Magnet for trouble seeks work in or around Luton or London

Hi, my name’s Tim. I’m very exceedingly good at organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). My most notable skill is the capacity to draft, shuffle and arrange vast amounts of website content according to a devised/agreed long-term keyword strategy. During that process multiple concepts for social/online marketing that are specific to the relevant brand/goals will fall out of the side of my hippocampus. That makes me capable of devising not only a content strategy, but an elegantly-intertwined social strategy that makes it perform above and beyond those of your competitors.

I’m also quite good at a range of other things, and not all of them connected to online marketing. I’m a dab hand at Photoshop, and cut a good video (especially where music is involved).

Further, I’m not just a tenacious and creative person with an analytical mind, but an evangelist to boot. That means that I love nothing more than to unwrap a puzzle or solve a problem and have as many people as possible learn or otherwise grow from the experience.

(This comes in especially handy when managing client expectations in the field of SEO; the ideal client understands the limitations of organic SEO, and seeks to work within acceptable parameters instead of putting pressure on you to somehow circumvent them. It also results in staff learning from my experience as a matter of course.)

The downside to all of this is that over time I have accumulated a number of determined enemies who do not appreciate the manner in which I have used my skills to expose corruption, deceit and untoward behaviour, most frequently in Tory politics and tabloid media. The most determined among these people are a rogue tabloid reporter, a serving Member of Parliament, and a former executive fundraiser for the Deputy Chief Whip, all of whom have gravitated towards each other over the years to work in a sometimes loose and sometimes formal partnership (while denying that they have anything to do with each other, naturally).

Some of these people are so determined that entire years can go by without my mentioning them even obliquely, and they will still invent or imagine fanciful stories about my somehow gaming the search engines and targeting them secretly in this time. Meanwhile they will target me in exactly this same manner and think nothing of it. Others will pretend that my silence in the face of provocation is evidence of cowardice that warrants further attention, or even the result of some form of warning/sanction from police (i.e. my not mentioning them somehow becomes evidence that I am ‘stalking’ them).

I’m not just bragging about how interesting my life has become here; my point is that the behaviour continues no matter what I do about it. In fact, it often gets worse if I refuse to engage with it or make public mention of it and instead report it to the authorities. Some of the most serious events have stemmed from my daring to report the people involved to police; my family and friends have been ruthlessly targeted in an attempt to have them put pressure on me to drop the matter. You would think that police would somehow be empowered to act on such behaviour, or even discourage people who tell outright lies on their behalf, but you’d be wrong.

The serving MP (Conservative Nadine Dorries) is the biggest problem on this front. She repeatedly puts pressure on authorities, organisations and the media in pursuit of her years-long campaign of harassment, and is in a better position to do so than most, and is utterly convinced that she is the victim in all of this. Even during those moments where she might come to realise that she has been misled by her ‘allies’ or has engaged in falsehoods herself, the bottom line is that she has by now invested so deeply in the fiction that her political survival depends on it.

Anyway, getting back to what makes me such a desirable employee…

Previous employers have as a result of all of this been contacted by parties claiming to be the victims of harassment and/or acting on behalf of victims of harassment. Sometimes the people involved do this under the pretence of journalistic inquiry (i.e. as if they are preparing a story or documentary about stalkers, fraud, online abuse, etc.). In such cases, the welfare and integrity of the company and/or its brand is often threatened. Sometimes threats of brand/business sabotage and actual acts of brand/business sabotage are used against people/organisations with only tangential connection to me, or even no connection to me. Sometimes this happens when people do no more than reply to me on Twitter about how unacceptable it is to behave in this way.

I can’t even volunteer for charities in peace. Experience shows that Nadine Dorries will phone them and claim that I am under some form of police investigation and/or sanction, and only using them to get to her somehow. Sometimes she will seek to simply embarrass/intimidate them by making public mention of my association with their organisation… and imply that I am only using them to get to her somehow.

Authors of anonymous ‘sock puppet’ accounts engage in the latter behaviour often, and this has been an ongoing problem since the practice first began in 2006 (starting with anonymous websites trying to associate a series of my clients with alleged criminal activity and a series of nuisance calls to clients making allegations of spamming, ‘black hat’ SEO methods, and computer hacking). The subsequent creep into my withdrawing from a healthy and productive life has been slow but steady. Over time, I have gone from ceasing the publication of new client testimonials, to only having a skeleton presence on LinkedIn, to eventually having to do my job with one hand tied behind my back; ultimately, I could not commit to any job to the extent where I might personally/publicly promote clients or the work I was doing for them. I even had to avoid having my picture taken at social gatherings with other staff members.

When it got so bad in 2012 that I was subjected to repeated threats of visits/violence at home, then work, then potentially en-route to/from work, the behaviour began to extend to harassment of my colleagues, and deliberate, concerted sabotage of the relevant company/brand (something I had successfully avoided until that point in time). I sought to detach myself from that company in the hopes of protecting the lives and livelihood of people I worked with…. but as soon as the people targeting me got wind of my departure, anonymous articles began to appear claiming that I was exposed and dismissed from work for harassing/stalking other people.

(Sidebar: These anonymous articles were endorsed by Nadine Dorries through her Twitter account and on her website; she even purported to put questions to the relevant CEO and pretended that she had not received sufficient/any answers about her false allegations.)

This is called ‘psychological projection‘. It is a common defence mechanism of narcissists, and a useful weapon in campaigns of harassment.

I am accused of harassment when I dare to report harassment, I am accused of making threats when I am in fact the target of threats, and I am accused of secretly authoring anonymous accounts/websites targeting me. In fact, the projection is so extreme and absurd that I stand accused of authoring an anonymous website that alleges that I have been projecting this psychological defence mechanism onto other people.

(Yes, they are projecting that I have projected projection. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt. I honestly don’t know how these people get by when constructing and maintaining such edifices and it frightens me to think that it may come quite naturally to them.)

In short, I am being targeted with the allegation that I am targeting others, anyone close to me is similarly targeted in an attempt to damage, discredit and isolate me, and none of this behaviour is curbed or controlled by what most people would regard to be reasonable limits.

So, as you can see, I’m quite the catch.

With rare exceptions like this post, I do endeavour to conduct myself with sufficient strength and self-control to not let the attentions of these people draw me or my focus away from my obligations, but that does not discourage them. If anything, it leads them to start targeting the people associated with me. Friends, family… and you, if you were to dare to employ me.

The people who have been targeting me have invested so deeply in their lies and delusions that they cannot see any path in their future that does not lead to my ruin. One of them is determined that I be arrested and prosecuted before getting on a plane to ‘go back to Australia’ (and I would dare to suggest that this view is not only misguided and disproportionate, but somewhat colonial).

If you were to stand in the way of that, you would become a target and named as an ‘enabler’. If you were to go one further and stand up to their behaviour, you would quickly become incorporated into the fantasy and named as a ‘stalker’.

Of course, for the most part, they’re all talk and bluster, but it does put a lot of people off, especially when a notoriously vindictive Member of Parliament is involved.

Police have reacted to repeated attempts to have me arrested and prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned by stating quite clearly that I have not committed any offence and have merely engaged in the action of holding a public figure to account (as is my right), but I find myself frustrated by their inability to address the behaviour of people who pretend otherwise. Attempts to address the matter through civil means have led to point where I am most likely facing bankruptcy.

So here’s the plan: I’m just about to disappear and ‘go bush’ for a week, where I’ll be teaching young people how to survive in a harsh environment. (I can assure you that the irony will not be lost on me.)

While I am gone, you are invited to form an orderly queue to the left and contact me about likely positions in or around Luton. I might be convinced to travel further, perhaps even to London, but it would have to be for the right job with the right boss glutton for punishment, not least because I would seek to avoid a travel routine that would make me vulnerable to threats/acts of direct confrontation in a public place.

This may not seem like much of a job application to some, but the alternative is to search for a job surreptitiously (i.e. eschewing all benefits of public-facing CVs and job-seeking profiles) while still being obliged to provide any potential employer with due warning about the kind of behaviour they might face if they choose to associate with me. Even if I get somewhere with that, I risk losing that job anyway if I am not sufficiently stringent in briefing them on the problem. I’ve even had employers/clients dismiss the issue as an irrelevance… until the moment they come to be directly confronted by it.

(I want to be clear at this point that I do not judge these people harshly; it is a distressing and intense experience to be of the receiving end of an attack that defies logic and reason.)

If I can’t control or avoid the behaviour of these people, then I need to start looking for the right type of employer, and I figure after 10 years the time has finally come to start being entirely open about it.

The alternative is to simply surrender to it, and that won’t be happening. Ever.

Cheers all.

PS – I also exposed Grant Shapps for lying to a constituent and bullying them into capitulation. He’s responded by repeating Dorries’ allegations, and further seeking to convince people that it was me pretending to be him pretending to be someone else in Wikipedia… so I’ve got that going for me, too.








Posted in Search Engine Optimisation, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments

‘The British People’ vs. Tim Ireland

Late last year, an anonymous Twitter account appeared that was dedicated to publishing, popularising and/or attaching my name to some rather inflammatory allegations. I was very much the central focus of this account, but it also targeted several people close to me.

In the run-up to the general election, I announced my intention to stand as an independent Parliamentary candidate in Mid Bedfordshire, and the anonymous author literally begged me to do so, goading me with the promise of ‘exposure’.

By April I was formally approved as a candidate and campaigning in earnest, but shortly after the Shefford Hustings event, the author became increasingly upset that I had dared to run at all, and appeared quite concerned that I might petition the results. In fact, the author alleged that this had been my intention all along, and sought to use this premise to portray my campaign as an illegitimate or even criminal conspiracy to undermine British democracy.

A fortnight ago, the author began a 10 day countdown as the vilification on their anonymous Twitter account increased in intensity. On May 4th, the countdown culminated in the publication of a letter to me that they had written ‘on behalf of the British people’. It begins by accusing me of “(abusing my) privileges as a foreigner living as a resident here in Great Britain” before descending into a series of dark threats. The author simultaneously announced that they were going into ‘standby’ mode, ready to begin their Twitter assault anew should this be necessary in their view.

I have declined to so much as hint at the likely identity of the author, and I choose to allow them to carry the weight of specific allegations they make in order to justify their position, which is why they are not repeated here.

Other than the removal of two blocks of text containing those allegations, the following text is entirely unedited.

What I present first is the clear indication of what they are most upset about….

Your methods have often been sly & underhand. You’re running for parliament, for example, is a slight against our great democracy. You dared wrap yourself in our flag but all you wanted was to rile one candidate during the election campaign and, drawing on old electoral laws, have them removed with an “election petition” after the election. Well, that’s just not the British way.

… and then the main body of the letter, including the threats made by the author if I do not ‘take this chance at peace’ and back off:

Your lies have got you in a terrible pickle. At this time your plans are in tatters and your reputation has been incinerated beyond repair.

Note also that here in Britain every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. We are a very fair-minded lot, you see. And so in this sympathetic vein …

WE NOW OFFER YOU ONE LAST CHANCE …

Since you are now neutralized, you may now write your blog and tweet as much as you like henceforth.

But do so in a civilised manner which shows empathy for the people you are pursuing. Think of their real-world families, friends and colleagues before posting or tweeting. Do not smear. Triple check your facts before causing people pain.

And for God’s sake, stop optimising abuse about them on Google. That is just cowardly with a capital C.

OR

Just as has been the case over the last four or five years, the resistance movement against you will crush you into the ground. And, let’s face it, you have suffered. It was your terrible decision to put yourself on a pedestal and look where it got you. You’ve lost almost everything, Mr Ireland.

Of course, cowards who are exposed (as you have been) will crack (as you have).

For every abusive tweet there will be a hundred resistance tweets returned. For every twisted post there will be widespread coverage across various media of your past misdemeanours. For every link you add to a negative post about one of your victims we shall link-build a hundred links to one of the many negative (but accurate) posts which exist about you.

We are more patient than you, more powerful than you, better-financed and far brighter than you.

We will continue to watch your behaviour 24/7. We will never break the law but we assure you we will continue to affect your ability to live contentedly amongst us. We will not let your lies stand.

This Twitter account, which has so successfully held you to account for the past months, is one of many which from today will lie quiet but which can be used again in a heartbeat; meanwhile, we hope, providing an effective, powerful deterrent to your tendency for vile behaviour.

The civil courts are another weapon we can use against you and your associates if you do not start behaving yourselves. Your many victims are ready to face you down.

Note that this offer is meant for you AND those weak others who have been manipulated by you. As their ringleader we consider that, within reason, you are responsible for the people and areas they decide to blog and tweet about.

Please note that as a group we will change laws to ensure the kind of anti-social behaviour you and your friends have exhibited over the last decade will become illegal. Harassment laws WILL catch up with technology, they will become more retrospective and we’ll bust a gut to see the necessary changes through.

Now YOU must change.

You call yourself a “caped crusader” against injustice in Britain but you have failed to grasp the reality. You are a particularly ordinary man, Mr Ireland, and you have caused a great many Britons a very great deal of pain trying to prove to the world otherwise. Time to burst the shriveled balloon of your delusion, Mr Ireland.

So, wake up.

Now.

Look in the mirror.

& Change.

Or we will come at you and your associates one thousand times harder than you can possibly imagine. We also know the law back-to-front and we will never once breach it. We will take you on once again so you are left shaking & pathetic; begging for mercy yet again in one of your pitiful YouTube videos.

Life is give and take, Mr Ireland. Continue to abuse us Brits and you will be drowned out. Give back good behaviour to the land that you have taken so much from and maybe we Britons will start to appreciate you a bit more.

So now grow up, Mr Ireland.

Stop & think.

You are politely advised to take this last chance. We offer peace. Take it.

For the record, I deny lying about anyone, I have not harassed anyone, and I do not recall begging for anything on YouTube or anywhere else. I did totally wrap myself in the flag, though:

Further, I would dare to ask the rest of the British public what they make of this letter, which is why I have published the bulk of the it here for all to see.

I would be interested in any comments on-site or off, but I request that you refrain from guessing at the identity of the author and/or their associates. Please also be aware that the anonymous author has in their own special way repeatedly sought to goad me into making a public announcement regarding my position on the events at the Shefford hustings, but I have no intention of saying anything at this time other than to confirm that the matter is under police investigation.

Cheers all.

[MINI-UPDATE] – I will be at the count for the next few hours, so comment approval will likely be on the slow side until dawn.

UPDATE (1 June) – The police investigation into events at Shefford Hustings has concluded without action, but there will be further developments; despite the anonymous threats detailed in this post, an election petition has been filed.

UPDATE (10 June) – Independent – Nadine Dorries faces challenge after general election smear campaign allegations: Nadine Dorries is facing an extraordinary challenge to her parliamentary future after a rival candidate lodged an election petition claiming she had accused him of being a stalker and a “dangerous criminal”. The Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire could lose her seat if the smear allegations contained in the election petition, which has been lodged at the High Court by the unsuccessful independent candidate Tim Ireland, are accepted by judges.

UPDATE (30 July) – Independent – High Court rejects attempt to unseat Nadine Dorries after legal documents sent to wrong address: An attempt to unseat the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been thrown out by the High Court after two judges ruled that legal documents informing her of the action were sent to the wrong address. Lawyers acting for Ms Dorries, who was re-elected as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire at the general election, successfully argued at a hearing in London that the election petition sent to her constituency’s Conservative Association last month was invalid and should be struck out… Ms Dorries described the Conservative Association office in Shefford as a “small office staffed by volunteers” which was only open on Monday mornings, the court heard. She was in London when the legal documents arrived and consequently did not receive them until several days later, after they were forwarded by her personal assistant. Mr Ireland, who is now facing a significant bill for legal costs, said in a series of Tweets following the ruling: “The High Court did not reject the body of my allegations against Nadine Dorries. They nullified a petition raising them on a technicality. What Nadine Dorries did today was successfully prevent my allegations against her being heard and her allegations against me being tested.”

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Posted in UK General Election 2015 | 11 Comments

#votetim | New Campaign Video | Using Your Vote To Fight Corruption

I’ve made two versions of this video. The long version is embedded below, but there is also a short version for people who want the meat without the sandwich.

If you’re wondering about the missing detail about Nadine Dorries, what I can share with you immediately is this account of what happened at Shefford Hustings and further news that the events described in it are now the subject of a police investigation. Cheers all.

UPDATE (31 May) – The police investigation into events at the hustings has concluded without action, and I look forward to publishing further detail.








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories!, UK General Election 2015 | Comments Off

EXCLUSIVE: Grant Shapps claims he met the alleged ‘1234’ hacker

The recent controversy about a Guardian story apparently linking Grant Shapps to a series of Wikipedia edits led me to review my email correspondence with Mr Shapps back in 2012, when I was seeking a statement or denial over the Wikipedia edits referenced in this article and his wider adventures as ‘Michael Green’ (latest). This began as a private conversation, and agreements were made about data of a personal/sensitive nature but (a) I made it utterly clear to Grant (twice!) at the end of the conversation that if he left it at the point that he did and the matter was not pursued through official channels, then I would be left with no choice but to lobby publicly for an investigation/inquiry, and (b) happily, I can do so without revealing any of the more sensitive data in our correspondence.

That was over two years ago. I apologise to the public for being so preoccupied in the months and years that followed (long story), but I’m here now and ready to lobby for justice.

During this 2012 email conversation Grant Shapps and I spoke about the incident at the 2007 Ealing Southall by-election, when his official YouTube account was involved in an alleged sock-puppeting incident. Grant publicly claimed at the time that his YouTube account was hacked, and he in part blamed his use of “a very easily guessable password”… ‘1234’ (source). Here is what Grant later claimed happened after that event, at the count for that same by-election:

“That 1234 thing was over 5 years ago, at the count a man came up to me and explained about using brute force to unlock the page. Apparently this is software that runs through combinations. He was proud of the fact that the password was quick and easy to crack and mentioned it hadn’t taken long. Although we discussed legal action at the time, after the campaign was over we never pursued it on the basis of time and cost.” – Grant Shapps

I am hesitant to cast doubt on Grant’s story because of the pressing need to call this unknown person to account (should they exist), but the simple fact is that Mr Shapps has “overly firmly denied” once too often, he is the subject of widespread mockery as a result, and if I do not raise these obvious points/questions in an objective manner here, then my own credibility will suffer, and that will harm any attempt to bring this unknown person to justice (should they exist). Police do not take kindly to people who cannot determine the difference between speculation and fact.

1. You can’t just wander into a count for an election. If you are not an official helping to conduct the count, then you need to be either (a) a candidate, (b) their agent, or (c) formally appointed by a candidate or a candidate’s agent as a counting agent. Somewhere, there is paperwork with this man’s name on it, or this unknown person (should they exist) has committed a criminal offence by giving false information.

2. The Returning Officer, the first person you would be expected to report such behaviour to, would have been present at the count, throughout the count. It would have been a very simple matter to bring this matter to the RO’s attention and make the key allegation against this unknown person (should they exist). I am left wondering why this did not happen, and if it did, what Mr Shapps can tell us about the reasons why it was not followed up by the authorities, because…

3. ‘Time and cost’ are factors Mr Shapps might consider in a civil case, but in a matter that involves criminal law, a crime is a crime, and it should be reported, especially if you are not the only victim. This unknown person (should they exist) strikes me as an extremely reckless individual who has sought to betray the wider electorate, and it is on this note that I leave you with the guts of my reply back in 2012 (I ask you to excuse my cynicism, as it was expressed privately at the time):

“re: ‘1234’… This is an unsubstantiated anecdote that is far too close to ‘a big boy did it and ran away’ to be taken seriously. Twinned with this is the fact that you are denying pretending to be more than one person in one instance while defending your pretending to be more than one person in another. There is also the not-insignificant matter of the account you describe involving at least one unmistakably criminal act. This is something that should have been reported regardless of any intentions about civil action. If you are going to sincerely put it to me that this happened as you describe, then I am compelled to lobby for an investigation or inquiry into the unknown man who sought to influence the outcome of an election with criminal act(s) and confront you personally to brag about it. Such a person, if they exist, has so little regard for the law that the matter would be pressing still even if it weren’t for the recent interest in computer hacking (see: Murdoch)” – Tim Ireland

So, there you have it. A mystery to be unravelled. I am uncertain what the statute of limitations is on any relevant offences under the Representation of the People Act (answers on a postcard, please), but the hacking allegation alone deserves a full and proper investigation, and it is long overdue.

Did an unnamed man make edits to a YouTube account under false pretences purely to make Grant Shapps look guilty? That certainly appears to be what he is implying in this recent statement about the ‘Contribsx’ Wikipedia edits. We could be looking at a pattern of behaviour here:

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Posted in Consume!, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 2 Comments

TrafficPaymaster.com, I am in you

As many of you will recall, Grant Shapps (aka ‘Michael Green’) and/or his wife Belinda Shapps (aka ‘Sebastian Fox’) used to own a site called ‘TrafficPaymaster’, which was one of a series of ‘get rich quick’ schemes that Shapps used to peddle online both before and after he became an MP. The good people at HowToCorp.com had a curious philosophy about this product that was designed to cheat Google and its users: they figured that cheating didn’t count if you didn’t get caught.

“Shoplifting is victimless crime. Like punching someone in the dark.” – Nelson Muntz (The Simpsons)

Because Shapps was in such a hurry to do away with some of his sleazier sites, he carelessly threw the domain name trafficpaymaster.com away. It became available at auction recently… and I bought it.

So today I have brought the site back to life with a new purpose: to expose Grant Shapps as a liar and a bully.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… the chocolate-sandwich room: TrafficPaymaster.com

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Cheers all.








Posted in Consume!, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 1 Comment

#votetim – I’m running for Parliament, me

Good morning, everyone!

Just wanted to let you know that, yes, I do intend to stand as an independent Parliamentary candidate in Mid Bedfordshire. You can read my campaign profile here, but I would also appreciate you taking the time to register to vote (if you haven’t already), donate some money (if you have some) and/or host a poster (if you live in the area).

Have a great day. I’ll be in and out for most of it. Busy, busy, busy…

UPDATE (April 2015) – It’s official folks. I’m now a candidate, and this is my campaign video:








Posted in UK General Election 2015 | 3 Comments

Grant Shapps is a lying liar who tells lies

I want to start today by making it ab-so-lute-ly clear that what Grant Shapps sold and promoted under the pseudonym Michael Green was a series of low-rent scams dressed up as self-help and marketing products (example). Further, the manner in which they were promoted was demonstrably fraudulent (example). More journalists should be looking into that detail. It is the root of Mr Shapps’ embarrassment, and what led him to engage in the following further wrongdoing…

What Mr Shapps did recently that was so wrong was to use money and libel law to bully critics into silence, when he had no legitimate grounds to do so. It was an audacious abuse of power, and something that would normally trigger resignation(s) from any position of authority. I am here today to show you that Shapps engaged in a deliberate and calculated deceit in order to cover up an earlier deliberate and calculated deceit.

Let’s take a close look at the text that Shapps forced Dean Charles Archer to publish when that constituent dared to suggest that he had misled the public (more):

“I recently made a post suggesting that Grant Shapps MP had lied over the use of a pen name. I now accept that such an assertion was entirely false and that Mr Shapps MP has at no time misled over the use of a pen name. Indeed, I now understand that he openly published his full name alongside business publications making it clear that he used a pen name merely to separate business and politics, prior to his entering parliament. Since I was not in full possession of the facts I was clearly wrong to make that post. I wish to apologise (unreservedly) to Mr Shapps MP for any harm or embarrassment caused.”

More recently, Shapps has issued statements suggesting that there was some form of minor/inadvertent overlap between his career as a ‘marketing guru’ and his job as an MP, and that denying it was merely an error, because so much time had passed that the overlap slipped his mind. Focusing on a recent radio interview rather than this event where he bullied a constituent into capitulating with threats of legal action, the following statement was issued on his behalf by the Conservative Party:

“Like many authors and journalists, Grant wrote with a pen name. This was completely transparent: his full name and biographical details were permanently published on the company’s main website. Given that this was a decade ago, and was mentioned during the cut and thrust of an interview, he referenced that his writing career had ended when he became an MP: in fact it ended shortly afterwards.”

[MINI UPDATE – The assertion that Grant Shapps was “studious in publishing his full name and biography alongside” the ‘business books’ he released and promoted under the name Michael Green also appears in this letter from lawyers acting on his behalf dated 12 November 2014.]

So, let’s break this down:

Was ‘Michael Green’ merely a ‘pen name’?

In a word: no.

If you look here, here and here, you will see three different profiles of Michael Green from external websites (i.e. websites Shapps has not been able to delete or censor). All of them use the same stock photo of a man who (a) is not Grant Shapps, (b) is younger and more handsome than Grant Shapps, and (c) has considerably more hair than Grant Shapps.

(Please also note the text bragging about his status as an MP who “actually flies his very own personal plane and also lives in a fabulous mansion”. More on this later.)

Grant Shapps is a handsome liar

There is also the small matter of ‘Michael Green’ not merely billing himself as an author, but as ‘President (of) How To Corp’ (a “limited liability company registered in the United Kingdom”). This screen capture is from one of Shapps’ own websites:

Grant Shapps is the President of Liars

But if the ‘HowToCorp’ website itself made it entirely clear who Shapps was, then no harm done, right? Well…

Were Grant Shapps’ full name and biographical details “permanently published on the company’s main website”?

In a word: no.

When all of this blew up in late 2012, Grant Shapps was careful to remove the many, many sites he used to sell his spivvery, including the main site ‘howtocorp.com’. He also took the added precaution of excluding a list of relevant domains from the Web Archive. Normally, this would make it impossible for anyone to go back and check his assertions about what used to appear on this website or that, but there’s more than one archive available, and Mr Clever Clogs here used them to check up on a few things.

I can confidently state as a fact, that yes, at one time, when you visited the main page of howtocorp.com, if you scrolled down to the bottom, you would be able to see a link to ‘Michael Green Biography’. Further, the page it linked to did assert that ‘Michael Green’ was a ‘pen name’.

However…

1. This link/page was removed after Grant Shapps was elected to be an MP

2. The page itself (when it existed) made NO mention of Grant Shapps by name. And here’s the relevant evidence that Mr Shapps tried to hide from us:

Grant Shapps is professional liar with no formal computer training

(Psst! I won’t be showing him where I found it just yet. Last time I did that, he was in a terrible hurry to hide the evidence I was linking to, and I’m not done browsing through it yet.)

Did the name ‘Grant Shapps’ appear “alongside business publications” published in the name of Michael Green?

In a word: no.

The following are all domains owned/operated/promoted by ‘How To Corp’, and I have checked archives/copies of the relevant websites/products in detail, and I can confidently state that none of the following web sites/pages made any mention of Grant Shapps by name alongside any of his so-called “business publications”. You know that old saying ‘three strikes and you’re out’? Here’s thirty:

affiliate-defender.com
create-a-product-seminar.com
createandsellproductsonline.com
easy-download.com
easyezinetoolkit.com
email-policy.org
ezine-editors-list.com
howto-jointventure.com
howtoachievetheswingingolf.com
howtofindhappiness.com
howtopromoteaproduct.com
howtopresent.com
howtopdfcreator.com
howtostartaforum.com
howtowriteanewsletter.com
instant-movie-making.com
internet-policy.org
meaning-of-dreams.com
salesletterpersonalizer.com
ezineformat.com
ezine-promotion.com
howtocorphelp.com
howto-createpopups.com
howtocreatesmartpages.com
howtopriceaproduct.com
management-stress.org
marketing-strategy-internet.com
michaelgreenconsulting.com
web-audio.info
workingdocs.com

Here are two versions that are still accessible in the main Web Archive. Check them out for yourself:
How To Add Audio To Your Website and Dramatically Increase Your Sales Conversion Ratio
How To Create Popups – Easy Popup Generator

The best that could be said on the ‘transparency’ front was that these sites all included a prominent and visible link back to the website ‘howtocorp.com’, which at one time did assert on a single page that ‘Michael Green’ was a pen name, but made zero mention of the name ‘Grant Shapps’, even when it did exist.

(Interesting fact: The fee for a one-hour telephone consultation with ‘Michael Green’ of michaelgreenconsulting.com was a mere US$297 . Also, this was one of many sites where ‘Michael Green’ billed himself as “the owner of the World’s Largest Internet Marketing Forum”.)

When Grant Shapps became an MP, did his work as ‘Michael Green’ end “shortly afterwards”?

In a word: no.

Grant Shapps has at one time made a vague claim about his wife continuing to operate the business in his absence and perhaps even being Michael Green herself from time to time sometime after May 2005, but the audio I linked to in this article clearly dates to August 2007 (more than two years after he became an MP), and there’s no question about it being Shapps himself posing as Michael Green in interview.

Speaking of interviews, here’s ‘Michael Green’ bragging about how easy it was to balance his two workloads in a ‘product’ titled ‘Diary Profits’ (also featuring ‘Peter Twist’):

PETER: Now I think what I always like to point out about yourself is that before
people start saying things like, ‘Oh, I’m so busy. I’m on holiday’ and everything
— I’ve got to explain that you were involved very heavily in public life so this
kind of a — possibly quiet time for you where you don’t have to be in parliament
and such so.

MICHAEL: Well, there is that, but I mean basically this is a hobby for me. This
is — when I want to — it probably sounds like a strange hobby for some people
— but when I want to get away and I want to relax from the daily hustle and
bustle of politics and what have you — then for me — for my weekend or
whatever when I am not doing that stuff — this is relaxation for me. This is how
I relax. I do internet marketing to relax. How about that?

Was this Belinda Shapps writing as ‘Michael Green’? Obviously not, because Belinda is not a Member of Parliament, and the document is based on this audio file featuring Grant’s voice (via).

There’s also little question about Grant Shapps himself being the author of the ‘product’ titled ‘How To Bounce Back From Recession’. I secured an original copy of this document from howtobouncebackfromrecession.com before Shapps managed to throw most of his shady past down a memory hole, and the properties of the PDF file give a creation date of late 2009. By now we’re more than 4 years past the date when Shapps became an MP; almost a full term.

As for any contention that any overlap was inadvertent and easy to forget, it is quite evident that Shapps was as ‘Michael Green’ cashing in on his status as an MP rather than accidentally allowing the two roles to overlap. Plus…

Did Grant Shapps merely make a ‘mistake’ in the ‘cut and thrust’ of an interview almost a decade after the original event(s)?

In a word: no.

Firstly, this defence ignores the legal bullying, which was careful, calculated, and quite deliberate.

Secondly, I have in my archives a copy of a forum post made by Grant Shapps, which is still live if you would care to look into the detail for yourself. The following are some clear denials by Grant Shapps that date back to June 2005 (highlights are mine):

Anyone who has struggled and fought as a self-employed person building up their own business would take some offence from being lumped in wiith those who get elected and as a result of their position, accept paid consultancies. I hope you’ll accept that what I’ve done is entirely different. Just for additional clarity, my print biz now operates without my direct input, so I am a full time MP and completely focused on Welwyn Hatfield.

Interesting debate. The point I was trying to make is that I’m a full time MP. That’s what I do. Those who take the train in the morning will sometimes see me going to London, though my schedule is different everyday due to the unusual business hours at parliament. Before I get on the train I’m working in the constituency on day to day case work, either from home, the constituency office or out and about visiting people and places in Welwyn Hatfield.

In terms of outside interests, I don’t have anything that takes up any significant time. In the past three or four months I have visited my print business just once for a meeting which lasted around one hour. That’s it! I’ve worked hard for 15 years to specifically get the business running without my input.

Naturally when it comes to declaring for the register of interests I will mention my print biz (which as founder, I am still a Director of) and my online marketing company that I run alongside. Salaries are not actually declared in the Register, which is not intended to be a wealth index, but out of interest, I draw very little salary indeed and will be remunerated by dividends at the end of the year if my print business makes money (not a given as anyone in print will tell you). Nothing that I do outside being the MP takes up any more time than say running this forum as a hobby for example and probably far less time than that, as I’ve described.

Shapps was denying being anything other than a full-time MP all the way back in 2005, while at the same time posing as ‘Michael Green’ and busily creating new scams targeting dumb and greedy Americans. If you read the exchange, you can even see the throwaway comment about his “online marketing company”, then someone bringing ‘Michael Green’ up about 6 months later; Shapps responds to this query by changing the subject and defining such queries as ‘personal’. He does not return to the topic.

Thought that dealing with the serious problems of the break-ins in Brookmans Park were more important to post on than a discussion about my personal business, which I’ve properly declared in the members interests – without which we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

So there you have it; Shapps was actively avoiding the issue while engaging in a pretence of transparency all the way back in 2005. It’s not a mistake he made in recent days a decade after the fact, it is an ongoing deceit that he has maintained for a decade.

If it were otherwise, he would not have gone to such extraordinary (but ultimately futile) lengths to hide his tracks.

There is nothing in the recent statement in defence of Shapps that stands up to any scrutiny. A man of any honour would resign. A party of any integrity would force the issue. But the sad fact is that Shapps is a greedy and dishonest liar, and a valuable member of a deeply tribal group that rewards such behaviour.

On this note I will close by declaring an interest. Recently I passed a confidential letter to Grant Shapps for the attention of the Prime Minister. My letter was about a rather personal and sensitive issue: Conservative fundraising executives who had used false identities to make anonymous allegations of child rape for political gain. Shapps not only refused to take any action himself, he went on to share this confidential letter with people who had no business reading it. He has since refused to answer any questions about that, so I won’t pretend for a second that I’m not enjoying any of this.

UPDATE – More on this subject is available in a full video report hosted at a domain name that used to belong to Grant Shapps, and now belongs to me: trafficpaymaster.com.

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Posted in Consume!, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 9 Comments

Grant Shapps: smoke and mirrors

In recent months, Grant Shapps has been issuing threats of legal action against some people who dared suggest that he was running ‘get rich quick’ schemes under the name Michael Green while he was an MP. Shapp’s aggrieved contention was (a) that there was no attempt to deceive, as this was merely a ‘pen name’ that he used, and (b) that he stopped acting as Michael Green when he became an MP.

On the first point, I have only ever seen evidence of Michael Green being described on the relevant websites as ‘a Member of Parliament’, and certainly not specifically identified as Grant Shapps. We would be able to go to older versions of his websites and check if Shapps and/or his wife hadn’t deliberately excluded the howtocorp.com domain from the Web Archive, and in any case the existence of text bragging that Michael Green is an MP rules out any accidental overlap between his two lives. Grant Shapps was deliberately cashing in on his status as an MP, and he is preventing us from seeing older versions of his site that might allow him to demonstrate that he did so merely in the spirit of transparency.

Further, after several stringent denials, Shapps has since been forced into a humiliating change of position about what he said or did when; he now claims that he ceased operating as Michael Green “shortly after” becoming an MP. My records show that Grant Shapps was still operating as Michael Green over two years after becoming an MP, so I guess your position on this depends on your definition of ‘shortly’.

The new line being wheeled out today by Shapps and other Tory high-ups such as Jeremy Hunt is that this is was all sorted out a long time ago and this is merely a Labour-led plot to undermine that nice Mr Shapps because they fear his campaigning abilities (*cough*) and/or because they “hate business”.

It was after seeing this that I began to take a renewed look at the business interests of Grant Shapps, his wife Belinda Shapps, and his sister Marla Coutts. What I recalled about earlier versions of this ‘web empire’ was confirmed on the first site I checked. Sites like ‘auctiongirl.co.uk’ are clearly registered as if the operation and its key operators (Belinda Shapps and Marla Coutts) are based in the US, and not the UK. This raises questions about what/how any income/profits/earnings are declared in this country; the Tory spin about Shapps being a ‘wealth creator’ depends rather heavily on his family generating wealth in this country and paying a full and fair amount of tax on any associated income.

All of this is mere background to today’s story, but as that story unfolds, I will produce a full shopping list of websites in the Shapps ‘wealth creation’ empire, and I invite bloggers and journalists who are interested in the tax/earnings question to explore the many sites involved at their leisure.

[snip]

UPDATE (17 March) – I was in the process of researching domains in the shopping list I mentioned (which you are still welcome to browse) when I discovered evidence giving Mr Shapps some deniability about the fate of one specific domain (‘savenewbarnfield.com’). I am voluntarily withdrawing the associated text purely because there is now significant room for doubt, but I’m sure you’ll be delighted to learn that what I found instead was much, much juicer:

Grant Shapps is a lying liar who tells lies

:o)

Cheers all.

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Posted in Consume!, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 2 Comments

Tweet archive of @toryeducation, the abusive sock-puppet of Michael Gove and/or his SPADs

[TL:DR – Tories running the Department of Education sought to harangue and taunt their critics anonymously like playground bullies. Here is the evidence they tried to bury.]

For over two years, an anonymous Twitter account endorsed by the Conservatives sought to denigrate, discredit and abuse critics and opponents of the former Education Secretary Michael Gove. Given that the Conservative Party Chairman (and shyster) Grant Shapps is highly tolerant of abusive sock-puppets in the party ranks and isn’t above sock-puppeting his opponents personally, I am of the opinion that people far-too-readily assume that a senior figure like Gove didn’t risk having a direct hand in the account himself.

I recommend this informative timeline and the following articles if you are unaware of the significance of this account and its authorship:

Michael Gove advisers face claims of smear tactics against foes (2 February 2013)
Are dark arts spinning out of control in Michael Gove’s department? (2 February 2013)
Michael Gove’s officials act to clean up abusive @toryeducation Twitter feed (16 February 2013)
MP calls for ‘Toryeducation’ Twitter user to be unmasked (26 March 2013)

The account was downright childish and abusive in tone, and often challenged critics of Gove to ‘get a real/proper job’ rather than waste any time subjecting his department to scrutiny (not a wise narrative to press during a recession, especially when you are spouting party/political propaganda instead of focusing on the job that the taxpayers are paying you to do).

The morally impoverished authors were also known for cringe-worthy use of a #winning hashtag (see: Charlie Sheen), repeated characterisation of opponents as ‘lefties’ and ‘comrades’, even a comparison of some critics/opponents to Hitler and/or Stalin… and throughout, nauseatingly effusive praise of Michael Gove and his bold mission to reshape education in his divine image.

This archive is a near-to-complete* record of everything tweeted and retweeted from its inception (Jan 2012) through to the date of Michael Gove’s humiliating ‘promotion’ to Chief Whip (Jul 2014). Upon the news that the Grand Headmaster had been demoted, there was a short silence, a flurry of tweets announcing the cabinet changes to be a glorious victory for Michael Gove and his loyal staff, then a very long silence followed only by sporadic tweeting until the end of that year, when all prior tweets were carefully and deliberately erased… because it simply wouldn’t do to be answerable for childish and abusive attacks on opponents, now would it?

(*It does not include any tweets that were deleted on/near the day of publication, and this is a common tactic of bullies with or without sock-puppets: they like to hit people and run away.)

Obviously, with the account so thoroughly cleansed of evidence (see also: Jeremy Hunt), it is difficult to determine the full context of some tweets and/or access any wider conversations, but I thought that hard-working taxpayers deserved to keep some kind of record of the Tory propaganda they paid for when Gove and his squadron of flying monkeys were running the Department of Education.

On that note, I will leave you with one of the final tweets from one of the anonymous authors who spent over two years accusing their critics and opponents of rampant dishonesty (and anonymous bullying, naturally):

It’ll take all you Blobbers a lot more than 4 yrs to glue pieces together & by then computers will have fired you! #Won #MissionAccomplished

Archive begins below the fold (click here to read in full). Do with it what you will. Cheers all.

[Note – Just for the record, in formatting these tweets for publication, I noted characteristics of the text that demonstrate that many of them were not tweeted ‘live’, but were first drafted in Microsoft Word. A key example: some of the nastier attacks on Suzanne Moore. Make of that what you will.]

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Posted in Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

Alex Wickham (‘top tabloid journo’) vs. John Cleese, Hacked Off and the facts

Yesterday I attended a rally for Hacked Off. While there, I observed Alex Wickham enter the room and take a front-row seat in the press box before thumbing away at his handheld device.

Wickham and his cohorts like to downplay typical everyday victims of tabloid excess, and instead press a narrative about a small gang of celebrities trying to restrict free speech so they can keep their dirty little secrets. Knowing Wickham to be a deeply tribal and unapologetic tabloid ‘journalist’ who had previously taken every opportunity to demonise Hacked Off and their supporters, I was curious to see how he was reporting this event.

I accessed the Twitter feeds of the two main accounts he uses, and observed him in action.

First, he took this photo of Hugh Grant and (using the same device) live-tweeted it to the @MediaGuido account (12:56pm):

Then, he manually retweeted himself using the @WikiGuido account (12:57pm)

I was not at all surprised to see Wickham pressing the celebrity angle, or to see him using mutliple Twitter accounts in this way. I was even less surprised when he escalated to more overt attempts to reject one argument and instead press his own false prospectus (1:06pm):

(Note : the above was also RTed to his @WikiGuido account a moment later.)

I did not think it was fair on the audience, and this tweet helped me make up my mind to report the matter to the Chair (1:08pm):

The above was a gross and deeply offensive mischaracterisation of what was being said to the audience, and how they were reacting to it. Brian Cathcart compared a range of media owners/editors to the man behind the green curtain in The Wizard of Oz (his exact words: “the squeaky little figure, or the squeaky little line-up of figures…”, and later “tear away the curtain and we see the squeaky little figure of Paul Dacre; let’s keep it that way, let’s keep them out in the open”).

The “rapturous applause” Wickham describes in response to some crass personal assault on Paul Dacre is pure invention (if not a gross distortion of the end-of-speech applause that everybody has received at the end of every speech at every political rally since the dawn of democracy). The Orwellian reference to the “obedient audience” is entirely over the top, and typically so.

Further, Wickham was totally engrossed in this task and typing his distortions while John Cleese was speaking about a long list of everyday victims of tabloid abuse and intrusion. The only report of any of this from Wickham was Cleese’s opening mention of the role played by celebrities in this debate (1:10pm), followed by the moment that Mr Cleese became momentarily overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the inhumanity he was reading aloud, with the clear suggestion being that his was an entirely emotional and therefore flawed argument (1:11pm).

You are invited to listen to the actual event rather than a cherry-picked moment of it written by a man so crassly preoccupied with his task of distortion that he didn’t even look up and acknowledge that any of this was being read out at the time:

Note that the above two tweets neatly bracket a long list of victims that Wickham is determined to gloss over, and that the second tweet throws two words together and attributes them as a description of the press in general. Here’s the text of what Cleese actually said after reading a long list of examples of specific and undeniably monstrous, sociopathic acts:

“So what do we say about this monstrous behaviour? And what is (so) monstrous about it for me is the almost complete lack of contrition on behalf of people who do these dreadful, sociopathic things.” – John Cleese

If responsibility for this behaviour was laid at anyone’s feet, it was at Rupert Murdoch’s, but given how closely Wickham is associated with The Sun on Sunday, it is unlikely that this is a point/debate that he would wish to address on anything but his own twisted terms.

Getting back to those terms, later in the piece, Cleese compared the field of journalism to other fields that would like to regulate themselves (builders, accountants) and to those that used to regulate themselves, but no longer do (lawyers, doctors). To illustrate his point he made a joke that murderers would probably like to regulate themselves too. That murder is not an acknowledged profession or field (in this country) should be clue enough to most people that a joke was in progress, but Wickham was quick to seize on it and present it as a standalone comparison (1:13pm):

Wickham then retweeted himself using his other account (1:14pm)…

… before repeating his assertion once more at @MediaGuido for good measure (1:15pm)

Now have a listen and decide for yourself what was actually said. Also note that John Cleese wraps up this point with talk of the people who lie about Hacked Off seeking to muzzle the press (trust me: we’ll get to this soon enough):

Here’s a transcript of the relevant section of the audio for those of you in the cheap seats:

“Of course they want to regulate themselves. We’d all like to regulate ourselves, wouldn’t we? But it would mean without appropriate oversight, builders, accountants, murderers; they’d all like to regulate themselves. And murderers would make a good case! They’d say ‘We’ve murdered a lot of people, we know people who’ve murdered people. We are best qualified to regulate (murder)’…”

“Yes, they want to go on [laughs] regulating themselves. Oh dear. The press editors simply want the freedom of the press – to be free to do what they damn well like, without independent oversight. Of course, things used to be different. Remember the lawyers, they used to have the Law Society to regulate themselves? Doctors used to have the General Medical Council. That’s all done. The only group that now regulates itself without independent oversight is [laughs] is the press. And why? because the politicians are more frightened of them than they are of anyone else, right? [sounds of agreement, then applause] But, you see, a lot of us don’t trust the press to regulate themselves without oversight any more than we don’t trust the murderers.” – John Cleese

Some other people spoke, Wickham’s distortions continued, and then the Chair (Evan Harris) spoke to the audience about one of the tweets by Wickham that I had brought to his attention:

Wickham is audibly mumbling when first challenged, but he clearly says it was “a direct quote” twice before not only being invited to speak but being urged to speak up by the Chair, when he finally says something the whole room can (almost) hear:

“I don’t understand the problem. It’s a direct quote. It was exactly what he said.” – Alex Wickham

This earned an immediate and vociferous response from one audience member concluding that he was a “cretin”, but this was putting it rather generously as it assumes that Wickham misquoted John Cleese out of ignorance alone before falsely stating when challenged that he had quoted him verbatim.

But it is clear from the audio that not only did Wickham misrepresent what John Cleese had said, he also made a false claim about having quoted him word-for-word when he had done no such thing. Wickham even challenged the Chair when his actions were described as presenting words out of context. Once again, he got to have his say, and this is what he said:

“How can it be out of context? It’s a direct quote.” Alex Wickham

So that’s twice that Wickham has been permitted to speak his mind, and twice he has refused to vary from an entirely false assertion that he had quoted John Cleese verbatim.

Listening to the audio, you will also hear a very strident Australian (*cough*) pointing out exactly how he had presented words out of context, even if one were to accept his argument that he had quoted John Cleese verbatim (which he had not done). At the very end you will hear the Chair once again invite him to identify himself, and you can also hear that by now the crowd are keen for him to do this, too. The specific calls for him to stand are for him to stand and identify himself. When he refuses to do this, at the very end of the audio, you will hear this moment, which also appears int he 15-second snippet of video that Wickham is now using to ‘prove’ that he was denied the right to free speech:

But Wickham was not refused his say; far from it. Neither was he robbed of his right to free speech. Wickham was not gagged or manhandled out of the room for daring to speak his mind; he was merely challenged, identified, then politely invited to leave, or sit and listen from that point on (i.e. after squandering multiple opportunities to explain himself). Wickham chose to sulk and portray himself as a victim on Twitter, starting with this (1:53pm)

The audio I have published here covers the entire exchange, as opposed to the 15 seconds of it that Wickham and the Guido Fawkes team seek to legitimise by citing the Press Association as the source of the clip (‘never mind the quality… feel the width!’). At no stage does Evan Harris shout at him. At no stage does John Cleese shout at him. This did not happen, before, during or after the event. But Wickham is banking so much on his assertion that it did happen that he has pinned this tweet on his profile.

(‘Look at me, everyone! John Cleese shouted at ME!’… and obviously I’m paraphrasing for effect here, so no letters, please.)

This didn’t happen either (1:57pm):

The audio makes it clear that Alex Wickham was repeatedly invited to stand to identify himself, something that he repeatedly refused to do. This is quite apart from the fact that he took any further opportunity to speak to again repeat the false assertion that he had quoted John Cleese “directly”, when he had not.

Wickham then when on to falsely assert that John Cleese had called him a liar:

John Cleese would not have been wrong or unfair to describe Wickham as a liar – because this tabloid tea-boy is a shameless and unapologetic liar – but what Cleese did was jokingly invite him to tell lies about him (“You’re absolutely free to tell any lies you want about me.”). So, Wickham lied about John Cleese calling him a liar!

Wickham then went back to his oh-so-crucial narrative about Hacked Off being an enemy of free speech, again giving a wholly misleading account of the event and what was actually happening when he was asked to stand and identify himself (2:00pm):

And it was at this point that Alex Wickham appeared to tweet about himself in third person using the @MediaGuido account (2:00pm), describing himself as a ‘top tabloid journalist’ and likening the audience to a gang of children descending into savagery:

It was after this flurry of tweeting that he skulked out of the room of his own volition.

Within 20 minutes, the main @GuidoFawkes account was used to post a picture of Alex Wickham the “hero” being gagged (2:22pm):

Within another 20 minutes, Harry Cole (also of the Guido Fawkes website) was characterising the Chair’s intervention as a “meltdown” (2:39pm):

And before an hour had passed, the main Guido Fawkes Twitter account and website had been deployed to describe the lobbying event as a “show trial for journalists” (2:58pm):

Wickham has since asserted that both Dr Evan Harris and John Cleese have accepted his version of events as accurate, but this assertion is based on further distortion and invention.

Alex Wickham was allowed to attend, but it was a trust he abused. He was allowed to report, but he gave a wholly distorted account of events. This was not “a direct quote” as Wickham repeatedly stated. At no time did John Cleese utter these words in this order:

Further, after the kind of behaviour that would earn one immediate ejection at most events, Wickham was challenged and invited to explain himself, but chose to give a false account of what he had done, and then give a false account about being denied the opportunity to speak.

(Surely, Alex, you remember speaking. You must have sensed your lips flapping, the sound waves leaving your body and the bullshit dripping off your chin.)

I will add to this that if you dare voice any dissent in the comments at the ‘Guido Fawkes’ website, you are shouted down by a series of anonymous comments before being invited to go and complain on your own blog. It turns out that Alex Wickham can’t even hack being asked nicely to leave and do the same. So he’s a hypocrite as well as a liar.

Alex Wickham, Harry Cole and site proprietor Paul Staines owe John Cleese a full retraction and an apology for giving a distorted account of what he said and how he responded when this came to light. They also owe Evan Harris, the speakers and the entire audience a retraction and an apology not only for the initial distortions, but for later giving a distorted account of what Wickham did, what he said, and how those gathered reacted to his audacity.

However, I am guessing that the only response we will see to this article is the usual round of tabloid obfuscation and intimidation designed to shut me/others up and discourage the one thing these people fear most: attention to detail, and timely and irrefutable deconstruction of their hastily-woven fictions.

[drops mic]

UPDATE (27 Feb) – At one stage, someone tried to explain that the ‘stand up, sit down’ event did not happen as Wickham described (and it didn’t). Of course, what Alex Wickham seized upon was any suggestion that ‘stand up, sit down’ did not happen at all (when he did actually stand up and sit down), so on this basis – brace yourselves – Alex Wickham is claiming that the audio I have published here proves his version of events, and further asserts that this is the “end of the matter”. No, I am not kidding. Here’s a direct quote, complete with context, and you can click through for more if you have any doubts:

Some might also note that Wickham doesn’t actually link to the audio that ‘proves his version of events’, or even hint where it might be found. This demonstrates his attitude towards accuracy… and his audience.

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Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 3 Comments