Archive for the ‘Anne Milton’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at 2 September 2010

Category: Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

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

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 and 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.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 20 July 2010

Category: Anne Milton, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Let’s begin with this segment of the interview between Jon Snow and Zac ‘Comedy’ Goldsmith:

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.

source/watch

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…

george osborne poster

Sorry about that. OK, let’s choose an alternative example using a less controversial candidate, and divvy up the… uh-oh…

robert syms poster

Very well, let’s choose another example of a poster using text only to… oh…

chris white poster

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.]

tory poster mock-up

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:

document from Anne Milton's election expenses return

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:

Anne Milton from 2003 to 2009

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.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 5 May 2010

Category: Anne Milton, Tories! Tories! Tories!

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.)

Nadine Dorries smears me as a stalker at Flitwick hustings

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.

Updates throughout the day on Twitter, the hashtag is #flitwick.

UPDATE (8pm) – Adam Croft – Nadine Dorries, Tim Ireland and #flitwick: What really happened

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.

Keith Badham – An Open Letter to Nadine Dorries

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:

Richard Bartholomew – Nadine Dorries’ “Stalker” Smear used by Cyberbully as Justification for Harassment of Tim Ireland

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.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 26 April 2010

Category: Anne Milton, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Almost four years ago now, myself and some Guildford-based Liberal Democrats were smeared via a series of anonymous weblogs and anonymous comments on established weblogs (see latest post).

Many of these smears were a direct response to my weblog about Anne Milton (1, 2), who was then the MP for Guildford and is now campaigning to retain the seat. During this period, I found evidence that two Conservative activists attached to Anne Milton (Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers) were involved in these smears against me, as well as the worst of the smears against some local Lib Dems (specifically, the accusation that one of their opponents was paedophile).

No meaningful action was taken. Certainly nothing was done that led to the removal of the smears. But I am now advised that an ‘investigation’ of sorts did take place, and it is here that we cut to the account of my source, whose name will be revealed shortly…

MC: “Two years ago, there was an ‘investigation’ I suppose you can call it that. I remember it and all the candidates were asked if they were aware of any involvement…”

Perhaps there was more to this investigation than just asking people if they were involved, but no-one from the Guildford Association showed any active interest in my testimony or any of the evidence I had to hand.

I pointed out to my source that I wasn’t asked for any further details during this ‘investigation’ (or told of any result after). When I emailed details, those emails were ignored. When I followed up with a phone call, I was instructed to “put it in writing”, and the most likely reason for this was explained as follows:

MC: “I know it’s not nice to be, feel ignored, stonewalled, whatever you call it, and I’m just guessing that, in the case of Anne Milton, she’d formed a view, influenced no doubt by your approach to her and then later supported or influenced by [Dennis Paul’s] concerns about hacking and stuff and, I have to say your view, within the Conservative Association, you were, like you said an ‘angry man’, that was hacking computers, sending viruses…”

Tim: “Was that a widespread view?”

MC: “Well, ‘widespread view’, I mean….”

Tim: “Well, you said that was the view within the Conservative Association.”

MC: “Yeah, Association strictly speaking is all of the members…”

Tim: “Yes..”

MC: “… what I’m talking about really is the centre core; the Chairman [Jonathon Lord], and the senior officers, and of course our MP [Anne Milton].”

If this claim is true, then Dennis Paul was successfully denying involvement in a smear campaign against me and others… by engaging in a further smear campaign against me; one specifically accusing me of criminal acts and intentions.

My source went on to claim that Jonathon Lord (then Chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association, now Parliamentary Candidate for Woking), Anne Milton (then Guildford MP, currently Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford) and others had subsequently adopted the position I was a criminal hacker capable of targeting anyone who received/opened/answered emails from me, or even just visited my website.

(To put his ‘guessing’ into context, my source was guessing that this was the reason why I was having difficulty communicating with these people, but he was in no doubt about the specifics of the claims made by Dennis Paul and who they had influenced.)

This fresh account tallies with material published by Dennis Paul at the time:

“If you contribute by blogging genuinely on some sites, you may provide the host with your IP address when you blog which enables unscrupulous hackers to attack your computer. That is why they are so obsessed with the IP identity of those who blog. You may limit this risk by moving from a static IP address to a Dynamic IP address, but you are still vulnerable while you remain online without protection.” – Published under his own name by Dennis Paul (16 Aug, 2006)

“A number of liberal supporters in Guildford are graduates with computing expertese. They can hack through website visitors pc with ease – all they need is your IP address to target your computer. These ‘blogsites’ are a venus fly trap to them. At a national level, Police intellegence use the same expertese to monitor and catch muslim extremists. You only have to visit their site and they can target you. The best thing is to avoid their sites altogether, and avoid clicking on links that could take you to their sites.” – Published as an anonymous comment by Dennis Paul (22 Aug, 2006)

I agree. If you click on links to these sites, who knows where it could take you. Next thing you know, you could be on some paedo site with the Police knocking on your door accusing you of visiting innapropriate websites.” – Published as an anonymous comment by Dennis Paul (22 Aug, 2006)

We also have this, which is either (a) the work of Dennis Paul or a core member of the Guildford Conservative Association, or (b) a pretty good indication that the alleged smear spread further than Dennis Paul and the core of the Guildford Conservative Association. This ‘talk’ edit from Wikipedia attempts to justify repeated attempts to remove links to my site from Anne Milton’s Wikipedia entry:

“I removed a section that contained inaccurate information, and links to a libellous web site. This is not vandalism at all. The person’s web site whos link I removed is a vandal and a hacker and was arrested for hacking last year, so should not be promoted in any way on this site, which is the home of factual information not lies and self promotion.” – Published by an unknown contributor to Wikipedia (01 Dec, 2006)

For the record, I have NEVER hacked anybody or fed any viruses or Trojans to anybody, and I certainly haven’t been arrested for these or any other offences.

But I do appear to have been cut off from democracy at a local level by a smear (while another innocent man appears to have endured an even worse smear for far longer than was necessary), purely because the ‘expert’ testimony of Dennis Paul was accepted by local Conservatives. Oh, and David Cameron.

David Cameron’s office was presented with all published evidence, but the local Association’s view held and the Conservatives decided to back Dennis Paul as a candidate. I got an email with this in it on the same day Dennis was having his picture taken with the man himself:

“We have looked into the concerns you raise regarding Guildford Conservatives and are satisfied that these matters are being carefully investigated at the local level.” – David Beal, Correspondence Secretary, David Cameron’s Office (01 Feb, 2007)

Dennis Paul and David Cameron

I’m seeking an immediate response from Anne Milton, Jonathon Lord, the Guildford Conservative Association.

I am hoping they will admit the allegations and immediately disown the lies of Dennis Paul. Unless they wish to deny what’s been alleged here, of course, in which case they will need to immediately disown the lies of Mike Chambers… because he’s my source.

(Psst! That sound you hear is a dozen local coffees being spat out at once.)

Either way, Anne Milton can no longer ignore the hole she dug for herself when she trusted either or both of these clowns as campaigners and went on to endorse them as candidates.

More to follow.

[For the record, Mike Chambers denies involvement in the 2006 paedo-smears, and puts forward the view that they were a part of a ‘dirty tricks’ set-up by the Lib Dems, who smeared themselves and/or one of their own for political gain. He has no evidence to back this up, only his personal certainty that the Lib Dems are the real nasty party, and the only people capable of such deeds.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at 13 April 2010

Category: Anne Milton

Anne Milton, Conservative candidate for the marginal seat of Guildford, has decided that now a general election looms, there is no room for negative campaigning:

Anne Milton wants a clean fight, boys!

Some people might see a clever smear against her opponents when they read the above, but I’m going to take Anne Milton at her word (just for a moment) and instead ask ;”What’s changed?”

Guildford Conservatives - so much to be proud of!

Back in 2005/2006, Anne Milton was repeatedly turning a blind eye to the disgraceful antics of two of her most vocal supporters; Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers:

– Anne Milton avoided any meaningful comment on Dennis Paul’s pandering to racism in a scaremongering immigration/housing leaflet released in aid of her 2005 campaign.

– Both Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul were connected to an anonymous ‘revenge’ attack that responded to my criticism of Anne Milton by implying I was a homosexual (to them; a sick perversion), claiming I was a bad father, suggesting that I had falsified evidence against Milton, and attempting to blackmail/bully me into silence through my clients and place of work. Later, these attacks evolved into repeated anonymous claims that I had stalked Anne Milton. Anne Milton now claims privately that she said/did nothing to encourage this, but the fact is that she allowed it to carry on for years without correction, clarification or any kind of apology, even long after both Chambers and Paul were given their marching orders.

– I still have to hand the evidence that proves Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul created/promoted a weblog claiming a political opponent was a paedophile. The matter was reported to CCHQ, but referred back to Anne Milton and the local association for action. None was taken. In fact, Anne Milton and the Conservatives went on to endorse both Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul in the 2007 council elections. The Guildford Conservative Association still hold the position that they took no action at the time because the victim chose not to complain and (hilariously) that I had only complained via email and “not in writing”. Despite my proving Mike Chambers to be the primary author/promoter of the smear, he wasn’t even compelled by his fellow Conservatives to remove the single-purpose website hosting it.

I just called the Guildford Conservative Association for comment on the latter especially. They demurred, but I can report that Anne Milton’s staff do think that she deserves credit because (one hopes) she wasn’t directly involved in any of the actual typing.

I suspect it is here that we finally edge closer to the truth of Anne Milton’s recent statement…

“I am making a commitment from the outset not to resort to personal attacks on my opponents.”

… because she doesn’t need to resort to personal attacks if she sits back and lets her underlings do her dirty work for her, just as she has done repeatedly in the past.

That said, it is possible that I’ve misjudged Anne Milton; perhaps she really has changed and her recent commitment to positive campaigning is sincere.

If this is the case, she will have no problem (finally) publicly disowning Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers, and every smear they published. Perhaps she might even find the time to apologise for not acting earlier to stop the smears published on her behalf.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for any of that if I were you.








The character is fiction, but the horror is real; Sick Days

D-Notice on The Sun v the Criminal Justice System.

Paulie has a different opinion to mine on MPs and their expenses. I readily accept that my opinion on this could be skewed by my MP being a right piece of work.

Unity and Septicisle on the ‘Al Qaeda has bio weapons’ claim from the tabloid you can trust.

Meanwhile, The Sun appear to be holding back on reports that Israel has been using white phosphorus as a weapon. For some reason.

(During the assault on Fallujah in Iraq, the Americans used white phosphorus as a weapon, and denied doing so. The Sun later dutifully reported when the cat was out of the bag that; “It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants, not against civilians” At around the same time, I talked to a British soldier who told me that Our Boys were officially trained in the handling and deployment of white phosphorus as an illumination device, but briefed “off the books, of course” in their use as a room-clearing or “bunker cleansing” device. Which is nice.)

Kevin Maguire driven home in expensive hire-car shock. It’s called a perk, and Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is acting like he’s never seen one before. You can hear Paul’s high-pitched nasal whine asking about mansions in Richmond and delivering a sarky “James, home!”… meanwhile, Maguire appears to be quite jovial, and taking it all in good humour. I doubt that I’d be quite so genial with a camera waved in my face, plus I know from experience that Staines hides from cameras, and is all-too-quick to scream ‘stalker’ if caught in any compromising situation. Staines, much like Derek Draper, is also censoring inconvenient comments under this video. If you must comment yourself, don’t do anything futile like mention that Staines has a personal beef with Maguire or that he himself has to pedal everywhere when not being chauffeured, on account of his driving while drunk (and without insurance). On that note, Maguire can count himself lucky that Staines didn’t make an issue of his drinking… after sobering up himself. What a tosser.

OMG! Homo milk! Watch out, Paul! Don’t let it near the children!

Speaking of such things, Jeremy Hunt is having a little difficulty answering questions about homophobic attacks by local Conservative activists (background). He’s trying the old ‘it’s off my patch’ dodge (not that this has ever stopped him from propping up fellow Tory Anne Milton), and using an old technique of Dale’s; allowing anonymous comment contributors to attack me as a form of defence (only gently, mind… but it’s still clear to see).

I would be a great pity if Jeremy Hunt decides to leave this matter hanging. Again.

He dodged the issue when he could have done something to stop the attacks; now he’s promoting himself as a blogger with standards, I would expect him to at least have an opinion on two grown men creating and promoting an anonymous website claiming that their political opponent is a paedophile.

By now, most of you have seen Ninja Cat.

Now check out how Ninja Cat would look with Derek Draper in charge of the project.

Also via /links a game that all the kids will be playing this time next week; Bush or Batman?

Via Carl Eve; Woodward and Bernstein on the Bush era and ‘moving on’ with Obama.

In my experience, trying to move on just encourages some people to further take the piss, but I guess we’ll see.

Finally, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Ian Hislop owes me a lunch.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 19 January 2009

Category: Anne Milton

You may have slightly better prospects up or down your way, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that writing my MP about this issue will be a waste of time. I’m pretty sure her mind is already made up, if it hasn’t been made up for her already by her Tory bosses.

Do you know how long it took her to produce the results of the pricey little survey* described in this post?

Six. Months.

Anne Milton has so far only paid lip service to transparency.

That, and my experience with the woman has taught me that she’s not above a little fraud.

(*Follow-up post is on the way; the one-page document only just arrived.)

UPDATE (21 Jan) – Tom Steinberg brings us the exciting news that the vote on concealing MPs’ expenses has been cancelled by the government.

But now Anne Milton has been robbed of an opportunity to prove me wrong.

:o(








Posted by Tim Ireland at 7 August 2008

Category: Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Those of you who contribute regularly under comments will be aware of Scotch.

Scotch lives in my constituency. We first encountered each other when Scotch was looking for more information on Anne Milton. We became friends, and one of the reasons we became friends is that we share similar values.

For example, if we ever discuss a comment thread privately, Scotch will feel that he is unable to contribute to the thread from that point on unless he can reveal the relevant details of our private conversation.

Unlike members* of Iain Dale’s Flying Monkey Squadron, Scotch is not a man to be coerced, instructed, nudge-winked or otherwise manipulated into speaking on my behalf. Ever.

[*A quick ‘hello’ to Flight Lieutenant Phil Hendren, who Iain accidentally CCed on one of our private conversations when he meant to issue a BCC instead. Sometimes, when it suits him – Phil insists that it is irrelevant where information comes from if it is pertinent.]

And that’s just one reason why I found Iain’s response to a fair question from Scotch yesterday afternoon to be nothing short of appalling.

The comments appear here, under Iain Dale’s widely-publicised position on Ian Oakley’s actions in Watford.

The problem with Iain’s position is best summed up in this extract from a comment of mine that The Spectator refused to publish under this entry: “Iain Dale is a hypocrite who has in the past turned a blind eye to some appalling harassment by Tory supporters, candidates and activists (some of it on his own website).”

Scotch was equally unimpressed, and decided to bring up the most jarring example of Iain turning a blind eye when it suits him:

scotch said…

Iain, hi. Where is your disapproval of a homophobic hate site against a local government candidate, of which you are well aware? I can’t seem to find it.

August 06, 2008 1:10 PM

What Scotch is referring to is the incident in Guildford where Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul, two Conservative activists/candidates and close associates of Conservative MP Anne Milton, took it upon themselves to create, build upon and promote an anonymous website that claimed one of their political opponents was a paedophile (summary)… and put alongside this claim the man’s name, a photo and details of his whereabouts.

I produced evidence clearly linking Mike Chambers directly to authorship of that anonymous website, but both Iain Dale and Paul Staines refused to blog the item or even condemn the action.

At this stage, the entire affair could and would have been nipped in the bud had a few Tory bloggers stood up and said that this was unacceptable behaviour, but Iain Dale and Paul Staines shut the gate on that one.

Even at that early stage Dennis Paul was bragging that he was a contributor to Paul Staines’ site, and since then at least one anonymous commenter keeps popping up every time Iain Dale thinks I deserve a kicking to say how mean and awful I was to poor Anne Milton. Iain Dale has recently taken to repeating this line himself. Repeatedly.

I mention all of this to point out the hole that Iain has dug for himself; he now cannot afford to condemn the actions taken by Anne Milton’s activists without blowing a dirty great hole in his claims that I stalk and harass Tories for no good reason.

Now onto Iain’s response to this tricky question…

Iain Dale said…

Scotch, or should I more correctly address you in your usual capacity as Tim Ireland’s bitch?

I condemn homophobic attacks on anyone, whereever they occur. Funny that, isn’t it?

What I don’t do, unlike you, is jump to the tune of Tim Ireland.

August 06, 2008 3:02 PM

Appalling, isn’t it?

Also, note Iain’s claims to condemn homophobic attacks “on anyone, whereever [sic] they occur”.

This is a lie… and Iain actually goes on to provide his justification for NOT doing so over the Guildford incident.

And even the justification is a lie. If Iain truly condemns homophobic attacks “on anyone, whereever [sic] they occur”, then it’s not my tune he was asked to jump to over the Guildford matter, but his own.

Is Iain seriously telling us that he will abandon his stance against homophobia if I ask him to stand by it?

As for the insulting way that Iain dismissed Scotch’s input, this runs counter to Iain’s own rules. Will Iain be banning** himself from his own website now?

[**Which leads to yet another lie. Anyone reading this prominent page might somehow get the impression that I was banned from Iain’s website for being sweary and abusive. I was not. Iain himself says here that I was banned for insisting that he “obey [my] rules and dikats”… but even this is a lie. I actually requested and suggested that he follow his own damn rules, not mine.]

[Psst! For those who missed it; video evidence of Mike Chambers’ homophobia.]

UPDATE (3pm) – Iain is being less-than-honest about this issue. Again.

“Am I supposed to blog about every single thing in British politics? …. I condemn ALL hompohobic [sic] attacks. The word ALL is important here.” – Iain Dale (source)

[Psst! If you feel so strongly about it, Iain… learn how to spell it.]

More than once the ‘Jonesy’ blog created by Tory activists/candidates in Guildford equated homosexuality with paedophilia… e.g. “Mr X admits to being gay, therefore (the claim that he is a paedophile) must be true!”

Now I ask you to cast your mind back to a different incident involving different players…

Most bloggers who were around at the time recall Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines (and to a slightly lesser extent Alex Hilton) equating homosexuality with paedophilia when claiming to have outed Mark Oaten ahead of the tabloids. It caused quite a stir at the time.

Here’s a timeline of events for those who missed the action.

And here are some bloggers from across the political spectrum, united in their position that one cannot equate homosexuality with paedophilia. I’ll stick with bloggers who are still with us, just to keep it neat:

I condemned it. Twice.

It was condemned at Blood & Treasure.

Devil’s Kitchen pulls up short of condemnation here, but only just.

Nosemonkey condemned it.

Justin condemned it.

Iain Dale did NOT condemn it.

Well, if he did, he was very, very quiet about it. He certainly didn’t mention it and blog the controversy around it on his website.

And yet he found the time to blog about Mark Oaten quite a lot during that month, and even had time for a positive link to the podcast a few days after it had been so widely criticised.

Now, why do you think that is?

And now, apropos of nothing, here’s a photo of Iain Dale and Paul Staines enjoying a friendly drink the week before the Oaten incident.

“I condemn ALL hompohobic [sic] attacks. The word ALL is important here.” – Iain Dale

Liar.








Posted by Tim Ireland at 17 July 2008

Category: Anne Milton, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Times – Tory MPs’ use of staff budgets to pay for PR advice ‘against rules’: MPs are paying up to £10,000 from their staffing budgets for services from public relations firms in an apparent breach of Parliamentary rules, The Times has learnt. As MPs finally agreed to undertake limited reforms of their expenses, the first disclosure of how Tory MPs spent their allowances has revealed more than a dozen Conservatives, including Shadow Cabinet members, are using their allowances to pay PR firms. Companies such as Parliamentary Liaison Services (PLS) and Media Intelligence are being paid from staffing and office budgets, with the head of PLS claiming he works as a “communications adviser” for up to 20 MPs. This would appear to be in breach of the Green Book, which outlines the rules for MPs. It says there is an explicit bar on “advice for individual Members on self promotion, or PR for individuals or political parties”…. The MPs who list their use of PLS services are Simon Burns, James Gray, Jonathan Djanogly, James Dudderidge, James Gray, Damian Green, Stephen Hammond, John Horam, David Lidington, Anne Milton, Owen Paterson and John Whittingdale.

(The full details of these disclosures are available here.)

Anne Milton claimed £7347.53 from her communications allowance between 1st April – 30th June 2008. Typically, unlike many other Conservative MPs (most of whom claimed considerably less), she offers no details regarding this expenditure.

The only MP who claimed more than Anne Milton against their communications allowance in this period was David Davies (£7494.76).

Amme would have claimed the top spot easily if the amounts she had paid to Politicos Design (£1838 for “website support”) and/or Parliamentary Liaison Services (£2350 “in respect of a business survey”) had been claimed against her communications allowance and not her staff budget.

“But why should she do so for an innocent fact-finding survey?” one of her more ardent, blinkered and downright vicious supporters might ask.

Well, perhaps instead of asking me they should ask David Lidington, who claimed £1115 against his communications allowance (instead of his staffing budget) for “Reimbursement to PLS Ltd of money spent on survey of constituency businesses.”

Perhaps Amme would care to explain (a) what made her business survey from PLS so different to David Lidington’s, (b) why she thinks outsourced website fees should be absorbed into staff costs, and especially (c) exactly what she blew the other £7347.53 on.

She certainly didn’t spend any money communicating with me. I haven’t heard a damn thing from her since she offered this pissweak response to questions about the £13,000 of taxpayer’s money that went into her husband’s pocket.

[Incidentally, David Lidington and John Horam (who claimed against his staff allowance payments made to PLS Ltd for “Work on constituency newspaper”) both had their websites (“funded from the Incidental Expenses Provision”) built/supplied by Palace Computing (formerly Finbyte Ltd). Palace Computing shares a poky attic-like space with Parliamentary Liaison Services on the 5th floor at 38 Grosvenor Gardens, SW1W 0EB – and the two companies have a lot more in common than their common address and the kind of grand official-sounding names one normally expects from inventive people like Joseph Obi. Not that I’m suggesting that they’re in any way dishonest, heavens no. It just might appear to some bystanders that a lot of taxpayer’s money flows through that office and they shouldn’t be surprised if someone decides to start poking around. Oh, and I hope they’ll forgive me for being so unkind, but the web design skillz of Palace Computing strike me as being very… 20th century.]

UPDATE – Curse me for a fool. I let another official-sounding name pass me by…

Paul Waugh – Has Cameron unwittingly exposed a Tory fiddle?: The Times today points out that yesterday’s list of expenses revealed that some Tories are claiming up to £10k for PR budgets. But my attention has also been brought to the other mysterious item that crops up on many of their expense claims. Many, including Mr Cameron himself, use taxpayers’ cash to fund a subscription to a “Parliamentary Resources Unit”. Sounds innocuous enough, doesn’t it? But this turns out to be a unit that helps only Tory MPs. The PRU, as it is known, has been around for more than 10 years but until yesterday few Labour MPs realised just how the Tories were funding it – partly through Parliamentary allowances, as well as Short Money.

These documents reveal 36 near-identical ‘annual subscription’ payments to the PRU in this quarter of £3877 or £3877.50 filed under ‘office costs’. That’s nearly £140K reported in this quarter alone. If all Conservative MPs pay this same rate, it adds up to just a shade under £750K per annum. Three quarters of a million squid a year, out of your pocket and mine, to pay for a Tory-only research unit.

UPDATE – PRU claims to provide services to; “150 Conservative MPs and front bench peers”. That’s just over half a million squid a year if we take this as a precise figure, so I’m sure you’re feeling a lot more relaxed about it now.

UPDATE (18 Jul) – I *knew* I smelled something nasty in Grosvenor Gardens. Here, watch these two pieces suddenly click together. These are the WHOIS details for the websites of the Parliamentary Resources Unit. You’ll never guess in a million years who looks after them:

Domain name: PRUONLINE.ORG.UK

Registrant:
Palace Computing

Registrant type:
Unknown

Registrant’s address:
38 Grosvenor Gardens
London
SW1W 0EB
GB

Registrar:
Easyspace Ltd t/a Easyspace Ltd [Tag = EASYSPACE]

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 02-Sep-2002
Renewal date: 02-Sep-2008
Last updated: 21-Aug-2006

Registration status:
Registered until renewal date.

Name servers:
ns1.easypost.com
ns3.easypost.com

~

Domain name: PARLIAMENTARYRESOURCES.COM

Registrant:
Palace Computing
38 Grosvenor Gardens
London, SW1W 0EB
GB

Administrative Contact:
Roberts, Hugh nick@palacecomputing.co.uk
38 Grosvenor Gardens
London, SW1W 0EB
GB
020 7730 9706 Fax: 020 7730 4854

Technical Contact:
Roberts, Hugh nick@palacecomputing.co.uk
38 Grosvenor Gardens
London, SW1W 0EB
GB
020 7730 9706 Fax: 020 7730 4854

Registrar of Record: Easyspace Ltd.
Record last updated on 22-May-2008.
Record expires on 01-Aug-2009.
Record created on 01-Aug-2003.

Domain servers in listed order:
NS3.EASYPOST.COM 62.128.193.206
NS1.EASYPOST.COM 84.22.162.11

UPDATE (18 Jul) – Anne Milton has made a defiant statement to our local newspaper. Apparently she sees nothing wrong with using taxpayer’s money (reserved for staff-related expenses) to pay a PR company to conduct a “business survey” and she plans to do so again in the future. Milton is then quoted as saying; “I do not use them for PR, I use them for business,” because – and I don’t think it’s unfair to describe the quote that followed this as totally moronic – “Business is significant in Guildford and an important part of the local economy.”

No shit, Sherlock… but I fail to see how this obvious observation serves as mitigation.

The first time I encountered Milton was over a push-polling call to my home. When confronted about it, she played the innocent lamb when she knew exactly what was going on and why it was wrong. But, just in case she is innocent this time [rolls eyes], here’s some advice for Amme the Lamb:

PR companies tend to specialise in public relations. That’s what the ‘PR’ stands for. If a PR company has any expertise in conducting surveys, that expertise will quite logically lean toward asking questions that get desirable answers and then presenting the already-skewed data that results in a manner that is most favourable to the client and/or the agenda of the client. If you wish to avoid suspicion in future, you may want to commission business surveys from companies that specialise in business surveys and other forms of polling and research. To further avoid suspicion, you may even wish to choose a company that doesn’t have clearly-cemented and very profitable ties to the Conservative Party.

UPDATE (18 Jul) – I’ve asked Amme’s office for a copy of the survey that they seemed perfectly happy to share with all sorts of people a few weeks ago (because business is important to the economy, dontcha know), but now they’re shy all of a sudden, and I have to wait for Anne Milton herself to get back to me. I don’t *want* Anne Milton to get back to me, and I didn’t *ask* for Anne Milton to get back to me because – as I have already made clear – the last time she got back to me about something like this she fobbed me off with a lie. What I want is a copy of that survey.

UPDATE (18 Jul) – And here’s a picture I collected this morning, boys and girls. Two companies. One button. At the risk of repeating myself, I think it’s fair to say that it just might appear to some bystanders that a lot of taxpayer’s money flows through this office. In fact, I would even add that the PRU’s choice of Palace Computing for web services smells of a party political arrangement. More on the PRU in a dedicated post at lunchtime today. Work awaits.

PLS Ltd








Posted by Tim Ireland at 11 March 2008

Category: Anne Milton, Humanity, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The Political Weblog Movement

Bloggerheads – “Answer my questions, or the puppy gets it.”: I’m as appalled as Justin is… but not quite as shocked. The death of an innocent puppy doesn’t involve any tricky politics, so it’s an easy win.

Short version

Number of MPs who stood up for the notion that “the bearskin hats worn by the five guards regiments have no military significance and involve unnecessary cruelty”: 207

Number of MPs who stood up for the notion that “the Prime Minister [should] meet the UK’s moral obligations by offering resettlement to all Iraqis who are threatened with death for the “crime” of helping British troops and diplomats”: 79

Long version

Iain Dale:

Iain has gone in to bat for his old chum Ann Widdecombe and plugged her campaign “to persuade the MoD to stop buying black bearskins from Canada.”

You may recall that this is the same Iain Dale who, rather than join the campaign to protect/rescue Iraqi employees, instead decided to deliver this patronising lecture (as part of his ongoing mission to rewrite blogging history with himself at the forefront).

[Psst! The issue here for the government appears to be the lack of viable alternatives to bearskin. Perhaps Iain will be bold enough to suggest the use of fox skins instead. I’m sure they’d stitch together real nice, and the red will go well with the uniforms.]

Ann Widdecombe:

Ann is leading the charge on saving big cuddly bears, but has somehow failed to find the time to say or do anything about the human beings we have chewed up, spat out, and left to the mercy of roaming death squads in Iraq.

(Yes, I’m sure it’s terrible to be shot and then skinned while your corpse is subjected to “crude sexist comments”… but it’s equally unpleasant to be tortured with a power drill or simply gunned down in the street when the death squads are too short on time for such pleasantries.)

And while this campaign of Ann’s makes much of the “more than 200 MPs [who] signed a recent Early Day Motion calling on the government to switch to a modern and humane synthetic fabric,” here, she describes EDMs as a huge waste of time;

“I shall not miss the late nights and above all I shall not miss the EDMs. For the uninitiated that stands for early day motions which number thousands in the course of a parliament and have no more impact than a feather landing on a mattress, but which constituents take seriously and wish me to sign. Most of them call for open-ended funding for everything from varicose veins to hedgehog refuges.” – Ann Widdecombe

What a grizzled and bitter old hypocrite she is; no wonder she and Dale get on like a house on fire.

[Psst! That said, Iain Dale might want to consider Ann’s voting record on equal rights for homosexuals before committing to a post-opportunity friendship with ‘Widdy’.]

Anne Milton:

Milton signed the EDM to do away with bearskin hats. In fact, her Wikipedia entry once bragged that she was the first Conservative MP to sign this motion.

But Milton stalled on signing an earlier EDM in support of Iraqi employees until it was too late to sign (she actually had the cheek to claim the expiry of that EDM as her reason for not signing it) and – despite many reassuring noises – *still* hasn’t found the time to sign the latest EDM in support of Iraqi employees.

Again, I’m not shocked… just appalled.

UPDATE – Justin informs us that we can add Celia Barlow to the list, and offers this insight into Ann Widdecombe’s pick ‘n’ mix approach to humanity…

Chicken Yoghurt – Number crunching: And if you’re an ickle baby foetus, Ann’s got your back. If you’re an ickle baby foetus who grows up to be drilled to death by an Iraqi death squad or executed for being an Iranian homosexual, well, sorry but Ann’s got bears to worry about.








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