LAURA CARTLEDGE: Invading people’s privacy is a two-sided coin and it’s got me in a spin

OPINIONS are strange.

Something this column seems to prove on a weekly basis.

But, this time, I’m talking about having the ‘courage of your conflictions’ even when they conflict one another.

Take the phone-hacking scandal. It was a horrible invasion of privacy in a relentless pursuit for headlines. The hurt it caused for what is, essentially, tomorrow’s chip paper, is unforgivable.

And, on a personal note, I’ll probably have to answer ‘so what do you do?’ with – ‘I’m a journalist, but a nice one’ for the rest of my writing career.

Good papers play an important role. Bad papers will be the reason restrictions will be placed on reporting.

Where’s the conflict? I pretend to hear you ask.

Well, let’s place the above to the left of us, for now, and I’ll tell you.

You see, on the right... to continue this ‘stuck in the middle, confused’ pattern... is the recent headlines about rushed rules so the powers that be can play Big Brother.

Okay. Hold any potential pitchforks.

I am for the rules, but there is a big, fat, IF and BUT attached.

IF it means it keeps us safe, I don’t mind who looks at the cat pictures I text to my manfriend and the recipes I email to my sister.

IF it prevents acts of terrorism, pull up a chair and listen to my calls (usually also about cats or cake).

It’s fine by me.

BUT, and this is the most important part, there has to be something in place to prevent power being abused.

We are all being watched, figures include there being one CCTV camera for every 32 people in Britain, an average day will see an average person ‘caught’ on film 70 times.

In a way it is a necessary evil.

Communications and cameras help to catch more bad people than we’ll ever know.

And if you aren’t doing anything wrong... what’s the worry?