Today I received the following communication via email from one of Nottingham City Council's senior solicitors.
"Dear Mr *****,
Nottingham City Council LOLS
I am writing regarding the above, which Nottingham City Council understands is written and/or edited by you and has the following website address: www.ncclols.blogspot.com.
Nottingham City Council notes that the Nottingham City Council LOLS blog (“ncclols”) contains personal, derogatory comments regarding a number of its councillors and employees that could cause distress to those individuals.
Nottingham City Council requests that you please remove these personal, derogatory comments from ncclols and refrain from posting similar such comments on ncclols or elsewhere on the internet.
What can they mean?
And my reply -
I'm afraid I cannot agree to your request to remove comments that cause 'distress' nor can I agree not to post further similar comments on ncclols or "elsewhere on the internet".
You see, this is my blog and I will write what I damn well please on it within the confines of the law. I am sure that many of your elected members and employees will find that criticism causes them 'distress' but this is largely due to their inability to understand any world view other than their own combined with their extreme arrogance.
Satire has a long history of upsetting its subjects. Are you suggesting that popular television programmes such as 'Mock the Week' on BBC television should not be allowed to include any material that 'could' cause anybody distress? While I don't necessarily include myself in such lofty company I'm sure you would agree that it would be a very short programme if that were the case.
Satire also has a long history of being used as a vehicle to criticise those in power and to take them down a peg or two. It is in that spirit that I write ncclols and make the comments about some individuals. If that causes those individuals 'distress' I would suggest that is their problem.
Having said that I do take issues such as factual accuracy and defamation very seriously and I invite you to contact me should you consider any of my material to be incorrect or libellous. I would certainly take any allegations of that nature with the seriousness they deserve and would correct or remove such material should I be convinced by your objections. But if you just try and take the piss I hope you'll forgive me if I simply ignore you. In addition, if you engage in baseless legal threats I will treat such actions as harassment and issue appropriate legal proceedings.
Andy ***** "
Erm, do the words "PR disaster" mean anything to you?