I am indebted to an eagle-eyed Slogger for bringing the legal networking site Contact Law to my attention. This is a Reuters-Thomson service, so one might be forgiven for thinking it knew WTF it was at. But clearly, it doesn’t. Either that, or it is brazenly batting for the Angry Brigade Urban Libel Guerrillas for the Liberation of Blogger Money, proprietors A. McAlpine and A. Reid.
As the Slog recently pointed out, the industrialised damages extraction programme being conducted by ABULGOLBOM is in flagrant breach of the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (SRA) rules on how to go about suing for libel. But the Contact Law site notes the way Reid is collecting money, and then cheerfully remarks:
‘While McAlpine has already received £310,000 in damages from the BBC and ITV, and will possibly receive another £50,000 from Mrs Bercow, requesting donations to a charity after receiving an apology from lesser known social media uses is an excellent way of going about it.
If more people used similar methods when going for defamation damages our charities, and the people they support, would be in a much better state.’
I’ve heard some rationales for scaring people into coughing up, but this one (it’s a lifeboat for the charity sector) takes the biscuit. In terms of SRA guidelines, however, the above information is quite wrong. There is also another ‘error’ at the site. When referring to McAlpine v Bercow, it offers this classic of guilty until proven innocent:
‘The BBC reports that lawyers acting for Lord McAlpine have made a claim for damages limited to £50,000. Lord McAlpine wasn’t named on the programme, however he was identified mistakenly online as a result of it.’
There simply is no proof of that, and if Carter-F**k have any sense of honour they will press this point vigorously should the case ever come to Court: it won’t aid their client in any way, but it might make all those going mental about Entwistle’s payoff wonder why TF the BBC caved in to this ridiculous claim.
The truth is that the McAlpine name had been circulating both on and offline for at least fifteen years: his Lordship was named in a David Icke book, and he was indeed mistakenly fingered by hundreds of bloggers over time…who mistook him for his second cousin, the notorious Jimmie McAlpine. The only thing one can say with any certainty is that the BBC documentary and Schofield’s TV sofa attack on Cameron exacerbated an identification parade that had been going on for years.
This is actually a vitally important point: the tweets and blogs which then ensued highlighted the mistaken identity, and cleared Lord McAlpine’s otherwise spotless gosh doesn’t Vanish work well reputation, books about media manipulation notwithstanding. Perhaps Alistair should be paying us.
I quite like the acronym ABULGOLBOM: it is suitably onomatopoaeic, resembling as it does the sound of a greedy blow-out