Why hasn’t Iain Dale been arrested for assault?

This is a reasonably serious question by the way.

Iain Dale, the political blogger who runs the firm that published Mr McBride’s book, Power Trip, attempted to wrestle an anti nuclear protester away from the camera as he disrupted an interview.

He ended up rolling on the floor with the protester while Mr McBride continued to be interviewed in the background.

In a video clip of the incident, the protester’s dog is seen biting its owner as the two men grapple on the Brighton pavement.

“Damian McBride was doing a live interview on Daybreak on the Brighton seafront,” he wrote.

“I was waiting in my car to drive him to do his next interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC when I noticed that a protester was holding a placard behind Damian which was filling a lot of the screen and totally distracting from the interview.

“I assumed someone from Daybreak would intervene to stop him, but no one did. So I did what any self respecting publisher would do, got out of the car, ran across, got him in an armlock and pulled him out of the shot.

“He started resisting and we ended up in an unseemly tumble on the ground.

“I was conscious of the photographers and other cameramen who were present filming the whole thing, but I was determined this idiot shouldn’t disrupt what was an important interview for my author.”

Mr Dale said that there was “no real violence” during the incident and that “the only injury was when the man’s dog bit him on the bum”.

Someone holding up an anti-nuclear poster on Brighton seafront is peacefully going about his lawful business. You’re not allowed to march up (and Iain is a big lad too) and whack them one, nor wrestle them out of the way nor put him in an armlock. He’s as much right to potter about the seafront as you, the camera crew or an author does. This is an assault.

An entirely understandable one, true, but it is one just as much as if I’d decided to armlock the camera crew out of the way as it was obstructing my view of the anti-nuclear poster and protestor.

69 comments on “Why hasn’t Iain Dale been arrested for assault?

  1. So if you’re having a quiet chat with your wife and this chap keeps getting in the middle of you, interrupting you and waving his placard, you just have to put up with it?

    This guy’s a serial nuisance and, frankly, the police have better things to do (or should have) than chase around after a scuffle not much more ‘violent’ than any I’ve witnessed in bus crew scrums…

  2. So if you’re having a quiet chat with your wife and this chap keeps getting in the middle of you, interrupting you and waving his placard, you just have to put up with it?

    No, you don’t. If you don’t like it you can always go some place else.

    If Dale had wanted to have an uninterrupted interview for his author, he could have arranged the use of a private room.

  3. So no-one can do an outside broadcast without being at the mercy of single-issue loons waving placards or drunken cretins jeering and gesticulating in the background?

    That’ll help bring about a better society, will it?

  4. It’s hard to work out who’s the most irrelevant here. McBride, Dale or the protestor. For public interest, the dog probably comes out ahead.

  5. o, you don’t. If you don’t like it you can always go some place else.

    and if he follows you?

    I – deeply regrettably – suspect that Iain Dale is guilty of assault, although a completely understandable one, but there should also be some kind of control on how far people can annoy others before they are guilty of harassment, and saying “it’s a protest” should not be a catch-all defence. If you walked behind a pretty girl all the way down the street making entirely legal comments about, I don’t know, how nice she smelled, you’d find yourself banged up pretty soon. If you walked round offering sweets to children you’d be locked up and have the key thrown away. So clearly we recognise that there are some ways in which public space includes private space and that some behaviour is unacceptable. Just because you’ve got a placard, it shouldn’t mean you’re allowed to be a prick whenever you feel like it.

  6. Julia, it’s not about “bring about a better society”. If you choose to have some obnoxious twunt interviewed on a public promenade, he’s in the public square and will have to put up with whoever else is in the public square.

    One may also confidently speculate that had it been a woman with a placard, Dale wouldn’t have physically assaulted her, would he?

  7. By Dale’s own account, “a protester was holding a placard behind Damian which was filling a lot of the screen and totally distracting from the interview” – that’s all the protester did before Dale tackled him, by Dale’s own account. There is no suggestion of anything like harassment, anything constituting a crime – just a distraction from McBride.

    saying “it’s a protest” should not be a catch-all defence.

    Who suggested it should be?

  8. Why not? Why should a woman expect to get away with that behaviour? That’s rather like all those whining that he was ‘a pensioner’, as it that meant hand’s off no matter what…

    I wonder if those slamming Dale for this would be singing a different tune had the man been a ‘Fathers For Justice’ campaigner or an EDL ‘Immigrants Out’ placard waver.

  9. Dale does a rubbish job of wrestling the little old man, and a great job of getting the camera crew to concentrate on the protest instead of the interview. He and McBride deserve each other.

  10. A simple answer to the original question might just be that the victim of the assault has not sought to press charges. While it’s perfectly possibly for someone to be charged for assault without the consent of the victim, or even if the victim is actually opposed to the prosecution, it’s not normally done.

  11. Why not? Why should a woman expect to get away with that behaviour?

    Well, yes. Everyone should. I know that liberalism is long dead, but I still expect that if I haven’t attacked anyone nobody has the right to attack me. In a public place.

    If I’m trespassssing in a private place, the owners can use reasonable force to eject me. But if these fuckwits are going to stand on the seafront doing their interviews, they can’t expect to own it. Any more than you’re entitled to physically wrestle someone to the ground if you think they’re spoiling your view of the sea, or whatnot.

  12. @Ian B

    But if these fuckwits are going to stand on the seafront doing their interviews, they can’t expect to own it.

    Exactly. The fashion for al fresco interviewing is a recent and daft phenomenon. Why should some people with a camera expect not to be interrupted just because they’re from the mejia?

    Indeed, could the camera crew not be in danger of causing an obstruction in a public thoroughfare by interviewing unpleasant people where ordinary members of the public want to walk?

  13. It’s the dog I feel sorry for, having that illiterate sign hung around its neck. I would have done exactly the same in its situation.

  14. Is Brighton seafront a “public thoroughfare” in the normal sense. Usually there’s screeds of bye-laws, places like this. I’ve a vague recollection, from years ago, it’s necessary to obtain permission for filming there. On the other hand, it’s almost certainly necessary obtain permission to display advertising material as well. So that’s the anti-nuke placard out. Maybe the only one going about their lawful business was the dog.

  15. Although he’s probably guilty of assault, he shouldn’t be arrested.

    Police powers of arrest are only supposed to be used when necessary, which usually needs:
    a) Plod doesn’t know who he is or where to find him;
    b) he’s likely to cause continued violence or public offences; or
    c) he’s likely to run off or hinder the investigation.
    This is SOCPA 2005, replaced the old PACE Act rules.

    Plod knows who Dale is and where to find him, the offence is long over and there’s no particular reason to think he’s about to do it again, and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t co-operate. So they don’t need to arrest him – and therefore can’t.

    Sadly the police tend to forget this, but Lord Hanningfield’s wrongful arrest case against them earlier this year (£3,500 compo for wrongful arrest) has probably helped remind them.

  16. Yes, I liked the way the dog sided with Dale rather than its master. Clearly highly pissed off at having been made to wear a stupid sign.

  17. Oh dear, Iain has made rather a fool of himself for the want delaying the interview for the few minutes it would have took to arrange for a member of the local constabulary to move the idiot on using dear old ‘actions likely to cause a breach of the piece’.

    From the footage, if Iain is prosecuted it shouldn’t amount to much more than a brief trip to the local magistrates court for a £50 fine and a binding over, which he should be able to cover by dropping off 50 copies of McBride’s book at the local branch of ‘The Works’.

  18. I know that liberalism is long dead, but I still expect that if I haven’t attacked anyone nobody has the right to attack me.

    Hmmmmm. actually this isn’t necessarily true. If you say or imply that you are going to attack someone, and they can demonstrate that they had a reasonable justification to be in geniune and honest fear of injury or worse, they can. Viz if you walk up to someone, arms akimbo, shouting eg “I’m going to pull your head off. I’m going to pull your head off because I don’t like your head”* they are well within their rights to bop you one.

    *because clearly you are Geoff Wode.

  19. And also, while we’re a trumpeting rights as if they operated in a vacuum, there’s also the fact that showing up in the background waving your placard is just damned rude. It’s gatecrashing a party to which you’re not invited.

    And, at the risk of sounding like Hannibal Lecter, I happen to think that the world would be a better place for having less tolerance of rudeness. However that’s expressed.

  20. I’d have thought Dale’s only defence was that the man was causing a public nuisance or obstruction or something of that sort, but as Ian B points out, the interview itself is just as likely to be guilty of that.

    Sam, Julia, re your examples, there’s a difference between what is illegal and what a member of the public is allowed to use violence to stop.

  21. You can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. According to Dale’s account, there was no threat to McBride or Dale (or anyone else), he doesn’t suggest he intended to arrest the protester, there is no suggestion the protester was committing or about to commit a crime. It’s therefore difficult to see how any force was reasonable, unless of course one takes the view that nothing must distract from McBride’s vital contribution.

  22. Sam-

    Well yes, running at someone yellling that you’re going to pull their head off is an attack, so my position still applies. None of that applied here.

    Julia, if my local supermarket is being “demonstrated” by the Lose The Lads Mags harpies, can I hit them? What do you think a court would say if I did?

  23. Michael Jennings is right. The guy hasn’t pressed charges and, as I understand it from speaking to a reporter last night, he has no intention of doing so. Simple as that.

  24. Ian B, if they obstruct your view of the shelves or drown out your voice as you talk to the shopkeeper I’d be quite happy to say ‘Yes’.

    Frankly, we need to get away from this entitlement culture that people can do whatever they want regardless of the effect on others by claiming ‘freedom of speech’. That’s what Speaker’s Corner is for.

  25. ukliberty, it’s even more restricted than that; the public can only arrest for an indictable offence.

    So even if Dale claims he had been trying an arrest, he’d struggle to come up with a suitable offence that he was trying to arrest for.

    Agreeing for once with Unity, a copper could probably have removed the protester, but Dale couldn’t.

  26. Julia, I agree. But we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about them standing outside with banners being a literal ugly crowd.

  27. It really isn’t central to liberalism or democracy that a handful of fanatics, or just one loon, can disrupt everybody else’s freedoms of assembly and speech.

    But Unity made the right suggestion. Dale should have stopped the filming immediately and called the police.

  28. Dale should have called the blue goons. However, peaceful demo does not include getting up close and shoving your banner/face in someone else’s face. That is twatting time law or no.

  29. JuliaM has got a point, it’s an outrageous assertion of entitlement for Dale & McBride to block the pavement with their tedious interview, especially while wearing suits without ties. And pretty rude of the dog to draw attention to his infelicitous apostrophes with all that barking. But the protester seems to have behaved with admirable restraint.

  30. AIUI there is no suggest the protester in this specific case – not cases people are imagining – was shouting over McBride or waving the placard between him and the camera or shoving the placard in McBride’s face. Again, according to Dale’s own account, the “protester was holding a placard behind Damian”. That would be annoying if one wanted all the attention, but a violent response doesn’t seem reasonable in this specific case not cases people are imagining.

  31. Those of you who think an old aged pensioner should not be allowed to wave a placard in a public place ‘cos you think it’s a bit annoying, don’t worry.

    The Anti-Social Crime and Behaviour Bill, if passed, will make it illegal to be annoying (I paraphrase somewhat). Further, unlike ASBOS, someone subject to the order can be ordered to do something, not just to refrain from some activity.

  32. And, at the risk of sounding like Hannibal Lecter, I happen to think that the world would be a better place for having less tolerance of rudeness. However that’s expressed.

    That’s a rather risky viewpoint for you, Julia.

  33. Those of you who think an old aged pensioner should not be allowed to wave a placard in a public place ‘cos you think it’s a bit annoying, don’t worry.

    Oh, it must be okay, then. If he’s an old aged pensioner. He can do what he fucking likes in that case.

  34. f my local supermarket is being “demonstrated” by the Lose The Lads Mags harpies, can I hit them?

    no, but do feel free to indulge in a rousing chorus of “get your tits out for the lads”.

    Freedom of speech, innit.

  35. Why do you see it as a risky viewpoint for me, MatthewL?

    Do you think I’m the sort of fruitcake who hangs around camera crews waiting for a chance to disrupt their broadcast?

  36. Sam,
    “Oh, it must be okay, then. If he’s an old aged pensioner. He can do what he fucking likes in that case.”

    Well, that defence seems to work for Godfrey Bloom.

    PS Have I broken (or proved) some new variation of Godwin’s law by mentioning him?

  37. Holding a placard behind someone is a different kettle of fish to shoving it in their face and shouting down an interview. If that is all it was Dale is out of order.

    Everybody even remotely connected with creating the “Anti-social Crime etc” Bill needs to lose their job and their pension.

  38. (a) Holding a placard behind someone is a different kettle of fish to (b) shoving it in their face and shouting down an interview. If that is all it was Dale is out of order.

    Dale’s account is near the top of this page and published on his own blog. Does he describe something closer to (a) or to (b)?

  39. JuliaM,

    Frankly, we need to get away from this entitlement culture that people can do whatever they want regardless of the effect on others by claiming ‘freedom of speech’. That’s what Speaker’s Corner is for.

    It’s not about claiming “freedom of speech”, it’s about freedom, that we all should be able, within reason, and if we’re not treading the rights of others, to do what we please.

    I like photographing buildings, but I can’t beat the crap out of people who are in the way, or maybe wearing shorts and ruining the aesthetic. I have no more right to tell someone with shorts to get out of shot, than a short wearer has the right to tell me to stop taking photographs.

    The easy solution, one that BIS has hinted at, is to charge for exclusive use of the beach. That’s what New York does for movies – you want to film in NY, have a street closed off for your exclusive use, you’re going to pay for that right.

  40. Dale is guilty of common assault. The police see dozens of such offences every Saturday. Rarely do they arrest, and then only for the most serious cases (which finish up before magistrates where most are given a conditional discharge and/or a fine). In Dale’s case he is likely to get an informal warning. Just possibly, because of his standing in society and the public nature of the assault, he might get a formal caution: Like Charles Saatchi.

  41. Tim Almond: “I like photographing buildings, but I can’t beat the crap out of people who are in the way…”

    Of course, you could always them to move. England still being England, there’s a good chance they’ll oblige. Because they are usually reasonable people who don’t want to cause a fuss.

    Not so with this old boy though, and that’s where your analogy falls down, because he isn’t reasonable and causing a fuss in his beloved ’cause’ is precisely what he wants.

  42. Well, there is no PACE 24(5) grounds for arrest.

    a) and b) there is no question as to his identity.
    c) the events are over so c does not apply.
    d) does not apply
    e) No questioning is required, and if it was Mr Dale has shown no suggestion he is not willing to be questioned
    f) no reason to think Mr Dale will abscond

    So no power to arrest.

  43. JuliaM,

    Of course, you could always them to move. England still being England, there’s a good chance they’ll oblige. Because they are usually reasonable people who don’t want to cause a fuss.

    Not so with this old boy though, and that’s where your analogy falls down, because he isn’t reasonable and causing a fuss in his beloved ’cause’ is precisely what he wants.

    Not really, because a) it’s still a request. Someone in the way of my shot can still refuse and b) you assume the request is reasonable.

    I’ve seen how news crews behave, and they are entirely about the world revolving around them, which is why I would never give any ground to them.

  44. Julia, I’m quite surprised you are a fan of criminalising hurt feelings, that’s usually the province of the touchy-feely left.

    Let’s take Tim Almonds example to the next step. You asked the shorts-wearers to move, but they refused. Can you now arm lock them?

  45. Rod –

    Some time ago Nick Robinson (BBC) tackled a protester who was hoding up a banner, was he prosecuted.

    Funny you should mention that. I was thinking the same earlier today.

    I think, though, that it wasn’t Robinson himself who tackled the protester. The smug, four-eyed slap-head was doing a piece to camera and a protester was acting out behind him. A member of Robinson’s posse body-checked the guy.

    I remember wondering at the time why that wasn’t prosecuted.

  46. If we’re thinking about the same incident, Robinson finished a piecetocam, turned around, grabbed a “bring our boys home” placard that was being waved being him and smashed it up. Neither he nor his colleagues did anything else, afaik.

  47. ukliberty –

    Are you thinking of this incident?

    That’s not the incident I was thinking of. My Google-Fu has let me down when trying to find the relevant incident on YouTube.

  48. sam – “If you say or imply that you are going to attack someone, and they can demonstrate that they had a reasonable justification to be in geniune and honest fear of injury or worse, they can.”

    Which presumably would be Dale’s defence. Wendy Deng did not need to wait for a protestor to connect with her husband. She saw the attack and hit the guy first. Dale could claim that he thought the nutter was going to attack someone. But presumably that would be a lie.

    It is not as if it doesn’t happen.

    Richard – “Agree with PaulB re “wearing suits without ties”. Perhaps that should be an arrestable offence?”

    Naah, that would be Islamophobic and anti-Semitic. So we can’t do that. I am surprised at Paul’s lack of sensitivity.

  49. Richard – “Agree with PaulB re “wearing suits without ties”. Perhaps that should be an arrestable offence?”

    We ought to just extend it to suits in general. Ghastly, impractical, uncomfortable clothing. Women don’t have to wear them. Women wouldn’t tolerate being forced to wear a regulation uniform like that.

    They developed out of the 18th century “suit of clothes” which were rather spectacular, ostentatious ensembles bursting with flair and style. Then, the Puritans regrouped and drabbed everything down to black and white and, if you’re a wild daring type, maybe a dark blue or grey. It’s interesting to look at the Prime Ministers in sequence on wikipedia, and watch all the colour drained out of them as Victorianism descends in all it’s grimful misery.

    It always makes me a little mad watching some gathering of the beautiful people like a film premier; there is the lady in all her ostentatious beauty, and standing meekly one step behind is her consort dressed in the puritan uniform like a fucking butler.

    It’s time we killed the suit. Oh, and that even worse item of apparel, the polo shirt. Seriously, when I’m Prime Minister my first bill to Parliament will be a total ban on polo shirts, with some draconian punishment involving maiming for any company that forces an employee to wear one.

    “It’s got a collar on it, see? It’s smart!”. Bollocks. I might just make that a law against any garment featuring buttons that are never used and/or a collar that is not intended for a tie.

  50. “…and standing meekly one step behind is her consort dressed in the puritan uniform like a fucking butler.”

    *sighs* Oh, Ian. Clothes maketh the man, you know… 😉

  51. Ian B – “They developed out of the 18th century “suit of clothes” which were rather spectacular, ostentatious ensembles bursting with flair and style. Then, the Puritans regrouped and drabbed everything down to black and white and, if you’re a wild daring type, maybe a dark blue or grey.”

    Not everything is the fault of the Puritans – and I expect you mean puritans as there weren’t really any Puritans left by then. This is not the fault of the puritans anyway but of Beau Brummell who can hardly be called a puritan – a friend of the Prince of Wales, a soldier who found that his father’s estate of 60,000 pounds was not enough to live, a bad gambler who had to flee to France because of his debt and who died penniless of syphilis in an insane asylum? He recommended that boots should be polished with champagne. Hardly puritanical.

    “It always makes me a little mad watching some gathering of the beautiful people like a film premier; there is the lady in all her ostentatious beauty, and standing meekly one step behind is her consort dressed in the puritan uniform like a fucking butler.”

    Women should preen. Men should not. It always makes me a little mad to see ponced up Arabs and assorted Asians where the men clearly take more time on their hair than the women.

    “It’s time we killed the suit.”

    The suit is not so bad. It hides a lot, especially growing bellies, it accentuates things like shoulders and makes the waist look thin. Virtually no other piece of clothing so flatters men.

    “Oh, and that even worse item of apparel, the polo shirt.”

    But I agree with that. Except the first bill ought to be to ban those stupid fanny packs American tourists wear.

  52. “… and a protester was acting out behind him. A member of Robinson’s posse body-checked the guy.”

    Damn, I wish someone had the video. I’d love to see that. Frankly, I’d like to see it happen more and more often, until these exhibitionists get the message.

  53. @Tim Almond
    “The easy solution, one that BIS has hinted at, is to charge for exclusive use of the beach.”
    Not sure if Brighton doesn’t have exactly that. Guy I’m thinking of wanted to shoot some footage for a music video. Band & attendant chicks in Mod gear, tricked up Lambrettas, pier in the background. (Referencing The Who – Quadrophenia) Far as I remember, a permit from the council was required & paid for. Makes sense. It’s an iconic shot. There’s probably crews down there every day of the week filming something. They’d end up filming each other.
    The guy with the sign is simply infringing the regulation any council has about advertising without the requisite planning permission. Absence of any specific reg – and with Brighton seafront there may well be one – he’s like the sandwich board guys. Legal if he keeps moving. Illegal if he stops.
    So both parties are “causing an obstruction” & liable to be to nicked.
    If Dale set up the to camera interview he should of known this. Or the TV crew. Obviously didn’t or it would have been mentioned.
    With reference to various “freedom of speech”, “rights” etc etc comments above; this is how laws try & broker the conflicts arising from them. Without them, the ordinary punter would never see Brighton Pier past the various interests trying to make money off of it.

  54. @juliaM
    Who exactly the exhibitionist here? Robinson (the Beeb, no less) is using a contrived street backdrop to package an interview of a politician selling a line of shit. It’s an attempt to create an illusion. The real backdrop contains the protestor.

  55. Philip Scott Thomas,

    Are you thinking of this incident?

    That’s not the incident I was thinking of. My Google-Fu has let me down when trying to find the relevant incident on YouTube.

    Yes, that’s the one I was thinking of.

    There was an incident involving a Sky News reporter at a G8 protest (Mark White?). I think he thought his live piece had finished and he lunged at a protester who had been trying to get on camera.

  56. Incidentally & don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Was once asked by a TV bod to move a truck we had parked on a yellow line in a London street because it was interfering with a shot. He was politely told to fuck off. So was the copper he got to tell me to move it.
    Point being: In my pocket, I had the dispensation order from the Highways Dept entitled me to have the truck parked there. Which I’d paid for.

  57. Christ! Now I’ve got e-mail recommending “the must-read political book of the year by Damian McBride”
    Where’d Dale get my e-mail address? I’ve never given it to him. See him, I’ll give him a slap for unrequested intrusion in my affairs

  58. @ Jack
    Iain Dale’s behaviour was wrong – the “fourth estate” thinking that it is above the law – but “coward” is so blatantly the wrong epithet that someone has to point that out. Do you mean “bully”?

  59. Well i cannot believe that people agree with assault and the media just stand by an film it..? One day this will happen and the old man will have a heart attack obviously no woman would ever have to put up with this then we will see how many agree with this kind of attitude in society..This is like what the Nazis did to Jews wow this culture seems to go backwards in the so called new peace an love millennium. What a sad racist nation i live in..

  60. John77-

    Not necessarily. There is an argument that bullies are generally cowards, using bluster to cover their insecurity. Hence, bullies tend to only aggress in unfair fights, due to force of numbers, being much bigger etc.

    I wonder if Dale would have been so physically assertive had he been facing a healthy twenty or thirtysomething, rather than a little old man?

  61. Dave (Or should that be DAVE..?): “This is like what the Nazis did to Jews …”

    Oh, wow! If there’s a Hyperbole Award for 2013, you’re a dead cert!

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.