Part I of this essay was published here yesterday.

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(3) Include any Media, Culture, and Arts policy under Education policy, and clarify the laws relating to fraud.

 

(3.1.1) To translate the opening lines of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Chapter II:

The time, it is to be hoped, is gone by when any defence would be attempted, or would be possible, of the ‘Right’ of James O’Brien to do whatever he wants and to get away with it.

He has no more right to persuade, say, a three-year-old girl to drink bleach than he has to assault her with an axe.

 

(3.2.1) Saying something is doing something.

Sticks and stones can break bones; and words can incite riots, cause bankruptcies, cause economic collapses, cause wars. Words can, and have, caused enormous damage.

(3.2.2) The likes of James O’Brien, Shelagh Fogarty, Darren Adam, Kay Burley, Victoria Derbyshire are more influential than any school or library.

They are the flag-wavers, the cheerleaders, the propagandists for the dregs of society.

They’re a noisy neighbour’s broken record hammering and hammering and hammering through the wall.

They are the drummers at the head of the horde of Hogarthian grotesques swarming thought the streets and singing We Shall Overcome.

They cause or exacerbate the problems adumbrated in my first two policy suggestions.

(3.3.1) Incompetent tradesmen or professionals face prohibition. They may end up in prison.

(3.3.2) Teachers can be fired for incompetence or improper conduct.

(3.3.3) We have laws against fraud or “passing off”.

(3.3.4.1) Carl Beech was sentenced to 18 years in prison, having been found guilty of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice, and one of fraud.

Words have consequences.

(3.3.4.2) In 2016, a “reckless” restaurant owner was jailed for six years for the manslaughter of a customer who had an allergic reaction to a curry. The restaurant owner told the customer his curry did not contain peanuts.

That was worth six years in prison.

Words have consequences.

(3.3.4.3) We’d want our laser eye-surgeon to be qualified. We wouldn’t want any Tom, Dick or Harry firing laser beams into our eyes.

(3.3.4.4) We’d want any gas fitter to be qualified. We wouldn’t want any Tom, Dick or Harry going at our gas pipes with a hammer and a blowtorch.

(3.3.4.5) Ben Shephard, an impudent little pipsqueak presenter on Good Morning Britain, has a Certificate in Dance, Drama & Theatre Arts from Birmingham Polytechnic (or whatever it’s called now); and he seems to be under the impression that this qualifies him to pontificate on fiscal policy, social issues, economic theory, constitutional probity, TB in badgers, quantum physics, Islamic theology, epidemiology, 18th Century Portuguese naval regulations, and any and every subject under the sun!

(3.4.1) Fraud: Any intentional false representation, including failure to declare information or abuse of position that is carried out to make gain, cause loss or expose another to the risk of loss.

(3.4.2) “Passing Off”: Misrepresenting goods or services as being the goods and services of another. Also: Holding out goods or services as having some association or connection with another when this is not true.

(3.4.3) I honestly don’t think it’s going too far to suggest that the likes of James O’Brien, Shelagh Fogarty, Darren Adam, Kay Burley, Victoria Derbyshire or Ben Shephard are “passing off” or committing fraud in the strictest of senses when they claim or pretend to be qualified to comment on social issues or political issues or, indeed, anything else!

Their words, their false representations, have consequences.

Misrepresenting themselves or their opinions as having some claim to authority can cause loss or expose another to the risk of loss.

Their fraudulent activities can do a lot more than break bones.

They are no more qualified to pontificate on social issues than they are to perform laser eye-surgery, or to fit a gas cooker!

(3.5) Therefore, I would suggest that any media, culture, and arts policy could use the laws relating to fraud, whether existing or updated, to curtail any false representations or misrepresentations made by the likes of James O’Brien, Shelagh Fogarty, Darren Adam, Kay Burley, Victoria Derbyshire et al.

(3.6) And as an interim measure, I would suggest that the home address of the likes of James O’Brien, Shelagh Fogarty, Darren Adam, Kay Burley, Ben Shephard and Victoria Derbyshire be published and made easily available.

’Nuff said.

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