According to the Daily Mirror, Alastair McAlpine is presently engaged in the largest libel case in British history.
He intends to sue about 10,000 people, unless they come forward and offer him an apology and a settlement. Maybe more.
Their crime is either to have tweeted or to have retweeted an allegation that Lord McAlpine was one of the men who raped Steven Messham. Lord McAlpine was not the “McAlpine” apparently identified by the police to Steven Messham: it seems that was probably Alastair McAlpine’s cousin Jimmie McAlpine, who died in 1991.
Keith Gregory said he thought a different member of the McAlpine family who lived locally may have been mistaken for Lord McAlpine.
A man who children at the care home believed to be a McAlpine would arrive there in an expensive car, he said.
Briefly – for what now seems a very short time – everyone was saying “We must believe the victims.”
Newsnight’s decision not to run an investigative programme about Jimmy Saville, because all they had was his victims’ testimony, was widely criticised.
On Newsnight tonight, instead, was the more usual refrain: Steve Messham was a “fantasist”, and shouldn’t be listened to. Lord McAlpine’s lawyer talked of bringing legal charges against Newsnight and Alistair McAlpine himself issued a comprehensive denial. Newsnight formally apologised, though it’s hard to see what for: they did not name Lord Alistair McAlpine as Messham’s abuser: nor did they hint his identity in any way.
[But see The BBC, Lord McAlpine and Libel Law for how Lord McAlpine might be able to sue the BBC anyway.]
More to the point, Steve Messham says:
at the time police showed him a picture of his abuser but incorrectly told him the man was Lord McAlpine.
Mr Messham told the BBC that he was “mortified” when he recently saw a real picture of Lord McAlpine and realised his mistake.
Newsnight did not name Alistair McAlpine as Steve Messham’s abuser. Steve Messham did not name Lord McAlpine to the media. The only senior Tory named was Sir Peter Morrison, who died in 1995.
Consistently, since her original “Dear Interpol” letter in the Huffington Post in December 2010, Naomi Wolf has been the most high-profile self-identified feminist to argue that Assange did not rape or sexually assault either of the two women. In February 2011 she wrote a much-cited essay Something Rotten in the State of Sweden: 8 Big Problems with the ‘Case’ Against Assange. She’s been outspoken in interviews and at parties – Naomi Wolf slams feminists’ response to the Assange rape prosecution (Thursday, 17th November 2011).
She’s been cited with relief from Cory Doctorow to Reuters:
Even well-known feminist Naomi Wolf criticized the international judicial hunt for Assange, writing that she personally knew “1.3 million guys” with similar complaints made against them by women.
But she had never faced an interview like Mumsnet, yesterday lunchtime (Thursday 6th September) Nor did she seem to be aware that Mumset had launched a campaign in March this year:
called We Believe You, and it has two simple aims. First, we want to shine a spotlight on the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in women’s lives; then, we want to pull apart the many myths surrounding rape, which make so many women feel that they will not be believed if they report this crime.
To all those women, we say: we believe you.
Mumsnet interviewed Naomi Wolf, and it didn’t go as Wolf wanted.
Not even in the questions being posted before Naomi Wolf arrived.
- Are we allowed to ask questions about J****n A*****e?
- Hi Naomi, How does a woman say ‘no’ if she’s asleep? thanks.
- Dear Naomi, Why do you speak so authoritatively on Swedish law when you can’t read Swedish and are not a lawyer? Do you have a response to these criticisms of your statements about the Assange matter? You got so many things factually and legally wrong. Thanks!
“In my next Friday prayers, I will make a sermon against FGM to let people know the harms that is associated to it. That will be my duty,” said Imam Ayuba Jaiteh of Tujereng village.
He further promised: “Also in other social gatherings, such as naming ceremonies, I will talk against FGM.”
According to the Home Office, up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 may be at risk of female genital mutilation. Since March 2004, it has not only been illegal to mutilate a little girl’s genitals in the UK (the first law against FGM in Britain was passed in the 1980s) it is also illegal to take a girl out of the UK to mutilate her genitals in another country. Anyone who does so can in principle be prosecuted and jailed for up to 14 years.
But there have been no prosecutions in the UK. Not because girls have not been mutilated, but because – according to Newsnight’s report last night – no effort has been made to prevent it:
[Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a French campaigner against FGM] walks me over to the Eurostar platform to tell me the story of two little girls who were about to board the train headed for St. Pancras to be mutilated in the UK.
“It was a Friday. We heard just in time. They had tickets for the Saturday.
“A family member tipped us off. We told the police and they were stopped from making the journey.”
The parents were cautioned. Had they gone ahead with the mutilations and been found out, they would have been imprisoned for up to 13 years.
“We simply will not tolerate this practice,” Isabelle explains.
Does she think many French children have been cut in the UK?
“Yes, because you do not care,” she says.
Yesterday, Shadow Minister Toby Perkins tweeted:
Shanene Thorpe says
I got a call from my supervisor asking if I’d be happy to be filmed at work to show the side of the working single parent/ young person. Of course I’d be happy to do that, being a working mum is something I’m proud of… Its not been all plain sailing.
Turned out that was Newsnight actually intended, in a duplicitous move fully in the Daily Mail tradition Continue reading
In the Independent on Sunday on 22nd January, Brian Brady reported:
Spain has indicated it could block an independent Scotland’s accession to the European Union, sources said. It has already refused to recognise Kosovo’s existence as an independent state. Madrid fears such moves will encourage separatist ambitions in Spanish regions, particularly Catalonia and the Basque region. Spain’s refusal to recognise Kosovo has frustrated the former Serbian province’s ambitions to enter the union.
Reading this story with reasonable care and attention, however, it appeared that the source for this piece of journalism wasn’t Spain, but Whitehall. Throughout the story, the only direct claims are sourced to “senior Whitehall sources” and “A senior UK minister said”:
“We understand the Scottish view is they would wish to join the UN but they would not wish to join Nato. They might wish to join the EU, but we fully expect Spain to block it, fearing it might encourage the separatist spirit on their doorstep.”
This made me cynical, but the story was more effectively skewered by Craig Murray, a Foreign Office diplomat of 20 years experience, who debunked the story in three paragraphs. The reality:
Firstly, nobody in the EU has ever left the EU voluntarily, let alone been expelled, and the idea that 5 million EU citizens in a stongly pro-EU country would be thrown out against their will is not in the realm of practical politics. The whole dynamic of the EU is expansive, with countries continually accepted into membership who technically should not be. Everybody knows, for example, that Romania and Bulgaria were not remotely close to compliance with the acquis communitaire when they were admitted. There is no appetite anywhere in the EU to argue that an EU member successor state would have to re-apply.