We have reached a remarkable and eminently decent settlement.
By George Monbiot, posted on monbiot.com, 12th March 2013
In November 2012, when I had over 55,000 followers on Twitter, I did a stupid and thoughtless thing. I sent tweets hinting that Lord McAlpine was the person discussed in the Newsnight investigation of child abuse in North Wales. As we now know, Newsnight’s story was completely wrong. In doing so, I helped to stoke an atmosphere of innuendo around an innocent man. You can read the apology I published here. I remain extremely sorry for the harm I helped to cause him.
I now have an opportunity to make some amends. I have met with Andrew Reid of RMPI LLP, Lord McAlpine’s representatives, and they have suggested what is, as far as I can discover, an unprecedented settlement. They would like me to carry out, over the next three years, work on behalf of three charities of my choice whose value amounts to £25,000.
I accepted the suggestion immediately and without reservation. I feel the proposed settlement reflects very well on Lord McAlpine, who is seeking nothing for himself, but wants to see work done which could be of great benefit to others.
I am currently working on finding three charities to whom I can be useful and with whom I can build a good relationship, with a particular emphasis on groups helping dispossessed or abused or destitute children, groups helping children to reconnect with nature and groups seeking the restoration of damaged ecosystems. I am also investigating creative and interesting ways of generating value or raising money for them.
I have been prompted by Lord McAlpine’s admirable proposal to do the right thing – something I should have been doing all along – and I hope very much that I am able to do it well.
Finally, please make sure you check your facts and think before you tweet.