Saturday, 19 November 2011

Jack of Kent's Law of "Witch-hunts"

Those who want power without responsibility never respond well to scrutiny.

Religious sorts who want to use public policy to restrict the rights of others will often complain of persecution.

Police sorts who want to casually use coercive powers against anyone they choose will usually become mock-offended and verbally offensive.

But there is a special kind of reaction adopted by those whose obstructions and evasions mean that only a deliberate and sustained method of inquiry could ever work.

The tactic is to characterise that inquiry as a "witch-hunt".

And so the Guardian reports today that News International fears that is facing a "witch-hunt" by victims of their immoral and unlawful intrusions.

This, of course, is pathetic.

It is the bleating of the caught-out playground bully.

One almost expects News International to say "it's not fair", "we were only joking", and "they started it".

Such are the responses of the challenged bully, just as "lessons learned" and "draw a line" are the invariable excuses of the exposed incompetent.

Being unwillingly held to public account within a lawful process is not a witch-hunt.

One hesitates to posit a general law as to this kind of reaction.

However, as the original "Jack of Kent" was a medieval wizard, and so presumably had a view on witch-hunts, I would like to to offer the following adaptation of Godwin's Law:

The longer any person or entity is placed under any deliberate and sustained scrutiny, the probability of someone complaining of it being a "witch-hunt" approaches 1.

I wonder how well this "law" works in practice...


No purely anonymous comments will be published; always use a name for ease of reference by other commenters.


Rob said...

To continue the medieval wizards theme it is interesting to note that the title Operation Merlin was chosen for the scheme to get those other current "sufferers" of witch hunts to start acting responsibly.

Or was that just another fable?

xiij said...

Those who claim to be victims of a Witch-hunt should have their accusations taken literally.

A witch-hunt usually requires
(a) a belief in non-existent crimes
(b) hysterical accusations
(c) innocent/s accused

So are News International claiming that
(a) there is no such thing as phone hacking
(b) those who have presented evidence are fabricating
(c) they are totally innocent of all accusations?

I would like to hear their response to that

A Brit Abroad said...

Ah, the inappropriate use of metaphor to form invalid associations in the public mind.

1. A search [for] witches, persons believed to be using sorcery or harmful magic, in order to persecute and typically kill them.
2. An attempt to find and publicly punish a group of people perceived as a threat, usually on ideological or political grounds.
3. A public smear-campaign against an individual.

All of these would serve News International's purpose.

Richard T said...

So, if Rebekah Brooks were to fall into a pond and float.... ?

David J Mudkips said...

"Religious types"...

Like a certain hyperlitigious cult?

Who recently, during their appeal against a fraud conviction in France, got upset when their transparent delaying tactics were rejected, and promptly ragequit the trial, claiming of bias and persecution?

Though that said, I do see some disturbing parallells between News International and Scientology

Paul said...

News International a following a well-trodden path here. Another case in point is Wirral Council, who witch-hunted a whistleblower and drove him from his job. They are also the body you would report disabled abuse to. However, they were caught out involved in years of disabled abuse towards supported living residents (a fact now admitted).

They also had to fess up to abuse of power adn the bullying of the whistleblower following an independent report.

"Disability discrimination" is also on the cards following an independent external investigation by local government consultant Anna Klonowski and a damning letter from Mike Smith of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

Prior to the above findings, the following pathetic diatribe (which to me has guilt written all over it) was proposed and seconded by party apparatchiks as an amendment at a council meeting in Nov 2009 - a desperate and failed attempt to fend off any more "unnecessary" investigations:

...this stands as a prime example of the proven bully's "unfortunate series of events" argument.

Luckily, due to what we already know, this can't be a tactic which News International will resort to.

Acleron said...

I propose the modified law be called Jack's Law.

And it works for homeopathy

Dave The Happy Singer said...

The anti-vaccination movement also love their persecution complex. Example.

Dave The Happy Singer said...

Oh, and of course JoK's law applies to the AVN's Meryl Dorey

Carl Eve said...

didn't an mp claim the expenses stories were a witch hunt and an mp would end up topping themselves due to the bullying media?

Dare we speak her name without being branded a stalker?

rogerh said...

I reckon someone has been adding up 'exemplary damages' and the prospects of trouble in the US courts. NI may find itself bled to a dry husk by the time the lawyers have finished. Whether this is a good thing only time will tell

Dan said...

Many of those who complain in these situations will no doubt be akin to News International. The problem with your law is that it also captures those who might legitimately be described as victims of a witch hunt...

Jack of Kent said...


But the same is also true of Godwin's law.

In this way, the law is neutral. There may be a witch-hunt; but even if there is not, the probability of it being called one becomes 1 anyway.

Guy McCardle said...

While the extreme actions of the officer are inexcusable, one has to think that the person who was beaten by the cop kind of knew what was going to happen to him.

--Guy McCardle The Inconvenient Truth

Arkady English said...

RE: The Godwin Law, I hereby offer my generised Godwin:

As the time taken by an activity, t, approaches infinity, the probability of any specified event happening approaches 1.

I believe this is self evidentally true.