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Public Drunkenness and Pomposity

Public Drunkenness Can Never Be a Social Norm - Iain Dale - Dale & Co..

Apropos of my previous post and the widespread delusion that candid photography is against the law, Iain Dale is busy digging himself deeper into a hole after an ill-advised photographic tweet on his way home last night (click to enlarge).


I defend his freedom of speech, of course, but I think he should be happy the lady cannot be identified as the publication is arguably libellous.

As a libertarian, I think the laws of defamation fall under the category of "de trop", but for so long as they exist (and they have been around a long time) Iain needs, particularly as a professional communicator, to bear them in mind. Fortunately for him, the first time anyone would have chance to consider the effect on her reputation would be if she were rash enough to identify herself by suing. So she won't. Before she even considers it, she ought to read about the role of an ill-judged defamation suit in Oscar Wilde's downfall.

It's a surprising lapse for Iain who is famous for his media skills and a highly accomplished communicator (usually of not very much). An amusing Twitterstorm has ensued, as the professionally-offended on the Left take up chivalric cudgels while calling him a c**t and a w*****r without any sense of irony. They are also ranting on about the breach of this anonymous lady's privacy, which is nonsense. Firstly, she's still anonymous and secondly she was in a public place. Anywhere you can lawfully be looked at, you can generally be photographed. People take photos on trains all the time, and - although usually incidentally - there are almost always strangers in the frame.

For what it's worth, I think Mr Dale is guilty of bad manners and a surprising, for him, lack of media savvy. He says she was behaving badly, but the picture doesn't illustrate his point in any way. She could just be depressed or tired. As it comes down to his word, he should probably have left it at words.

Iain is in danger of being seen as using the hammer of his influence to crack the nut of his irritation with a minor disturbance to his peace (allegedly) caused by this woman. Sadly he comes off looking like a pompous prat. In his own interests he should have apologised immediately but having rashly mounted his high horse he's having trouble getting off. His lines of defence look tortured and weak (can he really not have realised the sexual connotations of 'slapper?') and are doing him no good.

The only benefit to his not apologising is that the stream of gleefully sanctimonious responses show the British Left up for the insufferable prigs they mostly are. Ironically, if this tweet represented his true character, it would be a trait Iain had in common with them.


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Nice sequence of consecutive articles. One post giving personal details of a woman who is obnoxious and then this one saying that an obnoxious woman should be left alone and anonymous.


I defend his freedom of speech, of course, but I think he should be happy the lady cannot be identified as the publication is arguably libellous.

We'd need to get a lawyer's opinion on that. :)


"Far better for people simply to understand that everything they hear and read could well be a lie."

For sure, just because something is written down or "everyone says it" does not mean it's true, it does not mean it's not.

Some people don't get that, and they are allowed to vote also and expected to take care of their own selves.


The problem with the defamation laws is that people assume they can believe what they read in the press because of them. They are the enemies, in that respect, of critical thinking. As there is no legal aid for defamation, most peoples' reputations are undefended. Robert Maxwell silenced everyone who knew him for the crook he always was by his readiness to sue for defamation.

Far better for people simply to understand that everything they hear and read could well be a lie.


Free speech, even thinking Libertarian is ok, but it surely ought to be the truth and not untrue defamation. A person ought to be able to take the matter to litigation.

I do agree. Words would have been better. That pic could show a number of things. A snap taken at just the wrong moment in normal conversation can look waaay worse. Say if you were in the middle of blinking and speaking.

I figure he does not come out of it so well himself over it. Worse even than being drunk, or maybe shortsighted, enough to show an interest in someone who would tweet something like that.

Still she will get over it once she sobers up, what's his excuse? ^_^

john miller

If "unchivalrous" does have a meaning these days, it won't have peeked over the parapet on the 23:02 from Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells.

You really have to have been on these trains to criticise Dale without being a hypocrite.

john miller

The Lefties can be furious at Iain without being hypocritical.

Sitting in First, they'd never have met her.


Why does Dale prejudge this woman.

The reasons for her being drunk could be many - split up? loss of a loved one?

I'm afraid it shows some degree of arrogance on Dale's part.

Dick Puddlecote

I should have read Dale's article first. Is he really saying he used slapper in any other way than the universally-accepted sense? Who is he trying to id? Either he is woefully out of touch, or faking political ignorance.

No matter what he thinks of drunks in public, his reaction was totally out of order.

Dick Puddlecote

How ironic that those who are most vociferous in condemning Dale are the left who, funnily enough, are also the most vociferous in condemning binge-drinking and suggesting hideous laws to micro-manage it.

Dale is guilty of being a prick, absolutely, but probably because he is teetotal which just shows how very intolerant he can be. (He is less agitated against smoking as, I believe, his significant other smokes(d))


I think you have put your finger on what is disturbing about it with the last three words. Another thing perhaps he has in common with the Leftists (who at least have the excuse of an ideology openly based on bullying).

Richard B

I used to follow Iain Dale in the days of Iain Dale's Diary, but I stopped because his frequent pomposity started to outweigh his general good sense. I'm afraid that this incident (the first I have seen of Dale since he dropped from my RSS feed) does nothing to convince me I was wrong. This was the action of a prick - as others have pointed out, unwise (given her vulnerable condition) and unchivalrous (if that term has any meaning these days).

That the outrage against him is almost entirely synthetic is irrelevant. I'm not offended, even at second hand. I just don't like pompous arses who think it's clever to make fun of people to a captive amd supportive audience. Playground bully stuff.

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