Colin Craig decided to give his lawyers more money today. I don’t know if he has them on retainer, or if they’re hourly, but whatever, I expecting they’re making a mint from him. After The Civilian received legal notices accusing the satirical blog of defaming him, it seems he is getting a little trigger happy with the accusation of libel and slander (which in NZ law apparently gets bundled up into the heading of defamation).
At Auckland’s Big Gay Out a couple weekends ago Green co-leader Russel Norman said in front of an audience “Now the thing about Colin Craig is he thinks that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and a gay man’s place is in the closet”. Now Norman has received a legal notice from Craig’s lawyers requiring him to make an apology and retract his statements in front of an audience the same approximate size. Which of course, he isn’t really in the mood to do.
Now, I’m not a lawyer myself, but I can see Mr. Norman winning this. A quick google search indicates that defamation occurs when a statement “tends to lower a person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society, or that tends to cause the person to be shunned or avoided, or that tends to cause the person to be exposed to hatred, contempt or ridicule.” Now, in the eyes of the intended audience, made up largely of Auckland’s gay community, I don’t believe that these statements would lower the view of Colin Craig, since his own politics do enough of that. So I think he as a plaintiff would have a hard time convincing anyone of this.
Then there are the defenses. Now, the main defense, Truth, could be a little hard to prove since what Norman had stated of Craig was not a factual action, but rather that he holds an opinion. And it’s really easy to fake opinions. I make people think that I hold the opinion of them being interesting all the time. So there goes that one. And of course Privilege is a little out of it, since it wasn’t stated inside Parliament or a legal arena.
But Honest Opinion! Oh, that’s where we get the money! It can definitely be proven that this comment on Colin Craig is a fair comment based on his political actions so far, as well as a short look at his official twitter feed. Take a gander at this gem:
It’s just not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal.
— Colin Craig (@ColinCraigNZ) July 26, 2012
Well, if that’s not evidence of homophobia, well I don’t know what is. I think any reasonable person would take the idea that Colin Craig would prefer homosexuals keep out of the public eye from that, meaning it is a fair comment. I’m going to shout it from the rooftops: COLIN CRAIG DOES NOT LIKE HOMOSEXUALS. But what about women in the kitchen? Well, slightly more of a stretch, but funnily enough on the same day his twitter posted:
Gender differences do matter, and so do the roles modelled to us by our parents. No regrets in stating the obvious.
— Colin Craig (@ColinCraigNZ) July 27, 2012
Umm. Well, it looks to me that Colin Craig would prefer traditional gender roles. I think I’m a reasonable person, though granted one with an agenda. But I know that my mother presented a role as a housewife, and so would a lot of other peoples. So I’m calling it. Fair comment approved.
I’m sure nothing will come of the whole thing, and as in all politics this will most likely be a calculated shot by Craig to gain more media attention for himself and his party, since he can’t wait to get inside the Beehive. A bit of media attention will probably gain him more of the “fuck the Greens” vote, as well as the casual bigot bloc.
As a quick aside, anyone who hasn’t watched The Thick Of It really should. Quite possibly the best and cleverest political comedy ever made.