Friday, May 24, 2013
High Court rules Sally Bercow tweet about Lord McAlpine was libelous, online, it’s better to have a truth telling style, Ms. Bercow looks like she needs a lot of money in the near future, the curse of twitter strikes again
Twitter can sometimes be a dangerous place to comment, politician after politician and the public can sometimes fall foul of the law.
One high profile case is that of a tweet by Commons Speaker's wife Sally Bercow about Lord McAlpine.
She posted a ditto after Newsnight ran with a story implicated the former Conservative Party treasurer in allegations of sex abuse at Bryn Estyn children's home in the 1970s and 1980s.
The tweet was libelous, and Lord McAlpine has taken Ms. Bercow to Court and they have found in his favour.
Mrs Bercow has always denied that the tweet - "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*" - was defamatory, but lawyers for the peer said it pointed "the finger of blame" at him during a media frenzy.
Lord McAlpine said it meant he was a paedophile who was guilty of sexually abusing boys living in care, and he wants damages.
Recently on the blog, a SNP supporter wrote in to say this to me:
“This is ground breaking shit man and nae comments whats wrong wi people that they cannae see this big fat smelly shite is bang on the money what a pity he is a walter mitty who has invented a bio for himself that stinks as much as his oxters and scrotum far oot man I need a scare crow fur ma neeps whit are ye daan this summer apart fae nae washing and creeping aboot the parks at nicht looking fur a blow job fae a guy fuck of and die ya big fat smelly cunt”.
Apparently they didn’t like my article on how the SNP are denying ordinary working class Scots life chances. The hatemonger states I am a homosexual who seeks “blowjobs” in public parks.
This individual is a sicko, it is done to harassment and intimidate, but I wouldn’t be feart and will continue to write and speak out as I see fit.
As to Ms. Bercow’s troubles, there will now be another hearing at a later date to decide damages.
That is unless Ms. Berocw and McAlpine can reach agreement; McAlpine has previously won six figure damages from the BBC and ITV, so Ms. Bercow is on a sticky wicket.
In mitigation, Mr Justice Tugendhat, in London, has heard that Mrs Bercow promptly tweeted her apologies, and she also provided letters apologising for the distress caused and making clear that the underlying allegations were untrue.
In a statement following the ruling, Mrs Bercow said:
"Today the High Court found that my tweet constituted a serious libel, both in its natural meaning and as an innuendo. To say I'm surprised and disappointed by this is an understatement. However, I will accept the ruling as the end of the matter. I remain sorry for the distress I have caused Lord McAlpine and I repeat my apologies. I have accepted an earlier offer his lawyers made to settle this matter."
Although we have seen people in public fall from grace and sometimes spectacularly so, this was a story that I didn’t blog on as there seem to be a bit of a witch hunt because of the Jimmy Saville stories.
As we have seen, many household names, people in the public domain for decades are now accused of sexual crimes, their trials are in progress: and the scale, is in some respects breathtaking.
Andrew Reid of RMPI Solicitors said:
"The apologies previously received from Mrs Bercow did not concede that her tweet was defamatory. Clearly she must now accept this fact. The failure of Mrs Bercow to admit that her tweet was defamatory caused considerable unnecessary pain and suffering to Lord McAlpine and his family over the past six months. With knowledge of the judgment, I am pleased to be able to say that Mrs Bercow has finally seen sense and has accepted an offer of settlement, which Lord McAlpine made back in January. Mr Justice Tugendhat's judgment is one of great public interest and provides both a warning to, and guidance for, people who use social media. It highlights how established legal principles apply to social media, and how the courts take account of the particular way in which social media operates when reaching decisions on whether publications are defamatory."
In the statement, Mrs Bercow said:
"In November 2012, I tweeted the question 'Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*'. I did not tweet this with malice, and I did not intend to libel Lord McAlpine. I was being conversational and mischievous, as was so often my style on Twitter. I very much regret my tweet, and I promptly apologised publicly and privately to Lord McAlpine for the distress I caused him. I also made two offers of compensation. Lord McAlpine issued proceedings and the last few months have been a nightmare. I am sure he has found it as stressful as I have. Litigation is not a pleasant experience for anyone”.
Quite so ma’am!
Well, the rule of thumb is quite clear, if you tweet or blog, then simply tell the truth, so far that is still legal.
Ms. Bercow better ask her husband, John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons for a loan, I suspect she will need to scrap a few quid together.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Former leadership rival Murdo Fraser questions Ruth Davidson leadership, 18 months down the line not a lot has been achieved, why have a “Scottish leader” when they just follow London’s lead anyway, where the differences, and standing up for Scots?
The Scottish Conservatives have been doing some soul searching!
20 years so far and counting.
The party has effectively been a spent force; however they appear to want to be a force in Scottish politics again.
You would think that given they have had two decades, someone would have come up with solutions to their problems.
In Glasgow, there is a single Tory Councillor in Pollokshields, and a single MSP on the Glasgow list, that is their leader Ruth Davidson.
If it wasn’t for the list, Ruth Davidson wouldn’t be in Holyrood.
Now, senior Conservative Murdo Fraser has questioned whether the direction of Ruth Davidson’s leadership will “be enough” to secure a revival of the party in Scotland.
Probably not, when you look at things like the bedroom tax which the Scottish Conservatives never opposed and actively supported, you wonder why there should be such a thing as a Conservative leader in Scotland.
A Conservative leader should be sticking up for Scots, not blindly rubber stamping anything and everything out of CCHQ.
And before I forget, the hated poll tax came out of Scottish Conservative thinking, and we all know how that ended.
Like Moses, the Conservatives started a trek into the political wilderness, and never came back, still out there arguing about the route, should they do left, should they go right, should they go centre!
Annabel Goldie’s claim to fame was to chart a steady approach, not making any waves; it was steady performance, rather like not moving in quicksand in case you sink further. It was never a strategy to get her party out of the fix they put themselves in.
Murdo Fraser asks whether the Scottish Conservative Party “in its current manifestation” is “the best vehicle” for its supporters.
I would say no, the brand is so toxic, that a miracle needs to happen with them and the Scottish public; so far Ruth Davidson hasn’t created any miracles.
And miracles are the order of the day if the present setup is to make them viable.
Murdo suggests the Tories in Scotland may have to revisit his controversial plan for a new centre- right breakaway party, separate from the UK Conservatives.
Let’s say they go with it, a new shell is every nice, but at the end of the day, it comes to people and what they stand for, so far, rejection and not even getting the opportunity to present a case is the situation.
Murdo Fraser does have a good idea for a new party, and you could say he is the lone voice in the wilderness; his ideas on other things have been taken up. He now sits up on the backbenches having refused a shadow cabinet post.
He says Ms Davidson’s leadership has brought “glimmers of hope for the Scottish centre-right” due to the policy shift on devolution.
In the public domain that is meaningless, if people weren’t voting for them before, a slight shift would generate new voters or get their old ones back.
In Holyrood, it may mean something, in the outside world; this looks like internal housekeeping and as such is chip paper wrapper.
Fraser supports extra powers for Holyrood, however, Westminster is their real problem, Scotland turned their back because of Westminster policies and unless they fix their problem there, anything done at Holyrood is just political window dressing.
Is there unease in the Conservative ranks about Ms Davidson’s performance at Holy-rood during her 18 months as leader?
It hasn’t been great, it hasn’t been poor, but she should remember that FMQs are also a meaningless piece of theatre, and she speaks too long, short and sharp would be better.
Ms Davidson said during the leadership election that the Scotland Act, which beefs up Scotland’s control of taxation, should be a “line in the sand” on devolution.
She has now stepped over the line, events dear boy events.
Murdo is right, the Scottish Conservatives had “been slow to learn the truth” about the reasons for the party’s electoral failure in Scotland over the past two decades.
In 2015, the chance, ‘one chance to tell our enemies that they make take our lives but they will’ …. hold on that is a movie quote. Probably best to start that thought again, in 2015, one chance to reset the Conservative brand in Scotland.
That requires a platform of new policies and social justice, the reason for the party being “trapped in a vicious cycle of declining electoral support” by repeatedly campaigning on platforms rejected by the Scottish electorate is that they come across as a ‘fuck you party give us your vote and we will piss on your back’.
Any wonder the support collapsed, whether Ruth Davidson can bring it all back is doubtful, she has to change, and it is ‘road to Damascus’ stuff.
That road isn’t natural Tory ground, and for some it be an uncomfortable road to travel down, who wants another 20 years of decline?
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
Scottish independence: Academics pose the questions can Scotland afford higher education in an independent Scotland, SNP plan mass immigration and giving away £1 billion pounds in aid, Salmond and Sturgeon depriving poorest Scots of a future!
Many moons ago, I wrote posts about Scottish students who would end up being squeezed out of a university education.
George Laird right again, if you doubt this, then check the blog on higher education posts and you will see I recognised the problems in advance.
Recently SNP supporters having been looking at my writings into higher education; specifically my time at Glasgow University!
Not that this is for enlightenment, but for the purposes of smearing!
If they thought they were doing to dig up a hidden past, sadly, it was all put into the public domain, which again highlights what I have been saying about the Scottish National Party.
There really is a genuine lack of talent in their ranks, from top to bottom.
At this point, I would like to say hello to my new reader from Cambridge who is quite the avid reader of my writings.
Back to higher Ed, the SNP have botched higher education, it is beyond their scope, unsurprisingly; the post is filled with a Salmond crony called Mike Russell.
The education sector has no confidence in him, and who can blame them.
Scots students could be squeezed out of their home universities if there is a yes to independence and free tuition continues, experts have suggested.
Sounds like the recognise a problem; however their solution is slightly off, in other words they seem to be advocating screwing students for tuition fees.
Ideally, universities need to be slimmed down, the college sector should be expanded, and community colleges run by local councils introduced as a revenue provider using schools and teaching various subjects, the bonus it helps communities and people who need extra help to get on in life.
And of course the Scottish Funding Council needs to be split in two, SFC (Universities) and SFC (Colleges), colleges have been screwed for funds by the SFC body being university dominated.
Edinburgh University academics have been looking at higher education in an independent Scotland, there would be an independent Scotland under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, at the core the main problem is that they are too stupid, ignorant and small minded, they have no vision whether it is big or small.
Did you notice that the Scottish Government is now paralysed?
Currently, Scots and EU students pay no tuition fees at Scottish universities, while UK students pay annual fees, this would change if UK students were reclassified as EU students and free tuition would apply to them.
Scotland would be swamped by applications and as we have already seen, when it comes to the poorest and most disadvantaged, Scots already lose out.
Despite the SNP preaching equality, the university sector is run like a cartel, the Royal Society of Edinburgh members have a stranglehold on the main posts within the sector. RSE is a private members only club by invitation only.
And if you think they are interested in giving poor Scots access to higher education, don’t delude yourselves; St Andrews University with a rather large student body has one of the poorest records of admitting the poorest Scots, year on year.
What did the SNP do to fix the problem?
Talk and not much else!
Fairness and equality are the buzzwords to hide discrimination and failure, 120,000 colleges have been lost since the SNP became the government, rather makes a farce of the ‘yours for Scotland’ shit they parrot out.
The latest research paper is by Sheila Riddell, Elisabet Weedon and Sarah Minty funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
In higher education, academics come up with little ideas and then go ask for funding, then publish to get credit and trot off to conferences.
The hotel accommodation is excellent from what I remember some of my lecturer friends telling me, 5 Star apparently is great, and the food, so yum.
In Edinburgh briefing paper, titled The Funding of Higher Education in Scotland, the UK and internationally; personally, the sector is there already, the sector cannot continue without a major fix in thinking.
What is a university for is a good question, what should they be teaching and who should get the opportunity to attend.
It isn’t just the brightest at uni, believe me, 20 years, I meet some people who graduated who education didn’t benefit, pond life when they came and pond life when they left.
The report on what if Scotland became independent said:
"Clearly, free tuition in Scotland would be a major attraction for students from the UK and other EU member states. However, there would be a danger that such students could squeeze out Scottish domiciled students."
But the real nub is the suggestion that independence could mean no beans in the bank to fund the indulgences of high salaries and big perks enjoyed at present.
The authors suggested that there would be a funding shortfall faced by the government of an independent Scotland.
They propose three possible solutions.
Introducing fees for all students
Negotiating an agreement with the EU whereby quotas could be reserved for Scottish domiciled students
The introducing a separate admissions system for students from other EU countries
Free higher education isn’t free, and never was, the taxpayer funds it, the general idea is that education benefits society as a whole. In Scotland, the tuition argument is a hot topic, seen as a political point scorer, Labour and Tories seem favour tuition fees, because it shores up the status quo and pass the burden onto students.
And we should remember, most of the politicians who advocate screwing the poor benefited from free higher education, they just want to pull the ladder.
Down South English students gets ripped off to the tune of £9,000 a year, there are many reasons why, but a chief one I would suggest is that the political elite are just copying what is done in America.
If you look at the SNP, they copy Barack Obama campaigning techniques; the reason is that despite university education, they aren’t able to come up with original thought.
As to Sheila Riddell, Elisabet Weedon and Sarah Minty, I am sure that their paper will generate a lot of interest, and possibly more grants, however, unless there is a major reform in higher education, there will be a lot of unanswered questions.
And then at some point, a decision will need to be made to fix, can’t be done in the parliament, independence has effectively killed government; this term has been a complete waste of time.
As they say, the question is academic because there isn’t going to be independence, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon has pretty much killed off any hope of success on that front.
Oh, and before I forget, possibly somewhere in their paper, they might have said, that more work is required on this subject, it is a byline for setting themselves up for their next grant application.
The SNP isn’t interested in giving working class young Scots a future in an independent Scotland, they are planning to allow mass immigration and giving away about £1 billion pounds of Scottish taxpayers’ money a year. This means few opportunities for a job or even an education place, any hope of a future will rest in the slim chance that a poor Scot manages to get a place in the ‘uni lottery’.
This pretty much kills the lie that the Scottish National Party under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon is standing up for young Scots.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Labour MP Eric Joyce facing breach of peace charge over Edinburgh Airport staff abuse after he is refused permission to board an aircraft to retrieve his mobile phone, he needs to learn to follow the rules and exercise patience
You can’t help feeling sorry for Labour MP Eric Joyce, in some respects he had it all, and like some in public life, it all came crashing down around his ears by his own stupidity.
Joyce was someone who could have been a high flyer if he played his cards right.
Despite having expenses issues enough to run a small country, he never reached a tipping point till the trouble with boozing and fighting in the House of Commons.
Now, unfortunately, he is facing charges of breach of the peace following an incident at Edinburgh Airport on Sunday.
Maybe he needs help of some description from someone.
Joyce was arrested in the domestic arrivals area on Sunday, in front of other passengers and members of staff, more shame and disgrace, when will it end?
A Police Scotland official said:
"A 52-year-old man has been reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with an alleged breach of the peace, which happened at Edinburgh Airport on Sunday May 19."
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said:
"We can confirm that an incident did occur on Sunday evening and an individual was arrested for being abusive and confrontational towards airport staff and police. Behaviour of this nature is something we have zero tolerance for at Edinburgh Airport and police officers will act accordingly if the safety of our passengers and employees is put at risk."
The trigger for the problem was that Eric Joyce left his mobile phone on a plane and was not allowed to immediately retrieve it.
If he had exercised patience, something could have been done and he would have got his phone back, given he sits in the House of Commons passing law, he should know better.
His career is ending in disgrace, and the longer he acts this way, the less people will think of him.
He had it all and ruined it by his own actions while in public office.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
Scottish independence, dramatic footage of Aslef's No to independence on the Yes Scotland campaign, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s poisonous vile clique are in serious trouble as ordinary Scots reject them!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Scottish independence: Aslef Train drivers’ union vote No to being part of the Alex Salmond’s independence ‘death train’ to political oblivion, No drivers will actively campaign to save the Union, double blow for Nationalists
Everyone is deserting Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon; soon it will just be the dregs of his poisonous nasty vile clique that are left on the grassy knoll.
Scottish independence is dead.
Now, Aslef, the main train drivers’ union has became the first union to oppose Scottish independence in a unanimous vote at its annual conference in Edinburgh.
Looks like Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon really are getting told ‘take the train’.
And to add insult to injury, the Delegates also agreed to affiliate to the Better Together campaign for Scotland to stay in the UK.
It seems that having alienated the public, denying women cancer drugs, setting up little charities run by SNP members has taken its toll.
Scottish people have wised up, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon; two attention seeking individuals have come to the end of using up public goodwill.
People are sick of being treated as fools.
Scotland district secretary Kevin Lindsay said no Aslef branch north of the Border had supported independence for Scotland.
And why should they?
Salmond isn’t promising concrete proposals, it is just a bygone era of all ‘steam’ and venting coming from the SNP.
I said there was a genuine lack of talent and there is a genuine lack of talent.
Kevin Lindsay said:
“This is not about bashing Alex Salmond. It’s about a vision for Scotland within the United Kingdom. You didn’t get asked on your way here to Edinburgh for a passport, you got asked for a ticket. The preferred option of the SNP is the pound issued by the Bank of England and controlled by the Bank of England. There’s an indication in that name of who will be running the Scottish economy. I want a United Kingdom that delivers for the working-class people of this country. Let’s not put borders up, because borders divide people.”
The SNP has stopped delivering for working class people a long time ago.
Better Together national organiser Victoria Jamieson said:
“We are delighted to have the full support of Aslef. The voice of trade unions must be heard and trade union members will play a crucial role in this debate. Aslef have been campaigning positively for a just Scotland in a just UK, and their members have been telling us that solidarity means working together; not putting up borders to divide working people, and risk the undercutting of workers in a race to bottom. The union has also been right to point out that there are many unanswered questions over separation which could impact upon their members, whether it’s cross-border pension schemes, rail infrastructure investment, terms and conditions, or rail regulation.”
Aslef has 1,800 members in Scotland and 18,500 across Britain.
A spokesman for Yes Scotland said:
“More and more trade unionists are agreeing with Yes Scotland that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland, not least because of the damaging effects to our welfare system and the agenda of austerity and cuts”.
Yes Scotland is seen as an SNP front, staffed by senior SNP, run by the SNP, funded by the SNP and its board is SNP controlled.
There are a few pasties to pad it out from the Greens, SSP, and ex Labour.
And of course Blair Jenkins, the independence campaigner formerly of the BBC who has done such a bang up job so far of collapsing the entire independence support.
He can’t be blamed, he doesn’t know what he is doing, and that is on a daily basis, no vision, no plan and given the campaign is going to end in failure, he has no prospects of coming out of this with his dignity intact.
Here is the rest of the Yes Scotland/SNP controlled spokesman rant:
“We will continue to engage constructively with the STUC and trades unions on their vision for a just Scotland - and we will continue to make the case that a fully empowered Holyrood Parliament is far more likely to help deliver that vision than the same old policies from Westminster. After all, Scotland is wealthy enough to be a fairer nation. Alternating Tory and Labour governments have resulted in one of the most unequal societies in the western world. Our discussions with individual union members have been encouraging with many of them are coming round to the view that only a Yes vote offers a better way.”
Blame Westminster, the current SNP line, recently trotted out by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
Yes Scotland, the SNP front in Bath Street, Glasgow, the place where the Scottish public doesn’t go, hence, no planning permission to extend any train line from either Queen Street Station or from Central.
All aboard the Salmond Express, it’s all downhill, all the way, and Aslef has left the train!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
Posted by G Laird at 4:25 PM