The little man who labours away in the back room of the computer shop tells me that, come Monday, he may be in a position to sew my right arm back on (metaphorically speaking). So who knows -- next week normal service on this blog might even be resumed.
In the meantime, here's something for you to think about.
We have often noted here, you and I, that the libel laws of England provide wonderful cover for those who have something to hide: R. Maxwell being a splendid (and helpfully dead) example. All you need is lots of money to pay the lawyers. And over the past few weeks we have occasionally noted that billionaire Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz has used said libel laws to force Cambridge University Press to pulp all copies of a book which said things about him that he didn't like (see, for instance, the post of 1 September).
You might have thought, were you not fully briefed on these matters, and deeply cynical, that the UK newspapers would have brought their readers fully up to speed on this issue, since it involves (doesn't it?) the principle of free speech: a principle in which you might have thought, were you not fully briefed et cetera et cetera, the UK newspapers had a deep interest.
But no. It turns out that, as usual, money doesn't just talk; it screams its bloody head off. What is more, it gets its way.
The fearless UK fortnightly Private Eye at least has the balls to tell readers what is happening. As of the time when the Eye went to press, the lawyers who protect the UK media against their own excesses have ensured that every mention of the Sheikh in question has been deleted.
The Observer, says the Eye, was all set to run a piece on Mahfouz by Nik Cohen, but the lawyers spiked it. The Spectator was going to do a piece by Brendan O'Neill, which listed all the titles that Mahfouz has succeeded in getting pulped. O'Neill' s essay concluded that Mahfouz is 'almost single-handedly determining what we Brits may read and hear about contemporary terrorism.' But, again, the story never appeared.