Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Tuesday 10 May 2011

Bend over, Max Mosley.

ARROGANCE is normally defined as a sense of superiority or self-importance; but now we can add 'acting like Max Mosley' to the dictionary description.

He appears to be on a one-man crusade to make sure we never forget his German-speaking, military-themed, in-no-way-Nazi sex orgy which was caught on tape by one of the hookers he employed to mistreat him.

I bet his wife wishes he would just shut the hell up. Perhaps she ought to consider an injunction? Or a ball gag.

Today Mr Mosley was shafted by the European Court of Human Rights in his latest effort at reminding us what a pillock he is. He wanted newspapers to be forced to reveal their stories to the subjects of them two days before publication, so they could be injuncted by the wealthy - he wasn't too bothered about what someone without money might do in the same situation.

For the record, Mr Mosley, we already do just that. We generally always tell a spokesman, agent or member of the public what we're about to do, so they can have a right of reply or, if we've got something wrong, tell us before the presses start rolling. There is no newspaper editor in the country who wants to publish something that's not right - aside from the professional embarrassment, it's expensive and we do not have the same kind of money to burn as multi-millionaire ex-motorsports bosses.

There are a few occasions when we don't tell them, and this is when a) we've got them bang to rights and b) they'll cover it up. A criminal so warned will destroy the evidence before the police turn up; a corrupt politician will go unexposed; a paedophile will wipe their hard drive. And yes, a shagger gets an injunction.

The trouble with celebrities is that they think it's all about them. It's not. There's an entire world full of people out there who are affected by this kind of over-inflated and entirely wrong righteousness.

Aside from newspapers there are other people who get injuncted willy-nilly. Councils injunct parents in child adoption battles, businesses stop whistleblowers and MPs, and charity campaigners have been blocked from exposing corruption.

In my entire career I have never heard of an injunction which saved someone being wrongly defamed. Each and every one has been about a story which is 100 per cent accurate, and twice as embarrassing. What Mr Mosley wants is not a better-behaved Press but one in which public figures, whether they are politicians or celebrities or corporate chiefs, are off-limits.

Well, they're not. No-one, anywhere in the world, wants them to be out of firing range apart from those whose backsides are already raw from a public spanking by the Press.

At the time of his orgy Mr Mosley was the highly-paid, elected head of the international motorsports federation which represented not just 200m-odd Formula One fans but every single car owner on the planet. He was fair game, a public figure with a private shame, and had the original Nazi-theme allegations held water there would have been an indisputable public interest in exposing him. He believes that because it was later held not to be a Nazi orgy it was a private expression of his sexuality, and launched a personal battle to bring newspapers under his kind of control. He does not want your privacy to be protected - he wants secrecy for those caught with their trousers down. He wants powerful people to do as they please without criticism.

Well, let's set him straight. I do not know how many prostitutes Mr Mosley has met, much less bothered to speak to beyond agreeing the safety word, but I have interviewed plenty. They include £20-a-pop street walkers, small-time massage parlour madams, dominatrices and high-class hookers charging £3,000-a-night. Some hated their lives, most were resigned, and one or two told me brightly how it was their choice and they had very flexible working hours. Each and every one was damaged, each had an addiction of one kind or another, and all had been the victim of abuse. And that's before they started selling themselves.

So I criticise Mr Mosley for supporting that trade in unhappy women, because he has continued their abuse. I criticise him for the full awfulness of the orgy, which was far nastier than the spanking which was all family-friendly newspapers could report; I criticise him for being turned on by rape, for trotting it all out over and again despite what his wife must feel, and I criticise him for thinking that everyone who disagrees with him is a deviant.

And I refuse to take lectures in morality from a vile man with the ethics of a dictator who considers abuse to be a form of foreplay.