Thursday, August 06, 2009

Alan Sugar Tries to Bully Quentin Letts

Last Saturday Quentin Letts revealed he was being threatened with a libel suit from Alan Sugar. He was apparently very hurt by Letts' description of him as 'stupid' during a broadcast on LBC - this after he admitted on Sky News that he didn't know what taking the Labour whip meant. Letts also alledged that he only got a peerage because he was a TV personality. Most people would have regarded this as an innocent bit of knockabout. Not Sugar, who must have a skin thinner than a 30 second old rice pudding, as well as an ego the size of tent.

You would have thought those that dish it out ought to be able to learn to take it. Not in Sugar's case, poor lamb. He can be as rude as he likes to the contestants on The Apprentice, yet objects to it when he gets a bit roughed up by someone else. C'est politics, c'est la guerre.

It's also interesting that Sugar has gone for the easy option threatening Letts personally rather than the Daily Mail or LBC. It shows he knows he has a weak case.

If Sugar is allowed to get away with this and Letts feels forced to cave in, there are dire consequences, not least for those of us who habitually try to call politicians to account - for that's what Sugar now it, a politician.

Matthew Parris outlines the position perfectly in his column today.

One question though: who is paying Sugar's legal bills? Is he forking out Herbert Smith's fees himself or has he persuaded the Department of Business to pay? After all, Speaker Martin got the taxpayer to fund his Carter-Ruck bills, didn't he?

69 comments:

Bugsmalone said...

What a pathetic, ignorant, stupid individual Sugar is. For years he's been obnoxious to people everywhere he goes - the media, at work, in his personal life. Well now he's volunteered to be a politician by snuffling up Gordon Brown's shilling and has to take the consequences.

Should Letts need the odd sum to take him on I shall be ready to cough up from my pensioner's mite.

Wej K said...

I think Sugar's pockets might be a *bit* deeper than Martin's.

Uncle Bob said...

I hope Quentin lets it go to court, Sugar should know the golden rule of libel 'Carter-Fuck is always your first port of call'!

Norman said...

Shades of Robert Maxwell here

albertmbankment said...

The public Alan Sugar is reassuringly different from the private Sugar. I met him a number of years ago, and was (well, 'impressed' would be the wrong word since it implies a sense of superiority, which I don't have) struck by how restrained, charming and easy he was. I can't stand his blustering TV persona, though.

Perhaps he's being used as a proxy by others to put the frighteners on Quentin Letts. There again, I reckon Quentin Letts deserves all he gets, since he is, in my view, a full-on tosser. I had dealings with him a while back, and he really does trade on being offensive to be 'funny'. His approach is that of the seaside comedian who will tell a barrage of increasingly unpleasant Jewish/coon/queer/cripple/mother-in-law gags, and then shrug disapproval off with a sanctimonious "hey, no offence meant. Wassa matter, mate, carncha take a bleedin' joke" snigger.

So, in this case I really do hope that Letts is well and truly frightened.

vervet said...

It seems to me that Sugar’s action has, by itself, proven the truth of Letts’ opinion, that he is: “… a telly peer who doesn’t seem to have an enormous intellect …”.

Case closed.

VotR said...

Sugar should be fired.

I couldn't resist that one.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Most bullies cannot take it when it is handed out to them.

Hurriedly, to avoid being sued by Lord Sugar, I must state that he is astute, wise, polite, pleasant, intellectual, handsome and tall.

Quietzapple said...

F - u - u nny you and your commenters take the lines you do, Iain . . .

Sugar is a very successful businessman, a true original and innovator with a lot of well deserved reputation, helping his country out.

He may be able to distinguish when insults become libels, and to realise that real life is not all play acting.

Your old mucker Paul Staines of Guidos was rather less hard skinned when he pulled the libel threat card from his pocket to various poorly backed bloggers a few years back, while the Guardian was not so threatened?

http://tamponteabag.blogspot.com/2008/02/guy-fawkes-blog-of-bullying-cowardice.html

(Oh, comparisons between myself and Maxwell ignored, I've been insulted by professionals)

None of the above said...

Still nothing on John Bercow's 'redecoration' to the tune of shitloads of our money?

plus ca change...

I find it totally beyond the pale but then I'm always out of step

Norfolk Blogger said...

But Quentin Letts is just a Tory mouthpiece anyway. The rubbish he writes is almost comical sometimes.

Newmania said...

A Chav got lucky who does not like the truth is a sorry sight.

Chas N-B said...

Letts is the bully. He sneers from for a living and usually gets away with it. Horrible snobbery in his remarks about Sir Alan. That said, Sir Alan should toughen up - politics is full of snobby cowards like Letts.

Cinna said...

Time to open a fighting fund for Quentin. It's time that Sugar was shown he's nothing special.

Pelagius said...

Ask him quote Voltaire, then we'll see who's stupid.

Not a sheep said...

An aggressive leader who can't take criticism; hmm remind you of anyone?

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Alan Sugar. However, it is time that the odious Mr Letts got his come uppance. I am astonished that many journalists that I like have signed a letter in support of Mr Letts. His writing is contemptible, biased and unamusing.

I do not consider sending a solicitor's letter as bullying. Neither do I find Matthew Parris's article today reasonable. I have read both journalist's columns for years and Matthew's writing has never offended me. In contrast, I am offended by the cruelty of much of Mr Letts's writing.

Jane

The Purpleline said...

As far as I can see good old, Quentin, has actually said the truth, as he believes it. I do hope Quentin lodges a counter claim and cites Brown as a key-witness to explain the reasons behind the appointment and scope of work Sugar’s job entails.

It is about time that any new political placemen is required to go before an interview committee so the public can be certain the reasons for being elevated to such a position are due to experience and not only funds promised or given.

I am willing to establish a fighting fund for Quentin and as in history would be willing to do his time in prison to ensure success.

Me tarzan you said...

jane said...
I have read both journalist's columns for years and Matthew's writing has never offended me. In contrast, I am offended by the cruelty of much of Mr Letts's writing.


August 06, 2009 12:24 PM

Why would you read someone for years that you find to be offensive and cruel, that makes little sense to me.....unless of course your a liberal democrat.

The Lakelander said...

If m'Lord Sugar is so thin skinned, then I look forward to receiving his writ for this

Though I would plead the defence of "fair comment."

Bird said...

Letts is a national treasure, easily the most amusing of the parliamentay sketch-writers.
He sometimes comes over as snobbish, but he's quite happy to take the piss out of Tory grandees.
If he's taken to court, he'll be well supported. I'll certainly chip in.

kasou said...

A government of bullys must have a public mouth, and an unshaven, big mouthed idiot TV personality with no respect for us or anyone seems to suit this pathetic bullying government. Give him some Nokias. Poor MR Sugar, you are worse than I thought.

Welcome to the other side of politics.

Claretta said...

One interesting side note - I read QL's piece online and was surprised to see there were no comments from readers. I wrote one, saying I would be first in line to help with his fighting fund, but it has never been posted. Strange... surely the D Mail isn't running scared of Sugar now?

Anonymous said...

the more people like this hanging around brown the better it is for the tories.

if i had been a contestant on his show and he had been rude to me, and i cried.

for sport,i would be suing sugar

Quietzapple said...

Best I look out the old matchbox computer a school friend and I made circa 1961, I'm sure it would adequately simulate the insult processes of some of your commenters . . .

Should I ask Baron Sugar (an amusing title) for an early Amstrad, or would such overkill be unfair?

Not all my enemies' friends are fools, or knaves I understand. Well not all the time.

Anonymous said...

Quietzapple,

If you can find anything with the Amstrad brand name on it that's still working, it'll be a miracle.

Paul Halsall said...

I'm not at all fond of Alan Sugar, nor libel suits, but Quentin Letts is a nasty slimey bully and people should stand up to him.

Thomas Rossetti said...

As an Englishman who lives in the United States, I am increasingly embarrassed by the libel laws in the Old Country. It is utterly ridiculous that rich businessmen can threaten journalists in this way. Such complaints never make it to court here as we have a First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech.

I personally enjoy the journalism of Quentin Letts, but those who don't -- like those who comment, above -- have missed the point. It's irrelevant whether you find Letts's articles offensive. The point is whether he should be allowed to say what he has said.

I'd love to see this one go to court and would be happy to contribute to a fighting fund. Even if Letts loses, it's funny to think of journalists referring to Sugar as "the enormously intelligent peer" (or whatever) in future.

michael Judd said...

"None of the above said..." 1204

Hey thanks for that, I know it is off subject - sorry Iain.

Please lets raise this one.
How come he was elected to reform? no? Has he done any of that?
and he just continues spending................

Do any of them get it?

golden_balls said...

The slime that is Letts deserves everything he gets

i won't shed a tear if this goes to court he's a pompous prig whose class snobbery to speaker martin and others is well known.

If Letts has done nothing wrong then the case won't be brought or sugar will lose.

Why should bloggers and journalists
be above the law if the article was libellous then i hope sugar bankrupts him.

Quietzapple said...

I know someone with a functioning Amstrad, and there seem to be Amstrad and other old computer societies still in operation - check online.

In the days when Apple in Regents St used to permit people to queue outside with their faulty Apples before opening there were usually quite a few old Macs, certainly a few 20 years or so old.

Some people look after things. Not so the media.

Letts is an habitual liar, he might better get away with it online, where the writ of the libel and slander etc laws runs less true:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/shanerichmond/5144547/Online_comments_are_more_like_slander_than_libel_says_judge/

No-one seems fussed whether or not statements are true, so long as they serve some propagandist's intentions.

In truth our society is still more threatened by the failure of 24/7 News Community (LOL) - or perhaps disinterest - in distinguishing between fact and opinion.

Tony said...

Awwww. Poor Quentin Letts is being 'bullied'?

Well, really, he should have though of that before carvig out his niche as one of the most venemous, personally insulting hacks on Fleet Street.

He should defend himself like a man.

Stevo Bevo said...

Didn't someone comment that anyone familiar with Sugar's business acumen shouldn't have been at all surprised that he joined Brown's team - because he has the knack of jumping onto a sinking ship?

Those who believe that he is some great business genius who has done great good for this country should consider those firms making decent products which went under because Sugar undercut them with his flood of cheap Ratneresque electronic crap. But then that's been the story of Britain in the last 30 years, hasn't it. Ditch things of concrete lasting value and replace them with vacuous, ephemeral shit.

Something to be remembered by those who cheerled (if that's a word) the substitution of a manufacturing economy for a service economy.

Allegedly.

LabourReallyAreVeryEvil said...

If Mr Sugar gets away with bullying Quentin Lets by attacking him personally then all opposition will be silenced.

Mr Sugar should be aware that we will form a mass fighting fund for QL and everyone else this scum junta attack.

I will contribute.

(Trolls are out and about a bit on this story. Funny - disinformation and deliberate confusion, the graphic face of Labour.)

Anonymous said...

Sugar will be suing you next for not using his proper title: "Baron Sugar of Clapton".

What a prat.

Carl Gardner said...

I don't think he's going to be a minister, is he? In which case there can be no question of his using government lawyers, or surely being subsidised.

If I remember right, Herbert Smith is his favourite law firm, and I think Margaret Mountford was a lawyer with them before she took his shilling.

Young Mr Paul said...

I sympathize with Mr Letts, who very kindly overlooked my extreme and persistent drunkenness as a bit part player in the 1984 Xmas panto he was directing for the Trinity Players. I will happily donate to any support fund for him. He was a gentleman then and more of a gentleman now than Lord Sugar of The Clap could ever be.

As for Sugar, he is a bully of the worst kind. He needs a swift kick in the gonads.

golden_balls said...

@LabourReallyAreVeryEvil

Not at all but bloggers and journalists are as accoutable as anyone else. If you slander someone then you deserve what you get whether or not the right blogesphere agrees.

If letts has done nothing wrong sugar will lose or it won't be taken any further.

Letts has been a snobbery oaf for far too long. Hopefully if nothing else it might make him change his ways i won't hold my breath though.

I'd make a donation to the sugar fund but i don't think he needs the money lol

Anonymous said...

I have always thought Sugar was a seriously nasty piece of work. Failed businessman gets the BBC to present him as some kind of hero and makes a show that depends on humiliating people. Whether he or the BBC is the more disgusting is debatable.

Now Sugar has revealed himself, unsurprisingly, as an arrogant, egotistical coward. "How dare you say that about me, you pleb?" "I've got more money than you, I can squash you."

Huge kudos to Matthew Parrish for his article, skewered Sugar brilliantly and risks a similar libel action... where are the others that will do more than quote? Even ConHome only quoted, didn't have the guts to give an independent opinion. Even you, Iain, do rather better but hardly give ringing support of Quentin Letts.

Our public life is already dishonoured, but Sugar dishonours it more, along with his patron Gordon Brown.

Who will SAY so, apart from the brave few?

Quietzapple said...

Who exactly did Sugar's Amstrad computers undercut?

Texas Instruments? Sinclair?

I bet there are more Amstrad computers still in operation than Sinclair calculators.

I bet those who are trying to shout Baron Sugar down wish they had a little of his £800m. Not every rich businessman who disagrees with me is a fool . . .

Weygand said...

Many will feel that Sugar has done himself far greater harm by his reaction to Letts' words than they alone might ever have caused him.

If he actually does take legal action, he will find it humiliating, should - as seems likely - thousands of people publicly announce that they have made donations to help fund Letts' defence.

I would imagine that he will already be looking for a way of letting the matter drop.

SUGARS A MIDGET said...

Bravo Matthew Parris.If Lord Sugar doesn't sue Matthew then we can add coward to the adjectives

Quietzapple said...

I don't think even the late Sir Jams & other anti Private Eye litigants suffered much from Richard Ingrams' pillories and massive subscriber support did they?

Those who favour Baron Sugar, should he bother to pursue the scunner Letts, might wear Baron Sugar badges, T shirts, and send our Waitrose green charity buttons to him.

http://www.opencouncil.co.uk/Waitrose%20charity%20box%20watch.html

I wonder if the noble Baron's cause will obtain the same strong level of publicity as the PM's brother, Andrew did, when his libel action against Associated press was so successful . . ?

Anonymous said...

So Quietzapple reckons the more money you have the nicer / more successful a human being you are?

What a very naive and bourgeois point of view.

Alan Sugar wouldn't give you the time of day unless you were polishing his shoes for him.

Anonymous said...

Sugar is labour scum fullstop

Uncle Bob said...

Amstrad wrecked the sinclair spectrum which was the first truly succesful home computer in this country until Sugar took it over.

Anonymous said...

"Sugar is a very successful businessman, a true original and innovator"
Quietzapple

You really are a comedian.

Sugar? An innovator?

Don't make me laugh - his computers were absolute crap, and lobotomised the UK computer industry.

He's a loudmouthed, obnoxious little s h i t who does not deserve a peerage.

Quietzapple said...

The Letts view that Baron Sugar is advising HMG because he is on TV might look silly unless G Osborne promises to take on that Australian from Breakfast should he get on the mobile to Mervyn King.

Funny there are Amstrad computers still functioning . . . when it was such a disaster and he made so much money out of them.

Amusing that Letts has so many prospective shoe polishers, Sugar prob cleans his own.

Eduardo de Aston said...

To use Cameron's language, Letts is a prize twat.

What a twisted little upstart.

I hope Sugar takes the obnoxious idiot to the proverbial cleaners.

It's about time that so called reporters reported on policies rather than making cheap personal attacks.

That of course would take a bit of skill which Letts clearly lacks.

Letts is part of the dumbing down of journalism. Now the victim is fighting the bully.

The majority of the public are completely turned off politics by the constant backstabbing and ridiculous name calling.

No wonder they disengage at the ballot box.

John Green said...

If Sugar supported the Tories you would be all over him like a rash.

The fact he supports Labour seems to some people at least to be reason to try to carry out an attempt at character assassination.

Don't people understand that it is this kind of bigotry that is reducing voter turnout at elections.

The general public are suffering from overkill. The spewing out of political venom is not clever and seriously unattractive.

It is cheap and demeaning.

Unfortunately Letts is a purveyor of bile and bigotry. He has taken his thirty pieces of silver and sold his sole. This isn't journalism, this is political propaganda, bought and paid for by big business.

For goodness sake why can't this blog and others have a grown up debate on policy without always dragging everyone into the cesspit?

Quietzapple said...

Is this thread the modern equivalent of Waugh's "baying of the English aristocracy after broken glass", except, of course, it was the Bullers men were the twats, and most here will be scions of garagistes I suppose . . .

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately Letts is a purveyor of bile and bigotry. He has taken his thirty pieces of silver and sold his sole."

That's an expensive piece of fish.

Grumpy Old Sod said...

I suppose he is supporting McTwat & Co because he doesn't know any better. Perhaps Diddums should get out a bit more into the company of real people, not his fawning employees and admirers who only dare to tell him what he wants to hear.

Quietzapple said...

Actually not knowing what the whip is isn't an entirely novel remark.

The current Lord Clifford's father notably remarked that his ancestors had not taken the whip for 900 years I recall.

Sugar has that kind of Chutzpah, and Letts aspires to it, never mind . . .

I'm backing Sugar Union Jack T shirts on sale shortly . . .

http://quietzapple-musing.blogspot.com/

Wondering why said...

Visit Quietzapple's blog.

Where nobody leaves any comments.

I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Well, the blog's name does begin with "Quiet"...

Quietzapple said...

Those wishing to comment on my blogs should approach Richard Poncey Bart., London's Deputy Mayor for Old Etonain Affairs, to whom my Barclays have subcontracted mediation of such posts while they holiday on Jersey, allegedly.

happyuk07 said...

For the sake of anbody who has ever had to endure Sugar's brand of 'management' I hope Letts tells him where to get off; otherwise let the battle commence!

Sugar is in danger of crawling so far up his money-stuffed arse he'll be wearing himself as a wig.

The days of dinosaurs like Sugar are numbered. F**k him.

Quietzapple said...

In view of the popularity of sexual and other swear words relating to the nether regions hereabouts I thought that Mr David Chameleon's lapse from radio etiquette might be expressed in various ways including:

http://quietzapple-musing.blogspot.com/2009/08/word-to-our-unwanted-sponsor.html

Werner Patels said...

Alan Sugar? Shouldn't that be Alan Bitter?

siralan said...

Quietzapple....you are "Bruno" and I claim my £5

No comment said...

10 out of 60 comments here are by "Quietzapple" and he still can't get anyone to leave a comment on his blog, poor chap.

I think we should all be nice to him and leave him a few comments here.

Quietzapple said...

Aaah the comment counters are out, some of them may graduate to spell checker status next year . . .

Btw there are a few comments on my blogs, and a high standard has been set, so Iain's tolerance may not be the best training for responding there.

But, off course, NEVER let the truth become an obstacle, as Mr Letts might advise . . .

Anonymous said...

Letts is a nasty arrogant snob.
If no-one is supporting him at the Mail, good, and
it's about time venemous 'journalists' like him got a come-uppance.
I hope Sugar sues the pants off him.

Anonymous said...

I would count Matthew Parris as a friend but rushing into this one seems a mistake to me.

Sugar is a hothead who is unlikely to carry out his threat- but in terms of integrity he is leagues above Letts who is the vilest kind of bullying coward imaginable.

Matthew always had a wicked and balanced sense of humour. Letts is bordering on disgusting in his insidious misrepresentations, calculated deceits, synthetic anger and manufactured stories.

That's why Sugar is taking him on.

Ironically if Sugar just smacked the smarmy bastard, the public would be on the Lord's side in any court case!

Junius said...

Mr Apple - since you have been so very nice about that darling man Mr Sugar (Ooops silly me! Baron Sugar of whatever) perhaps he will take you back on the payroll?

Or maybe you still are ... your comments are becoming even more bizarre by the hour, and you have SO much time ...Siralun must absolutely adore you !!!

Anonymous said...

Quietzapple said:

"Aaah the comment counters are out, some of them may graduate to spell checker status next year . . . "

Later followed by:

"But, off course,"

So it looks like you do need a grammar and spell checker more than a comment counter!

Quietzapple said...

Funnily enough while I have had no shilling from Sugar, Sinclair did indirectly employ me to check out the reception for his calculator in advance.

It mystifies me how slow those who claim I spend soo much time commenting & blogging must be, I must admit to occasional repetition mind.

I doubt even Ashcroft and Laidlaw can afford jollies for ALL Iain's tory trolls, but perhaps he will let Sugar know how invaluable my unpaid efforts have been?

Some health giving alcoholic beverage from Islay?

A free "I'm backing Sugar" T Shirt?

Oh well . . .

Quietzapple said...

Sigh . . .

I meant off course, of course . . .