This blog routinely gives the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog stick. The Fawkes folks, generally, richly deserve it. But on one matter, I agree with Staines, and that is the clumsy defamation of him by the technologically illiterate Tory MP Claire Perry, who represents the unfortunate people of the fine town of Devizes (home of Wadworth’s legendary 6X ale).
Claire Perry (at present still an MP)
The narrative is straightforward (and can be seen in this post from Unity at Ministry of Truth): Ms Perry’s site was hacked, and, as befits the hacking of an anti-porn campaigner, a number of images definitely NSFW were left there. The Fawkes blog posted about the hacking, and included a screen shot – nothing else. “Porn campaigner gets hacked and porn left” cannot be other than newsworthy.
At this point, Ms Perry appears to have gone completely gaga, indulging in a Twitter rant where she accuses Staines of “hosting a link that distributed porn via my website” (potentially actionable), followed by talking of “the hacking of my website sponsored by @guidofawkes”, which is definitely actionable, unless she can show that Staines encouraged the hackers (unlikely).
Now, this blog has noted that The Great Guido has in the past threatened to set m’Learned friends on his critics on what look like shaky pretexts – the incident outside London Bridge tube station, where a camerawoman was knocked over, comes to mind – but this is straightforward and clear defamation, and moreover, Staines has given her ample opportunity to withdraw.
So now the stage has been reached where Staines’ lawyers have been instructed – The Great Guido might also consider looking to Adrian Hilton aka Archbishop Cranmer, who has repeated the “sponsored” accusation – and it can only end in tears for Ms Perry. Not only is she more than likely to lose any subsequent action, but will also be exposed as a clueless technophobe.
And that’s going to be difficult for the press’ anti-porn campaign, which, as Unity points out in his post today, has been, shall we say, subject to Ms Perry’s input. As Paul Bernal has pointed out at the Staggers, the proposals unveiled the other day by Young Dave raise more questions than they answer, and are deeply unconvincing as a result. The Perry sideshow could seriously damage Cameron’s idea.
The best course of action for Claire Perry is to hold her hands up, say sorry, and pay whatever multiple of The Two Dollars is necessary to settle the legal bills. Then she has to hope that the news cycle will move on, and spare her further embarrassment. Because the more attention that is focused on her lack of technical savvy, the more it will damage her reputation and that of the anti-porn campaign.
On this occasion, it is not The Great Guido who is in another fine mess.