Following Tory MP Claire Perry’s ill-advised tirade against the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, many news outlets have picked up on the story. But what is equally significant is those that have, despite their usual appetite for keeping up with everyone else, chosen not to carry the story at all, for reasons that will soon become apparent.
Do not give publicity to this woman
Ms Perry, who has been at the forefront of attempts to block all forms of pornography from our screens by default, went, in Staines’ words, “proper shouty crackers” while appearing to dump the blame for her site being hacked on The Great Guido. Unless she can demonstrate that he either did the hacking, or bunged someone else to do it, or otherwise encouraged them, she is potentially in the poo big time.
The BBC and Guardian have carried the story, and demonstrating that this has not coalesced into another of those left/right splits, so has the Express. But there has otherwise been silence: nothing in the Maily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Sun, or even in the Mirror. Why should that be? Ah well. For the answer to that, we need to look at the more technically minded publications.
Tech Week Europe noted Ms Perry’s apparent confusion as to who had done what to her site, adding “The plans to censor porn by default have received much derision, with many noting how easy it would be to get around the filters that ISPs will be forced to impose”. BuzzFeed was scathing: “Britain’s Leading Anti-Porn Politician Doesn’t Seem To Know How The Internet Works” [my emphasis].
Yes, Ms Perry’s technical illiteracy has brought a sudden realisation to those papers that have been banging on the loudest about the need for porn filters, because We Need To Think About The Children, that one of the figureheads of the campaign within Parliament hasn’t got a clue about the technology involved. Moreover, they are demanding something not yet achieved by China or Iran.
And it is not as if they weren’t warned: Mark Wallace, former stalwart of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), put it plainly in a post on ConHome. Wallace is not merely burnishing his libertarian credentials here: the TPA’s pals at Big Brother Watch are good on the technical side. And it is telling that, while the TPA get their stories into papers like the Mail, the hacks came over all deaf on this issue.
Papers like the Daily Mail will no doubt return to this one later, as it satisfies the righteous stance of its legendarily foul mouthed editor. But for the present, Claire Perry’s lack of tech savvy is deeply embarrassing to Dacre and his opposite numbers at the Sun and Telegraph. For this reason, they do not cover the story, hoping Ms Perry will quietly say sorry and pay The Two Dollars.
Once again, make policy at the behest of the Daily Mail, repent at leisure.