LORD McALPINE: Time for a generous gesture


His grace Lord McAlpine trousered £185,000 courtesy of the taxpayer last night. More exactly, he ripped £185000 out of an already overstretched BBC budget. The BBC, as far as I can glean, never mentioned McAlpine by name in the Newsnight coverage, but their actions (and those of ITV) “sent everyone onto the internet” said his tumescent solicitor Andrew Reid. Philip Schofield showed the Prime Minister a list, saying it was “all over the internet”. This was true. But ITV is now scurrying around, desperate to donate his Lordship’s retirement fund defamatory damages.

This sort of sums up – in the Scottish Herald as it happens – the lascivious glee with which Mr Reid is going about his heavy task: he has ‘a “very long list” of tweeters who mentioned Lord McAlpine on the micro-blogging website, said Mr Reid, warning their messages could end up costing them “a lot of money”. Mr Reid called on anyone who thought they may have defamed the peer to contact him to reach a settlement, warning this may be the cheapest outcome for them….’

This is life aping Monty Python, and their imagined TV Gameshow ‘Blackmail’.

If like me you are beginning to wonder whether the world has gone entirely mad this morning, the confirmation can be found in this statement from Cash Collector General Andrew Reid: (my italics)

“We are beyond the considering at this point. Very sadly, we are going to have to take action against a lot of people.The next person on our list is in fact the This Morning programme, run by ITV, where Phillip Schofield managed to embarrass the Prime Minister … and then destroy my client’s reputation. What he did really was very, very low, and I’m amazed it was allowed, absolutely amazed….[Twitter] goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility. The public are fed up with it. We are being pushed and pushed to get on and actually end trial by Twitter.”

This affair has become a caricature of supposition, bullying, and greed. There is no law against embarrassing a Prime Minister. Philip Schofield did nothing to ‘destroy’ McAlpine’s reputation. In fact, unlimited access to the media has cleared his name entirely. There is no evidence whatsoever that the public is ‘fed up’ of Twitter. Nobody in the public is pushing McAlpine and Reid to do anything. Indeed, to many people on this grey, drizzly and austere British Autumn morning, the two men look horribly like a dynamic duo cashing in on something which – the Peer continues to assert – is “the worst thing that can happen to a person”. I still grope to understand the self-pity associated with such a remark in the context of what the BBC was investigating in its programme.

Anyway, Mr Reid is “very sad”, he tells us, to be building up what could quickly become a nice little nest-egg of sweet revenge. So on this particularly special day for children, I have a perfectly sensible and entirely appropriate suggestion for Lord McAlpine and his lawyers.

I think they should kick off tonight’s Children in Need show by donating the £185,000 award to that charity. Largely on the grounds that they need it more than he does.

And as a form of encouragement – to show McScalpine & Greed what the public really thinks – I propose a Twitterthon of libel-free, polite suggestions that life-scarring buggery is a rather more important issue than clearing one Peer’s name. Especially when the name has already been, um, cleared. And that Peer is already, aah, very wealthy. What we need here, your Lordship, is a little trickling down wealth in the classic Baroness Thatcher tradition.

I would ask everyone who supports my idea to send as many folks as possible to the link at the top of this post. You do not have to mention either The Slog or John Ward: the only thing that matters here is a display of public opposition to those who claim without evidence that the public is on their side. This is not about politics, it is about caring for sufferers and arresting perpetrators who are (a) not celebrities (b) not unwittingly serving the purpose of Rupert Murdoch and the paedophile community and (c) often already loaded.

In 140 characters, the sort of exemplar ‘trending’ tweet I’d like to see is:

Congrats re £185K award Lord McAlpine. Please donate it to lives destroyed by the guilty. Donate the £185K to Children in Need. (No link)


Abused kids could benefit from £185K #LordMcAlpine. Pls donate to Children in Need. (with link)

This is everyone’s chance to demonstrate real public opinion, and help vulnerable kids. Please get involved if you support those ideals.

Related: An Open letter to Ed Miliband