Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Legal principle #1

Never ever go to court. Melissa Kite seems, however, to be spoiling for a battle of the briefs. The trouble stems from an article in the Sunday Telegraph in which she suggested an imminent Tory reshuffle, dropping Liam Fox, dempting William Hague and promoting David Ruffley. Iain Dale smelled Ruffley's influence on the peice, which he saw as improbable in the extreme. Presumably, also, commenters piled in decrying the status of Ms Kite to write the piece in the first place (I admit though that I tend to follow Oliver Kamm's rule on the bigger blogs and usually don't read the comments).
Melissa, smarting at this rather rough handling, takes a swipe at conservative blogs in general, describing them as being close to death and as being almost exclusively the preserve of right wing men of a certain age - which might surprise such bloggers as Matt Sinclair (and me for that matter - 27 is hardly freewheeling into the tomb) or Caroline Hunt. For evidence she condemns the Cornerstone Group's new blog, which is hardly going to cause much disagreement either here or at Iain's - the target of most of her ire. She goes on to blame the criticism she got for her reshuffle article on misogyny and, for good measure, threatens her critics with a libel suit.
Tory blogging is ripe for a libel challenge. And there will come one. I know these bastions of male political debate love the fact that I'm a woman in their world so let me put it in language they might understand:

The next time you guys go into a tizzy in your little chatrooms you ought to ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
In her case, her question is where else could you call a professional every name under the sun and expect them not to uphold their reputation in court? Unfortunately the answer is pretty much anywhere - calling someone every name under the sun sounds like the definition of vulgar abuse and thus not libellous. Just ask Steven Berkoff.

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