Lord McAlpine sues all and sundry

And good on \’im.

The former Conservative Party treasurer said yesterday that he had been “terrified” when he became “a figure of public hatred” because of people naming him as the subject of a Newsnight report wrongly claiming a senior Tory was a paedophile.

Sally Bercow, the wife of the Speaker of the Commons, and George Monbiot, a columnist for the Guardian are among those who will be pursued by Lord McAlpine for using the microblogging site to tweet his name after the Newsnight programme was broadcast.

Lord McAlpine’s solicitor, Andrew Reid, said the “nasty” tweets would “cost people a lot of money”, warning the guilty parties: “We know who you are.”

He added: “Twitter is not just a closed coffee shop among friends. It goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility for it.

“It is not a place where you can gossip and say things with impunity, and we are about to demonstrate that.”

That\’ll entirely put to bed even the thought that a McAlpine was involved.

18 comments on “Lord McAlpine sues all and sundry

  1. I like the fact that Lord MacAlpine is suing those responsible, rather than suing Twitter or demanding the law is changed to make it easier to close down sites where libel can occur.

  2. And Mrs Bercow as well; what a happy morning.

    I don’t suppose Murphy commented on it? That would just make my day.

  3. What Richard said in spades.

    George Monbiot and Sally Bercow? It is almost enough to make me believe in God. Ritchie too would almost be asking too much. Although I would have preferred a Guardian editorial. Oh well, can’t have everything.

  4. You realise of course that every left-wing shit-digger will be poring over every record they can get access to so as to torpedo MacAlpine’s ship? Mind you, as he sues on sight they’d better get it right first time.

  5. KJ – “lord-mcalpine-an-abject-apology”

    It is almost enough to make one feel sorry for Monbiot. Almost. But not quite. The arse can’t help displaying his self righteous self regard even in an apology.

    I have set out, throughout my adult life, to try to do good; instead I have now played a part in inflicting a terrible hurt upon someone who had done none of the harm of which he was wrongly accused. I apologise abjectly and unreservedly to Lord McAlpine.

    What follows is in no sense an attempt to excuse the tweets I wrote, but simply to try to explain them.

    I knew that Steve Messham had been treated appallingly, and I believed that the terrible things done to him had been compounded by a denial of recognition and a denial of the recourse to the law which was his due. When I saw his interview on Newsnight I was very upset. I trusted his account unquestioningly. I was horrified by what he said, and by the fact that the identity of the man he was talking about appeared to have been kept secret for so long.

    I felt a powerful compulsion to do what I have done throughout my career: to help the voiceless be heard. But in this case I did so without any of the care I usually take when assessing and reporting an issue. I allowed myself to be carried away by a sense of moral outrage. As a result, far from addressing an awful injustice, I contributed to one.

    I have acted in an unprofessional, thoughtless and cruel manner, and I am sorry beyond words.

    Johann Hari is probably wondering what the f**k he did that was so bad in comparison.

  6. Sally Bercow *glum face* this morning, I’ll bet. The good news is that yesterday she was still making matters worse for herself by the hour. McAlpine’s brief was on Today and The World At One urging the guilty parties to get in touch and settle. Not a peep from her. One can easily imagine a Daily Mail-type question headline to which, for once, the answer would be yes; “Is this the most reviled woman in Britain?”

  7. KJ,

    That apology is silly – I, I, I, me, me, me. I am a valiant crusader for voiceless people.

    All any of these people needed to do was a little bit of research. Nick Davies’ reporting of the Tribunal in 1997 mentioned that one of the victims gave his abuser’s surname at the tribunal but refused to give his first name. Reporting restrictions prevented Davies from repeating that surname so instead he said the alleged abuser shared the same surname as a prominent Conservative supporter.

  8. Monbiot’s apology is tiny. He uses an awful lot of words to basically say he is fantastically noble and trustworthy and this incident in no way invalidates his ability to differentiate between between truth and knee-jerk political bullying.

    We are asked to believe that this (self-confessed) campaigner for truth, justice, honesty and the little people, always always always always always always checks everything to make sure he’s absolutely in the right.

    Except this time.

    Ms Bercow, on the other hand, is an evil brainless jerk.

  9. Ms Bercow, on the other hand, is an evil brainless jerk

    But she is a good catch for parliament’s poisoned dwarf of a speaker.

    I mean, I’d shag her – once she had the ball gag in place.

  10. Its easy to see why the mist came down for George:

    1. A victim who must always be believed because of the nature of the crime that was alleged;l

    2. Senior Tory is the alleged abuser; and

    3. A chance to invoke the hated Thatcher.

    What couldn’t be better? He must have though all his birthday’s had come at one.

    That post isn’t an abject apology, its the first step in damage limitation and he’s hoping a judge will take pity when assessing the size of the damages,

    Its quite ironic really because the lower the damages the less it says about George’s credibility a journalist.

  11. Awesome, McAlpine’s my homeboy! Did alot of good stuff where I’m from

    Let hope he sues the living shit out of them

  12. Isn’t George one of those serious journalists who keeps railing against the Internet and how irresponsible it all is? He then goes looking for “facts” about an alleged abuser on that same Internet.

    Was he born stupid or is it years of practice?

  13. …or, demonstration of why British libel law is silly. The dude has gbp200k and an unequivocal statement from the nation’s most trusted news organisation saying he’s not a nonce. That’d be enough to me.

    Fuck, I’d happily take a week of being called a nonce on Twitter if it ended with me being paid gbp200k and the BBC running a story across all media that I wasn’t a nonce. Is there anyone who wouldn’t take that bargain? (by which I mean anyone here – obviously yer Gateses and Zuckerbergs and Carlos Slims wouldn’t).

    There is no way in which his suing people who believed what they pieced together based on the BBC can make him look like less of a nonce, it can only make him look like a bit of a vindictive prat.

  14. …it can only make him look like a bit of a vindictive prat.

    Prat, no. Vindictive yes, and good luck to him, the world needs more vengeance like this. I hope the loathsome Monbiot gets fucked to hell and back.

  15. I wouldn’t John and not for £1m either, because that is one accusation that can’t be scrubbed away in the minds of those that form the lynch mobs. And I’d bet you’d always have difficult getting through all those checks that are needed nowadays.

  16. If his solicitor goes after numerous Twitter users and others – just watch when the cases unravel and people lose sympathy. I have seen it all before.

    His solicitors seriously need to look at the risk of over compensation here. You cannot go around suing numerous individuals and expecting sums off each for effectively what is the same libel. His client has had £185K off the BBC and this will be taken into account. Also the public way his solicitor is going about this and public threats is damaging his case. It is trial by media. This case (and other hearings from the same action) and extracts are very relevant. Question is – are his solicitors bright enough to realise?

    http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2008/1250.html&query=smith+and+v+and+advfn&method=boolean

    10. At the very least it is possible to conclude, even at this stage, that the strategy of “divide and rule” is inappropriate, as I have explained to Mr Smith this morning and as he is already aware. This is especially so in libel proceedings because, if they are appropriate at all, damages can only be assessed in the round (that is in the context of the overall picture). In particular, any distress and hurt feelings suffered by Mr Smith would have to be compensated by reference to the totality of the publications and not on the artificial basis of the sum total of the impact upon his feelings by one individual publication; otherwise there would, as I think he understands, obviously be a significant risk of overcompensation.

    73.First, there was the potential risk of over-compensation (to which I had referred on 12 May). It was clearly necessary for any award of damages to be made in the context of all the claims (including those settled last year). It would not be right to compensate for either injury to reputation or for hurt feelings as though any individual’s publication(s) had been the sole cause.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.