Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 23 July 2020

Corbyn Libel Threat, Guido Amplification

As I noted yesterday, rather a lot of people are becoming extremely litigious right now: we have had the Labour Party settling the action brought by the so-called Panorama whistleblowers and presenter John Ware, the latter is continuing his action against Press Gang creator Paddy French, and activist Richard Millett is in the midst of an action against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. All of these cases have one common element.
Mark Lewis

And that is the presence of lawyer Mark Lewis, who may have burned his bridges with campaigning group Hacked Off, but is not short of business: he is also the go-to choice of minor thesp Tracy Ann Oberman and Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley. It’s a far cry from the time when Lewis could not afford to continue a defamation action against the head of the now-defunct PCC - until Max Mosley agreed to underwrite his costs.

Now he appears to have no problem kicking off defamation actions, hinting very strongly yesterday that he will start another against Jezza for the heinous sin of posting what looks like a statement of opinion on Facebook. Corbyn had expressed his disappointment at Labour settling the Panorama case; Lewis is hinting those comments may be libellous.
For this reason, I am not linking to them. After all, that would be to magnify, to amplify the words that are proving contentious. This would leave me open to being included in the action, in the same way that Lewis, on behalf of Ms Riley and Ms Oberman, is pursuing barrister Jane Heybroek for Retweeting something.

Indeed, were someone with far greater social media reach than Corbyn to reproduce his statement in full and continue to publish it, this would surely be a prime target for Lewis and his clients. It would be a blatant amplification of an alleged libel, even if unsolicited. At a very minimum, there would have to be a demand for it to be taken down forthwith.
Well, someone with far greater social media reach than Jeremy Corbyn has published his statement, and continues to publish it. That someone is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have told readers “Corbyn Responds To Labour Court Settlement: ‘The Decision To Settle These Claims In This Way Is Disappointing’” and gone on to emphasise “Corbyn’s Response In Full”.

In view of the contentious content, I post neither link nor screen shot of the statement, just a screen shot of the headline. For the information of any lawyer who may be interested, the post was written by apprentice sandwich monitor Christian Calgie, a sensitive soul who may not yet have acquainted himself with the finer points of defamation law.
So now that this information is available to him, I’m sure that Mark Lewis, in the interests of consistency and even-handedness, will, should he pursue Corbyn, also pursue The Great Guido for his deliberate amplification. The Fawkes blog being registered in an overseas jurisdiction should not prove an obstacle; the author is based here in the UK.

After all, any action would be about nothing more than protecting the reputation of his clients. So I look forward to seeing the Fawkes massive take their post down sharpish.

Or be caused to take it down. Anything short of that would be most surprising.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at



Anonymous said...

"Even-handedness" doesn't extend to BBC Newsnight, where last night tory Maitlis conducted yet another hate-filled corrupt righty assault on Jeremy Corbyn....featuring said nutjob fanatic Lewis and tax dodger Hodge.

It's worth viewing just to see how broadcast "news" has become so far right evil. Just as bad, but in a different way, was the earlier vomit of C4 "News". The rest were little different.

Which is why this country is now on the verge of overt totalitarianism. At this rate we will soon be beyond the point of no return. For which much responsibility will rest on cowardly propagandist liars like Maitlis and "editors" like De Pear.

Malice in Wonderland said...

So, if someone or an organisation re-tweets one of Trump's defamatory posts about an individual, can that individual sue the re-tweeter?

Anonymous said...

The Law Society Gazette reported on 26 November 2018 that "Mark Lewis acted with a lack of integrity and failed to uphold the confidence the public places in the profession when he ‘wished death’ to his abusers on social media, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found today. The high-profile media lawyer, who represented phone-hacking victims against the News of the World, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs."

Matthew 7:15-20 warns us to beware false prophets, telling us to judge them by their works and not by their words: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

Anonymous said...

According to the Express, Corbyn supporters have raised nearly £18,000 from close to 1,000 donors. The fundraiser's target is £20,000. They also report of the origianl action 'Seven former employees from Labour's governance and legal unit, who contributed to the programme, had sued the party after it issued a press release describing them as having "personal and political axes to grind"'. I don't quote Corbyn's recent comments for obvious reasons but they seem to me to be both more measured and less specific. And they mostly concern the actions of the Labour Party.

The so-called whistleblowers won't have a leg to stand on. I am so going to enjoy Dan Hogan explaining his role in this little interaction from 2015, quoted from page 41 of Labour's report, in open court and subject to rigorous cross-examination:
Amy Fowler 16:40: How did you think it went when he [Corbyn] was in earlier?Stevie P whooped and is now dead to Carol
Dan Hogan 16:42: people were polite. Stevie P should be shot. Jez's speech was a total crock of shit....i clapped. but i probably didn't do a very good job of masking what i thought.
Amy Fowler 16:44: I clapped but I didn't smileAnd it takes a conscious effort for me not to smilein those situations
Dan Hogan 16:45: i couldn't look at him. my eyes rolled a lot. i probably shook my head
Amy Fowler 16:52: I feel like he should have maybe addressed the massive elephant in the room that we all kind of hate himBut I'm not sure how he could have done that without making me hate this more
No, Dan, you definitely didn't have a personal and political axe to grind.

One last service JC could do for the Labour Party is to fight this suit, burn the cunts down and make it clear that Keynesian ideas about a mixed economy were not toxic to the electorate; that he instead was systematically undermined from without and within his party by the far right. Yes, advocates of the free market are far right. Here's Hayek: "At times it is necessary for a country to have, for a time, some form or other of dictatorial power. As you will understand, it is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally, I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking in liberalism." He's talking about Pinochet, well known for having liberal protestors thrown out of helicopters to their deaths.

Anonymous said...

Anon 17:16... Many of Corbyn's most mocked policies would have worked tremendously in our current predicament.

Extra NHS investment - speaks for itself.

Free broadband - with everyone working from home & kids doing online learning the current infrastructure is creaking.

Uni funding - well now we're going to see fewer foreign students it looks like many universities will either downsize or collapse.

Electric buses - there's going to be an awful lot of unemployed engineers around for the next few years. Shame they couldn't be put to work on a big project to help the environment.

For that matter a good old Keynesian stimulus of actual money would have stabilised the economy massively more than dinner vouchers and Vat cuts for restaurants.

You still see people in the paper going 'Imagine if Corbyn was in charge now' and I'm thinking 'Yes, we'd have been shitloads better off you imbeciles'.

Re: Free market types. Just look at how many 'Don't tread on me, muh 2nd Amendment' Libertarians are now supporting the Donald and his Storm Trumpers attacking protesters. Or how many Tories in the UK are well into IQ fundamentalism and social Darwinism. Quite terrifying.

Anonymous said...

"For that matter a good old Keynesian stimulus of actual money would have stabilised the economy massively more than dinner vouchers and Vat cuts for restaurants."

I'm not actually a Keynesian (I'm well to the left of Corbyn; hence why I found the claim he's a rabid lefty so appalling) but I wouldn't disagree. Sunak may have declared himself “unencumbered by dogma” and Robert Halfon may say “I think the Tory party is changing in a massive way. It’s moving to more of what I call a Conservative workers/social democratic model of government, which is where the country is" but they're lying.

Sunak's summer statement was nothing more than the same old bung to businesses using taxpayers' money: "Other individual restaurants, as well as a number of chains, are taking the same stance, choosing to pass on just some of the VAT cut, or withhold it altogether." https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/jul/19/uk-restaurants-tensions-boil-over-as-diners-and-chefs-fall-out-over-vat-cuts-and-costly-no-shows

Sam said...

All of this Labour demonizing of the Left and Jeremy Corbyn makes me wonder what weird political tactics the current Labour leadership have discovered and who is responsible for them. Seeing 12.9 million in 2017 and 10.2 million in 2019 voted for a Corbyn led government, does the current "under new management" mob think the votes of these over 10 million are just transferable even as they attack the man they voted for?
Or perhaps Keir and "new management " have another secret (at least) 10 million voters they intend calling upon.
I don't think they have necessarily thought this one out.

grim northerner said...

There is a real intellectual paucity on the right, hence the reliance on outdated and discredited iq research from the 1950s and unrealistic economic models that don't reflect reality. Their best thinkers employ simplistic assertions then hide behind vague, faux-intellectual verbiage when challenged, ie Jordan Peterson, Roger Scruton. Common to them all is the assertion that right wing politics are in some way 'natural' and 'unquestionable'. They are all demagogues and intellectual pygmies.

Malcolm Armsteen said...

Dear fellows you have it all backward. Mark Lewis is a very successful libel lawyer, And should be taken seriously L.

Me and Abbers talk about him all the time on the omnishambles.

Anonymous said...

"Their best thinkers employ simplistic assertions then hide behind vague, faux-intellectual verbiage when challenged, ie Jordan Peterson"

Peterson did employ a unique rhetorical strategy (or, at least, one I hadn't seen used before). He'd state the major and minor premise of a syllogism but not state the conclusion. Then, when his interlocutor, would respond "So, what you're saying is ..." in order to supply the conclusion, Peterson would go "No, that's not what I'm saying at all". Because he'd only implied it, rather than explicitly state it, he'd technically be correct and could then bleat on about misrepresentation. What was overlooked in all of this was that the relationship posited by Peterson between the major and minor premise was fallacious.

"Common to them all is the assertion that right wing politics are in some way 'natural' and 'unquestionable'"

I think Roland Barthes gave the best definition of ideology when, in S/Z, he described it as presenting culture as nature.

grim northerner said...

A very accurate summation of Peterson's shtick . Although, when he sticks to actual clinical psychology, he has some interesting and profound insight s on human behaviour, it's the mixing of psychology with nonsense that undermines his credibility. He wouldn't be famous he just stuck to psychology though.

Anonymous said...

Why thank you. As to his insight, his mishmash of Jung and evolutionary psychology just struck me as bizarre.

grim northerner said...

Yeah, his theoretical stuff is a potpourri of confused and contradictory ideas, it was his plain language accounts of his actual experiences with dysfunction families that I was referring to.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have rather more familiarity with his work than I do. May I ask why you'd want to read his clinical stuff? I'm no psychologist so I can't imagine he's a set text or that his case studies are on the cutting edge of research. But I could be wrong.

grim northerner said...

Perhaps I was over egging it. He was just talking in anecdotal terms during one of his bizarre you tube lectures and he briefly came across as an empathetic therapist. I could be wrong though, I often am.