I leave Edinburgh this afternoon for London, to stand trial at the High Court for libel. To answer a question frequently asked, the reason I have accepted English jurisdiction is that the event was a Sky News broadcast, an English broadcaster. If it had been over my blog I would not have accepted jurisdiction as I do not accept the English claim to universal jurisdiction over internet content.
I do hope that this trial will help bring into further disrepute the immoral and draconian English libel laws. If I lose, the total costs and damages I would have to pay will potentially amount to some £350,000 – a ridiculously disproportionate result for the alleged civil offence. It would ruin me and blight the lives of my young family. Whether this can possibly be an appropriate reaction to something I said in response in a live debate, you might judge for yourselves by reading the court documents .
Thanks to the astonishing generosity of the readers of this blog, at least I am in a position to defend myself robustly. Over 5,000 readers of this blog have, with incredible generosity, contributed a total of £100,323 towards my defence to date. The libel laws are so oppressive because the sums of money involved are so astonishing. The entire massive English libel industry – courts, judges, barristers, solicitors – is taken together a major financial interest in itself, well represented in parliament. It is in all their collective financial interest that this system of oppression rolls on, which of course requires a good chance of people being found guilty to encourage more plaintiffs into the industry. I often feel this analysis from unconscious institutional self-interest is often neglected in favour of the equally valid and important argument that the libel laws are an essential tool of the wealthy and powerful to discourage free speech by the poor. Robert Maxwell, Alisher Usmanov and Jimmy Savile are three examples of people who kept their true nature hidden by constantly and aggressively threatening people with the disastrous consequences of an English libel suit.
Finally the trial starts on Tuesday 7 November at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, High Court Queen’s Bench. It will last probably two and up to three days. It is open to the public. I would very much welcome anyone with the capacity to report any of what happens on social media. I am not aware of any restrictions on this, but will try to publish them here if I learn of any.
This is probably my last blogpost until after the trial, as I must concentrate now. By the time I come back online the Tories will have appointed their next Disgraced Former Defence Secretary in Waiting.