The near universal condemnation by politicians and journalists of Philip Schofield's act of lese-majeste is a scary reminder of just how monolithic the British establishment is.
The matter Schofield tried to raise goes to the heart of power. It's not about policy; it's personal. If certain pillars of the state are criminals of the basest, meanest kind and all their colleagues- politicians, journalists, the judiciary- have conspired to protect them...well- let's just not go there! Sue him, sack him, grind him into the dust- and spare your tears for the powerful men whose reputations he has besmirched!
Challenge the establishment- I mean really challenge it, not just make jokes about it- and you hit a force field.
England never really had a proper revolution, did it? I've seen it argued that you had World War I, instead, but that seems to have only decimated the aristocracy, while leaving the class system itself intact.
We had two revolutions- but they're both a long time ago- and they've been papered over. Firstly the Civil War (which gave us a short-lived republic) and then the "Glorious Revolution" which got rid of James II.
I would have had more admiration for Philip Schofield if the list he presented to David Cameron had consisted of well-researched findings, not just something he had copied out from dubious sources on the Internet.
The really important thing as far as I'm concerned is that systems are in place to ensure that this sort of thing cannot happen again. Bringing the original perpetrators to justice is also important, but you have to have concrete evidence that will stand up in court, not rumours and finger-pointing and malicious gossip.
Are there systems in place to stop this thing happening again? I'm not sure.
Schofield acted like a concerned citizen. He didn't pretend he had the facts. What he was saying was- in effect- "Look, I've found this stuff on-line. If it's true it's really serious. What do you make of it?"
I'm doing a complicated mental gymnastic manoeuvre here, because I think that you are both right - but only up to a point. I'm deeply unhappy about "trial by Internet"- and I don't only mean this incident. Yes, of course, someone had to deal with the discussions on the Net - but handing over a list of names on camera wasn't the way to go about it, even if the names hadn't been momentarily visible. Yes, it was the act of a concerned citizen - that's exactly why it was inappropriate. A professional journalist should be much more aware (than a concerned citizen) of the dangers of "rumour and finger-pointing".