CSI: #NotW (UPDATED: the hacking of Robert Thompson)

There’s a lot of coverage about and fresh revelations are emerging left, right and centre, so I wanted to make this article about Robert Thompson, News of the World, and Murdochian antics a bit different. That’s why I turned it into a comic strip starring some pretend scientists from Miami. Enjoy.

csi: notw - Robert Thompson

In other news, Nadine Dorries is making some wild claims in an effort to convince us that she’s part of the story, while Andy Hayman has been issuing some theatrical denials to convince us that he’s not.

Apropos of nothing, here are two articles from my vaults about Andy Coulson, the former tabloid editor who dreamed of greater power, and Andy Hayman, the former police officer who dreamed of one day being a journalist:

Andy Coulson and Andy Hayman: Friends
Andy Coulson: innocent until proven guilty

Oh, and if you’re looking for news that doesn’t even remotely involve the implosion of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, then I can recommend this post about Christopher McGrath and sock puppetry and/or this post about ‘David Rose’ and sock puppetry. Back soon(ish) with some more that I’ve found by browsing through News of the World archives at Colindale.

UPDATE (28 Aug, 2011) – Metro – James Bulger’s killer Robert Thompson ‘had phone hacked by NOTW’: Metropolitan Police officers working on Operation Weeting have contacted Thompson to let him know his details were found in documents they examined as part of the phone hacking investigation. Detectives believe Thompson and people close to him may have had their voicemail intercepted by an investigator working for the tabloid, reports the Sunday Times.

UPDATE (20 Feb, 2012) – Telegraph – Bulger killer could be in line for compensation from News of the WorldLawyers acting for Robert Thompson, 29, have informed Scotland Yard that they plan to take legal action that could see the killer paid tens of thousands of pounds in compensation. The action was started after the team from Operation Weeting informed Thomson that his voice mails had been targeted between 2002 and 2007… It is thought that Thompson was informed by the Operation Weeting team in August last year that they had uncovered evidence that his phone had been hacked on several occasions after 2002. References to him were found in notebooks seized from Glenn Mulcaire, 41, a private investigator working for the News of the World who was jailed in January 2007 for intercepting the phone calls of royal aides.

Outrage about compensation going to a convicted killer appears to be overshadowing the really important questions here (including ‘When will we see someone charged with contempt of court?’):

Hacked Off – If a Bulger killer was hacked, how did Mulcaire get his top secret number?: Robert Thompson was living under a secret and protected identity when Glenn Mulcaire acquired his mobile number, apparently in 2002. He had been released from detention only months earlier and, after many threats to his life, was one of the handful of people in the whole country most at risk from violent attack. How did the News of the World penetrate the official security around him? Very few people can have known both his phone number and his real identity, and all of them must have been in positions of trust. The Mirror and the Telegraph don’t seem to be interested in whether one of these people betrayed that trust, or indeed in whether money changed hands. And there are other questions, which may be more alarming still. If Mulcaire could get through that protective barrier, who else could, was anybody else hacked, and were people placed in danger?


Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 6 Comments

Rebekah Brooks/Wade & James Murdoch: BLAST RADIUS

Joel Veitch, the creator of Nick Griffin: “I’m scum and I’m a racist”, offers us his take on the still-unfolding Murdoch scandal. Share and enjoy!

Rebekah Brooks/Wade & James Murdoch: BLAST RADIUS

(Psst! If you’re into words and stuff, this article by septicisle would be my pick for post of the day.)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Page 3 message to police

See if you can detect any hidden meaning in today’s Page 3.

From what I can see, it makes oblique reference to tonight’s 2011 Police Bravery Awards (“Hosted in partnership with The Sun”) and may or may not have some bearing on the embattled position of the former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Wade/Brooks. Or am I reading too much into it?

Posted in Old Media, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 2 Comments

Is Rebekah Brooks really the right person to investigate Rebekah Wade?

I’m sure I don’t need to bring you up to speed and explain what this scandal is about, so let’s just open with Rupert Murdoch’s position, as stated yesterday:

“I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively co-operate with the police in all investigations and that is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’s leadership.” – Rupert Murdoch, from a statement released 6 July 2011

I’m sure you can think of one or two reasons why Rebekah Brooks (formerly Rebekah Wade) is the wrong person to be in overall charge of this investigation into her own editorship, but I invite you to consider one other; her attitude toward police/co-operation.

The following is an excerpt from an editorial by Rebekah Wade at a peak in her 2000 campaign to ‘name and shame’ paedophiles:

“Now, because we have suspended our naming of sex offenders, our opponents are trying to suggest that we have backed down. They are wrong. We took the decision to suspend naming of paedophiles on FRIDAY – when the authorities agreed to back our fight for Sarah’s Law.” – Rebekah Wade, News of the World editorial, 6 August 2000

Note that her clearly stated position is that she is only co-operating because/while the police back her politically.

After this editorial, she proceeded to name and shame paedophiles intermittently anyway, and the following is from a relevant editorial anticipating a poor reaction from the police.

“Now the police may bleat that by naming the sinister Santa of Hull we have hindered their job. That is not our intention and again we beg readers not to take the laws into their own hands.” – Rebekah Wade, News of the World editorial, 3 December 2000

Note how respectfully she treats police and their concerns. Note also how confident she is that she is in control of her mob. (Psst!)

A similar attitude is shown to privacy orders applying to the killers of James Bulger:

“While forbidden from seeking information about them, this newspaper will not be alone in receiving such information. Last week, for example, we were able to disclose how the youths were being prepared for re-entry into society at a cost of £1.5 million to the taxpayer.” – Rebekah Wade, News of the World editorial, 24 June 2001

This is the Rebekah Brooke/Wade version of co-operation with police.

Rebekah Brooks/Wade acted in the way she did back then because she was certain she was in the right and confident that her readers would behave responsibly… just as she is today* certain of her own innocence and confident about the integrity of her old newsroom team.

So, to close, let’s have another look at Murdoch’s position, and see how it stacks up now:

“I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively co-operate with the police in all investigations and that is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’s leadership.” – Rupert Murdoch, from a statement released 6 July 2011

[*If we are to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she is not lying.]

Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | Comments Off

Boycott Murdoch: #NOTW

I can’t imagine there’ll be much to be proud of in the upcoming issue of News of the World (see: ‘Missing Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked’), especially if Rebekah Brooks/Wade is allowed to continue as chief executive at News International, an organisation that has pledged to investigate illegal acts undertaken under her editorship… illegal acts undertaken by a man who was paid the kind of money most editors make it their business to know about.

So I have been going through this list of recent NotW advertisers and making a personal short list based on my own shopping habits. Where I am a customer, I ask the company the following question via the email address for their press or customer relations office (which is typically one of the few in the public domain):

Simple question: Will you be advertising in the next issue of News of the World (10 July 2011)?

If they do intend to advertise or won’t say, I will go on to advise them of my intentions (and reasons) regarding a boycott of their company (for a period that will be influenced substantially by their attitude to the query).

Mine is a short list, but my intention to boycott any brand that subsequently advertises in the 10 July issue is sincere, and I think realistic and reasonable.

It should be abundantly clear that no good can come of any commercial association with this upcoming issue of News of the World when News International refuse to even acknowledge Rebekah Brooks’ ultimate responsibility (i.e. according to standards she demands from others). There can be no genuine contrition without Brooks meeting up to her own damn standards.

Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 7 Comments

Jack Hart (@jachartuk): dangerous lies for pitiful gain

Someone was moaning about my blocking them on Twitter a short while ago. Jack Hart (@jachartuk on Twitter) took the opportunity to play a game he’s been getting bolder and bolder at; using a distorted account of a private email exchange in order to portray me as abusive, aggressive, and a potential danger to himself and others.

In doing so, Jack Hart is engaging in a lie that he should know is reckless to begin with, but it’s worse than that, because he’s been specifically warned that it is a lie that puts me in danger, and puts my family in danger.

Today is not the first time he has done this, or engaged in this kind of deception targeting me (in fact, the relevant correspondence contains a prime example).

He may be doing this for his own amusement, but at times it appears he does this for approval from others. Either way, today I call his bluff, because I do not need his lies building on top of those of Nadine Dorries.

[MINI-UPDATE: And here are some Dorries-related links to tide you over… Martin Milan, Sim-O, and Richard Bartholomew have each written about that post, which I will get to myself in due course.]

The screen capture below is a composite showing his latest portrayal of our private email exchange (including some of the tweets he has replied to for context). Below that is the full text of our only email exchange, and it is entirely unedited. Keep a sharp eye out for anything that is ‘abusive’, aggressive’ or ‘offensive':

Jack Hart

The relevant email exchange (below) began after Jack Hart implied in Twitter that I was the type of person likely to stalk someone, to the extent of being likely to hang around outside their house in response to mere criticism. Even then, it was not the first time he had done something like this.

On this occasion, he was responding to entirely false implications from Iain Dale that I was likely to lurk around his house. More recently (as you can see from the screen capture), he has chosen to mimic Nadine Dorries’ entirely false claims and implications about abusive/aggressive email correspondence. Jack Hart will probably scream ‘conspiracy theorist’ if I dare to note the pattern, but it’s pretty stark, and noting it suggests nothing beyond him being a particularly unpleasant wannabe.

From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 6:39 PM
Subject: Your recent tweets

You have no grounds for publishing this or anything like this:

@apptme2theboard relationship with Tim Ireland… I better say no more otherwise he’ll be sitting outside my house waiting… #Odd


Please remove it, and don’t repeat your previous attempts to cast objections to your false accusations as evidence of stalking.

Iain Dale has been CCed, as you appear to be basing your accusations on his published claims and implications, and he deserves to be made aware of how you interpret and act on them.


From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets


Your appear to be of the impression that I am unable to criticise you and your behavior without either taking direction from or allegedly copying Iain Dale.

Your delusions that people are either concerned or care about your baseless opinions are widely misjudged. Your apparent paranoia is clearly obvious in the fact that you felt not only to email me about a “tweet” you disagreed with but also felt the need to copy in Iain Dale who had nothing what so ever to do with the comment I made.

I find your behavior odd. There is no getting away from that. You may choose to disagree with me and I would be more than willing to publicly debate such a comment with you but this has been made impossible because you chose to block me on Twitter rather than conduct an open, frank and public discussion.

I personally cannot see what influence you feel you have over my choice of tweets nor the content that they contain. If I was to be being facetious I could ask you why you assumed the Tim Ireland in question was yourself, there is no evidence contained within that tweet to link you to it, you have chosen to make that link yourself out of a seemingly paranoid state of mind.

While I do not feel the need to talk of your feelings towards Iain Dale, I do wish to make one thing plainly obvious for you. I have in fact never seen any mention of your name or any allegation about yourself on Iain Dale’s website – the only place I have seen your name listed is on the rules page (and I now believe, from your paranoid behavior today, with very good reason). You may claim that references have been deleted but even if that is the case I am still unaware of any links or appearances.

I hope you have a wonderful evening and an even better weekend,



From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

The suggestion that I lurk outside people’s homes goes way beyond criticism, acceptable or otherwise. You have no grounds for making an allegation or even a suggestion of this nature, and it can only feed a genuine campaign of harassment against me.

Withdraw it, please.


From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:05 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

You have no grounds for accusing me of following the orders of Iain Dale, you have made an assumption that I have taken on board his views as my own at his wishing. Simply because I applied for a job with someone does not mean I have lost any ability to form my own opinions of your behavior which quite frankly I find rather disturbing.

If you feel that I am feeding a genuine campaign of harassment then that is regrettable but I am at a loss as to how you feel one post on a micro-blogging website is contributing much, if anything at all. The minimal number of your followers who also follow me is hardly going to amount to anything – this again appears to be paranoia and an inflated sense of self-importance on your part.

As previously stated I am more than willing to have an open debate with yourself over how I feel your views and constant badgering of others is unacceptable and unnecessary but you appear unwilling to conduct yourself in an open manner.

I am really at a loss as what else to say to you. I find your behavior odd. I find your inflated sense of self laughable and I find your blog to be nothing more than conspiracy theory combined with the ramblings of someone who appears that he aught to be doing something far more productive with his time.



From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:09 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

Counter-accusations get us nowhere, especially ones like this; I did not accuse you of following his orders. I didn’t even name you or vaguely allude to you in any event.

You have no evidence, cause or reason to support the quite damaging assertion that I lurk outside people’s homes, or even that I am likely to. Withdraw it, please.


From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:15 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets


You claim that “I didn’t even name you or vaguely allude to you in any event”. I hate to present you with cold, hard facts (because as you must be aware, judging by your blogging, your not a fan of them) but you appear to, vaguly, allude to me with your tweet seen below.


@danielh_g One person repeating the smear right now applied for a job with a certain Tory blogger. Dog knows where he gets his ideas from.
about 3 hours ago via web in reply to danielh_g

You really do need to find something slightly more productive to do with your time. This email link could go backwards and forwards (in future I shall not CC Iain Dale because I feel it is unfair to clog his inbox with your odd-ball ramblings and paranoia) but shall not achieve me to change my views of you. In fact you are only serving to strengthen them.

As previously said, conduct this discussion openly and I am more than willing to participate.


From: Tim Ireland
To: Jack Hart
Cc: Iain Dale
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:24 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets

1. My tweet does not identify you or even name Dale. I did not mention you in any surrounding tweets.
2. In any event, it does not include the accusation you refer to

It’s a pointless counter-accusation that serves only to divert us from the core points that you refuse to address.

I have pointed out that you have no grounds to suggest that I am likely to lurk outside your home or anyone else’s. You have repeatedly refused to address this point, and the only evidence you present of my potential for stalking is my response to the accusation itself. You further refuse to acknowledge that you maintain this groundless and damaging assertion in a climate where what you seek to defend as fairly held opinion is used against me as if it were fact.

And reasonable person would seek its withdrawal, and to know when they are dealing someone who is hostile beyond reason.



From: Jack Hart
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:30 PM
Subject: Re: Your recent tweets


FUCK OFF and go back to your pointless blogging.

There is nothing to be achieved conducting a solid debate with you because you have shown that your paranoid and inflated sense of self prohibits you from conducting yourself in a manner than appeases others.

You really need to find something better to do with your time other than chase people around over posts on micro-blogging websites. How’s about you try the real world sometime. You are an utterly pointless example of how blogging makes people think they’re journalists when in reality they’re crackpots sitting in their bedroom spouting off utter nonsense.

Enjoy your weekend,


It was at that point that I blocked @Jachartuk in Twitter, and I would hope most reasonable people can appreciate why.

Also, in case I’ve not made this point clear enough; Jack Hart tells dangerous lies. Or, to be more accurate, he mimics dangerous lies. His exact motives remain unknown, but at times it looks like he does it just to fit in with the small crowd at the far right of the Tory party that likes to shout ‘stalker’.

[Psst! Jack Hart tried to ‘spoil’ what was coming by claiming to have deleted the exchange himself and implying that I would edit it. I have not, and as you can see, Iain Dale was CCed on all but Hart’s charming sign-off. Iain Dale has a vested interested in portraying me as dishonest, and he claims to retain every email from me. But he can’t and won’t come out and denounce this exchange as false, because it is not.]

UPDATE – Jack Hart has complained his email address was visible in these emails. I have removed them ASAP as a courtesy. Don’t know what he was expecting when I said I planned to publish ‘unedited emails’. Judging by his past efforts, he’ll now go on to claim that I edited the emails, just as he predicted I would.


Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 14 Comments

Michael Gove puppet

I’m working on a puppet version of Michael Gove for Conservative Change Channel. How’s it looking?

Michael Gove puppet

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories!, Video | 7 Comments

Nadine Dorries and the alleged ‘condom on a banana’ event

We begin where we left this yesterday; when Nadine Dorries was given the courtesy of a day to produce evidence, better explain herself, and/or withdraw some if not all of her claims about condoms and bananas before I started digging into the detail:

“In her unedited interview with Jane Lees Chair of the Sex Education Forum, Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana. She added she’s seen even more explicit material aimed at seven year olds. Nadine Dorris [sic] has told the production team that she had been contacted by whistleblowers who support her assertion that some sex education lessons for seven year olds do involve bananas and condoms. However, she declined to pass on their details. – Email response from BBC / The One Show

There are many people who seek to give Nadine Dorries the benefit of the doubt to the extent that they speculate she may be confused about the difference between a child that is 7 years old (i.e. in Year 3, their first year of Junior school, the latter half of Primary school) and a child that is in Year 7 at school (i.e. 11 years old, and in their first year of Secondary school). However, this response from The One Show is quite clear about claims relating to 7-year-old children, and rather than retreat from the initial claim or clarify it, Nadine Dorries has sought to repeat it, and been very clear that she is talking about 7-year-old children (and not 11/12-year-old children in year 7 at school) being exposed to condoms and bananas:

Teaching a child of seven to apply a condom to a banana, without telling them that they do not have an obligation to go and do it, is almost like saying, “Now go and try this for yourself.” – Nadine Dorries, 4 May 2011

That said, while Dorries has been very, very confused about numbers before now (in a way that is not easily excused, even with her alleged dyslexia), when we isolate the daughter/witness claim from the surrounding claims and implications about what may or may have been shown to 7-year-old children, a curious thing happens:

In her unedited interview with Jane Lees Chair of the Sex Education Forum, Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana.

As you can see, though she appears to imply that she has personally witnessed children as young as 7 being exposed to an intimate meeting between a banana and a condom, no age of the daughter/students is specified for the single event she claims to have seen with her own eyes. In fact, the following assertions on her not-a-blog appear to be based mainly if not wholly on what she claims she was told by “whistleblowers” she will not name (i.e. the kind of anecdotal toss Dorries relies on all too often, and tellingly refers to as “evidence I’ve heard”):

The thrust* was that girls as young as seven are taught about intercourse, safe sex, how to apply a condom on a banana, where to get condoms, how to detect an STI and that they don’t need to tell their parents anything. – Nadine Dorries, 4 May 2011

… young girls are being taught to apply a condom to a banana for the third time during their education at age 13… – Nadine Dorries, 13 May 2011

Getting back to what Dorries claims to have personally witnessed in the company of an unspecified daughter, we also have the following from the archives of her not-a-blog:

My fifteen year old is still naive, still a mummy’s girl, and still believes everything I say. The day they were being taught at school how to place a condom on a banana, I almost wept with relief that she was ill. Omigod! Am I becoming the next Mary Whitehouse? – Nadine Dorries, 10 February 2007

And anyway, what kind of government is it that thinks it’s right to provide lessons to 13 year old girls on how to place a condom on a banana and not realise that the subliminal message is ‘now go and try that yourself’? – Nadine Dorries, 30 September 2009

1. If this daughter believes everything Dorries says, then there’s no way she’ll be getting pregnant anytime soon, because she’ll be trying to avoid having a hole punched in her womb.

2. If this were the blog of that tabloid dirtbag Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) and we lived in an alternate universe where that pathetic lying drunkard dared to say ‘boo’ to the most corrupt MP in the House, this post would begin and end with the first quote and a stark assertion (if not heavy implication) that Dorries lied about witnessing the event. I am hoping you expect a little more of me, and in any case, I hope to deliver more. The devil’s in the detail; that’s why tabloid scum peddle seemingly easy answers.

3. Mary Whitehouse may have been a reactionary bigot, but at least she was honest (AFAIK).

4. Dorries is wrong to suggest that any government is to blame for any of her daughters being shown how to put a condom on banana. There is nothing in any of the relevant legislation that calls for deployment of bananas or condoms, although some detail on the latter should be expected by Secondary school, as required under the Education Act 1996 (which was introduced by a Tory government, not the Labour government Dorries sought to blame in the relevant 2009 post).

5. And Secondary school is clearly what Dorries is talking about here, not Primary school (Secondary school begins at age 11).

6. If we are to assume that Dorries is being truthful about her claim to have “accompanied her [daughter] to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana”, the most logical assumption one can make from the first statement is that she witnessed this event later with the same daughter or earlier with an older daughter, but none of this is likely to have happened any later than 2005 (i.e. when the youngest daughter referenced above was 13).

7. Therefore, without any gratuitous/unnecessary naming of daughters’ names and/or airing of details about what may or may not be fairly regarded as details of their/Dorries’ private life and/or whereabouts** (see: not the blog of tabloid dirtbag Iain Dale, Dorries herself, or the thug mate they both rely on to do their dirty work from time to time), I can tell you with some confidence that this leaves us with a single likely school at which the alleged mother/daughter experience of a banana/condom collision is supposed to have taken place.

So now it is a simple matter of asking the good people in charge of that school if they include showing 13-year-old children how to put a condom on a banana as part of their sex education program. Don’t worry; I have mentally prepared myself for the shock that Dorries may not have been entirely… accurate about what she has claimed.

Mind you, even if she does turn out to have been telling a truth of sorts in this instance, the subsequent revelation would do absolutely nothing to substantiate Dorries’ repeated claims and implications that 7-year-old children in the UK have been exposed to condoms on bananas and “even more explicit material” (more). Claims that are as serious and potentially damaging as these demand evidence, and Dorries has repeatedly failed to produce or even specify said evidence, despite many challenges from several different interested parties.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to ask a certain school administrator a series of rather awkward questions about phallic fruit and prophylactics. I’ll be back soon, hopefully with some direct and informative answers. Until then, I ask you to be patient, and sheath your bananas.

(But, please… not in front of children.)

[*Thrust?! Was this really the best word to use, Nadine?]

[**All three daughters are now adults and all have been employed by Dorries out of the taxpayers’ pocket. Subsequently, some might start and finish the conversation at ‘fair game’ and they may have a point but, somewhat ironically, due to Dorries own extraordinary indiscretions, there is no need to name them here, so I don’t name them. Simple as that. Further, the relevant school is made obvious by material that Dorries herself has broadcast into the public domain, but there is no need to name it here, so I do not name it, or even link to the source that clinches it. By contrast, Nadine Dorries has knowingly linked to a site that offers step-by-step instructions on how to find my house. Police have kindly passed along an urgent request that she remove this link, but Dorries has refused. Nice.]

UPDATE (20 June) – There is more detail to come, but for now I can confidently state that there is NO TRUTH to the claim that Nadine Dorries “went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana”. I expect she saw this coming and this is what has prompted the recent extraordinary outbursts on her site (which I will respond to in a separate post later today or tomorrow).

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 8 Comments

Nadine Dorries: bananas

I have just received the following response to my complaint to The One Show that followed a pre-recorded segment by Nadine Dorries that included the often challenged, but still unsubstantiated claim about 7-year-old children being shown how to put a condom on a banana as part of a formal sex education programme in some schools (more):

Dear Mr Ireland

Reference CAS-785874-T4N7Z8

Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘The One Show’ on BBC One. I apologise for the slight delay in replying.

I note you were concerned about the accuracy of the comments made by Nadine Dorries MP on the 20 May edition of the programme.

‘The One Show’ production team has provided the following response to complaints of this nature:

“In her unedited interview with Jane Lees Chair of the Sex Education Forum, Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana. She added she’s seen even more explicit material aimed at seven year olds.

“Nadine Dorris [sic] has told the production team that she had been contacted by whistleblowers who support her assertion that some sex education lessons for seven year olds do involve bananas and condoms. However, she declined to pass on their details.

“Researching Nadine’s comments I don’t think she’s ever claimed it’s endemic, just that it happens.

“This was a personal opinion piece clearly signed as such. The production team were not in a position to dispute Nadine’s claim therefore we thought it acceptable to broadcast her view in the context of a personal opinion piece.

“However, we did insist that Nadine’s position was challenged within the piece with Jane Lees stating her bill was “not a comprehensive programme”.

“In the course of the interview Jane Lees appeared to concur that inappropriate teaching aids are on occasion used on very young children: “There is a great deal of material out there as we know some of it’s good and some of its rubbish and some of it is irresponsible but actually schools have the control and the responsibility about what’s used.”

“Taken as a whole we believe our viewers would have clearly understood that the views expressed were Nadine’s – and accepted that there were other perspectives on this controversial topic.”

I’d assure you your concerns have been registered on our audience log, which is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

Thanks again for taking the trouble to contact us.

Kind Regards

Lucia Fortucci
BBC Complaints

Putting aside how thoroughly inadequate this response is and how pathetic this particular ‘challenge’ to Dorries was, we are now at least a step closer to finding out which school(s)/district(s) Nadine Dorries claims is exposing 7-year-old children to sex education that is so explicit, it involves showing these very young children how to apply a condom to a banana.

To repeat the relevant passage:

“Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana. She added she’s seen even more explicit material aimed at seven year olds.

“Nadine Dorris has told the production team that she had been contacted by whistleblowers who support her assertion that some sex education lessons for seven year olds do involve bananas and condoms. However, she declined to pass on their details.

If we are to discount what I can only assume to be (at best) hearsay from unnamed whistle-blowers, we are left with the single event that Dorries claims to have witnessed herself:

Nadine Dorris [sic] claimed that she went to her daughter’s school and accompanied her to a lesson where the teacher put a condom on a banana.

Now, there are two obvious problems with further investigation here, and they are as follows:

a) Nadine Dorries has a documented track record of misleading her constituents about which school(s) her daughters have attended, and though she pretends it is due to unwelcome attention from four alleged stalkers, she has failed at every opportunity to produce the relevant evidence

b) It is clear from her attempt to lie about one police investigation and politicise another that Dorries is likely to use exaggerated if not entirely calculated hysterics in order to avoid producing evidence that probably never existed in the first place

So, knowing that Nadine Dorries requires her staff to trawl through tweeted/blogged material from the people she describes as her “haters”, I will politely extend the following invitation:

Nadine Dorries has until close of business today to name any school/district in the UK where she claims 7-year-old children have been shown how to put a condom on a banana as part of a past/present sex education curriculum… then I start digging for the answers myself.

This courtesy should allow Nadine Dorries to name a school or district that may or may not be not connected to her daughter(s)… assuming she and her alleged whistle blowers are telling the truth.

Alternatively, she may choose to admit that she cannot produce any evidence to support her claim that 7-year-old children have been shown how to put a condom on a banana as part of the sex education curriculum in some schools.

More likely, I suspect she will avoid producing any evidence and seek to mask this failure with partly if not entirely feigned hysterics about protecting her children.

Me, my concerns extend a little wider than her children, or even mine; I worry about the potential impact on all school-aged children if she is telling the truth, and I worry about the potential impact on all school-aged children if she is using a dangerous lie to push her abstinence agenda.

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 14 Comments

John Elmes and why you can’t trust Times Higher Education

Recently, staff at Times Higher Education surprised a lot of their readers and supporters by seeking to promote themselves in blogs with the name ‘bloggerheads’, and acting both arrogantly and dishonestly when it was pointed out to them that someone (namely, me) had already been using the name for 10 years:

Ann Mroz: patronising, unpleasant and dishonest
The Times Higher Education correspondence
THE tank on my lawn (and how/when it got there)

John Elmes claimed that editors senior to him came up with the ‘bloggerheads’ name for his “round-up of the scholarly web”. Editors senior to Elmes then claimed it was the work of editors junior to them.

Me, I dare to assume that because it was John’s baby, he at least had some say in naming it. He certainly sought to retain the use of ‘bloggerheads’ in a thoroughly unreasonable fashion; it was Elmes who initially asked me if I had “copyrighted” the name (i.e. before I was passed on to senior editors who asked if I had trademarked the name) and it was Elmes who, at a peak in our dispute, took to naming the feature ‘The Bloggerheads’.

That said, the arrogance and dishonesty I encountered went right to the top; Editor Ann Mroz initially pretended that I had no rights under law because I had not trademarked the name, and then changed her position when I called her bluff. The Deputy Editor (Phil Baty) claimed that Times Higher Education were not aware of my site before using the name ‘bloggerheads’, but my site tracking says otherwise, and a week after I confronted their lawyer with this finding, no-one at Times Higher Education has offered any kind of answer to this.

While I am pleased that THE have finally removed all references to ‘bloggerheads’ from their site, I am greatly disappointed by their refusal to investigate/explain this discrepancy, their general dishonesty, and their apparent last-ditch effort to pass the following off as a condition of that removal:

“I must ask you to please remove your blog post header describing our editor as “dishonest” and the picture of our employee from your website immediately.”

I was even more disappointed to later discover that no explanation or apology of any kind was in the offing (especially after I had produced evidence suggesting that it was not quite the innocent mistake Times Higher Education had made it out to be).

I was, however, entirely unsurprised to see that the new name Elmes/THE had chosen was entirely lacking in invention; John Elmes’ round-up of the scholarly web is now named… ‘THE Scholarly Web':

John Elmes: genius

(slow hand clap)

Unlike certain MPs, I am not sniffy about those who have been educated at university, but I reserve the right to point and laugh when it is clear that such an education has been wasted.

To close, for those who have some degree of faith in Times Higher Education, it is my sad duty to inform you that the magazine is staffed by the type of people who do not admit to mistakes, and instead seek to erase them, while bullying anyone who dares to make a noise about it; i.e. in one very important respect, they are no better than your average tabloid. I am sure that media-watchers especially understand what this means about taking anything THE claim at face value; they will know what a veneer of perfection usually hides.

Regrettable, but there it is. There is no getting away from the fact that Times Higher Education were entirely dishonest in their dealings with me, and then sought to erase their mistake rather than admit to any of that. They certainly don’t have any intention of acknowledging their error in print. How can you trust anything they commit to print if that’s their attitude?

Posted in Consume!, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment