Saturday, 13 April 2013

Truth is not unimportant

I see more than one thousand new clients every year. Many depart after a single visit to my office, on the basis that they don't have a case or that I'm not the solution. And these clients are almost immediately forgotten.

But some stay with you.

About ten years ago a respectable middle aged man presented in my office bearing a summons from the Court of Session seeking damages against him and the Motor Insurance Bureau for a significant six figure sum. I asked him for some background.

"My car was off the road" he explained "so I asked my pal if I could borrow his car. I assumed my insurance  would cover me and so did he. Only it didn't. And I had an accident".

Not a morally reprehensible accident, just the outcome of the momentary error of judgement that might affect any of us who drive. But one which had written off a high value other vehicle and injured its occupant and caused them significant loss of their, high value, earnings. Hence the pursuit of six figure damages.

I explained the doleful likely consequence in law flowing from this to be met with the response "but I don't have £100,000."

"Do you own your house?" I inquired, and with that the blood drained from his face. For he did, and it had a significant net value, albeit that was all he had in the world. And was primarily looked at by him not as an asset but as simply where he and his family lived in relative comfort after twenty years of honest toil..

After a bit of my ruling out the various suggestions he made as to how he might avoid losing all he had in the world, we parted company. And I've no idea what the outcome was. Although, logically. I do.

Scotland, like every other advanced legal system, has a law of verbal injury. I might not like Alex Salmond but I couldn't write a letter to the newspapers making the wholly false claim that he was a serial adulterer or a drunken sot without expecting some consequence from that action. And no newspaper would publish such an allegation anyway.

But what's been revealed this week is that some people; bright, intelligent people seem to labour under the misapprehension that the same rules do not, or at least should not, apply to the internet.

Well, they ought to (my opinion only I accept) and they do (a statement of fact).

I hold no particular brief for Mr Ian Taylor. He's a Tory and I would no more wish to be making common cause with him than Patrick Harvie would wish be making common cause with Brian Soutar. But single issues make strange bedfellows. Michael Foot and Enoch Powell famously made common cause to defeat (a particular) House of Lords reform

But what I say is this. It is unacceptable for lies to be told about Mr Taylor. On the internet or anywhere else. And even more unacceptable if lies are being told about him simply because he holds a political position that others might disagree with.

If an anti-independence website was daft enough to publish an article maintaining that Mr and Mrs Weir, the lottery winners principally funding Yes Scotland, were, contrary to all available evidence, terrible neighbours; and to do so, not because that was true,  but simply because it might discourage their continued  financial support for Yes Scotland, then I would positively encourage the Weirs to sue. Indeed, I'd act for them myself, pro bono.

For lies are never an acceptable basis of political discourse.

Some of those telling lies about Mr Taylor have seen sense. Good. Others have persisted in a spirit of defiance.

I look forward to them being asked if they own their house.


  1. Hi Ian! You dodged my last bet, how about this one: choose your wager over whether I get sued or not, and I'll accept it.

  2. So the question I have, Ian, is what specific lies were told about Mr Taylor, and how do you know them to be lies? You don't say.

    It is one thing for Mr Taylor to threaten suit, and quite another for him to prove his reputation has been unfairly impugned.

    Yet I notice that you have without offering any corroborating fact, had no qualms impugning the integrity of those, your fellow internet bloggers, with whom you disagree politically.

    You have in this blog and elsewhere, severally and individually, accused them of libeling another in furtherance of their political ends.

    Doesn't your homily fair reek of hubris and hypocrisy, Ian?

  3. With respect, National Collective, who have taken Legal Advice from a sympathetic source, have withdrawn their article.

    That is surely pretty good corroboration?

    If others wish to continue in a spirit of bravado they at least can't say they weren't warned

    1. Seeing as the article is back up we can pretty safely conclude then that:

      1) Vitol Admitted Paying $1 million to a Serbian Paramilitary Leader

      2) Vitol plc: Guilty of ‘Paying Kickbacks’ to Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Regime For Oil Contracts

      3) Ian Taylor’s Company Avoided Tax ‘for more than a decade’

      4) Ian Taylor has been accused of improper political donations to the Conservative Party.

      5)Circumnavigated oil sanctions on Iran

      Purely by following your own logic that is.

  4. So it is the case then Ian that you have no evidence to back your charges of cybernat skulduggery with respect to these bloggers accounts of Mr Taylor's doings? That is the truth of it, is it not?

    Your misrepresentation of National Collective's political statement in the form of a self-imposed and temporary blue-screen-of-death, is but a flailing attempt to justify your unwarranted attacks on your fellow bloggers. Attacks clearly borne of tribal animus, directed at those who dare not share your political views.

    Consider old thing that sometimes the eye sees not itself but by reflection, and that the sins you so gleefully visit upon others, are in fact your own.

  5. "With respect, National Collective, who have taken Legal Advice from a sympathetic source, have withdrawn their article."

    Not any more they haven't. They're wee kids who've never had a legal threat before and it spooked them. I suspect the next one won't. I've had so many I use a pile of them to prop up a wobbly table.

    So are you taking the bet, or what?

  6. Are you comfortable Ian?
    If as you seem to think, you represent the ordinary Scottish man/woman, move it or prove it.
    It's up to you.

  7. A rather ironic blog given your totally inappropriate racist tweet about Poles and Pakis. I find it very amusing to see the Labour Party desperately trying to defend The Taylor donation to the no campaign when we consider how much the Labour Party criticised the same level of contribution to the Tories.