Jeremy Hunt sees himself as a leadership material: he has already been tested and found wanting.
Recently, I had cause to stop using Twitter. The main problem is a user who persists in targeting me month after month, year after year, with account after account.
Twitter will sometimes address this behaviour, but even when they do, they allow this same user to continue with exactly the same behaviour on other accounts, and never appear to recognise the wider problem even in those rare moments when they acknowledge a single, individual complaint. In short, the vast majority of this behaviour plays out on Twitter’s platform because of their greed and negligence, but they do not see it as their problem.
Somewhat coincidentally, I have the same issue with Jeremy Hunt specifically, and the Conservative Party generally.
Mr Hunt specifically regards the bad conduct of Conservative fundraiser/activists to be someone else’s problem on the basis that they are/were formally active in a neighbouring constituency, and not his own:
“Obviously I would condemn bullying using any medium. However I am not prepared to get involved with investigating the issues you raise as they are about something that is alleged to have happened in a neighbouring constituency and not mine. I have to prioritise my time, and that means focusing on what happens in my own constituency. For that reason I hope you understand if I do not continue any correspondence with you on this matter.”
Jeremy Hunt, 2010: from an entry he has since deleted from his website
To be clear, this policy of Jeremy Hunt’s applies even when said activism involves multiple anonymous false allegations of child rape against a candidate in an election in that neighbouring constituency (a crime under the Representation of the People Act). It even continues to apply when a fellow MP is recorded admitting that they declined to investigate the matter themselves for fear of generating bad publicity during a election. Jeremy Hunt sees no cause to intervene or even raise his voice to object despite multiple failures by his party at a local and national level, because it is not happening in his constituency, and therefore it is not his responsibility.
However, it’s important to note that when the behaviour involves a specific activist targeting one of his own constituents (your humble author, ladies and gentlemen), Jeremy Hunt moves to a position he describes as ‘impartial’, where he neither looks into it, nor acts upon it, for fear of losing this impartial status that is somehow vital to his ability to function as an MP.
Mr Hunt remained impartial when this one activist falsified evidence of my being a dangerous criminal and sent it to an unknown number of Tory MPs. Mr Hunt remained impartial when this one activist was exposed as the author of multiple anonymous web accounts targeting me, and even impersonating me. Mr Hunt remained impartial when this one activist threatened to run me over with his car.
I was once at a charity event in my capacity as a Scouting leader while Mr Hunt was at that same event in his capacity as a Very Rich Person. It was my job to carry his baggage and look after his litter, and I thought perhaps in a fit of charity and/or gratitude for my servile behaviour he would take one look at me in my Scouting uniform and finally appreciate the kind of damage that false allegations of child rape could do to me, a mission I have dedicated much of my life to, and all of the people that I care about.
Instead, Jeremy Hunt feigned memory loss, and as far as he was concerned, that was the end of the problem for him.
Months later, that same activist discovered my involvement in Scouts, and immediately started twinning his false allegations with my role as a volunteer with young people.
To be clear, this activist was specifically seeking to derail my volunteer work with these insanely dangerous allegations over nothing more than a grudge he has carried ever since I dared to criticise a Tory MP he was fundraising for.
(And to be crystal clear to bystanders: there’s no grounds for the allegations, just as there’s no call for the behaviour. To me and you, it’s beyond the pale. To Tories… well, how can we know? They won’t even entertain a serious discussion about where the alleged pale might be for them personally, or if one exists at all in the world that pre-dates their much-vaunted Code of Conduct. Experience teaches me that the Conservative Party policy prior to 2014 especially is best paraphrased as: ‘everything short of a prosecutable offence is entirely your problem, otherwise it is something for you to report to police and pursue in your own time, end of conversation, nothing to do with us’.)
By now it was 2011, and to cut two long stories short, the person targeting me on Twitter today and the Conservative activist I first complained about over a decade ago are the same person.
Yes, the behaviour has continued to this day, and though I have emailed Jeremy Hunt twice about this issue quite recently, he still has no objection to raise and no comment to make about any of it, despite the person involved explicitly and exclusively attacking me over questions I have been raising with Hunt about safeguarding in the Conservative Party.
In an email to all Tory leadership candidates on 12 June 2019, I included my concerns about both issues as follows:
Question #2 for Leadership Candidates: Do you think the recent conviction of three former Conservative mayors for child sex offences is a cause for concern warranting a safeguarding inquiry, or are you fully confident in the safeguarding policies already in place in the Conservative Party at a national and local level?
Question #3 for Leadership Candidates: What are the safeguarding policies already in place in the Conservative Party at a national and local level, how long have they been in place and for how long have you personally been familiar with them?
I have been making enquires about this issue on Twitter. While asking Jeremy Hunt about it recently, I was confronted by an anonymous Twitter user posing as my ex-wife while accusing me of being a recently-released criminal with an unhealthy interest in children generally and child rape specifically. They then sought to connect this with my volunteering role with young people. I ceased my line of questioning and all activity on Twitter until the account could be dealt with.
I do not appreciate being silenced by bullying, but thanks to Twitter I can now link authorship of this account to a Conservative activist/fundraiser connected to Anne Milton, and it is certainly not the first time they have behaved like this.
It is on this note that we turn to my second series of questions.
Question #4 for Leadership Candidates: Is it appropriate in your view to address questions about safeguarding (or anything else) by targeting the person asking the questions with false allegations/insinuations of child rape using an anonymous web account?
Question #5 for Leadership Candidates: How would you react today if you discovered that people directly involved in your campaign were behaving like this? How would you react if they were merely in a ‘neighbouring constituency’?
Question #6 for Leadership Candidates: Do you support the notion of an inquiry into how the Conservatives have handled complaints of web-based and real-life bullying in the years prior to the introduction of their Code of Conduct in 2014?
Extract from email to all Conservative leadership candidates, 12 June 2019
Jeremy Hunt didn’t get back to me, but then, neither did any of the other candidates, because that’s how Tories roll.
Here’s where we have to acknowledge that Boris Johnson is far worse as a human being and easily manipulated by those who are even worse than he is, but you should not pretend for a second that Jeremy Hunt is a man of honour, or integrity, or moral standards. If by some miracle Hunt ends up as leader, he will be turning a blind eye to the worst his party has to offer right up until the point that it consumes him, just like May, and just like Cameron before her.
Tories will be voting for a Tory, after all; what should you or I expect but more of the same?
On that note, despite my being silent on social media for months, the same activist has continued to target me with further accounts and wider false allegations of my being a dangerous criminal fixated on the idea of child rape… because that’s what you get when you dare to object to false allegations of child rape in an election campaign, and it just so happens to be the same thing that happens when you raise legitimate questions and concerns about the state of safeguarding in the Conservative Party.
Below is my entire second email to Jeremy Hunt (dated 24 June 2019). A single name has been redacted for personal security reasons.
I heard you calling Boris Johnson a coward, and wanted to check that you were still refusing to comment on the antics of [redacted].
If you recall, you are also refusing to answer any questions about Simon Thornton and associated safeguarding* issues in your party.
In fact, the only answer I have received on Twitter after many months of asking came not from you, but from any anonymous Twitter user posing as my ex-wife while accusing me of being a recently-released criminal with an unhealthy interest in children generally and child rape specifically. The author also went to the trouble of attaching this to my volunteer work in Scouting.
You may recall we met at a local fundraising event in 2011 soon after I had once again expressed my concern to you about Mr [redacted] seeking to address my criticism of local Tories with false allegations of child rape. You pretended you didn’t even recognise his name.
For the record, I am still in Scouting, Mr [redacted] has continued this behaviour since then, this most recent anonymous account sought to attack me in the same way, once again in defence of you specifically, and I can link authorship of this anonymous account directly to [redacted] (thanks to a report from Twitter following a complaint about the account).
All of my previous complaints about [redacted] and his behaviour in the name of local Conservative politics went ignored, even those made to you when I was your constituent. This has clearly led Mr [redacted] to believe that he will not be called to account by you or any other Conservative over his use of anonymous accounts attacking me or any other critics.
That is why he has continued to behave in this way. For over a decade now.
So, to put that main question to you in full: I just wanted to check that you were still refusing to comment on the antics of [redacted], or if maybe you’ve finally come around to understanding how you might have played a role in preventing all of this years ago simply by being the kind of leader you’re pretending to be right now.
I look forward to your reply.
*I thought I should also point out that you are running for leader with no clearly stated view about the state of safeguarding in your party, or how it should handle historical allegations of child sex crimes, and it’s not as if I haven’t been asking you about it.
Part-redacted email to Jeremy Hunt, 24 June 2019
Jeremy Hunt did not reply to this email, either. I expect it is the best way for him to remain impartial on the matter.
So, in closing, some words of caution for you:
- Tories will be Tories, and that means ‘party before principle’. Always.
- Similarly, the Conservative Party evidently has no safeguarding policy worth mentioning, and none of the leadership candidates ever saw fit to discuss the issue, even when asked about it, despite multiple recent prosecutions for child sex offences in their mayoral ranks inside of a year.
- Be careful of who you question in the Tory party, even that nice Mr Hunt; it can lead to all sorts of problems designed to make you wish that you had never bothered questioning your betters in the first place.
- Boris Johnson is worse and will be a disaster as PM.
I apologise for the radio silence on social media that has been necessitated by this activist’s behaviour; I hope you understand the extent to which he remains a threat to me and the people I care about. I trust that you can now better appreciate my previously stated position that this man will continue to harass me and the people I care about in the name of almighty Conservatism for as long as Hunt and people like him continue to turn a blind eye to it, especially now that he has been at it for more than a decade.
I further apologise that this radio silence means that I have been unable to campaign any further for a safeguarding inquiry during the leadership debates.
Cheers all. Be well.