Simon Singh: Let us now praise a bloody-minded hero

a singh

I don’t normally campaign. I’m not a joiner or a natural committee man. But the state of free speech in England pushed me into despair, and three years ago I started to do what little I could for the campaign for libel reform.

Britain was not a country where the natives could debate their grievances and foreigners could come to talk of oppression in their own lands. Our politicians and judges welcomed actions from corporations at home that were clearly designed to use the crushing power of money to intimidate critics into silence, and from Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, Hollywood paedophiles, Islamist fanatics and Saudi petro-billionaires. A Russian newspaper contesting Putin’s mafia state or a Scandinavian newspaper investigating the Icelandic bankers’ Ponzi scheme, would be hit with a biased law and huge costs by the London courts. Even after the death of Robert Maxwell in the early 1990s revealed that the old fraud had used the libel law to suppress criticism of his criminal business enterprises, the establishment did nothing.

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