In early 2009, a man appeared out of nowhere offering me dirt on some of his former colleagues. One of those former colleagues later reported* that this same person approached them at the same time, first warning them that I was a convicted paedophile who had escaped justice, and then furnishing them with my home address; he was clearly trying to set one party against the other (in the most damaging and dangerous way) from the outset.
(He currently pretends that he acts in the way he does because he claims I ‘betrayed’ him over an article reporting his past conduct as – don’t laugh – an amateur anti-terrorism operative.)
From the very beginning and throughout our conversations, this person offered repeated assurances – often apropos of nothing – that he was nothing to do with Anne Milton (a local Tory MP of whom I have been critical). At one stage, he offered to operate as a ‘peace broker’ between us, and he would also speak in ways that gave a very clear impression that he was a regular at local Tory fundraising events, and there is certainly no denying the role his family have played in local Conservative politics (for generations).
Now, I can understand this person’s motive for wanting to use someone in my position to get at his former colleagues, but as random as the universe is, I do not think it safe to assume that he would do something so serious as falsely accuse a person of paedophilia on a mere whim.
In fact, I suspect the decision to smear me as a paedophile specifically was entirely calculated, and planned in response to the matter a the heart of my dispute with Milton; my proving that her activists smeared an opponent as a paedophile, and her deep embarrassment at being entirely unable to respond to that now she has turned a blind eye to it for years.
So, even though this person has made none-too-subtle threats about turning his attentions on my family should I dare to raise the names of any of his relatives, I asked Anne Milton about her relationship with this man, and after she (eventually) gave an infuriatingly vague answer, I went on to ask if this person or his blood relative(s) had donated any money to her past or present election campaigns.
It took me a month to get this ‘answer’ out of her:
“The law sets out which donations are public and private and I can’t tell you who made a private donation.” – Anne Milton
What Anne Milton refers to here is the law that states she must declare donations over a certain amount**. It does not state that all amounts under this must remain private, but this is exactly what Milton implies.
However, even if Milton were facing genuine legal/confidentiality difficulty, she would have no problem answering my question if the answer put her in the clear… and it is here that Jeremy Hunt (another local Tory MP) finally makes himself useful for the first time.
I asked Jeremy Hunt the same question, and this was his answer:
“In regard to the other persons you name, I have checked with my agent in South West Surrey as with all donations we have adhered to the rules and regulations laid out by the electoral commission. Personally both these individuals are unknown to me and checking the register they have not donated money to my campaign.” – Jeremy Hunt
Until Anne Milton can come forward with an equally clear answer about donations and a clearer answer about her relationship with the person who smeared me as a paedophile and broadcast my home address (with the unmistakeable intention of having one appear alongside the other), the dark shadows of uncertainly she leaves are only going to foster suspicions that this person acted (at least in part) on her behalf.
Further, if this is the case, after her ‘stalker’ outburst (that she denies, despite the evidence) Milton has a case to answer even if this person acted initially without her knowledge, and she certainly needs to take a position now this person is boldly repeating false accusations made by her and claiming the endorsement of local Conservatives.
Instead, Anne Milton refuses to make a clear public statement about her relationship with this man, and even pretends that the law prevents her from asking a direct question about campaign donations from this person and/or his family.
One might expect this kind of behaviour from a wild-eyed back bencher, but Anne Milton manages to get away with this while maintaining a position in David Cameron’s cabinet.
(*Some of this relies in part on the testimony of a particularly vulnerable individual, but they and another party have provided enough circumstantial evidence to support, at least, their contention that this person shared my address with them. They could not possibly have known, for example, the date of a crucial meeting, which corresponds neatly with a relevant email they shared. In any case, the person I accuse of engineering a paedophile smear against me has repeated the same accusation and worse on their site, and published details about my home address on that same site… cleverly disguised in a story where he describes taking locals on a guided tour of my street so they might see the home of ‘stalker’. This person has issued a belated denial about the paedo-smears, but has recently also denied ever having been in my street. In other words; any way you slice it, he’s a liar, or very, very confused about what he did or did not do.)
(**”Under Electoral Commission rules, only gifts totalling £7,500 or more for a central party, or £1,500 for a constituency association, have to be declared… The thresholds increased earlier this year from £5,000 and £1,000 respectively.” – BBC, 23 August 2010 )