Speech not free in Britain

A participant on a Yahoo message board has been ordered to pay 10,720 pounds for calling a politician a “lard brain” and a “Nazi.” This endangers the conversation in Britain.

: And on the same day, here’s a blogger and author threatening to sue blogger Oliver Kamm after a spat over an unfavorable book review.

Where does this end: suing schoolchildren for calling each other poopy pants? If you don’t know where it will end, you shouldn’t start.

  • Kat

    Instead of suing maybe they could use the CCC thing ,grovelling, and a kiss on the cheek.

  • Tony

    are you familiar with Britain’s libel laws? this isn’t that surprising of a result.

  • rcjordan

    a blogger interviewed David E. McCraw, Counsel for The New York Times Co. (you should really get out more, Jeff, you know, read a few blogs, surf…)

    “In Europe, particularly the UK, libel laws are different. Unlike the States – where it is the plaintiff who is responsible for proving libel – in the UK it is up to the defendant to prove that what they wrote was true.”


  • “”They started saying I was on a sex offenders’ list and that people shouldn’t let me near their children,” said Mr Keith-Smith, who is also chairman of the Conservative Democratic Alliance, which bills itself as “the leading voice of the radical Tory right”.

    He resolved to take legal action after the pair accused his wife of being a prostitute.”

    It really sounds to me like this was worse than calling somebody a lard ass and a nazi.

  • rcjordan


    Your post omits the full range of her apparently false charges…

    “(her) post claims that the 53-year-old chartered surveyor was a “nonce”, a sexual offender, a racist bigot and a Nazi.

    Addressing him as “Lardarse” or “Lardbrain”, she also alleged that he had sexually harassed a female co-worker, had been charged with soliciting boys and cottaging and that he was a sexual deviant of the most perverted kind.”


  • Defamation is defamation.

  • Oh, yes, I’m quite familiar with British libels laws and so are all you, so I didn’t see the need to review; perhaps I should have to be clear. What I’m saying is that interactivity provides a new frontier of litigiousness and one that will free citizens out of the ability to speak and, at the least, that is one damned shame. When I was speaking in Britain last month, I said that libels laws in every country need to be reexamined. In Britain, where politicians take advantage of them, I’d say it’s tragically unlikely to happen.

  • Glyn

    Calling him a Nazi was only after he had made the complaint about the woman. The initial and main complaint was she said that he was a convicted paedophile and that people shouldn’t let him near their children, which was a lie.

    I have no sympathy for her. Accusing people of crimes such as that is too serious to be trivialized.

  • Funny, in TX a young girl was recently suspended because of things that were posted on her website. Seems they should have been removed, the school contended.

    What a mischief it would be if I should make scurrilous charges on Jeff’s website about the behavior of some,particularly some one that he’d shown disregard, and he left the remarks up long enough to be read by, and passed on by, third/fourth parties, and Jeff should be held responsible for promoting libel. not that that would happen here? That’s Jeff’s hope.

  • She’s an ass, yes. But the issue here is that one ass will allow the litigious to chill speech for the rest of the town. Thanks to your comments, all, I’ll post on this at greater length and detail later today.

  • Mr Wave Theory thinks that there is a Bubble 2.0 for Web 2.0 and Most Analysts Are Overestimating the Size of Google’s Total Addressable Market for Internet Advertising

    I am sick and tired of hearing analysts make wild projections about Google’s growth prospects based on wild projections about the size of Google’s total addressable market.

    Continued …


  • Yeah, hard to stop a good rant. Folks love name callin’ so much that even Georgia Republicans are commencing to yelling a few at one of their own – none other than Righteous Ralphie Reed! See this righty blog for a good time:

  • Insult is not conversation; address your opponent’s claims, not what he is.

    I say that anyone who can’t, or won’t, engage in substantive discourse, but instead engages in personal attacks and defamation has no right to speak. If a person is not going to participate in the conversation, then he needs to damn well shut up.

    By using insult and making false claims against another you are degrading the conversation, and making it very hard to reach agreement. By defaming another you are placing barriers against reaching an understanding.

    Ad hominen attacks have no part in any sort of discourse. Anyone who engages in such really should apart from society and spare us their drivel and spite.

  • Uh

    Kellogg, I was going to respond to your declarative…but gosh, don’t know if “I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK” without passing your exam first.

    Conversation? Seems like the BEST time for an ‘insult’ so you might have the opportunity to respond…IN WHATEVER FASHION YOU WISH after all.

    Is it really oversimplifying to (humbly) suggest one man’s “substantive discourse” is nother guy’s scurrilous blasphemy?

    Since you’ve turned this ‘conversation’ to one of political correctness and protection of prurient interests AT ALL COSTS…

    “…damn well shut up” wasn’t a phrase I learned in debate class or persuasive writing.

    Seems you’ve become your own enemy “in the instant that you preach.”

    If “Ad hominen” attacks are well-known enough to have a latin name, I’d say they’ve been around a while and you just might expect some in conversations with strangers in anything even slightly less-than-polite environment.

    You’ll have to decide if YOUR comment or MINE “degrades the conversation more.

    “…hard to reach agreement”??? Is THAT the point here, or anywhere – except in a marriage maybe!

    As for me, I am quite comfortably “apart from society” in every way that matters to ME. Hope this bit of “drivel and spite” doesn’t drive you right over the edge er somethin.

    I’m kiddin. Couldn’t care less. So sue me.

  • It would seem that context is more relevant than the nature of the insult. For example this blog

    contains insult, drivel AND spite and upsets me a gret deal. I write it too. This creates a dilemma, should I ignore the muses or pay heed and suffer ? Or just f*ck off ?
    Have a look and tell me what you think.

  • Uh…

    In your case, my twisted Uncle, it appears that the insult IS the context.

    Perhaps THAT is why you are SO supset about the drivel and spite which you write? I had a look and I don’t know what the hell to think. But I WAS entertained for nearly the entire 90 seconds I spent there. And now, my life is complete.

    Do you spose that WAY too many folks who know how to type, incorrectly surmise that the words that come out when their dancing fingers play across keyboard…actually have a scintilla of significance? To anyone about anything?

    My prescription is to to ignore the muses, pay heed and suffer, and THEN “f*ck off. Whatever gets you through the night, blah blah blah…

  • bit torrent

    It is not OK under any circumstances to call someone a child sex offender or a prostitute if they are not one. That is not freedom of speech. It is a malicious personal attack, not only on him but on his loved ones.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with the libel laws in Britain. I feel free to criticise anyone providing I have the evidence and prrof to back up my argument.