(Note - I'm using the term 'cross-spectrum' instead of 'cross-party' to include the many non-aligned bloggers who are in on this.)
One thing outsiders appear to be struggling with is how significant the level of cross-spectrum support is on this issue. Unprecedented is a perfect word for it.
I found this post to be particularly striking; what's right is right:
I must confess that I am a couple days late to this fight for the inexcusable reason that I simply cannot abide Tim Ireland, but in truth that has nothing to do with the outrageousness of some jumped up plutocrat throwing his weight around like this. However much I might dislike the notion I am forced to support Tim Ireland unequivocally.That's the most honest and compelling thing I've read on a blog in a very long time. Perry de Havilland, who wrote it, also blockquotes Mr Eugenidies' thoughts on the subject, as many other bloggers have:
And let's be clear on this point; these blogs are down not because Usmanov has been libelled, but because he says he's been libelled, and has a room full of paid monkeys sitting at typewriters firing off threatening letters to that effect.Quite.
I don't give a shit about this character, or Arsenal FC (no offence to any Gooners out there); nor do I share all or even most of Tim Ireland or Craig Murray's politics. But that's far from the point. If you can be silenced for calling a businessman a crook, then you can be silenced for calling a politician a crook, too. Then it's everyone's problem.
There's also this from Harry's Place:
Tim Ireland is a manic sort, whose politics I often find a bit odd. He is also one of the longest serving of the British blogging community.And you can rest assured that I for one won't be pissing it away in pursuit of a personal or party-political agenda.
Craig Murray, as readers of Harry's Place will know, is a man who is sometimes right and sometimes not. He has inspired some of us, and has been a tremendous source of fun for others.
Bloggers cannot operate if they are bullied by rich plaintiffs. Defamation law in the United Kingdom is both farcical and unfair, and is in desperate need of fundamental reform. Errors on blogs can easily be remedied: particularly where they permit open commenting (a libel risk in itself) which allows postings to be criticised, facts corrected, and arguments opposed. I know what it is like to be at the receiving end of a well funded threat of defamation proceedings, and it is no fun at all. It is outrageous that the law of defamation should be used to break bloggers: like butterflies upon wheels.
Frankly, we might as well shut up shop altogether if we do not stick together on this issue.
For all these reasons both of them deserve our support, and we should give it to them.
Watch for significant changes to this weblog and a cross-spectrum evolution of this campaign once the fact-finding process nears completion; if you're hesitant because you think you'll be marching under my banner or Craig Murray's, think again.
Everyone should have the right to take part in open and honest debate online; this is going to be your best chance to fight for that right, secure it in law or precedent, and finally establish the importance of blogs in general.
UPDATE - This, from Justin McKeating:
291 people now linking to and blogging about this story... I've noticed one or two people apologising about 'coming late to the party'. Please, don't. This isn't a race, this about sharing views and showing solidarity. If you haven't blogged this yet and would like to, or have but haven’t let us know, please do.