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Legal correspondence

Posted on April 15, 2013 by

We’ve received another letter from Ian Taylor’s lawyers. You can read it below.


We’ve sent the following response:

Hello [name]. Congrats on (mostly) sorting out the spelling this time.

I am of course keen to avoid legal action and to maintain Wings Over Scotland’s unblemished standards of accuracy and propriety, and will be more than happy to remove any untrue allegations about Mr Taylor from my website. I note that your letter of today omits the claim in the previous one that there was an issue with my reference to “massive tax avoidance”, which I welcome.

I also note, however, that you have failed to provide any justification for your remaining claims of defamatory inaccuracy, so am as yet unable to comply with your demand to remove them. So that we can come to an amicable agreement, can you please clarify for me the following matters?

(1) Mr Taylor was Chief Executive of Vitol plc when it entered a guilty plea to charges of grand larceny (i) in the US in 2007. Would you agree that grand larceny constitutes “criminal activity”, and that as Chief Executive – and also President and self-proclaimed “public face” (ii) – of the company, Mr Taylor has “extensive connections” with Vitol, and if not, why not?

(2) In respect of the above, the activity in question concerned monies paid to what Reuters described as “Iraqi officials under Saddam Hussein”. Would you agree that criminal activities engaged in with the state officials of Iraq constituted a link to Saddam Hussein, and if not, why not?

(3) Mr Taylor was also Chief Executive of Vitol when it paid $1m to (iii) the Serbian war criminal (iv) known as “Arkan”. The company has admitted doing so, noting only that its transaction was not illegal. My website has made no allegation that the transaction was illegal. Would you agree that being the Chief Executive ultimately responsible for giving someone $1m constituted a “link” with that person, and if not, why not?

Further to the broader point, all of the statements cited above have been made in numerous respectable international newspapers and publications with large readerships, and appear not to have been challenged by Mr Taylor over a period spanning many years. It would appear to me, then, that in so far as Mr Taylor’s reputation could be discerned by an ordinary member of the public, that reputation would be as it is portrayed in those statements and in my article.

It therefore follows that my article would not lower his reputation, since it merely repeats information which is already very much in the public domain and which Mr Taylor appears not to have contested despite plainly having the means with which to do so. I am accordingly uncertain as to how you deem me to have defamed him, as defamation requires the lowering of a person’s reputation.

I’m sure if you can clear up these questions we can arrive at a mutually-agreeable position accurately describing Mr Taylor’s status. Otherwise, I refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.

Very best regards,
Rev. Stuart Campbell







We’ll keep you posted.

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    148 to “Legal correspondence”

    1. Gordon Bain says:

      Bloody brilliant riposte Rev. Kudos.
      Don’t let the bastards get you down.
      Hail Alba!

    2. DMyers says:

      Well said.

    3. squarego says:

      Terrific reply Rev. I sense an “Oh Shit” moment in a certain lawyers office.

    4. scaredy cat says:

      A very measured, intelligent response. Will be interesting to see the reply, if you get one.

    5. Linda's Back says:

      Look forward to massive coverage on BBC Scotland TV news bulletins just in the same way every lawyer’s letter involving the affairs of Rangers football club is given top billing.
      I will donate as soon as possible

    6. An Duine Gruamach says:

      Gaun yersel, Rev!  Enjoyed reading that reply. 

    7. MajorBloodnok says:

      I had to look up Arkell v. Pressdram (1971) and I’m glad I did!

    8. Ray says:

      It’s at this point, I fear, the opposition will play very, very dirty. If they can get any more so than now anyway.

    9. Craig Evans says:

      Go get them Tiger!

    10. Richard Lucas says:

      Great stuff. Let’s hope it deflates the bold Taylor in the same way that Arkell was never heard from again.

    11. creag an tuirc says:

      I have a feeling this may take WoS most read article title 🙂

    12. Macart says:

      Huzzah, they’ve cracked it! 🙂

    13. Ananurhing says:

      This could go all the way Rev. Count me in for a hunner.

    14. Jiggsbro says:

      They might be able to make a pedantic case that one instance of grand larceny isn’t extensive connections to criminal activity, that paying one Serbian murderer doesn’t mean he’s linked to war criminals (plural) and that being linked to the Iraqi government isn’t the same as being linked to Saddam Hussein personally.
      I’m not sure how they’d make a case that those particular allegations would defame him any more than the version on record.

    15. Allan Jackson says:

      Excellent reply to what is nothing more than an attempt to hide the truth, I also love how you ended your reply Kudos to you Rev. Interesting to see how they try and get out of the Arkan affair when Vitol admitted themselves about the deal
      I have recently emailed all my MSP representatives asking 7 simple questions about these allegations I would also recommend to others to do likewise, I will be very interested in their answers, 5 of them are pro-unionists (including none other than Ruth Davidson), so I am expecting those answers to be obscure to say the least, the other 3 I am pretty sure what their answers will be.
      again Kudos Rev and keep up the great work.

    16. Aitch-Aitch says:

      Sock it to’em Rev

    17. Adrian B says:

      Dodgy politicians, fraudsters and criminals would rest easier because the public would have less right to know.
      It is time to stand up for press freedom and against this dangerous nonsense. – Brian Wilson

    18. StevenM says:

      Arkell v. Pressdram. for those not in the know:

    19. Dan777A says:

      i dont expect legal action, but i do expect them to play dirty. maybe they try take the site down or launch attacks on it…..hope you are prepared for cyber warfare!!!!

    20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “They might be able to make a pedantic case that one instance of grand larceny isn’t extensive connections to criminal activity, that paying one Serbian murderer doesn’t mean he’s linked to war criminals (plural) and that being linked to the Iraqi government isn’t the same as being linked to Saddam Hussein personally.”

      You can of course have extensive connections to a single activity. Although it seems to be far from Vitol’s only dodgy doings. And I’m pretty sure that one could kill two birds with one stone by calling Saddam Hussein a war criminal. Reuters were explicit about “officials under Saddam Hussein”, so I reckon we’re covered there.

    21. G H Graham says:

      They may still file papers in court in an attempt to
      1. Frighten you
      2. Cause you to spend money on legal advice
      3. Force you to change your web content & issue an apology
      4. Have your website closed
      Now having considered your articles again, read both ‘warning letters’ & reviewed all of the available evidence, I have come to the careful, measured & judgment that upon receipt of their next letter, you should tell them to f*** off.
      And a donation still awaits in the unlikely event that any of this hubris will result in a court hearing.

    22. dmw42 says:

      And aren’t Employee Benefit Trusts considered illegal? They are as far as HMRC is concerned
      HMRC’s ‘Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) Settlement Opportunity’ is intended to encourage employers and companies who had used EBTs and similar structures to settle early any outstanding tax and NICs without the need for HMRC to consider litigation“.
      But, then again, you can’t argue with a sick mind.

    23. Ananurhing says:

      I hope this does go all the way. It’ll make your last crowdfundraiser look like a parish tombola! Mind you it will have to.

    24. Jiggsbro says:

      You can of course have extensive connections to a single activity. Although it seems to be far from Vitol’s only dodgy doings. And I’m pretty sure that one could kill two birds with one stone by calling Saddam Hussein a war criminal. Reuters were explicit about “officials under Saddam Hussein”, so I reckon we’re covered there
      Absolutely. I never said it would be a good case. 🙂

    25. Cath says:

      Great stuff Rev. It’s fascinating to see this kind of legal attempt to shut down a story being played out publicly, rather than hidden as injunctions and legal action usually is, with allegations and stories simply disappearing into legal black holes.
      I wish I had the funds to be able to promise to help out in the event of legal action, but what I can put in is too minimal to make any difference. If there’s any other way some of us can help though, let us know, I’m planning punt a lot of stuff (like studying and full time work) out the way fairly soon to put a lot more time into referendum campaigning 🙂

    26. mato21 says:

      Wonder if the Herald has got a follow up letter They too seem to be like a dog with a bone today they have passed on the baton, it’s not a Robbie Dunwoodie piece
      Await further developments with interest
      phone pacific quay with news they’re always a bit short on stories The pandas aren’t doing much to keep them in stories

    27. Jiggsbro says:

      And aren’t Employee Benefit Trusts considered illegal?
      I suspect that Vitol no longer uses them and only used them when they were legal.
      Perhaps we should start a list of crimes Ian Taylor isn’t associated with? As far as I am aware, he has never exposed himself to goats.

    28. Dcanmore says:

      Terrific response, well done!

    29. Stuart Black says:

      Arkell v. Pressdram… Brilliant!

    30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “They may still file papers in court in an attempt to
      1. Frighten you
      2. Cause you to spend money on legal advice
      3. Force you to change your web content & issue an apology
      4. Have your website closed”

      Aye, it’s certainly possible. But I don’t believe I’m in need of any legal advice – I’ve had training in this sort of thing as a journalist, and their case seems fairly clearly bullshit to me. My webhosts won’t back down without a court order (the old ones would have folded like a cheap deckchair), so thanks again to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser and thereby paid for the move.

    31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “And aren’t Employee Benefit Trusts considered illegal?”

      Doesn’t really matter either way. I referred to tax avoidance (legal), not tax evasion (illegal).

    32. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Arkell v. Pressdram… Brilliant!”

      I gather it’s something of a cliche, but I’d never heard of it until this week so I don’t care.

    33. patronsaintofcats says:

      That reply is a thing of beauty! Well done – don’t give the b*stards an  inch!

    34. Castle Rock says:

      Brilliant reply.
      I would have been tempted to have also attached a special “notification cancellation coupon” just in case they wanted to stop receiving notifications of new posts.

    35. Martainn says:

      Brilliant! Keep up the good work and make sure and keep National Collective informed of your progress.

      Hail Alba

    36. Scott Watson says:

      If this goes any further would suggest using the same Lawyer National Collective are using.

    37. Dan Huil says:

      Excellent reply.Keep up the good work.

    38. Captain Caveman says:

      No idea if this will get through (probably not), but just in case, good luck with this one. We’ll never agree on much, but one thing we CAN agree on is the attempted suppression of freedom of speech via possibly malicious litigation, just because someone is rich for example. I disapprove of [most] of what you say, but absolutely defend your right to say it etc.
      The issue of Scots’ independence, or not, is most definitely an argument with two sides and the collective media must air them both – something the mainstream at least is manifestly failing so to do.

    39. dmw42 says:

      If C&B and Mr Taylor are such ardent observers of WoS, maybe you should ask them for a contribution.

    40. scaredy cat says:

      Okay, having just read the Arkell v Pressdram link, perhaps I should take back the ‘measured’ bit. On the other hand, maybe that was a very measured way of making your point.
      I shall leave my comments as they stand. Well done again!

    41. Arbroath1320 says:

      They have a spell checker that works!
      Seems to me Rev that you have got them rattled now! I think we could be looking at a case of a frozen rabbit in car headlights syndrome here. They thought they had you scared off with their first letter which you, in total surprise to them, ignored. They have now tried a second time to try and scare you off and lo and behold you are STILL here. Not only are you still here but asking questions of THEM! Is it just me or do others sense there may be the beginnings of an onset of PANIC at a certain lawyers offices?
      Congratulations Rev on showing these bullies that you are NOT someone who buckles under to bullies. Everyone who visits your site is immensely PROUD of you. 😀
      Go kick some serious bully EARSE! 😆

    42. jr ewen says:

      well done rev

    43. Morag says:

      My God Stu, are we paying you enough?

    44. Doug Daniel says:

      Genius, especially the last bit.

    45. Mad Jock McMad says:

      May I bring the Rev’s attention to:
      I am willing to testify in court to the accuracy of the claim about Serbia National Oil Company’s conduct over the EU oil scam.
      I may be Mad but I’m no daft…

    46. muttley79 says:

      Good post Captain Caveman.  I agree with the sentiments you have expressed.  It looks like this story will run and run.  National Collective’s site is effectively still down, so it will be interesting to see if anything happens this week. 

    47. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “My God Stu, are we paying you enough?”

      Nobody ever pays me enough.


    48. Tasmanian says:

      I’m going to order a dictionary on Amazon and send it to Collier Bistro, gift-wrapped 🙂

      Seriously, Rev, how is it you didn’t know of Arkell vs Pressdram? Do you not read Private Eye??? How do you maintain your cynicism towards life in the UK without it??? Would have thought it essential. Definitely worth a few 0.1%s of your fundraiser to get WoS a subscription to that august organ.

    49. Indy_Scot says:

      I would be interested to know how many and what websites this pathetic excuse for an outfit have targeted.
      The fact that they have gone to this length does look a bit desperate and only serves to demonstrate the power that ordinary people now have with advent of the internet.
      Clearly they don’t like being presented with uncomfortable facts or being answerable to anyone, which I suppose is a typical unionist mentality.
      I don’t know much, but one thing I do know is that these people are on a hiding to nothing.

    50. Cath says:

      Heh! I’ve only just looked up Arkell v. Pressdram 😀

    51. Paul Martin says:

      We have National Collective due to post a response this week. The Herald have stuck to their guns. And MP’s like Angus Robertson and John Mann have jumped in as well. Rev Stu is in good company.

    52. Captain Caveman says:

      As a symbolic gesture of support, even I’ve just subscribed.
      Can’t stand shit like this.

    53. Training Day says:

      “I am accordingly uncertain as to how you deem me to have defamed him, as defamation requires the lowering of a person’s reputation.”
      Love it.

    54. Craig M says:

      Darling can’t have been unaware of the back story with Taylor. He can’t be that stupid, can he?
      Darling is betrothed to the Establishment and as lovers do, they’ll look out for one another.
      I’m sure that this will have been risk assessed and the back story deemed as acceptable.
      The stakes are high here. If the money is not returned then you can take it as read that the rules have been redefined and that anything is acceptable for the Better Together mafia. We need to be vigilant.

    55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “As a symbolic gesture of support, even I’ve just subscribed.
      Can’t stand shit like this.”


    56. creag an tuirc says:

      @Captain Caveman
      Good to see men of principle still exist. John Mortimer would have been proud.

    57. Seasick Dave says:

      What I can’t stand is this crap that Vitol has nothing to do with him.

    58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Seriously, Rev, how is it you didn’t know of Arkell vs Pressdram? Do you not read Private Eye???”

      I buy about one issue in every three. I find I just can’t take any more than that, because reading one leaves me exhausted with rage and a certain amount of despair, and it becomes counter-productive. It’s perhaps the most important publication in Britain, in terms of disseminating facts. It’s a tragedy that it isn’t more widely known.

    59. K Mackay says:

      Best reply ever Rev!
      I’m sending you a tenner, I demand it is spent on a few well earned pints!

    60. creag an tuirc says:

      @Craig M

      If the money is ever going to be returned, it will happen on Wednesday as we know what will dominate the headlines on Thursday morning.

    61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Terrific reply Rev. I sense an “Oh Shit” moment in a certain lawyers office.”

      The lawyers won’t care if they win or lose. They get paid anyway.

    62. george minty says:

      Here is my letter to Johan Lamont for what it’s worth. I doubt she will consider it worth a reply. It is being sent through the BBC Scotland questions to Party Leader link through Scottish politics.
      Do you believe Better Together should accept money from an oil trader members of your own party recently accused of offering “dirty money” as a contribution to the Conservative Party. I won’t accept no comment as it is going to court as it would be possible to suspend acceptance until legal issue is resolved. Refusal to offer an opinion would demonstrate that the Scottish Labour Party has no moral compass when it comes to Scottish Independence issues.

      George Minty

    63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m sending you a tenner, I demand it is spent on a few well earned pints!”

      It’ll manage about two-and-a-half in these parts, but much appreciated anyway 😀

    64. Douglas Gregory says:

      They are bluffing –  don’t give an inch. You have not ‘added to the sum of human knowledge’ you have not ‘distorted’ information that is widely and publically available and you have not ‘misrepresented’ a thing. 
      If they are arrogant enough to try and take any sort of action it can only lead to good publicity.  They are obviously misunderstanding why WoS exists – because you and many others are tired of the lies, distortion and fearmongering. How surprising that they are trying to bully you.  The truth is unstoppable.
      I.pledge 100 also if needed.

    65. Les Wilson says:

      You are a cut above REV!

    66. muttley79 says:

      Good stuff Captain Caveman.  I see Darling is quoted in today’s Herald saying that
      Ian Taylor is a respected figure in Scotland and in the UK. He has made a big contribution to Scottish life, including a personal investment that has revived the Harris Tweed industry.”
      Nothing wrong with the second sentence that I can see.  But the first one?

    67. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Nothing wrong with the second sentence that I can see. But the first one?”

      According to one of the comments on the piece, the second is pretty questionable too.

    68. Gaavster says:

      I would just like to echo the sentiments of others Stu and say well done for standing up to this intimidation in your own inimitable style…
      If funds are needed to fight the good fight count me in too 

    69. David Milligan - a very Sovereign Scot says:

      Rev, I just hope they are stupid enough to go for court proceedings.  This would be the biggest show trial since OJ, we’d see to that.
      It would cost the Better Together campaign dearly as their tory connections would be put out in plain sight.  You might win us the referendum here lad.
      Kindest regards,
      David Milligan – a very Sovereign Scot

    70. muttley79 says:

      I did not read that Rev Stu.  Has his contribution to the Harris Tweed Industry been overplayed?

    71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I did not read that Rev Stu.  Has his contribution to the Harris Tweed Industry been overplayed?”

      I know absolutely nothing about it, other than that comment.

    72. Stevie says:

      Just ask the ScotNats for money to pay lawyers — they’ll supply it I’m sure (every time there’s a call for lawyer funds they answer)

    73. G. Campbell says:

      Future to the back.

      “compared to the results of the January 2102 survey, support for Scotland going it alone slipped by 1.2%.”

    74. Suilven says:

      This is why you have received so much via crowd sourcing – more and more people are scunnert with the unquestioning, unchallenging MSM.
      As an aside, if Vitol was a US company it would have broken the law by paying a fee to a government official in order to facilitate a transaction. I’m sure BAE got into bother for paying bribes for the Eurofighter contract also.
      I work for an American oil services company in Aberdeen. Every year I have to sign a declaration that I have complied with the act as it applies to employees outside the US. Perhaps an independent Scotland could do with similar legislation……………..

    75. Adrian B says:

      “compared to the results of the January 2102 survey, support for Scotland going it alone slipped by 1.2%.”
      LOL, Thats Quality Journalism by the Unionist P&J.

    76. Jeannie says:

      @Rev Stu
      Otherwise, I refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.
      Brilliant.  Reminds me of a scene from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin where Nicolas Cage translates a message from the local council on Kefalonia to the “invading” Italian army.
      Well done, you.

    77. creag an tuirc says:

      @G. Campbell

      After the bedroom tax, workfare, trident commitment etc you would expect a drop in support for YES (not)

    78. The Man in the Jar says:

      I’m sure that there was a program or documentary on BBC some years ago when I assume it was Taylor taking over the Harris Tweed industry that was the subject. There were a lot of very unhappy weavers protesting about the take over. Anyone got a connection to a Harris Tweed weaver? Would be nice to hear their opinion on all this.
      Also well done Rev. Keep it up.
      And Captain Caveman thank you very much.

    79. Dcanmore says:

      O/T here it is, Johann Lamont wants your questions, get scribbling:

    80. George Anderson says:

      Well done – what an excellent response.
      Please post if you need support in raising funds.

    81. pmcrek says:

      Balls in their court, if they  send you another letter simply reiterating their position they are basically admitting they have no case and cant do anything. Also, the Private Eye response is a cliche, but I certainly think its a very appropriate one in this instance.

    82. dmw42 says:

      From the Herald, 2 November 2009
      He (Brian Wilson) contacted Ian Taylor, an American with Scottish forebears, who is president of oil trader Vitol. He had met him when they were dinner guests of Fidel Castro in Havana, when Wilson was trade minister. Taylor agreed to become the main shareholder and Harris Tweed Hebrides was born“.
      Well, bugger me with a fish fork.

    83. martyn says:

      considering that some of his Labour pals have vested interests in Harris tweed his ‘saving’ of it could well be construed as a favour in leu

    84. Albalha says:

      Came across this paragraph in a WHFP article about the setting up of HTH, re the mystery surrounding IT’s Scottish connections. Also from what I see he is a good chum of a certain B Wilson who asked him to help out, probably realised it was a sound investment, not sure there’s much murk to uncover.

      The main shareholder in the new company is Ian Taylor, a Scottish businessman who has spent the last 30 years in the oil industry and has a home on the west coast. He said: “As a long-standing admirer of Harris Tweed, I see this as a tremendously exciting opportunity to promote it as one of the world’s great fabrics. I believe that Harris Tweed Hebrides can bring a new approach to a classic industry.”

    85. Indion says:

      I do so hope Collyer Bristow are ‘representing’ Mr Ian Taylor on a no win no fee basis, but somehow doubt it. What I don’t doubt is that their billed services will be expensive in defending the indefensible activities of Vitol that Taylor is associated with.

      Whether our freedoms to do as we please without legal penalty if not unlawful or lawful, does not make such actions legitimate or just. Neither is ‘legal’ correspondence from lawyers necessarily legitimate or just either. Likewise, best not ignored does not mean best comply with.

      People judge others by the company they keep in being no better together than the apparent worst. The longer NO Better Together retains association with and resources from Taylor, the closer the association will appear – and the more likely other contributors will not wish to be tainted by it.

      This saga continues. The jury of public opinion on the matter is being gathered by the MSM and bloggers at their best as guardians and their guards with our support in acting as any reasonable and responsible organizations and people should.

      As is the norm from their politrics playbook, our opponents may be quick on the draw to get their retaliation in first as deflection from their own wrongdoing. But firing off f***ing blank duds is no defence against real bullets winging back at them. And the keen sharp-eyed shooter here has just fired back a fusillade of facts to the heart of this matter.

      Whatever side of the arguments for independence and/or union folk associate with will only be worthwhile if we all remain as vigilant and persistent in drawing legitimate and just attention to wrongdoing.

      Unless we do, the lose – lose outcome of our Referendum is that it won’t belong to us and so won’t be worth having too. And that would never do for we who are in it to win it.

      Rock and roll over!

    86. bunter says:

       @ Dcanmore
      Im sure the state broadcaster will carefully ”select” those questions it deems appropriate, taking into consideration the quality of the  person who will be supplying the answers.
      The first one could  be, ”Is A.S. a liar”
      That should let her repeat  all the baseless smears over the last few months and leave no time for a wee hard one ,  such as her position regards funding  WMD or universal benefits.

    87. Bill C says:

      I think it’s all been said above Rev. I again agree 100% with G H Graham and as I said before, I will also make a donation to any fighting fund. Thank you for having the courage to take these bastards on.

    88. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      dmw42: Superb find. That’s going straight on the front page.

    89. dmw42 says:

      It’s in the Herald Stu so it must be right, right?

    90. Training Day says:


      O/T here it is, Johann Lamont wants your questions, get scribbling:
      Ah, Champ, Ogopogo, Nessie, Mokele Mbembe and ‘Scottish’ Labour and its ‘leader’.  All myths.
      To be fair, I’ve seen Ogopogo more times than Lamont when the word ‘Trident’ is getting banded about..

    91. Luigi says:

      Brilliant response, Rev. I get the impression that they did not expect their bluff to be called, but they may continue to raise the stakes, simply for the sake/hope of saving face. If it does end up in the courts, it seems that quite a few supporters are already prepared to contribute to a fighting fund. Count me in.

    92. Albert Herring says:

      @The Man in the Jar 
      I think you’re referring to Brian Haggas who took over Harris Tweed Scotland in 2006. This a different company from Taylor’s. I believe Haggas reduced the number of tweed patterns from over 8 thousand to six. This was not universally popular.

    93. Dal Riata says:

      Aye, good on ye Stu – get it right up thum!
      Just asking here: Why did National Collective close their site (for the time being)? Could they not have done something similar to what Stu has done with WoS so far?
      Of course, I do not know what was the contents of the letter National Collective, presumably, received from the same lawyers, presumably, who sent correspondence to WoS. I am aware that NC have a well-renowned lawyer working on their case.
      I’m not having a go at NC here at all; again, just asking. Sorry if this has been answered before here on WoS on another thread.

    94. Doug Daniel says:

      By the way Stu, I’m looking forward to the third letter, which will presumably say something like “look, we really mean it this time. Take it down or we’ll send you another angrily-worded letter.”

    95. Swampy says:

      Repetition isn’t a defence in English libel law. I’d be careful about putting too much stock in “but bigger papers said it first.” Generally the allegedly injured party doesn’t have to prove anything external to the party that he’s suing.

    96. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Repetition isn’t a defence in English libel law.”

      Reasonable good faith is, however.

    97. Bingo Wings Over Scotland says:

      I note that your letter of today omits the claim in the previous one that there was an issue with my reference to “massive tax avoidance”, which I welcome.


    98. Fiona Gibney says:

      Excellent! I cannot wait for their reply.

    99. Seasick Dave says:

      Re the Herald article on Mr Taylor, I had to chuckle at the following:
      The two former Labour politicians on the board – chairman Brian Wilson and director Alasdair Morrison – still know a good story when they see one. (They also know a bad one and moved quickly to ridicule a report their company was denying its Scottish identity to appease US opinion following the Lockerbie bomber’s release). 
      It seems to contradict (big time) the following articles…

      What a tangled web they weave 🙂

    100. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Would also like to be included should a fighting fund be required.

    101. EdinScot says:

      Classic Rev Stu!  Again, we’re all full square behind you, all the way.  This is going to run and run with the NO camp constantly shooting themselves in the foot.  This to me feels like one of the defining moments thus far in the fight for Scotlands’ future.  I think we’re around about the tipping point now.  The Unionists want to shut down democracy and lock Scotland and its people up behind a new iron curtain.  Got news for them.  Aint happening eh Rev!  Will be donating my small amount but it all adds up at end of the day.  Lately, everytime i hear the bull from the NO camp i donate however little to the Independence supporting websites and YES campaign.  Put my money where my mouth is.

    102. Swampy says:

      “Reasonable good faith is, however.”
      Absolutely, it is. I never meant to imply that I don’t think you’re on solid ground here otherwise. And I doubt this will come within a mile of a courtroom.

    103. kininvie says:

      Now the story is out there and still running, you can afford (should you wish) to do a bit of plea-bargaining. It could waste endless time, and rack up IT’s costs.
      For example, you could offer to replace ‘extensive’ with ‘unfortunate’ and maybe ‘a man linked to’ with ‘a man whose company had links to’
      Neither of which change the implications in the slightest…
      Just in case it ever goes to court, it might be to your advantage to show that you had been prepared to compromise, and that t’other lot were being intransigent, no?

    104. Indion says:

      kininvie @ 5:10pm
      mmmm, bit like the “Do you agree ….” lost leader 🙂

    105. tartanpigsy says:

      A wee bit O/T, but whilst all this generosity is flying about the ether can I just mention that alongside all the extremely interesting bluff and double bluff between Ian Taylor’s lawyers and the various recipients of said letters, we at Illuminate the Debate/ are attempting to raise a relatively modest sum to enable us to distribute 100,000 leaflets highlighting media inadequacies and generally put on a much bigger, better rally than February’s.
      We would greatly appreciate any help on this. We should be able to give out a more detailed rundown of what we plan within the next week.
      We are keen to incorporate the whole censorship issue in to the next rally and really highlight to the public what is going on around the whole referendum debate.
      We are collectively very close to getting some movement in public perception of the establishment in general and the role of the BBC in particular.
      (That’s our feeling anyway)

    106. Jeannie says:

      Re questions for Johann Lamont – I was thinking of posting a question such as, “Since you campaigned so vehemently against Scottish devolution in 1979, haven’t you got a bit of a cheek standing for election as an MSP, let alone taking up the position of Opposition Leader at Holyrood?  Then I realised there wasn’t much point as I’ve got to a stage where nothing she says remotely interests me anyway.  I can hardly believe just how boring the Labour Party in Scotland has become.

    107. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Albert Herring
      I stand corrected. I knew someone had upset some weavers.

    108. John Daly says:

      Did not the first letter talk about “libel”, and now this one speaks of “defamatory”? Or am I misremembering?

    109. tartanpigsy says:

      Too lat to edit….  can i just add, that I’m totally in favour of funds going to any of the sites that might need it for legal reasons, BUT, I really hope money doesn’t need to be wasted in this way when it can be used to pro-actively further the Independence cause.
      The reply is awsome btw Stuart.

    110. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Did not the first letter talk about “libel”, and now this one speaks of “defamatory”? Or am I misremembering?”

      The terms are broadly interchangeable. To prove libel you have to prove defamation.

    111. John Daly says:

      Ah, so not a Scots Law/English Law thing. OK, cheers.

    112. Morag says:

      A professor of Scots Law tells me that there is no such thing as libel (or slander) in Scots Law. It’s all defamation. Since said professor of Scots Law and I are trying real hard to avoid defaming certain people while at the same time trying to draw attention to certain matters of concern, the topic has been discussed.

    113. The Man in the Jar says:

      Rev. Stu. I salute your Indefatigableability. 😉

    114. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      How about some pictures of the dirty money fellow along with his Darling and Arkan? What three could be better together?

    115. callum says:

      If  Mr Taylor does decide to prosecute, betcha it is scheduled for October 2014.

    116. DMW42 says:

      With your indulgence m’lud, as Witnesses for the Appellant we would wish to call Messrs: Cameron, Cruddas, Main, Wilson, Darling, McDougall…

    117. mealer says:

      Well done Rev. My elderly mother says she’ll do some baking to raise funds for the defence.She may be a bit frail these days,but she wont be bullied by the likes of Mr Taylor.

    118. B. says:

      You do know that libel is handled quite differently under Scots law? I do like citing Arkel vs Pressdram, it’s more-polite than saying “Go Carter Fuck yourselves”, but forms part of English legal precedents.
      If they go for another round ask who is advising them on the merits of their suit under Scots law.

    119. Baheid says:

      Excellent work Rev,
      they don’t like it up em. 🙂
      @G. Campbell
      3:25 pm
      This’ll be the same right wing paper that unswervingly backs the clown of new york, (Donald Trump), and his bully tactics up here.
      Wee write up about P&J and their relationship with the clown in Private Eye no.1334, page seven.

    120. Ken Mac says:

      Excellent riposte Rev. Must say I have been wondering for a while what Taylor hopes to gain here. As you say in your reply all this info is in the public domain and some of it has been for years. First question the judge is going to ask is why is he bringing action now rather than years ago?

    121. Albalha says:

      Re Trump. many people have screwed up on his Scottish involvement, can’t imagine the P and J are the prime culprits. And for P and J it’s DC’s now.

    122. Indy_Scot says:

      Like many others have said, I do not think there is a case to answer here, and the longer they keep it going the more damage they do to themselves and the No campaign.
      I mean can you image the flood in support and financial backup from all corners of Scotland if they tried to take legal action against any pro Scottish website.
      It would be the death knell of an already dying No campaign.

    123. Silverytay says:

      Rev  I would just like to say well done and keep up the good work .
      You are obviously getting under their skins the way they are still coming after you .
      Like others I am up for the fight and more than willing to help contribute to a fighting fund .
      Hopefully we might find out more later in the week if national collective come back on line .

    124. Handandshrimp says:

      I’m not sure what hey are getting so worked up about. According to Lord Ffffoulkes there are only three of us and a deranged highland cow working shifts on these sites.
      As to MR Taylor being “respected” I had never heard of him until the Nae Sayers paraded him as their saviour. The lawyer thing is pathetic. Lawyers are not lovely, they are as not lovely as bankers….and that is pretty well unlovely.

    125. velofello says:

      Vitol have a 16%(?) stake in Dart who are seeking to exploit methane gas from coal reserves around East Central Scotland,and in SE Scotland. 
      “No plans” to undertake fracking. A recovery method of much concern to the general public.
      And its rumoured that there has been an under-reported rush by HM Government to issue licenses to exploit said gas in East Central Scotland. License fees paid presumably going direct to the Westminster Treasury. As do Crown Estate asset sales.
      Strategic thinking will see the need for a government that a company “can do business with”. Cameron is already onside going by reports of his dinner guests. Getting Labour figures onside too would be useful. Brian Wilson reportedly has already done some work for Vitol and so is known. Darling is a holiday home neighbour of the Vitol Chief Executive Mr Taylor.
      Both Wilson and Darling could be men of influence should the next UK government be Labour.
      An each way bet is needed here.
      Problem: What if the Tory/Labour consortium fail to win the referendum? The government of an independent Scottish government might be much more concerned over energy exploitation techniques such as “fracking” and environmental issues than a UK government some 350 miles away from any environmental problems.
      Solution:The Tory/Labour consortium for a No vote needs some working capital!
      Ach, this is all just supposition, I’ve watched too many movies of devious people playing strategy games.

    126. Macart says:

      More importantly Ken Mac, why a Scottish regional title and a couple of blog sites. Why not Reuters or the Guardian? Why now after bigger players have had their say over a number of years? Seems more than a wee bit smelly, the targets and the timing.

    127. Baheid says:

      I know DC’s bought them over, I have several friends that have been made redundant.
      I have not bought the P&J or the EE for over ten tears, but my local pub does.
      Believe me they played a major part in convincing the N. East public that backing the clown was for the greater good.
      Councillors who voted against the planning application were on the front page with the heading ‘TRAITORS’.
      (A bit like having a debate with someone who calls everyone #fuckingidiots because you disagree with them).
      December 2009, the P&J announced they would no longer report anything said by the Trip Up Trump Group.
      (We knew we weren’t going to get both sides of the story from them anyway).
      A certain Sarah Malone is executive vice-president and press spokesperson for Trump International’s project in Aberdeen.
      (She came to prominence in 2007 winning an EE beauty competition, (The Face of Aberdeen), the EE’s editor at the time was Damian Bates).
      Mr. Bates has since became editor of the P&J.
      (Bates and Malone were married a few weeks ago). 🙂
      As Private Eye says,
      How can the editor of the biggest selling Scottish broadsheet even pretend to offer objective coverage of the golf-course controversy when his wife is Trump’s spin doctor?

    128. creag an tuirc says:

      🙂 You need to post more 🙂

    129. Albalha says:

      I suppose my deep seated irritation is the initial SNP backing, I realise it has moved on but it can’t be ignored. Anyway let’s hope the offshore ‘bird killers’ are approved, though to be honest I’ve no idea if they are a good thing. My view, and it’s horribly banal, Trump’s not a fan, so let’s say YES.
      Neither adult or pretty.

    130. congrats on your reply.Sounds sound to me,I’d like to hear his reasons for not challenging any other news outlets and why it’s only Wings over Scotland. If this goes further I also agree to donate towards any expenses to help cover costs. Dislike Bully’s
      Cathy Mcrorie

    131. Albalha says:

      BTW, Is the P and J still a broadsheet? The Courier descended to tabloid ‘artistry’ a wee while ago.

    132. Baheid says:

      Sorry, wasn’t having a go. 🙂
      And yes totally agree, have absolutely no idea what was in AS and the SNP’s heids at that time.

      Good thing is it didn’t take them to long to wise up to the clown of new york. 🙂

    133. Albert Herring says:

      If someone repeatedly behaves in a way which damages the No campaign, then maybe it’s because they want to damage the No campaign.

    134. Graham Ennis says:

      Hi, I am sensing a slight feeling of bewilderment as I watch events here. The probability is that this money is [EDITED BY REVSTU: Graham, you suggesting things that actually ARE libellous probably isn’t going to help me much.] “Better together” needs its tax status audited. Is it a registered non-profit?….
      Also,the laws on illegal bribe monies are now tight internationally, uk is signed up to the UN treaty. SO WHAT THE F……… WHY IS NOBOY MAKING A FORMAL CRIMINAL COMPLAINT TO THE POLICE IN SCOTLAND!!. Is everyone asleep, or something?….. 

    135. muttley79 says:

      O/T  Very impressed with Joyce McMillan on Newsnight Scotland on Thatcher.  Very good.

    136. Baheid says:


      Aye, she usually is good.
      Especially liked the way she came back after the smart arse little quip about Labour introducing the tuition fees.

      Lab/Con, no difference

    137. muttley79 says:

      She certainly put that odious Thatcherite Brian Monteith in his place.  Despicable man. 

    138. Jingly Jangly says:

      Trumps a clown, however so are the people who think that a golf course is destroying the
      environment. The RSPB were against the courses, despite that fact that tens of thousands
      of our feathered friends were shot to pieces at the Menie Estate every year in the name of
      sport. Go Figure
       I have a couple of friends who stayed in a cottage in the Menie Estate in the late
      seventies and early eighties. the “Special” Sand dunes were in a different place then.
      Ie wind and tide move them about,
       We as a nation in the middle of a financial depression  cannot afford to say no to hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and hundreds of jobs, if the green brigade want I can point them  a cave where they could all live in down the coast a bit towards Johnshaven, its pretty good,  although it does get a bit wet at high tide, or they could  get a life…
      I lived in Aberdeen for over thirty years and the vast majority of people  I have talked
      to about the Golf Course were/are in favour, it will bring benefits to Aberdeen shire for
      decades to come. Most of the objectors I heard on TV or Radion going by their accents  came from outwith Aberdeenshire, if they don’t like it they can get on their bikes and head back to Inverness or Dundee or wherever they came from….

    139. Malcolm says:

      @Jingly Jangly
      The RSPB is about to hold its bird fair on the land of one of the most notorious raptor persecuting estates in Scotland so I would not hold them in particularly high esteem versus e.g. the BTO. Anyway SNH were against it on SSSI grounds, SEPA on seawater breaching of groundwater. Everyone with scientific credibility opposed it & was overruled.
      Michael Forbes, David Milne and Susan Munro have an Aberdeenshire accent, I don’t think they like it much. Furthermore Trump and Sorial don’t have Aberdeenshire accents, is that an issue for you?
      The course was built over 1/3 of a SSSI. This sets a rather ugly precedent. They could have moved this part of the course, or they could have built it more sensitively, as is the case with the Machrihanish golf course built on a SSSI:
      There is a championship 18 hole golf course 2 miles from the Trump golf course. It isn’t exactly filling a gap in demand:
      Trump has invested around £25million, not hundreds of millions:
      Now, it might be the case you’ve spoken to lots of people who were in favour, but my experience is the opposite, albeit I lived there for only 5 years. As oil money goes up, the interest in things like golf over the environment goes up as well so I can well believe support has increased. The P&J had an online poll at the time of the Fomartine area group rejecting the planning application, that they took down when it was at 60% against, 40% for. I phoned them up to ask why, they said technical difficulties. It never reappeared.
      This whole thing is sleazy, neither labour nor SNP come out looking good (8 days from planning rejection to SG calling in & reversing decision), you have been lied to about investment, and he is making the lives of his neighbours a misery.
      Some light reading:

    140. YesYesYes says:

      At least they got a grown-up to write their letter this time. I see that they’re still persisting with their meaningless “not for publication” imperative and glad to see that you’re still ignoring it Stuart.
      Keep your chin up and remember, on the scale of morality and public-spiritedness, lawyers are one notch below child molesters.

    141. Keef says:

      Much Kudos to you Rev.
      You’re Arkell & Pressdam reply has officially bumped your abacas line to DT off the number one spot for best comebacks.
      Inspired. I’m simply inspired.

    142. ShredderIsAlive says:

      I can’t believe you used my suggested reply.

      Kudos for a (deservedly) brutal response to Ian Taylor’s pathetic attempt at bullying smaller groups and individuals into silence with threats he never had the nerve to issue to Reuters, The Daily Telegraph, or anyone else with access to better solicitors than his (or ones who are at least capable of spell checking their correspondence before sending it) and with enough of a warchest to then actively pursue him for all legal costs incurred responding to his threats.

    143. National Collective’s website is back up, and they have posted this message –

    144. tartanfever says:

      National Collective – simply inspiring !

    145. Duncan says:

      “I note that your letter of today omits the claim in the previous one that there was an issue with my reference to “massive tax avoidance”, which I welcome.”


      Interesting to note he uses Collyer Bristow, that pack of lovable L?o?n?d?o?n? Zurich based scamps:


    146. Tony Little says:


      Hahahahahaha! Classic Rev. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

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