Old Media

Open letter to Paul Dacre (editor of the Daily Mail)

Dear Paul,

I am writing to you about the ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey (aka ‘Richard Tims’) and his associate Michael Starkey.

In January, The Sun published a story (for which Jenvey was the primary source) in which it was claimed that a number of celebrities had been targeted by extremists.

Evidence later emerged suggesting that it was Jenvey himself, posing as a radical Muslim, who had posted the relevant forum messages and named these celebrities as ‘targets’.

The PCC has since launched an investigation, and one of the celebrities named (Alan Sugar), has announced that he is taking legal action.

I’ve been looking into it myself, and I’ve uncovered further evidence proving Jenvey to be a fraud, a liar and a fantasist (first link is a summary if you can’t be bothered with evidence/depth):
http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/obsession-pundit-in-meltdown/
http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/patrick-mercer-mp-makes-statement-on-glen-jenvey/
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/michael_starkey.asp
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/glen_jenvey_audio.asp

Keeping in mind that Glen Jenvey’s response to all of this has been to (a) declare that the PCC is in league with extremists and (b) claim that I am a notorious sex criminal under investigation by your newspaper…
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/how_nice.asp

- Could you (please) get back to me with a statement about the reliability of Glen Jenvey’s claims and if you still regard him to be a credible source?

- Could you also (pretty please) provide me with a complete list of stories on extremism or terrorism that are based in whole or in part on claims made, evidence presented or research conducted by Glen Jenvey (or Michael Starkey or a ‘Richard Tims’)? I’ve included a link to what I suspect to be a recent example:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1163133/Islamic-hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-probed-hide-terror-clues.html

There’s no big rush with the list, but if you could issue that statement immediately/today, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

Open letter to Peter Hill (editor of the Daily Express)

Dear Peter,

I am writing to you about the ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey (aka ‘Richard Tims’) and his associate Michael Starkey.

In January, The Sun published a story for which Jenvey was the primary source in which it was claimed that a number of celebrities had been targeted by extremists.

Evidence later emerged suggesting that it was Jenvey himself, posing as a radical Muslim, who had posted the relevant forum messages and named these celebrities as ‘targets’.

The PCC has since launched an investigation, and one of the celebrities named (Alan Sugar), has announced that he is taking legal action.

I’ve been looking into it myself, and I’ve uncovered further evidence proving Jenvey to be a fraud, a liar and a fantasist (first link is a summary if you can’t be bothered with evidence/depth):
http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/obsession-pundit-in-meltdown/
http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/patrick-mercer-mp-makes-statement-on-glen-jenvey/
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/michael_starkey.asp
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/glen_jenvey_audio.asp

Keeping in mind that Glen Jenvey’s response to all of this has been to (a) declare that the PCC is in league with extremists and (b) claim that I am a notorious sex criminal…

- Could you (please) get back to me with a statement about the reliability of Glen Jenvey’s claims and if you still regard him to be a credible source?

- Could you also (pretty please) provide me with a complete list of stories on extremism or terrorism that are based in whole or in part on claims made, evidence presented or research conducted by Glen Jenvey (or Michael Starkey or a ‘Richard Tims’)? I’ve included links to what I suspect to be recent examples:
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/89222/-Make-every-woman-wear-a-burkha
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/90284/-Fanatics-in-new-outrage

There’s no big rush with the list, but if you could issue that statement immediately/today, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

Open letter to Martin Townsend (editor of the Sunday Express)

Dear Martin,

You asked me to email you if I was unhappy after speaking with Derek Lambie about the Dunblane matter and/or if I felt there were issues yet to be resolved.

Well, the only real communication I’ve enjoyed with Derek Lambie involved that editor trying to dismiss my every concern with an unsubstantiated claim about a single issue:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/derek_lambie.asp

He has not engaged in any form of conversation with me since, despite a quite specific and reasonable request that he confirm or deny having changed his Facebook status to “Derek Lambie is in the process of legal action against bloggers”:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/03/derek_lambie_the_gates.asp

He has also failed to respond to my email about his apology, which is widely-regarded to be little more than a cynical face-saving manoeuvre, and is far from the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned (not least because there are still so many unanswered questions that Derek Lambie seems determined to avoid):

Dear Derek,

I have a few questions for you about your Dunblane article and apology:

1. You claimed; “Where possible, we have spoken to the families involved and
given them a heartfelt apology.” Have you spoken directly to all of the
survivors named/targeted in the original article and given them a heartfelt
apology?

2. It has been claimed that Paula Murray contacted some or all of these
people seeking story material (e.g. an interview or comment), but was turned
down, and responded by using what she could from their social networking
profiles. Allegations of malice aside, is there any truth to this?

3. When Paula Murray was seeking a story specifically about Dunblane
survivors, was she operating under your instructions or those of another
superior?

4. Do you still maintain that Elizabeth Smith was knowingly speaking of
Dunblane when she gave the quote(s) used in the original article?

A simple yes or no on each will do for now… or you can continue to be
difficult and uncommunicative (like when I asked you a fair and reasonable
question about an alleged legal threat and you saw fit to ignore it).

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

If you could convince Derek Lambie to at least issue a formal ‘no comment’ on any/all of my recent questions, I’d be extremely grateful, as his current game of covering his eyes and pretending that I cannot see him is becoming tiresome.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – On an unrelated matter, could you please have a quiet word with any relevant managing/political editor(s) operating under you and provide me with a list of stories on extremism or terrorism that are based in whole or in part on claims made, evidence presented or research conducted by Glen Jenvey (or Michael Starkey or a ‘Richard Tims’)? I’ve included a link to what I suspect are recent examples:
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/89222/-Make-every-woman-wear-a-burkha
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/90284/-Fanatics-in-new-outrage

Lessons not yet learned

Online Journalism Blog – Facebook, Dunblane and a 2 page apology from the Express – a lesson in online journalism ethics

(Contains a good call on this rubbish, BTW. I’m appalled at how lazy this is.)

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UPDATE (25 Mar) – Graham Linehan (and Matt Nida) – Apology noted. Now what?: There are plenty of good, responsible journalists out there who are looking at the Express saga with the same resigned disgust that most of us felt when we first came upon the story. They need to be part of this conversation too. If not, the conversation will be held elsewhere, out of their earshot and beyond their influence. That won’t be good for journalism, and it won’t be good for society. But whether they turn up or not, the conversation will happen. It has to.

And how is it going to look after their negotiating such a sweet clean-up-their-own-mess deal if they don’t, won’t or can’t clean up their own mess?

Press Gazette – Rogue publisher’ Richard Desmond in fallout with PCC

The above question applies equally to the Jenvey mess; I have dozens of visitors from every major news organisation in the country reading my site this week… but I’m still in a position where I have to go out peddling a responsible course of action.

Let’s go, mainstream

Some teenagers have a drink or two or some girl gets into a fight or some nasty things are said about a quiz contestant and suddenly what’s said or seen on websites is worth ‘researching’ and reporting.

I find evidence that newspapers have been taking the word of a fraud/fantasist for months if not years, and have most likely been publishing/broadcasting misleading if not entirely untrue claims as a result… and suddenly what’s said on websites isn’t even worth looking into.

I bet if the tabloids especially got a grip on this that they’d describe Jenvey as an ‘internet fantasist’ or some such thing… as if it weren’t all that lovely newspaper money driving him, but the evils of the internets… like he was some nasty overgrown beastie that escaped from my junkyard and not theirs.

On that note, a big hearty “Cheers!” to ‘amateur’ publishers across the world, who have, by and large, been most helpful about this; many webmasters who didn’t know me from Adam took the trouble to look me up and alert me to attempts to repeat this smear throughout the weekend. Compare this to the ‘pros’ hosted by Wired.com, who’ve left one comment in place for so long that it’s generated its own Google News Alert:

(Cheers, Wired; that’s one for the scrapbook.)

Pardon me if I sound bitter about mainstream media here, but the fact is that Jenvey has been using his mentions in mainstream media to boost/maintain/rescue his credibility for years. This (and the money, of course) further enables and encourages Jenvey’s self-important fantasies.

There’s also the small matter of fabrication(s) reported as fact by a number of publishers/broadcasters and, no, I am not just talking about tabloids here.

Correcting such errors and letting people know that Mr Jenvey is no longer a man to be trusted isn’t my job.

No, it’s not even the job that I don’t get paid to do.

It’s the job that *they* get paid to do, but so far no bugger is doing it.

Anyway, I just wanted to say something before I went ahead and did their job for them anyway.

Cheers all.

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PS – On repeats of the smear; yes, the same IP address is/was involved. There appears to be some level of automation at work and I’ve also found further examples that make the attempt to implicate the Daily Mail even clearer. Police and the provider have been informed and introduced to one another.

Scottish Sunday Express big enough to say they’re (kind of) sorry…. eventually

More than a week too late, deliciously self-serving, no mention of any disciplinary action for anyone, and it contains a claim that many people might regard to be an outright lie.

Sunday Express – DUNBLANE: WE’RE SORRY: It is our belief that nobody was misquoted, but the story was undeniably inappropriate. It has upset the young people we named and caused great distress to their parents. Where possible, we have spoken to the families involved and given them a heartfelt apology. Today we apologise to you, our loyal readers. The Scottish Sunday Express is a big newspaper, with a long and illustrious history. We are also big enough to say we are truly sorry.

Nobody was misquoted? Elizabeth Smith claimed she was clearly quoted out of context, and she maintains this position, even though she may not be keen on saying so and making an enemy of editor Derek Lambie. Omission of vital context certainly counts as misquote, and Smith maintains that she was not talking about Dunblane (or given the impression she was talking about Dunblane) when she was asked by reporter Paula Murray to comment. But I guess as long as editor Derek Lambie keeps believing otherwise, this, technically, is not a lie:

“It is our belief that nobody was misquoted…”

Your typical heartfelt apology does not contain misleading claims, not even cleverly-worded ones. It is also worth noting that this apology from the Scottish Sunday Express contains 6 paragraphs about how great they are and 5 paragraphs about how sorry they are, though the last paragraph tells us how great they are for being willing to apologise (insincerely/eventually), so the count is really 7 to 4. That’s a lot of mitigation.

Here’s how it appeared on page 5 of today’s edition of the Scottish Sunday Express:

scan of apology

[Watch out. Comments are still playing up. Submitted comments may be lost or duplicated.]

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UPDATE – Some of you may have missed the 1cm-high mention of this apology on the front page that reads; “The Scottish Sunday Express Extends its Apologies to Dunblane”

Derek Lambie is barely going through the motions, which is a disgrace in itself. If he won’t resign, he should be sacked. Not just for the article itself, but the way he’s conducted himself since.

It’s now the only way to offer what this self-serving apology failed to deliver; a clear indication that measures have been taken to ensure that this will not happen again.

Sacking Lambie removes the editor responsible for the atrocious attack and sends a clear signal to other employees of Richard Desmond that they will be held accountable for their actions (once close to 10,000 people call for disciplinary action against you, that is).

Progress at last

An interim statement from Patrick Mercer, who is today looking at evidence:

“I disassociate myself from anything that Glen Jenvey may have claimed about Mr Tim Ireland and will be looking carefully into my other dealings with Mr Jenvey.” – Patrick Mercer (Con.) MP

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, troops. But stay alert.

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UPDATE (3:50pm) – I’ve spoken to Patrick Mercer again. He was helpful, communicative and cooperative, and we agree that his interim statement will do just fine for now.

There’s a lot of cleaning up to do, but this is a load off my mind.

For those who came in late:

See this summary of events to date from Richard Bartholomew, and the moment when Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles put his relationship with Mr Jenvey in the past.

Any time mainstream folks want to jump on board, feel free.

The ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey is clearly a fantasist who is interfering in matters of national/global security and peddling his evidence to the press and public after it has been turned down by police. He admits to engaging in a form of freelance espionage while posing as a reporter, and he has been using a barely-legal mix of entrapment and incitement in order to stir up trouble in (virtual) Muslim communities and provoke the kind of response that will generate a story and the profits that follow. There is also at least one provable and fully documented occurrence of Glen Jenvey falsifying evidence of online extremism for a story, but (having seen some missed nuggets this very morning) I can guarantee you that more is waiting to be discovered. Some of it on the pages of your own newspap*….

(ahem)

Erm, yes, as I was saying; any time mainstream media folks want to jump on board, feel free. Or, me and a few bloggers, we’ll just continue handling this your problem ourselves. No biggie.

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PS – Oh, and pay this a bit of attention, too, please.

One or two faces

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Click here to sign the petition
(6,230 signatures and counting)

Click here to join the Facebook group
(4,364 members and counting)

IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS ISSUE, PLEASE *READ* THE PETITION

Scottish Sunday Express article at the centre of this can be read here.

FYI: High demand is causing comment glitches and temporary outages.
Comments are still welcome, but may be lost or duplicated. Be warned.

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There’s been no word from Derek Lambie about his legal threats, but a friend of Paula Murray’s has been in touch; he wanted his details removed from the Paula Murray drinky-drinky post.

I didn’t think his specific request made any sense without his taking a position on Murray’s conduct, so to be sure, I asked him for a wee statement on that before proceeding.

He described this as ‘blackmail’ and said he’d be speaking to his lawyer about it.

No, I am not kidding.

He then went on to demand that I withdraw his details on the grounds that he retains copyright on this image:

copyright

No, I am not kidding.

Well, you can keep your privacy*, old chap, but I’m keeping your image:

copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyrightcopyright

copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright

copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyright copyrightcopyright

NOTE – Do not use this image. Violating copyright is wrong.

If any of Paula’s friends would like to see their faces removed from this post, then please do get in touch**.

I will do everything I can to appreciate your position and act accordingly, but I can only do this if you’re willing to explain what that position is.

Vague signals that may or may not mean “I only care about myself” don’t count; if you’re going to be a selfish hypocrite about it, just say so, and I’ll happily sort it right out. Seriously. Tell me on what grounds you want the relevant image(s) removed, and I will most likely remove it/them, regardless of what you say.

Doing things in this way at least gives me a chance of determining if innocent victims are involved, or if I’ve merely inconvenienced a bunch of self-centred wankers.

In other news, here’s what’s happening on Paula Murray’s Facebook page today:

Bye, Paula!

Oh dear. Not having a Facebook account is seriously going to hamper her ability to befriend people she wants to turn over in her grubby little tabloid. Unless she plans on starting afresh under a false name. Not that someone with Paula’s integrity would ever do this of course; I’m just saying is all…

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[*A small percentage of people may be able to work out this chap's name. If you are one of those people, I ask that you (a) please keep it to yourself, or at least (b) never use it in association with this post or his image. If he's going to come after me, let it be for copyright infringement alone. I want to see this.]

[**Offer does not apply to ickle babies. I'll settle your hash in 2026 or thereabouts.]

[Oi! Derek! I hear whispers of an upcoming apology. It’s about bloody time. Make it a BIG one, eh? On the front page, where the original attack was, if you please. The headline should read ‘OUR SHAME’ and, if you don’t mind a little advice, you should avoid any pathetic attempts at mitigation, especially now that you have to apologise for the act and for taking such a long time to get around to it.]

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UPDATE – Graham Linehan – It’s working…: And remember, there is no reason as yet to let up on The Express. While an apology is obviously a good start, we need to know what safeguards they are putting in place to ensure that nothing like this happens again, and how the journalist (Paula Murray) and the editor (Derek Lambie) will be punished for their appalling lack of moral judgement.

And the path to that is continued pressure via the petition. Take a few moments today to (quickly) explain it and share it with some of your ‘offline’ friends. Not a big campaign email, just a quick heads-up to a few extra people that you know will care about this, but may have missed the fuss on blogs and in Facebook. Graham’s post has more.

Derek Lambie: The Gates

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Derek Lambie

Click here to sign the petition
(4,481 signatures and counting)

Click here to join the Facebook group
(3,302 members and counting)

IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS ISSUE, PLEASE *READ* THE PETITION

Scottish Sunday Express article at the centre of this can be read here.

FYI: High demand is causing comment glitches and temporary outages.
Comments are still welcome, but some may be lost or duplicated. Be warned.

- | -

I’m hearing noise about pending/current legal action from the corner of Derek Lambie, editor of the Scottish Sunday Express.

For example, this claim appeared on the Popbitch board day before yesterday:

screen capture

I wasn’t sure if this was entirely true at first. It could have been part of a joke by ‘celtiagirl’, or even a little joke by Derek Lambie. Or, it could’ve been a genuine/empty threat from a man who would rather not have his Facebook account cherry-picked for compromising data.

Point is I wasn’t sure, so I asked him via email, and received a ‘read’ receipt, but no reply…. and not for the first time.

You may recall this vague threat from last week:

“I hope the personal attacks on paula murray will cease or further action will be taken.” – Derek Lambie (source)

Despite relevant questions being raised twice, Lambie never did get back to me about what personal abuse he was talking about and what action had been taken, if any.

Maybe he’s not at liberty to say for legal reasons. Maybe he just wants me to think that he’s taking/considering legal action (see: Dean Godson). Or perhaps he has me confused with another blogger.

Actually, judging by this comment, he does appear to regard us as some sort of organised gang:

“As you are no doubt aware – thanks to mass bloggers on the Internet – we have been inundated with letters and comments. Many of them have been extremely personal. ” – Derek Lambie (source)

Because it’s our fault, this. Without us “mass bloggers”, no-one would be outraged. We all ganged up on the poor, defenceless staff of Express Newspapers and invented this anger and outrage. It’s not real or genuine or spontaneous at all; it’s engineered outrage. It’s Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross all over again (and again). So whatever it is that you think you’re feeling right now, you may as well put it away and forget about it, because Lambie thinks you’re having him on, and you’re wasting your breath. Oh and your criticisms are buried under a neatly arranged scattering of personal abuse, so you should be happy with the two letters he printed and shut the hell up.

Anyway, as I was saying, the vague legal threat is still hanging in the air, there is talk of it being repeated (which Lambie is doing little to discourage, at least), and I want to take the precaution of reminding Derek Lambie and anyone else who might be reading just why we’re here…

Dunblane Memorial Window by Shona McInnes

The Dunblane Memorial Window, Holy Family Church, Dunblane (original)
“The theme is the triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil…” – Shona McInnes

I don’t entirely trust my own memories of the Dunblane massacre. As you may or may not be aware, it was the sensational media coverage of Dunblane, particularly the portrayal of the killer, that was the trigger for a young man who turned away from thoughts of simple suicide and instead decided to take a whole bunch of us lesser humans with him, on 28 April 1996 in the Port Arthur massacre. In short, for this little black swan, the two shockwaves overlap with the bonus of some justified anger at the media that I’d really rather not going into right now. So, instead, here’s a student editorial from 1996 to bring us back into focus:

AT 9am on Wednesday 13 March 1996, Mrs. Mayor’s class arrived at the gates of Dunblane Primary School, many of them never to return home.

The senseless slaughter of the infants in Dunblane is one of those events too horrifying to comprehend. A nation still mourns the lives of sixteen young children and their teacher, it is doubtful they will ever stop grieving.

It is hard to comprehend that this has happened. It’s numbing, and still the shock has no worn off. Standing outside of one of the school gates was one of the most harrowing experiences I have ever encountered.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, and with the town of Dunblane. They will never forget. Never forgive. Their hurt will never ease, their loss never brought back. Words cannot express our thoughts, our emotions, our sympathies. We cannot begin to comprehend. We could never understand the great sense of loss.

Nothing can bring the children back, and for the families this grief will never go away. Forevermore, they will be hammered by the callous, cold and calculated killings at Dunblane Primary School. The hurt is too raw, the grief is too deep, the shock is too mind-numbing.

That’s from the lead editorial of the March/April 1996 edition of BRIG, the official student newspaper of Stirling University.

Derek Lambie went to Stirling University, and I know you shouldn’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia, but it says so on the page about Derek Lambie that was created by Derek Lambie (and is, so far, Derek Lambie’s sole contribution to Wikipedia).

Anyway, I’m getting off the track, and my point is that Derek Lambie was at Stirling University in 1996, but he’s not acting like a man who read that editorial.

Which is a crying shame, because he’s actually the man who wrote it.

oof

That was written by Derek Lambie, then-editor of BRIG, as part of a 7-page spread on the Dunblane massacre. It’s in the Stirling University newspaper archives (go see for yourself), and this discovery comes to us courtesy of one of those idealistic student-types that hangs around campus scanners and photocopiers and imagines that they are angry about petty opportunistic attacks on blameless victims of horrific violence. Turns out there’s a few people like that.

Again, getting back on track…

Right now, keeping in mind the gravity of this issue and the emotions Derek Lambie experienced when he stood outside those school gates, what I really want to know is when exactly Derek Lambie plans of getting on with it, and suing us bloggers in the name of the victims of the Dunblane massacre.

Because surely he gave that article by Paula Murray the main front page headline because he was trying to protect these people from themselves. Surely he’d only be intending legal action that would help those victims to move on and forget the pain. Let’s not forget that “forevermore, they will be hammered by the callous, cold and calculated killings at Dunblane Primary School” (and maybe a tabloid hack or two, because that’s clearly their right).

There’s no way he’s be suing anybody for selfish reasons at all. You know; because he has to cover his arse and/or Paula Murray’s after he gave that reporter free rein and a front page to have a go at vulnerable young adults, allowing them to be singled out and attacked (again!) just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time 13 years ago. Such a thing would be unthinkable…. and quite unconscionable.

So obviously there’s some key element I’m missing that makes me wrong and him right.

Therefore, in the name of the dearly departed and the remaining victims (families, loved ones, survivors and even those shocked bystanders standing outside the gates), I beg you to please take me, and take me now, Derek Lambie.

I surrender willingly to your superior force. Come and sue me. Smite me if it pleases you.

Or go see the wizard*, face your critics, take your lumps, and rejoin the human race.

Here, let me turn the artificial emotions up to eleventy while you think about your decision.There’s no need for you to think about it too much, mind. After all, you’re an important editor of a major regional newspaper; you couldn’t possibly be wrong about this:

[*see: brains, heart and courage]

The Daily Express is innocent!

This will be an interesting fly in the ointment if this ever goes to court*:

Someone created a Wikipedia page for Paula Murray, and later, somebody with an IP address that traces back to Northern & Shell (62.189.196.136) made two edits, but only wanted us to know that the article appeared specifically in the Scottish Sunday Express:

screen capture of first of two edits

They didn’t touch anything else. Not even this passage about the recently-shy MSP Elizabeth Smith:

The article features a quote attributed to Scottish MP Elizabeth Smith “I have to say personally I’m not happy. Some of the things that go up on these websites are very unfortunate and I don’t think they give a very good picture about the youngsters.”. However the MP has insisted that her quotes were taken out of context and she was not asked anything at all about Dunblane by Paula Murray.

(*More on that shortly.)

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