Tom Watson MP likes to call himself a “Propah Bloggah”. Strange therefore that his blog hasn’t been updated since Friday. All sorts of allegations are being made against him yet he declines to use the obvious medium open to him to refute them. Wonder why that would be, then.
For the record, here is the comment from me that Iain Dale has been repeatedly deleting under his claim that Tom Watson isn’t much of a blogger and/or a coward:
Compare to the silence of “Propah Bloggah” Iain Dale who refuses to discuss his twice allowing opponents to be smeared as a paedophile.
Instead, he cries ‘stalker’, and implies that he is contacting police when he is in fact complicating a genuine police investigation by being a childish fool and refusing to discuss what he did or did not do when asked to contact Tory MP Patrick Mercer about the smears (he didn’t, and then lied about it)
Now Iain Dale is making out that it is Tom Watson who is the coward, when Watson has issued statements (that Dale chooses to ignore) and talked to the press. Meanwhile, Iain Dale he has been avoiding questions about his own involvement in smears for weeks now.
He is dishonestly making out that he is not discussing it here because I am banned from his website, but the truth is he is not discussing it anywhere, and he banned me so he could continue taking comments here without discussing it.
Why did you not take the requested action to prevent to smears about me, Iain? Why did you stand by and allow me to be smeared as a convicted sex criminal?
When the time comes for Iain to whine “Tim Ireland has left X number of comments on this site”, keep in mind that what he is really saying is; “X times now, Tim Ireland has asked me to account for my allowing him to be smeared as a paedophile, and X times I have refused to face it while making out that someone else is a blogging coward with something to hide from his readers.”
I can’t blog full details, but Iain is at the moment compelling me to pass his details to the police, simply because he will not answer a simple question. Iain not only knows this, he is even refusing to acknowledge receipt of an email that explains this to him. Again, I cannot give details, but it’s not one of those weak “I’m going to report you to police” threats that Iain is so fond of, but a situation where the only correct moral and legal action I can take at this stage is ask them to ask him about X because he’s not talking to me (because he refuses to speak about X).
This is the most childish stunt that Iain has pulled to date… and that’s really saying something.
Is he really waiting for me to do this so the police can ask him what he told Mercer’s staff and why he didn’t contact Mercer directly as requested? Why? So he can help Jenvey by using the opportunity to tell police I’m a stalker? If so, why hasn’t he done this already if he really thinks it’s true?
If anybody has any better theories, I’d love to hear them, because I have no idea what’s going on in that head of his.
(Psst! We talked recently, in a frank and friendly conversation, and he doesn’t think what I’m doing today counts as stalking at all. Further, he has never truly believed that I have ever really stalked him, and the furthest he would go – before a change of subject – was saying that “sometimes it feels that way”. In short, Iain is smearing me, too. While playing the victim. What a bastard.)
UPDATE – I’ve made it clear elsewhere and will say again here that Dale and Staines have been grouping the published emails with an as-yet-unseen email that they claim exists and proves a conspiracy to smear Iain Dale originating from Downing Street. Apart from condemning the content we’ve seen to date, I’m reserving wider comment on the McBride/Draper smears themselves until all of that evidence has been published, and so far it hasn’t.
For the sake of brevity, I must leave to one side the dishonest/one-eyed way in which Iain Dale defended Carol Thatcher, and Iain (again) peddling his self-serving nonsense about political representation in the weblog community, and instead draw your attention to a misleading claim about Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) that Iain has now seen published by two newspapers in two different opinion pieces on the ‘Smeargate‘ story he’s so desperate to be a part of.
I know how these people work because I have been a victim of their covert operations. McBride ordered his attack puppy bloggers, who include Derek Draper, to smear me as a racist after I tried to explain Carol Thatcher’s use of the word ‘golliwog’ in a BBC green room. He did the same with Guido Fawkes, who found himself tainted as ‘homophobic’. – Iain Dale in the Mail
He has accused me of racism and Guido Fawkes of homophobia. How low can you get? It now transpires that these accusations emanate directly from Downing Street. – Iain Dale in the Telegraph
Yes, and the ‘accusation’ that Paul Staines is homophobic “emanate(d) directly from Downing Street” in the same way that this ‘accusation’ now emanates from Bloggerheads.com:
Sometimes, the sky is blue.
Describing Paul Staines as homophobic is not an accusation, but a statement of fact.
Paul Staines still maintains the position that by implying that a certain MP was a paedophile several times in his failed podcast venture ‘Guido and the Monkey’, he was in fact hinting that the MP was gay.
How is it not homophobic to equate homosexuality with paedophilia?
Is it Paul’s position that he was merely confused at the time… and the next morning, and every day up until now?
Or is it Paul’s position that he was merely drunk at the time… and the next morning, and every day up until now?
To equate homosexuality with paedophilia in the way that Staines did is clearly a form of irrational discrimination against homosexual men.
Paul Staines can therefore be fairly described as ‘homophobic’.
“When is a smear not a smear? Alas, when it is true.” – Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’)
Let me be blunt:
1. I do recall saying that Derek Draper was the wrong man for the job (or what he made his job out to be), and look at what his bullshit has led to.
2. Anyone – anyone – foolish enough to hand this gift to Staines on a platter with a rich creamy sauce of Downing Street goodness deserves to slapped around by this git… at least for a bit.
All of this ‘Smeargate’ stuff could be true and exactly as Paul Staines says it is and/or as he makes it out to be, but that would do nothing to dilute the hypocrisy of Paul Staines accusing a fellow spin-doctor of being a smear merchant.
Let me give you a quick example of his work from my own personal collection:
I have a popular article on my website that discourages people from starting their own porn websites in pursuit of a fast buck. Paul Staines, seeing this, tells his readers that I “exploit porn for traffic” while knowing the opposite of what this implies is true (and while refusing me a right of reply).
That’s a smear worthy of the description, and Staines spews them out constantly, either through deliberate misinterpretation (see: spin), rumours dressed as humour (see; ‘rocking horse‘), or anonymous sock-puppet comments that he may or may not submit to his own website (as he has been caught doing on others).
Here’s another; implying that Mark Oaten is a paedophile (on the basis that he is gay, because Paul ‘not a homophobe’ Staines would have you think that being gay makes you a paedophile).
Any outrage you hear from Paul Staines and his followers is bound to be fabricated, as they’ve quietly tolerated repeated smears on the order-order.com website and elsewhere for years.
(Speaking of paedophilia and people quietly tolerating smears, Iain Dale is right now accusing Tom Watson of doing to Tory MPs essentially the same thing that he himself did to me recently; Iain was in a unique position to take action when someone posed as a Daily Mail reporter and falsely accused me of being a convicted sex criminal. Despite my plea for help, Iain did not take that action, and then lied about it, and now refuses to talk about it. He claims it is because I am ‘banned’ from his website, but he knows damn well that he slapped the ban on because he did not want to discuss this issue and I dared to press the matter. On top of this, I now have someone claiming that Iain Dale is actively involved in Glen Jenvey’s schemes. I have reason to distrust the claim, not because I think it’s beneath Iain, who will happily stand by and let fellow Tories smear their opponents with false claims of paedophilia, but because they also claim that Iain is helping by “sharing information” when I know he’s got nothing on me, and never has. I have tried to get some kind of response out of Iain Dale about any of this, but he is refusing to answer my emails or take my calls.)
I reserve further comment until I have read the email(s) that Paul Staines offered to publish immediately on television a few weeks back, then decided not to publish, before
offering them for sale to newspapers giving them to the NOTW for free because… erm… I’m sure he’ll make that clear later, and explain why he’s not taking legal action against the newspapers making claims like this:
The emails were obtained by the Tory blogger Paul Staines, who runs an internet site called Guido Fawkes, and had been touted to newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, which declined to purchase them. However a number of other newspapers were preparing to publish them on Sunday. – (source)
Oh, and if I haven’t made it clear, I say all of this without wishing to mitigate or excuse any action taken by anyone proven to be involved in what these pompous arseholes have already tagged ‘Smeargate*’.
(*You know, like they’re Woodward and Bernstein… because after years of slinging shit from the monkey cages, they’ve finally found someone stupid enough to sling some turds back. With nametags on them.)
UPDATE – Some related bloggage on a similar theme:
PS – Keep an eye out for anonymous comments claiming that I say any/all of this because I’m a paid/unpaid agent of New Labour, Downing Street, Tom Watson, etc…. because that’s a smear, too. Unlike Paul Staines and Iain Dale, I have never at any stage had any secret/undeclared funding/facility arrangements with any party, political player or pressure group. Not that this stops both of these clowns repeatedly publishing claims to the contrary on their respective websites while disallowing any response from the target of this persistent smear.
As with the images purchased by the Daily Mail and Sun newspapers that some bloggers place so much faith in, we only have the cameraman’s testimony and the footage to go on here, but it certainly appears to be in same time and location as the Tomlinson assault and aftermath, and at the very least it shows (as this earlier scene does) that initial reports of protestors impeding medical teams could not have been further from the truth.
I like this so much I’m going to throw in some bonus linky-love for the creator’s website.
OK, all done? Right, let’s get back to it, then:
I’m not anti-police, as some right-wing scribblers have been claiming or implying.
I’m anti-kettling, certainly, but not anti-police.
But if I’m to retain faith in the Met or any other British police force, then I need to see that the police officers who are responsible for all improper policing at the G20 event can and will be called to account… i.e. not just those who, like Bob Quick, cannot expect any slack from a certain party in opposition. For some reason.
I am genuinely concerned about statements fed to the media by the police that appear to be either prone to misinterpretation, somewhat embellished, lacking in certain key facts, or outright lies.
I am alarmed to think that political pressure is required to prompt even simple suspensions when video footage emerges of police attacking a man from behind and without provocation.
I’m merely disappointed that the officers involved didn’t come forward until after the video came to light, but I am incensed that the reasons they could not be identified by their own superiors (including hidden faces and obscured badge numbers) are not being treated as major issues themselves.
(Psst! I asked a blogging G20 police offer in what circumstances he would regard it to be appropriate for an officer to obscure their badge number. The mix of evasion and implication in his response is less than comforting.)
It worries me that nothing would have been done about this without the video evidence that police appear to have tried to collect/delete or preemptively suppress, especially when – without it – we had media commentators like Iain Dale dismissing the allegations of police violence out of hand and even making a joke about it being such a non-story that the only person in for a battering that day would be Jacqui Smith (ha-ha, let’s all laugh at the dead man get back to the £10 porn scandal and other news that matters).
Even with the video evidence, Tomlinson failed to rate anything but a passing mention in most newsapers yesterday. Blame the tight deadlines if you like, but the fact is that the Bob Quick story first appeared at almost exactly the same time yesterday (7pm) as the Tomlinson video did the night before (6pm), but Tomlinson only made the front page of the Guardian the next day.
Today, Quick’s predicament makes the front pages on… well, pretty much every front page (including the Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph, The Times, the FT, the Mirror and The Sun).
Meanwhile, right-wing bloggers are still busy making out that Tomlinson was asking for this in some way (for being drunk, uncooperative, “very much part of the protest” etc.), and – in the same fucking breath – chiding ‘lefties’ for daring to draw any parallels to Jean Charles de Menezes.
(Let’s leave aside for the moment those who scoff from their ivory towers and hold fast to the quite ridiculous notion that participation in pretty much any protest not involving the Countryside Alliance warrants a head-kicking.)
In short, we are being cheated by old media and the ‘leading bloggers’ who claim to be a viable alternative.
Further, now we have the IPCC marching into the offices of the Guardian calling for the removal of this vital evidence from their website:
In the course of this there must be an account of why, from the moment of Mr Tomlinson’s death, the police misled the news media, and in some cases lied, about what happened. The Metropolitan police’s duty of truthfulness failed on 1 April. Statements were issued on and off the record about the Tomlinson incident, omitting details that must have been known to the police and including false claims. Police representatives subsequently tried to stop reporters doing their jobs, misrepresenting the views of the Tomlinson family. The IPCC misled the media about the case too. And what kind of independent body is it whose first reaction to the Guardian’s evidence on Tuesday night was to call at our offices (accompanied by a City of London policeman) and ask for it to be taken off the website? It is not hard to fear that the pressures encouraged the police to minimise and even deny the truth of what happened to Mr Tomlinson and then to resist, not promote, attempts to reveal it. Either way, the police lost sight of their priorities.
Three essential things should now follow. The first is that the upgraded investigation must provide an authoritative and comprehensive account of Mr Tomlinson’s final minutes, drawing on all available evidence, including police CCTV evidence, and placing it in the context of the G20 policing strategy. The second is that anyone suspected of a crime arising from the investigation into Mr Tomlinson’s death should have to answer for it in court. And the third is that the wider lessons about the policing of public order, the police’s media strategy during emergencies, the working of the police complaints system, and the implications for police training must be learned and systematically applied. The best way to deal with these wider issues is for the home secretary to appoint a judicial inquiry. Remember Mr King’s words. That was not correct policing.
JackP of The Pickards has a post along similar lines, with bolder objectives…
But more than anything else, the words of the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, have proved to me that the Met Police aren’t actually capable of policing.
“On a day like that, where there are some protesters who are quite clearly hell-bent on causing as much trouble as they can, there is inevitably going to be some physical confrontation. Sometimes it isn’t clear, as a police officer, who is a protester and who is not. I know it’s a generalisation but anybody in that part of the town at that time, the assumption would be that they are part of the protest.” – Peter Smyth, quoted on BBC News
Peter here quite rightly identifies that some protesters were causing trouble. He then suggests that the police mis-identified Ian Tomlinson as a protester, and that’s why they struck him. What? Peter Smyth’s quote would lead me to believe that he thinks it is okay for the police to baton-strike any protester and hurl him to the ground, whether or not he is actually breaking the law. In the views of the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, protester = criminal, and striking Ian, had he been protesting, would have been perfectly legitimate.
That flagrant disregard for the rights of peaceful protesters sums up the Met’s actions.
Jean Charles de Menezes. Ian Tomlinson. That could have been you. That could have been your brother, your father, your friend. Next time it might very well be you or someone you care about, unless we take action to prevent a ‘next time’. Justice must be done, as opposed to the usual response of ‘covering up for police brutality’.
So I’d like to propose my solution.
1. Firstly, any member of any police force found to have lied about police action (or protester action) to be sacked. If this person can demonstrate that they were given incorrect information, then that will be a reasonable defence — provided they can identify who gave them that information, so they can be sacked.
2. Secondly, any member of any police force found to have used violence on an innocent (or violence otherwise inappropriate for the situation) to be charged with the appropriate criminal offense. Being a serving police officer is no defense; if anything this makes it worse as I think we have a right to expect higher standards from our police officers
3. Thirdly, kettling and similar tactics to be deemed illegal, and any police officer who recommends or allows such a tactic to be charged with “behaviour likely to incite a riot” (or whatever the nearest equivalent is) by the Crown Prosecution Service.
4. Fourth, the Metropolitan Police Service to be disbanded. They have proved, more than once, that we cannot trust what they say. They have proved, more than once, that they have caused the death of an innocent man. It’s no good simply replacing the man at the top: the entire root and branch of the organisation needs to be replaced. That isn’t to say every officer needs to automatically be replaced, but the existing command structure has proved not to work, and needs to be replaced. We need a police service in London, but we need a far better one than the Met.
You may think at first that #4 comes on a bit strong. I know I did. Then I read this:
The police officer seen on a video by millions of people assaulting a man at the G20 protests minutes before he died will be questioned by investigators today after coming forward last night.
The territorial support group officer identified himself to his manager and the Independent Police Complaints Commission as fresh pictures suggested he had removed his shoulder number and covered his face with a balaclava before hitting Ian Tomlinson with a baton and pushing him to the ground last week.
But the officer has not been arrested on suspicion of assault or suspended from duty by the Metropolitan police.
If video evidence emerged of me decking some bloke, I’d expect the police to knock on my door eventually.
If that man had died minutes later, I’d expect the police to knock on my door immediately.
If the video also showed that I had taken measures to hide my identity before the assault, I would expect a rather short but awkward conversation about pre-meditation to precede a decision regarding the actual charge(s), but certainly nothing that would take hours to process.
But don’t think for a moment that the system is corrupting itself in order to protect one man; what you see at work here is corruption working to protect corruption… and fuck me if it doesn’t look like going all the way to the top.
As I blogged earlier, a full and independent criminal inquiry into the circumstances of Ian Tomlinson’s death is likely to reveal more than a single bad apple.
And recent events have shown that the police can’t even police their own police:
The Metropolitan Police faced fresh allegations of brutality last night after it emerged that a man who died at the G20 protests may have been attacked by riot police three times… Last night the IPCC revealed that a number of the officers caught up in the incident had yet to come forward…. “At the moment the investigation is focused on identifying the officers in the footage. Several have already come forward and all efforts are being made to trace those who haven’t.”
So there’s no record of who was doing what and where, then? No one can work out who the senior officers in attendance might be and/or those officers can’t identify the people operating under (or perhaps outside their orders)? Honestly?
And no immediate suspension of those who (eventually) came forward? Really?
The message the Met and the IPCC are sending the public at the moment is as follows:
A police officer can obscure their badge number, assault a member of a public, and expect to get away with it so long as they keep their mouth shut.
UPDATE (6pm) – BBC – G20 police officer is suspended: A statement from the IPCC said: “The IPCC called for the officer to be suspended. The MPS has now informed us that the officer has been suspended with immediate effect. Although decisions about suspension are a matter for the Chief Officer of the police, when there is an IPCC investigation, the police are obliged to consult with us over the suspension of officers. In this case, we have expressed the view that the officer in question should be suspended from duty, in the public interest.”
This announcement comes to us very late on a Thursday afternoon before Good Friday and a long Easter weekend.
I feel like someone’s just pissed in my mouth. You?
The race to the bottom continues in Australasia…
Meet Stephanie Mills, who is a former Greenpeace campaign leader with some 20 years experience appearing in that link as a guest on the TVNZ ‘Breakfast’ show with hosts Alison Mau and Paul Henry (who also does his fair share of talk radio).
Stephanie had been invited on that show to discuss the French Government’s decision to compensate people made ill by its nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Now take a look at the moment where Paul Henry, with the aid of some anonymous viewers, reduces his guest and her contribution to one single, irrelevant word:
Meanwhile, across the southern pond, the ABC reports on yet another “spectacular example of lousy journalism”; this time the publication of faked raunchy images of Pauline Hanson.
“We turned to see the police hitting people. A whole line of them lashing out indiscriminately again and again. Two officers close to me who had “Police Medic” written on their back were walking up and down behind the line of their colleagues, protected from direct assault, reaching over and thrashing with the most gusto of all.” – (source)
UPDATE – Oops. I thought I was linking to the original earlier, but the original by amjamjazz can in fact be found here.
Via comments in the original photo thread; video footage of more madcap medics in action (relevant clip at about 2.05 onwards).
“Not a lot in tomorrow’s papers. Oh well, I suppose it’ll be Jacqui Smith’s turn for a battering again…” Iain Dale (at 11pm last night)
“I hadn’t seen the video until I went to Sky last night to do the paper review.” Iain Dale (this morning)
No, he’d just read the reports and made his initial judgement (and a ‘funny’ joke or a Freudian slip of epic proportions) based on his prejudices.
Well, the damning nature of the video evidence may have dragged Iain closer to centre ground, but the doubts still continue from three of his main comment contributors, who appear to cling to some dim hope that Ian Tomlinson might have been strangling kittens moments before that policeman gave him a playful shove:
“The video clearly shows someone not co-operating with police requests to move on. Whether due to his incipient heart attack, drink or anything else, we can’t say.” – JuliaM
“You say he was ‘attempting to get home’, but the facts (i.e. the circuitous path he was taking on his way home) don’t seem to support that. You say he wasn’t abusing the police but how do you know? If a policeman is getting suspended/prosecuted for that shove I’d better turn myself in for some of the tackles I made playing football yesterday.” – PragueTory (Dominic Fisher) (more)
“The video said Ian Tomlinson was ‘attempting to get home from work’ – oh, really? So he just happened to be wearing plain clothes and accidentally found himself in front of a police cordon that was clearing the area of protestors during a mass gathering around the G20 summit? Please, don’t insult our intelligence. This was nothing more than a deliberate attempt to portray Ian as an innocent bystander when in reality he was very much part of the protest.” -
Letters from a Tory>
(See also: Quaequam Blog! – Does the right really value freedom? The acid test. For the record; I’d like the freedom to walk down the road and mind my own business or attend a protest without being attacked in this way.)
UPDATE (10.20) – No word from Iain about what may or may not have been meant as a joke. He deleted my first question about it, and has ignored the second.
UPDATE – (11.20) – Also, do read Mr Eugenides on the above Quaequam post.
Guardian – Video reveals G20 police assault on man who died: Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian shows Ian Tomlinson, who died during G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind by baton-wielding police officer
Kettling is wrong. Indiscriminate kettling now appears to have led to a man dying simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time… not that it would have been right to kill a man just because he had a far better idea of why police might be rounding up people in the street and hemming them in.
Inquiry now, please.
(See also: Jean Charles de Menezes)
UPDATE – Hm. That was silly of me. I forgot the lessons of this exchange. There are unseen moments between this event and Tomlinson’s collapse; he might’ve been hit by a bus or something.
While the paper that needs to do the most elegant reverse ferret has the most time between now and going to print, you should expect some odd noises from tabloids tomorrow, as they struggle to fit this clear turnaround of events into the tightest of schedules.
“This is exactly why it should never be illegal to photograph and film the police” – Stephen Mullen
Oh, and if you want to stage a demonstration about police conduct, you’ll probably need to fill out form 3175 or 3175a, a mind-focusing short-term consequence that’s only the chewy crust of this iceberg-sized shit sandwich:
Often at protest events in London, some police officers will have a number or letter missing from their lapels, and that’s just the start of it. The Met have been getting away with the use of this tactic and others for quite some time now, and I’d readily wager that several unsavoury tactics and practices will now come to light and make a political nuisance of themselves.
UPDATE – Interactive map of Ian Tomlinson’s last movements including accounts by eyewitnesses and Guardian video now available on YouTube. Share, share, share.
UPDATE – A photo of a police medic in action that is sure to impress you. Also, a couple of hours after the assault of Ian Tomlinson was captured on camera, this report went live on Indymedia; “We are current(ly) receiving reports from the Climate Camp in the city, that all people are going to be searched to be allowed out, as well as people are told to delete photos of officers from their cameras, under the threat of seizure.”
[MINI-UPDATE (10 Apr) - Headline altered for the sake of accuracy. Tomlinson was assaulted moments before his collapse, not his death. I would say 'heart attack', but let's wait for the second autopsy ordered by the IPCC, eh?]