Monthly Archives: November 2012

Free Speech – Lord Justice Leveson, Twitter, Bloggers and Scottish Football

Despite the topic, this is to be a short post (EDITOR – the road to hell is paved with good intentions). After all, as I was saying to a friend today, as my summaries are generally longer than what I am précising, Lord Justice Leveson’s full report of 2,000 pages might take me 4,000 pages to recap!

Instead I want to look at the regulation of bloggers. Leveson LJ addresses this from page 168 of Volume A.

He heard evidence from people responsible for websites including the Guido Fawkes political blog, Popbitch, which is a celebrity gossip site and the Huffington Post – effectively an online-only newspaper.

Lord Justice Leveson on Bloggers

He says, in describing the above at Chapter 3 para 4.6:-

These vastly different sites are all offered to the public in the same way; they all have the same theoretical reach to the entire internet-connected population at the touch of a button (particularly when facilitated by search engines). They are also, with the regulatory exceptions set out above, entirely unregulated, though subject to civil and criminal law in appropriate jurisdictions. However, it is noteworthy that although the blogs cited here are read by very large numbers of people, it should not detract from the fact that most blogs are read by very few people. Indeed, most blogs are rarely read as news or factual, but as opinion and must be considered as such.

As we have seen with issues as diverse as the false accusations against Lord McAlpine, and the riots in England in 2011, there are legal consequences under the civil and criminal law for those who overstep the bounds. Continue reading

Advertisements

101 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Criminal Law, Human Rights, Press

One of the Biggest Scandals in the World Exposed – You Should Read “Bad Pharma” by @Bengoldacre

I like to think that what I do on this blog is provide “evidence-based” writing on issues of interest to me. These have been predominantly, but not exclusively, related to football, and the assorted machinations and manipulations surrounding Rangers Football Club, and its various owners.

I do write about purely legal things too, aside from the legal aspects of the football imbroglios.

These things are of varying degrees of importance to people. To some football is the most important thing in the world – to others the football side is merely a trivial diversion.

If I was ever to write a book (hah), then I would be proud to have it compared to the volume this post is about. Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Books

Let’s Jump in the Time Machine – An Occasional Series – How Predictions Can Go Wrong

I was idly clicking through the internet, checking up information for a piece I am writing when I came across a couple of fun posts.

I offer extracts from them to you as a quiz. All you have to do is guess the writer, the topic and the date. No prizes, as for each one you can find the answer at the foot of the piece.

This is all intended purely as a lighthearted bit of fun and I trust the excellent writers I quote do not take offence – none is intended.

I am sure that there is a lot I have written here which has turned out to be wrong too, so I am not claiming infallibility. In fact, I have never spoken ex cathedra.

Anyway – on with the quiz, but feel free to chip in your own examples in the comments.

Question 1

Who wrote, when, and about whom, the following?

(I have edited the piece to make it a challenge, but have retained the typographical errors. I do not however wish to be accused of bear-baiting.) Continue reading

88 Comments

Filed under Alleged Humour, Football, Quiz

Charles Green on How the Big Tax Case Harmed Rangers – and Why He is Wrong

Mr Green, who seemed unusually quiet for a couple of days, but was no doubt involved meeting fund managers and investors for his share issue and compiling the Share Prospectus which he told Rangers fans would be out by the middle of November, has spoken out on the official Rangers website about the Big Tax Case outcome.

You can find the whole piece here.

As the article is written on the official site by Lindsay Herron it is safe to assume, I suggest, that the commentary and narrative around Mr Green’s quotes can also be taken as the “Rangers position”.

My comments on parts of the piece are in bold below the relevant section. It is fair to say that I do not think Mr Green is correct in much of what he had to say (although I am sure that would not concern him one iota).

———————————————————

CHARLES GREEN has expressed his anger and dismay at the timing of the verdict of the First Tier Tax Tribunal as it has massively affected the current status of Rangers.

Despite a concerted campaign from certain quarters, which was often hateful, that decided that Rangers were guilty of “cheating” it has been proved that is not the case. Continue reading

168 Comments

Filed under Charles Green, HMRC v Rangers, Rangers

The dangers of blogging and the crazy world of The Old Firm – Guest Post by Adam

Before I start, I would like to take the opportunity to say writing is not my thing.  Give me 50 numbers and ask me to calculate odds, formulas or percentages and I’m up for it, but writing stories or whatever….No chance.

I was asked by Paul to write a guest blog and initially declined but I felt if I didn’t then my blog foe ecojon would chase me and chase me like something from a Duncan Norvelle sketch until I agreed.

So here we go.  It won’t be pretty.

There is no doubt the sensation that is Twitter and Blogging has opened up a new medium for writers to demonstrate their competence and put their work out to the new breed of news hungry citizens to digest in a feeding frenzy.

For the past 2 years, it has been a growing sensation, particularly in Old Firm land, where more and more bloggers have taken to the stage as the months went by.  20-11-12 however was an important turning point in the life of some of these blogs.

20-11-12 was the day the crescendo should have reached its triumphant conclusion.  Rangers should have been found “guilty” (though it never was a guilty or not guilty case) of avoiding tax illegally.  But instead of the ceremonial trombones and bugles playing their merry tunes to the dancing East End of the city, the instrument mouthpieces blocked up, the tunes were flat and the dancers were left looking for a new tune to dance to.
As a numbers man, I’m always interested in statistics so with that in mind, I thought I would look at some interesting statistics on twitter, which always seemed a hotbed of action on all things “Rangers Are Guilty” prior to 20-11-12.

The main hotbed of activity and “discussion” were from the 2 leading writers on the Big tax case, Rangerstaxcase and Phil MacGiollaBhain.  True to form, between them in November, they had racked up 1023 tweets up to and including the day the result was announced (51.2 tweets per day)

In the immediate aftermath of the tax case, following a false start of claiming victory by rangerstaxcase, the tweets have dropped to 82 in the last week (11.7 tweets per day)

A 77% drop in interaction.

However, that only tells a fraction of the story as you would struggle to get onto a second hand if you only count the number of tweets about the tax case in 7 days. The twitters are not tweeting anymore.

Strangely though, the avid viewers of these bloggers and Twitterers (is that a word?) are still working overtime.  The good ship SS Rangers Are Guilty has taken a few holes on board and the “workers” are doing their best to throw the water back in the bad blue sea by proclaiming all sorts of unfounded notions, however it appears as though the Captains have deserted them and are no longer available to steer the ship back to placid green seas.  There is an old proverb that would aptly describe this but I don’t want to be accused of comparing anyone to rodents by using such a tried and tested phrase.

The disappearance or the lack of any fight may be down to a little panic. 

And, this, is where blogging is dangerous, to bring me back to my point.

It is almost daily now we hear of someone getting in trouble due to things said on twitter, Facebook or in Scotland, football forums.  The authorities are taking action more than ever before on these things, so it’s not without its merits that perhaps RTC and Phil Mac have gone quiet. The danger has never been greater and all people should be urged caution before posting online nowadays.

It should be said, for clarity, I was a contributor to RangersTaxCase for a number of months back in 2011 and RTC was nothing other than a supporter of my contribution to the blog which I am thankful for.  In some ways, I am glad he (or she, just in case) has packed everything up and gone on the QT.  I am extremely grateful for some of the information shared on Craig Whyte and I believe that RTC was one of the catalysts for bringing Craig Whyte’s deeds into the public eye, which for me was a good thing.  When added to existing knowledge of my own, it strengthened my opinion on Whyte and also showed I could share the same view and opinion as Celtic fans (on the blog), yet somehow weirdly still be on the end of their ire for reasons only known to them (though I have a theory), whilst hearing some Rangers fans were accusing me of being RTC in disguise. 

Only in Old Firm world would that be the case.

In relation to the Big Tax Case, I was often chastised for beating a particular drum.  There appears to be a sudden increase in the standards of Scottish morality. 

Every new RTC blog would have hundreds of opinions on how morally wrong the whole scheme was and how Rangers and David Murray should pay the price for being “morally reprehensible.” Notwithstanding reminding people they shouldn’t count their chickens before they hatch in relation to any findings, I also often asked, only to be shouted down, where people’s morality ended. 

Was it only if the company had an R, F and C in their name? 

Was it only if the company traded out of Govan?

Or was it in all cases for all men, woman, small or large business in the UK?

I just realised the answer today(see previous blog) as I envisioned the majority of contributors from the RTC blog having a coffee in Starbucks , using their I-phones on the Vodafone network to look up Amazon on Google in the search to buy a book about a team they don’t even support.

Another good example of what being part of the Old Firm world is about in my opinion.

Before I bow out, I would like to test one final phenomenon of Old Firm world.  I call it the “tell enough people made up nonsense and let it become fact” syndrome and I would like to explore this through the blog to try and get an answer to a question that is still unanswered.

I have now heard this on radio as fact.  I have read it on Facebook as fact.  I have read it on Twitter as fact.  On here as fact.  And I have now had 5 emails in the last 24 hours about it from 5 separate associates or friends.

Since 20-11-12, Celtic fans have said Rangers are “still guilty” because they accepted on 35 occasions, the EBT’s were wrong and that Tax was due.  35 was the first number but I have also read/heard 30.  And 31.  And 33. Also 34.

My reading of the entire document is that Rangers conceded, on 5 particular players, they could understand why tax may be due.  Reading between the lines and using the language of the judgement, it appears the administration on these 5 cases was not as it should be, hence the acceptance.  There doesn’t appear to be anything more than that, and the judges seem relaxed in the view that these can be agreed post decision by HMRC and Murray Group.

So after slating everything above, generally giving me a pasting about poor grammar, commas in the wrong place etc, can someone please have the decency to tell where the information came from.  Or can anyone who has previously claimed it simply say “We got it wrong.  It’s nonsense”

Thanks for reading.  The pleasure, I have no doubt, was only mine.

Posted by Adam

323 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Guest Posts, HMRC v Rangers