Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Freedom of Information

If you're a fan of free speech, defending the forums in which is practised should be an ongoing activity. It is my opinion that total anarchy does not actually enable free speech; total anarchy allows unscrupulous bullies to dominate the forum and silence, ridicule or otherwise marginalise those they do not wish to be heard. This is detrimental to the right to free speech.

Anyway, Tim at Bloggerheads has a succinct summary of the state of play in the "blog war". The linked posts are all worth clicking through also.

On "Guido", Paul Staines is a man who publishes his own "tittle-tattle, gossip and rumours" through a company based in Nevis so as to limit his exposure to British libel laws. He is a man who then taunts those he has written about with that fact.
Guido has a mini-corporation behind him, Global & General Nominees LLC of Nevis. If you want to sue the publishers go ahead, the office for service is properly registered in accordance with the law. The laws of the island require that the plaintiff first deposits US$25,000 with the court before commencing action. Guido will defend himself vigorously.
- Paul Staines
He is a man who allows people to be smeared in the most extraordinary way in the comments to his blog.

And he is a man who threatened to take to court those blogger who republished an article about him which was printed by the Guardian and never retracted. It is an article which is still in the public domain and which is available to anyone with a subscription to the Lexis-Nexis database. Note that it was the little guys who Paul threatened with legal action.

He is, in short, a hypocrite and a bully.

On Iain Dale, I've decided to take down the button. This is not because he's offered a genuine apology; he hasn't; I'm taking it down because he went on record at his blog with an explanation of sorts. It spoke volumes that he he didn't provide a link to the relevant post so that his readers could judge for themselves whether his explanation was plausible. For a man who claims to like blogging because it enables conversation, it's a strange way to behave. It's impossible to resist suggesting that he might be well served by looking up the word "conversation" in his dictionary too.

As for Iain's call for a ceasefire, everything you need to know about Iain's "olive branch" is encapsulated in the following:
In the spirit of reaching out to those who seem to have developed an unhealthy obsession with me...
What class.

Throughout all of this, by deploying a variety of techniques, Mr Dale has consistently managed to avoid meaningfully addressing questions about Nick Boles and Policy Exchange. Emails to Mr Boles at Policy Exchange asking for clarification of certain issues (as recommended by Policy Exchange trustee Iain) have so far been ignored.

For me (the only person I ever speak for), those questions were never about Brownite revenge or attempts to protect the man. The fact that Policy Exchange trustee Iain had made a film criticising the Smith Institute was interesting because it seemed that there was a possibility of Pots and Kettles. It was doubly irresistible because Iain himself likes to hand out Pots and Kettles awards (for the record, I agree with the actual contents of that post).

But answers on the activities of Policy Exchange were not forthcoming. Attempts to have those questions answered will be ongoing.

As I said in the comments to a previous post, there's nothing like a bit of openness and transparency...


leon said...

Hmmmm my newspaper headline generator just got a kick from something you said:

"Policy Exchange trustee attacks Brownite Smith Institute"

"Tory Candidate attacks Brownite Charity"


poons said...

I've taken the Dale banner of my site as well, if only because I was fed up of seeing his smug face every time I visited.