Rewriting Britain’s Libel Laws (1)

Time for another set of serial posts, in which what I’m hoping to do is follow up the discussion on a couple of threads, last week, about seeking changes to the UK’s current berserker libel laws, by laying out a framework for the kind of changes we should be looking for and the arguments that can be advanced to support our position. Before getting into this, I will say that what I’m not looking to do is lay out a manifesto for near absolute freedom of speech – in fact much of what I’m going to suggest will fall a little short of even the existing framework that exists in the US, which many of would dearly love to see… Read more »

It’s banner time

Matt Wardman popped up in comments to ask if I might knock up a blog banner or two to go with the rapidly growing blogger’s revolt in support of Craig Murray & Tim Ireland. So, without further ado, we’ll start with public enemy No. 1 And don’t think that the hosting company that rolled over is getting off scot free either… And because I wouldn’t want our new found Gooner allies to feel left out – great result against Derby, BTW – I thought they may appreciate this… The main collection point for info is Justin’s post at Chicken Yoghurt, which is where I’d suggest everyone link for the time being at least and, of course, its the usual drill – you… Read more »


No time to blog this fully but:

Waltham Forest councillor found guilty of smearing rival

LABOUR Cllr Miranda Grell has been found guilty on two counts of making false statements under the Representation of the People Act 1983 – the first case of its kind in Britain.

She was alleged to have claimed during last year’s Waltham Forest local election that Liberal Democrat rival, then Cllr Barry Smith, was a paedophile.

Announcing his findings of guilt this afternoon at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court, District Judge John Woollard fined Grell £500 on each of the two charges and ordered her to pay £3,000 costs.

Subject to the outcome of any appeal, that looks to be all she wrote.

Schilling for Business

A quick at look at the website of Schillings, the legal firm responsible for the [temporary] removal of Bloggerheads et al turns up a number of case studies that are particularly illuminating as to what they reveal about the manner in which the firm operates. Take, for example, this illustration of how they dealt with a group of animal rights activists.

The Activists The Problem Animal rights activists claimed that our client was supporting testing on animals. The activists threatened to publish the names and addresses of all our client’s shareholders (many of whom were individuals) on a website with an exhortation to third parties to pressure the shareholders to sell their shares. Our client, a major plc, wanted… Read more »

Taking on the libel laws – more thoughts.

My thoughts on bloggers taking the fight to Britain’s berserker libel laws have already prompted a few responses and several questions/queries that are worth addressing. Dizzy has kindly pointed out – in comments – that there’s a question mark hanging over the definition of ‘publication’ for the purposes of putting in place a US style single publication rule, which would effectively kill of the current trend towards libel tourism. Dizzy’s contention, which comes from having discussed this issue with lawyers in his professional capacity as a sysadmin, is that the courts could deem the act of publication to take place at the point at which a blogger hits the publish button, in which case jurisdiction resides in the location… Read more »

Pussy Galore

I’ve mentioned on a few occasions Denis Healey’s first rule of holes – when in one, stop digging – a lesson that seems lost on the BBC in its handling of the Great Blue Peter Cat Naming Scandal. The scenario is pretty straight forward. A while back, Blue Peter acquired itself a new kitten and gave its young audience – apparently it’s the 8-10 year old demographic that the show targets – the chance to name the cat through the BBC Blue Peter website. So far, so innocent. Only when the votes were counted, something went wrong. Whatever the chosen name was – and more on this in a moment – it was deemed unsuitable for a kids TV show,… Read more »

Wealth (n). Impunity.

I won’t dwell on the details of Tim Ireland et al’s current run-in with a toad-like Uzbek billionaire oligarch, as Obsolete’s coverage of the issues sums things up to a tee:

Alisher Usmanov and his shower of lackeying legal cunts, Schillings, have finally pulled off a very pyrrhic victory. Despite comprehensively failing to remove Craig Murray’s original blog post about Usmanov, which is still around if you know where to look, they’ve managed to spook Tim Ireland’s webhost [Fasthosts] so much that they’ve pulled the plug on Tim and Clive’s cluster of sites, also including Bob Piper, Boris Johnson and Craig Murray’s blogs.

What this has done is crystallise one or two ideas that I’ve been mulling over a quite… Read more »

The English Assassin

I’ll say this for Sunny Hundal, when he sets out to stir up a hornets nest, he really sets out to stir up a hornets nest:

The bloggers and much of the press won’t be happy until the BBC reflects their worldview without accepting that the whole picture may lie somewhere in the middle, despite their continual hypocrisy. Not only are they uninterested in balance, they are completely obsessed and convinced that this vast leftwing conspiracy dominates the Beeb. Secondly, BBC editors themselves seem to have collectively lost their cojones, or at least their editorial guidelines. The first sign of an outraged rightwing blogging campaign leads editors to hurriedly make changes while simultaneously releasing statements that any accusations of bias… Read more »

Dan Hardie – Pods & Blogs 17/09

Dan Hardie, who’s been doing a sterling job of leading up the campaign for fair treatment for Iraqi employees of UK Forces who’re currently under threat from death squads and militias in Basra ans surrounding areas, has made another welcome appearance of Radio Five Live’s Pods and Blogs.

And as with his last appearance on the show, I’m happy to help out by hosting a podcast of his segment for your delectation.

Share and enjoy.

Flash… arrrrrggggghhh

Right, so let’s talk about Ming. No, not that Ming. This Ming. That’s unquestionably Ming the Merciless, Emperor of Mongo, as played by Max Von Sydow in the 1980 film version of Flash Gordon. For anyone my age – and maybe a little younger – who can remember the days before 24/7 cable/satellite TV, one of absolute givens of the 6 weeks’ school summer holiday period was the BBC’s summer morning schedule. We’re talking about the days, here, when Breakfast TV meant watching the test card while you ate your cornflakes – that girl never did finish her game of noughts and crosses, although what can you expect when you’re waiting for a rag doll to make the next move – and… Read more »