I was in some danger of falling into the slough of despond, but I have been rescued by the need to defend myself against the ludicrous attacks of Dorries Dale. That anybody can be quite so graceless in victory is something I find hard to comprehend.
Following his statesmanlike “Craig Murray lost his deposit. Ha ha double ha!” posting, Iain Dale has come out with this one:
Perhaps if he had done anything worth reporting, he might have got some media space, but the fact is that the “honest man’s” sole noteworthy contribution to the campaign was to put out a virtually libellous leaflet about Chloe Smith.
I am not sure what the new Dale concept of “virtual libel” is, precisely. Iain is of course an expert on libel, having recently cost the Mail on Sunday a major amount of money as a result of one of his wild and unfounded articles. Having never libeled anybody, I do not need the proven libeler Iain Dale to give me any lessons.
But “virtual libel” seems to be Dale speak for “Truths the Tories do not want want you to know.”
The facts about Ms Smith in the leaflet in question are these:
She was born in Ashford in Kent
She works for Deloitte Touche
Deloitte Touche were accountants and auditors to RBS/Natwest before the crash
Chloe Smith tried to be selected as candidte for Ipswich before being selected for Norwich
Iain Dale does not think you should know any of this – and all of these facts were totally absent from the Tory literature and from Ms Smith’s own website. It is apparently “Virtual libel” to tell inconvenient truths about Tories.
There was a time when Dale’s blog was worth reading, but sadly it has degenerated into the dullest of party propaganda.
Dale has also published an attack on me in the Eastern Daily Press. It is very brave of that paper to run columns by a notorious libeler. He calls me “scurrilous”, again in relation to my truth telling about Ms Smith.
As a believer in free speech, I have never pursued anybody for libel, or threatened anybody with a libel suit. But I am pondering the moral question of whether, in these particular circumstances, it would be good to pursue the case and recover my election expenses? Dale of course is a known and proven libeler already, so I should not be damaging anybody’s reputation. I should be grateful for your views.
I suspect that Dorries Dale’s ire was stoked by the fact that my article on the by-election was published by the Mail on Sunday.
The Mail on Sunday is of course the very newspaper who are more careful in their dealings with Iain nowadays, after he cost them a lot of money with his libel. I do understand Iain’s resentment that I am writing on the by-election for the biggest selling national Sunday newspaper, while he is confined to a quiet corner of the regional press, but nontheless I do think he is unwise to allow his jealousy to get the better of him.
Another fascinating point is that it turns out that Ms Smith’s “Job” at Deloitte Touche was to be on secondment to the Conservative Party. Is this a disguised form of political donation to get round disclosure rules? It certainly shows how ludicrous it is to belive that the Tories will control the financial services industry. It’s the other way round, I fear.
The blog will emerge from Norwich North mode and start concentrating on world events again, soon. It is taking me a few days to get over it. I cannot get over the feeling that I let down rather badly the wonderful volunteers who came and gave so much.