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Monday 23 February 2015

David Wooding - Shove Your Integrity

After the Sunday Times editorial recently, which was little more than a veiled threat from Creepy Uncle Rupe that he was about to come looking for the judiciary, it was only a matter of time before the knocking copy and hatchet jobs began. And, to demonstrate that all the Murdoch titles can be caused to sing from the same hymnsheet, the first attack has come not in the Times, but the Sunday edition of the Sun.
That's what I think of youse bladdy judiciary, ya bladdy Pommie drongoes!

Here, David Wooding, who has the title “Sunday Political Editor”, has penned an article headlined “Exclusive: Judges In The Dock … GUILTY, M’LUDS”, where he tells readers “MORE than 400 judges have been disciplined for misconduct - some for breaking the law they are meant to uphold … A court chief has been sacked, carpeted or forced to resign every week since 2006”. And there were examples.
One judge had “Given money to [an] illegal immigrant”. Another had “Fallen asleep during a trial”, while a third had “Four speeding offences”. Is “Falling asleep during a trial” a breach of the law? Getting a speeding ticket is hardly a sacking offence, unless you get banned and driving is part of the job. And “giving money to an illegal immigrant”? Wooding gives the appearance of trying a little too hard here.
Journalist and author Peter Jukes was not persuaded. “After [Telegraph] debacle, [The Sun] fulfils the [Sunday Times] promise. Public interest or private hit job?” he Tweeted. Note that he did not tag Wooding in that Tweet. But The Great Man was clearly alert - perhaps a little too alert. “How dare you question my integrity. It was an FoI put in weeks ago. You’re no better than [the] dodgy journos you pontificate about” he frothed.
And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, “Integrity” is a strange way to defend an article that gives the impression some of its content came from a few quick Google searches. And two, the information Wooding claims was the subject of an FoI request could easily have been obtained from a publicly available source - the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.

This would have given Wooding, or whoever was obtaining the information, those post-2006 figures. It is bizarre that the Sunday Sun has gone to all the trouble of putting in FoI requests for information that is openly available - unless there was either some other purpose to the exercise, or those undertaking that exercise did not know what on earth they were doing. Integrity indeed.

And David Wooding fails to address Peter Jukes’ point: as Private Eye might have put it, after considering the Sunday Times editorial with its implicit threat, and Wooding’s hatchet job on the judiciary, “I wonder if the two are in any way related? I think we should be told”. David Wooding proudly holds aloft his integrity, but the Murdoch Sundays give every appearance of undertaking an organised campaign.

In any case, nobody questioned Wooding’s integrity. Until he protested rather too much.

1 comment:

ashie said...

This is a bit odd really as Section 21 of Act says that an FoI request can be refused if that information is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means. So given it looks to be available from the JCIO website, maybe David Wooding would publish his FOI request and the answer.

Not for one minute doubting anyone here, just sayin'.