Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wendy Alexander MSP: Tory Blogger Withdraws Smear

Part time Tory Blogger Diablo, here with a recent completely made up and likely defamatory house repossession story left a new comment on my post "Wendy Alexander: Signed a Thank You Letter" at 01:26 in the morning on 01 December, 2007. Here it is:

What a pathetic attempt to "unsmear" Wendy. Even Peter Pan wouldn't believe it.
"I just sign whatever is set out in front of me", said the Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Fit for purpose? Fit for government? Fit to bust, more like!
Get real Chris.

As a somethingly braver sock puppet than most Diablo - with 40 years of public sector pay behind them - is able to come back and devilishly remove their comments. Probably useful for anyone blogging after a Friday night out or whatever and trying to take back their whacko ideas.

And so Diablo has come back and retracted. Would this be because the concept of "unsmearing" someone applies only to cases of "smearing"? Which is of course more or less what has happened in this case.

Obviously it is possible for an MSP and their staff to make an idiot mistake and cause an apparently routine letter like this to be signed without best practice checking. Doing so may well support the idea of a lack of knowledge that funding rules had been broken.

That is an admitted fact. The rules were broken. More care needed in future by all politicians accepting donations. Make an example of her by all means pour encourager les autres. But this must be proportionate.

Let us not pretend that such an error is unlawfulness equivalent to mass murder or even drunk driving. That would indeed be and is a smear.

This was surely an avoidable administrative error over a relatively small sum of money? Surely there is enough for Tories to go at just at the moment without making mountains out of molehills?


Anonymous said...

Yeh, yeh.

But you can now join in a rip-roaringly outrageous smearing of your colleague Miranda Grell.

Let's see you do the business.

Quiet_Man said...

Rules may have been broken, but so was the law, Alexander will have to face the consequences of a criminal act same as anyone else.

Chris Paul said...

Absolutely quiet man absolutely. But I think "knowingly" is in there somewhere in the law? This is probably not the sea to drink as the french might have it. Pas la mere a boire. And I also think the Guido etc idea that a thank you letter indicates "knowingly" rather than "courtesy" is just plain silly.

Anonymous said...

Just a co-incidence then that the businessman donor concerned was put forward for an honour by Charlie Green MSP who had to resign his post as Transport spokeman whenhe admitted arranging the illegal donation.

David Duff

(Because 'Blogger' have taken the silly and vindictive step of not allowing a link to the sites of commenters who are not based on 'Blogger', I have left my site title here.)

Anonymous said...

A correction to Mr Duff - Charlie Gordon not Charlie Green.

Mr Paul, I take your point about courtesy and argued as much on a comment on another post yesterday but think that there are problems Ms Alexander has to overcome in my post on the topic that links to this thread.

Chris Paul said...

Thanks David and Scott, I'll take a look.

Have blogger really done that link barring? I'd not noticed. You could get a Blogger iD and link to wordpress etc from there.

Bad news. It may actually encourage more anons. But I'd wager it is to stop spammers posting messages with hidden links to viagra etc in the URL box.

But you'd think they could allow the main blogging s/w and/or create and easy validation route.

Anonymous said...

Well knowing how many letters my Back bench Labour MP has to sign a day - most via his secretary per rubber stamp or "GIF signature" I think this bit of Tory crap is a dead duck.

Still let him who is without sin cast the first Ashcroft.

Anonymous said...

gw - I agree, and if this argument had been used earlier in the week I think Wendy Alexander would be in a stronger position.

The problem is that Ms Alexander said in her statement during the week that she'd addressed it to the donor, and then the Alexander campaign team argued that she had not known that the donation was from an individual but thought it came from a company.

This is problematic in terms of company law (where companies if donating will have to do so explicitly using the company name); it appears contrary to evidence published by the Sunday Herald on the date of awareness; and there is a signed letter addressed to Jersey that she will have to establish she did not read.

Wendy ALexander remaining in place is damaging the Labour party in Scotland and potentially the Union. This is not a dead duck in the Scottish context.

As for the original point about relatively small sums of money, as I explain in my post Scottish financial political scandals post devolution (and leading to previous resignations of the leader of both Conservatives and the LAbour party) have involved relatively trivial sums. Holyrood and the Scottish media is much less forgiving than Westminster and the UK media. Wendy ALexander could be brought down by £950 and a letter.

Chris Paul said...

I still think the (form) letter should help make her case for naivité and clutziness. She's been dim not bad. She might prefer to go down for bad than stay up for dim though ...

Ted Foan said...

Chris - thanks for "naming and shaming" me. If you remember I told you a few weeks ago I would not be reading your blog anymore?

Actually, I lied. I didn't want to use my blogger name when I appeared on your posts any more because it was amusing to wind you up about their contents using a range of pseudonyms. (Oh, how we laughed around the Shadow Cabinet table!)

Then, the other night I found my comments were suddenly appearing under my Diablo identity even though I had used a 'nomme de plume' - hence the rapid deletion.

Obviously something has been changed by Blogger. If a nickname is used it is still published under an actual blogger identity. More worrying is the fact that you have been able to retrieve my original post and my "true" identity.

If this is a new feature then this will only result in many more anonymous blogs and annoy you even more and result in your silly approbium of "sock puppet" to anyone that thinks you are talking bojacks.

Just for the record I have never made a contribution to any political party (via David Abrahams, Lord Ashcroft, Lord Sainsbury or Mr Mittal or anyone else, for that matter.)

I am just an individual who thinks that the Labour government has been a disaster for this country and I want them out - the sooner the better!

Chris Paul said...

Thanks for explaining. I don't know what Blogger are up to with this nicknames business though it sounds as though it did not do what it said it would do on the tin.

Many bloggers get copies of comments emailed to them as they arrive - even if they are not in comment moderation mode. That way I know when spamfools are posting dozens of messages on here and can decide what to do about it.

And the sockpuppets. Oh joy.

Most web stats also provide lists of visiting people's IP addresses as well - whether you want that or not it is useful to have in case of libels that are not only actionable but also to be actioned.

There are several bloggers to my certain knowledge lining up cases against libelling and harrassing sock puppets using such data. That's not likely to happen here as everyone is so well behaved.

Anyway you have not only been outed over the late night "unsmearing" line which is telling enough, but also as someone who thinks it is big and clever to come over and post non contributions to topics under cover of anonymity, ... oh and a liar.

And there I was commending you for having the balls to post under your "own name" which is itself of course a nom de plume.