Only one thing distinguishes real libel bullies from those who merely pretend to behave thus, and it is the sure and certain knowledge that the latter are full of crap. The mere threatening of legal action, knowing that it has zero chance of being followed through, is the true sign of the empty vessel, the paper tiger, the abject and total coward.
Jolyon Maugham QC
Which brings us to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who, as Zelo Street regulars will recall, threatened a defamation action against me, only to be told by my lawyer in no uncertain terms that his initiative was going nowhere. This was a considerable disappointment to one well-known QC, who was rather looking forward to cross-examining The Great Man on the subject of his reputation, or lack of it.
After his bluff was called, one might have thought that Staines would desist from threatening legal action in the future. Not a bit of it: after Brexit busting barrister Jolyon Maugham revealed that he had killed a fox which had become caught in netting and was causing distress to his chickens, The Great Guido has blustered once more.
Following the RSPCA’s response to Maugham’s admission that he had killed a fox - “We're aware of a situation regarding a fox, and would like to reassure people that we're investigating. Due to a very high volume of tweets, unfortunately we can't respond to every single one, and are unable to provide further comment right now. Thank you for your understanding” - Staines sprang, or perhaps that should be waddled, into action.
“If necessary we will organise a private prosecution” he announced grandly. And so a new round of non-celebrity Call My Bluff began, soon followed by “A leading law firm has come forward and offered to work pro bono on this animal welfare case”. Yeah, right. And who might that be? If it’s Griffin Law (Donal Blaney’s outfit) then no-one, especially a seasoned QC like Maugham, should be even slightly concerned.
After all, Griffin Law was the source of another legal threat against this blog, sent on behalf of the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole. That one didn’t even need a lawyer’s letter in response. But Staines appears serious, and has now started goading Maugham, even though the latter probably isn’t taking any notice of him.
“He’s openly mocking [foxes] … Don’t [fox] lives matter? Also what kind of conditions were these chickens being kept in? … What kind of life is this? … He obviously won't let them leave … Massive metaphor. He can make chickens remain, he can't stop British lions Brexiting”. So says someone who talks the Brexit talk while choosing to live in an EU member state from which said British lions were banished around a century ago.
Worse, Staines’ faux concern for animal welfare stands in marked contrast with his past willingness to become involved in gun-running to murderous terrorists, and his support for the Apartheid régime in South Africa. Then there is his own criminal past, alluded to by one Tweeter whose response to Staines’ talk of a private prosecution was simply “Did he drunkenly drive his car into the fox?” He has no room to get righteous with anyone.
Jolyon Maugham’s fox killing exploits may have made the front page of the Daily Mail. But the likelihood of Paul Staines making anything out of them is not unadjacent to zero.
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