Putting aside for the moment Derek Draper’s greatly misguided decision to learn at the feet of self-proclaimed masters of the medium Iain Dale and Paul Staines (while touching briefly on what he has clearly learned about comment
moderation censorship from these two), there is this, and it’s pretty monumental as errors of judgement go:
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In extremis, problems can also be referred to our lawyer:
41 Bedford Square
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(Heads-up via Rumbold and Sam Coates.)
Any blogger who knows anything about the UK political scene knows that Schillings have repeatedly and spectacularly disgraced themselves on the ‘fair and free speech’ front; they are in the habit of bullying people into silence while refusing to allow them their day in court.
Derek Draper cannot possibly be fully aware of that, otherwise he would know that this is like walking into a cockerel’s cocktail party with Colonel Sanders on your arm.
Here’s the comment regarding this that I submitted to LabourList under Mandelson’s posted assurances that they are all about open debate and not top-down control. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that it has been marked as ‘trash’ by those at the top and ignored.
It’s obvious why you specifically have been chosen to pitch this claim of openness, and it’s a cunning stunt, but the assurances are undermined somewhat by the choice of Schillings as legal representatives:
It is fair that those who say something actionable should be subject to action, but Schillings have been involved in cases where bloggers have been silenced by that firm’s tactics without fair/any recourse to law (most notorious example; their bullying of anyone carrying Craig Murray’s allegations while having no intention to take Murray to court over his allegations).
This decision also reflects poorly on Mr Draper, who strikes me as a man struggling to understand a community he wishes to infiltrate. Was he seriously not aware of Schillings’ reputation throughout the UK political blogging community?
Tim Ireland @ 3:25 pm, Mon 12th Jan 2009
I’ve emailed Draper and asked how the above comment qualifies as “grossly unintelligent or obtuse” or a troll, but so far I’ve heard nothing back.
UPDATE (12pm) – Derek Draper has finally responded… to ask if I was being serious! Yes, I would think I’m being serious about the complete removal of my website and nearly a dozen others (more) over allegations that Schillings and their client still refuse to challenge in court. FFS, he’s completely without a clue.
UPDATE (1pm) – Now Draper is insisting that he is not accountable to me. So he accepts comments, but refuses accountability – and here I will remind you again that he learned what little he knows by watching Dale and Staines in action. Nowhere is this influence more obvious than in his stated policy that those who are unhappy about this state of affairs should essentially ‘get their own blogs’ and make their case there. In other words, if you’re not happy that your question was refused or shouted down at a public meeting, you’re invited to go outside and hold your own meeting. Nice.
UPDATE (6pm) – He’s been dodging my question all day (i.e. how does my comment qualify as “grossly unintelligent or obtuse” or a troll?), but has finally resorted to insisting that my concerns are unimportant, because I’m of no significance to him. In his own words;
“i am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers.” – Derek Draper
Not full of himself, is he? Oh, and he’s only just realised that I’m a blogger, BTW. The penny dropped a few minutes ago.
So, the good news for your average weblog reader without a weblog is that Derek will suggest that you get your own blog if you don’t like the self-serving censorship on LabourList… but even if you don’t do this, he will treat you with the same level of contempt that any established blogger* would enjoy. Great, huh?
(*Except for Iain Dale and Paul Staines, who he is desperate to impress. The mimicry alone makes that clear.)