An open letter to Phil Hendren (aka ‘Dizzy’ of ‘Dizzy Thinks’)

This entry was posted on
Friday, July 11th, 2008
1:30 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!.

Dear Mr Hendren,

You appear to require some specific instruction and detailed clarification on this matter, so please bear with me:


I do not wish you to call me at home; this is why I have never provided you with my home phone number.

I do not wish random people who read my website to call me at home; this is why my home phone number is not on my website.

In fact, do not wish random people to call me at home full-stop; this is why my home phone number is unlisted.

Yet you seem to think, because you were apparently able to use your professional contacts to get a hold of my phone number for personal reasons, that none of the above applies. In fact, you’ve gone so far as to describe my home phone number as “publicly accessible” (source) and I think you are at the very least being a little bit dishonest with yourself about this. That you were able to access it by ferreting around for it does not in any way excuse your using and abusing it in the way you did.

You have also since offered me advice on measures I can take (and services I can pay for) in order to avoid such calls in the future, but here I should remind you that in 6+ years of blogging I have only had this problem with one person and one person only; you.

I am also only really likely to have problems with other people in the future because of one person and one person only; you.

(In case you have forgotten, you also published my unlisted number on your website on more than one occasion, but I’ll get onto that soon enough. I haven’t even begun to begin…)

I do not want to hear about your personal life, and I do not want to be part of your personal life, no matter how keen you may be to barge into mine.

I do not care to hear about your relationship problems as a mitigating factor in any disagreement between us and I certainly do not want to hear about how much sex you’re having with an old/new partner as a deciding factor in what you clearly regard to be a pissing contest.

I also have no interest in calling you, but your calling me back immediately after the sexy-time call and offering your home number to me (by suggesting that I dial 1471) in order to be ‘fair’ struck me as such an odd thing to do (it wasn’t until later I realised that you simply may not have been willing to admit that you made a mistake by not calling me from your mobile with its withheld number) that the only thing I could think to do at the time was ask you to read it out to me just in case you were playing some sort of game (i.e. calling from another number that you may not have known off by heart).

Recently, you’ve tried to pass off your recent pissing-for-distance as dead-cool sarcasm. Normally a claim like this might hold some water, even if it were suspiciously yellow, but I seek to remind you that you bragged about the amount of sex you were getting THREE TIMES in one single call.

OK, so the first repeat may have been my fault; I said “I beg your pardon?” because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but you went on to stress it a third time after this as the body of your conclusion, so it was clearly a/the major point you wanted to get across and I really need to ask you why you think I would care in the first place, if this really is your main measure of a man, and (as you clearly regard my interpretation of that exchange to be unfair ) what someone is supposed to make of an exchange where the caller repeatedly blurts out their plans for intercourse, calls back to offer their phone number and then calls back again to ask why there hasn’t been an adequate response to the first two calls.

Also, I wish to stress to you that when anybody calls my home after 9pm on any night of the week, I expect first to hear (a) an apology for calling so late and (b) a bloody good reason for calling so late.

You may find that other people (especially those with young children) have similar expectations, so it might be in your interests to show some consideration in future… when calling others*.

(*You’re certainly not welcome to call me and you never have been.)

Provocation and Retromoderation I

With regards to your apparent perception that you were in any way central to Operation Manticore, you really need to get over yourself and stop pretending to be so outraged.

Seriously, the project had been on the cards for nearly 5 years, and no matter what you might think about your current level of importance you will have to admit that you simply haven’t been in my face or even active as a ‘blogger’ for that long. Your post was chosen at the last minute (as part of one of many diversions) because you had blogged about a police presence at Heathrow and made a lot of noise about what could and could not be seen at the time. It was fitting and poetic, and that’s it. You also didn’t catch on to the little bit you did know because of any cleverness on your part; it was because someone TOLD you. So, again, please try to get over yourself.

When you latched onto it with both hands and threatened to tell the world about “the real Tim ‘black hat’ Ireland” if I ever crossed you or called you a stalker (and it’s obvious why you would be worried about the latter after using and abusing the label so many times and then repeatedly calling my home… again) I wasn’t at all worried about anything you could reveal in the long term because the intention was to reveal all at close of play.

The only thing that worried me at the time was that you might realise that Plan A was as much of a bluff as Plan B… which you didn’t, despite what currently appear to be suggesting. The fact that you considered the secrets you held to be a long-term bargaining chip (see: ‘blackmail’) proves that. Seriously, how could I possibly stand up afterwards and say; “the whole thing’s been a fake but what happened to ‘Dizzy’ was real”?

I will readily admit that it was a mistake to include you in Manticore any way, as it was supposed to be f-u-n. I should have known that you’d go off the deep end as you have in the past and ruin some of that fun, but I was very amused at the thought of you thinking that you had an ace up your sleeve, when it was in fact a wild card that became worthless the moment Bush left town.

Hilariously, you still tried to play this worthless card after the reveal by trying to give the impression that you had done so before the reveal (and/or that you intended to do so all along) with this subtle retrofit of your ‘holiday’ post.

But it would be silly to engage with you while you were on holiday because (a) I do not want to be drawn into your private life, as I’ve already made clear, and (b) only a fool or a cad would take advantage of a visible disadvantage like that, no matter how much they are dared or egged on to do so by an opponent.

Besides, I was also genuinely waiting for someone else to get back from their holiday. I promise I will get back to this after one very clear example of your attempts to rewrite history and retromoderate your way out the crass error of ‘taking it offline’ at least twice now…

Provocation and Retromoderation II

During your calls to my home in March of this year, when you were literally screaming down the phone at such a volume that my wife could hear you from the next room, we almost got to the guts of what I am trying to explain in this letter, but you were too angry to see it at the time. If you’ve forgotten the exchange since, I can’t blame you for trying to put the incident out of your mind, so I will happily remind you;

During that call you declared that I took the internet too seriously. You described what I was upset about and had blogged about as “only text on a web page”.

When I pointed out that my blogging about your mere text on a web page also amounted to mere text on a web page you did appear lost for words for a brief moment, but then continued to yell at me down the phone during your ill-advised stunt that was well beyond mere text on a web page.

In short, you had stepped way, way over the line. Not just by calling me at home when you were certainly not welcome to, but also by publishing my phone number on your website in a clear effort to intimidate me.

At the time, you showed no remorse over anything but the potential personal cost to yourself and actually mocked me for not spotting another ‘hidden’ version of my phone number that you claimed had been on your site for weeks. (Upon withdrawal of this number you offered as a mitigating factor the fact that the last digit was missing, as if anyone determined enough wouldn’t call 10 numbers in order to find the right one.)

Lately, you claim to have been ‘provoked’ into doing all of the above in this passage that you refuse to admit amounts to blackmail:

“The only thing that you need to do is agree that you will never target me again. Remember, I have the real evidence that you went after *me* with intent. You on the other hand have what? Six phone calls over the period of four months all in reaction to your provocation.” – Phil ‘Dizzy’ Hendren (source)

1. This. Is. Not. A. Pissing. Contest.

2. Despite your efforts to rewrite history after retromoderating the entire exchange out of existence, I can prove that you are 100% full of it:

When it came time to delete the comments including my personal details, you also deleted many surrounding comments in a way that would leave any newcomer to this post/thread totally oblivious to the fact that you accused Tom Watson of being a sock-puppet on your website and simply couldn’t face a solid challenge to this claim (like the fact that he was on live TV at the time one of ‘his’ comments appeared).

Normally that’s the kind of thing I’d expect from you and simply let go, but now you’re trying to pass off my contradicting you on this point and another as ‘provocation’ worthy of the intimidation and harrasment that you dished out, and that’s not on.

Compare your reaction to being proved wrong about a voiced suspicion to mine and you might also begin to understand why a wry smile crosses my face when it’s declared by your supporters that I didn’t take the latter too well.

Somehow, during the entire hammering (that Iain Dale so happily contributed to), I managed to resist the temptation to call you at home or publish your number (as you have done to me) or adopt another online identity so I might undermine your reputation without risking mine (as you have done to me). I also managed to restrain myself to the point of not letting loose with a stream of abuse (as you have done to me) or wishing that you would die of cancer or in a car crash (as you have done to me).

How did I resist this temptation? Because there’s a line, Mr Hendren. And it’s line that you need to learn about.

Especially as that line is the only thing stopping me from making a formal complaint to the ISP you work for.

Intimidation and Information

Here is where our mystery holiday-maker comes into play…

I’ve been in touch with your employer (an ISP that I do not name here as a courtesy that I hope you appreciate) in an effort to determine if my details lurked on any marketing or customer databases currently in their possession (i.e. within your reach).

This. Took. Months. To. Process.

In fact, I’ve been trying to determine this (without involving you or any complaint about you) since March.

I sent them an email pointing out that this was still a concern for me after your more recent calls, but they told me the person who was supposed to be looking after this was away at the time.

But they (finally) got back to me the other day and the good news for you is that I don’t appear on a single database that you might have access to at your place of work.

There’s plenty of ammunition for a formal complaint to your employer (again, I hope you appreciate the courtesy of me not going into detail) but when the possibility of you accessing my data via your employer is ruled out completely, then in my view, there simply isn’t any justification.

Because there’s a line.

I hope now you’re at least looking at it and perhaps even appreciating how wrong and reckless it is for anyone it to cross it without a bloody good reason.


Look, if you don’t want to be the first person suspected of sock-puppeting and flaming stunts designed to disrupt debate and undermine the reputation of others, then don’t be the first person who generally turns up with sock-puppeting and flaming stunts designed to disrupt debate and undermine the reputation of others.

Similarly, if you don’t want to be suspected of nuisance calls to my home, then don’t make a habit of making nuisance calls to my home.

Finally, if you seriously want to avoid suspicion over any future nuisance calls to my home, you might want to have a quiet word with anybody you may have shared my number with, and the person who shared it with you.

Sadly, you have no control over the people who saw it appear on your website, but I hope this will at least reinforce for you (and others) what an irretrievably foolish stunt this was.

Do yourself a favour and take the weekend to ponder on it.

And for God’s sake, don’t even THINK about responding with a phone call.

Tim Ireland

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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