This is an edited version of this week's Bad Law column.
Many would perhaps not think of legal blogging as political blogging.
However, in my view, legal blogging can be incredibly political; indeed, more political than the endless and usually derivative partisan political blogs.
Law in action is, of course, very small ‘p’ political.
Choices are made about how to use – and misuse - the coercive power of the state and the courts: for example, whether to issue a libel claim form, or to bring a prosecution.
As a result of these choices there can be a real impact on public order or public debate, and adverse real effects on the day-to-day liberty and freedoms of citizens.
Politics simply does not end with the high-level policy and rule making of politicians and civil servants.
And so political blogging should not end with monitoring the comings and goings of the political class, who are in any case often indistinguishable from each other in any substantive policy terms.
Indeed, it can be argued that some of the more interesting political blogging starts where involvement of the political class ends: that is, with how policies and rules are implemented, and the effect of such policies and rules in concrete human situations.
George Orwell rarely wrote about Westminster and Whitehall.
His most brilliant political writing was about the effects on the ground: in the Spike, or at a hanging, or in the trench, or shooting an elephant, or just sitting uncomfortably inside either Victory Mentions or the Ministry of Truth.
One wonders what Orwell would have thought of defamation actions; but I hope he would have approved of the followers of this blog looking at how they actually work in practice, and the effects of those actions on free speech and public discourse.
And so I hope he would have joined us spending our time down and out in slander and libel.
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