Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

The David Beckham email leak should trouble us all

What would you do if naked pictures emerged of a celebrity you liked? Or one you didn’t? What about a slew of emails that were meant to be private that were hacked and then leaked into the public domain? Would you turn away from them, tutting. Or might you be tempted to read them? Would your inclination to read them increase if you liked the person, or if you really disliked them?

We seem confused about all of this at the moment. The leak of David Beckham’s emails has condensed the confusion. Most of us believe that private communications should be private. Most of us believe that people’s private communications should not be hacked. And yet whenever they are hacked and then released we cannot help but crawl over the results. Perhaps we should pause. A few years ago conversations were released which had taken place between the then Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski and Polish Finance Minister, Jacek Rostowski. The conversations included various disobliging comments about various allies of Poland. Swear words were also shockingly used. When the tapes emerged the world’s press – including Britain’s – were able to run prominent stories pretending, among other things, to be shocked that any politicians would have ever used bad language. The press has a remarkable ability to play the shocked little missy at times like this. But amid all the primness and the enjoyment of friends and foes alike over the political embarrassment of two politicians, almost nobody bothered to ask where the tapes had come from. Whose interest might it have been in that two Polish politicians should find themselves embarrassed in such a way? How did anyone else come across them?

At an infinitely less serious level it’s the same with the Beckham emails.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in