Yes, please

I’ve just been reminded that now would be a good time to do a little fundraising drive. Two reasons: I’d like to be free to spend more time on this Murdoch implosion, and I’m off on an extended volunteering jaunt later this month.

So, to support Bloggerheads and keep things ticking over, there are three things you can do:

1. Endorse my SEO seminar through your Twitter page or via a link in your blog sidebar (if you’ve read the blog, you know my kung fu is strong and my ethics are sound):
SEO Seminar: Understanding Google, Relevance and Optimisation

2. Send work my way:
I do SEO consultancy work that helps clients handle a lot of challenges themselves and/or get the best out of their staff and/or chosen SEO/content/marketing provider. A breakdown of relevant services is available here, but with most situations the best use of my time (and the best value from the client’s POV) is the seminar/workshop.

3. Just send money:

Cheers all.

Posted in Updates | Comments Off

News of the World: how Surrey Police responded to the ‘hacking’ of Milly Dowler

Yesterday I featured some fresh evidence on Bloggerheads that suggested News of the World had accessed Robert Thompson’s mobile phone/records in violation of a court order.

Today will be a little bit different in that (a) it is not news that Milly Dowler’s phone was ‘hacked’, and (b) I’m going to be a little more conventional about this post for reasons that should be obvious.

I’m publishing the following – a full scan of the original/relevant article as it appeared in News of the World and some analysis – so you might judge for yourself how likely it is that then-editor (Rebekah Wade, now Rebekah Brooks) and then-deputy-editor (Andy Coulson) did not know about any of it.

Why am I doing this? Because someone should have been arrested or at least cautioned in April 2002, but police declined to act, and it is only public opinion that is driving this forward. Surrey Police, London Metropolitan Police, certain Members of Parliament and even the serving Prime Minister all have (or perhaps in some cases had) a vested interest in letting Rupert Murdoch and his underlings sweep much of this under the carpet. Rebekah Wade/Brooks especially needs to be compelled to face the authorities, but we are, incredibly, still left in a position where her guilt needs to be established in the court of public opinion to some extent before any serious preliminary/investigative action is taken against her by the criminal justice system.

(Whatabouters and Murdoch Apologists: Please keep in mind that this position is entirely distinct from that of Rebekah Wade/Brooks, who in 2002 openly defied police because paedophiles were not punished/”caged” sufficiently in her view, mostly after the criminal justice system had already dealt with them.)

And so, on to the specific article in News of the World that has caused the most outrage. As far as I know, this is the first time it has appeared in the public domain since its original publication:

News of the World's Milly Dowler exclusive of April 14 2002

While it has already been reported that staff from News of the World told Surrey Police about the illegal method(s) used to obtain the material that led to this article (link), it is not until you read a key revelation in that recent report and the article itself that you are likely to realise how much police contributed to the article, and judge how much this action might be interpreted as tacit approval of the methods of the tabloid staff who had broken the law in pursuit of this lead:

It was Surrey detectives who established that the call was not intended for Milly Dowler. – Guardian, 4 July 2011

Police believe the sick hoaxer called into a recruitment agency… It is thought the hoaxer even gave the agency Milly’s real phone number. Police believe she may have got it by gaining the trust of people who knew the schoolgirl… The twisted creature also contacted TV’s Crimewatch programme, claiming to be Milly. Police say the hoaxer has hampered the investigation and previous high-profile enquiries… A senior officer involved in the hunt said last night: “Our inquiries and those of other forces have been plagued by a professional hoaxer who has much experience of the practices of police and investigation methods. The chances are extremely high that the individual concerned is a rather disturbed lady who needs care. – News of the World, 14 April 2002

I’m sensing some past history here, and some frustration that more couldn’t be done to control this reckless fantasist (hey, I can relate). That might explain some of this content offered up by police. Then again, perhaps it was more a case of police deciding to address matters with a coded message to the editor of News of the World or (more likely, in my view) much of the lecture above was aimed at the unnamed hoaxer and Rebekah Wade, and only half of it made it to print in the form of an attack on the hoaxer. (This is what tabloid scum do; they selectively edit reality, attempting to shape it to their will, and act in monstrous ways while screaming; “Look out! Behind you! MONSTER!!!!”)

Whatever the reason(s) for this material being offered to the newspaper, News of the World were in no position to publish a lecture about anybody hampering this investigation or any other. This same newspaper openly defied police in the pursuit of dozens of alleged paedophiles, complicating all sorts of police procedures and potential prosecutions (more). Later, they also hired the man who deleted messages sent to Milly Dowler’s phone (in pursuit of more ‘scoops’, i.e. money), thereby leading us to the tipping point in this scandal; the public realisation that this gave the family false hope that the then-missing girl was alive (more).

Here I will draw your attention to the heart-breaking appeal under the article, featuring Milly Dowler’s mother desperately clinging to the hope that her daughter was still alive and had perhaps run away. News of the World went on to repeatedly exploit Milly Dowler’s family in a similar fashion for weeks on the back of false hope that they themselves had generated:

The Dowler family then granted an exclusive interview to the News of the World in which they talked about their hope, quite unaware that it had been falsely kindled by the newspaper’s own intervention. Sally Dowler told the paper: “If Milly walked through the door, I don’t think we’d be able to speak. We’d just weep tears of joy and give her a great big hug.” – Guardian, 4 July 2011

While this article and the appeal underneath it may have appeared all the way back on Page 30, it should not have escaped the attention of a worthy editor, because it is a big part of the editor’s job to protect the newspaper, staff and owners by ensuring that all claims (of criminality especially) are properly sourced. However, this is a Murdoch newspaper and I have learned from personal experience that Murdoch journalists and editors do not see a problem in a poorly-sourced claim if they don’t name the target.

(SIDEBAR: Take a bow, Camilla Long of the Sunday Times, who stated as fact that Conservative MP Nadine Dorries had a stalker and rather bravely backed this up with an assertion that police were involved… without actually checking any of the detail with police, who would have told her that Dorries does not have a stalker, or even a harasser. Camilla Long and her editor later defended themselves on the basis that no name was published alongside the accusation, and it appears that the thoroughly useless PCC are prepared to side with them.)

With libel law and press regulation being in the sorry state it’s in, it is entirely feasible that a lazy editor would look at a story like this and not care about the source, because the paper was effectively shielded against any complaint the subject/target could hope to make about it.

However, I do not think it reasonable to believe that police were made aware of this illegal act involving News of the World staff and did not at least alert/warn the editor about this activity, the illegality of same and the potential impact on the investigation into Milly Dowler’s disappearance. That’s why I asked Surrey Police if they had discussed this matter with editors of that newspaper. Here’s my question, and their response:

My question:

Did the investigating officers discuss this hacking matter with editors at News of the World in an effort to at least warn them on the potential consequences of this kind of behaviour? Are you able to name which editors were warned, if any?

The ‘answer’ from Surrey Police:

The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating allegations of phone hacking and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.

From this point on, the argument is entirely circular; police will not comment on evidence that might implicate Rebekah Wade/Brooks, but neither will they act against her with any conviction (pun intended) while the public remain in doubt about the extent of her awareness/involvement. It has taken a week of extraordinary outrage to bring us to the point where she might be willing to take part in a police interview, but only as a witness, and not a suspect. It is blindingly obvious to all concerned that she enjoys this privilege because she remains under the protection of Rupert Murdoch.

The only way to break the circle is go public with the available evidence in an effort to convince public servants to finally serve the public (i.e. rather than cower before a powerful foreign media owner).

Tomorrow, I will publish a further scan of an article obviously involving intercepted text messages that cannot have escaped the attention of the police, or the editor(s) of News of the World.

UPDATE (14 Oct 2011) – Police were given evidence in 2002 that News of the World had access to illegally obtained messages from Milly Dowler’s phone – but did nothing about it

UPDATE (24 Jan 2012) – Phone hacking: News of the World journalists lied to Milly Dowler police

NEW POST (26 Jan 2012) – News of the World: 110% certainty, the remainder fact


Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 9 Comments

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

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

csi: notw - Robert Thompson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rebekah Brooks/Wade & James Murdoch: BLAST RADIUS

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

Rebekah Brooks/Wade & James Murdoch: BLAST RADIUS

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Page 3 message to police

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

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

Posted in Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boycott Murdoch: #NOTW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack Hart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Withdraw it, please.


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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


FUCK OFF and go back to your pointless blogging.

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

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

Enjoy your weekend,


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

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

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

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


Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 14 Comments

Michael Gove puppet

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

Michael Gove puppet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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