Suburban Jihad: unleash the polite letter-writing campaign!

Thank you to Hugh Muir from the Guardian for winkling out this reply from “sources close to the MP [Patrick Mercer]” (below).

The Guardian Hugh Muir: The word is out. Cut all links with the Great Fabricator. If only they’d done it earlier

Last week we raised the question of Patrick Mercer, who chairs the parliamentary counterterrorism subcommittee, and had endorsed Jenvey as a man “who needs to be listened to”. The MP strongly condemned Jenvey’s deception, which occurred in January. “My office certainly received information from him but never worked with him,” he said. And that’s fine with us. But not with Mr Ireland’s site, Bloggerheads, for now it publishes an email sent by a Mercer aide to the People newspaper. “I have been in touch with Mr Jenvey about a number of things, but most of all the following, which in my view would combine well to make a very good Sunday story,” it says. All quite collegiate then, but it comes down to the definition of “working” together, say sources close to the MP. Mercer himself had no further dealings with Jenvey, though his officials occasionally received information from him. Sometimes it checked out. Sometimes not. Two months after doubts were raised about Jenvey’s dodgy activities, the link between the fabricator and Mercer’s aides had yet to be broken. A shadowy world, this counterterrorism.

Now which sources would they be, I wonder… The same staff who worked with Jenvey? A fellow Conservative/MP? A wannabe spin doctor? Some blogger? As for the response itself, even though Mercer’s office was clearly working with Jenvey to further that MP’s agenda, apparently it all hinges on what your definition of what “working” means… and what that means is that (a) Patrick Mercer is running for cover, not hiding from stalkers, and (b) no-one associated with this sorry affair has the cheek or balls to come out and say; “At least Jenvey wasn’t on the payroll!”

We must also take into consideration that Mercer initially responded by calling himself a liar.

Here, take a look at those quotes from Patrick Mercer and “sources close to the MP” in the order in which they were published:

“Glen Jenvey is an extremely capable and knowledgeable analyst of fundamentalist matters and ought to be listened to. If he says that this is a risk worth looking at, then we must take it seriously. He and I have done quite a lot of work together, and he is a source of reference for me”

Patrick Mercer quoted in a letter from the Managing Editor of The Sun, to the Press Complaints Commission, 27 January 2009
(source)

“My office certainly received information from him but never worked with him. This was a damaging lie. I have had nothing more to do with Glen Jenvey.”

Patrick Mercer quoted in the Guardian after The Sun admitted that Glen Jenvey had faked the relevant story, 16 September 2009
(source)

“I have been in touch with Mr Jenvey about a number of things but most of all the following, which in my view would combine well to make a very good Sunday story”

An email from Patrick Mercer’s staff/office to The People newspaper dated 2 March 2009 (revealed here at Bloggerheads 23 September 2009)
(source)

…it comes down to the definition of “working” together, say sources close to the MP. Mercer himself had no further dealings with Jenvey, though his officials occasionally received information from him. Sometimes it checked out. Sometimes not.

From today’s follow-up by the Guardian‘s political diarist, Hugh Muir
(source)

This is unacceptable. In fact, when you look at the detail, it’s downright scandalous.

Patrick Mercer not only knows that his office (at the very least) fumbled the ball on the Sugar matter, he also knows that I have as a direct result of my attempts to bring this to light been the subject of three attacks by two of his former associates…. and he still hasn’t stepped in to take charge.

Worse than that; he’s hiding behind un-named sources!

He is doing this even though he knows that the attacks have now escalated to a stage where (oh, you’ll love this) my home address has been repeatedly published online by an unknown number of anonymous attackers, and deliberately broadcast to supporters of Alisher Usmanov, Paul Staines, Iain Dale and now Nadine Dorries.

Meanwhile, Mercer is telling people who are asking questions about this that I am an “electronic stalker”. Iain Dale (a contemporary of Mercer’s and also a very close friend of Nadine Dorries), is confirmed as the source of this claim. It is a claim he has deleted from his website, but not withdrawn. Dorries stubbornly refuses to delete her subsequent comments about my being mentally “unwell” if not “sick”. Mercer, after telling people that I’m an electronic stalker” is now speaking through “sources close to the MP” and isn’t even visibly breaking ties with the person/people attacking me.

So they’re telling their supporters/readers that I’m some mad stalker while knowing that some real bastards using genuine forms of harassment are on my case. Dale and Dorries do this while being fully aware that these same bastards are deliberately taking advantage of the hostile audiences their false claims generate!

You’d think they’d at least pull their fucking heads in, but no.

That’s a nasty bloody mob that Patrick Mercer is hiding behind, and he’s hiding from me (and you) in to avoid fair and long-overdue questions about his conduct, and the conduct of the people he works with and employs.

In fact, here a fresh round of questions for Patrick Mercer’s consideration (if he thinks any of them are in any way unfair, I’ll try to re-word appropriately):

1. Sometimes Jenvey information checked out, and sometimes it didn’t. Did you ‘check out’ the SUGAR IS TERROR REVENGE TARGET story of 7 January 2009 by looking at the evidence before The Sun published?

2. Did you ‘check out’ the SUGAR IS TERROR REVENGE TARGET story of 7 January 2009 by looking at the evidence published at Bloggerheads.com (after The Sun had published)?

3. Regardless of the perceived reliability of that evidence, did you then and do you now hold the view expressed by The Sun to the PCC that “sending polite letters” is “obviously a euphemism” for something far more sinister if/when published on Ummah.com (on the basis that it is a “fanatics website”)?

4. At what stage (and on which date) did you first realise that Jenvey had indeed fabricated the evidence used by The Sun to allege the presence of extremism at Ummah.com, and the active targeting of named celebrities?

5. What was it that finally caused your office to part company with Jenvey? Was it the above discovery, you becoming personally aware of Glen Jenvey’s false claim that his accuser was a convicted paedophile, or something else?

6. Was there ever any stage after you regarded your professional relationship to be over that your office continued working with Glen Jenvey (i.e. in a manner akin to the recently-released email to The People newspaper), but without your knowledge?

7. What disciplinary action (if any) was taken against the staff members who (maybe) worked with Jenvey against your wishes, (perhaps) did not show you relevant ‘Sugar’ evidence or (definitely) did not alert you to Jenvey’s false accusations of paedophilia? What corrective measures (if any) were made to your procedures to avoid a similar compromising breakdown of communication?

8. You appear to be claiming that the quote used by The Sun in their letter to the PCC is now at least two years old. How old was it when The Sun used it (on 27 January 2009)?

9. Did The Sun check with you before using that quote in their letter to the PCC?

10. While they do conflict, you have released public statements about the severing of your relationship with Glen Jenvey. However, there is no statement on record about you severing links with another former associate and amateur ‘terror expert’ Dominic Wightman, and he appears to be suggesting that still support him. If you no longer have a professional/working relationship with Dominic Wightman, on what date did you sever links with him, and why was this decision taken?

If Patrick Mercer’s only answer to all of these questions is “Tim Ireland is an electronic stalker”, then I stand ready to publish every available record of electronic communication between myself, that MP and his office. This evidence would include 80% of phone calls, which I have recorded.

The catch is that this is an ‘all or nothing’ deal*. Mercer either agrees to opening the (available) entirety of my communication with his office to public scrutiny (minus any personal/sensitive data, obviously) or he withdraws his accusation of electronic stalking.

If he’s interested in having the evidence taken into consideration, that is; he may prefer instead to base his judgement and bank his reputation on the word of one man; Iain Dale (a man with a track record of quietly withdrawing claims he knows not to be true rather than immediately correcting them like any responsible publisher should).

Hey, what could possiblie go wrong?

Over to Patrick Mercer for action (or perhaps more hiding under a rock).

Meanwhile, your challenge, dear reader, is to reach out to your local MP and find out what they think about this. No mobs, just a few quiet, well-informed questions to a few MPs.

A “polite letter-writing campaign,” if you will.

It doesn’t matter which party your MP is from, but you probably needn’t bother telling CCHQ or any relevant/senior members of David Cameron’s cabinet about this; they were informed days ago that all this was going on, and they haven’t said or done a damn thing about it.

Finally, I’d like to ask any blogger who’s taken all of this into consideration to write a short article about whether or not the conduct of these Conservatives is entirely wise, fair or proper in light of current attacks against me. After all, unlike Nadine Dorries, I only have one home, and can’t really nip off to a back-up should this matter get out of hand.

[*Iain Dale’s welcome to a similar offer, but only if he agrees to discussing the evidence on neutral territory, where he cannot exploit various comment cheats as he has in the past.]

UPDATE (30 Sep) – Incredibly, Mercer is still trying to mislead the press about this. His latest statement contradicts his earlier claim never to have worked with Jenvey, and gives a false impression about when this working relationship ended:

“I haven’t spoken to Jenvey for over two-and-a-half years. There has been no working relationship between us for some time, and there won’t be one in the future.”

Patrick Mercer quoted in the Nottingham Evening Post, 30 September 2009
(source)

This is the behaviour of a lying, deceitful scoundrel, and I don’t use the words lightly.








Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 7 Comments

Patrick Mercer has some explaining to do

By now you will have seen the news that The Sun have finally managed to swallow their pride and summon their courage enough to deliver a small apology to Ummah.com (with this ickle bit of apology on Page 12 of that tabloid, months after the enormous front page splash that warranted it). The PCC have also ruled on the Jenvey matter, but (disappointingly) make NO mention of the sloppy if not malicious accusatory tactics used by Graham Dudman of The Sun in order to discredit me instead of addressing the evidence (which he did not even appear to look at himself).

I plan to address that matter soon, but first, I would like to draw your attention to this statement by Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, published as part of this earlier report by the Guardian (emphasis mine):

But where does this leave the Conservative security guru Patrick Mercer MP, chairman of the parliamentary subcommittee on counter-terrorism? As 5 Live pointed out, he was foolish enough to use his gravitas to bolster Jenvey’s reputation. “An extremely capable and knowledgeable analyst who needs to be listened to,” he said of Jenvey two years ago. Mercer told us yesterday: “My office certainly received information from him but never worked with him. This was a damaging lie. I have had nothing more to do with Glen Jenvey.” (source)

No, a damaging lie is telling people who are asking about this case and the two subsequent instances of harassment that I’m an “electronic stalker”; a claim reportedly made by Mercer that his office now refuses to discuss.

Patrick Mercer’s office also refuses to comment on that MP’s earlier admission that Iain Dale was the source/origin of this claim. They also refuse to reveal who exactly Mercer has been sharing this claim with.

To summarise (and paraphrase a certain less-than-upright blogger), I think it’s fair to say that Patrick Mercer has done a little more than spill my pint.

Still, it brings me no joy to reveal that Patrick Mercer is either an outright liar, or wholly incompetent when it comes to the management of his Parliamentary office.

The following email (that I’ve had in my possession for quite some time) reveals that – as late as March of this year – Patrick Mercer’s office clearly worked with Glen Jenvey (who, I should stress, is not the source of this revelation); the synergy between Jenvey, Mercer’s staff, his own Parliamentary Questions, and a tabloid newspaper is crystal clear.

That, and they were not only clearly working together, but they were doing so almost two months after the immediately-discredited Sugar story, and after I had produced evidence linking Jenvey to the ‘Richard Tims’ alias (that subsequently linked him to the ‘abu islam’ profile he later confessed to using in his attempts to fabricate evidence of extremism).

I was in touch with Mercer’s office the very day the email below was sent. In fact, I was in touch with the very same person (Edward Barker). Barker made reference to the possible necessity of “voice recognition experts” to verify the authenticity of a voice he quite likely recognised without need for professional assistance. Sure, he may have a point when you take his concerns in isolation, but these concerns seem a little misplaced if not misdirected to me, especially when, at the same time this was happening, Jenvey’s publicly-stated position was that the PCC were in league with extremists.

A lot more caution was warranted at this stage of the game, especially for a man working in the office of Patrick Mercer (former Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, and present Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism).

Huh. What am I saying? Caution?! Try distance, and a lot of it.

Mercer’s statement as published by the Guardian might suggest to the unwary that he and his office had parted company with Jenvey immediately after he had learned of the Sugar fabrications, but no formal/announced parting took place until after Jenvey smeared me as a paedophile approximately two weeks later (news the good people from Mercer’s office – and Iain Dale – saw fit not to pass on to that MP, by the way).

Heather Millican from Mercer’s office was today given the opportunity to deny the authenticity of this email. She said nothing. She did not reply to any of my emails about this, she did not answer her office phone, and when I attempted to call her on her mobile, she barked at me that I should not have called her on a ‘private’ number.

So here’s the email, minus one or two of the more private details. Remember; this comes to you as undisputed evidence, when I gave Mercer’s office ample opportunity to dispute it.

I have tidied the formatting so it’s easier to read, but any text/content changes/snips or relevant notes are in [square brackets].

From: BARKER, Edward
Sent: 02 March 2009 17:06
To: [Daniel Jones of The People newspaper (via Gmail)]
Subject: Abu Barra & Co

Dear Mr Jones,

I have been in touch with Mr Jenvey about a number of things but most of all the following, which in my view would combine well to make a very good Sunday story:

(a) Abu Barra audio;
(b) Rahman audio;
(c) Failure of Home Secretary, despite tough rhetoric, to close down any extremist websites.

On (a) and (b) do you have a budget to be able to send the audio files to a voice expert for comparison with video files so we have some basis for relying on them?

On (c), we received last week a Parliamentary Answer which said that no websites have been shut down by police using powers given to them under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006:

Written Parliamentary Question (WPQ)

Date of Answer: 24.02.2009

Column References: 488 c695-6W

Member Tabling Question: Mercer, Patrick

Topic: Terrorism: Internet

Question: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK-based websites have been closed down because they contained extremist material inciting terrorism in the last five years.

Answering Department: Home Office

Member Answering Question: Coaker, Vernon

Answer: The legislation that allows a request to be made that unlawfully terrorism related material is modified or removed from the internet is section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006. Section 3 allows for the service of a notice by a constable where he or she is of the opinion that unlawfully terrorism-related material is available on an electronic service such as a website, on the person(s) responsible for that material. The notice requires that the unlawfully terrorism-related material is removed or modified within two working days.However, the preferred route of the police is to use informal contact with the communication service providers to request that the material is removed. To date no Section 3 notices have been issued as this informal route has proved effective but statistics covering the number of sites removed through such informal contact are not collected.

Question Number: 254791

Date Tabled: 03.02.2009

Date for Answer: 05.02.2009

Legislature: House of Commons (HoC)

Chamber/Committee: Commons Chamber

Status: Answered

Session: 08-09

What do you think?

Let me know how I can be of further assistance…

Cheers,

Ed

Edward Barker
Parliamentary Researcher to Patrick Mercer OBE MP
T: [snip]
M: [snip]

I’m not really in the mood for a witty one-liner to finish this off, so I will only say this:

Boom.








Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 2 Comments

Meet Tory Muppet

Big-ups to Jamie Sport (script) Daniel Hoffmann-Gill (voice and script) who did so much to help bring Conservative Change Channel into being:

Conservative Change Channel: Nadine Dorries & Andy Coulson are innocent!

I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear that – even before the first broadcast – Tory Muppet has provoked not one but two humourless* outbursts from the two biggest sock-puppeting gits in the country, both of whom would love to accuse me of the same thing, but seem unable to recognise a joke when they see one (and/or are simply unwilling to do the in-depth research required to read a damn user profile). Bless.

(*Obviously, I’m being unfair; sometimes it hard to properly appreciate a joke when you’re likely to be the butt of it. Oh, and the less said about the ‘loon’ comment, the better, but Harry Cole is to be commended for persisting with this particular brand of personal attack well past its use-by date.)








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories!, Video | 3 Comments

The next guy in line

Morning, all.

I found out yesterday that Adam Macqueen of Private Eye is off on holiday until Tuesday, and I’ve no interest in conducting an ambush in his absence (i.e. while he’s not able to answer for himself) and so this morning, I’m going to abandon the schedule briefly, then slip out of my arse-kicking boots and into a comfy pair of bunny slippers so I can tell all about… the guy behind me.

No, not the rabid Tory with a knife. No, not the other rabid Tory with a knife, either. No, not even the faux-libertarian with a chainsaw.

What I want to talk to you about is the next guy in line.

It’s sometimes said about me (usually anonymously*) that I’m an arrogant bastard, with unreasonable expectations of a reply or action about this or that, but I’d like to try and clarify this point if that’s OK with you:

While I’m (quite rightly, I feel) concerned for myself a wee bit this week, for the most part, I do what I do and stick my head above the parapet because I’m concerned about what’s going to happen to the next guy that comes along with the same problem… and the next guy, and the girl behind him, and the poor sod behind them, and so on down the line.

Take, for example, the way Iain Dale cheats in comments on his blog; here, Paul Halsall countered a post of Iain’s with what may or may not have been a valid point, but was rewarded not with a reply from Iain (even one rejecting the point would do), but with largely personal attacks, many of which could have resulted from a single unregistered fanboy using multiple names. Some of that abuse was (eventually) deleted, but it shouldn’t have seen the light of day in the first place, especially when Dale was operating with full moderation in effect (as he was at the time). This ‘leading’ blogger has repeatedly claimed that he doesn’t allow anonymous abuse (presumably that means it’s OK if you do it using a name/nickname), but I know that’s not true; Iain Dale does allow anonymous abuse when it suits him. In fact, he often uses it to his advantage by having others do his dirty work for him, which they gleefully do, usually by shouting down or badmouthing naysayers (and here, I give Iain the benefit of the doubt in assuming that it is not he himself posting anonymous comments to his own weblog, which would be the saddest thing imaginable).

Derek Draper emailed a whole bunch of people in the political/web industry accusing me of arrogance because I dared to object when he was playing comment-censorship games very similar to those used by Iain Dale, Paul Staines, Donal Blaney, (I could go on, and usually do)… and we all know how he turned out, don’t we?

Further, a recipient of that email then sent a message out to the same private list, accusing me of arrogance because I dared to expect an answer from The Sun newspaper over my claims that Glen Jenvey had falsified the evidence of extremism that they had so readily sensationalised… and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?

(*Psst! By now you may have guessed the reason why the accusation of arrogance is so often delivered privately or anonymously; were it otherwise, the visible hypocrisy would be at a height likely to interfere with communication satellites.)

The post I originally had planned for today involved a writer for Private Eye unfairly taking credit for my scoop, countering my claims with a description of me as a ‘nutter’, and then claiming that my objecting to that in any way proved I was a nutter. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out, but I find myself wondering how often this kind of thing happens in and around that magazine and how often Ian Hislop deals with people (who don’t wave lawyers around) by simply ignoring them. FFS, he’s supposed to be one of the cuddlier ones, and his magazine one of the more credible titles in the country.

I also have some concerns about David Cameron and CCHQ in general; twice now (1, 2) I’ve been forced to take my case to them when someone visibly/closely associated with a Conservative MP has sought to ‘address the issues’ by anonymously accusing their opponent of being a paedophile, and twice now they’ve shown absolutely no interest in the matter. (I’m guessing this has something to do with their inability to make political gains on the back of it, as they did with the Draper/McBride affair.)

And don’t get me started about Google, who were months ago alerted to multiple instances of a web user using their system in contravention of their own Terms of Service and Content Policy to pose as a Daily mail reporter and make multiple false accusations of paedophilia; they repeatedly responded with stock answers saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) ; “under U.S. law, we don’t have to do anything, so we won’t”. Their Great Big Bloody Corporate Firewall makes it damn near to impossible to reach a human being and initiate a sensible conversation, and the facilities they have in place to report your more standard(!) attack of this kind are far from adequate and woefully under-staffed; surely that’s something that should cause us all concern, and even if you disagree on this and every other example I’ve raised, I say this to you:

You may say that it’s not my/your problem, but I beg to differ; it’s my problem, and your problem, and everyone’s problem when a community cannot police itself, and those in a prominent position in any community choose to abuse their power (or use it so selfishly as to guarantee ongoing harm to others).

You may not want to take action when this kind of thing happens, but as long as I’m in a position to do something about it, I will.

If I’m in a unique position to do something about it, and you’re the one in the wrong, then look out.

Tut… looking down, I find that I’m suddenly wearing my arse-kicking boots again. How did that happen?

No matter. If you’ll pardon my ‘arrogance'; I’m off out to see someone about what’s right, wrong and downright reasonable.

Cheers all.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Iain Dale is being a pain again

All I need Iain Dale to do this morning, even if he is not going to post any form of correction or apology, is acknowledge receipt of a single email.

He played this game the weekend he was busy smearing Tom Watson, and then went on to misrepresent repeated requests for a simple acknowledgement of receipt as a needless “barrage of emails”.

In a similar vein, this morning I find that he has deleted a false accusation of his that I have been complaining about for months… without informing me of that deletion*.

(*He hasn’t posted any kind of correction/retraction to match this action, but that’s for a later post.)

I require acknowledgement of receipt for a number of reasons, but the main one is that Iain Dale has previously explained away some of his past stunts by claiming to have missed, ignored, deleted or otherwise misplaced certain vital information (like my request to be left out of his biased blog poll, and my initial request that he call Patrick Mercer).

I try to call him and (just about) manage to ask him if he has received my email… and he hangs up on me without answering the question or even letting me finish it!

Any further attempt to get a simple acknowledgement of receipt will, I fear, lead to a further instance of him misrepresenting the situation to his readers and a further false accusation of stalking/harassment.

So… I’m all ears if you have ideas.

I’m not comfortable publishing what I have on Iain without making sure that he is clear about the full implications and what his options are, and all he has to do is confirm that he has both received and read** my email sent Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 8:45 with the subject header ‘a deletion does not equal a retraction’.

(**It pays to be clear with Iain, who is a slippery bugger.)

UPDATE (3:30pm) – Iain’s a lucky boy. I’ve been informed that Adam Macqueen is away until next Tuesday, so there’s no point chasing Iain today if I can’t address Macqueen tomorrow. For now, instead, you can all watch him sit back and refuse (yet again) to acknowledge receipt of a single email (while berating John Prescott for not engaging like a grown-up).

PS – Some of you may have noticed Dominic Wightman smearing me as a jealous, malicious, partisan, far-left/anti-Tory liar and stalker with mental problems. This attack so closely resembles*** those both initiated and hosted by Iain Dale that I’m sure even that ‘leading’ Conservative blogger can’t help but feel a little embarrassed by it all. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why he’s maintaining his silence; he’s too ashamed to come out and help me fight what his fertiliser feeds.

(***At one stage, Wightman even quotes attacks originally published by by Phil Hendren of ‘Dizzy Thinks’ verbatim. I proved a long time ago that what ‘Dizzy’ authored/published about my maliciously/anonymously editing people’s Wikipedia accounts was untrue. I even found the guy who was doing it (and I’m sure you’ll never guess how he responded to being caught). IIRC, Hendren saw the evidence and reluctantly admitted that he was wrong. But did he alter or remove the original allegation(s)? No. Result: someone with a grudge comes along and repeats it. Ditto for the ‘obsessive stalker’ crap that Iain publishes when he paints himself into a corner, and for Macqueen’s “nutter on a bus” bullshit. And they wonder why I complain about what goes on in the comments of their websites, like it never goes any further.)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 9 Comments

Patrick Mercer: conduct unbecoming

Patrick Mercer is the Conservative MP for Newark. He is the former Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, and present Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism.

It is my contention that Patrick Mercer has now brought his party, his committee and Parliament itself into disrepute, and it is with no small amount of reluctance and regret that I declare this to be so and set out my case.

I have heard from trusted sources that Patrick Mercer is a valuable contributor to the fight against extremism; his most-praised quality being his willingness to speak with all sides.

However, I have good reason to doubt his judgement if not his sincerity, not least because I have now been royally smeared by two of his former associates, and he and his office still won’t give me the time of day.

These are the five issues that I will be dealing with in this post, phrased as charges that I level against that MP. I accuse Patrick Mercer of the following:

1. Outright refusal to use appropriate/modern facilities in any of his public role(s)

2. Poor management of staff

3. Failure to act on the evidence regarding Glen Jenvey’s forgeries

4. Failure to act on the suspected involvement of Dominic Wightman, and the smears that followed

5. Failure to comply with FOI and DPA legislation and procedures

- | -

1. Outright refusal to use appropriate/modern facilities in any of his public role(s)

You may read this charge and consider this needless garnish (i.e. the type of petty point-scoring normally bandied about by some of the shoutier tabloid bloggers), but the fact is that Patrick Mercer’s refusal to use even a simple desk-top computer is greatly hampering his work, and was a major (though not sole) contributor to the events outlined in this post.

From my perspective alone, if he were more willing/able to personally receive email or read web pages, he would have been in a far better position to manage much of what is described below.

2. Poor management of staff

Instead of using this modern yet common technology, Patrick Mercer relies on staff to handle his emails, and has only second-hand access to the web. Leaving aside the appeal that must surely go out that someone ‘think of the trees’, on at least one ocassion, this has led to a situation where the staff he is overly-dependent on have let him so down badly as to associate him with the kind of smear that would make McBride and Draper blush (see below).

There is no sign or record of any punishment or process undertaken to address or correct this situation since things went so horribly wrong earlier this year. Indeed, the two staff members involved, Heather Millican and Edward Barker, are still employed by his office, and still conducting themselves in exactly the same way that did so much to bring about the first disaster:

3. Failure to act on the evidence regarding Glen Jenvey’s forgeries

The Sun newspaper has today quietly published this statement that neatly declares their innocence and spreads the blame (something I look forward to addressing in an upcoming post). In it, they include this quote from Patrick Mercer

(Jenvey) had been described as “an extremely capable and knowledgeable analyst” by Tory MP Patrick Mercer… (source)

This is an extract from a shining endorsement that was also used in a January 2009 letter to the PCC that I hope to bring you in full later this week. Mercer’s role in reinforcing the reputation of Glen Jenvey (in the same letter that The Sun were using to try to destroy mine) is crystal-clear:

Sun letter to PCC: Mercer quote

I had good cause to contact that MP’s office about what I knew and could prove about Jenvey’s fabrications, and did so. Repeatedly. To NO good effect.

If emails were not ignored, other forms of stalling and stonewalling were used. For example:

After Jenvey had denied ever using the alias ‘Richard Tims’ (in the same letter quoted above), I produced the audio of him happily admitting to using that same alias on a regular basis; Mercer’s office responded by insisting that I deliver the files in MP3 format (when they were readily accessible from the web, in downloadable form) and then suggesting that “voice recognition experts ” would be required to verify authenticity (involving a voice that would have been immediately recognisable to them or anyone else who had conducted a phone conversation with the quietly-spoken Jenvey).

There was from January 2009 onwards at least enough evidence* for any sensible person to start exercising caution in their dealings with Mr Jenvey, but I have data to hand that not only proves that his office was still colluding with him on similar stories, but also actively peddling such stories to tabloid newspapers, and sweetening the pot with promises of a quote from Patrick Mercer, as late as March 2009!

(*Further, at this stage, Jenvey’s main response to this evidence was a claim that myself, the Guardian newspaper and the PCC were in league with extremists. One might forgive the hapless Nadine Dorries for buying that line, but not the Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism.)

If Mercer wishes to switch that around and claim that he had doubts about the audio because he suspected Dominic Wightman’s involvement (I can only guess that Jenvey told him of his own suspicions), again we return to the issue of his refusal to use email and/or his office’s refusal to communicate in any meaningful way.

Time and again, his office refused to issue any comment or take any action, even (get this) after they were presented with evidence of Glen Jenvey’s attempts to smear me as a convicted paedophile.

The only time they cooperated was when it was far too late, and Jenvey was already a day into his weeks-long campaign to smear me as a convicted paedophile. At that stage, Mercer himself (finally) issued a statement by phone, but the lengths I had to go to in order to contact Mercer directly led to a costly blow-up with Iain Dale (that continues to this day):

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

4. Failure to act on the suspected involvement of Dominic Wightman, and the smears that followed

Since the aforementioned blow-up with Iain Dale, that ‘leading’ blogger has seen fit to contact Patrick Mercer MP and accuse me of harassment. Every subsequent conversation with that MP has been stilted at best, but it was during one of these rare and generally frustrating conversations that Patrick Mercer made his only attempt to warn me off Dominic Wightman (a man he regarded to be an inherently dishonest schemer), far too late for that vague reference to be of any use.

(In August 2009, during a conversation about Jenvey and my information request, he said that he had not been in contact with Jenvey for months, and then added that he had also not been in touch with Dominic Wightman since that man “went off the rails”. This was the only time Wightman’s name was mentioned by Mercer or anyone from his office. By that stage, Wightman had already smeared me anonymously, and paralysed the investigation and my website with a forged interview that sought to damage a long list of people, including Mercer.)

Mercer’s office was also made aware of the forged interview as soon as it emerged (19 May 2009). The response was muted, at best. Despite my asking, Mercer himself offered no thoughts or clues as to who might be behind it (other than the disconnected hint 3 months later).

Last week, Mercer’s office was informed of Dominic Wightman’s involvement in that smear, and that he had confessed to publishing it twice. I also took the precaution of calling Mercer himself. Both times, I requested that Mercer release “a statement regarding his past and present relationship with Dominic Wightman.”

I contacted his office again yesterday to repeat my request; they offered me smiles and sunshine… but at the time of writing, I am still waiting for that statement

The public record accessible to most people shows Dominic Wightman and Patrick Mercer as allies:

Dominic Wightman and Patrick Mercer

Patrick Mercer (right) with Dominic Whiteman of the Vigil group, Oct 2006 (source)

Patrick Mercer, the Tory spokesman for homeland security, has also worked with Vigil. He said that he had been impressed by the group’s professionalism. “Anything of this nature that helps the security services has to be encouraged,” he said. – Nov 2006 (source)

Further, it is clear from his latest and far more savage smears that Wightman seeks to undermine any suggestion that Mercer no longer supports him:

I can predict the gist of Ireland’s attack already – “Wightman broke my confidence, Wightman has run failed businesses (no mention of the successful ones), Wightman has multiple email addresses (he is already on about one called richardwalkerinstitute which I’ve used for eight years as an ancillary account), Wightman is mad, despite his expensive education Wightman is less intelligent than me and even Mercer says Wightman’s off the rails (Ireland loves quoting from conversations which rarely if ever existed), look at this document which shows Wightman going into an insolvency arrangement yet he lives like a King and is married to a beauty queen, Wightman hates the far left because he was once smacked by a Bolshevik nanny, Wightman has real-world business enemies (no mention that this is because he’s had the balls to give life a go rather than hiding behind a keyboard) etc etc. Snore, snore. Bore, bore. Far left cheers, centre right sneers. And what then?

Extract from Dominic Wightman’s extraordinary attack piece of 13 September 2009

It should be clear to anyone how much help Mercer could (and should) be with a simple statement establishing the truth of the matter. But no.

To paraphrase Michael Caine’s character Governor Baxter Thwaites in the 1985 film Water, it would seem to me that in the eyes of Patrick Mercer, I’m about as significant as the dot above the ‘i’ in the word ‘shit’.

5. Failure to comply with FOI and DPA legislation and procedures

On 05 May, 2009 I submitted a combined FOI and DPA request to the office of Patrick Mercer (extract follows):

All emails and documents sent, received, created or held on the computer(s) used by Edward Barker and Heather Millican that mention my name (Tim Ireland) or my site (‘Bloggerheads’, bloggerheads.com’ and/or ‘bloggerhead.com’). I am primarily asking for emails, but there may also be documents such as RTF and DOC files. I would like copies of all relevant data from 1 Jan 2009 to the present, but special attention should be paid to the periods from 13-16 January, 2-5 March, 15-20 March and 2-5 April

I am well aware that MPs have voted themselves exempt from FOI requests, but I was only asking for information relating to me personally, and given reason to believe that they would cooperate, especially in light of what had gone before.

However, On 11 May, 2009 Edward Barker (Parliamentary Researcher to Patrick Mercer) wrote to inform me that they were “not obliged to respond” to my FOI request, and made no response when I pointed out that he had completely ignored my right to access data under the DPA (when Advice for Members’ Offices is very clear about the matter).

I later called Patrick Mercer directly about my combined request and he assured me that his office would cooperate fully on both fronts (i.e. FOI and DPA) but his office then ignored my email correspondence (on May 14, June 3, and June 10).

I would have expected at least one update email advising me of their ultimate decision on FOI and what might be addressed from a DPA standpoint, but I heard nothing. Over 40 days had passed and still I heard nothing.

I then called Patrick Mercer direct, and he advised me that his position had changed and his office would not be delivering ANY data. Apart from a vague reference to a stalker problem (to explain why he had changed his general position), the only reason Mercer gave for refusing the request was that the data had been… deleted!

Even when I subsequently informed him that the data was still legally ‘held’ by his office, he made it clear that this made little difference to him because, as far as he was concerned, the data was gone and he could not access it, even if he wanted to.

I do not know at this stage when the data was deleted, but I was not informed of any deletions initially in the email of 11 May. There was no final written response to my request (in fact, nothing since the single email of 11 May) and subsequent emails to his office were ignored.

Complaints are now in the hands of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Speaker’s Office.

I say again; it is my contention that Patrick Mercer has now brought his party, his committee and Parliament itself into disrepute, and I would hope that I have now made my case.

Further, I would like to say that it reflects poorly on all parties involved in the farrago (including Iain Dale, who I will be writing about tomorrow) when the priority appears to be how things might impact politically, instead of what is right, or just, or fair.








Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments

Dominic Wightman has some explaining to do

Dominic Wightman*, Glen Jenvey and Michael Starkey used to be the core members of a team of amateur ‘terror experts’ operating under the name Vigil and working hand-in-hand with Conservative MP – and then Shadow Minister for Homeland Security – Patrick Mercer. (example)

(*aka Dominic Whiteman, aka Richard Walker, etc. etc. etc.)

The group had a falling out in 2007, resulting in Dominic Wightman being disgraced and discredited in the eyes of Patrick Mercer. At the centre of this falling out was a series of accusations and counter-accusations involving an email from Dominic Wightman’s account proposing the fabrication of evidence to suggest that Muslims were planning to plant a bomb in an elderly woman’s wheeled shopping-basket and explode it in a supermarket. (more)

Wightman claims to have then ‘moved on’, but it’s evident that he invested a great deal of time and effort in discrediting his former partners. The best example of these efforts was his recruiting an unknown associate to pose as a reporter and conduct an audio-recorded interview with Glen Jenvey at his home in Wiltshire in February 2008.

While Jenvey willingly took hold of the rope fed to him by Wightman’s fake reporter, there was nothing conclusively damning in the resulting audio (yet) and these and other efforts did little to disrupt the ongoing relationship between Glen Jenvey and Patrick Mercer (though by this stage, Starkey had retreated even further into the background and stayed there).

By late 2008, the relationship between Glen Jenvey and Patrick Mercer had settled into the routine of Jenvey presenting Mercer’s office with what he claimed to be evidence of extremism, planned terrorist atrocities and what have you, whereupon that MP’s staffers Heather Millican and/or Edward Barker would help peddle the stories to tabloid newspapers with promises of quotes from Patrick Mercer (often condemning the Labour government for their inaction over this and other alleged evidence).

Sadly, by this time, Jenvey’s use of false identities and sock-puppet accounts in Muslim forums was generating more ‘evidence’ of extremism than he uncovered. (examples)

It was only a matter of time before Jenvey crossed the line from entrapment to fabrication, the very same thing he had accused his former partner Dominic Wightman of plotting.

Wightman was about to get his chance to settle an old score, and the audio of Jenvey casually admitting to the use of the alias ‘Richard Tims’ was about to become the ‘killer blow’ he had waited so long for. It did little to undermine Starkey, but there were ways around that.

End of Part One. Go and have a sandwich or something if you’re in for the long haul. (Actually, perhaps you’d best not; the next bit gets a bit stomach-churning in places.)

In early 2009 I caught Glen Jenvey posting fake evidence of extremism to a website (using the name ‘abu islam’) and then selling that story to The Sun, a tabloid newspaper with a widely-recognised anti-Muslim agenda. (more)

Via a letter from The Sun to the Press Complaints Commission, Jenvey issued a firm denial of any involvement with the ‘Richard Tims’, the name used on the account that linked him to the fraudulent postings under the name ‘abu islam’. Public denials were rarer and far less firm, but eventually Jenvey issued a very similar denial via an interview with a Christian activist/writer by the name of Jeremy Reynalds. (Though he used a series of sock-puppet accounts to deliver range of absurd counter-accusations, Reynalds’ writing was the only channel through which Jenvey issued any public statements under his own name until well after this story had moved on to other matters.)

Relevant posts on Bloggerheads eventually drew the attention of Dominic Wightman, who at first suggested clandestine delivery of audio in his possession, and then instead initiated a meeting in a nearby pub, where that same audio was transferred from a USB stick in his possession to my laptop.

(Currently, Dominic Wightman portrays me as a vain and greedy man taking credit for his work, but at the time he insisted that he remain anonymous and that every effort be made to avoid revealing him as the source.)

While there is no question regarding the authenticity of this audio, it is now clear that Dominic sought to shape the information that was released on my website, with Starkey being a key target regardless of any involvement in Jenvey’s present use of false identities to plant false evidence of extremism on Ummah.com and other Muslim community websites.

Jenvey was refusing to answer questions directly and, at the same time, giving Starkey only very limited information about what was unfolding, despite his associate’s name emerging on my website.

Similarly, it was proving impossible to get any meaningful response from the office of Patrick Mercer, even after Jenvey responded by posing as a Daily Mail reporter and repeatedly posting false accusations about me being a convicted paedophile to dozens of websites.

Jenvey now claims that Dominic Wightman not only provided him with my (ex-directory) home address prior to this, but also briefed him by phone with claims that I was a mentally unstable paedophile who needed ‘sorting out’.

I will readily note that the key elements of this claim are impossible to prove and that Jenvey has lied in the past, but he has made these claims in light of a full confession to police, with no apparent attempt to minimise what he has done, and it is now clear that Dominic was at the time also privately over-stating to me what Jenvey might be capable of when pushed to the edge (though he was kind enough to point out that Jenvey would probably pull up short of burning my house down).

However, my real issue is with with what Dominic did next, and I can prove every scrap of what follows the following introduction and speculation (the latter mostly made necessary by Wightman’s vague and nonsensical claim to have ‘brought me down’ as a public service, accidentally-on-purpose).

The disagreement with Iain Dale that followed will be detailed in coming days, but to summarise, Dale responded to my repeated attempts to discuss his failure to call Mercer and his refusal to contribute to a police statement (despite his involvement) by publicly accusing me of harassment. This resulted in a seres of anonymous attacks against me, and Adam Macqueen (a writer for Private Eye and friend of Iain Dale) likening me to a “nutter on a bus”.

(speculation)

I suspect that by the stage I had written an open letter to Ian Hislop on May 11, asking him to address this “nutter on a bus” smear (which stands as the only public response from anyone at his magazine about their taking credit for my Jenvey scoop), Dominic Wightman was concerned that I had ‘lost focus’, and that I showed far too much caution in use of the information he was repeatedly feeding me about Starkey.

(/speculation)

On May 19, Dominic Wightman emailed me with a claim that he had chanced upon a document hosted at scribd.com that purported to be a genuine interview with Glen Jenvey, conducted and published by Jeremy Reynalds. He even asked me if I had written it, before listing a series of likely suspects (culminating, inevitably, with Starkey).

Reynalds immediately denied any involvement, but even after it was clearly established as a fake, this ‘interview’ presented me and/or up to half a dozen people with a potential problem that could not be addressed with simple exposure.

I will explain this position in detail in a moment, but first I need to make clear that is has only recently been established beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dominic Wightman published it by submitting personally it to both scribd.com and articles-heaven.com

Wightman denies actually writing the fake interview, as if that makes any difference. He claims to have ‘found’ it elsewhere before uploading it in document form to scribd.com and as text to articles-heaven.com (though this claim is somewhat undermined by document properties that show 71 minutes of editing time, which is a long time to spend on a simple ‘copy and paste’ by anyone’s standards).

Regardless of authorship, Wightman clearly published both versions, and brought the first version to my attention.

I was as determined then as I am today to keep the full contents of that document out of the public domain, because even though the document contains very little in the way of truth, it still had and has the potential to cause great damage or embarrasment to a long list of people (including the man we can now safely describe as his primary target; Michael Starkey).

For this reason, I am only going to include passages that refer to little old me:

Obviously all of this is presented as if it’s from Glen Jenvey’s point of view, but you also need to keep in mind that Dominic Wightman still regards this content to be among the most harmless in the forged interview:

GJ: Basically they are friends with other extremists from the political left including a stupid blogger Tim Ireland and they together have tried to smear me. But they have failed miserably to smear me because the press in Britain has continually ignored them and their story about me while continuing to accept the validity of my stories.

JR: So Tim Ireland is someone who smears those who expose the wrongdoings of Islamic extremists?

GJ: Yes. Basically he is just a small-time carping Australian blogger and self-confessed alcoholic who lives in a council house in the South of England who likes to hassle people who go about their daily business so he can make a name for himself. He is someone who will get into bed with anyone for any small story even people who carried out 7/7. He has upset a lot of people and has lots of enemies after him including the cops and some members of the press.

JR: Is it true that you posted material on the Internet suggesting Tim Ireland was a paedophile?

GJ: No there is no proof of that. Tim Ireland has a history of being unstable and he probably posted that sort of material himself. He even calls himself Manic. Manic by name – manic by nature. The man is a loser. If he didn’t post the material himself it was [snip] who is well known to the police and has a history of criminal activity as well as a dysfunctional family.

Again, I will stress that Wightman himself regards this to be the lighter material.

I should also point out that Dominic Wightman is even today still trying to justify his use of the description “self confessed alcoholic” in this context, despite my being teetotal.

I had just recently declared my complete incompatibility with alcohol in support of a friend with a far worse problem than mine (who later lost his battle with drink and depression and subsequently took his own life); to have this used against me in this way was a real kick in the guts, but if Wightman was expecting the flurry of rage followed by an ‘outing’ of the document, he was to be sorely disappointed. Instead, what he got was more caution.

And that’s where the recent radio silence came from, folks.

The forged interview was carved using information already in the public domain. It could’ve been the work of just about anyone. But there were too many potential targets (each with their own list of enemies) and too many possible sources, with thanks in no small part to at least two people in the publishing industry who should know better than to exploit their position in the way they did (and there’ll be more about that later this week, assuming this post fails to bring either or both of them around).

What Glen Jenvey did with those paedo-smears was quite extraordinary, but so was the subsequent reaction of Iain Dale and Adam Macqueen. Even if I were able to bank on being a primary or even secondary target of this forged interview, it could have been the work of any one of the tens of thousands of people who read Iain Dale’s weblog, most of whom would have had at the time what they then considered to be good cause to teach me a lesson; there were certainly multiple instances of people lashing out at me following Dale’s grossly misleading claims of harassment, at least one of whom decided that, yes, I deserved to be smeared as a paedophile. And while I considered it highly unlikely that any professional journalist would have attempted something like this, the possibility of a fan of Private Eye crafting this in their ‘defence’ was also there and could not be ignored, especially in light of the timing; there are plenty of people who read and enjoy that magazine who fail to appreciate the importance of walking the walk on matters of integrity.

Again, I’ve only used myself as an example here (it’s all about me, dahling), but I hope you can appreciate from this example alone the potential problem this forged interview presented to half a dozen people, not least because there was some unknown person out there who was willing to smear anyone and everyone in the worst manner possible, just to get what they wanted.

I regarded that person to be dangerous. (I still do to a certain extent, knowing that they are not only capable of this, but more besides. It is clear that Wightman is involved to some degree in a recent anonymous threat to reveal my home address to “everyone (I’ve) ever pissed off”.

However, none of the conditions that made his stunt so effective can be easily replicated (otherwise I’d be a fool to flag the danger to me or anyone else).

In fact, here’s an example of something that would be impossible to replicate (even if you can’t appreciate the rarity of so many intersecting people acting like selfish, unthinking bastards at the same time):

The second version on articles-heaven.com was, it now appears, uploaded on May 13 (like the scribd.com version) but because of a backlog on that site, did not appear until the weekend after Glen Jenvey was interviewed and confessed all to the police. At the time it appeared as if someone was trying to kick things off all over again regardless of a need then – and now – not to savage Jenvey (or even mention him in any way beyond the truths that have since been established well beyond doubt).

At that time, and at every stage since ‘finding’ the document, Dominic Wightman was in regular contact with me, well aware of the anxiety I was feeling, and well aware of his contribution to it (though he still quite inexplicably claims to have been oblivious to being the primary cause of it, while simultaneously having no regrets because he could not have planned it better).

And yet he said and did nothing to alleviate that anxiety… and continued to say and do nothing until the information I provided led police right to his door.

He then insisted that we meet immediately (not likely), then tried to deny and minimise what he had done to varying degrees, then tried to convince me that I was guilty of the same or worse, and then tried to smear me again, this time in such a way that might make people think I was deserving of such treatment.

I’m not. No-one is.

If I thought otherwise, then I would have ‘outed’ the forged interview and brought it into the public domain (as he no doubt expected me to) long before I established the source of the piece and their likely agenda.

Dominic Wightman is now effectively neutralised. He has no credibility to speak of, and his response to being caught using false identities to smear and intimidate his political enemies has been a pathetic attempt to replicate the effort.

Sadly for him, he appears to have no understanding of the many forces that amplified his earlier efforts while hiding him from view, and does not recognise the damage he is doing to his own reputation while seeking to destroy mine.

(And now, if no-one minds, I am going to “borrow” a YouTube video I have “no permission to use” and use it as a final punctuation point on this post.)

- | -

UPDATE (15 Sep) – Dominic Wightman waited until we were all tucked up in bed last night before shoving this through our letterbox (or having some helpful chap do it for him):

Wightman's letter

a) You may recognise the tactic used recently by Jag Singh and Paul Staines of MessageSpace; using a pointless legal-sounding letter to play the victim while conveying that all-important message; ‘I know where you live’

b) I can’t say that I recognise all of the initials on that CC list. Perhaps the picture will become clearer if the promised email ever arrives.

c) He must have long arms if he delivered this by hand all the way from Venezuela (where he claimed to be based in his recent attack piece; one of the dozens of outright lies and fabrications in that article).

d) This is the second time he’s implied that I might interfere with his family life somehow. Given that his [blood relative] lives less than a few miles from me, perhaps he’s worried that I’ll tell on him.








Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 11 Comments

The Glen Jenvey story: closure

Let’s skip right past the producers of the Donal MacIntyre programme on Radio 5 Live (more) asking me very nicely not to publish anything that might spoil or date their story, and the rich reward that followed (a single word of credit, followed by their later declaration that it was in fact Tom Mangold’s discovery, when I’d been in possession of Jenvey’s confession for weeks) so we can get to the guts of it:

1. Richard Bartholomew also deserves a lot of credit; he’s done just as much work on this as I have, if not more. He also picked up a lot of the slack during the recent periods of radio silence. More on the latter in a mo.

2. It was just as I said all those months ago; Glen Jenvey posed as ‘abu islam’, creating/inventing the ‘Alan Sugar terror target’ story so readily hyped by The Sun. Case closed.

3. When confronted by police recently, Glen Jenvey also confessed to making repeated postings to local and foreign websites, posing as a Daily Mail reporter and making false accusations that I was a convicted paedophile. He has since apologised profusely and, taking certain circumstances into account, I am prepared to accept that apology.

4. I am also personally satisfied that Glen Jenvey’s associate Michael Starkey was NOT aware of either of these deceptions, and is sincere when he assures me that had he known about the latter especially, he would have done everything in his power to combat these lies.

5. Glen Jenvey now goes by the name of Omar Hamza Jenvey and has declared that his “spying days” are behind him. I’m concerned about some of the company he’s been keeping since his recent religious journey, but for now let’s just recognise that this journey and other recent developments have led to the complete breakdown of the amateur ‘terror tracker’ network that was so closely involved with the office of the Conservative MP Patrick Mercer (the former Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, and present Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism).

6. But there’s still some cleaning up to do, and that’s what this week is all about for me. I’ll be dealing with the following, step-by-step, hopefully more or less in the order that they appear below. But first, a refresher course and the latest data for those in need of a catch-up. Get yourself a hot cuppa or a cool drink (and maybe a packed lunch) and please read this first:

SpinWatch – The British amateur terror trackers: A case study in dubious politics

Investigations by Spinwatch reveal that a group of freelance terror trackers who promote stories about the threat from violent Islamists have been involved in exaggerating and even fabricating such stories, which they then comment on in the national press and on network television and radio. The group – which has now fallen apart – was centred on freelance spy Glen Jenvey and Conservative Party member Dominic Wightman, who uses the pseudonym ‘Whiteman’. (more)

That article contains a lot of fresh detail about a man named Dominic Wightman. He heads the list below mainly for reasons of context. Once his role is seen in the proper light, everything else will make a lot more sense to you (as it now does to me).

Dominic Wightman

In recent emails, Wightman has insisted that the above article will result in the mother of all legal actions when making one argument, then dismissed it as a piffling trifle when making another. He has also declared that it includes libel without being able to identify any specific instance of it. I therefore feel quite comfortable in linking to it, despite his recent promise to sue me if given the chance.

It was Wightman who was the source of the audio with Jenvey admitting to be Richard Tims (an alias linked to the ‘abu islam’ account that he had repeatedly denied using) and what later emerged to be quite selective and sometimes misleading background information relating to his association with Glen Jenvey, Michael Starkey, and Patrick Mercer. Despite what Wightman claims now, he insisted on remaining anonymous at the time.

Late Sunday evening Wightman used a sock-puppet account (and/or that of a close ally) to publish/promote a quite extraordinary attack on me that’s an epic work of confusion, conflation, misrepresentation and outright invention, but the most striking thing about it for me is the scope of the tell-all article that he imagines I planned to respond with; amazingly, he himself specifies many possible/worthwhile avenues of investigation (mostly to do with money and deceit) that I personally had dismissed as completely surplus to requirements; what I can prove about how he conducted himself during this most recent event is enough to finish the most robust of reputations on its own:

It was Wightman who released an ‘interview’ with Jenvey that was obviously a forgery, but could not be easily dismissed, as it smeared so many targets at such a tumultuous time that there was no telling who the likely target was, never mind who the perpetrator might be or even what their agenda/allegiance might be. I will be revealing the details of this action and its wider implications in full, later today (Monday).

(MINI-UPDATE – Meanwhile, feel free to whet your appetite with this illuminating post from Richard Bartholomew.)

Patrick Mercer MP

Both Heather Millican and Edward Barker, acting as staff for this Conservative MP, failed to pass on any of my concerns about Glen Jenvey at any stage, well past the point where Jenvey was out of control. Their impenetrable firewall made it necessary for me to seek a way to get directly in touch with Mercer after Jenvey published false claims of paedophilia (see: Iain Dale).

The rude and awkward introduction that followed when I was finally able to get in direct contact, combined with Mercer’s refusal to use the web or email, plus later accusations levelled against me (see: Iain Dale) were, I am sure, major contributing factors to my not hearing any warnings about Dominic Wightman bar a single vague reference to him going “off the rails” (weeks after it would have been of any use).

I also have serious issues with the evasive and unprofessional manner in which he and his staff treated a related information request, and more.

Details to follow on Tuesday.

(Last week, a request was sent to Patrick Mercer’s office, and then Patrick Mercer himself, requesting a statement outlining his past and present relationship with Dominic Wightman. At the time of writing it has not yet emerged.)

Iain Dale

Iain Dale was literally the last person on my list when I was looking for people I knew who might be able to make a call directly to Patrick Mercer. The first two were unable to help, so I was forced to call Iain.

I explained the situation to Iain carefully and repeatedly; I needed him to call Mercer because nothing was getting through his office, or past his staff. Glen Jenvey was smearing me as a paedophile repeatedly at that stage, but according to all visible accounts was still aligned with that MP (and, according to a quote attributed to Mercer himself, a man who “ought to be listened to”)

Iain Dale promised to call Patrick Mercer, but didn’t. He later gave me the impression that he had made Patrick Mercer aware of Jenvey’s smears, despite knowing that he had merely (and quite inexplicably) called the same office that he knew was not passing on any messages involving Jenvey.

Iain has since refused to discuss this matter beyond a single email claiming that in calling the office he had in fact called Mercer. I’m still not sure if he was playing political games or just being extremely slack about it, but he then more or less immediately went on to bust a gut over some other smears involving Derek Draper, and smeared Tom Watson when doing so. Repeated attempts to have him explain his actions resulted only in his declaring to his readers that I was harassing him for personal/political reasons. He then went on to (finally) call Mercer direct, but only to relay this same accusation!

It was difficult having a sensible and constructive conversation with Mercer before this; it was near-to-impossible afterwards. Further, Dale’s extraordinarily dishonest attack on me (example: he spoke of a “barrage of emails” without revealing that the bulk of them resulted from his repeated refusal to acknowledge receipt of a single email) created a hostile crowd so large that several Dominic Wightmans could have hidden themselves inside it, and I plan to reveal more about what Iain knew but didn’t give a damn about on Wednesday.

(Iain Dale currently has comment moderation on, which means he reviews comments before publishing them. He still will not accept comments from me, but last night published the URL of Wightman’s disgraceful pre-emptive strike without complaint. It was still live, hours later, at the time of writing. Nice. No doubt he’s happy that it repeats many of the empty allegations he so readily hosts on his website on the basis it is ‘honestly-held opinion’.)

Adam Macqueen

Jenvey = ‘abu islam’ was my scoop. Private Eye stole it and took the credit for it. End of. Adam Macqueen (a writer for Private Eye and friend of Iain Dale’s) tells people he didn’t even write the relevant story, which is a misleading claim at best; privately he admitted that it was he who struck out my contribution, which is the crux of the matter. Later – in the wake of Iain’s misleading allegations of harassment – Macqueen publicly likened our private communication about this matter to meeting a “nutter on a bus”… and then went on to claim that my objecting to that description proved his point!

An open letter complaining about the smear was sent to his editor, Ian Hislop, who emailed but refused to acknowledge the significance of any of this. I tried to reply, but found that someone at Private Eye had put a spamblock in place, bouncing any email from me.

The forged interview (later found to be the work of Dominic Wightman) quite specifically smeared me as being mentally “unstable” and was written the day after I published the relevant open letter to Hislop. That forged interview was a real piece of work, and not something you could accuse anybody of without proof, even if I could somehow contact the offices of Private Eye without having someone use that as further ‘evidence’ of nuttiness, but what’s a guy to think in a situation like that? Me, I had it filed under Find. The. Author. (which is what I did, at great cost to myself, while hangers-on of Iain Dale gleefully repeated Macqueen’s response to my open letter and his ‘nutter’ diagnosis as if it were the last word on the subject). Thursday.

Graham Dudman

Acting as Managing Editor of The Sun, in January 2009 Dudman wrote a letter to the PCC that sought to discredit me while bigging up their ‘expert’ (Jenvey). Dudman owes me more than one apology, but I expect the biggest one will involve his false accusation that I had falsely accused Glen Jenvey of being… a paedophile.

Yes, you read that right; roughly six weeks before Glen Jenvey actually did this to me, I was falsely accused of doing it to him. This was one of many deceits and inventions in this letter, which I plan to publish (in part if not in full) along with my response to it on Friday.

It’s going to be a fun-filled week, folks.

Please stand by.

[MINI-UPDATE (17 Nov) – Some of this promised content was delayed by ongoing attacks/threats, mostly from Wightman’s corner. The Dudman letter was eventually published here. Private Eye are, surprisingly, still being dicks about it. Iain Dale is also still being a dick about it, but that surprises me less.]








Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 1 Comment

“Are you kidding? NOTHING beats my wife!”

This is my response to an email I received on Thursday night. Yes, it’s real, and yes, both the instigator and the interviewer (assuming they are two different people) are for real.

I have not edited or changed any of the questions in any way, apart from one snip where the instigator seeks to sneak in a bit of libel (about someone other than myself) and a further snip of the interviewer’s phone number in the U.S.

For details about the instigator, tune in on Monday morning (and for the whistle before the kick-off, tune in to Donal MacIntyre on Radio 5 Live, 7:30pm this Sunday).

No, it’s probably not any of the names you can think of; this will be a new name to most of you. This person popped up with one hell of a sock-puppeting effort in the middle of the whole paedo-smear thing and caused all kinds of difficulty in pursuit of his own personal agenda. In fact, it’s fair to say that this stunt was the main reason for recent radio silence.

Eventually, I caught him at his little game. Led the police right to him, in fact. He is obviously NOT happy about that, and planning to reveal all sorts of perfectly rational reasons why what he did was reasonable.

Read on:

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Dear Mr Ireland,

I am writing an article about you and the British blogosphere.
Can you please answer the following questions for me?

This article is due out round about the 27th of this month so I would appreciate prompt responses, please.

Questions:

Oooh, an interview! I’m always hungry for personal publicity, me. Hungry, hungry, hungry. And this request is coming from America, so it couldn’t get any more important. And it’s definitely nothing to do with a certain British chap who’s really got it in for me lately.

Thing is, regardless of that certainty, I’ve got this silly paranoid notion that the interviewer may be planning some kind of minor ambush. Perhaps even (dare I say it?) some kind of hatchet job.

Oh well, nothing to it but to do it. Onward to the interview.

(From here on in, I’ll be speaking to this interviewing guy, and not to you, OK? That’s how the pros do it. I’ll meet you at the end for tea and biscuits.)

1.You have been called a stalker by the online community? Is there any truth to Iain Dale’s allegations that you telephoned him repeatedly and sent him endless numbers of emails this year?

A: This is a ridiculous question, if you don’t mind me saying, Mr Interviewer Person. ‘Repeatedly’ I can work with, because it covers everything from two calls and up, but ‘endless’? Obviously the emails will end (or, if you prefer, ‘cease’) at some stage, even if it’s when I drop dead from exhaustion or Iain does. And, as I made perfectly clear when I spray-painted it on his car last night, the emails will end when Iain answers the bloody question; “Why didn’t you call Patrick Mer…”

(The last word is supposed to be ‘Mercer’. And then a question mark. Iain should buy a station wagon or a transit van; there’s bugger-all writing space on a four-door sedan.)

2.What is your relationship with Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan?

A: I first became aware of Craig Murray when he was smeared by Jack Straw’s minions. It turns out Jack was a bit of a naughty boy (with the very best of intentions, obviously), and wanted to discredit the guy who could finger him for it. His mate Tony played along, and…

Sorry, I just realised that you might find it hard to relate to most if not all of this answer. I’ll try to do better on the next one.

3.What led you to blogging in the first place?

A: Christmas crackers. True story.

4.How do you feel about the victims you create by attacking your targets? Ann Milton’s husband? Nadine Dorries’ family? [libel snipped] Other collateral as well as direct damage.

A: Ann Milton? I don’t know anyone named ‘Ann Milton’. I do know an Anne Milton, and to answer your question I think her husband has suffered enough.

As for the impact on Nadine’s family, it’s not me who swings her daughters about by the legs* anytime someone approaches her from an upwind direction.

(*She used to swing them around by the hair until she started worrying that their eggs might fall out.)

5.Have you ever regretted targeting someone and now see them as a victim?

A: Yeah, but who gives a damn about other people, right?

6.Would you plead guilty for manslaughter if you pushed one of your victims to suicide?

A: No, I wouldn’t… for the very simple reason that pushing** him/her would be murder. I watch CSI.

(**Or did you not mean literally?)

7.Do you feel it is a foreigner’s place to be attacking British politicians, public figures and others in Britain?

A: Que?

8.You publicly have admitted to once being an alcoholic, correct?

A: Yes, but I could have been drunk at the time.

9.Is not your success in overcoming the addiction to alcohol a success you should celebrate publicly and share with others who might be going through the same kind of addictions?

A: You know, you’re right. And despite being happily teetotal, I should wear a t-shirt that reads “self-confessed alcoholic” and encourage as many people as possible to use that term to describe me. I shouldn’t be at all concerned that someone might present that out of context for personal/political reasons or otherwise exploit my attempt to help a fellow human being. I mean, really; who’d be so cruel and selfish as to not only do that, but then seek to somehow justify it, even after that human being had tragically passed on? There isn’t a bastard alive who’d do that. Science would have to create some kind of super-bastard before that would happen. I’m clearly fretting over nothing.

(Psst! I used to be a child, too, but I grew out of that.)

10.Do you feel you have an addictive personality?

A: No. Next question!

11.If so (10) then why?

A: I said NO! Now give me another question! Quick!

12.Have you ever taken Class A drugs and if so have they had any effect do you think on your mental state?

A: Oh, man, that’s some good Question. Wowwwwww. It feels like two questions at onc… hey, look at how big my hands are! Wowwwww…. they’rrre moooving to the muuuusic

13.Where do you position yourself on the political spectrum from far left to far right?

A: Dominant. (Sorry. In-joke.)

14.You hardly live in luxury. Why sacrifice (as you clearly do) so much of your time to a blog which has a relatively small audience when you could be earning money by doing paid-work with that time and better providing for your family? Could, in that respect, your behaviour be considered selfish?

A: You’re right. I’m going to start charging you £5 per question. From now.

15.Do you consider yourself a selfish man, Mr Ireland?

A: I’m keeping this £5, if that’s what you mean.

16.Have you ever had a CCJ or financial default in your lifetime either in the UK or Australia? If so, how did you feel about it?

A: Tut. You’re fishing too close to the bank. And with two questions there, that’s £15 you owe me now. Don’t make me chase you.

17.You have a team of “helpers” including Mikki the Moose and others. Do you ever break the law in searching for information on targets? Do members of your team? If you admit that members of your team do break the law then have you ever accepted illegally-obtained information from them?

A: I can go you one better than that; I’ve knowingly broken the law on multiple occasions (see #31). Can’t recall doing anything seriously c**tish on the information front, though. BTW: £20! £25! £30! It’s clocking up.

18.What is your opinion on people who plant spybots on other people’s computers?

A: There’s a word for people who do that, but you shouldn’t use it in mixed company. In fact, you can’t. £35!

19.Have you ever blagged or sock-puppeted?

A: I won’t count this as two questions, but I will answer ‘maybe’ to both so you’re forced to ask a further question and I can earn another fiver. The kids are sick of living on beans, and the scurvy is disrupting their work in the salt mines. £40!

20.You have been found to share IP addresses with extremist Muslims who run websites glorifying terror and celebrating 911. How do you feel about this? Do you wish to apologize to the victims of 911 and the families of allied victims in Iraq and Afghanistan for your actions?

A: I will not rest until the victims of 9/11 accept that they are in fact the victims of 11/9. Then they can apologise to me. £45! (I’ll only charge you for the second half, because I’ve treated the first half with the contempt it deserves.)

21.When you were a child (under 16 years old) did you ever bully anyone? If so, did you ever get in trouble for bullying at school?

A: Yes to the first question, ‘no’ to the second; to avoid detection, I cunningly disguised myself as a dozen other people using old socks, papier mache, and used ping pong balls. (This was before the World Wide Web, you understand.) £50!

22.Would you agree that behind every bully is a coward?

A: Of course not. Behind every bully is old socks, papier mache, and used ping pong balls. You’ll only waste your money if you don’t pay attention, and we’re already up to a whopping £55!

23.Do you consider yourself a coward, Mr Ireland?

A: You’re the one holding a handful of papercraft right now, sunshine. You tell me. (£60!!)

24.You are linked by association with the violent anti fascist groups who have been fighting the EDL on the streets of England. Do you condone violence?

A: I am? Do I? Hang on… damn, I owe you £10 now, don’t I? Damn, I did it again! Make that £15! Tell you what; I’ll just take it off what you owe me. We’re at £45. Moving on.

25.Would you agree that the far left in England is allied with the Islamist extreme in what is called the Black Red Alliance and that in some ways you are the personification of this?

A: Would I agree the who is where in the what now? I have no bloody idea wh..* Gah! You got me again! OK, £30 it is.

26.Have you ever been a director of a company? If so, which one(s)?

A: Does a company of actors count? Once I…* Damn, blast and buggeration! £25 – and I’m beginning to think I underestimated you.

27.What is your retort to the accusation that “you can dish it but you can’t take it”?

A: “I know you are, but what am I?” Hahahah….* Oh, for… OK, we’re down to £20, are you happy? …..* DAMN!! £15!!!!

28.Why did you attend Paul Staines drink driving hearing in May 2008? Do you not think that this makes you look like a stalker and a sad, embittered loser who enjoys any negatives affecting your more successful competitors?

A: Why did the chicken cross the road? He wanted to see a man lay a brick.

(I know that joke cost me another fiver, but I’m past caring now.)

29.Are you on any form of medication?

A: Only if endorphins count; you’re making me very happy right now.

30.Have you ever been burgled? Did the police have time to investigate?

A: Ah-ha! Two questions in one. I’m back in the game and riding high at £25, assuming my maths is on the money.

Some damn fool stole my car once to hold up a petrol station. No word of a lie. Instead of getting out while the going was good (if not quite as good as it would have been if he’d bothered to look in the boot), he decided to go out for a leisurely drive in the same damn neighbourhood in the same damn car the very next day, and that’s how the police caught him. I know that’s not funny, but it’s a true story, and something you might want to reflect on.

31.How many times have you called the police on others and had the police called on you in the last five years? What is your opinion on wasting police time?

A: Ah-ha! Two questions in one again, which takes us up to… (counts)… £35! But to make it worth your while, I will tell you that I have deliberately wasted police time and have no regrets (see: SOCPA). Do your worst.

32.Why did you leave Australia?

A: We’re up to £40 now, but you’ll totally get your money’s worth:

The two deadliest spiders in Australia are the Redback and the Sydney funnel-web. Across that city, people are right now building houses and living lives that generate dry, clean hiding places that the Redbacks love, and wet, clean hiding places that the funnel-webs love. While you think about that, also consider that often we have bushfires that only the floods can put out, and when it’s not on fire or balls-deep in water, the bush (and the sandy bit beyond it) is home to the largest array of venomous snakes in the world. This rich selection includes the Taipan, which not only has the most toxic venom of any snake species known to man, but also a reputation as toey bugger, being one of the only snakes in the world that will seek you out and have a go at you just because it doesn’t like the look of you (or, rather, the smell of you).

If you somehow manage to escape the bush and reach the beach you’ve got blue-ringed octopi, stingrays, and great white sharks to contend with. Pick the wrong beach on the wrong day, and you’ll meet the humble box jellyfish, a creature with a sting so powerful that if you get done by one, the paramedics will administer a dose of morphine, but only to keep your screaming down to dull roar so they don’t get distracted while driving the ambulance to the morgue.

Take a look at the size of Australia (which is bigger than twenty Britains), then the population (which is less than half if not a third of the population of England alone), then take a look at where those people live. Population maps will show a mere 20 million people dotted around the coast, sandwiched between the bush and the beach.

Some people have unkindly likened this to scum washed up on the shore, but they’re missing the point and haven’t enjoyed nearly enough brushes with death to speak with experience.

The fact of the matter is this; Australia clearly wants us to Fuck. Off. Home.

So I did.

This is home.

OK, so our lot have been in Australia for several generations, but we’d been here in England for much longer before this; so long, in fact, that they were just beginning to hand out surnames when we wandered in from Ireland (or something like that). The name stuck, even after a whole bunch of us sailed off to Australia in the 1800s (not as convicts, promise).

Even if all of that counts for nothing; I’ve been here for over 10 years now, I’ve almost got the language down patch, and I really, really like it here.

May I stay? Oh go on… pleeeease?

33.What would you say to the accusation that Richard Bartholomew is your (quote) stooge?

A: I would say; “You’ve just wasted another five pounds!”

That’s £45 you owe me now.

34.You live in a Tory heartland. Apart from once in the last 50 years your area has returned a Conservative politician as its member of parliament. Since you attack Tory MPs on an almost permanent basis, how does it make you feel, as it were, living amongst the enemy?

A: I note it’s ‘my’ area now. I hope that means I can stay.

(ahem)

Obviously my ‘attacking’ a few Labour MPs has escaped your notice. I haven’t bagged a Lib Dem yet, but there aren’t as many of them to go around as there should be.

You also appear to struggle with the idea of optional voting and electoral roles, first-past-the-post systems and majorities, and how all of this allows for great swathes of ‘my kind of people’ (as it were) in ‘my’ area (as you describe it), possibly even living in harmony with these millions of Tory masters, of which you are one.

And you owe me £50. Sir.

35. In the choir photo in Westminster you look overweight. Do you consider yourself of a normal weight or do you think it is time to lose several pounds?Would you ever call, for example, Paul Staines “fat”?

A: I do look fat in that photo you speak of. I’ve lost a lot of weight since. It was as easy as modifying my diet by taking out one thing. I’ll leave you to guess what that is.

I would never hesitate to call Paul Staines a fat bastard, because for years he allowed similar mockery of others while hiding behind a character he didn’t even own (copyright: IPC magazines) while being more than a little hefty himself. This makes him a bastard, and to my mind allows me to call him ‘fat’ whenever I damn well please. Ditto for repeatedly describing him as a ‘drunkard’ etc. after his similar treatment of Charles Kennedy (and others) in very similar circumstances.

And another two-fer takes us to £60.

36. Your self-given nickname is manic. You also post notices about
yourself being a twisted genius? How apt to you feel these labels are?
What evidence is there that you are a genius? (sorry, I’ve not been
able to find any).

A: I may not be one of them official genuises what are in MENSA and all that, but I do know a last-minute question sent by email when I see one. How kind of you to wrap this text for me…. and to include so many questions! We’re at £75 already!

FYI: The nickname ‘Manic’ stems from my (now past) habit of working as a DJ all night and then directing videos the next morning, with nothing but adrenaline to hold me up (no Class A drugs use, sorry). This, combined with the creative nature of the process and the rush to complete, led to seemingly manic behaviour/situations at times, and the word was used often. It began to stick as a nickname after I pulled an all-nighter here with a dozen other people to get a website launched on time and chose ‘Manic’ as a username during that process.

It’s a long way from that (or “twisted genius”) to actual mania or psychosis, if that’s where you’re going. And now that you bring it up, the nickname also dates from a more innocent time on the web, when there were fewer people around wanting to be a cock about it.

37. Is it true that you are having a mid-life crisis? After a life of failure you
have realised that even in the Blogosphere you are a failure and are at
a big crossroads in your life now that your best years are behind you?

A: I’ve been through a few failed interviews my life, but this one’s my very favourite.

And so far it’s made me £85.

38. Finally, have you ever attended, or are you planning to attend, a lemon
party?

A: It amazes me that you had to go away and think of that question…. and then bothered to come back with it! It amuses me it cost you another fiver, giving us a grand total of £90.

[Hint for n00bs: if you don’t know what a ‘n00b’ is, you’ll probably search for ‘lemon party’ even if I tell you not to. Sorry, but it’s out of my hands. No, you’re not going to listen, you’re going to go right ahead, and we’ll wait right here while you loo…. SEE? I told you. Next time, you’ll know better, won’t you?]

I look forward to your responses. Either you can email me or telephone me. My hours of operation are from 0900 to 1800 weekday but I am several hours behind your GMT so bear this in mind if you wish to telephone me your responses.

A: I look forward to that £90… but judging by what some people have told me, I doubt I’ll ever see it.

Thanks for your time.

Have a nice day.

Dick Walker
[phone number snipped]

A: Gah! I should have read to the end of the exam paper before starting work.

Ugh! You got me! Dick.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

So there you have it, folks; my first interview in a while. I think it went as well as could be expected.

For the record, my mind is important to me, and while I’ve tried very hard not to lose it, I’ve not taken it out and measured it for a while. However, the last time it was checked by a government authority, I was technically a borderline genius, and ticking over at somewhere between 130 to 138 on your standard IQ scale.

Being a borderline genius means that I don’t get to be a genius every day, but instead only get to enjoy moments of true genius, every now and again, mostly through luck.

You will let me know when that kind of thing happens, won’t you? I’d hate to miss it.

Cheers all.








Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 8 Comments

RIP Frank Branston

The unexpected death of Frank Branston has prompted a dual statement from Alistair Burt and Nadine Dorries, who today describe Branston as a “formidable politician” who “was always motivated by a desire for the best in Bedford.”

Perhaps Nadine Dorries would care to put out an individual statement where she personally sets the record straight on a few things, because earlier this year she had this to say:

“The left wing Mayor of Bedford frequently refers to me as ‘Mad Nad’. Something which I am not and is incorrect. Now if I were to describe him as overweight, sweaty, unpleasant, shrill and politically opportune, I would be entirely correct; however, I choose not to operate at his level and simply always refer to him as ‘Mayor’.” – Nadine Dorries (source)

Ho-ho. Did you see what she did there, children? She went on to ‘restrain’ herself thusly:

“I don’t want to get involved but that’s just him, isn’t it. He frequently calls me ‘Mad Nad’ and refers to a female councillor in the same way. I think he has a problem with women.” – Nadine Dorries (source)

As with so many of Nadine’s accusations and implications, the devil is in the carefully-edited detail; Branston did not originate the nickname ‘Mad Nad’ and did not apply nicknames to females exclusively as Cllrs Brian (Mr Whippy) Dillingham, Tom (Haystacks) Wootton, Richard (Tricky Dicky) Stay, and Charles Royden (aka the Ranting Rev) can readily testify.

Further, this was not an isolated or unique smear from Dorries; I clearly recall an earlier occasion where Dorries dishonestly portrayed Branston as a stalker, and over time she has repeatedly published anonymous comments questioning his integrity and mental state on her ‘blog’.

One might argue that Nadine was only fighting fire with fire and that this was a fair and measured response to Branston’s repeated use of the nickname ‘Mad Nad’ (example) and/or “rent a gob” (which is arguably inaccurate as she is not always paid to flap her lips).

However, there two facts standing in the way of this argument:

1. Of the two parties, only Dorries has a clear track record of delusion (the extent of which is only under doubt because there are some occasions when Dorries may not have been delusional, but instead merely lying). There is certainly NO suggestion beyond what Nadine has said/published that Branston was a mentally-challenged hater/botherer of women.

2. Even if there were evidence beyond Dorries’ ugly publications (there isn’t) and two wrongs did make a right (they don’t), what Dorries claimed/implied was far darker than anything that could be attributed to or garnered from Branston’s comments and/or use of nicknames.

I wholly respect Nadine Dorries’ right to ‘tell it like it is’ regardless of convention, but perhaps for the sake of the family and friends that Frank Branston leaves behind Dorries will go beyond the vacuous niceties of today’s dual statement and do something far more meaningful and upstanding… by publicly recognising that some of her past comments about Branston went well beyond banter, leading to some wholly unjustified accusations/implications that had no bearing on reality.

Alternatively, Dorries can continue to publish her dark implications without correction or reflection and allow her smears to stand, safe in the knowledge that one cannot libel the dead.

Your call, Nadine.

PS – I’m not really here… I’m just visiting. Back soon.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off