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Great response to Lord McAlpine suing on Twitter

(107 Posts)
StewieGriffinsMom Wed 21-Nov-12 09:49:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiniTheMinx Fri 23-Nov-12 19:17:13

What difference does it make, if you don't use his title, that includes MR/LORD etc.

Under law the man is separate to the legal "person" when someone registers a birth, they register the "person" which is the legal representation of the man/woman, the two things are entirely separate. What difference does this make to libel law?

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 15:57:21

He has instructed solicitors. I thought they were probably acting on a no win/no fee basis but I might be wrong.

We've already had that quote, back up-thread, YNK.

YNK Thu 22-Nov-12 15:48:53

Another useful ploy is the false accusation. First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations ….. become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion.

this is a quote from McAlpines 2000 book, 'The New Machiavelli'

YNK Thu 22-Nov-12 15:45:36

I believe he is using the police to investigate his claims of libel. Shouldn't he be using the Italian police force and not ours, considering he is resident there and pays NO British tax whatsoever?

Nancy66 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:29:59

The blog is nonsense.

I support his action. Being accused of being a paedophile probably is the worst thing you can be accused of - worse than murder in some instances.

Lord M said in his statement that he had the utmost sympathy for the victims.

Bet people would be a lot more sympathetic if he wasn't a Tory

Xenia Thu 22-Nov-12 09:50:13

Yes, things are not libel if they are true. I am sure we all bear that in mind every day. You cannot libel the dead but you might still have a problem if a difficulty is caused to their relatives

namechangeguy Thu 22-Nov-12 09:24:24

Isn't one of the lessons here simply that if you want to accuse somebody of something, a. gather your evidence, and b. get your facts straight.

Don't rely on rumour, innuendo and anonymity. That is a cowardly way to approach anything, and leads to abuse and the destroying of innocent people.

Another forum I am on insists on you registering a works e-mail - no hotmail/gmail etc. Does Twitter require any form of id like this?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 21-Nov-12 22:49:21

I think McAlpine might have been connected with Scallywag going out of business. He mentioned in his interview that they had libelled him.

Aboutlastnight Wed 21-Nov-12 22:47:45

And I don't blame mumsnet for being super-cautious with this - remember Private Eye and Sonia Sutcliffe? That case nearly destroyed Private Eye.

Aboutlastnight Wed 21-Nov-12 22:44:54

Well that's the law of libel. If you are prepared to take the risk and gave enough money to bear the financial cost then the civil law of libel is there for you.

Unless you are able to find a no win no fee lawyer, or have powerful friends prepared to back you, then libel is not an option for ordinary folk.

But that diesn't mean Lord McAlpine shouldn't due - he has every right to do so. And it certainly doesn't give an individual some sort of immunity in the future.

MiniTheMinx Wed 21-Nov-12 22:13:49

Twitter and Facebook only respond to these situations when it involves wealthy, white men. They never remove libellous and fallacious posts or ones which involve hate speech unless the victim has the wealth and the power to challenge them I agree on this point 100%

I haven't followed the whole thing very closely, I don't even know who these Twitterers.

One thing about this stands out to me. Not so long ago MPs were debating whether the media should continue to have the right to publish the names of men accused of rape and what has happened on that score? What happens to women to "make a false ID"? I guess they get the whole weight of the law thrown at them and they are never to be believed again.

I doubt the case of a women seeking justice for her abuse would have been taken up by the BBC.

I guess what I am saying is that, if you are a man, abused or accused you are ultimately to be believed. With or without incontrovertible proof. If you are a very wealthy man you can ensure that the media trial you receive will be brought to a swift and pleasing conclusion, whereas for anyone who lacks political or financial clout they will probably endure a media and a judicial trial like it or not, even if that trial is prejudiced by media intervention.

The other thing that seems very strange is that, thousands of people could be tweeting your husbands name all over the net and it might take some time for it to come to your attention. Lord McA was very quick to jump in even though the BBC hadn't yet aired and even in his opinion it must have seemed very unlikely they would actually report his name. Trial by media and the subsequent way in which he was able to threatened legal proceedings doesn't sit comfortably with me. At no time in the future will this man ever be mentioned in connection with child abuse. He has now much fuller protection from accusation true or false whether it be in the course of any police investigation or otherwise, than he might have had, had he not threatened legal action.

Can you imagine a poor man without political connections and wealth having that same protection? Can you imagine a women who made a false ID being sympathised with?

grimbletart Wed 21-Nov-12 21:25:32

Fastidia: I take what you say in your first paragraph although I personally think that if enough people had got together and spoken up to the powers that be at the BBC, the hospitals etc. the authorities would have been hard put to ignore it. The sheer volume would have forced them take it seriously. But of course we'll never know, because all the witnesses to his abuse abrogated their responsibility to the children.

What my different point was about Twitter and places like Facebook is that anyone can take any rumour about anyone and pass it on and millions will see it. They do it without evidence or proof. This time it was Lord M. Another time it will be someone else in the public eye. I call them anti-social media because they are a source of bullying, rumour, innuendo and grooming. Power without responsibility.

What's the saying "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

Bluegrass Wed 21-Nov-12 21:24:03

OneMoreChap - personally I think they are being cautious to the point of censorship. This forum is full of derogatory comments about 'slebs which are allowed to stand and yet I saw a post deleted on this thread which did little more than quote McA's own words.

He has effectively stifled any discussion about him even though a lot of people think there is quite a lot about him to be discussed (not all of it complimentary). Hopefully at some point people will start to stick their heads above the parapet again but perhaps understandably MN want nothing to do with it. I don't ever remember seeing an individual wield quite so much power against the media, and he's not even issued any claims yet.

Personally I was perfectly happy with everything I'd written, and I say that as a lawyer with more years' pqe than I care to remember (and my area is related to this issue, I don't spend my days conveyancing or writing wills). The whole situation is staggering, I'll continue to watch with interest (whilst offering no opinion about McA's past of course)

amillionyears Wed 21-Nov-12 21:01:48

Thanks for the last 3 posts and links.

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 20:29:48

I'll tell you what amillionyears. Why don't you ask MNHQ what their policy is, or even their Talk Guidelines.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 20:28:29

There are ways people can post things without getting found out if they have half a brain although I would never condone breach of the law.

Also you can talk to friend or ex residents at your children's home and you can put things in ways that are not libelous. However you have to be careful when posting not to imply things which may be libelous too.

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 20:27:22

Never before have I seen one man terrify so many people into complete silence about him or his past, even where comments are obviously not libellous. It is incredibly disturbing. He is untouchable.

Problem is, whether the comments are libellous are not will only be tested in court. Libel lawyers make a great deal of money from this.

If you are possibly going to be named/sued... yes, you may well shut up or ice a few arsey comments on your extremely profitable forum.

I did suggest care, and I think MNHQ are being nothing but sensible.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 21-Nov-12 20:26:01

That's a really interesting question SDTG. I tend to think of Twitter as a piece of paper as well.

Whereas I think of Facebook or Mumsnet as being more of a newspaper or magazine.

But I don't really know why I think of FB in that way, more of a venue than Twitter.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 21-Nov-12 20:22:56

grimble, if the people who had witnessed Savile's abuse of children had spoken up, the chances are that he would have denied it and slapped them with a writ and told them to prove it. He'd have bullied and rewarded the abuse victims into corroborating what he was saying and destroyed the career and reputation of the accuser.

That's why they didn't speak up. Because they were silenced by his power and his influence.

I feel very sorry for Lord McAlpine and I must admit I'm a bit startled by the writer's declaration that s/he wouldn't apologise if s/he'd libelled him. But the main point the article is making, I feel is a really important one that needs to be made: that the sight of a rich and powerful man wielding the law to punish those who named him, because naming him carries more sanctions than abusing children, is a way of silencing abuse victims.

I've no doubt the silencing is unintentional, I'm sure he doesn't mean to silence them and has no awareness at all that that is the effect of what he said; but perfectly decent people who instantly talk about false allegations of rape as soon as rape is mentioned (because they don't know any better) also unintentionally silence rape and abuse victims every day. Every time we repeat rape myths, we do that.

It's not deliberate, but I think it should be recognised so that we can tell when it's happening. Because it is the culture of silence, that allows rapists to get away with rape. It was the silence that enabled Jimmy Savile to commit the crimes he did. And if the silence continues, nothing will change - rapists will carry on getting away with rape, men will continue to groom children to accept abuse without speaking out.

We have to find a way to break the silence. What Lord McA has done, while perfectly understandable and his legal and moral right, hasn't contributed to that.

amillionyears Wed 21-Nov-12 20:21:19

How would the abusive bit work?
Many posts on MN are personally abusive.
Is that why they are deleted by MN?

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 20:18:47

I would hope Twitter were a "passive wall" as one judge put it in relation to something similar.

And I agree with EchoB above.

I suspect LordA will not have to sue anyone and will simply take the few settlements people choose to pay and then leave it.

Dh and I have been discussing it, and he thinks Lord McA should sue twitter too. I am not sure about this - I think twitter is the blank sheet on which people write their opinions - if something libellous is written on a piece of paper, it is the writer who is sued, not the producer or supplier of the paper.

I also think that suing twitter enables people to slip away from their personal responsibility for what they publish on social media.

I did outline this debate to ds3, and asked him if he thought I was right or dh was wrong, but he declined to make a choice! grin

What do you all think?

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 19:57:38

OneMoreChap, would MN have to "cough up" details by law?

Oh yes.
They'd be told that a criminal/civil action was being undertaken, they were being named and under a discovery process they'd have to disclose details, but see Terms of Use

You are solely liable for any damage resulting from your failure to obtain such permission or from any other harm resulting from User Content that you submit. You represent, warrant, and covenant that you will not submit any User Content that:

...impersonates another or is unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, obscene, harassing or otherwise objectionable;

EchoBitch Wed 21-Nov-12 17:54:32

The people showing of on twitter and FB are the ones who have diverted attention away from the children who most need it most.
Some were also prominent and influential people who should have known better.

The issue about McAlpine is a separate one but still an important one whereby people should not be acting as amateur sleuths online and 'innocent facing',all adding to suspicion and in my opinion not much less than online bullying.

I am no Tory,never have been but McAlpine deserves the same access to law as anyone else,the fact that he can better afford it is again another important issue.

It is possible to have sympathy for all victims of any crime,wherever they are on our scale of seriousness.

But if Lord McAlpine's case makes some people stop and think before they post then that has to be a good thing.

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