Guido on bloggers future post Leveson

Thought Readers might like to read Guido’s views on the regulation chaos:

“AFTER Parliament voted to regulate the Press on Monday, curious journalists asked Downing Street how this new Royal Charter would affect the internet. Who would be regulated?

Only news websites will be regulated, they were told by the Prime Minister’s spokesman.

What, they asked, about the Guido Fawkes political blog?

“No” came the answer, that would not be regulated.

Down the road elsewhere in Whitehall Maria Miller, the minister responsible for the media, was briefing that my Guido Fawkes blog would fall foul of the new regulations because it reports news and gossip.

Do these bumbling buffoons really know what they are doing?

It doesn’t seem like the Government have thought through the regulation.

Maria Miller was asked in Parliament if Hello! magazine would be regulated — the out-of-touch minister admitted she had not even heard of the top-selling celebrity photo-magazine.

That this is all a bit of a shambles is hardly surprising.

After all, the deal to end 318 years of Press freedom was cobbled together at 2am by David Cameron’s fixer Oliver Letwin in Ed Miliband’s office with Hugh Grant’s motley crew of anti-Press campaigners on hand with takeaway pizzas helping out with the drafting.

It was rushed through Parliament the next day with some 500 MPs happily supporting a chance to get revenge on the papers for exposing and bringing to an end their expenses fiddling.

The truth is the world wide web is not going to be regulated by our out-of-touch politicians. My business is run out of Ireland and the blog is hosted on a web server in California.

Which means that unless the Royal Navy plan to send a warship to enforce the Royal Charter by pointing its guns at the web servers off Long Beach, there is no chance of this scheme working.

Max Mosley, the shameless Formula 1 tycoon who has campaigned against the Press and for privacy laws that would have stopped his orgy with hookers from being exposed, told a Select Committee of MPs yesterday they could “cut the wires” to the internet for foreign-hosted websites like mine.

That is what the Chinese, Saudi and Iranian regimes do. Is that really the route Britain should go down? Keeping the voters in the dark about the private lives of politicians — with privacy regulations for example — does not make voters better able to judge the merits of the people who want to rule over us.

Voters need to know if, for example, a politician has a drink problem.

Politicians have always been wary of a free Press watching and reporting on their murky doings.

They have, over the centuries, tried to keep journalists out of Parliament, ban them altogether, licence them, jail some occasionally and now regulate them.

I write about politicians every day and do not think it is at all healthy to be regulated by a statute passed by the very same people who are often criticised harshly on my blog.

That is why we won’t, as a matter of principle, submit to these proposed regulations whatever the penalty risks.

The editors of two weekly news magazines, Private Eye and The Spectator, have both said they won’t be going along with the charter either.

Readers want a robust free Press that makes amends when it makes mistakes.

Trust does have to be rebuilt after the phone hacking scandals of the past.

Newspapers have a big decision to make. If they go along with this scheme they need to design a system that gives redress to those deserving it yet doesn’t open the gates to a deluge of complaints from politically motivated campaigners.

Or they could just say “no”, publish and be damned.

Guido Fawkes, pinched from the Sun (sorry).

Jahangir Akhtar – Attempted Intimidation?

Rothpol received this email from Jahangir Akhtar at eleven minutes past midnight today:

“I request you supply me with the identity of the posters to you blog  of Chris and Ali who have both written that I have an ASBO.

I also want you to remove the posts as I deem them to be lies and slanderous.

I will await your response before referring this matter to my solicitors.”

Jahangir Akhtar

Rothpol has responded in the following terms:

“Mr Akhtar,
Would be grateful for the name and address of your solicitor, so that my solicitor may correspond with them on the matters you raise.”

A response from Jahangir Akhtar (jahangirakhtar@ymail.com) received 15:45 today:

“I made a reasonable request asking you to remove the inaccurate posts and also provide me the identity of the people have posted on your blog.

You have responded by posting my private correspondence on your blog.

You leave me no alternative but to let the legal system take its coarse. I am sure you will  get to know my solicitors name/  address when you are served the writ.”

This email was unsigned.

Rothpol has again responded in the following terms:

“Mr Akhtar,

re: Pre-action Protocol for Defamation

I note the contents of your reply.

I have to inform you that your attitude and general demeanour thus far, is quite simply unacceptable and will not go unchallenged.

I requested the name of your solicitors as per the Pre-action Protocol for Defamation which you are required to do promptly, when requested.

I again request that you inform me of their name and address, so that letters of claim may be exchanged.

This request, if unheeded is a very serious matter and I advise you to comply.”

Nothing further has been heard from Akhtar. Bullying and attempts at intimidation, will not work here!

Index on Censorship – Councils abusing rights to silence critics!

Thought readers would like to see this from Index on Censorship about law breaking local government bullies trying to silence criticism. Outrageous!

Local authorities use libel laws to silence criticism

01 Sep 2011
Local authorities in the UK use the uncertainty around England’s archaic libel law to silence criticism of their actions. Michael Harris reports

The government’s draft defamation bill — presently under scrutiny from Parliament’s Joint Select Committee — contains measures to exclude such bodies from bringing defamation actions.

This springs from a 1993 court decision now referred to as the Derbyshire judgement. This ruling established the principle that public bodies such as councils, local authorities and government departments may not sue for libel. Read on……and weep!

Blue Badge Abusing Councillor – Fresh Insights!

Tales from the Town Hall brings us fresh insight into this rather murky little affair with their recent posting of this story entitled, “Red Faces Over Blue Badge Mystery.”

Readers should especially note the sentence, “The Council is warning that lawyers could intervene to stop the rumours!” A bit like King Canute ordering the tide not to come in, I would have thought?

Wherever council officers gather, for coffee or a gossip round the photocopier for example, you can be sure that this will be topic number one on the bush telegraph and it is entirely possible that by close of play on the first day back everyone will know the identity of this arrogant but rather cowardly man! That is, if they don’t already know?

The councillor involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves not only for  abusing the Blue Badge in the first place but for hiding the truth from us by obliging officers to mount a cover up!

The sheer effrontery of this loathsome individual deserves nothing but contempt from the people of this long suffering Town. His actions are positively outrageous from someone who purports to be a ‘public servant!’ The fact that he still seems to be under the protection of ‘Labour Group’ just adds to the outrage!

He should do the only decent thing in the circumstances, fess up and resign his seat! NOW! By his own actions he amply demonstrates his unsuitability for public office of any kind.

Jacob Rees-Mogg bashes blogger into submission!

When Bath University student, Hadleigh Roberts, started a satirical blog entitled the “Rees-Mogg Blogg“, little did he realise that old Etonian, millionaire, Pension Fund Manager and now Tory MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg, didn’t have a sense of humour.

Roberts blog (Image Left) lampooned Rees-Mogg. Portraying him as a dimwit embarrassing David Cameron as the antithesis of the ‘New’ Tory Party. Something he seems determined to remind us of, every time he opens his mouth! A true Tory toff, if ever there was one!

Jacob Rees Mogg - Candidate for upper class twit of the year? (apologies to Monty Python)

Rees-Mogg used his considerable resources to silence Roberts for good.

The offending Website disappeared from view last December in response to pressure from Rees-Mogg’s legal advisers.

Roberts, not unsurprisingly for a student, could not afford lawyers himself. Now he has been forced to sign an undertaking not to revive the offending blog or to mock him in future.

A truly sad day for bloggers, when the rich and powerful can silence criticism so easily!

Source: Bath Chronicle – read story here.

The 'Great Firewall of Rotherham'?

We have learned that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council have followed the Chinese in implementing censorship of the internet by preventing connection to certain sites with their firewall. Dubbed the ‘Great Firewall of China’ it restricts the Chinese access to independent information. It appears that the control freaks in Rotherham have one of their own to play with.

They have paid us the compliment of banning this site, but surprisingly www.rotherhamindependents.org.uk has not yet been blocked by the ‘Politburo’ using the ‘Great Firewall of Rotherham’.