Lessons from history...
On this day in 1987 Jeffery Archer won a libel case.
Several years later, Lord Archole went to jail for perjury relating to said libel victory.
What is the Rochdale connection and what can be learnt from this sorry tale?
The hubris of Jeffery, the litigious politician, regarded a "brown envelope" stuffed with cash paid to a prostitute from Rochdale called Monica Coglan.
The sum of £2000 now has the moniker of an "Archer".
(perhaps 40p will henceforth be known as a "Rowen" - in homage to overpriced Parliamentary soft fruit paid for by the taxpayer?)
Anyway,back to the 1980's. A time of bad hair and dodgy suits...
(Greg Couzens- NB still a tit but NOT linked to this sex scandal)
Sorry, we digress. Back to the future and 1980's sex scandals involving Rochdale folk...
Pedantic Archer thought he was on firm ground. He knew he hadn't had sex with Monica Coglan. There was a lot of talk of an intermediary, Michael Stacpoole, as being the chap handing the cash over in Mayfair's Shepherd Market on that fateful day. However the real story is more complicated- scurrullous rumour has it that Archer himself was the intermediary for, a then, very high ranking cabinet minister. The ambitious author-cum-politician must be congratulated for his loyalty, silence and vigour in "getting on his bike" to defend this mystery recipient of Ms Coglan's services.
The lesson from the Archer perjury case is clear. Being smart with pedantry regarding libel doesn't cut it with the courts. Anyone who threatens libel and wins a pyrrhic victory must be spotless in character regarding the issues litigated on.
That is probably why Cyril Smith NEVER sued Rochdale Alternative Press or Private Eye over the publication of sexual abuse allegations in 1979. The best defence against libel is the truth. The truth hurts, and can be expensive.
Cyril Smith had to eat his words several times in the 1970's after threats to sue R.A.P. for libel.
Can Rochdale's current MP Paul Rowen be so confident regarding his recent pyrrhic victory over the Guardian Media Group's easy capituation over the Rochdale Observer's article on his controversial Parliamentary expenses?
Has litigious Paul Rowen ever signed a statement of truth or made an oath regarding his libel threats? If conflicting facts emerge about his Parliamentary expenses and Rochdale Liberal Democrat party funding then are those who have had to pay out and "apologise" going to have their day in court?
Journalists and news editors who have been threatened and silenced have long memories.
Some say that Paul Rowen has bingo-ing bananas. Has he made a gamble too far?
Is he drinking, alone, in the last chance saloon?