A few years ago I wrote an article about how the Scottish Independence Party were/are dangerous idiots.
At the time, the group appeared to clearly be linked to two individuals: Martin Keane and Deane Syme, and this was reflected in the article.
Today, I received a legal threat over that article from Martin Keane, claiming that he and Deane Syme had nothing to do with what the SIP became, and that I must immediately remove the article or face legal action in the Sheriff Court. Here is the full text of his e-mail:
Dear Stephen Blythe
It has been brought to my attention that you have an article on your site at the following address (https://iamsteve.in/tag/martin-keatings/)
The article itself deals with details of the Scottish Independence Party or SIP. I am writing to inform you that your article is factually incorrect and indeed rises to the level of libel.
I will go through each part of the article and specify to you the factual inaccuracies in the hope that you will remove the article immediately. If you do not, then I will be required to take the matter further which may include you being summonsed to appear in the Sheriff Court.
You open the article “Tonight I became aware of the existence of the so-called ‘Scottish Independence Party’. No, not the Scottish National Party, but the Scottish Independence Party – aka Martin Keatings and Deane Syme.” – Considering the fact that your article was launched on 27/10/2014, this statement, straight off the bat is factually incorrect. Both Dean & I did consider setting up the SIP, however, based on the preponderance of evidence of the current political climate at that time in Scotland & also the fact that I did not have the time to continue forward, Dean and I both decided, 2 weeks prior to that date, that we were in fact not going ahead with it.
The group on facebook was left open to the public and the existing members of that group, to do with it as they pleased. But Dean & I’s involvement went no further than thinking about it, trying to find out if there would be enough support & indeed then deciding not to go ahead. This all happened within the 2 weeks AFTER the referendum.
Any posts after that time were down to third parties and not Dean or I. That makes the rest of your article totally false because any post, any statement, any action, any idea thereafter was nothing to do with Dean or I. The real kicker, of course, is that the situation is further confused by the fact a unionist tried to establish a party in the same name later on. You article, factually incorrect and indeed incorrectly naming us resulted in both of us receiving full blown abuse from the Yes community. Something I was unaware of until I got back from visiting my then-fiancee in Moscow.
Now it seems your factually incorrect article is dragging us into another dispute. This has now reached the point where it needs to stop. I am asking you to kindly remove the article – or, you may if you wish, remove mine and deans name from said article and put a line at the bottom that says. MARTIN KEATINGS AND DEAN SYME ARE IN NO WAY INVOLVED WITH SIP.
Its a simple case of, we had an idea, it didn’t go anywhere, someone else (the loons) decided to pick it up, you reported on it and linked us to it (which is incorrect) and then that idea didn’t work. Another loon picked it up again and the web community googled and guess what came up.
Please remove the article, or our names (with an addendum)or i’m going to have no other choice but to make this legal stephen, and to be honest I don’t really want to do that to you bud.
I’m not really sure what this is meant to mean. Martin states that himself and Deane considered setting up a party under this name, created the Facebook page and associated discussions, but then decided not to go ahead with it… which means that referencing them in the article was perfectly legitimate.
Given that the standard for defamation requires that a statement must be untrue and lower the defamed in the estimation of right thinking members of society, and that saying somebody is a member of a political party when they are not does not qualify, I would suggest that bringing an action for libel would not be the best use of time or effort.
I have clarified the original article to highlight Martin’s concerns, and that should put an end to the matter.