Matthew Norman: Should justice be seen to complain?

Diary

After another contentious week for David Eady, it's high time to spring to our leading libel judge's assistance.

To this end, I will approach the Charity Commission in the new year with a view to setting up Friends of Eady (FOE). The latest controversy concerns his outlawing of the publication of Tiger Woods pictures freely available online, which regrettably excited more of the carping that swirls around this latter-day Solomon like flies around a cow's arse. The problem, it seems to me, is this. Unimpeachably fair-minded and even-handed though we know Eady J to be, a clear question of natural justice rears its head. Can it be right and seemly for someone to pass judgment on those he openly resents? Only last week, "friends" revealed that Eady J has been "profoundly hurt" by media criticism (a claim he has yet to deny), while he recently used a public speech to accuse newspapers of "personal attacks".

We could argue that toss, submitting that these attacks are more professional than personal, but more relevant is the old saw that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. If and when the Daily Mail comes before him, for instance, how could he be expected to put from that sensitive mind the memory that it has savaged him for "moral and social nihilism" and "arrogance"? Surely there would at least be the appearance of a conflict of interest, and he would obviously wish to recuse himself. After all, according to the Guide to Judicial Conduct, "... personal animosity towards a party is a compelling reason for disqualification". Whether "profound hurt" inevitably leads to "personal animosity" is debatable, but the suspicion would arise. It is this sort of issue that FOE will strive to resolve, and I implore all of you in this business to join once the Charity Commission gives its consent.

Mad Mel strikes again

One option FOE is certain to explore is hiring Freud Communications to run a PR campaign designed to get Mr Eady promoted to the Supreme Court, thereby leapfrogging the Court of Appeal that so foolishly keeps reversing him. Not that even our highest court is immune from vitriol, of course, and Melanie Phillips spits a mouthful its way on her blog. Her usual equanimity seems disturbed by the ruling that a school is not entitled to refuse pupils admission because it deems them insufficiently orthodox to qualify as Jewish.

This was a finely balanced and deeply fascinating case, examining the relationship between race, ethnicity and religious observance, so forgive Mad Mel for going too far to reflect the complexities involved. The decision was "absurd and incoherent", she writes, accusing Supreme Court President Lord Phillips – whom she seems to regard as that mythical beast, the self-loathing Jew – of "astounding and sinister arrogance". Try to read "An illiberal and ignorant judgment" if you can. As I never tire of repeating, no sky is so grey, no raincloud so black, no heart so heavy that a few minutes in MM's company could fail to banish the gloom.

Live and kicking

With its finances so precarious despite Simon Cowell, ITV shows a gift for husbanding resources. Who knows how it afforded the rights to the football match every broadcaster wanted, but what a masterstroke to screen Thursday's Europa League fixture between Steua Bucharest and FC Twente live on ITV2. I'd love to see the rating, just to compare them to the few hundred in the Romanian crowd.

Breaking with tradition

Speaking of Mr Cowell, I was struck by his claim that the BBC displayed bias by trying to prevent Joe McElderry having the Christmas number one. Clearly there was a conspiracy reaching to the very top – BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons downloaded Killing In The Name 723 times on Friday alone – and if Simon has taught us anything, it's that cynicism has no place in the purist world of pop. Still, one presenter had the courage to rage against the machine. "Buy Joe's record," 5 Live's Shelagh Fogherty instructed listeners after Joe's rivals had stuck to their original text and sung the word "fuck" during a live performance on her breakfast show. Several leading media professors are already citing this as Shelagh's most impressive show of independent-mindedness since she crossed a picket line in 2005.

The curses of Kelvin

News that an independent panel will release a vast number of documents about the Hillsborough disaster turns our thoughts to Kelvin MacKenzie. Kelvin doesn't know from one day to the next what he thinks on this one, sometimes apologising profusely for his coverage as Sun editor and sometimes defiantly sticking by it. Perhaps these documents will clarify his thinking, for a day or two at least. In the meantime, he devotes part of his Friday column to ridiculing Murdochian brethren. He describes David Blunkett as "that idiot", knowing that Rebekah Wade paid Blunkers a fortune to share his idiocy in a Sun column barely less lamented than Gaunty's. Kelvin also has a swipe at The Times, choosing the day after its medical correspondent speculated that the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber's prolonged absence from hospital may mean he is near death to report a £500 bet with William Hill that Mr al-Megrahi will be alive in August.

A plea for silence

Elsewhere in The Times, finally, Field Marshal the Lord Aaronovitch takes a new path (don't ask) towards justifying his fervent championing of the invasion of Iraq. Tempting as it is to borrow from Canrobert by telling this armchair Earl Cardigan: "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre", that's too stale and long-winded. Shut it, slaaag, must suffice.

Suggested Topics
News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week