Tories! Tories! Tories!
14th Sep 2010
A private discussion about this 18-month campaign of harassment with some of the people who could be most instrumental in ending the matter has proven to be an enormous waste of time and effort, for reasons that should become clear to anyone with the patience to read through the detail of the state of play as it stands.
I need time to summarise all of this in a way that is easily understood and digestible, but first I need to be correct and precise on the detail.
However, anyone with an eye for detail should regard this to be an immediate call to action. I am as of now raising funds for representation in this matter, and it is my intention to proceed with criminal proceedings as soon as I am able.
Dominic Wightman (aka Dominic Whiteman, aka Richard Walker) is a staunch Conservative and a failed entrepreneur and former bankrupt whose amateur terrorism intelligence network ‘VIGIL’ failed to stay afloat on the mere promise of money. He is the man most instrumental in the attacks on me by various parties in the past 18 months, and he has published many of the associated smears himself (often anonymously or under a false name) but has manipulated others into publishing the worst/riskiest of these smears.
In early 2009, Dominic Wightman tried to manipulate me into attacking one Michael Starkey, a former partner in VIGIL, which collapsed in a bitter dispute about honesty and money (see: Ashcroft) and, it is alleged by all former partners, an attempt by Wightman to falsify evidence of a planned Muslim extremist terrorism plot involving bombs inside the shopping trolleys of ‘grannies’. Wightman gained my trust through an endorsement from a BBC researcher on the Donal MacIntyre team, along with a reassurance that, although he was a local Tory, he had nothing to do with “(Anne) Milton’s lot” (see below). He offered me evidence that supported my existing/published evidence, reinforcing my existing claim that another former partner, Glen Jenvey, had also falsified evidence of Muslim extremism. The evidence was genuine, but it is alleged by Jenvey and supported by evidence that, from the day Wightman agreed to meet me and act as an ally in this matter, he was also privately sharing my home address with Glen Jenvey along with a false accusation that I was a convicted paedophile who had somehow escaped justice and “needed sorting out”.
Despite there being two relevant police investigations to date, the police have failed to properly interrogate or investigate Wightman about his role in events, despite it being proven that Wightman anonymously published an article (that he tried to blame on the same man he tried to have me target; Starkey), accusing me of being an unstable alcoholic with “a history of criminal activity as well as a dysfunctional family”.
When his authorship of that article was discovered, Wightman was confronted about it, and his wider role in manipulating myself and others to the extent where I had been publicly accused of being a paedophile and a stalker. He insisted on a meeting, even trying to tempt me with an offer of paid work, and when this offer was repeatedly refused, he immediately accused me of stalking him (by hand-delivering a letter to my house late at night), refusing all contact while publishing a section of our private conversation that he dishonestly portrayed as a ‘confession’ that I was a stalker.
Despite his denials, there is further evidence that around this same time Wightman forwarded my home address to a man named Charlie Flowers alongside a further false allegation that I was an ally of religious extremists. Charlie Flowers and his associates went on to repeatedly publish my address alongside that allegation, and the further allegation of stalking (ultimately phrased as “Tim Ireland stalks women and send threats to MPs”).
Dominic Wightman and Charlie Flowers have accused me of stalking the following people; Conservative MPs Anne Milton, Patrick Mercer and Nadine Dorries, and the right wing bloggers Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) and Iain Dale.
Though much of what Wightman has published is hyperbole/hysteria from others that he presents elsewhere as fact, police appear to have believed his stories/assertions, at least so far as not taking the evidence I present seriously or giving it any due care and attention. I am concerned that any further approach at this stage that is not decisive will risk branding me as a time-waster, even though Wightman is now broadcasting an entirely false implication that I was arrested for stalking him, and had computers seized from my property.
Before approaching the police, I wish to settle the false allegations of stalking that have prompted no action by police, but appear to be stalling any investigation into Wightman. That requires the cooperation of the following people…
In 2008, publishing under the pseudonym of ‘Guido Fawkes’, Paul Staines heavily implied that I had stalked him when I attended his sentencing for drink driving after a notice of this impending event was announced in the gossip column of a national newspaper. In 2009, at the same time I was being smeared as a paedophile, Paul Staines was also publishing as comments a series of entirely false claims and implications that I was associated with the Draper/McBride affair.
An attempt to confront him and/or his business partner Jag Singh about this (and the further smears of advertising partner Iain Dale) via their MessageSpace office led to an unknown staff member making an extended, teasing sexual proposition in response. An attempt to confront Jag Singh about this led to a letter from Jag Singh (also of MessageSpace) sent to my home address, accusing me of harassment primarily on the basis that I was not a client of theirs and had ‘no reason’ in his view to contact him or any of his staff. When asked how he had obtained my ex-directory address, Jag Singh claimed that he “could not remember”. Paul Staines did delete many of the false allegations he had published about me, but so far has retracted none of it.
Wightman today cites a one-sided account of this event as evidence of my stalking this blogger.
Publishing as ‘Dizzy’ from ‘Dizzy Thinks’, Hendren is a former Conservative candidate, right-wing blogger and friend to both Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries.
In 2008, Phil Hendren published a highly opinionated account of my attending Paul Staines’ sentencing for drink driving, describing it in the headline as “stalker(ish)”, and his report of an event that he did not witness stands largely uncorrected. [snip]
[MINI-UPDATE (15 Sep) - Phil Hendren has now voluntarily updated a post that has prior to this been cited repeatedly by Dominic Wightman as evidence of my having stalked Paul Staines, and he has my gratitude, especially as he has now made his position clear and gone out of his way to show good faith. Content in this post that sought to put his earlier post and any perceived accusations/implications of stalking into context has been removed, as I see no further need for it at present. As a sign of good faith by way of return, the previous ban stopping Phil Hendren from commenting on my site is now lifted; at present only two people are banned from submitting comments for publication on my site, but Phil Hendren is not one of them. That's one down, folks. Note not one person down, or one scalp claimed, or any argument 'won', or any such nonsense, but Wightman has been robbed of one key piece of ammunition that he has repeatedly sought to use against me, and that's what this confrontation/explanation is all about.]
Anne Milton, Conservative MP for Guildford, refuses to elaborate on her past or present relationship with Dominic Wightman beyond saying (and here I paraphrase) it wasn’t quite what I thought it was. She refused any comment on her relationship with members of Wightman’s extended family (who are quite likely campaign contributors judging by their history, Wightman’s own account, and a very selective denial by Milton) on the basis that she could not comment on constituents*. Since border changes came into effect, the relevant people are no longer constituents, but she still refuses to comment on them.
Having being critical of Milton in the past, I assumed my 2005 microsite about her to be the reason for such an accusation. I recently asked Anne Milton’s staff “Is it Anne Milton’s position that I stalked her before, during or after the 2005 election?” Eventually I gained the reply that she did not take any stance on this, and “isn’t responsible for things other people say”. Sensing some evasion, I pressed the point and asked to be corrected if I were wrong about the following statement; “Anne Milton does not regard herself to have been stalked in any way, and has not said or done anything that she would regard to be a reason for anyone come to that conclusion and/or make that accusation on her behalf.”
The relevant email was forwarded to Anne Milton, but no correction was issued. I have since revealed that I can prove that Anne Milton privately accused me of stalking her, but there has been no response from her office about any of this. Milton has also managed to avoid any substantial comment on the actions of her former campaign workers and activists Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers, who in 2006 falsely accused a Lib Dem opponent of being a paedophile, and were also involved in the publication/promotion of a site airing numerous false claims about my personal life, describing me as a “bad father” with marital difficulties and accusing me of being a mentally unstable “computer hacker” dismissed from employment for “downloading porn”, likely to have “permanent residency status withdrawn”. That site further named what they took to be my employer at the time and gave their location, and listed and linked to some of their key clients in an obvious attempt to draw their attention to these accusations. It was later reported by one of my clients that they had received an anonymous phone call making similar accusations. There is no known record of Anne Milton’s opinion of these actions, and if they equate to potential stalking or harassment in her eyes.
Anne Milton also refuses to comment on a claim made since by Mike Chambers; that the evidence I submitted to the local Tory association was most likely ignored because Dennis Paul had made a claim (that Chambers says was widely believed within the organisation) that I was a computer criminal likely to unleash a virus or worse should anyone read an email from me, or follow any of the hyperlinks I provided (i.e. those establishing the clear connection between Chambers/Paul and these anonymous smears).
The current position of Jonathon Lord, the then-Chairman of the Guildford Conservative Association (and now Conservative MP for Woking), was that he/they disregarded my emails because he/they required a paper letter of complaint in order to act. Even at this stage it was obvious Chambers/Paul were far too close to the body some might expect to moderate their behaviour, and it had already been reported by a local whose reputation is above reproach that a letter by him published in the local newspaper critical of local Conservatives led to an unannounced visit by a Conservatives activist wishing to “discuss” the matter. There is no known record of Anne Milton’s opinion of these actions, and if they equate to potential stalking or harassment in her eyes. I found it to be intimidating if not downright frightening myself, especially in light of what had already been published about me and others (a phone number was published adjacent to the false claims of paedophilia, for example) and I did not want to risk revealing my home address in paper correspondence with that office at that time.
There was a limited police investigation into an email from Mike Chambers to the other primary victim of his smears. Police were clearly under the impression at the time that a key witness was an invented online persona; I now know this assertion to be untrue, and this single element alone raises the possibility that there has been an attempt to pervert the course of justice by parties unknown.
(*I was a constituent. She sure as hell ‘commented’ on me. As with her privately shared accusations of stalking, I doubt she is taking an entirely honest/consistent position on the matter.)
Nadine Dorries is a Conservative MP and someone I have been highly critical of since she published and maintained a highly damaging and entirely false allegation about one of her critics, and began using dishonest moderation techniques on her ‘blog’ to avoid being called to account.
Dorries’ current position with regards to me personally would be totally unsupportable if she weren’t hiding behind a wall of silence supported by a false accusation of stalking; she claims to have made a credible report of harassment to police and further claims that this proceeded to the investigation stage. I know this claim especially has no basis in truth.
Nadine Dorries cannot or will not provide any details about which officer(s) she claims to have contacted and/or any of the relevant reference numbers. If she had made a credible complaint as she claims to have done, I would already be aware of the relevant details, because police would have been in touch by now, for a friendly warning if nothing else.
The only conclusion one can draw from her position is that she is hiding the fact that there are NO reference numbers to reveal because, even if she made complaints of harassment as she claims, then the receiving police recognised as a waste of their time and not worthy of so much as a friendly warning in my direction.
(NOTE – Glen Jenvey went through a similar process when first confronted about his falsification of evidence of extremism and also falsely claimed to have prompted an investigation.)
When pressed for evidence of my stalking her, Dorries cites emails that she cannot or will not produce that she claims came from me, but that I did not send. She also cites as evidence my attempts to confront her since she implied then claimed that I had been stalking her; a clever if underhanded self-reinforcing smear that is all-too-common among a small group of people, many of whom just happen to be friends, and all of whom are aligned with the Conservative Party.
Mercer is a Conservative MP and former associate of Glen Jenvey (who smeared me as a paedophile) and Dominic Wightman (see above).
Like Dorries, Mercer and his staff use my attempts to confront them since their false accusation of stalking as their primary justification for their accusation of stalking; the initial attempts to contact Mercer directly and via his office would not be regarded as harassment, much less stalking, by any reasonable person. Subsequent attempts have been entirely within reason and the law, despite this leading to weeks then months of delays.
It is my firm belief that Mercer, like others, cottoned on to the effectiveness of the ‘stalker’ smear among his Conservative associates and used it himself to avoid any comment of his past/present relationship with Dominic Wightman and Glen Jenvey.
I have to hand evidence pre-dating my contact with Mercer that shows him ignoring the plight of an earlier victim of Wightman’s, suggesting an ongoing pattern of selfishness and neglect in this respect; Mercer knows Wightman is a conman and a liar capable of dangerous acts of incitement. He also knows that I am not his only victim. But he chooses to avoid taking any public position on the matter.
Iain Dale is a blogger and publisher who has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to become a Conservative candidate after failing to secure the seat of Norfolk North in 2005. He and I have very different views on how a blogger should conduct themselves, especially with regards to comment moderation (i.e. if one should allow a high-traffic site to be used as a platform for anonymous attacks, or if bloggers should allow allies to pose as more than one person without interference), but the details of this are rarely discussed by Dale who has repeatedly chosen to portray these concerns as a series of political/personal attacks based on exaggeration if not fabrication.
Iain Dale published the original/recent claims that I had stalked Nadine Dorries and Anne Milton (the latter began as anonymous comments on his site) and at least reinforced the similar view/position of Mercer and his staff. These accusations of stalking are hysterical hyperbole at best and certainly not supported by the evidence.
Dale now refuses to discuss the position taken by Dorries that I had/have stalked her, despite being the first person to publicly accuse me of doing so. He also regards any detail of my contact with Anne Milton and her activists as irrelevant… but he continues to maintain that his opinion should and will stand, even when he knows he refuses to defend it in any detail, and knows that it is being presented elsewhere as fact.
Dale also accuses me of stalking him. In early 2009, after agreeing to contact Patrick Mercer because I was being smeared as a paedophile by Mercer’s then-associate Jenvey and his office was not passing messages on, Dale didn’t contact Mercer (justifying this on information he received after the fact) but instead (a) contacted the same office that was not passing messages on, (b) didn’t report the ‘paedophile’ smear, (c) didn’t even ask them to pass a message on, and (d) reported back to me, leaving me with the clear impression that Mercer was now personally aware of Jenvey’s actions when he knew this wasn’t the case.
When confronted about this, Dale refused to discuss it beyond a single incomplete account, part of which he insisted remain secret. He did not deliver a full account for a year and a half (i.e. until late last week). He was at the time also knowingly misleading his readers about a highly damaging claim about a Labour MP (Tom Watson) that he had deleted from his site but not retracted (that he must have known stood uncorrected in at least one major newspaper on the day as a direct result of his actions). Further, he was exposing me to great risk by running a highly-popular thread in an open, unregulated state at a time when I was being falsely accused of paedophilia. Given that Dale primarily runs regulated threads (comments are not published until he approves them) I took this to be a highly reckless act in the circumstances, if not a deliberate attempt at intimidation; he was certainly publishing other false claims at the time about my mental state and allegations about my involvement in political scandal.
Dale then went on to describe my attempts to confront/contact him about this (and my wish to have him contribute to a statement due to be submitted about what was by then an active criminal investigation) as harassment, addressing this with a public accusation while publishing a private email and presenting it entirely out of context.
This, like many other groundless accusations published by Dale, was later deleted but not retracted.
Despite the circumstances of this event, after years of throwing the word ‘cyber-stalker’ around at the slightest provocation (without filing a single complaint to police or proceeding with any civil action), he still expects that he should have been taken seriously at the time.
I am aware of the relevant law, and still regard my actions at the time to be reasonable, and within legal and moral parameters, though I can certainly understand how it might appear to the layman when my attempts to contact him are presented out of context (as they have been repeatedly by Dale and others, despite their knowledge of how this material was and is being used against me).
Dale still privately defends his multiple accusations of stalking/harassment as valid opinion, when he knows it is passed off elsewhere as fact (often alongside my homes address). Now, rather than make a statement or contribute to a statement like everybody else, as I requested a year and a half ago, he wants to contact police by phone at his leisure, presumably so he can deliver his statement over the phone (and ‘wing it’ based on his opinion/recollection).
I am not comfortable with this offer (which, it must be recognised, has only emerged because Dale has been put under pressure by other bloggers/readers to cooperate), especially when he stands by ‘opinions’ he can’t defend, and has been repeatedly careless about allowing these to be taken/understood as fact.
I would instead rather that Iain Dale drafted a statement acknowledging that he expressed the views he did as opinion, but he can’t even admit to himself that he based his opinions about my stalking Conservative MPs on his friendship/kinship with these people and not the circumstances in which I ‘attacked’ them (which he regards to be irrelevant detail).
However, I fear he will not cooperate to this extent, because it risks revealing, highlighting and/or admitting (at the very least) his negligence, and that of his Conservative friends/allies/associates; even in a private conversation he could not bring himself to comment on key evidence showing where/how he and they had been drastically wrong in their judgement.
(His failure to comprehend this has led to a situation where he has apparently convinced himself he has acted in good faith at every turn. There is no reasoning with him.)
Lord Ashcroft is a major figure in the Conservative Party (despite his pledge to step down after the election) and a major investor in the magazine published by Iain Dale; ‘Total Politics’.
Ashcroft (or even his diary secretary) could easily disprove a core claim made by Dominic Wightman in a way that would establish monetary fraud and be of enormous help to a string of victims that the public are largely unaware of at this stage, but his staff have refused to cooperate or even communicate (beyond accepting the request to cooperate, and then ignoring it).
I need to get lawyered-up and approach Guildford Police without the cooperation of any of these people, or possibly at the same time as proceeding with civil action that will be expensive, but highly effective in calling their collective bluff.
Given that others are likely to retreat from the same bluff once it is called, I should be able to minimise costs by starting with one single ‘domino’ but I will need donations from the public to get even to this level.
To repeat what I said at the outset:
I need time to summarise all of this in a way that is easily understood and digestible, but first I need to be correct and precise on the detail. However, anyone with an eye for detail should regard this to be an immediate call to action. I am as of now raising funds for representation in this matter, and it is my intention to proceed with criminal proceedings as soon as I am able.
If civil proceedings are required to make this happen, relevant measures may precede any attempt to pursue the matter through the criminal justice system. I am afraid I cannot predict exactly what the immediate priorities will be until I have received advice. All I can say is that the intent is to clear my name and protect my family, not settle scores.
Please donate what you can spare; this matter goes nowhere without money (justice for the rich; yay!), and Wightman gives every indication that he will remain a menace for as long as the law fails to recognise what he has done.
UPDATE – Iain Dale has claimed that this post contains “lies” about him. As usual, I challenged him to list specifics, and I’m happy to post the response and my subsequent reply if he’s willing to have it aired. I doubt he’ll dare to expose any of his ‘opinion vs. fact’ games to sunlight; he never has before. FFS, it took him a year and a half to expose his account of the Mercer calls to public scrutiny, but in the interim he saw fit to accuse me of stalking him based on his opinion of his version of events (an account/version which went largely unseen and therefore unchallenged).
7th Sep 2010
A campaign of harassment began against me soon after I uncovered evidence of the falsification evidence of Muslim extremism involving The Sun newspaper and the office of publicity-hungry Conservative MP Patrick Mercer.
One of the key parties involved is (one hopes was) a political and personal associate of Patrick Mercer and fellow Conservative MP Anne Milton (who I have been very critical of in the past); this person arrived on the scene armed my with home address that they went on to share with a mentally unstable individual, along with the (false) accusation that i was a convicted paedophile.
(When this accusation was published by that individual, an associate of Mercer’s, staff in that MP’s office ignored my every appeal to call it to a halt. Iain Dale was at the time in a unique position to get word directly to Patrick Mercer. He agreed to do this, then did the exact opposite of what was requested, then claimed he had called Mercer, which was a lie. Dale has not gone public with any account that seeks to justify his behaviour in this respect; privately, he shares one of three different excuses which contradict each other; in fact, one is so messed-up, it contradicts itself. Little wonder he refuses to go public with any of it. Tragically, this is not the first time he has stood by and allowed a ‘lefty’ to be smeared as a paedophile when it suited him. Further, this earlier false claim of paedophilia involved close associates of Anne Milton, who she refused to disown at the time.)
This same person went on to smear me as a benefit-scrounging alcoholic, an associate of religious then political extremists and, ultimately, a stalker.
All of the accusations bar the last quickly fell by the wayside, but the accusation of stalking was, seemingly, backed by MPs… those MPs being Patrick Mercer and Anne Milton.
(Both of these MPs have relied on this accusation privately to explain away scnadals involving their respective offices, but they will not test it publicly with a criminal complaint or even civil action. Recently, Anne Milton released a statement suggesting she had not shared this accusation with anyone. But to suggest this is a lie. I have evidence to hand that Anne Milton shared the accusation of stalking with fellow Conservatives behind closed doors.)
As with Nadine Dorries (also a Conservative MP) and Iain Dale (who tried and failed to become a Conservative MP many times), there is NO evidence of ANY of them making a formal, credible complaint to police about anything they claim I have done. Had they made any such complaint, I would’ve become aware of it, as police procedure is to interview the accused party/parties before proceeding with the expense of a full-blown investigation. I know this having been a target of harassment myself; I have never been convicted, investigated, cautioned, or even informally chatted to by police about any criminal behaviour on my part.
But still all of these Conservatives continue with what amounts to a coordinated whisper campaign, sharing accusations that are entirely unsupported by evidence; crucially, when they know this accusation is being published alongside my home address.
At its worst this accusation is presented alongside my home address as follows; that I stalk women and send death threats to MPs.
And it gets worse.
Recently, someone involved in this ongoing campaign of harassment began publishing material targeting my wife, my children, and other members of my extended family.
This has included false accusations aimed at my kids, making specific allegations of criminal behaviour that are not only entirely untrue, but extremely damaging (and, it must be said, upsetting).
While we’re here, I’d just like to say a quick ‘thank you’ to Iain Dale especially for forcing me to go public with this; my family has enough to deal with that the moment, and all we want to do is get on with a very difficult period in our lives. But it’s clear from his past conduct how Iain Dale will portray any further private attempt to alert him to this danger, and he leaves me no choice.
(Last year, Iain Dale went through a disturbing period where he authored long, rambling letters accusing me of repeated libel and stalking that were signed off by a bargain-basement lawyer. In one of these letters Dale made clear his intention to take the concern I had expressed for a man who was on the brink of suicide and present it as a threat of violence against him (and not for the first time). This is not hyperbole; there was an earlier, documented, suicide attempt and police recognised the risk of self-harm and I have reliable witnesses who can confirm that this man was greatly agitated at the time by claims about me that appeared primarily, if not only, on the website of Iain Dale. Iain refused to remove these claims at the time, though much later he deleted some relevant entries/comments from his site – without notation or retraction – in order to protect himself.)
So far this campaign of harassment targeting me has resulted in two police investigations.
The first investigation went nowhere mainly because both Patrick Mercer and Iain Dale withheld their cooperation. It would have stood a far greater chance of success had police been made aware of the role played by the (hopefully former) associate of Patrick Mercer and Anne Milton much earlier, but while Dale refuses to discuss what he said to Mercer when he eventually did contact him, Mercer obviously became hostile from this point on, and refused to share information or even alert me to the role played by a man he suspected was involved and knew to be thoroughly unscrupulous.
The second investigation failed for lack of evidence (see: anonymous web accounts), and it would now appear that not only did Nadine Dorries lie about one police investigation, but also that she knowingly withheld relevant evidence relating to another (i.e. an email where one of the parties involved appears to have indentified themselves and admitted to specific acts of harassment). She refuses to share this evidence, even today.
Had I the resources (i.e. money), I would be able to pursue civil action that would greatly minimise the threat to me, and my family.
Had I the smallest amount of cooperation from Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries especially, even today, I would be able to pursue criminal action that would greatly minimise the threat to me, my family, and the public at large.
To close, we pass over to Iain Dale, who contradicts his behaviour with the following statement, made yesterday in his excruciating attempts to defend Andy Coulson:
“I would never, ever defend anyone – no matter how strong the tribal loyalty is – if I thought they were guilty of a criminal act… in the end, if you believe someone is being traduced unfairly, and you don’t speak out, what sort of person are you?” – Iain Dale
A seemingly strong defence of his position, but when I try to email Iain Dale about this matter, he will pretend never to have received notification(s) about the specific danger to me and others resulting from the false accusations he has used to shield himself from mere criticism. He has even pretended not to have seen evidence that has been passed on through his cut-price lawyer.
I tried to call him the other day; he laughed in my face and hung up. On an earlier call where I again raised this issue, he told me to “fuck off”.
My children are being targeted with false accusations of criminal behaviour. My children.
Dale is aware of this latest development. He cannot pretend otherwise. Yet still he continues to rely on this dangerous whispering campaign,. He even dares to portray my attempts to combat it or contact him about it as evidence of stalking (privately, of course).
When exactly will these people recognise that this political game of theirs has gone too far? If they sincerely believe they have been harassed, why have they not taken action? They don’t face the same barriers that I do, especially because the criticisms they describe as ‘attacks’ and ‘stalking’ were all published under my name. None of them are so short of resources that they can’t afford civil action, and if what they claimed or implied was anywhere near the truth, they would have no problems initiating a criminal investigation.
But none of them have taken a single, credible step down this path. Instead, they knowingly rely on the action of small group of Conservative-aligned cyber-vigilantes who intimidate me on their behalf.
If you believe someone is being traduced unfairly, and you don’t speak out, what sort of person are you? The answer as far as I am concerned is; a Conservative*.
[*If you're a Tory and you think that's unfair, then (a) take a public stand against it, you'll be among the first, and (b) also consider this: I have taken the matter of the published accusations of paedophilia as far as I can with Google without resorting to expensive litigation; at the top of the ramparts is a woman who has personally refused to address the matter of the multiple false claims of paedophilia that only Google can remove from their servers. This same person also refuses to acknowledge extended delays in the removal of my home address from Blogger.com and YouTube accounts, and will not even investigate my being impersonated using another service of theirs; Gmail. This person is the Vice President of Public Policy & Communications at Google. Her name is Rachel Whetstone, and she is the former Political Secretary to former Conservative leader, Michael Howard. Her partner is Steve Hilton, the director of strategy for David Cameron. Cameron's office is also aware of most if not all of this, but they refuse to discuss it. If there's no conspiracy, this appears to expose a particularly unsettling subset of the Conservative mindset and I challenge anyone to defend it.]
UPDATE (08 Sep) – Iain Dale responds at last… 1 year, 5 months and 20 days after he initially claimed to make a call that never happened and later lied about. Now he has finally graced us with his presence and answered questions he’s been dodging for over a year, it emerges that instead of calling Mercer directly, as he agreed to do, he called the office that he knew wasn’t passing messages my on… and didn’t even ask them to pass his message on! Further, by his own account, he did not even mention (never mind stress) that I was being smeared as a paedophile by Jenvey at the time, which was the point of the entire call. Unbelievable. No wonder he didn’t want to discuss the details.
4th Sep 2010
OK, so Iain Dale, the publisher of the ‘unbiased’ junk-mail magazine Total Politics is busy assuring us that what Andy Coulson certainly didn’t do (summary) isn’t quite so bad, because guessing someone’s password isn’t really hacking, according to his close mate Phil Hendren (‘Dizzy’; the same bullying ratbag who says publishing my ex-directory* home phone number in two parts in two consecutive comments isn’t anywhere near as bad as publishing my ex-directory home phone number all in one go):
Dizzy’s take is interesting HERE. And he takes to task those who refer to hacking and tapping without really knowing what they are talking about… “Calling someone’s mobile, waiting for it to go to voicemail and then entering their four digit pin (0000) is not hacking. Hacking is about circumventing security, not being presented with them and passing them”
But when Grant Shapps (another senior Conservative in charge of communication) was caught in a pathetic astroturfing/sock-puppeting attempt, and used as his excuse that someone must have accessed his account using his “all too guessable” password (’1234′), Iain Dale declared that guessing a 4-digit code WAS hacking:
This all seemd [sic] a bit odd to me so I went to the horse’s mouth and have got a categoric [sic] denial that Grant did anything of the sort. It appears that he had a very easily guessable password on his Youtube account (it was 1234 !!!) and someone hacked into it.
Further, I’ve checked with someone who actually knows the law (thank you, Jack of Kent) and I can confirm that the law specifically recognises that intercepting a voicemail is the same as intercepting an actual call being made:
(8) For the purposes of this section the cases in which any contents of a communication are to be taken to be made available to a person while being transmitted shall include any case in which any of the contents of the communication, while being transmitted, are diverted or recorded so as to be available to a person subsequently.
There it is in black in white, and unchanged by anything Iain Dale and his mates might say about what does or does not classify as ‘hacking’… which they are wrong (or lying) about, by the way:
hacking: (computing) Unauthorized attempts to bypass the security mechanisms of an information system or network.
Of course, the word has other meanings, as does the word ‘hack’, which Iain should be painfully aware of having been called one so many times… and with good reason.
Guessing a poorly-configured password is still hacking in much the same way as walking through a door or gate that is poorly secured is still breaking and entering.
This is just another case of Iain Dale and Phil Hendren attempting to bamboozle their readers with bullshit and despite his ready-made protests (“I quote Dizzy not to condone the practice”), by minimising the alleged offence(s) in this way, Dale does in effect seek to make excuses for what is actually hacking/interception.
He has since levelled a false accusation at a Guardian editor because they dared to point this out:
“I absolutely did NOT defend phone hacking. How dare you suggest I did. How typical of The Guardian to mislead and smear.” – Iain Dale
But defending the act of phone hacking is exactly what Iain Dale did. He tried to make excuses for those alleged to have engaged in this type of hacking by claiming that it wasn’t really hacking.
Why he would bother doing this when he claims to be utterly convinced of Andy Coulson’s innocence is unknown at this time**.
[NOTE - Dale is already backpedalling by claiming he didn't actually say it wasn't hacking himself, and that he was only quoting somebody else's view. Well, from here it looked like he was heartily endorsing that view and using it to support his argument.]
(*Iain Dale denies being the source of this ex-directory number, which I mistakenly trusted him with in his role as a publisher. I have my doubts, especially when Hendren’s story about how he got it keeps changing and Iain Dale has flat-out lied in previous denials.)
(**Iain Dale also ends his post with the declaration that “Coulson is innocent until proven guilty.” But he didn’t feel that way about Tom Watson when he was so convinced of that man’s guilt he was knowingly using false information against him, he has no comment to make about his friend Nadine Dorries making false accusations about police investigations that never took place (most probably because he’s a primary instigator of the same smear), and he doesn’t seem to think the same way about one of Coulson’s accusers when he says that man was “sacked by the paper for persistent drug and alcohol problems” and wonders out loud; “You don’t think he might have a grudge, do you?”)
UPDATE (05 Sep) – I’m happy to note that I’ve made the distinction between ‘hacking’ and ‘password cracking’ myself, but this was when Rod Liddle was making excuses that were so vague, it risked giving the wrong impression about the security of a whole site, not just a single account. In the instances cited here, Iain Dale takes one position on ‘hacking’ of specific accounts by guessing a 4-digit password and then takes the opposite position on ‘hacking’ of specific accounts by guessing a 4-digit password. That he and his mate Hendren would pretend the two events are comparable and make such a big deal of it after spending all of yesterday ignoring the challenge to their semantic bullshit is only further evidence of their intent to deceive. Further, we have yet another example of Iain Dale only ever engaging when he thinks he has the upper hand (a classic tabloid tactic); when he is making excuses for not engaging, he will claim that he has been given professional advice to ignore me at all times. Like Dorries, he is lying through his teeth, and busies himself smearing me privately, or using his friends to smear me on his behalf, while he ‘ignores’ me and plays the victim. Dale’s real problem is that he cannot engage with me openly without admitting to some really quite awful behaviour that’s not in keeping with his brand. (I’d say ‘public image’ but more and more people are seeing through this charlatan, especially now the Tories are in power and he’s busy making excuses for them every other day.)
2nd Sep 2010
Iain Dale is currently very busy putting himself about in the mainstream media taking a ‘principled’ stand against the way Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) has been running his site like an open sewer. To cover his arse, on TV/radio he speaks vaguely of his own regrets about what he has allowed/published on his own site in the past, but offers no specifics.
In 2006 both Paul Staines and Iain Dale refused to condemn two political activists who were using blogs/comments to ‘innocently’ air questions about a political opponent being a paedophile, despite evidence I had published clearly establishing their involvement.
(The same men were also comment contributors to either/both sites controlled by Iain Dale and Paul Staines. To give Staines some credit, he did see the sense in deleting one comment linking to the main smear, but he was most ungracious about it, as if I were worrying about nothing and somehow owed him a favour.)
What follows is a copy of the email where Iain Dale refused to cover the story and expose the two people involved:
From: Iain Dale
To: ‘Tim Ireland’
Cc: ‘Guy Fawkes’
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:34 PM
Subject: RE: Guildford Conservatives in ‘paedo’ smear
Think I’ll keep concentrating on Prescott if you don’t mind…!
Iain Dale never did get on with focusing on that Prescott ‘story’ as he claimed he was doing, which is kind of good thing because this ‘story’ appeared to be yet another example of Paul Staines recycling Westminster tittle-tattle and other unsubstantiated claims about where Prescott had put his penis.
So, to summarise, Iain Dale refused point-blank to publicly condemn two activists who were ‘innocently’ airing claims their political opponent was a paedophile, and used as his excuse his desire to focus on the Paul Staines ‘story’ that involved yet more gossip about yet another person’s sex life.
Perhaps this is one of the regrets he speaks of… and perhaps he plans to continue to pretend as if this never happened because the target of this smear was a Lib Dem and the MP closely associated with the smearing activists was a fellow Conservative and a friend of his… Anne Milton:
Iain Dale also refused to condemn Paul Staines when that ‘blogger’ heavily implied that a Lib Dem MP was a paedophile, equating homosexuality with paedophilia in the process.
More recently, Iain Dale refused to take a stand against a campaign of harassment against me where I was smeared as a paedophile*, to the extent of not only refusing to participate in the relevant criminal investigation, but going on to use my attempts to contact him about that to generate a false claim of ‘stalking**’ that he maintains privately to this day, despite the belated deletion of this claim (and others) about me from his blog.
The long and the short of it is that all of the targets of these smears were people that Iain Dale sniffily refers to as ‘lefties’.
William Hague, on the other hand, is a Conservative and a member of Cameron’s cabinet, and if Dale is going to come out against these smears targeting Hague while not specifically regretting or even acknowledging any of the above I am going to dare to suggest that he does so for reasons of politics, not principle.
[*The man who originated this smear also happens/happened to be a personal and political associate of Anne Milton, but that's for another day.]
[**In fact, it needs to be noted that after I confronted Paul Staines about exactly this kind of thing years ago and revealed his shady political past involving strategic overtures to the BNP, Iain Dale responded by portraying my concerns as a personal attack and allowing his mostly-anonymous comment contributors to slag me off on his site (as 'obsessive', a stalker, and worse). Further, Iain Dale's own smears about my stalking him and others began with anonymous claims made on his own site by ardent supporters of Anne Milton; most likely the very same people behind the 2006 paedo-smear. That Iain will now repeat these claims privately but not test them in court or even expose them to scrutiny should tell you all you need to know about what's really going on here; Iain Dale's actions amount to no more than a whisper campaign, and - like his mate Nadine Dorries - Dale engages in this activity knowing that his smears are being repeated in public, sometimes alongside my home address.]
UPDATE (12:30) – I dared to approach Iain Dale for comment on this one, as he appeared to have changed his tune, and I wanted to be sure. I asked him if he had any regrets about any of the above, and this was his response:
“Oh, fuck off!”
How nice. Still, at least it does tell me in a roundabout way that he’s a long way from regretting any of it.
UPDATE (07 Sep) – Iain Dale still doesn’t regret any of it, even though he knows my wife and kids are in the firing line now. What a deeply unpleasant individual.
27th Aug 2010
Note – Andy Rayment is a former Conservative councillor and present Chairman of the Mid-Bedfordshire Conservative Association. Yes, I can prove that Nadine Dorries MP lied about a police investigation that never took place, and after months of research I found nothing on record to suggest that she even went so far as to make a formal complaint. Worse, it would appear that Dorries failed to report actual harassment targeting me, and went on to knowingly exacerbate that harassment with accusations she knew to be false.
I make no apologies for this being an open letter, as my past correspondence with your office has been grossly misrepresented by Nadine Dorries, and I feel some daylight is required to get this issue addressed at last.
I originally sent you an email on February 18 about the conduct of Dorries and followed this up with a further email on March 30. Neither email received a reply.
I called your office in June, and was told by a woman named ‘Pippa’ that you had been on holiday since February. I hope for your sake that this isn’t true. (I also hope that this person isn’t one of the two people named ‘Pippa’ known to Dorries who she pays with taxpayer’s money, because it would be unseemly for person in such a role to be playing a central/long-term role in your party-political office.)
I then called a week later on June 18, and was told that my letter had been forwarded to you, but the woman who said this was very rude and abrupt, and refused to give her name or say when my letter was forwarded.
Initially I wrote to you after I was harassed by a small group of unbalanced people involved in the repeated publication of my ex-directory home address alongside the damaging, dangerous and entirely false accusation that I stalk women and send death threats to MPs. This followed a campaign where I was smeared as a convicted paedophile that involved many of the same people including at least one associate of Nadine Dorries (Iain Dale).
While Dale may not have originated the ‘paedophile’ smear he certainly sought to take advantage of it, and he personally built on the ‘stalker’ smears that began as anonymous comments on his site. Prior to May 2010, Dorries herself had repeatedly implied* that I was stalking her and made out that a video link I had sent her (a clip from ‘The Omen’) constituted some form of threat from someone who was mentally ill and therefore dangerous.
Both parties continued this behaviour even after they were advised that their false accusations were being published alongside my home address.
One of the people doing this claimed to have been in contact with Dorries, declaring that they did this on her behalf.
When confronted about this, Dorries made a vague claim designed to give the impression that she had forwarded the relevant email to police, but I have serious doubts that anything like this happened, especially after what followed.
In late April, during the general election campaign, I received multiple reports that Dorries was misleading constituents at hustings events with unsubstantiated and sometimes contradictory claims. Rather than take these reports at face value, I sought to record an event to get some of her alleged claims on tape, which is why I attended the hustings at Flitwick and secured permission to record and broadcast it.
It was at this event that Dorries twice stood up to declare that I have been stalking her and other MPs. She claimed I lived in Croydon (why?**), described my website as “incredibly offensive and rude”, spoke of a “barrage” of “vile” and “abusive” email messages sent to herself and other MPs, and at one stage even said she couldn’t comment further because a police investigation was in progress.
None of this was true. Dorries lied about it all, and even invented a police investigation out of thin air.
Since then I’ve made a series of FOI/DPA requests and they suggest that Dorries hadn’t even made a formal complaint, even though she went on to claim that she had been given advice by police to close her weblog and Twitter account in order to address the ‘threat’ I posed.
If Dorries was given any advice like this, it was most likely generic advice police give to anyone who claims to have been harassed as a result of what they have published online. It was certainly nothing like she portrayed it when she contacted the local newspaper, associating my activities with the stabbing of Stephen Timms (an incident that took place a week after she closed her Twitter account).
Her assertion that I have a violent, criminal character was combined with repeated claims that I was undermining democracy, topped by this:
Nadine4mp: Tim Ireland @bloggerheads distorted a great British tradition tonight by lying to my constituents and deliberately disrupting a husting
[Tweeted by Nadine Dorries on 4 May 2010 21:35]
What she describes is the opposite of who I am and what I do, and it is not the first time she has attempted to portray me as an enemy of democracy. Doubting that anyone can be this confused, I firmly believe it to be a deliberate smear.
Further, these entirely false allegations were all made by an MP who knew that her smears were being repeated alongside my home address by someone who claimed to be acting on her behalf.
Concerned about what may have been passed to/though Dorries office by those harassing me, I submitted a combination FOI/DPA request to Dorries’ office. Yes, I am aware that MPs have the privilege to ignore an FOI request if they wish…. but they do not enjoy the same luxury with a DPA request.
Dorries’ office has ignored this request for 150 days now, for reasons that are pretty easy to guess at, despite the uncertainties left by her obfuscation; the DPA request compels Dorries to provide me with, among other things, a copy of all correspondence sent to her office in my name, and any sincere attempt to deliver that data would reveal that no “barrage” exists, or that I have been impersonated (possibly by the same people publishing my home address, who have impersonated me elsewhere).
In the same statement that portrayed me as a violent enemy of democracy, Dorries claimed that she is not answerable to me because I am not a constituent of hers. I beg to differ. In my view, Dorries became answerable to me and every other human being subject to our laws from the moment she embarked on a national anti-abortion campaign, and there is no question of her moral obligation to answer for the smears she has aimed at me (and others) in pursuit of her personal/political goals.
What is especially galling is that, while Dorries claims to be a victim of harassment, instead of pursuing credible civil or criminal action (which would be easy if anything she claimed were true), she knowingly and repeatedly relies on the actions of vigilantes, up to and including lies about police investigations that never took place.
The situation has now reached a point where Dorries’ actions are largely indiscernible from those of the unbalanced fantasists targeting me (who also make entirely false claims about police investigations). However, Dorries is not a bitter outcast operating on the fringes of society, but a serving Member of Parliament, and I find it incredible that is so difficult to call her to account.
I would like to know what your intentions are regarding this matter, and why it is taking you so long to address it.
* Why I say ‘implied’ and not ‘claimed’; often Dorries would blur the line between myself and blogger Chris Paul, probably in the hopes that she would be able to smear us both without making an accusation specific enough to be actionable. Just in case this is the last we all hear of the matter for some time, I want to go on record and say that while I was being smeared by Dorries, I dared to save copies of some of what she was publishing, and I hold evidence that she made a very misleading tweet aimed at Chris Paul at the time. This example was a rare, direct shot (Dorries had her blood up)… and it was an entirely false allegation that she has has yet to withdraw. It is completely wrong to suggest that Chris Paul had journeyed from Manchester to confront Nadine Dorries in her constituency during this event or at any time during the election, or ever. As for “seriously disturbed,” that judgement call of hers is most likely based on events that only took place in her imagination (and pretty bloody rich coming from a woman who claims a 21-week-old foetus can punch its way out of the womb):
Nadine4mp: Labour activist @chrislol came from Manchester to my village – seriously disturbed.
[Tweeted by Nadine Dorries on 4 May 2010 21:25]
** Her certainty that I lived in Croydon is one of the aspects that makes me concerned about impersonation (that, and I have previously been impersonated by the people targeting me; something that Gmail still refuse to address, BTW). The IP address of a person involved in both the ‘paedophile’ smear and the later ‘stalker’ smears used an IP address that initially appeared to resolve to Croydon, and that person has a track record not only of using false names/indentities online, but also manipulating opposing, non-communicative parties. I suspect this same person to be involved in a sequence of communications that gave the impression that Iain Dale was in direct contact with Glen Jenvey while Jenvey was smearing me as a paedophile (when it was probably more a case of this person trawling the web for ‘dirt’ on me and happening across most of it in the comments on Dale’s site); this was a key matter that Dale was refusing to discuss when he claims I ‘stalked’ him, and Dorries is being equally unhelpful with her wall of silence in this case. If she claims to have hundreds of vile and abusive messages from me, then let’s see them. If she can’t produce them, then she’ll have to wear being called a liar who knowingly uses damaging and false accusations against her critics. After ‘Smeargate’ she may think she’s immune to such accusations, but those in the know should be appalled by her hypocrisy. What kind of politics is this? One minute we’re to be shocked that Nadine Dorries might lie about her expenses, the next we’re all supposed to chill out when she lies about a police investigation. How can Nadine Dorries possibly convince those around her that she told and continued to maintain this damaging lie (knowingly putting my family at risk in the process) with the best possible intentions?
18th Aug 2010
Dear Mr Ireland,
Each week Total Politics interviews a top political blogger. Would you
be available for a phone/email interview (it’s only about ten
minutes) sometime this week?
Sent from (ip address): 18.104.22.168
Date/Time: August 11, 2010 2:22 pm
I must politely decline on the grounds that your publisher, Iain Dale, knowingly allowed me to be smeared as a paedophile, and was refusing to cooperate with the relevant criminal investigation while simultaneously libelling Tom Watson (as a smear merchant, no less) when he further smeared me as a stalker in order to mask his embarrassment.
Had you read my blog in any detail, you would know that.
Had you merely scanned the front page, you would have noticed that I also recently described your executive editor Shane Greer as an “amateur propagandist and professional bullshit artist”.
But thanks for revealing how poorly researched these invitations are. Perhaps it will make other recipients think twice before pouncing on your
sincere generous exclusive ordinary offer.
PS – Ask Iain Dale why he didn’t call Patrick Mercer as he agreed (and promised) to do. He tells some people he did and gives others an excuse for why he didn’t.
20th Jul 2010
Jon Snow: Why is a poster that has your face and your name on then paid for by local councillors who are fighting the council elections?
Zac Goldsmith: Before having the posters designed, which were centrally designed, we [i.e. the Conservative party] checked. We didn’t want to have to do two posters, local election and national elections, because people aren’t going to have two posters in their garden. We wanted one poster for both campaigns and we checked…
Jon Snow: But your poster doesn’t even refer to the council elections!
Zac Goldmsith: It’s says “Vote Conservative”, it was a local election campaign
Jon Snow: “Vote Zac Goldsmith!” Your name.
Zac Goldmsith: It says my name, my picture, and “Vote Conservative”. I am telling you that is absolutely standard across the country.
During this exchange, Zac Goldsmith appeared sometimes to give the impression that this was standard in all parties across the country, but for now, let’s assume that Zac is only qualified to make specific claims about the advice given by his own party, and take him at his word that this was a ‘standard’ solution for Conservative candidates “across the country”.
Then, let’s take a look at an example of one of these posters, and divvy up the… er…
Sorry about that. OK, let’s choose an alternative example using a less controversial candidate, and divvy up the… uh-oh…
Very well, let’s choose another example of a poster using text only to… oh…
Right, on second thoughts let’s take a look at a generic mock-up of one of these posters and divvy up the real estate.
[Psst! But not before pausing to ask if candidates based their poster count on the actual number of posters deployed, or merely the number of sites... which would not take the figure for replacements into account.]
The first thing you may have noticed is that these posters are pretty uniform in design (and while I have seen a poster saying ‘Re-elect (name)’, I have seen none that say ‘Vote Conservative’ as Zac Goldsmith has claimed*… although, even if he is mistaken, perhaps it’s a mark of the man’s modesty that he couldn’t bring himself to look at his own posters.)
The second thing that may have gained your attention is that the posters are clearly not split 50:50 between the ‘candidate’ part and the ‘Conservatives’ part, but are instead uniformly split 75:25 in favour of the candidate (i.e. the person running in the national election).
So your average voter who may have questions about the appropriateness of this claim to begin with might also start asking why the cost is split 50:50 when the standard design of these posters would suggest that a 75:25 split would be more appropriate…. if we are to deem this practice acceptable at all.
Meanwhile, we must also consider that while some Conservative candidates ran in constituencies that included/overlapped boroughs where local elections were conducted on the same day as the general election, these areas do not match or map over each other precisely. Putting posters throughout a constituency may only cover part of a borough, or part/all of two or more boroughs… and (crucially) some boroughs did not run local elections in 2010.
Were costs for posters in such cases always split 50:50? (Oh, and is this the part where we’re patronisingly assured that it’s all very complicated and this is why the sums work out so neatly?)
And what about those Conservative candidates who ran in the national election in areas where no local elections were taking place anywhere near them… but still split the cost of posters 50:50 anyway?
Take a bow, Anne Milton of Guildford:
I’ve asked Anne Milton about this, but she has so far refused to comment… so excuse me while I try to make sense of it all on my lonesome:
I think in this case we’re expected to believe that the Guildford Conservatives are 100% confident that they will go on to ‘rent’ these posters out a second time in an upcoming election, and it is on this basis they have halved the amount of their candidate’s poster expenditure (on paper).
However, this level of creative accountancy not only assumes that Anne Milton will run again, but also assumes that the Conservatives will not change their logo, and that this MP will not change her appearance. OK, so perhaps it can be argued that logo changes are infrequent but the same cannot be said of changes to the appearance of certain MPs:
Amateur propagandist and professional bullshit artist Shane Greer claimed in a recent post on the Total Politics website; “when it comes to accounting for the expense of those posters every other campaign uses the same trick”… but even if we only look at two MPs (from one party), it is clear that there are at least two entirely different ‘tricks’, and neither of them pass the smell test.
Finally, even if we are to accept vague assurances from a range of Conservatives that this is practice is widespread (i.e. that all parties are at this) I do not regard this as acceptable, and neither should you, as it would be yet another example of one set of rules for us, and another set of
rules guidelines for MPs.
Here’s a challenge for the shiny, new Conservative party and their claims to aspire to a new standard of transparency; this information is already in the public domain, and CCHQ could within hours produce a list of every candidate they fielded, how they split the costs of posters, and on what basis they justify this split. While they’re about it, they could also publish the relevant advice to these candidates that Zac Goldsmith heralds as ‘standard’.
Or (and I think this is far more likely) they could compel the ‘great ignored’ to fuss about and ferret out the details on a candidate-by-candidate basis in the hopes of masking any corruption in their ranks.
*UPDATE (5pm) – Finally found a picture of one of Zac Goldsmith’s posters in Flickr. It does indeed say ‘Vote Conservative’ on the bottom
half quarter, so he does have that going for him.
UPDATE (23 Jul) – Channel 4 and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have discovered that Conservative MP Daniel Byles cut the £2,300 bill for his posters to less than £700 on his declaration on the basis that he plans to use them in two future elections. Move over, Paul the
Psychic Precognitive Octopus.
Meanwhile, Anne Milton’s office insist that I refer any questions to the Guildford Conservative Association, but they in turn have told me that I cannot expect any answers for over a month, because the agent, Jackie Porter, is on holiday until the end of August.
And CCHQ? They clammed up a few days ago after making some vague claims suggesting that the ‘standard’ advice Zac Goldsmith spoke of came directly from the Electoral Commission.
19th Jul 2010
Last Friday, on July 16, Zac Goldsmith appeared on Channel 4 news in a spectacular car-crash of an interview with Jon Snow. If you’ve not watched it yet, I highly recommend that you do, not least because watching this and then reading through some of the reactions from the right will help you to better understand what it means when certain Conservatives assure you that so-and-so ‘destroyed’ or ‘exposed’ an opponent, or that such-and-such a blogger/journalist is ‘vile’ and/or a ‘liar’:
Here’s the accusation Zac Goldsmith chose to lead with (and focus on in one way or another for damn near the whole interview);
“At the end of your report last night, you stood and faced the cameras and lamented the fact that I had spoken to SKY TV, not Channel 4, and you said of course we’d be delighted to have Channel 4, I mean have him appear on Channel 4, at any time. You then repeated, I think twice on Twitter last night to your followers, at 11 o’clock, and later, you said, I’m going to quote ‘He decided to go SKY instead. We’d been asking for a response for a number of days, but until today refused to comment.’ Now, you know that’s not true.”
- Zac Goldsmith to Jon Snow (source/watch)
1. Even if we are to accept Zac Goldsmith’s last minute offer to appear on July 15 as reasonable and sincere (it is my understanding that he would only appear live in a ‘head to head’ confrontation with a relatively junior reporter, and that he made this offer very late in the day), what Jon Snow tweeted was still absolutely true; Channel 4 had indeed asked Zac Goldsmith for a response about this for a number of days (up to a week, in fact) and until the 15th – the day of Jon Snow’s tweet – Goldsmith had refused to comment.
2. The way Zac Goldsmith phrases it makes it appear as if Jon Snow was deliberately and repeatedly taunting/maligning him (late at night, no less) purely for the benefit of his Twitter followers, and this is simply not the case. Jon Snow tweeted what he did in response to a question from Jemima Khan… Zac Goldsmith’s sister. Snow then repeated it the next day in response to a false accusation from one of Jemima Khan’s keener followers that he was dodging that question. The small percentage of people likely to have checked this out for themselves are unlikely to have noticed or fully appreciated what really happened, because Jemima Khan had by then… deleted the questions/accusations she put to Jon Snow!
3. The text from Jemima Khan’s since-deleted tweets to Jon Snow appears below. I’ve reversed the archive order so they read sequentially (i.e. from the top down) and included Jon Snow’s tweets and the tweet from one of Jemima Khan’s followers (Zahid0708) for the full and proper context. The date change (from Jul 15 to Jul 16) most likely results from Jemima responding past midnight… not that there’s anything wrong with that (eh, Zac?).
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 Why didn’t Ch 4 allow Zac on tonight to respond live to your programme as he requested? Why only a written statement?
[~11PM Jul 15, 2010]
JonSnowC4: @JemKhan he decided to go to Sky instead..we had been asking him for a response for a number of days but until today refused comment
[11:17 PM Jul 15th]
Zahid0708: @jonsnowC4 I’m waiting for your reply to, @JemKhan. Not like a journalist to be lost for words.
[11:53 PM Jul 15th]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 Not true. At 5.30pm Zac asked Ch 4 to allow him to give a live response. They refused saying he could only give a written one
[Jul 16, 2010]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 So Zac wrote -”I offered at 5.30 to do a live interview addressing the issues raised but was told by Ch 4 that this was not poss”
[Jul 16, 2010]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 Unsurprisingly that written response was not read out.
[Jul 16, 2010]
JemKhan: @jonsnowC4 I’ve seen the email exchange with Antony Barnett who presented the programme in which he acknowledges that this is true
[Jul 16, 2010]
JonSnowC4: @Zahid0708 I did reply fifteen minutes after her posting. he refused our request for response over a number of days. chose Sky instead
[8:49 AM Jul 16th]
[You may note that Jon Snow did not respond to Jemima Khan's further tweets... most likely because she deleted them before he had a chance to read them.]
4. Jemima Khan’s since-deleted tweets also reveal the true nature of Zac Goldsmith’s statement that he complains was not included in the 15 July broadcast. Apparently it did no more than dodge the issue of his election expenses and make the same accusations he was allowed to air repeatedly the very next night (July 16).
5. On July 16 Zac Goldsmith appeared on Channel 4, repeatedly and falsely accusing his hosts of misleading their viewers… when he was doing exactly this with his accusations, aided in no small part by his sister.
6. I confronted Jemima Khan about the deleted tweets on Twitter, and here is the resulting exchange:
JemKhan: @bloggerheads Because I delete all correspondence after a few days from timeline. Plus Zac clearly doesn’t need me to fight his battles.
[12:42 AM Jul 18]
Bloggerheads: @JemKhan Interesting policy, deleting correspondence as you go. So if Zac doesn’t need you fighting his battles for him why hound Jon Snow?
[12:53 AM Jul 18]
7. Clearly, Zac Goldsmith does need his sister to fight his battles, as he could not have led his now-infamous C4 interview with those false accusations of his without her since-deleted tweets. However, rather than stand by her position or challenge mine, Jemima Khan chose to delete her answer within minutes of my reply…
8. … but not before signing off with an RT that’s fast becoming a textbook move for people who get caught playing silly buggers on Twitter; belittling the entire exercise of tweeting as inconsequential. Class.
16th Jul 2010
Before early 2009, the Conservative MP Patrick Mercer enjoyed a partnership with Glen Jenvey (aka Richard Tims) and Dominic Wightman (aka Dominic Whiteman, aka Richard Walker) that appeared to make a positive contribution in the struggle against extremism/terrorism, and earned him/them considerable media coverage in the process.
Exactly when (or if) his relationship with these men ended is still unknown, but in 2009, Patrick Mercer made some extraordinary moves to shield (and continue to work with) Glen Jenvey, though he must have known or at least suspected at the time that Jenvey was fabricating the evidence of extremism that earned him tabloid coverage.
I also have evidence to hand that shows Mercer shielding conman Dominic Wightman in a similar fashion even earlier than this, and he continued to shield this man he knew to be a liar throughout the period Wightman was manipulating me into attacking one of his former VIGIL partners while manipulating Jenvey into accusing me of being a paedophile (and onward throughout the period when Wightman was manipulating others into publishing my home address alongside further false accusations ranging from involvement with extremists to stalking; Mercer even had the audacity to repeat the latter claim behind closed doors as a cover story that also helped him to avoid awkward questions).
At any stage during 2009, Patrick Mercer could have severely limited Wightman’s capacity to harass his former partners and/or perceived enemies, simply by speaking up. He chose not to.
Of course, standing up and admitting his past/present association with Jenvey and/or Wightman may well have cost him his position as Chair of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism, and it certainly would have destroyed his credibility in media circles, as by this late stage, he had shielded both men even after it became apparent they were not to be trusted; during their association/partnership with him, both men were involved in stunts designed to gain media coverage while stirring up religious hatred.
Now take a look at all the lovely money Patrick Mercer earned writing articles for the media (as revealed in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests);
MERCER, Patrick (Newark)
2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc
Fees for articles in:
Independent on Sunday. Address: 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5HF. (Up to £5,000)
12 September 2009, received payment of £500. Hours: 1.5 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
The Independent. Address: 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5HF.
12 September 2009, received payment of £160. Hours: 1 hr. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Sunday Telegraph (Up to £5,000)
Yorkshire Post (Up to £5,000)
Daily Mirror. Address: MGN Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP. (Up to £5,000)
3 September 2009, received payment of £500. Hours: 1.75 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
3 September 2009, received payment of £350. Hours: 1.25 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Mail on Sunday. Address: Associated Newspapers Limited, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT.
3 July 2009 received payment of £1,200 for article. Hours: 1.5hrs. (Registered 3 August 2009)
16 August 2009, received payment of £750. Hours: 2.5 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
18 August 2009, received payment of £1200. Hours: 3 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
6 September 2009, received payment of £800. Hours: 1.25 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Received £1000 for a 1000 word article that took 2.5 hours to write. (Registered 11 January 2010)
The Times. Address: News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY.
13 July 2009 received payment of £500 for article. Hours: 1hr 45mins. (Registered 3 August 2009)
Sunday Times. Address: News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY.
7 September 2009, received payment of £750. Hours: 1 hr. (Registered 28 October 2009)
News of the World. Address: News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY.
16 August 2009, received payment of £400. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
The Scotsman. Address: The Scotsman Publications Ltd, Barclay House, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS.
26 August 2009, received £100. Hours: 30 mins. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT.
26 November 2009, £200 received for article. Hours: 45 mins. (Registered 30 November 2009)
Appearances on Newsnight. Address: BBC, PO Box 1922, Glasgow, G2 3WT.
4 September 2009, received payment of £70. Hours: 40 mins. (Registered 28 October 2009)
7 September 2009, received payment of £70. Hours: 40 mins. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Security consultant to Olive Group (from April 2008). Address: 6 Eighth Floor, 6 New Street Square, New Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 3AQ.
18 August 2009, received payment of £1500. Hours: 24 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Security consultant to Red Amber.
HarperCollins Publishers, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB.
I received publishing advance for novel from Harper Collins in 2008/09. (Registered 17 June 2009)
I received publishing advance and continuing royalties for novel from Harper Collins in 2009/10 (Registered 17 June 2009)
£4300 received on 20 October 2009 for the synopsis of volume 3 of my novels. Hours: 18 hrs. (30 November 2009)
Received £3,585 for delivery of novel. Hours: 240 hrs. (Registered 11 January 2010)
Received £930 from AP Watt for talking book deal. Address: AP Watt Ltd, 20 John Street, London WC1N 2DR Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 28 October 2009)
Received payment of €25 for completing a telephone interview/questionnaire for Ipsos Mori, 79-81 Borough Road, London, SE1 1FY. Hours: 7mins. Fee donated to charity. (Registered 3 August 2009)
That’s not to say that Patrick Mercer conducted himself in this disgraceful manner only for money; he may have done it for personal/political reasons that we can only guess at for as long as he refuses to discuss the matter.
UPDATE (9:30am) – I called Patrick Mercer to ask if money played a role in his decisions as outlined above. His response; ‘no comment’.
He also had no comment to make about when he ended his relationship with Dominic Wightman, if he is still claiming privately that I ‘stalk’ him (even though he has not filed a police complaint or taken any measures to proceed with civil action), or if he still maintains that my ex-directory home address never passed through his office.
Patrick Mercer did, however, ask a very revealing question during the call; “Are you broadcasting this?”
I answered very clearly/politely that I wasn’t, and asked why he would think I would do something like that. He responded by insisting that I move on to the next question.
I think it’s fair to say that Patrick Mercer is either in contact with Nadine Dorries or at least well aware of her treating his privately-shared accusations as if they were statements of fact.
29th Jun 2010
[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).