Four political bloggers sat in a row today giving evidence to Parliament’s joint committee on privacy. From left to right, they were David Allen Green, who writes the Jack of Kent legal blog, Richard Wilson, who blogs under his own name, Jamie East, who runs the Holy Moly celebrity gossip website, and Paul Staines, otherwise known as Guido Fawkes.
The bloggers were arguing against the way the UK is gradually acquiring a body of privacy law without it ever being passed by Parliament. It arrives via judges’ rulings, based on human rights law. As Mr Staines put it: “I don’t pay any attention to the right of privacy...When we talk about privacy we are really talking about censorship. I don’t want to live in a society where judges are censors.”
The committee members did not much like this sort of talk. Mr Staines was at one point sternly silenced by the chairman, John Whittingdale, as he was on the point of discussing the private life of the Labour MP Tom Watson, the scourge of the Murdoch media empire.
Jamie East seemed to have one mildly uncomfortable moment when he was asked to disclose how much he earned from his website, refusing to be drawn on this sensitive information. When he was asked why, Mr Staines came to his rescue, claiming: “I don’t anybody would be interested.”
In the flesh: The blog brigade
David Allen Green
aka Jack of Kent
Prominent legal blogger and New Statesman writer, he represented the man who tweeted that he would blow up Robin Hood Airport after delays last year. Gets up to 3,000 daily hits at jackofkent.blogspot.com.
Blogger and activist who helped reveal the story behind an injunction taken out by Trafigura, an oil trader connected with dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast in 2006. Author of the book Don't Get Fooled Again, The Sceptic's Guide to Life.
aka Mr Holy Moly
Founder of the hit celebrity website Holy Moly, his biggest scoop was the announcement of Madonna's divorce from Guy Ritchie. He also keeps politicians on their toes. Around one million unique visitors a month.
aka Guido Fawkes
A specialist in Westminster gossip and scandal, Paul Staines counts Gordon Brown's former aide Damian McBride among his scalps. His influence is considerable and he attracts 50,000 visitors a day.