Richard Burgon wins libel case against the Sun

If pushed to say something positive about Richard Burgon, the best I could come up with is – he’s not as bad as Chris Williamson.  However I was not surprised that he won his libel case against the Sun, and thought Justice Dingemans’ summing up seemed judicious. Here, via the Guardian, is a reminder of the background:

The high court in London ruled that claims in the story, which ran under the headline “Reich and Roll: Labour’s justice boss ridiculed after he joins a heavy metal band that delights in Nazi symbols”, had caused the shadow justice secretary significant harm.

The article, published in April 2017, reported on Burgon’s decision to record a track with the Leeds band Dream Tröll. It alleged that the typeface used in a spoof Dream Tröll Twitter post entitled “We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Tröll” paid homage to the logo of the SS, which played a key role in the Holocaust.

The EUMC definition of antisemitism makes repeated references to the importance of establishing the overall context when judging whether something is, or is not, racist. And it does seem as though the force of the SS logo is significantly altered by the heavy metal context.

In reality, the judge concluded that Dream Tröll had simply tweeted a parody image of a classic Black Sabbath album cover and were not endorsing the Nazi paramilitary organisation.

It may not have been brilliantly well-judged of the Shadow Justice Secretary to get involved with the band, but the Sun’s initial coverage was unearned, and unhelpful in the context of the serious issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party.