Language, Stevie

According to the New Statesman, when the new UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell, sat in the spot in the Commons normally occupied by Steve Rotheram, the Walton MP said to him “Eff off out of my seat.”

Does Mr Rotheram not know that it is an offence under Sections 4 and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 to use “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour” within the hearing or sight of someone who could feel harassed of threatened by them?

When a town councillor, one of my constituents was convicted under this provision simply for saying to the police “Don’t come near me, I’m a ninja.” Equally, Internet troll Liam Stacey was convicted under this Act for saying racist remarks on Twitter.

Why does Steve Rotheram appear to think the law offline should be more lenient than online, and members of parliament should get less stern treatment than anyone else?

Gavin Callaghan and McAlpine v Bercow

Gavin Callaghan is a spin-doctor for Steve Rotheram MP. He treats me like a competitor of his which is quite cute I guess. When I was a Labour councillor his age I did not have the maturity I have now so I guess he can’t be blamed for how he is. The other day he sent me this tweet in reference to an interview I had with Nicky Campbell:

This implies some deceit on my part as if I am hiding something that if known would tarnish my reputation. I therefore think this falls within the precedent set in McAlpine v Bercow then as this makes a ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ reference to an untruth it is defamation.

Gavin Callaghan may as well have said: “If only @NickyAACampbell knew who you really were *innocent face*”

More on Steve Rotheram’s snub

When I sent an email asking Steve Rotheram asking for an invite to his meeting with Internet trolling experts next week. I got a reply from Gavin Callaghan in effect giving the view that I was not invited because I was not an “academic” or “Industry expert” in the area of Internet trolling.

Cllr Gavin Callaghan reminds me of me when I was a Labour councillor around that age. He lacks the experience to put democratic principles like free speech ahead of curtailing it because it doesn’t match one’s point of view. I took an “opposition” councillor, Mike Powell, to court in 2006 because he was publishing things online that I didn’t want him to.

As you can see above in the Twitter thread where I challenged Cllr Gavin Callaghan, gave a number of reasons for not inviting me to the round-table:

  • Because I ‘do not do my research.’ I have many publications on the topic as can be seen here.
  • There were “many reasons” I wasn’t included he said, and then said my name wasn’t “mentioned”
  • He said that he does not need to justify his decision
  • And then said, “Perhaps you have learned a lesson about how 2 treat your opponents”

Even though I’ve been at the same career level as Cllr Gavin Callaghan – a young Labour councillor – I don’t think I was ever as bad as him in terms of not respecting human rights like free speech.

  • I have always been willing to respect those with greater expertise than me, even though I have never been willing to accept a point of view different from mine if I have not been persuaded as I am not open to coercion. 
  • Having been a member of the Labour Party I am used to this way of thinking. In 2003 I got the position of ‘Technology Officer’ created at Pontypridd CLP. Towards the end of my membership when I returned to Pontypridd CLP from Ogmore CLP I re-applied for this job which had been held by two people while I was away. When I was voted in a secret meeting was held that I was not invited to which ruled that there should only be one Technology Officer and the second person elected to the job – who was and is technologically illiterate – got the job even though I had been duly elected.
  • I have always believed in accountability and transparency in decision making – if people are elected their decisions should be scrutinised – by the people and the press. It is only through this scrutiny that fair decisions can be encouraged as all politicians care about what people think of them and this is one way to ensure they make the decisions the public want.
  • His attitude about ‘learning one’s lesson’ appears to be common among Labour Party members, who are always keen to stab their comrades in the back in order to get their way and boost their career.

These days I don’t see myself as having “opponents” – even if others like Gavin Callaghan see me as their “opponents.” I see myself as having peers – who I work with and support – and having competitors – who I am trying to gain the same ‘customers’ in regards to. It might be that the same person on one occasion is a peer and at a different time is a competitor.

So Gavin Callaghan could be right – I do know how to treat people who see me as their “opponents.” And that is to make public the unfavourable and biased treatment I have be subjected to by them. At this link for instance are the news articles I have written about Cllr Gavin Callaghan to make sure his mal-practices are available for public scrutiny.

Snubbed by Steve Rotheram MP

It was implied by Steve Rotheram’s personal assistant today that I am neither an industry expert on Internet trolling, nor an academic in the area. In fact I was the first academic in the world to have an edited volume published on Internet trolling and am the most published Industry expert in the world on the topic.

I was told by Cllr Gavin Callaghan that I cannot attend a round-table with other industry experts and academics at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster being hosted by Steve Rotheram MP. I have differences of opinion on policy matters relating to Internet trolling with Steve Rotheram MP who is hosting the event. This is what Cllr Gavin Callaghan said to me in reply to an email to Steve Rotherman MP asking for me to be invited to the meeting:

Dear Mr Bishop

Thank you for your email to Mr Rotheram dated 8 June 2013.

As you are aware Mr Rotheram has led a number of parliamentary debates over the past 18 months on the issue of trolling and he is keen to hear from industry experts, academics, police officers, barristers, ministers and victims.

Consequently it would not be appropriate for you to be at the meeting.

Best wishes,

Gavin Callaghan

This response was not unexpected. Mr Rotheram and Cllr Callagan take a very difference approach to Internet trolling and have very different policies on that matter compared to me. As a true democrat I try to ensure all opinions are heard, even, or maybe especially the ones that are contrary to my own. I do not see what Mr Rotheram hopes to gain from this meeting, other than publicity for his anti-trolling cause, if the only people he is inviting to the meeting are those who agree with his point of view.

Cllr Gavin Callaghan – against free speech?

I received legal threats via Twitter that if I did not remove an image of Cllr Gavin Callaghan from my website that he would take legal action against me. The discussion started with this post:

Cllr Gavin Callaghan has been an employee of Steve Rotheram MP who has been running a campaign to ‘secure more convictions’ for Internet trolling. Gavin Callaghan is a public figure by virtue of being a councillor and it is right for the media to scrutinise his actions in terms of postings to the Internet, seeing as he supports Mr Rotheram’s position.

The Berne Convention, implemented into EU law through Directive 2001/29/EC gives member states the right to limit copyright in a number of areas, one of which is news. Belgium have made this applicable to news, providing there is an acknowledgement of the source. We fulfil this requirement under Belgian law an d our terms and conditions for Crocels News are subject to the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Furthermore, considering the recent case law in the United Kingdom of Public Relations Consulting Association Limited v The Newspaper Licencing Agency Limited as our website hot-links to the version of that image then at most it can be considered there only to be a “temporary copy” on our website using the precedent in that case. Cllr Gavin Callaghan is a public figure and the rules of copyright apply differently.

As a cyberlaw expert I have reviewed this for a forthcoming book I am editing. I am confident that should Cllr Gavin Callaghan bring any legal action then a court will consider the use of the image to be freedom of expression and necessary in a democratic society for holding public figures like Cllr Gavin Callaghan who are elected to account. The use of the image contributes to a wider-debate so under UK case law it is a protected use.

Cllr Gavin Callaghan is a less than experienced Labour councillor, as I once was. He might want to refer to the case report for a case I brought to avoid making the same mistake, which I would cite in any court action he were to bring: