Excuse me, folks. I know you many of you are waiting for an update on the Nadine Dorries situation, but I want to be absolutely sure of the circumstances in which she made these false allegations before going any further, and this (open) letter is long overdue.
I will continue to update you on Twitter as and when. Cheers all.
To: Ian Hislop
CC: Adam Macqueen, Louis Barfe
From: Tim Ireland
Subject: Your baffling refusal to regret or retract a childish outburst
Image via Wikipedia
After yesterday’s discussion it’s clear that you are completely averse to a retraction of comments made under the umbrella of your organisation, despite your knowing how they have been used against me in the past and how they are being used against me to this day.
Still, knowing and understanding are two different things (which may be what G.I. Joe was banging on about in between explosions) so here’s what doesn’t fit into a two-minute conversation:
The first aspect you struggle to understand is that I am not being overly precious about my reputation, but instead merely trying to protect my family. I expose liars and get lied about often as a result, but people attacking me online are now armed with my home address thanks to a man called Dominic Wightman. This has resulted in the publication of my home address alongside claims that I’m a stalker of women who sends death threats to MPs. The same people also recruit unwitting newcomers, arming them with these false allegations and my home address (an act which has so far successfully slipped through the cracks between potential criminal and civil action).
Glen Jenvey claims to have been duped in a similar manner in the event that kicked off this major disruption in my life; he was armed (he claims by Wightman) with my home address and the false allegation that I was a convicted paedophile. The result; today, over a year after they were first posted, there are still some 50+ repeats of this dangerous smear live on websites hosted by Google, who refuse to remove them (and often take months to remove private data such as my home address when they claim to have a 48-hour response time).
The second aspect you struggle to understand is that the people most instrumental in these attacks are using Macqueen’s childish outburst and your ongoing silence to part-justify their allegations/actions.
Iain Dale actually tried to take political advantage of my being smeared as a paedophile while simulataneously libelling Tom Watson as a smear merchant. He went on to similarly exploit a man on the brink of suicide and the repeated publication of my home address. He did this primarily by lying about the context, the circumstances and the specifics of attempts to contact him about these matters, falsely giving the impression that he had made a valid complaint of harassment (which quickly evolved into an outright claim of ‘stalking’) and it was your man Adam Macqueen who popped up at the crucial moment on the website of another Private Eye writer, Louis Barfe, likening my correspondence with your magazine to the rantings of a “nutter on a bus”.
Macqueen then went on to lie about the context, the circumstances and the specifics of what he did/said, and I could prove that to you if you’d care to give the evidence some consideration, but I am fearful of how you or your staff would portray any attempt to contact you privately in the circumstances.
Adam Macqueen and Louis Barfe may know Iain Dale from way back when, but people change and nothing changes them faster than politics. Even some of Dale’s most ardent supporters have been forced to admit an even greater change in his behaviour since the Tories finally negotiated their way into government.
Recently, a young man submitted to Dale’s site a polite comment correcting him on one or two claims he made about the expanding protest in Parliament Square. Dale reacted by publicising the man’s home address and reporting him to his employer for shirking… over nothing more than a difference of opinion! He then went on to write and publish a series of comments alleging, theorising and contending all manner of sins without a scrap of evidence to back any of it.
Iain Dale is such a two-faced cockweasel that people don’t often see this side of him, but I saw it as early as 2006, when he knowingly allowed another ‘lefty’ to be smeared as a paedophile (yes, he has done this twice now), most likely because taking a public stand against it would have harmed his friend and political ally Anne Milton. At the time, political blogging was still in its infancy, but Dale had one of the most influential Tory blogs around and one or more of the people involved in the smear appear to have been regular comment contributors during and after this period.
The latter is hard to prove definitively because Iain Dale is second only to Paul Staines when it comes to running a political blog like an open sewer and allows his supporters to pose as several different people when it suits him, but what can be said for sure is that Dale went on to repeat anonymous comments submitted to his site claiming I had stalked Anne Milton as if this were a statement of fact.
Iain Dale went on to repeat this smear and variations of it, privately with other MPs, and at public events attended by MPs.
These repeated smears have also been used to good effect by his allies.
In fact, Nadine Dorries, a particularly close ally of Iain Dale’s, has followed the same dirty playbook. The only real differences arise from the lessons I have learned from Dale’s assault (don’t give them anything they can distort, and record, record, record).
Despite the urgency of some matters, I have only emailed Nadine Dorries 10 times in the space of two years, and each and every one of these emails related to her falsely accusing me of being mentally unstable and/or a stalker. She went on to misrepresent these emails anyway, portraying these attempts to address the smear of stalking as evidence of stalking (!) mainly by giving a false account of the emails’ contents and their frequency.
(Your man Macqueen pulled much the same stunt. He smeared me as a nutter, and portrayed my attempt to confront him – and you – about that as proof of what he claimed.)
Hearing of these and other lies Dorries was spreading in private and in public, during the recent election I went along to a public hustings event in Flitwick to film proceedings. Dorries reacted by declaring me to be a stalker in front of the entire gathering (twice) before storming out… and neatly avoiding having to answer her constituents on camera as a result.
When smearing me as a stalker, she described hundreds of abusive emails that were never sent and spoke of police investigations that never took place. Since this extraordinary outburst, she has even gone on to publicly liken her position to that of Stephen Timms, as if I am likely to stab the woman! This is no better than (and similar to) her ‘brink of suicide’ hysteria during the expenses scandal, but it carries the added bonus of casting me as a man with a violent, criminal character.
I have no criminal record. I haven’t harassed anyone in the legal sense, and I certainly haven’t ever stalked anyone. I’m also of sound mind; it’s the situation that’s crazy, and you knowingly continue to be a part of it.
For that reason, I cannot trust you or your magazine on any claim where you are the only source. Given Macqueen’s extraordinary distortions over this (that you stand by), I can’t even trust the context in which you present claims where you are not the only source.
This is why, after ten years of buying, reading, trusting, endorsing and publicising your magazine, I don’t read Private Eye any more, and even advise others against trusting you or anything your staff/magazine put forward.
(Have I Got News For You, I turn off because I can’t stand seeing your smug, slap-headed face eating up the applause like a prize felcher, but I won’t pretend it’s unrelated.)
If your writers are going to distort the truth and tell outright lies and you are going to stand by them, it undermines everything you attempt to achieve with your magazine and everything you claim to stand for.
If you were a man of probity and honour, your refusal to be answerable to the PCC would be a grand gesture indeed, but without the vital ingredient of integrity, you’re just another publisher who seeks to avoid accountability… who does so under a banner of holding others to account!
And do you know what? This is exactly my beef with Iain Dale, and it always has been. This is the tabloid mentality I campaigned against long before Dale arrived to declare himself the king of bloggers (in polls he conducted himself), and it is something I will continue to fight for as long as I am able.
I honestly thought I would be fighting that fight with Private Eye at my back, not stabbing it. The way things are shaping up, the newly sober David Yelland appears more principled than you. David Yelland!
I am shocked and saddened because I genuinely thought you were better than this…. or at least smart enough not to be taken in by the likes of Iain Dale and his dirtbag mates.
PS – Regardless of the ill will I feel towards you, I know you have suffered broadly similar attacks in your lifetime (e.g. the closest parallel; Piers Morgan repeatedly smearing you and interfering with your personal life while playing the victim) and I sincerely hope that one day you come to better appreciate the enormity of an accusation of child rape without having to endure the smear yourself. I can also guarantee you that, unlike some ‘leading’ bloggers, if I am ever to confront you over this again, I will do so openly, honestly, and under my own name.
For those who are wondering, I ran into Ian Hislop in Westminster yesterday. He agreed with me about how unacceptable this situation was… right up until the point where I pointed out how his staff were involved and how much good a simple retraction would do. His response; “Conversation over. Not going to happen.”
Ian Hislop also stated quite clearly that he would not be covering any of Nadine Dorries’ extraordinary outbursts in his magazine.
UPDATE (28 May) – A greatly appreciated response from Louis Barfe. Incorrect/misinformed in places, but at least someone’s communicating.
That’s the most insidious thing about this ‘stalker’ smear; the people accusing me do not have to come out and have their allegations tested… because they claim to have been advised not to talk to stalkers. Iain Dale lied, Adam Macqueen lied and Nadine Dorries lied, but any attempt to address those lies is then presented as further evidence of stalking. Witness, for example, Dorries portraying somewhere between 2 and 10 polite emails into hundreds of vile and abusive messages. They are serial liars hiding behind a shared, self-reinforcing lie.
(Yes, I have tried backing off. It only made the people attacking me bolder. They are scum who put me and my family at risk, and their reasons for wanting to silence a left-leaning blogger are pretty easy to guess at.)