Why I’m being threatened with a libel lawsuit by a #UKIP activist

Earlier this week I tweeted a screenshot of some deeply unpleasant remarks by Marty Caine, an activist with the Poole branch of the UK Independence Party.



The screenshot promptly went quite spectacularly viral, with multiple retweets and repostings. It also got published by Hope Not Hate and the International Business Times. My Twitter Connect page didn’t calm down for a couple of days.

Since then Marty Caine has announced his intention to sue me for libel, along with Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate and Timur Moon of the International Business Times. He isn’t disputing that he said what was in the screenshot. However, he insists he was libelled because I stated that he had called Lee Rigby’s family idiots.

You see, he didn’t call them idiots. He simply stated that they believe the English Defence League are right-wing fascists, which is also believed by a lot of idiots.

If that makes no sense to you, then you’ve understood Mr Caine’s argument perfectly.

Anyway, since Mr Caine seems to believe I’ve taken him out of context, here’s a Storify of the full exchange. It’s rather long and very silly, but I think it doesn’t so much vindicate him as show him digging himself into a deeper hole. He also makes some spectacularly defamatory remarks about me along the way. Who is supposed to be suing who here?

Before anyone gets excited I should point out that I’ve yet to hear from Mr Caine’s lawyers. And frankly, I’d be very surprised if I actually do.

Mr Caine appears to be something of a colourful character, to say the least. I’m not entirely sure what his position is at Poole UKIP, though I understand that part of his role is to look after their social media. Which might explain exchanges like this:




[I should point out that I’m not entirely certain that it was Marty I was talking to there. Call it an educated guess.]

Marty also describes himself as a comedian, disc jockey, karaoke jockey and entertainer. He also runs a web design business, if you fancy getting yourself a website with a nostalgic “1998 Geocities” vibe.

While I’m certainly not frightened by Mr Caine’s legal threats, I will say this. Marty, to paraphrase what may well be part of your karaoke repertoire, this song ain’t about you. A couple of weeks ago a fine young man and a brave soldier was killed in the most appalling manner by a couple of deluded thugs. This tragic and terrible crime was then seized upon by far-right knuckledraggers to try to stir up hatred and attack Muslims. Drummer Rigby’s family, even in the depth of their grief, did not give in to hate. They reminded the world that their son had lived and worked with people all of all faiths and backgrounds, and would not want his memory being used to attack others. They are to be commended for saying that, and it speaks volumes about their strength of character.

So, Marty, give up on thinking you can sue people because you strongly implied something rather than said it in black and white. Instead, I suggest you reflect on why your words caused such outrage and offence, and offer an apology.



#UKIP activist calls Lee Rigby’s family “idiots” for denouncing the #EDL



Lee Rigby’s murder was an awful and barbaric crime. To make matters worse, it’s also been exploited shamelessly by the English Defence League to whip up hatred against Muslims. This is despite the fact that both Rigby’s family and his regiment have made it clear that they do not want his name used in such a manner.

Last night, I was debating this on Twitter with Marty Caine, a UKIP activist based in Poole. He gave a startling response to the family’s wishes.




Caine describes himself on his Tumblr as an entertainer and comedian, though I can’t imagine Rigby’s family will be laughing at being called idiots. Especially not for the sin of not wanting their son’s memory hijacked by a bunch of racist thugs. Caine’s Tumblr also has a long, rambling defence of the EDL. The gist of it seems to be that if it wasn’t for the malicious propaganda of Hope Not Hate and Anonymous, then everyone would realise what jolly nice people the EDL are. He ends, in a spectacular piece of unintentional irony, by stating, “There is no excuse for ignorance in a world that has Google.” Indeed there isn’t.

I had a long Twitter discussion with Caine last night. At no point did he offer a retraction or apology for insulting Rigby’s family. Mostly he engaged in lots of Whatabout¬†and Will-You-Condemn-a-Thon¬†responses, demanding to know what I thought of Unite Against Fascism (which I’m not a member of and don’t much like).

I wouldn’t endorse David Cameron’s famous description of UKIP as a bunch of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, but only because I’m not keen on mental health-themed insults. Their activists do, however, seem to have an impressive knack for exposing themselves as deeply unpleasant extremists.