Fighting the British state
The dregs of Scotland’s sleazy Anglophiles are at it again, defaming another individual who uses social media as a means of communication; and the SNP runs scared yet again.
An individual, particularly one of slender means, has to think hard about taking legal action against what is essentially scouts and foot soldiers of the British state, their politicians and newspapers. They’ve exerted power for so long they assume they are invulnerable, inured against retributive litigation.
Is it worth throwing money at the dishonest? Stress and costs are two obvious concerns, but there’s what it means to oneself and to others to consider.
Smile and smile, and be a villain
In my case I note tormentors didn’t pursue their falsehoods beyond a few days because it was pinned to flimsy evidence, a single mild colloquial sentence. I’ve had any number of things stolen from me in my professional life, pioneering kudos being uppermost, not a hard thing for the disreputable to accomplish when you are a low-key creative that shuns the limelight. Having one’s name trashed is a different thing, the stink lingers.
The insult is barely reduced when it’s clear the accusers don’t know what the hell they are shouting about. They rely heavily on others telling them what to think.
SNP – The Scared National Party
The worst aspect is the stupidity of SNP procedures and the craven behaviour of certain individuals. One knows the rank and file have good sense and exercise it, a few party members none at all. Tiresome how the mediocre seek and secure authority.
Every time the SNP buckle confronted by falsehood and fabrication they allow another piece of democracy to be removed.
Included in an essay about unions I made reference to a ‘female’ union member, Rhea Wolfson, leading an all-female rally about equal pay for women. Considering the matter in depth, a perplexed official of the Press Standards Organisation said, “I’ve read your essay over and over again. It isn’t about Ms Wolfson at all. She doesn’t appear until at least half its length.” True, absolutely correct, Wolfson chose to make the article about herself, exhibiting the behaviour of which she was criticised while in the very act of rejecting it.
Here we are a few months later and another supporter of Scotland’s constitutional rights is the target of malicious attack by the press and the same Labour dullards in Holyrood.
The person in question is Jason McCann, a Dublin-based academic, his remarks made in his blog ‘Random Public Journal’. You get the creepy feeling English nationalists have a list they are crossing off one by one.
The enemies of Scotland’s progress have little regard for the individual, they probably couldn’t tell you McCann’s first name. Their aim is to harm the cause of genuine self-governance by making the SNP look shoddy, rather like themselves. And guess what, the SNP immediately show how craven they can be when they place fear of losing personal approval above ethics and strength of character.
McCann is accused of being anti-Semitic, a Holocaust denier, and inciting the IRA to take up arms. Readers will note the familiar litany of mindless slogans serving as intellectual discourse. The SNP decided it must all be true and duly leapt behind a thicket of heather to hide. For a start, McCann is not a member of the SNP.
Smear sticks, litigation lapses
McCann’s remarks are holier than holy, remarkable only for how uncontroversial they are. He states a few obvious opinions articulated by others in defence of Irish free passage south to north and vice versa, expresses an anxiety Brexit might activate gun violence in the Emerald Isle, and elsewhere takes Israeli foreign policy to task over Israel’s handling of Palestinians. He writes with intelligence but nothing he says is new, though people need reminded of the issues and the innocent lives at stake or lost.
There is a pattern evident: lift an innocuous phrase out of context, rewrite it as an attack on a section of society, toss it onto Twitter, and let the baying mob do the rest knowing they won’t ever do any homework and check the facts. They are led by their prejudices. The mob pick up the virus and pass it to others.
Gamekeepers protecting the Duke’s land
To the Israeli question I can add this: On a drama production visit to Tel Aviv the Head of Educational Television, an independent-minded woman of excellent company, said to me, winking, “We are a peaceful nation, Gareth, a piece of Palestine, a piece of Jordan and piece of Syria …” Israeli settlers are by no means united in ghettoising Palestinians.
Prominent intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein regularly bemoan Israeli cruelties and land grabbing policies only to be called anti-Semitic themselves by fellow Jews. That the SNP are troubled by McCann’s widely-shared views is a sign of political immaturity. Friends of Israeli foreign policy seek to make any criticism of Israel the offence of anti-Semitism. For the SNP to run scared in the face of scurrilous fabrication is extremely disappointing.
For my part, my essays and Twitter stick to topics strictly germane to Scotland’s political situation making rare references to foreign policy other than for Europe. Foreign policy is for a future free Scotland to discuss when I’ll be pruning roses in my old age.
To sue, or not to sue
So, what does McCann do about the press? You pick out the main culprits. The next thing to consider is how vague and unsettled is current law on comment in social media. Uncertainty abounds. How far should free speech be acceptable when presented as personal opinion? When does it cross the line to out and out defamation?
The obvious becomes more and more befuddled as legal debate grows and absolutes turn into abstracts. You can describe an article as anti-Semitic without stating the author of it is anti-Semitic. If a typing accident or the conjunction of two sentences who decides when it is anti-Semitic? Solicitors will debate these nuances until the cows come home.
There are onerous legal costs to think about taking defamation inside a court. I won my last three by conducting my own case to avoid fees of a qualified QC, Queens Counsel. The costs awarded only just covered the legal advice that gave me enough confidence to address M’Lud face to face.
Still, when asked what my personal costs were for reimbursement I said with a big smile, “£1.70p for the bus fare, M’Lud”. The other side had paid a QC for two week’s work. How sweet revenge achieved on empty pockets.
Guys is wise who don’t let lies dies
Though sheriffs and judges tend to enjoy litigation where an individual argues their own case – a refreshing change from endlessly boring bureaucratic claims and counter claims from the same solicitors – there is no guarantee they will find in your favour. You can lose on a mere technicality. My advice is always to go for mediation if you are sure the other side won’t cheat you later.
With the guidance of my litigation lawyer I chose four blatant transgressors: The Daily Record, a GMB official, a Labour politician, and a Tory politician. Erring SNP officials should not assume by that short-list they have dodged a summons.
For any of the four identified above to assume I scare easily and scuttle home, they simply do not know me.
NOTE: I have an open-ended crowd funding campaign now in operation. The fund has no deadline because the process of law drags on for months. If donations are modest, mediation is the way forward. If monies surpass expectation, there is a decision to make about taking the worst individual to court. Thank you everybody who has pitched in so far – too many to thank individually, but all friends for life!
Readers who’d like to contribute in name or anonymity a £1 or more the link is: https://www.gofundme.com/grouse-beater-fights-back