Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 29, 2010

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

[MINI-UPDATE (Sep 01) – Please scroll down for an important update. Jeremy Hunt has, as predicted, deleted his apology and every comment made in response, as if it never happened.]

Jeremy Hunt has recently suggested that hooliganism caused the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people died, then apologised “IF his comments caused any offence” (which many regard to be a more offensive gesture than his original remarks). There are, at the time of writing, 150 comments published under the short apology on his website.

But the people leaving comments on Jeremy Hunt’s ‘blog’ deserve to be warned that Jeremy’s apology is scheduled for deletion (probably within a month) along with any comment(s) they contribute.

No, I am not extrapolating wildly from Jeremy Hunt’s recent mass deletion of tweets; I have interviewed Jeremy Hunt about this matter specifically, and it is his stated policy that only “fresh” information be displayed on his ‘blog’.

In roughly 30+ days, Hunt’s apology will be removed, and every published comment submitted in response will be removed, too… and while this Portcullis-headed website may not be funded from Parliamentary Allowances and Hunt is free to conduct himself within the law on his own property:

1) It strikes me as a wee bit disrespectful (to the extent that it further undermines this apology)

2) I would question the integrity of a man who demands transparency from the BBC (for example) while systematically erasing his archives

I’m also of a mind to preserve this data, regardless of what Jeremy Hunt may think about its importance.

Below is a copy of Jeremy Hunt’s ‘Hillsborough’ apology, plus all of the comments published under it. This post will be updated frequently, acting as a mirror of the original post (until that entry is removed from Jeremy Hunt’s site, when it go on to act as an the archive, and will be formatted for easier reading once all the copying and pasting is behind us).

(more…)








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 23, 2010

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

The Tories almost lost one of their most effective undercover activists last night, in a criminal act of sabotage that many suspect to be an assassination attempt.

Einy Shah (codename Einy90) showed the pluck she is famous for by shrugging off the attack and immediately taking charge of the relevant investigation, resulting in two strong leads (three if we count ‘broken britain’ as a suspect):

Einy90 tweets live from the crime scene

[For security reasons, Einy90 cannot reveal who has ordered her to cease tweeting or blogging at this time, but we do know that she has cleverly bypassed this order by tweeting her thoughts and then later – sometimes immediately – deleting them (a technique pioneered and approved by the new Tory Minister for the Internets, Jeremy Hunt). Our thanks go to HumphreyCushion, who managed to screen-capture what the EinyBot missed.]

While Einy90’s detective skills are second to none, we would like to take this opportunity to launch a public appeal, and present this photo of Einy90’s bicycle before the attack (source) in the hope that it might trigger someone’s memory and/or provide some clue as to who might have attacked it, and why:

Einy90's bicycle, before the attack

Currently, forces that oppose a Conservative government (i.e. the criminal element) are suspected of what may be a random attack, but it is equally likely that Einy Shah has been specifically targeted in order to silence one of Boris Johnson’s top agents.

Her exact role when working in support of London’s mayor is an official secret, but FOI requests have revealed that she is – or perhaps was – paid £8.50 per hour on a casual basis as part of the Peer Outreach Team, leaving her well funded and free to act with autonomy.

Here, we should stress that this may be a clever cover story designed to throw off nosy leftists, bloggers, journalists and other agents of evil, but Einy90 can be heard in action in this recording of a 2009 radio broadcast (skip to 8:30), feeding a planted question to Boris Johnson with the ruthless efficiency she is famous for.

Obviously, with Boris Johnson approving of such techniques on the wireless, it follows that he would be just as willing to allow it to work in his favour on the interwebs, but one should not place too much weight on this assumption or succumb to any knee-jerk reactions elicited by pejorative terms such as ‘astroturfing’ and ‘sock puppeting’, because this is what secret agents do for a living (see: Andrew Gilligan), plus they do, after all, participate in these relatively minor deceptions while fighting for a the greater good of Conservative dominance:

Andrew Gilligan in OCTOPUPPET: a short film about sock-puppets from Tim Ireland on Vimeo.

Take, for example, the very real fact that Ken Livingstone is 65 years old. Should the Conservatives be penalised just because lefty spin means this is never mentioned by their activists? Obviously not. Therefore it is both logical and fair that someone like Einy Shah should fill this gap by posing as a disillusioned Labour/left activist who is concerned that poor old Ken is past it (a technique pioneered and approved by the Tory Campaigning Brain, Grant Shapps):

Einy90 in action as 'No2Ken'

Of course, the temptation is there to ask the Mayor’s office if No2Ken this is an official/approved or independent mission, but you’d be better off asking David Cameron for the Trident launch codes; some secrets are too big to share, and if they fell into the wrong hands…. why, even Boris Johnson’s bicycle wouldn’t be safe from the forces of leftism.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 27, 2010

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Excuse me, folks. I know you many of you are waiting for an update on the Nadine Dorries situation, but I want to be absolutely sure of the circumstances in which she made these false allegations before going any further, and this (open) letter is long overdue.

I will continue to update you on Twitter as and when. Cheers all.

To: Ian Hislop
CC: Adam Macqueen, Louis Barfe
From: Tim Ireland
Subject: Your baffling refusal to regret or retract a childish outburst

Ian Hislop

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Ian,

After yesterday’s discussion it’s clear that you are completely averse to a retraction of comments made under the umbrella of your organisation, despite your knowing how they have been used against me in the past and how they are being used against me to this day.

Still, knowing and understanding are two different things (which may be what G.I. Joe was banging on about in between explosions) so here’s what doesn’t fit into a two-minute conversation:

The first aspect you struggle to understand is that I am not being overly precious about my reputation, but instead merely trying to protect my family. I expose liars and get lied about often as a result, but people attacking me online are now armed with my home address thanks to a man called Dominic Wightman. This has resulted in the publication of my home address alongside claims that I’m a stalker of women who sends death threats to MPs. The same people also recruit unwitting newcomers, arming them with these false allegations and my home address (an act which has so far successfully slipped through the cracks between potential criminal and civil action).

Glen Jenvey claims to have been duped in a similar manner in the event that kicked off this major disruption in my life; he was armed (he claims by Wightman) with my home address and the false allegation that I was a convicted paedophile. The result; today, over a year after they were first posted, there are still some 50+ repeats of this dangerous smear live on websites hosted by Google, who refuse to remove them (and often take months to remove private data such as my home address when they claim to have a 48-hour response time).

The second aspect you struggle to understand is that the people most instrumental in these attacks are using Macqueen’s childish outburst and your ongoing silence to part-justify their allegations/actions.

Iain Dale actually tried to take political advantage of my being smeared as a paedophile while simulataneously libelling Tom Watson as a smear merchant. He went on to similarly exploit a man on the brink of suicide and the repeated publication of my home address. He did this primarily by lying about the context, the circumstances and the specifics of attempts to contact him about these matters, falsely giving the impression that he had made a valid complaint of harassment (which quickly evolved into an outright claim of ‘stalking’) and it was your man Adam Macqueen who popped up at the crucial moment on the website of another Private Eye writer, Louis Barfe, likening my correspondence with your magazine to the rantings of a “nutter on a bus”.

Macqueen then went on to lie about the context, the circumstances and the specifics of what he did/said, and I could prove that to you if you’d care to give the evidence some consideration, but I am fearful of how you or your staff would portray any attempt to contact you privately in the circumstances.

Adam Macqueen and Louis Barfe may know Iain Dale from way back when, but people change and nothing changes them faster than politics. Even some of Dale’s most ardent supporters have been forced to admit an even greater change in his behaviour since the Tories finally negotiated their way into government.

Recently, a young man submitted to Dale’s site a polite comment correcting him on one or two claims he made about the expanding protest in Parliament Square. Dale reacted by publicising the man’s home address and reporting him to his employer for shirking… over nothing more than a difference of opinion! He then went on to write and publish a series of comments alleging, theorising and contending all manner of sins without a scrap of evidence to back any of it.

Link:
http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/05/shouldnt-you-be-at-work-mike.html

Iain Dale is such a two-faced cockweasel that people don’t often see this side of him, but I saw it as early as 2006, when he knowingly allowed another ‘lefty’ to be smeared as a paedophile (yes, he has done this twice now), most likely because taking a public stand against it would have harmed his friend and political ally Anne Milton. At the time, political blogging was still in its infancy, but Dale had one of the most influential Tory blogs around and one or more of the people involved in the smear appear to have been regular comment contributors during and after this period.

The latter is hard to prove definitively because Iain Dale is second only to Paul Staines when it comes to running a political blog like an open sewer and allows his supporters to pose as several different people when it suits him, but what can be said for sure is that Dale went on to repeat anonymous comments submitted to his site claiming I had stalked Anne Milton as if this were a statement of fact.

Iain Dale went on to repeat this smear and variations of it, privately with other MPs, and at public events attended by MPs.

These repeated smears have also been used to good effect by his allies.

In fact, Nadine Dorries, a particularly close ally of Iain Dale’s, has followed the same dirty playbook. The only real differences arise from the lessons I have learned from Dale’s assault (don’t give them anything they can distort, and record, record, record).

Despite the urgency of some matters, I have only emailed Nadine Dorries 10 times in the space of two years, and each and every one of these emails related to her falsely accusing me of being mentally unstable and/or a stalker. She went on to misrepresent these emails anyway, portraying these attempts to address the smear of stalking as evidence of stalking (!) mainly by giving a false account of the emails’ contents and their frequency.

(Your man Macqueen pulled much the same stunt. He smeared me as a nutter, and portrayed my attempt to confront him – and you – about that as proof of what he claimed.)

Hearing of these and other lies Dorries was spreading in private and in public, during the recent election I went along to a public hustings event in Flitwick to film proceedings. Dorries reacted by declaring me to be a stalker in front of the entire gathering (twice) before storming out… and neatly avoiding having to answer her constituents on camera as a result.

When smearing me as a stalker, she described hundreds of abusive emails that were never sent and spoke of police investigations that never took place. Since this extraordinary outburst, she has even gone on to publicly liken her position to that of Stephen Timms, as if I am likely to stab the woman! This is no better than (and similar to) her ‘brink of suicide’ hysteria during the expenses scandal, but it carries the added bonus of casting me as a man with a violent, criminal character.

Links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjOr9vYg9dQ
http://adamcroft.net/2010/05/nadine-dorries-tim-ireland-and-flitwick-what-really-happened/
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/05/to-nadine-dorries.asp

I have no criminal record. I haven’t harassed anyone in the legal sense, and I certainly haven’t ever stalked anyone. I’m also of sound mind; it’s the situation that’s crazy, and you knowingly continue to be a part of it.

For that reason, I cannot trust you or your magazine on any claim where you are the only source. Given Macqueen’s extraordinary distortions over this (that you stand by), I can’t even trust the context in which you present claims where you are not the only source.

This is why, after ten years of buying, reading, trusting, endorsing and publicising your magazine, I don’t read Private Eye any more, and even advise others against trusting you or anything your staff/magazine put forward.

(Have I Got News For You, I turn off because I can’t stand seeing your smug, slap-headed face eating up the applause like a prize felcher, but I won’t pretend it’s unrelated.)

If your writers are going to distort the truth and tell outright lies and you are going to stand by them, it undermines everything you attempt to achieve with your magazine and everything you claim to stand for.

If you were a man of probity and honour, your refusal to be answerable to the PCC would be a grand gesture indeed, but without the vital ingredient of integrity, you’re just another publisher who seeks to avoid accountability… who does so under a banner of holding others to account!

And do you know what? This is exactly my beef with Iain Dale, and it always has been. This is the tabloid mentality I campaigned against long before Dale arrived to declare himself the king of bloggers (in polls he conducted himself), and it is something I will continue to fight for as long as I am able.

I honestly thought I would be fighting that fight with Private Eye at my back, not stabbing it. The way things are shaping up, the newly sober David Yelland appears more principled than you. David Yelland!

I am shocked and saddened because I genuinely thought you were better than this…. or at least smart enough not to be taken in by the likes of Iain Dale and his dirtbag mates.

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – Regardless of the ill will I feel towards you, I know you have suffered broadly similar attacks in your lifetime (e.g. the closest parallel; Piers Morgan repeatedly smearing you and interfering with your personal life while playing the victim) and I sincerely hope that one day you come to better appreciate the enormity of an accusation of child rape without having to endure the smear yourself. I can also guarantee you that, unlike some ‘leading’ bloggers, if I am ever to confront you over this again, I will do so openly, honestly, and under my own name.

For those who are wondering, I ran into Ian Hislop in Westminster yesterday. He agreed with me about how unacceptable this situation was… right up until the point where I pointed out how his staff were involved and how much good a simple retraction would do. His response; “Conversation over. Not going to happen.”

Ian Hislop also stated quite clearly that he would not be covering any of Nadine Dorries’ extraordinary outbursts in his magazine.

UPDATE (28 May) – A greatly appreciated response from Louis Barfe. Incorrect/misinformed in places, but at least someone’s communicating.

That’s the most insidious thing about this ‘stalker’ smear; the people accusing me do not have to come out and have their allegations tested… because they claim to have been advised not to talk to stalkers. Iain Dale lied, Adam Macqueen lied and Nadine Dorries lied, but any attempt to address those lies is then presented as further evidence of stalking. Witness, for example, Dorries portraying somewhere between 2 and 10 polite emails into hundreds of vile and abusive messages. They are serial liars hiding behind a shared, self-reinforcing lie.

(Yes, I have tried backing off. It only made the people attacking me bolder. They are scum who put me and my family at risk, and their reasons for wanting to silence a left-leaning blogger are pretty easy to guess at.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 24, 2010

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

“I have lived with the worry that people would think there was no smoke without fire. It was vitally important for me to clear my name.” – Nadine Dorries

Hi folks. What follows is an open letter to Nadine Dorries in response to her latest public outburst, which made the pages of her local newspaper yesterday. What you glimpsed on Twitter and/or in Bedfordshire on Sunday yesterday is barely the half of it; wait until you see what she tried to pull in her full statement. I was literally speechless myself.

click to enlarge/read

Dear Nadine,

As you should be aware, this is my first email to you since 30 March, 2010.

I am reluctant to contact you by email at all given how you have portrayed/described my ten emails to you over the past two years (especially when each and every one of these emails was written in response to your repeated outbursts about me), but you give me little choice.

Today I write to you to demand that you immediately cease broadcasting any further suggestion or assertion that I have a violent, criminal character.

You have presented no evidence to justify it, the claim is extraordinarily damaging, and further (as has been repeatedly explained to you and your associates) it is a claim that puts me and my family at considerable risk because of special circumstances that you appear determined to exploit.

On Friday afternoon (21 April) I was contacted by Bedfordshire on Sunday. In a process you likened to “a form of torture” during the recent expenses scandal, they sought my response to a statement you had issued about the closure of your Twitter account and (I was surprised to hear) your ‘blog’. To their credit, they declined to include the reference to Stephen Timms in the resulting article, which I include in this open letter as clear evidence of your intentions in this matter:

“Tim Ireland lives in Guildford.

“He is not a Mid Bedfordshire resident and therefore I am not answerable or accountable to him in any way whatsoever.

“I have been in consultation regarding his behaviour with the Westminster division of the Metropolitan Police, and the House of Commons police, for more than a year.

“Their advice was to close down my blog and Twitter account and thereby remove the ‘oxygen’ upon which he fed.

“As an election was imminent, I ignored this advice.

“Following the Stephen Timms incident last week I have decided that I should pay attention to the police advice and have therefore closed down both Twitter and my blog for the time being.”

On the 1st sentence, I can only stress that until recently you were convinced that I was from Croydon (and that your fellow Conservative Anne Milton was the MP for Croydon). Some people might take this error as a warning that they should look closer at the evidence they are relying on, but not you apparently.

On the 2nd sentence, I must ask; if you really feel this way, why do you continue to praise and endorse the work of Iain Dale, Paul Staines, Harry Cole, Phil Hendren and other Tory bloggers who repeatedly blog about MPs from outside their constituency? (There’s a wider point about my rights and our democracy that you’re missing, but given your narrow outlook, this question is your best path to it. Good luck.)

The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th sentences are highly defamatory, not least because the innuendo is one of my having a violent, criminal character. You cannot possibly hope to justify this; I have no criminal record for violent crime or any other kind of crime (though I may have strayed over the speed limit when going past a speed camera once). In fact, outside of the activism that occasionally puts us at odds, I’ve not had even a hint of trouble with police; certainly nothing that could support the idea that I am capable of criminal acts and/or violence toward others.

Yet in the above release (as in your outburst at Flitwick hustings) you present as a statement of fact (NOT an expression of opinion) that I have repeatedly engaged in criminal acts and represent such a danger to you that my actions have prompted a police investigation and hampered your capacity to communicate with your constituents to the extent that a range of extraordinary security measures are now required to ensure your safety! Your wish to include specific reference to the stabbing of Stephen Timms makes your intentions absolutely clear in this respect.

This is an allegation so serious, the sting of it would not be removed by a right of reply, and it is an allegation you continue to make in public and in private, despite a total lack of evidence and some very clear dangers to me (i.e. beyond the damage one might normally expect from defamation such as this).

What follows are two emails I sent to your local Conservative association that you were CCed on (i.e. two of only three emails I have sent you this year). I repeat them now to reinforce their plea, and to show the public the “barrage” of messages you have been passing off as “vile” and “abusive”:

From: Tim Ireland
*Date: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 2:19 PM
To: admin@midbedsconservatives.com
Cc: dorriesn@parliament.uk

Dear Andy,

I write to you today about the conduct of Nadine Dorries.

It is no secret that I am highly critical of Dorries’ and have repeatedly blogged about her, but:

1. She cannot classify this as harassment while supporting a campaign like #KerryOut (and/or continuing to endorse those behind it)

2. Dorries has published accusations about my mental state and my involvement in what she claims are attempts to prevent her free access to Twitter, but she cannot back any of this with evidence because none of it is true.

3. I’ve certainly gone out of my way to make Dorries more accountable (in much the same way that her friends pursue other MPs, often with far less justification), but nothing I have done warrants the repeated publication of my home address online, threats of violence, and other measures designed to intimidate me (if not put me at actual risk of harm).

While Dominic Wightman is the main ringleader, a man named Charlie Flowers is behind most of the attacks I have described in #3. He claimed in front of witnesses to have engaged in these online attacks on behalf of Nadine Dorries, and also claims to have emailed her and other pro-Tory bloggers (including Iain Dale and Paul Staines) to advise them of his actions/intentions.

– If Charlie Flowers is telling the truth about these emails:

Nadine Dorries chose not to alert me after receiving those emails. Why is that? Nadine Dorries has since published a vague claim about forwarding some unspecified emails to police, but she won’t provide me with any data that allows me to confirm her story and/or connect her report with my ongoing efforts to end this harassment. Why would she refuse to do this?

– If Charlie Flowers is lying about these emails;

Why would Nadine Dorries refuse the opportunity to immediately discredit him and perhaps even disown the campaign of harassment while she’s at it? Certainly it’s convenient for Nadine and many of her friends if I am so hampered by this harassment that I am unable to press her for answers about the £50 in her bra and the alleged drugs in her wash bag on Tower Block of Commons (just to give you two examples) but perhaps she – or you – can put forward some other likely reason.

– Regardless of the truth about the emails:

Nadine Dorries is well aware of what has been going on these past months and the harassment I have suffered after exposing the lies of two ‘amateur terror experts’ formerly associated with fellow Conservative MP Patrick Mercer. It cannot have escaped her attention that Mercer himself is using false accusations of stalking to avoid any questions about the matter.

Dorries may also be under the impression that I am mentally ill, or she may only be using the accusations/implications she has published about this for further cover/gain. Either way, the claims of mental instability put forward mostly by Dorries and her friends (Iain Dale, Phil Hendren and Harry Cole) rest on their dual assertion that (a) they have no case to answer, and (b) I hold to a grand, nonsensical conspiracy theory. Well, they do have a case to answer, not least because the conspiracy I described to them earlier was recently confirmed as genuine in front of witnesses; Dominic Wightman, Charlie Flowers and their associates have been repeating what these bloggers defend as ‘opinion’ and passing it off as fact. (Whether or not their continued/collective silence on the matter and their refusal to withdraw damaging/dangerous lies about me when they know how they are being used amounts to a wider conspiracy has yet to be established, but certainly can’t be ruled out.)

Dorries is also aware that accusations/’opinions’ published by her and close friend/ally Iain Dale form the bulk of the evidence behind the claims by Charlie Flowers and his associates (the ‘Cheerleaders’) that I am a stalker of women.

To put this into context, to avoid a repeat of earlier web account closures, Flowers and the ‘Cheerleaders’ are now recruiting other people to do their dirty work for them. When briefing new recruits, they tell them I am a stalker of women, and provide them with my home address. I fear for what may happen in those circumstances, especially in light of what happened after Glen Jenvey was convinced (by Dominic Wightman) that I was a convicted paedophile**.

Nadine Dorries could clear the matter up and significantly reduce the relevant dangers with a simple public statement, but she chooses not to.

I’m assuming she does not regard me to be an actual stalker, as she has yet to lodge any formal complaint about me, she hasn’t even threatened civil action, and mostly she is very careful about not identifying anyone when she publishes claims/implications about stalking.

Even if she does regard me to be a stalker, I would contend that relying on a vigilante response is an inappropriate way for an MP to behave.

I would further add that, in the course of investigating the many lies and deceptions of this MP, I have encountered and uncovered quite a lot of personal data. I have no interest in publishing or exploiting this data in any way, and I even take care to avoid reporting/publishing details that might lead people to this same data. (The most recent example of this being a report on [xx name snipped xx], whose personal details are entirely unprotected and all-too-accessible.) I have no interest in ‘harassing’ this MP, and if I did, there would be far easier ways to go about it other than publishing my criticism of her under my own name on a UK-hosted website. By contrast, the Tories who so often attack me on behalf of Nadine Dorries (Iain Dale, Phil Hendren, Harry Cole etc.) do so on US-based websites (making any potential civil action prohibitively expensive) or through a variety of false identities. At least one of Dorries known associates (Phil Hendren) has also sought to intimidate me through the publication of personal data in a related dispute. If you or anyone else seeks a ‘tit for tat’ justification for what Wightman, Flowers and the ‘Cheerleaders’ have been up to, you won’t find one in my corner.

In fact, twice now I have found myself in possession of data that would help Nadine Dorries track anonymous attacks against her, and twice I have offered that data to Dorries unconditionally, and in good faith. Both times I was ignored while Dorries allowed me to cop the blame for some aspect of these anonymous attacks. In the latter instance, she specifically accused me of being behind the attack, and maintained that accusation, even after I published the relevant evidence. This goes beyond poor manners. There’s no other word for it but ‘malice’, and I suspect that malice is what is keeping Nadine Dorries from acting responsibly in this instance.

Assuming the personal animosity Nadine Dorries and her supporters feel towards me hasn’t spilled over into the local Association, I’d like to ask that you take what action you can to resolve this matter. (I could pursue Dorries directly through a number of channels, but I fear any such attempt will be portrayed as ‘further’ harassment and used as an excuse to avoid the entire issue.)

The first matter I’d like to clear up is the claim by Nadine Dorries to have forwarded emails (we can only assume from Flowers and co.) to police somewhere in London. I’d like to know what she forwarded, when she did this, and which branch/officer she forwarded this data to as a matter of urgency.

I would appreciate a response by email today, please.

Tim Ireland

PS – It also bears mentioning that Nadine Dorries implied that the late Frank Branston was somehow stalking her. She refused to withdraw this politically-motivated smear, even after the poor chap passed away.

From: Tim Ireland
*Date: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 8:50 AM
To: admin@midbedsconservatives.com, dorriesn@parliament.uk

Andy,

To repeat: The first matter I’d like to clear up is the claim by Nadine Dorries to have forwarded emails (we can only assume from Flowers and co.) to police somewhere in London. I’d like to know what she forwarded, when she did this, and which branch/officer she forwarded this data to as a matter of urgency.

It has been over a month now, and you’ve not even afforded me the courtesy of a reply. I fear your sense of urgency is lacking.

Meanwhile, the people orchestrating this campaign of harassment continue to benefit from Nadine Dorries’ silence and continue to put me and my family at risk with anonymous claims of stalking published alongside my home address. Regardless of what Dorries thinks of me personally, she cannot excuse giving tacit approval to vigilantes like Charlie Flowers. Further, if she is telling the truth about her report, she is withholding information that would help me draw together an effective case against the people attacking me in this way. [xx snip detail xx]

There is no legal obstacle I’m aware of that would prevent Nadine Dorries from informing me of the name of the officer (or at least the department/station) she reported this matter to. Unless he was lying about having reported it, obviously, in which case her best bet (and yours) would be to refuse to answer any questions about it and yell ‘stalker’ at me if I dare press the matter.

Please advise me today of your intentions regarding this matter.

Tim Ireland

I have not yet heard back from the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association, and similarly you have shared nothing useful with me, when you seem to be witholding evidence that might establish (and thereby halt/minimise) the harassment targeting me, and even appear at times to be taking active measures to exacerbate this ongoing problem (while claiming all the while that it is you who are the true victim of harassment)

If you’ll pardon the vernacular; just what in the bloody hell are you playing at?

You are quite aware of the danger you expose me to when you cry ‘stalker’, and rather than address/minimise the danger you appear to be going out of your way to maximise it (by the very act of accusing me of being a danger to you).

That you would defame me, especially in this way, is a disgrace. You have no credible case to put to the police (who would have contacted me long before now if matters were anywhere near as serious as you make out), and instead you seek to air wholly unsubtantiated statements about my being guilty of stalking you… and capable of worse!

Regardless of what you believe, there can be no excuse for your repeated airings of these statements when you know how certain vigilante elements are reacting to them.

In closing, I will repeat my demand that you cease any further suggestion or assertion that I have a violent, criminal character immediately.

If you cannot understand the relevant moral and legal imperatives – that apply regardless of which constituency I live in – then please have someone explain them to you (and by that, I mean someone other than Donal Blaney).

Also, if you seriously claim to have received hundreds of abusive emails sent by me or in my name, then please honour my FOI/DPA request and share this and other relevant data with me. I would happily help you to trace/identify the source of these hundreds of emails, regardless of potential outcome (all I know for sure is that they are not coming from me).

Please acknowledge receipt of this email immediately, and reply soonest.

Tim Ireland

PS – I just saw you turn your back on the Speaker. Class act. You’re a credit to democracy.

[*Note how more than a month passes between these urgent requests. I was very concerned about how Dorries might misrepresent multiple attempts to contact her. Surprise, surprise, she went ahead and misrepresented these few emails as a “barrage” anyway.]

[**The claim that Dominic Wightman convinced Glen Jenvey I was a convicted paedophile has been published previous to this, but I now have further evidence to support that assertion, which is why it is stronger in this (now public) letter. I repeat this and all other relevant/tangential assertions here, in public, with confidence. Dominic Wightman has published an account where he described giving drunken residents in my village a tour of my street to see the front door of “the biggest nutter, stalker on the web”, and he makes similar dubious claims to Dorries about ‘advice’ he has received from police. The ‘Cheerleaders’ also claim to have enjoyed positive exchanges with police, extending at one stage to the quite false assertion that I have “37 retraint orders” (sic) against me. For the record; I have no restraint orders against me. Acting mostly as a bankrupt and/or beyond the reach of affordable civil action, Wightman has published a series of false claims about me, some of which he is merely confused about, but most of which he knows to be outright lies. His willingness to knowingly lie should be balanced with his claim to have contacted Iain Dale and his claim to have received positive communication from a large number of unnamed Tory bloggers about this matter, but the overlap in tactics and the similarity of claims/inventions from the two camps cannot be denied; the two camps are clearly communicating to some degree, even if they are only responding to what the other says or does in public.]

UPDATE (28 May) – Chris Paul shows that Nadine Dorries deleted her Twitter account ONE WEEK BEFORE the Stephen Timms incident (and her ‘blog’ not long after that). She can’t even blame mild hysteria for referencing it, then. I struggle to see what options are left other than malice, delusion or time travel.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 20, 2010

Category: Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

My main issue with our new Minister for the Internets is the scant regard he has for the general web community. At times, it’s almost as if our ways are completely alien to him, and stuff that seems obvious or second nature to us completely escapes him. That, or he’s one of those two-faced bastards who really don’t give a tuppeny stuff.

[Psst! I suspect the latter given the way he’s repeatedly turned a blind eye to local Tory web activists smearing an opponent as a paedophile (and me as a computer criminal). You need to be a special brand of bastard to stand by and allow that kind of stuff to go on in your neighbourhood when it suits you.]

Recently, I revealed that Jeremy Hunt doesn’t maintain an archive on his ‘blog’; he just throws old entries away, comments and all, never to appear again. He doesn’t even understand (or care) how impolite this is to the people who trust him with those comments.

And now the election is over and he’s got what he wanted from his Twitter audience, Jeremy Hunt has just deleted almost every tweet he made during the election. Tellingly, he has had time to make dozens of manual deletions, but has not even bothered to update his profile, which still reads as follows:

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South West Surrey and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Here’s a screen capture of the only tweets left on his Twitter account today:

Jeremy Hunt respects you THIS much

And here, for the record, are twenty of the tweets that Jeremy Hunt tried to erase from history.

Note how it begins with a pledge to his constituents; the link to this has been erased, and the pledge itself is also due for deletion soon (along with everything else that turns up on his ‘blog’). Does Jeremy Hunt not know or care what message this sends about his commitment to that pledge or any other?

– My pledge to South West Surrey: http://www.jeremyhunt.org/blog.aspx
12:41 PM May 3rd via web

– Good canvassing in Haslemere yesterday, visiting Frensham, Wrecclesham, Godalming & North Farnham today
9:06 AM May 1st via Twikini

– Nick Clegg contradicted LD policy on benefits, Steve Webb says JSA should be unconditional #leadersdebate
9:47 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Oh so Nick does support anmesty now….#leadersdebate
9:27 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– U turn on anmesty by Clegg after u turn on euro – what next? #leadersdebate
9:25 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Ahem Brown visited manufacturer today where worker told him company was flourishing DESPITE him #leadersdebate
9:15 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Clegg shameless u turn distancing himself from euro which he championed last year #leadersdebate
9:06 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– So Nick Clegg has never accepted donations from fund managers then? Mmmmm#leadersdebate
9:02 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Best explanation from DC ever on why Conservatives will rein in bankers #leadersdebate
8:59 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Who are the vice chancellors of parties Nick?#leadersdebate
8:46 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Keep grinning Gordon wins us millions of votes #leadersdebate
8:44 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Just arriving in Chippenham to help our brilliant candidate Wilfred EJ & greeted by a downpour. Need a Wiltshire cuppa
12:30 PM Apr 29th via Twikini

– Just been canvassing in Portsmouth with our candidate Flick Drummond & didn’t meet a single LibDem voter
11:05 AM Apr 29th via Twikini

Wilkinson_David: Off to BBC London Election Special in Stratford with @jowellt @jeremy_hunt @thomasbrake @georgegalloway Hope I can get a question in
4:48 PM Apr 27th via web
Retweeted by Jeremy_Hunt

#leadersdebate Gordon Brown just made biggest gaffe of campaign but denying responsibility for Labour leaflets
9:02 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– Don’t think Miriam will be inviting DC for tea and cake #leadersdebate
8:54 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate best exposition ever from DC of Big Society
8:50 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate Clegg ‘u can’t keep a lid on sin’ does he want to be next pope?
8:39 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate Nick Clegg script: there’s always an easy answer even when there isn’t e.g nuclear
8:33 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

– @leadersdebate Brown hasn’t flown because he shut the flipping airspace
8:27 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini

[Twitter users may note that Hunt begins the Leaders’ Debate a little bit confused about the difference between a username and a hashtag. I’ve left these dead links in place, as they’re instructive. You may also note that there are no replies. Yes, this sample is typical. To Hunt, Twitter was very much a one-way channel.]

UPDATE (1pm) – Jeremy Hunt has responded by (finally) updating his profile… and deleting the three remaining tweets on his account!

I think by this stage it’s pretty safe to guess what the underlying message is from the new Minister for the Internets:

Correction: Jeremy Hunt respects you THIS much

UPDATE (8pm) – Almost forgot to update with a link to today’s Telegraph article, including a response from Mr Hunt’s office:

Telegraph – Jeremy Hunt deletes all tweets critical of Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats: Many of Mr Hunt’s tweets criticising the Lib Dems are potentially embarrassing given the Lib-Con coalition, but a spokeswoman for the minister denied there was any attempt to airbrush the past. All of the South West Surrey MP’s campaign tweets have now been deleted because his ministerial role represents “a new chapter and we are starting afresh”, she said. The spokeswoman added: “They were pre-government and we are now tweeting post-government. He is going to carry on tweeting, and his updates will appear on the DCMS website.” She confirmed that Mr Hunt updated his Twitter account personally, and would continue to do so. He has more than 3,000 followers.

Jeremy Hunt later attempted to reassure us in person with this tweet, in which he appears to imply that some concerns may not be genuine:

Correction: Jeremy Hunt respects you so VERY much

Problem is, no-one’s really buying it, and that he thinks this to be the issue shows once again that Hunt hasn’t even begun to get it.

[Psst! Jeremy! It is not just about what you do/don’t have to hide. It is about the way you pretend that things were never said. It is about the way you refuse to stand by what you publish and simply erase it instead. If those tweets were of no consequence, then why not leave them be? If you regretted them and didn’t wish to stand by them, why not issue a retraction and/or an apology to Nick Clegg (and others)? Oh, and perhaps have the courtesy to explain to us voters why your position has changed on any/all of it. Don’t pretend the latter concept is insignificant or alien to you; during the election and long before that, throughout your political career, you’ve challenged others to stand by or account for their past statements, and you damn well know it.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at April 1, 2010

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

No, we don’t plan to take 4 weeks away from work/families to hound Nadine Dorries, park a van outside her house and basically stalk her on the campaign trail. That would be just a little bit OTT.

The joke is this is all too close to the fantasy that Nadine Dorries and others hold to.

The People's PamphletThe punchline is that while all the van/stalking crap is fake… The People’s Pamphlet is real.

The relevant wiki is brought to us by the capable and clever Dave Cross (cheers, Dave):

Fellow Traveller’s Wiki: Home of the People’s Pamphlet

Anyone claiming this to be a personal attack of bile and vitriol is going to look a little bit foolish (not to mention dishonest), as it’s designed from the ground up to be as relevant and issue-driven as possible. The whole exercise revolves around deciding on the best issues to put forward, and the fairest (yet most effective) way to present them.

Transparency? The whole thing will be built/negotiated in public, which normally would give the subject plenty of time to prepare for any of the questions raised… but the difference with Dorries over many other MPs is that there are now far too many pertinent questions that she has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid, and by now she cannot afford to answer any of them with any honesty.

So, unlike the baseless, childish and pathetic #kerryout attacks (1, 2), this will be an issue-driven campaign that will be more transparent than anything that’s come before it.

We will be strongly encouraging people to contribute under their own name, and if you’re attached to any party-political campaign/team, you won’t be able to take part.

Also, the project has its own safety-valve; without sufficient support and consensus, nothing gets printed/delivered.

Each contributor will be asked to make a minor initial donation at the point of registration (to keep the site ticking over and keep timewasters away) but we intend to organise the primary/major donations via the wiki, too; with contributors pledging what they can (if they are in agreement with the direction of the letter/pamphlet) toward a goal of (yet to be fully determined/finalised) printing/delivery costs.

If you don’t like where the letter/pamphlet is going, you pull out. Simples. If you agree with where it’s going, we expect to meet you at the lock-off point; where you put your money where your mouth is and sign your name to the letter/pamphlet.

Further, like any wiki, this has the potential for expansion, and while there are very few MPs who are quite so mendacious and reckless with the truth as Nadine Dorries, we are open to the idea of expanding the project to cover other candidates, for as long as we can do so credibly, sensibly and safely.

But first we’re going to start discussing and forming a letter/pamphlet that we intend to deliver to every household in the constituency of Mid Bedfordshire, and we invite you to join us.

And no, this time we’re not kidding.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 11, 2010

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Last night I attended a Social Media Summit hosted by Lewis PR and Salesforce.com and run/moderated by Paul Evans.

A number of people spoke on the panel, including Jeremy Hunt.

Jeremy Hunt is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey (which will become my constituency after boundary changes) and, more importantly in light of the subject matter, he is Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. If the Tories scrape through at the next election, he will, in effect, become the Minister for Teh Internets.

Hunt also puts himself about as a bit of a blogger, and a believer in social media.

At last night’s event, Hunt declared that social media has led to MPs being more accountable.

There was a loud cough/splutter from the audience. That was me. Sorry.

In 2006, two Conservative activists closely associated with neighbouring Conservative MP Anne Milton anonymously smeared a political rival as a paedophile. I emailed Hunt about this at the time. The wannabe Minister for Teh Internets decided that this behaviour was not only a seedy and unseemly political tactic, but a wholly unacceptable use of the medium, and a general risk to the online community he wanted to represent.

Just kidding. In fact, Jeremy Hunt decided to say and do precisely nothing about it then, and he avoids any straightforward discussion of his decision to put party ahead of principle to this day.

We did have a discussion (of sorts*) about it on his ‘blog’ once, and I would link to that right now, but I can’t, for the same reason I’ve put the word ‘blog’ in scare-quotes; it’s gone.

Not only is that conversation gone, but the post above it is gone, too. In fact, everything Jeremy Hunt blogged about in 2008 and 2009 (along with every comment entrusted to him) has been disappeared into the ether.

The way Jeremy Hunt puts it; he only maintains a recent/immediate ‘archive’, which appears to amount to the last 30-odd posts. Everything else just… disappears. I’m not sure at this stage if a date-stamp kills them, or if they’re pushed into the void by each new post (like new facts in Homer Simpson’s brain) but either way, sooner or later, down the memory hole it goes. Bye-bye!

Even if you’re aware of the URL of an old entry (or work it out from the naming convention) you won’t be able to access it. Here’s entry 229; it’s the earliest live entry visible (from Jan 2010). Try entry 228 or anything earlier, and you’ll either get an error page or be bounced back to the front page.

Hunt gave me some waffle about “immediacy” to explain it, but this is not in keeping with his approach to his press release archive (which goes all the way back to 2004) and it completely dodges the issue of accountability.

Every other blogger on the scene understands the importance of maintaining an archive (with the possible exception of Iain Dale, who has a bad habit of editing/deleting old entries without notation)… but Jeremy Hunt regards it to be unimportant.

How does Jeremy Hunt’s ‘blog’ make him any more accountable, if he’s not willing to simply stand by his previous utterances?

What does this say about his attitude toward those who take the time to contribute comments and participate in conversations on his site? Do they know their contributions will soon be deleted as an irrelevance?

Also, Jeremy Hunt is an MP, familiar with a little thing called Hansard, and one hopes he’s not blind to the importance of (and the principles behind) that archive. Would he have that only go back 2-3 months as well? How about the LexisNexis and/or the British Newspaper Library? Will Jeremy Hunt be proposing we make those archives more ‘immediate’ if the Tories get in?

Finally, as I mentioned, this is the guy who wants to be Minister for Teh Internets… and he doesn’t appear to have the slightest appreciation of or respect for one of the core principles of online publishing.

(Oh, and – as I mentioned – he’ll also turn a blind eye when local sock-puppeting Conservative activists wish to smear an opponent as a paedophile. Which is nice.)

As he was racing off to something that was – I assume – far more important than my question about archives and accountability, I showed him a copy of a page he had ‘disappeared’ (I have trust issues with some of the local Tories, so I saved a copy of our paedo-smear conversation to my hard drive).

Hunt actually had the audacity to claim that he was accountable for material he had ‘blogged’ in the past, because someone else had bothered to archive a single page of content for their own records.

Unfortunately, this only begins to approach ‘near enough’ (if not ‘good enough’) if all of the past content is archived by a third party, and then published in a navigable/indexable form. So that’s what I’m going to do, starting with whatever I can gather from these scraps in the WayBack Machine. Obviously, I’m going to need to be a top search result for ‘Jeremy Hunt’ for this to be sufficiently visible, but this shouldn’t be a problem; it’s what I do best, and my version of his blog will offer a wealth of relevance (that he clearly regards to be irrelevant).

I doubt Jeremy will be happy that my version of his blog will allow additional comments that are beyond his control, but that’s the price you pay for outsourcing simple accountability.

[*Jeremy Hunt also cheats at comment moderation, but I’ll leave that for a later post.]

NOTE – The Bloggerheads archive goes all the way back to 2001, and there are NO changes to any of this without notation (example).








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 16, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!, Video

Conservative Change Channel – Rupert Murdoch and other great Australians

There’s a new character on Conservative Change Channel by the name of Dougal Blimey. I hope you enjoy meeting him as much as I enjoyed creating him.

Incidentally, I was working on Dougal’s back story last night and was delighted to learn that there is already a firm using the name ‘Godwins Law’.








Posted by Tim Ireland at November 3, 2009

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Hi folks. Pardon the housekeeping, but a certain dark corner needs a sweep and some daylight. On with the open letter:

Dear Mr Rubinstein,

I completely reject any notion that I have harassed or stalked your client in any legal sense that you can hope to establish, or that I intend to do anything that is not my legal and moral right.

Regarding language, you are wasting your breath on this tired old chestnut. It has taken months of harassment and threats of violence at the hands of people using your client’s false accusations against me to bring me to the point where I use swear words to describe him. I would add to this that I take offence at some of the language your client uses (and the tone you took with me over my nationality).

Your client made accusations of stalking and harassment quite publicly and very dishonestly. Those public accusations are the primary reason I seek to make contact with him, as he refuses to stand by them on his site, but at the same time he will not withdraw them or issue any kind of correction, even though he knows they are being used against me in a wholly inappropriate manner. (This, I regard to be quite deliberate, especially in light of how he knowingly used a very similar tactic to libel the MP Tom Watson.)

Further, your client went on to spread these accusations privately, by his own admission.

At the time of the Tory Party Conference, my (ex-directory) home address was being widely published alongside your client’s false accusations of stalking. I will assume you are not implying that my decision to contact him at this particular time was politically motivated, as this is beneath you (if not your client).

Contrary to what you claim, your client appears to have at the very least received communications from Dominic Wightman (in the form of comments) and, I suspect from his previous carefully-phrased denials, Glen Jenvey also.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt regarding what you report about your staff and assume that they have trouble telling the difference between aggression and frustration. I asked yesterday that you simply confirm receipt of my email, and your staff were insisting that this involve a phone call with you. I have no desire to be subjected to further patronising/xenophobic comments from you, and nor do I wish to open myself to accusations that I am somehow needlessly burdening your client with billable activities.

Getting away from the alleged discomfort of your staff and back to online ‘toughs’ repeatedly publishing my home address alongside your client’s obviously false and quite strategic accusations of stalking:

I will continue to pursue this regardless of my limited time and resources until your client moves either way. I have little choice, and I will not tolerate him leaving an untested accusation out there, especially when he is aware that it is being used in this way.

Knowing what is happening and how it is disrupting my personal and professional life, your client is, in effect, using thugs in place of the courts. If he weren’t, surely he would withdraw the accusation that he made publicly or test it in court. (Or, at a stretch, engage in a further ‘trial by new media’ that doesn’t involve him engaging in lies of omission and/or hiding behind anonymous comments on his own website.)

You have asked me to stop calling/emailing your client. I have repeatedly asked your client to stand by his claims or withdraw them.

As for your repeated insistence that I use legal muscle to deal with this, your client has, by his past behaviour, left me in little doubt that he would only use this to imply that I am somehow guilty and/or a hypocrite and enemy of free speech:
http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2009/05/telegraph-takes-down-nadines-blog.html
http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2009/04/draper-watson-call-in-lawyers-to-put.html

In short, your client is a liar, and he has been lying since the beginning of this sorry affair, when he agreed to call Patrick Mercer, then didn’t, then lied about that, then lied to his readers about his being ‘stalked’ to mask his own shameful conduct after he put politics (or some personal beef) ahead of principle.

I was being falsely accused of *paedophilia*, Mr Rubinstein. I do not take such accusations lightly, and I know exactly what is going on when your client, a self-proclaimed community leader, can’t be bothered to make a single phone call to address that, and then almost immediately afterwards pulls out all the stops to play-act as a warrior against smears, refusing my calls and emails while knowingly libelling a political enemy and blogging rival as a smear-merchant.

That he would then (through you) go on to describe my concerns about being smeared as a convicted sex criminal as a “pre-occupation with accusations… of paedophilia” is the icing on the cake.

I contend that Iain Dale’s accusation of stalking is nothing more than a political weapon. He uses it without shame, knowing that it led to attacks and threats directed at me from the very first day he first made it, and eventually escalated to a point that he (only privately) recognises is beyond the pale.

In light of this, I make no apologies for any attempt to contact him, or for calling him a ‘bastard’, because he’s certainly been acting like one.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

PS – You object to me contacting you, while insisting that I am free to publish what I please (within the law) on my website. So I have replied with this open letter on my website, and not burdened you with any emails or calls about it, lest I unwittingly distress you or your staff. Hope that’s OK.

Right, now that’s out of the way, I have some ART to attend to. Back soon.








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 28, 2009

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!, UK Libel Law

“I didn’t libel Tom Watson. if I had done, he would have sued me.” – Iain Dale (source)

Today, in the High Court, The Sun issued an apology to Tom Watson (more) and agreed to pay a “substantial sum in damages” (plus costs) for the “acute distress, humiliation and embarrassment” caused.

Take a look at what The Sun have apologised for specifically:

The Claimant was not copied in on, nor did he know about any of the emails between McBride and Draper until Friday 10 April, when the matter was first drawn by the media to the attention of Downing Street. He did not have any involvement in or knowledge of the “Red Rag” website. Accordingly, the Claimant did not lie when he publicly denied involvement by way of press releases issued first by him on 12 April and then on 14 April by Carter-Ruck solicitors on his behalf. (source)

The origin of the false claim that Tom Watson was CCed on the Draper/McBride emails is officially unknown; the person who first aired it via a mainstream channel was the Conservative blogger Iain Dale.

Iain Dale included the ‘CC’ claim in an article published by the Mail on Sunday on Sunday 12 April 2009. Iain’s story has changed a few times, but let’s take this recent version as gospel, just for laughs:

In the original text submitted to the Mail on Sunday I alleged that Tom had been copied in on the Damian McBride emails. I did so because I was told that by a senior Labour source that this was the case. I also published it on my blog in THIS post at 5.45 on the evening of 11 April. At 6.20pm I received a call from Guido Fawkes who told me that Tom Watson had not in fact been cc’d on the emails he had seen, although he was referred to. I immediately reworded the blogpost and wrote a replacement paragraph for the Mail on Sunday column, which was sent to them at 6.30pm. In retrospect, instead of amending the blogpost I should have written an Update at the bottom. However, I needed to get the Mail on Sunday piece corrected. Unfortunately, despite me sending it in what I assumed to be good time, the change wasn’t made so the wrong paragraph was printed. This was cockup, not conspiracy.” – Iain Dale (source)

If we’re to believe Iain, then the urgent need to send a single email on early Saturday evening led to his failure to issue a correction on the original post for the rest of the night and all of the following Sunday and Monday (no correction was posted there until 11.30am on Tuesday 14 April, even though Iain managed to post a small ‘clarification’ elsewhere at 4.15pm on Monday 13 April) but the fact is that Iain had plenty of opportunities to issue a correction and chose not to.

In fact, at the time, he was knowingly deleting comments (mostly from me) asking him to post a correction, but I’ll get back to that and more right after we look at the libel left standing:

1. The libel that remained (and is still present on his website)

Initially, Iain removed from the offending post the text that read; “Tom Watson, who sat next to McBride in the Downing Street bunker and was copied on on all the emails to Derek Draper” but left in place the following:

“Tom Watson is Minister for the Civil Service. What did he do when he received these emails? Did he berate Damian McBride and tell him to stop abusing his position? No. Instead, he either tacitly or overtly encouraged McBride to send more.”

There was (and is) NO proof that Tom Watson received these emails at all, so it is false to assert that he was in a position to object and conclude that he “tacitly or overtly encouraged McBride to send more”. The evidence simply doesn’t support the premise. This passage was/is libel. End of.

This text was NOT removed from the body of the post until days later, and (in a classic indication of how careless Dale is with comments) remains live on his website even today:

screen capture of comment

One of Iain Dale’s favourite tricks is to deny that something is libel on the basis that it is an honestly-held opinion (e.g. in his mind, this applies when he publishes claims that I am “clearly psychotic”). Here, he has taken it that one step further and based a (false) assertion of fact on that opinion, and he still doesn’t recognise that it’s libel. Extraordinary.

Further, this text (especially minus any correction) clearly gave the impression that the ‘CC’ claim stood, when instead it was based on nothing more than Iain Dale’s certainty that Tom Watson must have known what was happening at a nearby desk on a colleague’s computer, and here we come to the lie of omission:

2. The false ‘CC’ claim, and the lie of omission that followed

According to Iain’s own account, the ‘CC’ claim was also live on his website for a short period on Saturday 11 April 2009 before Iain removed it…. but remove it is all he did. At the time he published no correction about his false ‘CC’ claim and (crucially) continued to publish comments (his own and others’) that asserted Tom Watson’s involvement as a matter of fact, not opinion.

Here you need to take into account the size and nature of the audience Iain was playing to at the time. Let’s take the single day of Sunday 12 April; Iain’s audience has jumped from average of 5,000 to 8,000 visitors on a Sunday to somewhere near 18,000 that particular Sunday (source). The following diagram – which is to scale – compares his enlarged circulation for that day to the approximate daily circulation of the Mail on Sunday on the same day (source), and The Sun on the next (source).

comparison of circulation figures

Exactly how these audiences overlap and where Iain’s extra ~10K visitors came from on that day remains uncertain, but it’s fair to assume that a good portion of them are likely to have arrived after being exposed to the false ‘CC’ claim, and it’s fair to say that only a handful of them left corrected on that point for all of Sunday the 12th and most of Monday the 13th; indeed, according to Iain’s own account, if you wanted to learn the truth before Tuesday, you needed to be (a) a journalist, (b) who asked about the ‘CC’ claim specifically

(Psst! This same diagram may also provide clues about Tom Watson’s decision to sue over what was published in The Mail on Sunday and The Sun but not on Iain Dale’s Diary, regardless of how influential Dale himself may have been in sharing/publishing the central falsehood.)

3. Deliberately careless comment moderation

Iain Dale did all of this with Blogger.com-hosted comment moderation turned OFF; this meant that comments would be published immediately, without being checked by Iain first.

If someone went too far in what they claimed about Tom Watson (or anyone else), then Iain Dale would allow them to run free for however long he was away from his screen, before erasing (some) comments without so much as an ‘oops’ for the record. This is not something he allows on his site when there are serious accusations levelled against him or his friends, but for some reason he thinks it’s fair to subject political enemies to this risk when it suits him.

There were repeated instances of people taking advantage of the shoddy moderation over the long weekend, using the platform to launch attacks on Tom Watson, and even to imply that I was somehow involved with Draper/McBride. Iain Dale was repeatedly (and quite dishonestly) using ‘sloppy’ moderation to his advantage in this way while efficiently deleting all of my submitted responses, and refusing to acknowledge my emails or answer my calls.

(Further, this was happening at a time when someone was actively publishing false claims about me being a convicted paedophile, a valid concern that Iain charmingly describes as a “preoccupation” of mine.)

Iain Dale knows that – in blogging especially – deleting data after the fact is not the same as not allowing it to be published in the first place, especially when you have a choice to engage moderation controls and decide against it (for selfish if not downright malicious reasons). While the deleted comments may (eventually) be removed from Iain’s website, they will have been read and retained by anyone subscribing to the relevant thread, and automatically syndicated on external websites beyond Iain’s control within minutes of their publication. (I am sure that Iain knows all of these things and more because he is soon to appear as an expert witness, speaking on the subject of responsible comment moderation.)

But when the mob was at its height and calling for blood, Iain Dale not only maintained a major lie of omission but did so while playing it fast and loose in comments; he refused to address or correct false accusations levelled at Tom Watson (and myself) in his posts and under comments, he deleted comments calling for a correction of his earlier post, and he refused to engage comment moderation… until the moment he stood accused of libel and instead accused me of harassment. Then Iain engaged comment moderation (and re-introduced anonymous comments) before publishing dozens of comments alleging my involvement in criminal activity and making false statements about my mental health.

I cannot link to the relevant post, because Iain has since deleted it. But as with the CC claim, in the minds of many of his readers, the accusation stands and will continue to stand until he issues a correction.

Conclusion

Iain Dale not only libelled Tom Watson, he knowingly misled his readers about it.

Iain also libelled me in the process, and he refuses to issue a correction of the since-deleted post/ comments, even though he knows that his accusations are being used against me.

These are just two examples of Iain Dale knowingly using lies against his political enemies… and according to Iain’s own standards, what I say must be true if Iain doesn’t sue me, right?

“I didn’t libel Tom Watson. if I had done, he would have sued me.” – Iain Dale (source)

UPDATE – See also:
David Cameron: also putting political agenda ahead of principle








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