Wednesday, January 25, 2006

George Galloway Escapes Double Eviction

Very sad news that George Galloway won his appeal against the Daily Telegraph. Had he lost, he would have faced a legal bill of £2 million, which would have meant a double eviction tonight - both from the Big Brother house and from Parliament itself. Bankrupts are not allowed to sit in Parliament, you see. I'm rather ashamed to admit it, but I dreamt about George Galloway last night. I obviously need to see a shrink. All I can remember is that he had been evicted from Big Brother and I was in the same room. I asked him for an interview for this Blog. And the bastard refused on the grounds that he would get a lot of money from a tabloid. See, I never liked him!


Anonymous said...

Very sad news that George Galloway won his appeal against the Daily Telegraph.

Surely they lost because they were in fact being libelous? As much as I dislike Georges antics - if the man is innocent he is innocent.

I also think it's interesting watching George align himself with the "misfits" of the group even to his own detriment. Surely it would have been easier for him just to be buddies with Preston etc as Barrymore has done and I'm sure most other populist politicians would do.

Anonymous said...

Galloway has just came across as a bully on Big Brother. His display last night was immature and bizarre - it's hardly a defence that this aligns him with other terminally odd housemates.

Preston and Chantelle strike me as likeable enough fairly ordinary young people, if not the sharpest tools in the box.

Despite his name, Maggot appears easily the most decent chap on the show though.

neil craig said...

The Telegraph said that Galloway had received oil money from Saddam which was clearly untrue & which a reasonable person in their position should have known was untrue.

Their attempt at a Reynolds Defence (the legal basis for which is that if you say something dreadful about somebody, particularly somebody foreign or lefty, it is ok if it is so outrageous that it would have been important if it had happened to be true) failed purely on the grounds that their reporting had been so obviously vindictive.

You do not have to like Galloway to believe that he deserved to win this one - you only have to like the principle of justice. The Telegraph lied & ought to lose.

The scandal here is that justics works very differently for rich corporations than for ordinary people. The press can lie & then frighten off ordinary people by promising to keep raising the ante. Something very similar happened with Sonia Sutcliffe who won six cases of newspapers libelling her & then a perverse jury, under the influence of a highly priced barrister bankrupted her.

If Galloway had been bankrupted by a Telegraph-friendly judge (as an ITN-friendly judge did when LM magazine said ITN had faked their Yugoslav concentration camp video - ITN admitted it but promised it was an accident so they won) he would have been driven from Parliament, not by his electors, but by the Telegraph's money.

Anonymous said...

Galloway won fair and square. He is entitled to the money. The Telegraph should not have printed the libel.

wonkotsane said...

Galloway is a Scot and they just watered down bankruptcy laws to the entent that he would have been discharged after 12 months!

Anonymous said...

Let's be quite clear. The Telegraph lost its appeal because it's attempt at the Reynolds defence was deeply flawed. It is a cornerstone of the defence (as any medial lawyer will tell you) that presence of malice negates the defence.
That is very far from saying either that the Telegraph lied (it didn't) or that Galloway is innocent (he is notoriously litigious so I will not comment on that).
The veracity of the documents was never verified in court so claims by Respect and Mr Galloway that they are forgeries have never been tested.
The Telegraph had the papers analysed by a leading expert on Iraqi intelligence documents and they were verified. However the nature of the court case was such that that was never argued.
Suggestions that the papers were planted by MI5 are so absurd as to be laughable. It seems on the one hand people think MI5/6 are either unbelievably good, or so utterly awful they can't work out if Saddam had chemical weapons or not. They can't be both.
The shame is that the Telegraph had Galloway where they wanted him, but let him escape because they massively over-played their hand. The reporting was sound - in fact more than that, it was a genuine scoop. Alas it was the two editorials that fatally holed their case, a point that Galloway's barrister made very clear. One leader called Mr Galloway a traitor, the other said that in the old days traitors were publically hanged. Mr Galloway may be many things, but even if the allegations that he had taken Saddam's money are shown to be true that makes him many things, but it does not make him a traitor.

neil craig said...

I won't argue the technicalities of lying but the Telegraph said he had got oil money from Saddam & he hadn't & that they had documents that proved it & they failed to.

As you point out under the Reynolds defence any serious accusation can be made against anybody a paper dislikes as long as they aren't to stupid about it. I consider this as disgraceful & corrupting.

As regards "It seems on the one hand people think MI5/6 are either unbelievably good, or so utterly awful they can't work out if Saddam had chemical weapons or not. They can't be both."

The third hand would be that MI6 are good enough to know that there were no WMDs but that political instructions ensured that they did not say so. Apart from the fact that you appear to have provided here some good circumstantial evidence for this there is some anecdotal reason to belieeve Bliar lied.