A while ago I mentioned so-called super-injunctions taken out by those with the necessary loot to hire expensive lawyers, which not only deny all mention of a certain matter, but even forbid any mention that the injunction has been taken out. Super-injunctions were back in the news again recently after two actors and a football player had been playing away from home and didn’t want their public to find out, but the matter took quite a dramatic twist over these past few days with the announcement by one man who had taken out a super-injunction that he now thought the trend was a danger to freedom of speech. It was that lovely Andrew Marr, a darling of the bien pensant left-of-centre who is married to the Guardian journalist Jackie Ashley.
I am not Marr’s greatest fan,and when he hosts his Monday morning radio show Start The Week, I can’t help but hear a great deal of self-satisfaction in his voice. Marr’s announcenment was the big news yesterday morning and at first blush is seemed as though a principled man who had once demonstrated a little weakness had rediscovered his princples and the world was once again a grander place. Unfortunately, that wasn’t true.
When Marr took out his super-injunction – and I repeat that they are not cheap – the talk was that he had done so because he wanted to protect his children, specifically that he and his wife Jackie, both stalwarts of the left, had chosen to send their children to a private school and they didn’t relish the great unwashed finding out. That, it now appears, was just so much nonsense.
In fact, Marr did not want the world to know that he had had an affair with a fellow journalist and had fathered a child out of wedlock. That fellow journalist was Alice Miles, of The Times.
Strictly, under the terms of the super-injunction, I and everyone else is forbidden from revealing her name, but for one thing the affair between Marr and Miles was common knowledge in the ‘Westminster Village’ - Miles was then working as a Lobby correspondent – and, anyway, her name had already been publicised on January 18, 2008 (more than three years ago) in the blog by Guido Fawkes. So if I end up in the Tower for mentioning her name – or more likely am landed with a huge fine for contempt of court – it would be interesting to know why Guido wasn’t similarly taken to task three years ago or any of the other cyber pillocks who have been plastering the good lady’s name all over the net with gay abandon.
In the event Marr came clean overnight from Sunday to Monday and ‘his people’ — whoever they were, somone a little more upmarket than Max Cliffored, I suspect — managed to put a reasonable gloss on the affair. It was put about that Marr – a principled man, we must remind ourselves, a man of the left who, we can be certain knows wrong from right and who was merely guilty of one slip - was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the whole idea of the rich and wealthy being able to hide their dirty little secrets, while the rest of us poor schmucks could do nothing of the kind. That, too, it turned out is just so much nonsense.
What had happened was that Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, was becoming increasingly sickened that Marr, who has a prominent Sunday morning political show in which he interviews politicians, could take them to task for irregularities in their private lives while he had ensured that his own dirty little secret was kept well hidden.
The technical term for this kind of behaviour is hypocrisy.
Private Eye is not a wealthy publication but Hislop decided to use some of its shekels to hire an expensive lawyer and challenge Marr’s super-injunction. At some point Marr will have realised that the game was up (I don’t yet know what the outcome was of Hislop’s legal challenge was i.e. whether or not it succeeded), so, no doubt on the advice of ‘his people’ decided to come clean and put as good a gloss on the whole messy business as soon as possible. What better way than to insist that his liberal conscience had got the better of him and that — bugger the consequences — right must prevail: super-injunctions are evil. What a shame that his conscience didn’t seem to stir until he realised his behaviour was about to ensure he would be regarded as one of the biggest shits in town.
By the way, the one detail of this whole affair which amuses me most is that after Miles gave birth to the daughter Marr thought was his, and after he had confessed all to his wife, he agreed – principled chap that he was – to pay child maintenance. It has now emerged that Marr is not the father – Miles was a little more generous with her favours than he thought she was. And so Marr now wants his money back. Now that one should run and run. Miles doesn’t some out if this at all well, either. She knew she was screwing other chaps — I assume, she wasn’t asleep while the deeds were being done — and she will have known that it might be possible Marr wasn't the daddy. But did she tell him of her doubts? Apparently not.
Oh, and in view of his crusade to nail a hypocrite I do hope Hislop hasn’t got any skeletons in his cupboard. For as sure as eggs is eggs they are just bound to come out.
. . .
In his blog, Guido Fawkes makes the point that those truly guilty of hypocrisy on an industrial scale are all those hacks, both broadcasting and print, who knew all about the affair, but kept schtumm. It seems that in some matters dog thinks twice about biting dog. Perhaps at the end of the day those hacks put a greater value on self-preservation.