fear the show will no longer be as good. After all, she had received a lot of praise after making the decision to bare all in order to make her role as the scarlet woman all the more convincing. Their portrayal as a couple was so realistic, and I do wonder how the show will survive without it. I can only wonder where they got the inspiration from, frankly.

That said, Shameless is a show which has proven its critics wrong time and time again, so I'm pretty sure they'll also prove me wrong here and that the show will continue to be a success, even if is without the scarlet woman.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vince Cable and the threat from those LibDem nutters

One of those stories that has gone under the radar recently - and one which your Reaper originally highlighted back in May - was the news that the USA was in danger of running out of money. The country's debts cannot physically go any higher than $14trillion, and that limit is set to be reached by August 2nd. That'd be next Tuesday, folks. Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans go on, but there is still no sign of a deal.

The Democrats, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, are pursuing a strategy of trying to cut taxes for the lowest paid workers whilst increasing it for the highest. Like in the UK, the word "fairness" is uttered a great deal, despite the fact it isn't very fair at all in practice. The problem is that Obama is very much of the New Labour school of thought when it comes to finance - the view that all problems could be resolved if you throw enough money at them.

The thing is, there's no more money to throw at the problem now. Obama's solution? Increase the debt ceiling, thus allowing money to continue being thrown at various problems in futile attempts to resolve them for a little bit longer - or at least until the elections next year, when he might get chucked out of the White House.

The Republicans are taking a different view. Whilst they support tax cuts for the lowest paid workers, they also want to see tax cuts for the highest paid. They also wish to see spending reduced. Hence the deadlock. The Republicans have come to the completely unreasonable position of actually demanding that the government stops spending money it doesn't have. It's a ridiculous stance to take, isn't it?

One person who clearly thinks that is Saint Vincent of Cable. The man who was previously held up as a voice of reason at the height of the economic crisis - despite knowing even less about economics than Gordon Brown - was speaking to Andrew Marr yesterday. Not about how Andy was feeling after discovering that the love child wasn't actually his, oh no. This isn't Oprah Winfrey or Jeremy Kyle we're talking about here.

No, he was talking about the problems in the USA. The debt woes in the eurozone aren't really a danger, says Vincent. The real problem is "a few right-wing nutters in the American Congress" who want government to only spend what it has available to spend.

Hmm. It's almost as if Cable has come full circle with his latest comments. Let's go back to before the last general election. Back then, Cable was warning anyone who'd listen about the dangers of deep spending cuts the Tories supposedly wanted to make. He was issuing apocalyptic warnings about the menace that was the modern Conservative Party and of the damage their policies would cause if they were to get into government. It was well and truly going to be the end of Britain as we knew it if they were elected, he told us.

Then the coalition came into existence, and everything changed. Suddenly, Cable was fully subscribed to all the Tory cuts which he had previously condemned, and willingly put them into place. He is enthusiastically replacing the current poor system of funding university education with one that is even worse. He is actively cutting spending on our military. He is also cutting science spending, which is a little bit odd - Cable's first wife Olympia sadly lost her life to breast cancer, yet he is now cutting back spending into research for possible cures.
And yet yesterday, he was saying that those people who wish to turn off the taps on public spending are the real danger to the world's economy. This coming from the man who himself is responsible for ramming through a huge number of public spending cuts in this country.
Hypocrite isn't even the word to describe this kind of shameless behaviour. Increasingly, I'm convinced that the only reason Vince Cable remains in the coalition is to ensure that Gideon doesn't look even more fucking stupid than he already is.

A mystery of the Bonnevillian kind?

Why is there suddenly so much interest in 195-carat actor and family man Hugh Bonneville? Your Reaper sees that a number of posts he has written about the thespian are suddenly pulling in a lot of readers once again. I find this quite unusual, as Bonneville doesn't seem to be in the news for any specific reason at the moment.

Aside from filming on the second series of Downton Abbey, life is all quiet for the man who has nominated Joanna Lumley to the Garrick Club, a society which promises "easy intercourse" to its members. Quite why Miss Lumley would be interested in joining such an organisation, I cannot be sure.

It's almost as if they're looking for something about him. Well, this blog frequently documents what Bonneville's getting up to, as The Grim Reaper is one of his greatest fans, but I'm afraid that I've got no news on the actor that hasn't been disclosed in public yet. Sorry to disappoint anyone visiting the blog for Bonneville-related news, but I hope you enjoyed the archive.

Rest assured he is a man that I will very much be writing about a lot, lot more in the future.

Has Thomas Hylland Eriksen taken his medication yet?

It may only be Monday, but your Reaper has already spotted an enthusiastic contender for the Moron of the Week award. Courtesy of Comment Is Free, meet Thomas Hylland Eriksen. Here he is pictured doing something that The Guardian really wouldn't like. He is the professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo in Norway, and according to Wikipedia, one of his areas of expertise is identity politics.

Does this give you some idea of what to expect from Eriksen? It didn't to me, as I hadn't the slightest idea what identity politics meant. I turn to the ever-reliable Wikipedia:

"Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the self interest and perspectives of self-identified social interest groups and ways in which people's politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through race, class, religion, sexual orientation or traditional dominance. Not all members of any given group are necessarily involved in identity politics."

This sounds like psycho-wibble to me. I shall turn to The Grim Reaper's Dictionary of the World for further clarification:

"Identity politics is a psycho-wibble term used mostly by smug Leftie politicos who are completely self-absorbed and have their heads up their arses. It is often used as a method for dividing people up into groups by Left-wingers, despite the fact that these same Left-wingers often say that we are all human beings and should not make anything of our differences."

With that in mind, go ahead and read the piece by Thomas Hylland Eriksen. He shows us in just 764 words why on earth anyone who knows about identity politics should not be taken seriously. One can always trust The Guardian to deliver that is stupid beyond words, yet will still be taken seriously by their readers simply because it appears in The Guardian. If it appeared on any other media outlet, they'd be over at that website trolling the comments section and telling the author of the piece he was a twat.

What was the reason that Anders Behring Breivik did what he did? Well, the gist of his piece is the fact that Breivik apparently didn't read newspapers like The Guardian, newspapers which tell the truth over everything in the history of the world and have never got anything wrong in the history of time. It was because he played online fantasy games a lot, and it was because he spent a lot of time frequenting chat groups, websites and blogs. And those evil chat groups, websites and blogs are all owned by evil right-wingers who want to kill all the Muslims and ban all immigration. They made him do it, according to Eriksen.

Had Breivik read The Guardian each morning, had he read that bastion of high intelligence and truth, none of this would ever have happened. Had he sat down to read his favourite Leftie newspaper each morning with a slice of brown toast and no butter, and a steaming hot cup of tea with no milk or sugar - for they are bad for you - then there would have been no bombing in Oslo last Friday. Had Breivik ignored those nasty blogs and disgusting websites that propogate different world views to those seen in The Guardian, the 92 or so people who died last week would still be alive. That is seriously the argument being put forward here.

And it is not being put forward by someone like Pollyanna Toynbee or George Moonbat, of whom nobody would expect any better. It is being put forward by a man who is a professor at a leading university in Norway. If a person who believes this bollocks is seriously the best that Norway can use to teach its children, their country might as well close down for business right now. As for his final conclusion that...

"one lesson from this weekend of shock and disbelief may be that cultural pluralism is not necessarily a threat to national cohesion, but that the tunnel vision resulting from selective perusal of the internet is."

I would argue that, far from Breivik being the one who suffered from tunnel vision, it is Eriksen who is the victim of it after writing this feeble drivel. Not that I have any time for Anders Behring Breivik - the man is clearly a cunt of epic proportions - but that doesn't excuse a piece that is so bankrupt of any intelligent arguments whatsoever.

Who is NEJ? We must never know, says Mr Justice King

A few months ago, your Reaper "that a certain actor has been caught being a very naughty boy". I was not allowed to identify the actor, known in court documents as NEJ. This particular injunction started life out with all sides remaining anonymous. The prostitute involved was referred to as BDZ, until the judge varied the injunction to allow her name to be published - the notorious Helen Wood, she who slept with Wayne Rooney a few years earlier. She was named because she had provided the information to The Sun, who wanted to run the story.

In a way, your Reaper should be appreciative of the fact that NEJ exists in the first place, even if there is a court order in place which bans me from identifying the man. He's responsible for the most highly-viewed post in this blog's archive - something that would never have happened had he not paid £195 in Dublin in 2009 to have Helen Wood stick a dildo up his arse. This one has been in and out of court several times since the temporary injunction was granted in April, and Mr Justice King has now put in place a permanent injunction. This despite the fact that the real identity of NEJ is quite easy to find thanks to the modern wonder that is Google.

In a sense, I understand why this married family man would want his sexual secret to remain... well, secret. However, I do have to question the judge's assertion that this is not a case where the actor should "exposed in the public interest" because he was a "hypocrite" over public statements on issues of morality. On this, Mr Justice King is completely wrong. I cannot quote exact statements which NEJ has made over the past few years - and still does even now - but I am able to confirm that he's a man who regularly speaks about the importance of family life, and about how much his wife means to him. Recently however, he gave an interview where he said almost nothing about his wife, suggesting that their relationship is under a great deal of pressure at the moment.

For now, it seems there will be a conspiracy of silence around NEJ and his infamous session with a prostitute. Indeed, he is not the first actor this year to be handed an injunction from the courts to prevent details of philandering being reported - ETK obtained one earlier this year to prevent disclosure of the fact he had an affair with a work colleague on a TV show which led to her being sacked. However, are we now going to see the ETK effect taking place on NEJ?

Allow me to explain. ETK obtained his injunction in April, but he wasn't able to retain his anonymity for long. His name, along with the woman he had an affair with, quickly seeped onto Twitter. In June, ETK was outed... but not in the UK. Instead, it was down to the Sunday World newspaper publishing the story on the front page of its Republic of Ireland edition. Readers in Northern Ireland, where the question of whether injunctions apply is not as clear cut, did not get the story and it is not available on the Sunday World's website.
Given that NEJ's encounter with a prostitute happened in Dublin, is there not a danger that a newspaper such as the Sunday World would be able to exploit the fact that an injunction for England and Wales does not apply to the Republic of Ireland, and would therefore be able to publish the story?

It seems that NEJ might not be as safe from scrutiny as he'd like to think he is. And one can only wonder how long it will be before the Australian media, where a popular programme in which he appears is currently showing to much critical acclaim, picks up on the story. Would they be interested in running the sordid truth about that encounter with a prostitute?

Only time will tell. Like I say, it feels like there is a conspiracy of silence over this particular sexual secret, but one can only wonder for how long.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and trial by media

Your Reaper has considered writing a post like this for quite some time, but like a number of others over the past few months, I just never got around to actually doing it. However, I'm getting more and more concerned about it. I believe that people are entitled to a fair trial when they are accused of something, and that they are innocent until proven beyond reasonable doubt to be guilty.

Without a doubt, the allegations surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn were incredibly serious. It's also right that he resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund. At a time when a number of countries could well require bailouts from the institution, it would have been quite wrong to have someone at the top who would have been unable to focus his entire attention on the job. That's not an admission of wrongdoing, it's an admission of the reality that no one person can do everything at once.

However, I think that the way Strauss-Kahn has been treated by the world's media is utterly appalling. Whilst I'm not advocating the same position as the French, half of whom seem to think the allegations are just a conspiracy against their nation, neither can I advocate the position where a man who has been accused of something can have his private life invaded almost totally by a voracious media which isn't giving a second's thought to the effects that such adverse coverage could have on any trial. If the man is found guilty of being a rapist or whatever, then at that point, feel free to criticise him harshly, but now simply isn't the time.

The man is as deserving of the right to a free trial as anyone else. What a shame that Nafissatou Diallo, the woman who claims she was attacked by him and had her name protected by a court order, thinks otherwise. She has lost her anonymity by giving interviews to two US media outlets, Newsweek and ABC News, where she details what happened. None of this, of course, is an attempt at damage limitation by a woman who is facing accusations that she herself is a liar. Oh no. The Grim Reaper is not a cynical man, so he would never dream of suggesting that.

There is a fairly simple solution to all of these problems. The media wouldn't especially like it, but frankly, I don't care. Everyone could shut up, go away, let the trial take place, wait for the facts to emerge in court, let the jury come to its verdict and then we could comment all we like. But nobody seems able to shut up anymore, so there's no chance any of the other steps can take place as a consequence.