Suburban Jihad: unleash the polite letter-writing campaign!

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 25, 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

This entry was posted on
Friday, September 25th, 2009
12:30 pm and is filed
under Old Media, Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!.

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

“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

“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)

…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

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 (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 (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, 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

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


  1. scotch says

    Much as I would love her to, I fear my local MP will fall somewhat short of reasonable, considered answers on this subject. But hey, I'll give her a go.

  2. Sim-O says

    "a few quiet, well-informed questions to a few MPs"That's not a euphemism, is it? I just want to make sure. *winks*

  3. D-Notice says

    I've sent a letter to George Galloway.…I'll see if owt happens…

  4. Sim-O says

    The Lib Dems' Evan Harris has an email on its way to him now, too.

  5. Professor Paul says

    Well, Norman Lamb, my MP told…And I'm investigating some other areas as well.

  6. Manic says

    Thanks, fellas.(Ditto to any readers who have written a letter/post but not posted a comment)

  7. Henry North says

    Here if you need meHenry

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