I found this letter (embedded below) pinned to the wall of a bus stop shelter in Shalford (Surrey, UK). Further examples have been posted to local community messageboards that are unmarked, suggesting that the ‘pikey’ changes are by someone who agrees with the sentiment, but thinks ‘pikey’ to be a more apt term than ‘gypsy’.
(That said, the repeated/matching error in apostrophe deployment hints at the exciting possibility that this could be the nearest one might hope to get to a signature by the original artist, which would make my sample a collector’s item.)
The myths, distortions and prejudice apparent in this letter from an unknown member of the public remind me of certain campaigning materials local Conservatives have yet to explain (more), and I would dare to suggest the kind of unhealthy outburst apparent in this letter is encouraged by the kind of bigotry and dishonesty that Guildford Conservatives continue to pretend never happens/happened on their watch.
Indeed, some of the serving councillors this open letter targets will know the people/attitudes I speak of and how little they have done to discourage this kind of behaviour and worse from their fellow Conservatives, but I doubt any of them will admit it, even when dealing with the entirely predictable consequences of it.
UPDATE – The incident has now been reported to Surrey Police, who kindly confirmed the appearance of similar notices in other villages, and advised me that Waverley Borough Council were aware.
In late 2006, two Conservative activists including an executive with a local fundraising group Guildford Conservatives sought to anonymously smear an opponent as a paedophile, and me as an unfit parent and an undesirable alien with commercial interests in pornography. Their names: Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul.
I complained to Conservative HQ and David Cameron’s office at the time, but – quite incredibly – the matter was referred back to the same body (Guildford Conservatives) for action. Unsurprisingly, the local MP Anne Milton and then-Chairman Jonathan Lord took no action. When confronted about this, Jonathan Lord initially claimed nothing was done because I didn’t put my complaint in writing (!) and later said that the whole matter was addressed to some extent, but only ‘informally’ and ‘off the books’… but he also admitted that essentially nothing was really done about it because local elections were in progress by the time my complaints reached him (in early 2007).
Ultimately, the whole thing was swept under the carpet. Crucially, no signal was sent out to local activists that this kind of conduct would not be tolerated. Worse, Dennis Paul sought to explain the evidence against him with false accusations of criminal behaviour that Mike Chambers has since testified were widely accepted as true in that local circle of Conservative fundraisers.
So it should come as no surprise to you to find that in 2009, two years after what can only be described as a cover-up, almost exactly the same thing happened again, again with me as a target, again involving a fundraising group connected to Anne Milton, and tellingly involving specific/unique claims of criminality put about by Dennis Paul.
Dominic Wightman (pictured right), who I have since discovered was then a member of the Conservative Party and an executive member of Shamley Green Conservatives, sought to smear me as a paedophile and then a stalker of women.
I later found out that privately he claimed he acted against me in this way because “Tim Ireland lives 3 villages from me and my local supporters (including the MP [Anne Milton]) want Ireland downed.”
When initially contacted about this, The Conservative Party would not even confirm or deny if Wightman was a member of their party.
Douglas Morpeth similarly refuses to confirm or deny if Wightman was an executive on the Shamley Green Conservatives fundraising committee. Douglas Morpeth further refuses to confirm or deny if he is/was the President/Chairman of the Shamley Green Conservatives fundraising committee, and while he helpfully implies the claims about two heart attacks in 2009 are untrue (see below), he is very vague about this and uses it as an excuse to refuse contact (i.e. as if it is me creating/broadcasting such inaccuracies, and not Mr Wightman).
Some of this reticence is likely something to do with Douglas Morpeth being a retired accountant and knowing exactly how bad it looks when a man serves as an executive on his fundraising committee while being an undischarged bankrupt.
Whether Dominic Wightman ever declared his 2009-2010 bankruptcy to Douglas Morpeth or anyone else on the committee is unknown at this stage, but Morpeth knows now that Wightman was bankrupt back then, and would probably really, really like to avoid talking about it in the future.
Dominic Wightman has since quietly resigned from Shamley Green Conservatives and even let his Conservative membership lapse; he has also stated quite bluntly that he has done the latter so he is better able to attack me and other ‘enemies of Conservatism’. He has since continued his smear campaign, sometimes under his own name, and sometimes through the use of false identities, and sometimes a mix of the two (such as the time he posed as a large black female nurse from Bedford and interviewed himself).
To give you a better idea of the truly insidious nature of Wightman’s accusations, after he was caught smearing me secretly/anonymously, he sent me dozens of emails, repeatedly pressing for a face-to-face meeting so he might explain himself in person, and when I refused and instead pressed him for details by email, he put a letter through my door late one night demanding that I cease contact with him.
That’s where he left his explanation for his previously smearing me as a dangerous paedophile; any attempt by me to ask him about it would result in him instead portraying me as a dangerous stalker. Clever, huh? As with Iain Dale, who sought to gain politically from this same smear, Wightman will sometimes deny his involvement from a safe distance, but he will not dare to discuss any specific evidence and/or answer for his conduct in any detail, and he (like others) has found the accusation of stalking to be very effective on this front.
In fact, his conduct has had a demonstrable influence on the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, who has not only linked to this man’s website (despite being advised that it included directions to my house), but incorporated many of his smears into her own narrative.
Dorries has since gone on to personally invest so heavily in the ‘stalker’ lie herself that she even incorporated false claims originating from Dominic Wightman in a complaint to Bedfordshire Police. (Both parties have since gone on to make misleading statements about the outcome of that complaint to the extent of pretending that it resulted in a caution, which is entirely untrue.)
Back in 2009, when the evidence first started to emerge that Dominic Wightman was the primary source of multiple smears against me, Wightman simultaneously accused me of harassing him while anonymously attacking me online and repeatedly engineering the repeated publication of my home address (often alongside the false claim that I stalk women). I was kind of alarmed by all this at the time, and I must admit to missing a crucial scrap of evidence:
Douglas Morpeth was, previous to September 2009, listed as a patron of Dominic Wightman’s website, ‘Westminster Journal’, and this reference was quickly removed soon after Wightman knew he had been found out… but what really should have tipped me off was the claim by Wightman that I should not dare contact this man for fear of giving him a fatal heart attack:
“Regards the chap who I appointed Patron of Westminster Journal, Sir Douglas Morpeth, I have mentioned to his family that you are counting down to an attack – this is a particularly pertinent point because, expecting this and come-back from the LTTE for an article due out this next 10 days, I got his family to get him to sign a resignation letter back in April when his health (90′s) started failing. If you want a copy I’ll send it to you. He had a massive coronary in July and had another attack a couple of weeks ago…..I have no doubt there will be massive legal repercussions if he gets mentioned in light of him being on his deathbed.” – Dominic Wightman (Sep 9, 2009)
A witness confirms that Wightman requested the removal of Morpeth’s name from his site, and the reason given was “Morpeth was dying, and his family did not want the name there”… but this request was not sent in April of that year, it happened 3 days before the above email was sent!
It is clear from the timeline and the relevant correspondence that Dominic Wightman urgently sought to remove any reference to Douglas Morpeth as patron from his site before he used that site to launch an extended smear campaign designed to cover up the original smear campaign that he conducted when he thought himself safely anonymous.
It is unknown at this stage if this was a spontaneous attempt to protect Morpeth and/or a wider circle of Conservatives, or if it was something that happened as a result of Morpeth’s direct request because he knew exactly what Wightman was up to.
Years later I was reading through the old correspondence and it finally occurred to me to contact Douglas Morpeth by email and ask him a few questions.
Morpeth wasn’t dying, or dead, by the way… but it would be hard to tell from his initial response to my email. Morpeth initially took no action and offered no reply, but saw fit to forward our private correspondence to others, including Wightman. When pressed for a reply after a month of silence, he was exasperatingly evasive.
Not long after this (the weekend before the CPS inexplicably dropped their case against Wightman after his threats or violence against me), Wightman sought to intimidate me via an anonymous email that implied I would be up on a manslaughter charge should Douglas Morpeth suddenly drop dead as a result of my daring to ask him any further questions.
However, it is with complete confidence and an entirely clear conscience that I publicly accuse Douglas Morpeth of contributing to the corruption of the Shamley Green Conservatives fundraising committee and the subsequent cover-up.
I also challenge Douglas Morpeth to explain his position on entrusting an undischarged bankrupt with cash-handling and other fundraising tasks under his watch.
I further challenge the Conservative minister Anne Milton and the Conservative MP Jonathan Lord to finally take a public stance against the use of dangerous and damaging smears as a political weapon. They do themselves and the public no favours by continuing to allow and exploit multiple instances of false claims of criminality up to and including child rape.
PS – Douglas Morpeth lives directly opposite Dominic Wightman’s family home. I’d show you the relevant evidence, but I’m not inclined to publish any details that might be falsely portrayed as my behaving in the same manner as Mr Wightman, who previously broadcast my ex-directory home address and even published specific directions to my house in an effort to intimidate me.
UPDATE (11 April) – On 8 April I tracked Douglas Morpeth’s receipt of my email making him aware of this article. He made no effort to communicate any response to me, but less than 24 hours later, I was smeared as a paedophile again (i.e. in the first attack of its kind since the 2009 event). This time the author decided to incorporate my volunteering with local children into this damaging and dangerous lie. Conservative MPs Anne Milton and Jonathan Lord still refuse to attempt to draw this matter to a close by taking a public stand against this kind of conduct. Jeremy Hunt, my local MP, and also a Conservative, refuses to even discuss the possibility of conducting any diplomacy or casework that might draw this matter to a close. I used to wonder why people used the word ‘scum’ next to ‘Tory’ so readily. Those days are long behind me.
UPDATE (16 April) – Douglas Morpeth’s only response to all of the above? A vague denial about being in touch with Dominic Wightman recently. Everything else stands unchallenged. Meanwhile, Dominic Wightman has published a series of false claims and implications (while pretending to be someone other than himself, naturally), including the entirely false suggestion that the email I quote above has been fabricated or falsified in some way. In response, I publish the entire email below, including the part where he bragged (not for the first or last time) that he was able to libel me/others without consequence, due to his being an undischarged bankrupt at the time. Further, given that I have never targeted anyone’s family in the way he implies and he later saw fit to broadcast and publish details of my home address alongside entirely false allegations of stalking and extremism, the threat to my family (and that of Richard Bartholomew’s) is quite stark.
From: Dominic Wightman [email@example.com]
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 8:14 AM
Subject: Your lack of writing
Did that two days ago.
While you’re there, we’ll keep family out of this – I have no interest in making yours or Richard’s, or others, feel uncomfortable where they live and I’m sure you don’t mine. This point is particularly pertinent related to 2 untimely deaths regarding Vigil funding (July05 and Nov06) – mentioning either of these blood relatives, either obliquely, will be tantamount to mentioning family and I will respond in kind. “Blood relatives” will do for comment. Mentioning Tom Mills’ ugly sister etc …. totally pointless but others won’t hesitate if you or the lefties mention my family.
Regards the chap who I appointed Patron of Westminster Journal, Sir Douglas Morpeth, I have mentioned to his family that you are counting down to an attack – this is a particularly pertinent point because, expecting this and come-back from the LTTE for an article due out this next 10 days, I got his family to get him to sign a resignation letter back in April when his health (90′s) started failing. If you want a copy I’ll send it to you. He had a massive coronary in July and had another attack a couple of weeks ago…..I have no doubt there will be massive legal repercussions if he gets mentioned in light of him being on his deathbed.
Finally, for all of you, and Murray, I’ll only play the Schillings card and release the Uzbek files if, like Spinbotch and suggestion of financial malpractice, testimony of flawed witnesses is mentioned to insinuate points against me, if unproven emails are aired or if anyone is blatantly libellous. That’s the great thing about Surrey – from one village to the next when you’ve lived here long enough there is always someone willing to help stick the knife in. Remember I’m placed to lose nothing financially.
First statements coming out on Friday.
Have a super day.
“Testimony of flawed witnesses” and “unproven emails” refers to Glen Jenvey telling police that he had an accomplice in his attempt to smear me as a convicted paedophile (that he refused to name at the time, but later revealed to be Dominic Wightman), and the evidence that Wightman sent Glen Jenvey my ex-directory home address via email while simultaneously posing as an ally and feeding me damaging material about that same person (some of it genuine, some of it distorted if not falsified). Wightman later based his denial of involvement in the 2009 paedo-smear on a claim he knew to be a lie (that lie being that police had always thought Jenvey acted alone; Wightman not only knew otherwise, he tried to convince me that another of his perceived enemies was responsible).
If Dominic Wightman is genuinely concerned about any contact/mention re: his family, it is most likely rooted in his fear that his mother might find out what he’s been up to. For the record, I have so far resisted the temptation to simply pop round and tell on him.
UPDATE (14 Aug 2012) – In recent correspondence, another serving executive was given no choice but to confirm that Douglas Morpeth was and is President of the Shamley Green Conservatives fundraising committee. It has taken OVER A YEAR to have this simple fact confirmed by any executive on that committee, including the President himself. Shortly after, Douglas Morpeth finally confirmed that Dominic Wightman stood as an executive on his fundraising committee. He declined to confirm the specific dates of 2005-2010, most likely because of the combined embarrassments of this issue and the bankruptcy issue.
[Background/details for those who are new to this; the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (Anne Milton) has surprised many (including me) by inviting a religious pro-abstinence, anti-abortion group (LIFE) to take part in "a new sexual health forum set up to replace the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV" (source). A leading abortion provider that places heavy emphasis on contraception (bpas) was displaced as a result (more). Nadine Dorries is a Tory back-bencher anti-abortion campaigner with a relaxed attitude to facts, science and what have you (example) with a history of broadcasting dark accusations/implications about 'pro abortion' forces, who she claims/implies are so motivated by profit, that they are likely to convince women to have an abortion when it is not the best solution for them example). All emphasis in bold (below) is mine.]
Yesterday, Nadine Dorries published this claim on her site:
The news that the Government has ejected BPAS from the new sexual health forum and replaced them with the charity LIFE is pleasing… – Nadine Dorries
But later, when she was invited on Newsnight to discuss the matter, she put this to Ann Furedi, who appeared on behalf of bpas:
Unfortunately, bpas has taken its bat and ball home and decided that because it can’t sit as well as Marie Stopes that it won’t be involved. Both organisations were offered alternate week sittings and bpas have decided not to be part of the debate. – Nadine Dorries on Newsnight (segment starts 21:49, comment appears at 25:12 onwards)
I sought a statement from bpas in response, and got the following from Clare Murphy:
We note Nadine Dorries’ blog from yesterday stating that bpas was “ejected” from the group and her pleasure at this development. She went on subsequently however to suggest that we had left of our own volition. This is not true.
bpas and Marie Stopes International (MSI) were both invited to the first meeting in January of the Sexual Health Forum but were asked to share membership, alternating attendance. At the meeting the MSI Vice President and the chief executive of bpas both said that this arrangement was problematic: bpas and MSI have quite different structures, values, objectives and approaches, and that the discontinuity inherent in such an arrangement would make it unworkable. The Department of Health seemed sympathetic and said they would reconsider.
On Thursday of last week, Ann Furedi was told by a Department of Health official that the invitation to bpas was withdrawn and that MSI were being asked to represent the independent sector. The justification was that the Minister had insisted that, in the interests of balance, only one abortion provider could attend and that as Ann Furedi had attended the previous sexual health group, SHIAG (a group made up of personal appointments rather than from representatives from each organisation) it was ‘MSI’s turn’. It was also confirmed that, since the founding meeting, the Minister had insisted that Life be invited to join the Sexual Health Forum.
On Newsnight, Dorries claimed that she had spoken to the Department of Health that very afternoon, and (steel yourselves) this does appear to be a carefully spun briefing against bpas from an unnamed source at the Department of Health (i.e. instead of the more frequent occurrence; a lie or distortion devised by Dorries herself).
So far, no-one in the Department for Health is willing to stand behind any assertion that a bpas decision to exclude their organisation from the debate resulted in LIFE being invited in their place.
There is also this, which I will repeat. It’s a matter of interest to anyone surprised by Anne Milton’s stance on this:
It was also confirmed that, since the founding meeting, the Minister had insisted that Life be invited to join the Sexual Health Forum.
On what grounds did Anne Milton specify LIFE for inclusion (or does she perhaps dispute what bpas claim)?
Either way, I think the public have a right to call Milton on this; to ask her to properly explain her thinking/actions, and to take a clear position on what Dorries has claimed on her department’s behalf.
That said, I am not used to straight answers from Anne Milton, and I fear a sense of disappointment looms.
The latest edition of Conservative Change Channel is (finally) out and it includes two special moments from Jeremy Hunt (recorded just prior to the 2010 General Election):
1. The first is classic Hunt. He once again brushes right over the significance of two local Conservative activists who smeared an opponent as a paedophile, as if it’s of no significance. The look on his face at the time was ‘yeah, so what… get to the point’. He has repeatedly dismissed the importance of this smear campaign and repeatedly endorsed the MP (Anne Milton) who turned a blind eye to this campaign and involved herself personally in a further smear campaign against me. Hunt’s wife once gasped in shock when hearing about it, and Hunt shushed her loudly right there in the street, lest she make the fatal mistake of expressing any kind of alarm about it.
(I often wonder what he told her after making his excuses and hurrying off, as he so often does. I doubt it was the truth.)
2. Jeremy Hunt rather rashly weasels his way out of his practice of deleting past entries from his weblog and Twitter feed by claiming he is accountable after all… but only because of measures that corrupt liars like Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries describe as ‘stalking’ (when their mates are not doing the same or worse to people they don’t like).
So over the coming days and weeks – knowing that I have the blessing of the Minister of Teh Internets – I am going to encourage others to hold their MP to account via a weblog, starting with some simple tasks you will find surprisingly manageable and effective. I even have a plan for sharing the load on some of the more specialised/work-intensive tasks (e.g. journalism, research, data analysis, etc.). I will also be making recommendations* designed to minimise the risks I’ve exposed myself to, and you certainly won’t find yourself standing alone if some scumbag fights back with lies or smears.
I ran a similar (and successful) campaign for people to blog on behalf of MPs in 2005, but we have a much busier online village now, with better tech at our disposal, and this effort is going to be a lot less forgiving; we have a whole new gang of liars in charge, and they’ve been making all sorts of promises about transparency that they probably never expected they’d have to live up to.
(*On this note; you do NOT have to be a constituent of any given MP to take part. In fact, it’s probably better if you’re not; I found myself cut off from democracy at a local level because I dared to scrutinise my MP, and I’d hate to see that happen to someone else. Take your time. Choose your target. I’ll be on deck with Lesson One shortly.)
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 )
I was producing/administrating Boris Johnson’s weblog at the time Anne Milton’s activists were smearing an opponent as a paedophile, but I went out of my way to avoid jeopardising the all-too-rare example of a Conservative MP subjecting themselves to a little public scrutiny (most of them still treat it like it’s kryptonite; a point I plan to return to, with gusto, shortly).
Hell, I even bit my tongue when Boris jovially referenced Anne Milton during a meeting and described the relevant dispute as a “personal disagreement”.
I was a fool. I should have known this effort was pointless (Boris essentially shunned his blog and the loyal supporters running it from the moment he was elected mayor), and I should have pressed him on this matter.
In fact, I’ve often wondered how things would have turned out if I used my position to press the point with Boris Johnson at the time, and now I’ve got a pretty good idea because, as the following correspondence reveals, someone else took it up with Boris Johnson at the time (after his public endorsement of Anne Milton) and he took no discernable action.
As in the previous post, this correspondence has been edited ONLY to avoid publicising the target of the smear and revealing the name of the person complaining about it, with the latter measure being necessary to avoid potential reprisals from those (still active) supporters of Milton’s who do things like broadcast my home address in revenge attacks while repeating her accusation of stalking (while this ‘wonderful’ MP pretends it’s none of her concern):
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Fri 2/2/2007 5:34 PM
Subject: University of Surrey
I was present at your appearence at the University of Surrey Students’ Union – thank you for making the short journey from London. As someone interested in politics – though certainly not of your colour – it was refreshing to see that you attracted plenty of people.
I’m afraid I have to take exception with your comments about Anne Milton. She is far from being a wonderful MP ‘fighting crime on the streets’. She’s is both ineffective and profoundly dishonest. Two Conservative local activists, who will be standing in the local elections, and who were sitting in the front row at your appearence, have been involved in dirty campaign involving the setting up of a libellous blog to spread viscious rumours about a political opponent [snip]. This has been exposed by Tim Ireland – the person who built your weblog – and David Cameron’s office has been made aware. You can read the details at Tim’s site by following the links in this article: [link snipped] Anne Milton has known about this campaign for a substantial amount of time and, by not reacting to it, she has provided her tacit support to such revolting measures. Today, you provided the bumbling yet ever-so-lovable face of the Tory party and you clearly captivated the students – this is no doubt due to your affable nature. It is also incredibly dangerous. Dirty campaigns such as this one, which are supported by your MPs and even your leadership, show that the Conservative party is still insidious to its core. It truly deserves the ‘nasty party’ label. I’m disappointed that you extended your support to Anne Milton today, though I appreciate that you were probably unaware of what has been going on in Guildford. If, as I hope you do, you find this repulsive, then please have a word in David Cameron’s ear and get him to make it clear that such actions won’t be tolerated.
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 11 February 2007 23:02
To: JOHNSON, Boris
Subject: FW: University of Surrey
I sent this email just over a week ago and have not yet received a reply. I’m re-sending it because it’s possible that it got lost in my university’s email system.
From: JOHNSON, Boris [JOHNSONB@parliament.uk]
Sent: Mon 2/12/2007 11:15 AM
To: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: University of Surrey
Boris Johnson notes your comments.
Boris Johnson’s office
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 05 March 2007 17:48
To: JOHNSON, Boris
Subject: RE: University of Surrey
As comforting as that is, it’s now over a month since my original email and the blog in question is still live and being updated with further libellous content. You, David Cameron, Anne Milton and the Guildford Conservative Association are all aware of this and have been for some time, yet it continues. When will it stop? Will it take vigilante action on the person targeted for the Conservative Party to say enough is enough? Everyone is aware how emotive child abuse is and unfounded accusations like this put someone in potential danger – I’m sure you remember the incident of a paediatrician being set upon by local do-gooders.
Take the opportunity to distance yourself from such sick-minded members of the Tory party and my local MP who continues her shameful tacit support of this person.
From: JOHNSON, Boris [JOHNSONB@parliament.uk]
Sent: Tue 3/6/2007 10:21 AM
To: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: University of Surrey
Thank you: I write to acknowledge your email.
Boris Johnson’s office
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Sun 18/03/2007 11:32
To: JOHNSON, Boris
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RE: University of Surrey
I have copied in David Cameron and Anne Milton to this email so they are aware of this exchange – not that they haven’t been aware for months but nevermind. The more awareness there is, the less the Conservative party will be able to wriggle out of it when they decided actually to do something.
The weblog is still live. It is still being updated. The person in question remains a candidate at the local elections. That’s Conservative action.
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Sun 4/8/2007 2:00 PM
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: FW: University of Surrey
You people really, really don’t care, do you?
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Sat 4/21/2007 3:38 PM
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: FW: University of Surrey
It would appear that the Tories are very quick to act when their image is at stake over storms in teacups (Boris being sent to Liverpool*, Patrick Mercer**), but while it’s a local issue silently affecting someone’s well-being, you simply aren’t bothered.
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 09 May 2007 14:01
To: JOHNSON, Boris
Cc: CAMERON, David; MILTON, Anne
Subject: FW: University of Surrey
Right, now that the elections are over and the Tories did oh-so-well, don’t you think that it’s time that this odious member of your party was finally brought into line? Especially since the twisted little blog no longer serves any electoral purpose that the Tory party member in question could exploit (he lost, his opponent that he was trying to discredit won, everyone is over-the-moon).
Appealing to your opportunistic sides, do you not think that a party that is preparing itself for government (and God help us all if this sorry episode represents your moral standards) should put such shocking demonstrations of your ‘nasty’ side behind you? God forbid if you should ever get into government and the press take notice of this.
From: HILL, Simon [HILLSA@parliament.uk]
Sent: Thu 5/10/2007 6:19 PM
To: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: CAMERON, David; JOHNSON, Boris
Subject: RE: University of Surrey
Dear Xx Xxxxxxxxxxxx,
Thank you for your email to Boris Johnson, copied to Rt Hon David Cameron MP and Anne Milton MP. I suggest that you contact the chairman of Guildford Conservative Association, Jonathan Lord, in writing as he is the individual responsible for the conduct of Guildford Conservative Association members. Mr Lord’s contact details are as follows:
Chairman, Guildford Conservative Association
Unit 17a, Loseley Park
Office of Anne Milton
Member of Parliament for Guildford and
Shadow Minister for Gambling, Licensing and Tourism
House of Commons
Tel: +44 (0)20 7219 0017
Fax: +44 (0)20 7219 5239
(* Boris was sent to Liverpool in 2004 to apologise for his remarks about that city.)
(** Patrick Mercer was sacked from the Tory frontbench in 2007 after his remarks about race and the army.)
You can read where the correspondence went from this point in yesterday’s post. The short version is that Jonathan Lord (and his fellow Tories) did not dare address the issue during the relevant election, and tried to brush it under the carpet after that same election. I was subsequently smeared as a stalker (and, later, a paedophile) by supporters of Milton and that smear/harassment campaign continues to this day.
Even if Boris Johnson plays the classic card of implying/claiming that his staff did not pass these messages on (in spite of their use of the phrase “Boris Johnson notes your comments” and my knowledge that emails to the relevant Parliamentary address went to Johnson’s email Inbox while being copied to his staff) the fact of the matter is the correspondence ended with the matter being referred to Jonathan Lord, and Jonathan Lord took no discernable action so, while Boris Johnson may be able to reveal/prove that he did indeed raise the issue with Anne Milton or even David Cameron in some way, like Anne Milton and David Cameron, Boris Johnson is now in a position where he must at least acknowledge regret that no action was taken after the matter was referred to Jonathan Lord… especially now that audio has been published by me where Jonathan Lord confesses that made his decision to take no action (and keep the relevant activists on as candidates!!) for entirely political reasons.
So, let’s hear from Boris Johnson on this. He was made aware of a smear campaign where an innocent man was smeared as a paedophile and this man’s name, photo and whereabouts were published alongside the allegation.
Boris is an educated, media-savvy individual; he knows what the intent of such a measure is, and what the potential consequences are. He also knows that he can get away with being a bit of a buffoon and rascal at times, but showing a complete lack of care and integrity is another matter entirely.
Did he take any action? If so, what action did he take?
Did he take NO action? If so, there are many people who will regret giving him the benefit of the doubt over the Darius Guppy incident (for example).
Oh, and let’s not forget the glorious Third Way favoured by so many Tories:
Will Boris pretend that none of this has happened? If so, you can look forward to me being a wild-card campaigner in the London mayoral race, not least because his saying nothing is a strong indicator that found out about this and DID nothing, and during an election campaign is the perfect time to press the point.
(Psst! Over to you, Boris. Time to let one of your most loyal supporters on the left know if you’re a bit of a doofus or a total bastard.)
Nadine Dorries is currently attempting to explain away an enormously damaging admission about misleading her constituents with a compelling sob story about stalkers.
This is no better than her hiding behind a human shield at the height of the expenses scandal with an hysterical if not calculated announcement about fears of a suicide (which she made just after some ill-advised comments about expenses that made her look both corrupt and arrogant).
I am here to attempt to tempt you far enough into the detail to not only establish the sob story of Nadine Dorries to be a calculated lie, but also expose a dark side of right wing blogging that the present Conservative leadership have repeatedly turned a blind eye to.
I warn you that even in this condensed state, there is a fair amount of detail, not least because Dorries’ lies involve a series of people who have intersecting personal relationships and political interests. Some of Dorries’ supporters would delight in dismissing it all as a wild conspiracy theory on that basis, but if you would care to look into the detail below you will find that anything reliant on mere suspicion, opinion or contention is clearly defined with appropriate language.
Unlike some, I do not seek to pass off an expression of opinion, belief or fiction as fact.
Unlike some, if challenged on any of the specifics, I can produce evidence that shows what I publish is both accurate and pertinent.
So, let’s begin by getting you sorted for a nice hot tea or coffee, and perhaps a biscuit.
I’ll wait while you fetch and fix.
Seriously, you’ll thank me later. You’ll at least want to hydrate at some stage.
All ready? Good. Let’s proceed with the detail:
In January 2009, I uncovered a plot to generate tabloid headlines and anti-Muslim sentiment through fabricated evidence of extremism in web forums.
The man who fabricated the relevant evidence was Glen Jenvey, then a professional associate of (and source of intelligence for) the Conservative MP Patrick Mercer; a man on the fringes of his party, who puts himself about as an expert on matters of extremism and terrorism and earns quite a bit of money on the back of this.
Mercer’s office refused to respond to (never mind act on) emails and calls alerting them to Jenvey’s actions, even after Jenvey submitted/published dozens of entirely false claims – via over 50 websites – that I was a convicted paedophile.
I am not a paedophile, convicted or otherwise, though I have been labelled a ‘nutter’ for daring to object to these damaging lies.
Mercer later denied working with Jenvey after his fabrications were exposed, but this was a lie. He now refuses to discuss the detail with me or anyone else anyone on the grounds that I am an “electronic stalker”, claiming that he has received advice not to speak to me or even about me.
I am not a stalker, electronic or otherwise, though I have been labelled a ‘nutter’ for daring to object to these damaging lies.
The source of Jenvey’s claims of paedophilia appears to be another associate of Mercer’s named Dominic Wightman (aka Dominic Whiteman, aka Richard Walker, aka Olivia James, etc. etc. etc.). Jenvey maintains that Wightman told him that I was a convicted paedophile who had escaped justice and assured him that I needed ‘sorting out’ before emailing that man my ex-directory home address. Wightman denies some of this, but his previous denials have been gross distortions if not outright lies. Obviously, that does not make him guilty of this act, only a liar, but his denials do little to counter the evidence that he refuses to discuss in detail…. on the grounds that I am an “electronic stalker”
Mercer will not say if or when he broke contact with Wightman and why (again, citing his claim that I am an “electronic stalker”; he won’t comment on Wightman’s harassment of me because he claims I am harassing him by complaining about it).
While Jenvey was smearing me as a paedophile and members of Mercer’s staff were refusing to act on the matter, Iain Dale promised to contact Patrick Mercer directly to alert him to this, failed to do so, then lied about it. It only emerged a year later that Dale had called the very same staff members that he knew were not passing messages on, didn’t mention the paedophilia smears to them, and didn’t even ask them to pass any kind of message on. Iain Dale still equates this with contacting Patrick Mercer and fulfilling his promise while refusing to be drawn on the detail, which is a gross distortion of the truth if not an outright lie.
Shortly after pulling this stunt, Iain Dale then hosted a discussion thread that was deliberately held open for no other reason that I can determine other than facilitating his libel of the Labour MP Tom Watson during ‘Smeargate’; Dale had issued an entirely false claim that Tom Watson was CCed on a crucial Draper/McBride email, which cost two newspapers an apology and a “substantial sum in damages”. Despite being forced to withdraw the claim, Iain Dale failed to retract it in a timely manner (he later lied about when he had done this), and actively exploited a series of highly questionable content and comment manipulation techniques that left his readers with the false impression that his accusation stood. The best that can be said in his defence was that he knowingly misled his readers on the specifics because he was certain of Tom Watson’s overall guilt
At the same time this was happening and the relevant discussion thread was being held open by Dale in a way that would publish any comment immediately (not standard procedure on Iain Dale’s site by any means, and risky at the best of times), two bloggers aligned with Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries, ‘Guido Fawkes’ (Paul Staines) and ‘Tory Bear’ (Harry Cole or Alexander or whatever the hell his name is), both started publishing entirely false claims and implications that I was associated with Draper and/or McBride and/or their planned smear campaign(s). On Staines’ site particularly, this involved a series of false claims and implications that I not only supported the plans of Draper/McBride, but did so in return for money.
I am not a smear merchant, paid or otherwise, though I have been labelled a ‘nutter’ for daring to object to these damaging lies.
Iain Dale, too, had begun to publish comments suggesting I was a smear merchant in league with Draper/McBride, but was only deleting my comments complaining about it. By this stage, Dale was not only using the open thread as a weapon against Tom Watson, but as a weapon against me, and he knowingly did so at a time when his thread was one of the hottest in town, and by then turning up for searches of my name, at the same time that Glen Jenvey was known to be cruising for open comment threads in which to publish his false allegations of paedophilia, while armed with my address and threatening to use it.
Dale was ignoring emails about this, and deleting comments urging him to moderate more responsibly. I still do not know if Dale did this mainly out of ignorance or malice, as he refuses to discuss the detail… on the grounds that I am an “electronic stalker”.
Iain Dale now cites repeated phone calls made in these circumstances as evidence of my stalking him, as does Dominic Wightman. Neither person mentions the context in which the calls were made. Years earlier, Dale also published entirely false claims that I had stalked Anne Milton and Nadine Dorries. He has offered to delete these claims from his site, but refuses to issue a retraction, despite knowing that what he privately defends as opinion or hyperbole is being presented by Dominic Wightman and others as fact.
(Dale’s only response to this is a denial about contact with Wightman. This is as meaningless as his denials about contact with Jenvey; he cannot substantiate what he has published, even as opinion, and yet continues to maintain these false claims knowing that his word on the matter is being used against me in an ongoing campaign of harassment. He does not have to engage in a conspiring dialogue for this to be wrong. His politics is blinding him to the action that should be obvious; we should as a blogging community be rejecting the antics of people like Wightman, not actively exploiting them to gain advantage over rivals or silence critics.)
When Dominic Wightman’s schemes and duplicity were discovered (he had been posing as my ally for months as his harassment campaign got rolling), he went to ground and I instead found myself having to deal with a group of self-described ‘cyber activists’ led by a man named Charlie Flowers; a man who had previously worked with Wightman in his harassment of Glen Jenvey (a former associate of Wightman’s in an amateur ‘terror tracking’ venture that collapsed in acrimony and disputes over money).
Charlie Flowers began publishing my home address alongside a claim that I was in league with Muslim extremists.
I am not in league with extremists, Muslim or otherwise, though I have been labelled a ‘nutter’ for daring to object to these damaging lies.
Wightman is the most likely source of my home address and the only possible source of the relevant ‘evidence’; at present he explains this away with a fantastical and absurd claim about his computer being hacked.
Charlie Flowers, both alone and in conjunction with several people he was manipulating at the time, repeatedly broadcast my home address to people they regarded to be hostile toward me (including members of the BNP). When the accusations of association with extremists began to fall flat, they proceeded to publish my home address alongside the accusations that I had stalked Patrick Mercer, Paul Staines, Iain Dale, Anne Milton and Nadine Dorries. They further claimed that I had sent death threats to MPs, implying Dorries to be the main target.
When confronted about this, Charlie Flowers made a statement that he was doing this on behalf of Nadine Dorries and others and claimed to have informed her of his actions and intentions. When this was brought to the attention of this MP, Dorries only pretended to report him to police and instead (she claims) reported me to police for stalking her.
(Currently, Dorries is blurring the lines between claims she now makes about four unnamed people stalking her, but is heavily implying that I have been sharing her personal details on the web. This is not only untrue, it is astonishingly near to the opposite of the truth; Dorries has knowingly exploited a situation involving the publication of my home address. She has also had a man over to her home as a dinner guest who, prior to all of this, had repeatedly published my home phone number on his site – he says just to ‘annoy’ me. Further, in recent weeks, Dorries has attacked a constituent of hers who had dared to be file a complaint about this. Dorries attacked this constituent with a false allegation that this woman was a benefits cheat, and furnished journalists with the woman’s name and home address as part of her smear campaign. I do not know how Dorries came by this personal/sensitive data, but surely she should face repercussions if she came by it as part of her duties as an MP, through a letter to her or via her office/party access to the electoral role, for example.)
Later, during the 2010 election, I was invited by constituents of Nadine Dorries to a public meeting where they expected Dorries to lie about the investigation into her expenses, and the circumstances surrounding it.
(During this investigation, Dorries explained inconsistencies in her account to the Commissioner by stating that 70% of what she published on her blog was fiction. After the investigation concluded – she claims in a way that exonerated her of any wrongdoing – she publicly backtracked to claiming she had only meant 30% of her blog was fiction, before going on to maintain a day later that every word she published on her blog was absolutely true. I have also recently discovered that Dorries insisted on a change to the date of the hustings (!) in a way that avoided any report of the event in her local paper prior to the election, and also arranged the timing of her arrival and departure so she might avoid any direct confrontation or open Q&A session. Dorries is legendary in political circles for her pretences at engagement when in fact she shuns it, only engaging with people who do not confront her with difficult questions. After previous hustings, she knew she was on a sticky wicket and likely to face some difficult questions at the final hustings before the election. So did her constituents. It’s why they invited me to come and get the evening on record in the interests of democracy. But Nadine is so far gone; she sees this and any attempt to confront her about her ongoing lies as a personal attack and an affront to democracy.)
Knowing full well that my home address was being published alongside a false accusation that I had stalked her and others, Dorries sought to escape that situation by twice addressing a hall full of hundreds of people and accusing me of stalking Patrick Mercer, stalking Anne Milton “to the point that police became involved”, and stalking her to the point that a formal police investigation was underway.
Dorries then not only stood by that accusation knowing it to be entirely false, she went on to build on it, using the stabbing of the MP Stephen Timms to explain her decision to close her blog and Twitter account shortly after the election, with a direct and unmistakable insinuation that I presented an equal danger to her; this included a claim that she was advised by police in this context to cease any tweeting/blogging. It later emerged that Dorries had closed her blog and Twitter account a week before Timms was stabbed. Unless her recent self-diagnosis as a sufferer of “profound dyslexia” covers confusion about which way time flows, her claim that this event prompted her decision cannot be seen as anything but a calculated lie.
Andy Rayment, Chairman of the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association, responded to my concerns about Dorries’ repeated attempts to portray me as a mentally unbalanced stalker (including the evidence showing Dorries to be a liar) with a curt email in which he declared that he refused to communicate with “nutters”. Dorries then revealed any concerns she may have had about me being mentally unstable and potentially violent as a sham when she gleefully repeated this correspondence on her blog.
To be clear about the accusations that some journalists might be tempted to take at face value:
– There is no evidence of Patrick Mercer making any credible report to police about my stalking him. If he had, I would have been contacted by police a long time ago. It is standard procedure. (I know this from experience, and not in the way some would have you think. The people who have been involved in the worst of the harassment targeting me have so far escaped prosecution, but all of them have received unwanted attention from police as a result of my complaints.)
– The same applies to Iain Dale, who still refuses to discuss the circumstances in which he sought to exploit my being smeared as a paedophile, and actually seeks credit for not actually smearing me as a paedophile personally. (So *much* to be proud of, Iain!) He is now incensed that I may have to resort to civil action to have him issue a retraction of his repeated claims that I stalked him and others, even though he knows he cannot possibly substantiate his claims in criminal or civil court, or even in an open debate. Instead of taking the route he insists I should take with those harassing me (i.e. reporting them to police, as if I have not done so), Iain Dale has sought to address his claims that I harassed him with accusations made primarily behind the scenes, in what can only be described as a whispering campaign.
– In Anne Milton’s case, the only person who was investigated by police was a Conservative activist then working under her (and very closely with her), who sought to target a political opponent with an anonymous and entirely false claim that his opponent was… wait for it… a paedophile. Milton won’t like talking about that, but she cannot deny it, and she cannot deny knowing about it and the evidence of that man’s involvement before going on to endorse him as a candidate for local council. (She only ‘blanked’ him after he lost; what a lovely person. Yay, politics.) On that note, I should also point out that Anne Milton is also a (hopefully former) associate of Dominic Wightman’s (i.e. the man doing the key dirty work in this ongoing campaign of harassment against me). Milton denies saying anything to him or anyone else that might give them the idea that I was stalking her, but I can prove this to be a lie.
– Nadine Dorries cannot produce any evidence of a police investigation into my stalking her, as no such investigation took place. Through her supporters – mainly ‘Tory Bear’ – Dorries now presents my presence at that meeting (where she claimed I was under police investigation for stalking her) as the ONLY evidence of my stalking her. In any case, even if Dorries thinks she is telling the truth about some of her stalking claims (which we cannot discount, as she appears to be genuinely delusional on some points, not a claim I make lightly), the lies she told to constituents pre-date any of her cited or published concerns about stalkers.
To be clear on this point:
All of the events Nadine Dorries describes as ‘stalking’ took place after the lies she told constituents about the amount of time she spent in her constituency.
Further, she gave the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards an entirely different reason why she engaged in this deceit:
I often posted comments on my blog relating to [name of town] in my constituency. Since I first rented in the constituency, I made a song and dance about being at the property. I have mentioned it on my blog a number of times. This was done to comfort my Association. The previous MP only visited the constituency occasionally—sometimes only as often as once every six weeks—and they were keen that I reversed that impression. His lack of time in the constituency contributed to his de-selection. – Letter to the Commissioner from Ms Nadine Dorries MP, 25 January 2010
When Nadine Dorries claims or implies that she lied to her constituents about the amount of time she spent in her constituency only so far as to alter a few key dates and locations to throw stalkers off the scent… She. Is. Lying.
Nadine Dorries is lying because she has dug herself into a deep hole after a series of earlier lies, and she appears to have lied not only to her blog readers, constituents, and a series of journalists following this up, but also to John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
I am willing to be interviewed about or challenged on any or all of this, and can produce evidence to back up everything I relate and describe, including the crime reference numbers relating to the two police investigations into this (ongoing) campaign of harassment against me, that recently got so ugly as to involve anonymous and entirely false accusations of criminal damage against my children.
If you press Dorries or Dale or Mercer or anyone else about this, they will refuse to talk to you or lie to you, but they will not be able to produce any evidence* to back up what they claim outside hearsay and opinion from their circle of deceit.
(How this works: Dorries claims I stalked her and points to what Iain Dale says as evidence. Iain Dale claims I am a stalker by pointing to what Nadine Dorries says as evidence. At one stage, Iain Dale even went so far as to declare that I only criticised Nadine Dorries as a way of getting at him. He even has the audacity to suggest that there is no smoke without fire when he knows damn well that he is the one generating the bulk of the smoke.)
Make no mistake; this is nothing more than a smear campaign involving people with aspirations of influence that far outweigh their integrity.
Calling the police and accusing someone of stalking does not make the subject of your claims guilty of stalking.
Hell, even Jenvey was calling police and accusing me of harassing him while he was publishing entirely false allegations about my being a paedophile.
Dorries is no better. She knowingly exploited a situation that put me and my family at significant risk and in considerable fear of danger, and heightened this with a damaging and self-serving lie about a police investigation that never took place.
And Nadine Dorries did this for no other reason than political gain; at best, to talk her way out of a corner.
I have never been approached by police about any complaint of harassment aimed at me, which is standard procedure for them following any credible complaint.
I have never been investigated for stalking or harassment or been issued with any kind of warning by police about my behaviour in this respect.
I have no criminal record for violent crime or any other kind of crime.
Nevertheless, I have been the target of entirely false allegations of stalking (and worse) made by people attempting to mask or excuse their lies and corruption.
Three of these people are Conservative MPs, and one of them is a member of Cameron’s cabinet.
If you’ve read this far, I’d like to ask you to do something about it by (a) writing about it, (b) getting the word out on Twitter, (c) filing a complaint with the Conservative Party, and/or (d) writing a letter to David Cameron at 10 Downing St.
Thanks for your time.
[*As should be clear from an earlier passage, if Anne Milton is able to produce a crime reference number, it will not relate to an investigation of my conduct, but an investigation of the conduct of one of her activists. While it did not culminate in a prosecution, that investigation did NOT clear the relevant activist or his associate(s) of wrongdoing, despite what Anne Milton or Iain Dale may imply. I am in possession of that same crime reference number should Milton attempt denying any of this.]
Iain Dale is currently very busy putting himself about in the mainstream media taking a ‘principled’ stand against the way Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) has been running his site like an open sewer. To cover his arse, on TV/radio he speaks vaguely of his own regrets about what he has allowed/published on his own site in the past, but offers no specifics.
In 2006 both Paul Staines and Iain Dale refused to condemn two political activists who were using blogs/comments to ‘innocently’ air questions about a political opponent being a paedophile, despite evidence I had published clearly establishing their involvement.
(The same men were also comment contributors to either/both sites controlled by Iain Dale and Paul Staines. To give Staines some credit, he did see the sense in deleting one comment linking to the main smear, but he was most ungracious about it, as if I were worrying about nothing and somehow owed him a favour.)
What follows is a copy of the email where Iain Dale refused to cover the story and expose the two people involved:
From: Iain Dale
To: ‘Tim Ireland’
Cc: ‘Guy Fawkes’
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:34 PM
Subject: RE: Guildford Conservatives in ‘paedo’ smear
Think I’ll keep concentrating on Prescott if you don’t mind…!
Iain Dale never did get on with focusing on that Prescott ‘story’ as he claimed he was doing, which is kind of good thing because this ‘story’ appeared to be yet another example of Paul Staines recycling Westminster tittle-tattle and other unsubstantiated claims about where Prescott had put his penis.
So, to summarise, Iain Dale refused point-blank to publicly condemn two activists who were ‘innocently’ airing claims their political opponent was a paedophile, and used as his excuse his desire to focus on the Paul Staines ‘story’ that involved yet more gossip about yet another person’s sex life.
Perhaps this is one of the regrets he speaks of… and perhaps he plans to continue to pretend as if this never happened because the target of this smear was a Lib Dem and the MP closely associated with the smearing activists was a fellow Conservative and a friend of his… Anne Milton:
Iain Dale also refused to condemn Paul Staines when that ‘blogger’ heavily implied that a Lib Dem MP was a paedophile, equating homosexuality with paedophilia in the process.
More recently, Iain Dale refused to take a stand against a campaign of harassment against me where I was smeared as a paedophile*, to the extent of not only refusing to participate in the relevant criminal investigation, but going on to use my attempts to contact him about that to generate a false claim of ‘stalking**’ that he maintains privately to this day, despite the belated deletion of this claim (and others) about me from his blog.
The long and the short of it is that all of the targets of these smears were people that Iain Dale sniffily refers to as ‘lefties’.
William Hague, on the other hand, is a Conservative and a member of Cameron’s cabinet, and if Dale is going to come out against these smears targeting Hague while not specifically regretting or even acknowledging any of the above I am going to dare to suggest that he does so for reasons of politics, not principle.
[*The man who originated this smear also happens/happened to be a personal and political associate of Anne Milton, but that's for another day.]
[**In fact, it needs to be noted that after I confronted Paul Staines about exactly this kind of thing years ago and revealed his shady political past involving strategic overtures to the BNP, Iain Dale responded by portraying my concerns as a personal attack and allowing his mostly-anonymous comment contributors to slag me off on his site (as 'obsessive', a stalker, and worse). Further, Iain Dale's own smears about my stalking him and others began with anonymous claims made on his own site by ardent supporters of Anne Milton; most likely the very same people behind the 2006 paedo-smear. That Iain will now repeat these claims privately but not test them in court or even expose them to scrutiny should tell you all you need to know about what's really going on here; Iain Dale's actions amount to no more than a whisper campaign, and - like his mate Nadine Dorries - Dale engages in this activity knowing that his smears are being repeated in public, sometimes alongside my home address.]
UPDATE (12:30) – I dared to approach Iain Dale for comment on this one, as he appeared to have changed his tune, and I wanted to be sure. I asked him if he had any regrets about any of the above, and this was his response:
“Oh, fuck off!”
How nice. Still, at least it does tell me in a roundabout way that he’s a long way from regretting any of it.
UPDATE (07 Sep) – Iain Dale still doesn’t regret any of it, even though he knows my wife and kids are in the firing line now. What a deeply unpleasant individual.
Jon Snow: Why is a poster that has your face and your name on then paid for by local councillors who are fighting the council elections?
Zac Goldsmith: Before having the posters designed, which were centrally designed, we [i.e. the Conservative party] checked. We didn’t want to have to do two posters, local election and national elections, because people aren’t going to have two posters in their garden. We wanted one poster for both campaigns and we checked…
Jon Snow: But your poster doesn’t even refer to the council elections!
Zac Goldmsith: It’s says “Vote Conservative”, it was a local election campaign
Jon Snow: “Vote Zac Goldsmith!” Your name.
Zac Goldmsith: It says my name, my picture, and “Vote Conservative”. I am telling you that is absolutely standard across the country.
During this exchange, Zac Goldsmith appeared sometimes to give the impression that this was standard in all parties across the country, but for now, let’s assume that Zac is only qualified to make specific claims about the advice given by his own party, and take him at his word that this was a ‘standard’ solution for Conservative candidates “across the country”.
Then, let’s take a look at an example of one of these posters, and divvy up the… er…
Sorry about that. OK, let’s choose an alternative example using a less controversial candidate, and divvy up the… uh-oh…
Very well, let’s choose another example of a poster using text only to… oh…
Right, on second thoughts let’s take a look at a generic mock-up of one of these posters and divvy up the real estate.
[Psst! But not before pausing to ask if candidates based their poster count on the actual number of posters deployed, or merely the number of sites... which would not take the figure for replacements into account.]
The first thing you may have noticed is that these posters are pretty uniform in design (and while I have seen a poster saying ‘Re-elect (name)’, I have seen none that say ‘Vote Conservative’ as Zac Goldsmith has claimed*… although, even if he is mistaken, perhaps it’s a mark of the man’s modesty that he couldn’t bring himself to look at his own posters.)
The second thing that may have gained your attention is that the posters are clearly not split 50:50 between the ‘candidate’ part and the ‘Conservatives’ part, but are instead uniformly split 75:25 in favour of the candidate (i.e. the person running in the national election).
So your average voter who may have questions about the appropriateness of this claim to begin with might also start asking why the cost is split 50:50 when the standard design of these posters would suggest that a 75:25 split would be more appropriate…. if we are to deem this practice acceptable at all.
Meanwhile, we must also consider that while some Conservative candidates ran in constituencies that included/overlapped boroughs where local elections were conducted on the same day as the general election, these areas do not match or map over each other precisely. Putting posters throughout a constituency may only cover part of a borough, or part/all of two or more boroughs… and (crucially) some boroughs did not run local elections in 2010.
Were costs for posters in such cases always split 50:50? (Oh, and is this the part where we’re patronisingly assured that it’s all very complicated and this is why the sums work out so neatly?)
And what about those Conservative candidates who ran in the national election in areas where no local elections were taking place anywhere near them… but still split the cost of posters 50:50 anyway?
Take a bow, Anne Milton of Guildford:
I’ve asked Anne Milton about this, but she has so far refused to comment… so excuse me while I try to make sense of it all on my lonesome:
I think in this case we’re expected to believe that the Guildford Conservatives are 100% confident that they will go on to ‘rent’ these posters out a second time in an upcoming election, and it is on this basis they have halved the amount of their candidate’s poster expenditure (on paper).
However, this level of creative accountancy not only assumes that Anne Milton will run again, but also assumes that the Conservatives will not change their logo, and that this MP will not change her appearance. OK, so perhaps it can be argued that logo changes are infrequent but the same cannot be said of changes to the appearance of certain MPs:
Amateur propagandist and professional bullshit artist Shane Greer claimed in a recent post on the Total Politics website; “when it comes to accounting for the expense of those posters every other campaign uses the same trick”… but even if we only look at two MPs (from one party), it is clear that there are at least two entirely different ‘tricks’, and neither of them pass the smell test.
Finally, even if we are to accept vague assurances from a range of Conservatives that this is practice is widespread (i.e. that all parties are at this) I do not regard this as acceptable, and neither should you, as it would be yet another example of one set of rules for us, and another set of
rules guidelines for MPs.
Here’s a challenge for the shiny, new Conservative party and their claims to aspire to a new standard of transparency; this information is already in the public domain, and CCHQ could within hours produce a list of every candidate they fielded, how they split the costs of posters, and on what basis they justify this split. While they’re about it, they could also publish the relevant advice to these candidates that Zac Goldsmith heralds as ‘standard’.
Or (and I think this is far more likely) they could compel the ‘great ignored’ to fuss about and ferret out the details on a candidate-by-candidate basis in the hopes of masking any corruption in their ranks.
*UPDATE (5pm) – Finally found a picture of one of Zac Goldsmith’s posters in Flickr. It does indeed say ‘Vote Conservative’ on the bottom
half quarter, so he does have that going for him.
UPDATE (23 Jul) – Channel 4 and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have discovered that Conservative MP Daniel Byles cut the £2,300 bill for his posters to less than £700 on his declaration on the basis that he plans to use them in two future elections. Move over, Paul the
Psychic Precognitive Octopus.
Meanwhile, Anne Milton’s office insist that I refer any questions to the Guildford Conservative Association, but they in turn have told me that I cannot expect any answers for over a month, because the agent, Jackie Porter, is on holiday until the end of August.
And CCHQ? They clammed up a few days ago after making some vague claims suggesting that the ‘standard’ advice Zac Goldsmith spoke of came directly from the Electoral Commission.
Last night Nadine Dorries smeared me as a stalker in a room full of people, and went on to repeat that smear online via her Twitter feed (giving me no choice but to publish the following evidence and confront the smear lest it explode beyond hope of retraction today). She made specific allegations about my stalking her, Anne Milton and Patrick Mercer, none of which she can support with any evidence, because none of it happened as she described.
I’m quite angry that the Chair** allowed me to be branded a stalker (and a liar when she damn well knew better). I’m also peeved that it was her self-promoting elaborations about my role there that led to the later misunderstanding with the audience, but the main issue is the outright lies by Nadine Dorries.
(*Some of this I did not hear, as I was wearing headphones at the time.)
It is, I would hope you agree, a little more serious than being described as ‘bigoted’ in a microphone snafu.
Disturbingly, this smear matches the smear made by people who have published my home address online and claimed at one stage to be acting on behalf of Nadine Dorries. Dorries claimed to have forwarded the relevant email(s) to police, but I suspect that this too was a lie.
Yes, I am seeking legal advice, but Dorries can address this now with an immediate and comprehensive apology on her site (and Twitter profile) today if she wishes.
Please take the time to read it in full. I hope it settles the broadcast issue at least so far as establishing there was no attempt to deceive on my part (not that this would excuse Dorries’ false accusations in any way). I am so grateful that I not only have video evidence, but witnesses who aren’t aligned with (or related to) Nadine Dorries; in my experience, some of these people can be rather… selective about what they reveal.
My thanks to Adam and everybody else who spoke up today.
UPDATE (11:20pm) – I don’t mean to gush, but I’m quite overwhelmed by this post from Keith Badham.
Rates a genuine ‘wow’. Way to go, guy.
UPDATE (6 May) – Several aspects well noted by Richard Bartholomew, who tried and failed to have Nadine Dorries act responsibly. This might very explain one of the police complaints she’s talking about. If so, she’s got a bloody cheek:
If she’s seriously been portraying the actions of Charlie Flowers as evidence of my stalking her, I am not looking forward to having to explain that to people; Charlie Flowers claims to be attacking me because I’m stalking her. Even thinking it into a sentence gives me a headache.
**UPDATE (26 Oct) – Correspondence recently published in Mid Bedfordshire newspapers makes the position of the Chair much clearer to me. Subsequently, I would like to publicly pull back on previous comments I have made about the Chair of this event. The situation was more complicated than I was able to appreciate at the time; it is now obvious to me that the Chair had to take into account the vindictive nature of Dorries and her allies, and the potential fallout from keeping Dorries on a tighter leash than this safe-seat MP thought she deserved. Even after having the meeting set at a date she wanted, arranging to leave early, and having the leeway to make her extraordinary outbursts (twice) before storming out even earlier than her arranged departure time, Dorries still accused the organisers of this event of treating her unfairly, and has subsequently become hostile to their organisation to an extent that risks significant detriment to the democratic process in Flitwick and the surrounding area. For the avoidance of doubt; I cleared my actions with the Chair before this public meeting, but was initially invited by constituents. There was nothing like the collusion that Dorries imagines, and she has no cause to be hostile with any of the organisers of this event. If anything, she owes them an apology.