Coffee House

Lord McAlpine speaks out

15 November 2012

1:38 PM

15 November 2012

1:38 PM

Lord McAlpine has just given an incredibly moving interview to BBC Radio 4’s World at One. He talks about how the false accusations affected him. He said, ‘It gets into your bones, it gets into your soul. There’s nothing bad as this you can do to people.’ The damage, he said, could not be repaired because of the British proverb ‘that there is no smoke without fire’. As Andrew Neil tweeted moments ago, ‘Many should be hanging their heads in shame – and not just at BBC!!’

You can listen to the whole interview here:

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Charles Frith

    Scottish Andrew Neil comes out batting for Lord Lucky dip. Nice to have this on record.

  • In a quandry

    Fact :In a recent radio 4 interview Lord McAlpine stated that he has does not have access to the internet at his
    residence in Italy. Well, that’s strange as the facilities listed at his
    ‘Castillo’ residence, which also doubles as an up-market 30 bedroom b
    and b, details wi-fi connections in every room…

  • Loverat

    Now that Lord McAlpine’s solicitors are pursuing lots of others, the issue of over compensation and whether the pre action protocol is being correctly followed, will be the next discussion point I think. I have sympathy with him but his solicitors may come under intense scrutiny when they are asked to explain their public statements about how the litigation will be pursued. In my view their behaviour has prejudiced the rights of potential defendants which will become evident soon.

  • paulus

    Hasn’t monbiot got a nice farm in wales, oh, had a nice farm in wales.Best not to dance on the grave of the disgraced.

    Its a good job Lynsey erred on the side of insanity or he would be picking up a million pound liabilty tomorrow morning off his front door mat

  • Leeroger

    Much as I disagree with the views and antics of George Monbiot . his apology to Lord McAlpine is what is required. Sally Bercow however, is just digging herself into a deepening hole.Can’t wait to see her in court.

  • Sarah

    Compensation from BBC to Lord McAlpine for not being named on Newsnight: £185,000.

    Compensation from BBC to Julian Assange’s accusers for being named twice on Newsnight: £0.00

  • Daniel Maris

    A very, very important article in the Daily Mail, exposing the network of people trying to limit free speech in this country and involved in the targetting of McAlpine:

  • Andy

    Lord McAlpine has been very very generous with the BBC. A £185000 plus costs was far too little for so disgusting a libel. Should have been at least a £1 million.

  • Magnolia

    Back in the seventies and eighties, the unions, and the miners in particular, were demonised by society. I can remember my dad saying that the miners had to be “smashed”. It was or seemed to be very successful electorally because Mrs T won several elections in a row and in doing so set herself up to be duly ‘demonised’ in return by the left along with the word Tory. The left have continued to use this method very much to this day. One has only to think of the Lord Ashcroft coverage at the time of the last general election, the BBC’s constant interruptions of Conservatives or the punishment metered out to those ‘swivel eyed’ eurosceptics. I don’t think the old Labour politicians of say Callahan and Healey’s era behaved like that.
    The left seem to have continued the method to encompass any challenge to their belief system, thus we have the ‘bigoted’ opponents of gay marriage and the freezing out of anyone who challenges wind turbines. I can’t think of an equivalent example from the Conservative side although we are in danger of demonising the public sector rather than arguing for a better performing smaller state one. This is where I think the modernisation project has faltered because it takes some of the demons invented by the left and goes along with them rather than debating and challenging them head on. That’s how we are losing our true identity. The left got caught out this time and have been found to have set up an old man in poor health with their nasty bullying. That’s pretty demoniacal in my book.

    • Paddy

      Magnolia: You have put it so well…..especially: “The left got caught out this time and have been found to have set up an old man in poor health with their nasty bullying”.

      Let’s hope the rest of the electorate see the light before the next election.

    • AamirK

      Very well-put. The problem is that the Labour party is very professional, tribal and cynical and that it works a double act with the BBC that is crammed with Labour supporters who pay only lip service to impartiality. Neither can bear any challenges to their comforting orthodoxies so they believe that anyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong but must be bad as well.

      • eeore

        I’ve always thought it was the other way round, that Labour changed to match the BBC – hence they dropped clause 4, stopped having principles and shut up all opposition with sociological blackmail to suck any independence and creativity out of those brought into the fold, and demonise those left out.

  • 2trueblue

    Whatever the outcome it is a timely reminder and now accepted fact that the BBC needs new, responsible and professional people at every level. The day of ‘luvies’ is hopefully over. They have had it their own way for too long, imposing THEIR views on all of us. We deserve better, lets hope we get it.


    After all these weeks in the news and the amount of time and space given to the accusations thrown at Lord McAlpine, I’m surprised that the subject of other common abuses in our public life hasn’t been raised.

    Leading (ahem!) politicians and professional journalists and broadcasters, even in the greatest broadcasting organization in the world, regularly sidestep proper argument and simply hurl opprobrium. Europhobe, homophobe, xenophobe, islamophobe, racist, bigot, climate-change denier are all routine for left-wing intellectuals (says it all really) and so inured are we to it, that nobody in journalism or politics think it worthy of correction.

    As one who thinks individual freedom is preferable to micro-control by a dictatorial state I would be described as hard-right, not as bad as being a rapist or paedophile, but there are too many on the left who feel free to make it seem so, and for many it is important to keep any opinion which isn’t of the left consensus absolutely private as your employment rights would be at risk otherwise.

    Cameron’s description of UKIP supporters as closet racists, xenophobes and fruitcakes, is the gentler end of all this. And at the more aggressive end, it’s a deliberate tactic of the left to cause social division so they can move in and use ever more repressive laws to “correct” these terrible wrongs and thus ever reduce personal freedoms, or should that be rights, of thought, of property, of association, of speech and deed.

    There’s little left in our lives which isn’t either compulsory or proscribed.

  • Mike Waller

    Two points: First, Tom Watson did such wonderful work in respect of the grotesque News International that the whole country is in his debt. I therefore hope that Lord McAlpine shows the same magnanimity towards him as he has towards the original mistaken accuser.

    Second, last night the dear old “Moral Maze” went round and round in circles on the question of how best to stop the misuse of Twitter and the like. As usual, they got nowhere. I therefore think it rather wonderful that within a matter of seconds Lord McAlpine’s lawyer cut this particular gordian knot by the simple expedient of making clear that they would be suing the pants of all transgressors.

    • EndOfTrolls

      Watson is a slimeball who conspired with Brown to remove the elected Prime Minister of this country, and then lied about it. The fact that he was successful in damaging the greatest newsman of the 20th century is nothing I would consider praiseworthy and his attempts to smear Lord McAlpine should be exposed for the low-life actions they are. I hope the noble Lord takes him and that other slug Bercow to the cleaners.

    • salieri

      Interesting. If magnanimity is indeed due to Tom Watson, you must know something about his “evidence” that people outside Parliament don’t. Do share it.

    • Baron

      Mike Waller, sir, would it be the ‘News International’ that covered a peado for 40 years, you tosser.

    • HooksLaw

      It is extremely illustrative that you can frame your argument that way. ie that Watson should receive magnanimity on the basis of a previouis accusation that in fact proved to be false (ie that NOTW deleted text messages).
      Thats because no rational person would even make the attempt. For my part i cannot conceive the mind process that would reach the conclusion that you do.

  • Jules

    This is getting silly now. The BBC never named McAlpine, nor did they give any hints as to who it was. The BBC also did not tell people to go in their thousands or hundreds of thousands, onto twitter and name McAlpine or link to blogs naming him. The BBC filed a report about large scale abuse of children in North Wales, that is it.

    Can anyone, anywhere point to an example of the BBC naming McAlpine? People on twitter NOT the BBC.

    • EndOfTrolls

      So the BBC are paying the noble Lord hundreds of thousands of pounds because they are totally innocent? Don’t be stupid – they were very clear in the description of who it was and were obviously complicit with Watson and other spin merchants on the left to smear a good and decent man just because he is a tory. The behaviour of the BBC far exceeds the worst excesses of the NOTW and a root and branch clearout is called for. Tolerating and promoting paedoplhiles and falsely smearing honest men are far worse crimes than hacking the phones of a few C-list slebs.

      • FrenchNews

        Add in to that toxic mix BBC’s delusional, expensively-lawyered, apparently self-interested and unbalanced climate change propaganda and you have a very shaky organisation facing meltdown. As the noble Lord noted the BBC is trusted and believed by millions around the world uncritically, compounding the gravity of their failure to uphold their charter.

    • TomTom

      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism was contracted by the BBC and this led to leaks……even Tom Watson if I recall did not identify a Conservative merely a group inside No 10 in the past. It really is a problem if people attached to the BBC – BIJ and Michael Crick – start a hare running

    • Andy

      You do not need to name someone to defame them, which is what the BBC did. The BBC have apologised and thus have acknowledged their liability. What you should be asking is just exactly how was it that this pile of shit went up the BBC food chain – all of whom earn vast salaries by the way – and ended up being broadcast. There was no truth in the allegations whatsoever – NONE.

    • Latimer Alder


      Don’t be daft. If I were to make some nudge nudge wink
      wink remarks about somebody who I called only ‘close friend of Sandy’,
      you would quite rightly believe that I had given enough information ot
      be able to point the finger at you, even though I haven’t given your
      exact name and date of birth, inside leg measurement and NI number.

    • HooksLaw

      The BBC did everything but name him. They went out of their way not to spoil a good story by actually asking him about it.

  • Sarah

    “There’s nothing bad as this you can do to people.’ ”

    Oh I don’t know. Being raped by two thick footballers while their mate films it, only getting a conviction against one of them, having your attackers clapped by the lads in a stadium, being named, libelled, abused and intimidated by random rape cheerleaders across Twitter and Facebook and then seeing them get a £624 fine, is probably up there.

    Funny how when it was a female victim of gross harassment and slander, nobody in the free press thought there might be any reason to hold social media providers to account.

    This kind of stuff gets into your bones, makes you think there’s something wrong with the world.

    • Hayley

      Excellent point.

      It’s the same with domestic violence. If the same amount of men were dying at the hands of their partners every year, as women currently are now, there would be an outcry and nothing would get in the way of resolving the issue.

      • eeore

        Aren’t you engaging in exactly the behaviour that you supposedly complaining about?

        In the case of the people prosecuted in the Ched Evans case, there were calls for curbs on social media which in turn were swamped by faux ‘free speech’ avocates, and the people involved were convicted of a criminal offence. If you are looking for differences, then Lord McAlpine has the money to take a civil action which is why people appear to be taking more notice. The issue is not one of divide and rule sexist sloganising but why legal aid is not available for libel.

        As for domestic violence, the problem is not that nothing is done, but that the victims – male, female, straight, gay – don’t give evidence in court.

  • J A Jones

    I beg you not to let them off lightly. Fortunately you can aford it as it is unlikely that the offenders will be able to pay for their misdeeds.

  • Charlie the Chump

    Not only hanging their heads in shame but counting the cost £££ of their foolishness from the sound of McAlpines brief.
    Excellent; this twitter thing is completely out of control.

  • Judy

    For a further taste of the horrors of what Twitter abuse can do, look at @LorrainePascale’s twitter feed– she has been at the receiving end of the foulest racist abuse for weeks and it has been having a devastating impact on her. One thing that Lord McAlpine’s horrendous experience may do is force Twitter and ISPs to take their obligations to stop harassment and abuse seriously. Having heard Lord McAlpine & his lawyers’ description of how they used specialist firms who not only track down culprits, but track down and statistically document the contributions retreaters make to spreading the libels and the abuse, I did a search. The London firm TaylorWessing seems to be one such. I have no connection with them, but anyone who is on the receiving end of libels and abuse might like to consult this:

    • eeore

      You are correct that the internet providers do need to uphold their side of the contract which users sign.

      Having been on the receiving end of this sort of thing, not child abuse but a campaign alleging culpability in the death of my much loved and very much missed stillborn daughter, I can sympathise with Lord McAlpine’s position. Getting google to enforce it’s policy was impossible, because the simple truth is google doesn’t care so long as they get the advertising revenue. Were they to start being fined for their criminality they may well actually start taking their responsibilities more seriously (not that I am holding my breath given google’s criminal behaviour in other areas).

    • TomTom

      Yes and their chargeout rate is probably pretty modest. London lawyers are some of the cheapest around and anyone feeling upset by Twitter can happily spend £30,000+ on Solicitors as one does………Libel is such a cheap affair in London courtrooms that it really is open to Everyman

  • salieri

    Like all privileges, parliamentary privilege is open to abuse; and dishonourable cowards who deliberately abuse it are the least likely to apologise for doing so, even – no, especially – when caught out.

  • In2minds

    “About time we heard something from Tom Watson………” , I disagree, the less from him the better.

    • HooksLaw

      I for one can’t help feeling that Watson, being disappointed at the exposure and failure of his last attempt to smear tories, has been at it again and I also wonder just who he has been conspiring with.
      I did at the time talk about the law of unintended consequences and the BBC itself seems to be the biggest victim of collateral damage.
      But consider the mix,
      Left wing smear crazy labour MP, on the make and with vast ego.
      Left wing cabal of out of control BBC journalists (and have we have seen from 28gate they have form about believing the end justifies the means)
      Left wing campaigning group of independent reporters who receive regular employ by previous left wing cabal of BBC journalists.

      Some people might think this is an explosive mix; I could not possibly comment.

  • Redrum

    Agreed but let’s not close down this discussion we need to expose paedophiles for the evil they do.

    • EndOfTrolls

      We must expose and pursue the liars and cowards who hide behind Twitter and parliamentary privilege for the harm they do. The BBC must also pay for employing, tolerating and promoting paedophiles and the police and CPS must pay for not pursuing the scum when the evidence was there. Those who want to close down the press through Leveson should remember, it was a free press that exposed this can of filthy worms whilst the BBC did its best to bury the NOTW when all the time it was at the nexus of the scandals.

      • Chris lancashire

        As Lord McAlpine has generously acknowledged “making the BBC pay” is actually you and I which is why he will be moderating his financial demands on that organisation. I trust his restraint does not extend to others.

        • EndOfTrolls

          One can only hope that Watson was dumb enough to email or tweet in which case he wouldn’t have protection. I would love to see him and the Bercow slapper get what’s coming to them.

        • Noa

          Yes, it’s a real pity that any such payment does not fall to the direct account of the senior executives involved, as indeed the excess payment to Entwhistle should fall to the generous Fatty Pang.

        • itdoesntaddup

          Indeed: he should seek exemplary damages from the individuals concerned to be paid out of their personal wealth, rather than the organisation as a whole, for whom token damages are a sufficient measure, as their reputation is now exposed, and the liability would in effect be met by licence fee payers.

    • EJ

      What about the legions of young girls abused by organised groups of largely Pakistani Muslims whose lives have been destroyed by the PC liberal establishment who as per put the importance of not upsetting “minority” groups over and above the safety and wellfare of our own young people??

      • TomTom

        I don’t see Pakistani Muslim men as being PC liberals…….I see Police failing to uphold the law for which they can be prosecuted

        • EJ

          They’re not PC liberals and that’s not what I said. The PC liberal establishment facilitated this ruination of young lives by sweeping it under the carpet or villifying those who were warning for years that it was happening. The police failing to uphold the law is one element of this PC-motivated cowardice but there are many others, including all those who suppressed the truth about what was happening. And yes they can be prosecuted – but we all know that they won’t be. And so we shuffle onwards, desperate not to offend.

          • TomTom

            “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for
            enough good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke.

            (British Statesman and Philosopher, 1729-1797)

      • redrum

        Dear EJ I’m not sure what your point is – the definition of paedophilia applies to any child, regardless of sex. The girls in Rochdale were as young as 12, which I believe is still a child, although I stand to be corrected. A family relative was abused by a so-called “family friend” between the ages of 9 and 12. When they told me (many years later) how they were groomed it breaks my heart. The impact on their life has been profound. In my view NO adult has the right to take sexual advantage of any child. I worry that the McAlpine affair, a travesty of journalism, will be used to prevent any discussion on this topic. Of course, I note that a MP has not yet been threatened for using parliamentary privilege to expose another alleged culprit. Yet more double standards? But that’s another topic maybe

      • HooksLaw

        A fair and interesting point, but the perps are now in jail.

      • eeore

        I see Chris Hopkins has waded into this debate.

    • eeore

      If you have evidence then go to the police.

      If you don’t, shut up.

    • Colonel Mustard

      That’s all well and good until someone “exposes” you, chum, and you happen to be innocent. There is no statute of limitations in the UK on “sex crimes” and if accused the onus is on you to prove your innocence not for a prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Hearsay is also admissible.

      The previous Government brought in legislation that made it impossible for the accused to bring any kind of evidence in defence of these complaints which can be spread by the accuser over any number of years, without specific dates being produced, or any medical evidence whatsoever. In these cases the accused is presumed Guilty, unless he/she can catagorically prove innocence. And the accuser walks away with a big fat cheque at the taxpayers expence.

      Some years ago, the German government abolished payouts for sex abuse cases except where there was corroborated evidence. The result was a drop of over 80% in the number of complaints from would be ‘victims’.

      • Sarah

        What the hell are you going on about now, Eddie?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Sorry, Sarah. I’m not Eddie and please excuse me from engaging with you as I don’t hold with extremists of any kind.

      • Carol-Ann

        The German Government is an absolute disgrace, if what you say is correct.

        • Colonel Mustard

          What is an absolute disgrace is innocent people going to jail for crimes they didn’t commit because the strident feminist lobby is more interested in convictions than justice. Anyone who thinks someone should be convicted without corroborative evidence is simply a Nazi, however they dress up their crusade.

          And please don’t shoot the messenger.

          • Noa

            Neither link seems to work Colonel.

          • Noa

            Apologies, the link is now functioning. Thank you.

        • Minekiller

          German governments have been generally disgraceful since around the mid-eighteenth century.

        • eeore


      • HooksLaw

        The website you lift that quote from seems actually in favour of the practice. Irrespective, the ‘he said she said’ nature of these actions would normally require some other corroborating evidence.

        On at least one front the Germans are encouraging claims not limiting them:

  • toco10

    Sally Bercow and the Speaker must be having a difficult lunch.About time we heard something from Tom Watson to confirm his privileged Parliamentary comments were not related to Lord McAlpine.

    • telemachus

      Yes Toco
      You are all on the side of right now

    • Salisbury

      I hope that, in setting the level of damages she has to pay, the court will take into account that, judging by her latest tweets on the subject, Sally Bercow seems to regard the whole business of libelling Lord McAlpine and being sued for it as a tremendous joke.

      • salieri

        She does, but she can’t help having the IQ of a koala. Judging by the latest, she is also peeing in her pants.

        • IRISHBOY

          What pants?

          • salieri

            Her husband’s?

        • HooksLaw

          Please stop insulting Koalas.

    • Mark Riley

      Not just TW on radio silence but also Harriet and Patty who earlier in their careers at NCCL (Liberty) seemed happy to support PIE, Harman indeed being reported as saying “childhood sexual experiences willingly engaged in with an adult result in no identifiable damage.”This was at the milder end of the PIE wish list supported at the time! Funny how dear old Auntie hasn’t picked up this meme!

    • The Crunge

      The thought of sanctimonious left wing imbeciles like Bercow and Monbiot,who believe they are above the law, being bankrupted and publicly shamed is trulyheartwarming in these difficult times.