|The offending article|
Apparently that's reasonable commentary while my satirical response is 'defamation' (I can tell you're not legally trained, Pete) and 'character assassination'. This morning I updated the piece to make it clear that I don't think poor suffering Pete is a racist, just an ill-informed reactionary know-nothing.
A man with a public bully pulpit in the form of a column in two newspapers seems curiously thin-skinned judging by this morning's email:
You are quite sure about this?and later today
Peter Rhodes (former winner of the Commission for Racial Equality "Race in the Media" Awards)
That's an apology? Still looks like defamation to me. Thank the Lord no-one actually reads it.Did no-one read it? Well, I'm up to 154,000 readers cumulatively, and I get about 180 a day. I can't be that 'anonymous': Peter managed to find my personal e-mail address and worked out that Plashing Vole is someone he met before. And by the way Peter, blogging isn't my job. It's a hobby. Whereas you call people with whom you disagree 'Fascists' and 'Blackshirts' for money. The only differences between you and I are that I have a grasp of history and you distort things for cash. Are you suggesting that only newspaper columnists are allowed to bandy around strong words? If I were you, I'd look up the terms 'fair comment' and 'satire'. And I'd really consider how silly it would look for a newspaper columnist to take legal action against a mere reader before you bandy around legal terminology.
But it does occur to me that on the one occasion we met, you did not stand up for your principles and harangue me as a frustrated bigot (incidentally, where on earth did you get the idea that I resented never going to Fleet Street?) but shook my hand and smiled sweetly.
How very easy it must be to indulge in character assassination from the safety of an anonymous website. But it's a bit cowardly, isn't it? Hardly a proper job for a grown-up.
Why didn't I spit upon Peter and his terrible opinions when we met? Well, for a range of reasons. Firstly, I'd never heard of him then: if I'd known you were a frustrated bigot, I'd have called you him on it. I do distinctly remember, however, mourning the fate of your newspaper, founded as a progressive organ and turned into the mouthpiece of Enoch Powell and his racist, reactionary followers. And I'm generally polite. And because we were in a radio station discussing other matters. I suspect that if Peter met one of the liberals he calls 'Blackshirts' and 'Fascists', he wouldn't be rude to them either.
Why do I think you're a frustrated Fleet Street hack? Because your 'style' is a third-rate version of the ill-informed poison purveyed by characters like Clarkson, Moir, Littlejohn and all the other Little Englanders who infest the pages on the grubbier end of the national trade.
All clear now?
And a final update:
Actually, I am legally trained (all real journalists are) and I know a clear case of libel when I see it. I am a long-established columnist working in a racially- mixed area. I have a commendation for the quality and balance of my work from the Commission for Racial Equality. Yet you blog:"Rhodes and his friends spend their time muttering darkly about 'them'. They promote Section 28 and dream of the days of Empire when black people contentedly cut sugar cane for white people's tea and didn't moan about having their countries invaded by the Bwana."I meant legally-qualified actually. Still, that'll do. Not sure what he means by 'real journalist'. I'm not claiming to be one by profession and he's simply a columnist: offering opinions, such as that people who support gay marriage are the same as Blackshirts who wanted Jews exterminated. I offer opinions, but they're a) free and b) better-informed. But I'm still not a journalist.
Under the circumstances, it is hard to imagine a more wicked and damaging allegation. If this came to court, the lawyers would wipe the floor with you.
However, I am a proper journalist with a proper disdain for this country's draconian libel laws and would never dream of suing. You have been man enough to apologise, and I accept that. Sleep soundly.
And yes Peter, I sleep very soundly indeed. Despite being 'wicked'.