Late last year, an anonymous Twitter account appeared that was dedicated to publishing, popularising and/or attaching my name to some rather inflammatory allegations. I was very much the central focus of this account, but it also targeted several people close to me.
In the run-up to the general election, I announced my intention to stand as an independent Parliamentary candidate in Mid Bedfordshire, and the anonymous author literally begged me to do so, goading me with the promise of ‘exposure’.
By April I was formally approved as a candidate and campaigning in earnest, but shortly after the Shefford Hustings event, the author became increasingly upset that I had dared to run at all, and appeared quite concerned that I might petition the results. In fact, the author alleged that this had been my intention all along, and sought to use this premise to portray my campaign as an illegitimate or even criminal conspiracy to undermine British democracy.
A fortnight ago, the author began a 10 day countdown as the vilification on their anonymous Twitter account increased in intensity. On May 4th, the countdown culminated in the publication of a letter to me that they had written ‘on behalf of the British people’. It begins by accusing me of “(abusing my) privileges as a foreigner living as a resident here in Great Britain” before descending into a series of dark threats. The author simultaneously announced that they were going into ‘standby’ mode, ready to begin their Twitter assault anew should this be necessary in their view.
I have declined to so much as hint at the likely identity of the author, and I choose to allow them to carry the weight of specific allegations they make in order to justify their position, which is why they are not repeated here.
Other than the removal of two blocks of text containing those allegations, the following text is entirely unedited.
What I present first is the clear indication of what they are most upset about….
Your methods have often been sly & underhand. You’re running for parliament, for example, is a slight against our great democracy. You dared wrap yourself in our flag but all you wanted was to rile one candidate during the election campaign and, drawing on old electoral laws, have them removed with an “election petition” after the election. Well, that’s just not the British way.
… and then the main body of the letter, including the threats made by the author if I do not ‘take this chance at peace’ and back off:
Your lies have got you in a terrible pickle. At this time your plans are in tatters and your reputation has been incinerated beyond repair.
Note also that here in Britain every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. We are a very fair-minded lot, you see. And so in this sympathetic vein …
WE NOW OFFER YOU ONE LAST CHANCE …
Since you are now neutralized, you may now write your blog and tweet as much as you like henceforth.
But do so in a civilised manner which shows empathy for the people you are pursuing. Think of their real-world families, friends and colleagues before posting or tweeting. Do not smear. Triple check your facts before causing people pain.
And for God’s sake, stop optimising abuse about them on Google. That is just cowardly with a capital C.
Just as has been the case over the last four or five years, the resistance movement against you will crush you into the ground. And, let’s face it, you have suffered. It was your terrible decision to put yourself on a pedestal and look where it got you. You’ve lost almost everything, Mr Ireland.
Of course, cowards who are exposed (as you have been) will crack (as you have).
For every abusive tweet there will be a hundred resistance tweets returned. For every twisted post there will be widespread coverage across various media of your past misdemeanours. For every link you add to a negative post about one of your victims we shall link-build a hundred links to one of the many negative (but accurate) posts which exist about you.
We are more patient than you, more powerful than you, better-financed and far brighter than you.
We will continue to watch your behaviour 24/7. We will never break the law but we assure you we will continue to affect your ability to live contentedly amongst us. We will not let your lies stand.
This Twitter account, which has so successfully held you to account for the past months, is one of many which from today will lie quiet but which can be used again in a heartbeat; meanwhile, we hope, providing an effective, powerful deterrent to your tendency for vile behaviour.
The civil courts are another weapon we can use against you and your associates if you do not start behaving yourselves. Your many victims are ready to face you down.
Note that this offer is meant for you AND those weak others who have been manipulated by you. As their ringleader we consider that, within reason, you are responsible for the people and areas they decide to blog and tweet about.
Please note that as a group we will change laws to ensure the kind of anti-social behaviour you and your friends have exhibited over the last decade will become illegal. Harassment laws WILL catch up with technology, they will become more retrospective and we’ll bust a gut to see the necessary changes through.
Now YOU must change.
You call yourself a “caped crusader” against injustice in Britain but you have failed to grasp the reality. You are a particularly ordinary man, Mr Ireland, and you have caused a great many Britons a very great deal of pain trying to prove to the world otherwise. Time to burst the shriveled balloon of your delusion, Mr Ireland.
So, wake up.
Look in the mirror.
Or we will come at you and your associates one thousand times harder than you can possibly imagine. We also know the law back-to-front and we will never once breach it. We will take you on once again so you are left shaking & pathetic; begging for mercy yet again in one of your pitiful YouTube videos.
Life is give and take, Mr Ireland. Continue to abuse us Brits and you will be drowned out. Give back good behaviour to the land that you have taken so much from and maybe we Britons will start to appreciate you a bit more.
So now grow up, Mr Ireland.
Stop & think.
You are politely advised to take this last chance. We offer peace. Take it.
For the record, I deny lying about anyone, I have not harassed anyone, and I do not recall begging for anything on YouTube or anywhere else. I did totally wrap myself in the flag, though:
Further, I would dare to ask the rest of the British public what they make of this letter, which is why I have published the bulk of the it here for all to see.
I would be interested in any comments on-site or off, but I request that you refrain from guessing at the identity of the author and/or their associates. Please also be aware that the anonymous author has in their own special way repeatedly sought to goad me into making a public announcement regarding my position on the events at the Shefford hustings, but I have no intention of saying anything at this time other than to confirm that the matter is under police investigation.
[MINI-UPDATE] – I will be at the count for the next few hours, so comment approval will likely be on the slow side until dawn.
UPDATE (1 June) – The police investigation into events at Shefford Hustings has concluded without action, but there will be further developments; despite the anonymous threats detailed in this post, an election petition has been filed.
UPDATE (10 June) – Independent – Nadine Dorries faces challenge after general election smear campaign allegations: Nadine Dorries is facing an extraordinary challenge to her parliamentary future after a rival candidate lodged an election petition claiming she had accused him of being a stalker and a “dangerous criminal”. The Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire could lose her seat if the smear allegations contained in the election petition, which has been lodged at the High Court by the unsuccessful independent candidate Tim Ireland, are accepted by judges.
UPDATE (30 July) – Independent – High Court rejects attempt to unseat Nadine Dorries after legal documents sent to wrong address: An attempt to unseat the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been thrown out by the High Court after two judges ruled that legal documents informing her of the action were sent to the wrong address. Lawyers acting for Ms Dorries, who was re-elected as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire at the general election, successfully argued at a hearing in London that the election petition sent to her constituency’s Conservative Association last month was invalid and should be struck out… Ms Dorries described the Conservative Association office in Shefford as a “small office staffed by volunteers” which was only open on Monday mornings, the court heard. She was in London when the legal documents arrived and consequently did not receive them until several days later, after they were forwarded by her personal assistant. Mr Ireland, who is now facing a significant bill for legal costs, said in a series of Tweets following the ruling: “The High Court did not reject the body of my allegations against Nadine Dorries. They nullified a petition raising them on a technicality. What Nadine Dorries did today was successfully prevent my allegations against her being heard and her allegations against me being tested.”