Yesterday, journalist and playwright Peter Jukes was threatened with legal action by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch. This threat was later extended to me. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, no notification has yet been received from Mr Ephraim Sue and his partners, and it is becoming all too clear that none is likely to be forthcoming.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Worse, Ms Mensch has shown herself, by making these threats, to be a hypocrite of the worst kind, having repeatedly urged only last year that those in dispute should not go to law. And her lawyers appear to keep interesting hours – if, of course, she has actually instructed them. Whether she chooses to sue me is up to her; I do not intend to persuade her in any way.
But one experienced journalist has urged caution: step forward Kevin Maguire of the Mirror, who has warned: “Wealthy, powerful Sun columnist Louise Mensch threatening to sue Peter Jukes is risible. I warn her now she’d look a fool”. Many of those replying to the Maguire Tweet were of the opinion that she had already passed that point. But she just batted the advice away.
Loftily letting slip that the deed had already been done, she replied “he’s had every civilised opportunity to delete and apologise. Matter with lawyers now”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. Calling the interval between 2000 hours and 0730 hours local time “civilised” is coming it. And instructing lawyers by the latter time might not be so easy, unless she’s taking action in the UK.
Even so, those lawyers would be duty bound to point out that exercising a forthright opinion in the course of expressing free speech, together with a defence of justification, might render her cause pointless. Maguire was certainly less than convinced: “Lot of time for [Louise Mensch] (gutsy, stands up for women) despite often disagreeing but legal threat is mad”.
And then there is the hypocrisy: when Kapil Dudakia told her on the question of not going to law “must remind you next time you threaten to sue someone who sends a bad Tweet to you”, Ms Mensch replied “if you can find a time I ever have, I will eat my hat. I never have. Ever”. She has now.
On the very same day, she doubled down: “[Libel Reform] was meant to stop this kind of thing. Wearisome in the extreme from self-described ‘free speech’ champions. Argue it. Don’t sue”. But now, not for the first time, she is threatening exactly what she has argued against.
Louise Mensch’s Sun columns show that she is a persistent and blatant liar. She is now exposed as a hypocrite, a bully, and a thin-skinned bullshitter. This blog will continue to speak freely about her unpleasant behaviour, whatever the threats.