Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 8, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

“As many of you will by now be aware, the one and only Dave Halligan ceased to be on Saturday, 30th May 2009. The funeral will take place in Birkenhead in a couple of weeks. A lot of folks will be unable to attend, so the intention is to have a ceremony of our own in order to share our memories of Dave at a time when everyone can make it. Please feel free to post any ideas you may have here. Thank you all.” (source)

Poons was a longtime supporter of and comment contributor to Bloggerheads. In fact, his last post on his main weblog was made in support of me.

Recently, Poons spent most of his time on this alternative weblog, and I’ll let the introduction speak for itself:

Hi my name is poons and I am an alcoholic.

I also suffer from depression and have suicidal tendencies.

I tried to end it all on Monday 20th April 2009 and so I will document the consequences of that action.

The main objective of this blog is to allow my friends and family to keep up with where I am at, and maybe on the way inspire other people who find themselves in a similar situation so that they also make steps to address the issues of alcohol dependency and depression which I have found go arm in arm.

I will endeavour to post daily updates about my progress and details of the help I am receiving with pointers to hopefully help others who wish to get their own life back on track.

Despite support from myself and many others much closer to him, on Saturday 30th May 2009 Poons lost his battle to manage his alcohol intake & handle depression, and took his own life sometime after this last post at 3pm on that same day.

Poons is gone.

I’m going to have to do something to celebrate his life… but right now I’m busy mourning his death.

Back shortly.








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 1, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

In an earlier post, I referred to this exchange, where Iain Dale’s lawyer tried and failed to specify an example of libel on my website after accusing me of repeated libel:

L: So far as I’m concerned, it is plainly obvious; you have accused my client of being, in various guises, a liar… with a number of adjectives which accompany it.

T: Riiiight..?

L: He denies that he’s a liar.

I’d like to expand on that theme briefly if I may, because it appears to me that someone is seeing bad language where there is none… while being blind to their own, no less.

Here’s a further exchange that I really wish I could bring you as audio. The best I can do is present this image as a description of the mocking tone used by this lawyer during this conversation:

L: I think that calling someone an expletive-deleted liar is not necessarily the most temperate way of diffusing a situation.

T: Actually, I…

L: … you could always say that someone has ‘been untruthful’.

T: … because I’ve been led into this trap* before, I’ve been very careful about my language with Mr Iain Dale recently…

L: I can only tell you…

T: … but he is a liar.

L: I can only tell you, it may be something that you may used to but the majority of people in this country still find very strong.

T: Wha…? I resent that, I really do.

L (mocking): “Oh, you resent that, you really do.” Cut the crap.

T: What’s with the mocking tone, sir?

L: Because I’m not here to be buggered around with.

[*Dale himself will himself tell people to “piss off” and describe them as “first class pricks” and allow/publish much worse from supporters on his website, but will feign shock if you ever swear back at him. So, because it is something that he nearly always takes advantage of, lately I’ve tried to be very careful about swearing at Iain.]

Now, leaving aside the possible status of ‘crap’ and ‘bugger’ as expletives, I’ve looked back though my posts from 2009 (because all of this crap started at or about the time that bugger Jenvey turned up) and all I can find are these two items:

In this post, I describe Iain Dale as “a shameless liar”.

In this post, I describe Iain Dale as “a malicious liar”.

So, depending on which of these two words is an expletive, we may finally have found what Iain Dale is referring to when he accuses me of libel… so is ‘malicious’ the expletive, or is it ‘shameless’?

Neither word shocks me, but that’s not a reliable guide, as it may simply be something that ‘people like me’ are used to. Would someone civilised care to point it out? Ideally, someone who represents “the majority of people in this country.”

[Of course, if this were a libel case, then I would have to prove that I speak the truth when I call Iain Dale a liar (which will be very easy to do if this ever sees the inside of a courtroom, because he lied to me), but this is not a libel case; Iain is instead alleging harassment, using accusations of repeated libel to support that allegation, and ‘inviting’ me to shut up and back off and let him have his way with continued publication of his lies about me while assuring every man and his dog that he isn’t trying to gag anyone, because he doesn’t like being called a hypocrite, either… even though he is one. Iain? You agreed to call Mercer, then didn’t, then lied about it. You also lied when protesting your innocence over the false claim about Tom Watson that cost the Mail on Sunday “substantial damages”. You also allege that I was harassing you when trying to contact you about both of these matters (and my statement to police, obviously) when you were in the process of misleading your readers about Tom Watson’s association with Draper/McBride/smeargate, and my association with Draper/McBride/smeargate. You were not sitting at home innocently twiddling your thumbs or fearfully hiding behind the sofa; you were busy publishing libel at the time (and/or ‘letting it ride’ after withdrawing same just a little too quietly), and I was one of the targets on your site and others. Instead of throwing lawyers and allegations at me, you should come down from your ivory tower and explain yourself under comments like any blogger worth their salt would have done weeks ago. Until you do so, you can piss off, you first class prick.]

[MINI-UPDATE – After initially allowing me to publish their letter(s), Iain’s lawyers now inform me that I am no longer permitted to do so… for reasons of copyright. (Tch. They’ll gag me with an accusation of jaywalking next.) Iain’s lawyers also refuse to clarify if criticism of Nadine Dorries amounts to harassment of Iain Dale in his eyes, as they appear to contend in their original copyright-protected letter.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at June 1, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Rather than risk yet another ridiculous legal threat from yet another [expletive deleted], I’ll mostly let Steve Uncle’s own words speak for him in this post:

“You may recall the ‘self hating’ blogger – Chris Lightfoot, who in 2004, ‘went off on one’ just because he got a leaflet through his letter box with an England Flag on it. 18 Months ago the poor lad Committed Suicide – that’s what happens when you hate your own country, you have no identity, no focus – nothing.” – Steve Uncles, 30 May 2009

And just in case that wasn’t enough:

“Good! Let’s hope you go the same way as Chris Lightfoot” – Steve Uncles, 30 May 2009

And, as you can see, this is not a one-off or a ‘moment of madness’ but a theme that Steve Uncles keeps returning to:

“If we get the Liberal’s way, and have a multi-cultural “soup” everywhere in the world – what fun will it be when we go abroad ? You self haters, really need to sharpen up you game. Chris Lightfoot, did not do ANYTHING for English Democracy. The guy was a waster.” Steve Uncles, March 18, 2009

Jebus! I can only hope that if I pass on before him that Iain Dale will continue to take me this seriously*.

James Graham has more detail here.

PDF uses immoderate language to describe Steve Uncles here.

Oh, for those who don’t already know, Chris Lightfoot put more into our democracy than even this parasite could hope to extract.

Steve Uncles is a coward and a scoundrel and unworthy of your vote.

[*If you think that sentence unfair, then consider this; Iain Dale, like Steve Uncles, is completely blind to his errors/failings – or unwilling to admit to them in public – and describes my criticism of him as having “nothing to do with advancing political debate or matter[s] of any public importance” because he’s so gosh-darn important *and* right all of the time. Further, the only time that Iain Dale will address that criticism is when he knows I am not around and/or I have been effectively silenced… just as he did during the Usmanov event, while posing as a supporter. After his (in)actions over the Mercer call especially, I have every reason to believe he’d do the same while posing as a mourner, and I’ll even stake a fiver from my vast estate on it.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 29, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

“Dear Iain Dale, I think Nadine Dorries is a twat. This doesn’t mean I think you’re a twat. But as it happens, I do.” – Anton Vowl

1. According to lawyers acting for Iain Dale, I am not mad/insane and they know that. Hooray. However, at the same time, they fail to recognise that their client has repeatedly authored/published comments that imply/claim otherwise… while they contend that I pursue him for no good reason and/or to an unreasonable extent.

2. Earlier, I sent an email reply to them and hyperlinked to the full document rather than include it. They did not reply to this email or even acknowledge a further mail from me requesting that they do this. They now contend that because I sent a hyperlink to a document instead of the whole document, that I did not actually send them a reply.

3. According to those same lawyers, the reason why Iain Dale has not simply reported me to the police for harassment (or, one assumes, one of the other crimes alleged on his site) is because “we do not wish to waste public funds to deal with you” (accent on the you, which was just one example of this chap’s rather demeaning manner).

4. But one of the main things that I called them about and wanted to clarify (especially when they had not replied to anything for more than a week after issuing a 1-week deadline) was their apparent assertion that any pursuit of Nadine Dorries would be interpreted by Iain Dale as ‘further’ harassment of him; i.e. could I enjoy the privilege of never saying anything about Iain Dale ever again, but still prompt a harassment complaint by being critical of Nadine Dorries? See, they’re either accusing me of actively/unfairly pursuing Nadine Dorries about what Iain Dale published about myself (and/or Tom Watson) – one of many accusations in that letter and section that I deny – and/or they are trying to claim or imply that by pursuing Nadine Dorries I am aiming to get at Iain Dale. It is just one of the things the original letter is annoyingly vague about, but it’s important given that there is so much about Nadine Dorries that is worth reporting right now. Here’s what happened when I tried to get them to be clearer on this position:

[‘This’ refers to the lies about me and others that Iain Dale was publishing on his site at the time (that are still live today) and his refusal at the time to contribute to a formal statement to police about an ongoing crime (my being harassed by being falsely accused of being a paedophile). ‘T’ = Tim (me). ‘L’ = lawyer.]

T: You’re saying that I chased Nadine Dorres to pursue this?

L: I didn’t say that you chased Nadine Dorries…

T: Yes you do, in the letter, that’s exactly what you say in the letter.

L: I did not say you pursued this, not to pursue this.

T: Oh, so why did I pursue Nadine Dorries?

L: About Mr Dale.

T: It’s to get at Mr Dale, is that your position?

L: I don’t know; you’re going to explain, no doubt.

He later clarified that he meant ‘explain in court’… but I was wanting to clarify what action might be perceived by Iain Dale as something that would prompt him to take me to court. If it wasn’t their position that chasing Nadine Dorries equated to harassment of Iain Dale, I would expect them to much clearer about it, and leave no room for uncertainty.

However, I was also politely warned that “it might be better to halt the war rather than continue it,” and I took this to mean that, yes, this is seen by some as a tribal issue of sorts, and I potentially open myself to a charge of harassment if I continue to publish/say/do anything about Nadine Dorries that Iain Dale and his lawyers regard to be ‘unreasonable’ (and, going by the way they both approach comment moderation, I expect this to include just about anything they don’t personally agree with or wish to talk about).

5. Finally, in their original letter alleging my harassment of their client, Iain Dale’s lawyers pass on several vague accusations of libel to make what passes for their case, but they fail to cite a single example. So today I asked for one single example of libel instead of vague, over-reaching claims of repeated libel. Here is the result of that (wasted) effort:

T: So are you actually in the habit of sending out letters accusing someone of libel without specifying what that libel might be?

(pause)

L: Well, what are you talking about?

T: Your client, in this letter, accuses me of libel more than once, but doesn’t actually specify what and where that might be.

L: Well, no doubt that will appear in any proceedings that will ensue.

T: Wha… [laughter].. surely if the idea is to..

L: You know what you’ve done, Mr Ireland

T: …no, I don’t. You see, there’s a large amount of confusion…

L: … you do!

T: Could you inform me what I have done…?

L: Well…

T: … if it’s that clear.

L: So far as I’m concerned, it is plainly obvious; you have accused my client of being, in various guises, a liar… with a number of adjectives which accompany it.

T: Riiiight..?

L: He denies that he’s a liar.

Pretty specific, huh? You’d best check your own site(s) and make sure that you haven’t called Iain Dale a liar, too; there could be repercussions.

“Nobody wishes to gag you,” I was assured. Apparently, I am free to take the risk of publishing what I please… within the limits stipulated by Iain Dale and his lawyers (using harassment law as their main device, in much the same way that many corporations do nowadays).

These limits appear to include not calling Iain Dale a liar when he is lying (which he does often), not criticising Nadine Dorries when she is lying (which she does often), and/or anything else that Iain Dale might intepret as an act of ‘war’ (which could be just about anything, depending on his mood).

That looks, smells and feels like a gag to me… and a bloody funny one that that.

(Psst! Oh, and I’m certainly not allowed to email Iain Dale to check any specifics before I publish anything; keen libel-law-watchers will appreciate the subtle art to this not-at-all-gagging technique, I’m sure.)

Why can’t Iain simply explain how/why he repeatedly and knowingly complicated my harassment case instead of helping me with it as I asked? Why won’t Iain remove claims about me on his website that he knows not to be true? Why can’t Iain specify anything on my site that he regards to be libel? Oh, and what kind of blogger takes matters to these extremes just to avoid having a conversation where they might have to admit to making an error or two?

All these questions and more, folks… for as long as Iain continues to be an [adjective] [expletive] about this.

Incidentally, this recent behaviour of Iain’s has complicated my harassment case more than the call to Mercer he didn’t make; Iain’s ‘parish notice’ post especially has prompted at least one revenge attack that included a repeat of Jenvey’s claims, and there is now a new assault on my character that I have not blogged about until right now; the new attacks merge Iain Dale’s repeated ‘mental’ smears with Glen Jenvey’s ‘paedo’ smears and allege that I have a long history of mental illness and am therefore likely to have staged the whole event and called myself a convicted sex criminal in the process.

Both of these attacks have been reported to the police, as will all future attacks on this kind. I trust that my doing so is not regarded by some as a waste of public funds.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 29, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This week, Nadine Dorries emerged from her tragically difficult long weekend with a fab new makeover and a ‘get some’ attitude. To show us how bold and brave she was (and that nothing had changed), she then misrepresented the contents of a negative letter published in her local newspaper (while completely failing to mention that the letter was about her conduct on expenses) and savaged the writer while playing the victim.

Classic Dorries, and so far so standard, but this morning I discovered that Nadine had retro-moderated the relevant post, essentially removing her attack without actually admitting to any error, righting any wrongs, etc. – like it never happened, and she didn’t dishonestly quote a man out of context or disgracefully split hairs over what constitutes fighting for what you believe in.

Well, I’m going to mirror her original post here in order to SAVE BLOGGING AND FREE SPEECH (or something):

All’s Fair in War and Politics
Posted (by Nadine Dorries) Wednesday, 27 May 2009 at 15:16
http://blog.dorries.org/id-1397-2009_5_All%27s_Fair_in_War_and_Politics.aspx

My Labour opponent had a very strong letter in the Beds On Sunday this week.

In the letter he deployed his usual tactic of distorting the facts, something I’m becoming used to these days; however, he also said:

“I fought for as a soldier in Iraq in 2003”.

Anyone who reads my blog will know how pro-military I am.

I stand in awe and admiration of our soldiers, their professionalism and bravery.

Only last week, I wrote of how moved I was when I heard a Scots Dragoon Guard use his moment on TV to talk about the moment a soldier receives his pre-assignment message: ‘ contact with the enemy is certain’ – and what it is that fires that soldier on, one of our heroes, into battle.

So, you can imagine, when I read the words “I fought as a soldier in Iraq” I was quite impressed. Gosh, thought I, good job I’m the MP or I may be tempted to vote for him myself.

Only, did he fight in Iraq? Did he go out into the danger zones along with the a regiment on Op Telic 8, and risk his life and limb side by side with our soldiers, for the sake of freedom and democracy? The values for which he claims to have “fought in Iraq” .

I will be interested to find out the answer.

Claiming to be a hero when you write a political letter as the Labour candidate in a newspaper is a very big claim indeed. One that secures advantage and wins you votes.

Let’s hope it’s true.

Save Nadine Dorries from Nadine Dorries… or next time, it might be you!








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 27, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The Register – Sockpuppeting British politico resigns from Wikisupremecourt: A Labour councillor for London’s City of Westminster resigned from Wikipedia’s supreme court at the weekend, after admitting he gained election to the site’s ruling body using a false name… When standing for election to the Arbitration Committee – known in Orwellian fashion as the ArbCom – Boothroyd’s platform included the notion that “editors should be encouraged to register accounts, and then ideally to stick to one account.” On a private email list used by the Arbitration Committee, Boothroyd acknowledged his real identity and admitted to using a second Wikipedia account under the names Fys and Dbiv. He has also used a third account under his own name.

Now, you need to keep in mind here that Iain Dale is a carpet-bagging blog-cheat who tolerates and encourages worse on his website when it suits him (while yelling ‘sock puppet’ at political opponents without a lick of evidence). Iain also has a near-pathological hatred of any ‘lefty’ who dares to have been in the internets longer than him. I mention this mainly so you don’t suffer from undue surprise when Iain continues to show a lack of interest in the detail and just carries on exploiting this rare opportunity to yell ‘sock puppet’ in a leftwards direction.

AFAICS, what has happened here is that a man has tried to move on from his past identities, but fallen into the trap of becoming involved (at an admin/voting level) in some disputes that have overlapped with that past – the result being a conflict of interest in a position/environment that won’t tolerate perceived conflicts, never mind actual ones.

I have every reason to be personally upset with some aspects of this, but I think it’s more important that I encourage you to take some time to look at the detail:

David has resigned from the Arbitration Committee, not Wikipedia as a whole (pardon my sloppy tweet) and certainly not as a councillor as some over-excited people have been saying/thinking.

Many people are speaking up for David’s latter editing record, and I urge you to at least scan this page to get a proper sense of that. At this stage there appears to be little reason to rush about undoing/ignoring all the good work he has done on Wikipedia, but such decisions/judgements are best left in the hands of people with far more experience and credibility than the likes of Iain Dale (or Phil Hendren, for that matter). Again, this is the page to be in on if you want to follow any of that.

– There isn’t a scrap of evidence linking Mr Boothroyd to Damian McBride, but I’m sure the narrative linking the two will persist regardless of any evidence, as it’s politically useful to Conservatives (who will, no doubt, recall all too well the indignity of watching their head of campaigning attempting something far more treacherous and failing on an epic scale).

– David has contributed many comments to this site over the years, and he’s still welcome to do so.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 26, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

People keep bitching at me about long posts, but it’s other people’s bullshit that make things so complicated. Regardless, here I am going to try to keep to the basics and show you why Nadine Dorries and Iain Dale (and others) are having you on. I’m sure Iain Dale or one of his mates will have a go at me if I skip anything important, so let’s crack on, on that basis:

Earlier this year, I ran a series of expos&#233s on self-described ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey. He responded with wild conspiracy theories about me (and the PCC) being in league with extremists and accused me of harassment pretty much at every stage that a question turned up that he could not or would not answer. He also falsely accused me of being a convicted paedophile.

Unlike some people who have been defending Nadine Dorries on the basis that wild conspiracy theories should be allowed to roam free, I regarded the latter claim to be serious and actionable, so I made a complaint to the police.

[I wish to make this next point very clear: an investigation resulted and is in progress. There are aspects of that investigation that I cannot or will not speak about at this time, but it is very real, and ongoing. I am not a blogger who issues a dubious complaint/report to a police station and makes out that action is being taken when it is not. But Glen Jevey has done this, and so has Iain Dale. Read on…]

At one stage, I needed to get in direct contact with Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, then widely seen as an ally of Jenvey’s. Messages to his office about Jenvey’s conduct – even the one showing that Jenvey’s accomplice was the brother of a man on Mercer’s executive committee – were not getting through.

I explained the situation to Iain Dale, who knew Patrick Mercer. Iain agreed to take action, then later knowingly left me with the impression that he had contacted Mercer directly and alerted him to Jenvey’s smears, when he had not.

It later turned out that Iain had called Mercer’s office, and not Mercer himself, and then lied about that.

When confronted about this, Iain offered a single pathetic excuse that he insisted remain a secret. He then began to take increasingly desperate measures to avoid discussing the matter in public. For the most part, Iain Dale avoided discussing the matter of his complicating my harassment case… by falsely accusing me of harassment.

On the long weekend of April 11-13, I was in the process of pursuing Iain Dale for his account of his call to Mercer’s office, not just for my own peace of mind but for his input on a police statement that I was preparing.

Further, on the long weekend of April 11-13 Iain Dale was also busy publishing a few smears himself while making unsubstantiated claims that he was a named target of a smear campaign.

The Mail on Sunday was eventually forced to pay “substantial damages” to Tom Watson for a claim made by Iain Dale at this time that Iain now claims to have apologised for immediately and corrected swiftly.

However, his story about when/how he did this has already changed once, and is undermined by his revealing on his own website that he had yet to apologise to Tom Watson very late on the afternoon of the 13th (when he had claimed elsewhere that he had already done so days earlier).

Further, in this very thread where he and others implied that Tom Watson was guilty because he objected to people publishing lies about him (WTF?), Iain Dale deleted many comments from me that sought to challenge him on his persistent smearing of Tom Watson (as well as his ‘helpful’ role in the Jenvey smear, which I considered relevant given his outrage over some smears but not others).

In that same thread, mostly published more than a day after he claimed to have properly addressed/corrected his false claims about Tom Watson, there were at least two comments published by Iain from readers still clearly under the impression that Tom Watson was CCed on the smeargate emails; one at 13:11 (since deleted by the submitter) and one at 14:29 (still live).

But Iain did not publish anything to address or correct comments like this until 16:15, well after the main conversation had taken place and most readers had moved on. But he deleted many comments from me in the interim, and even as late as 6pm, he was deleting comments from me that pointed out; “But Tom didn’t find out about these emails because he wasn’t CCed on them as you claimed.”

I will stress again that Iain has since claimed that this was all an innocent mistake, and he was acting in good faith every step of the way.

It should also be noted here that, at the same time, while she was playing the victim of smears, Nadine Dorries was busy smearing the Prime Minister in much the same way that Iain Dale was smearing Tom Watson (by stating as fact things that she could not even begin to prove).

All of this came to a head when I finally lost my temper with Iain, and he immediately and without warning published a single private email out of context, presented my many attempts to contact him for very good reasons out of context, made a ridiculous claim about my launching a ‘DNS’ attack (on a Blogger.com-hosted weblog, FFS) and published under that multiple false claims about my mental state and, further, many comments alleging my involvement of a number of criminal offences.

I made my specific intentions clear to Iain Dale within an hour, he knew damn well then (even if he didn’t before) that what I described bore no relation to what he had accused me of, but Iain did not correct his post or alert his readers, and some of them went on to undertake acts of revenge against me (for ‘victimising’ poor Iain).

One person was so inspired by Iain’s post that they attempted to repeat Jenvey’s false claims about paedophilia (I have server logs to back this assertion, and would welcome the opportunity to prove/present this in court). Another more serious incident has emerged where Iain’s smears have been merged with Jenvey’s, and I am now falsely (and anonymously) accused of having a long history of mental illness and inventing the ‘paedophile’ smears against me.

[Note – All of these instances have been reported to the police, as will all future instances. You join the pile-on at your own risk.]

Fast forward roughly one month…

At the height of the expenses scandal, The Telegraph issued Nadine Dorries with a standard arse-covering letter asking her to clarify several points about an upcoming article. A major point raised was that it appeared on paper as if she were claiming expenses on a second home when she only appeared to have one.

Dorries went into a self-righteous frenzy, immediately publishing a letter marked ‘PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL’ and making it out to be an interrogation of the kind normally expected* of the Spanish Inquisition. Sadly, in her rush to show her moral superiority, she revealed details suggesting that while it was not her only home, neither was it her ‘second home’ as was required for her to claim expenses against it.

You can read the details here, but from what she has done and what she herself has published, it is clear that Nadine Dorries broke the rules… and I state that as if it were a fact, because it damn well is.

Nadine then went on to claim that the rules governing expenses didn’t apply to her or any other MP (and that MPs were likely to commit suicide, so you really wouldn’t want to press the matter).

Later, just in case those rules did apply to her, she claimed that the ‘second home’ rule as most people understood it didn’t apply in this case anyway.

Also, in the process of diverting attention away from her wrongdoing, Nadine Dorries last week made several accusations that the Telegraph had acted in a self-serving manner over the matter of investigating MPs expenses. She implied in places and claimed in others that they were motivated by profit and/or far-right politics.

On Friday afternoon, she closed all comments on her site, published a further accusation of this nature, and then swanned off for a three-day weekend, fully expecting to get away with this.

The Telegraph instructed lawyers, who contacted Nadine Dorries and the hosts of her website. Dorries was either unable or unwilling to make specific edits to her site at the time, and so her host was forced to stop it from broadcasting.

Iain Dale again disagreed with the use of lawyers, gave the false impression that the Telegraph had somehow ordered the removal of the entire ‘blog’, and even had the audacity to make out that this event was somehow akin to the Usmanov event.

(Yes, the point about ISPs and UK libel law is a valid one, but largely irrelevant here. The Telegraph’s lawyers took entirely reasonable steps in the circumstances, especially in light of the bad faith shown by Dorries. Crucially, they showed no sign of denying Nadine Dorries her right to meet that legal challenge and have her day in court.)

Iain Dale did all of this knowing that he had just issued a legal letter to me that:

a) seeks to manipulate me into a position where I am ‘free’ to write what I like about him on my site, but never allowed to contact him for clarification of any given point or submit comments to his website
b) threatens me with legal action should I dare to continue to pursue Iain Dale over anything in pretty much any way he doesn’t like
c) accuses me of being critical of Nadine Dorries (and others) merely to get at him (see ‘b’)
d) makes an extraordinarily vague accusation of libel, that totally fails to specify what/where that libel might be, or even what it might refer to

Further, what clearly upsets Iain Dale the most is that I would dare to question his conduct and motives as a publisher; essentially the same thing that Nadine Dorries has done to the Barclay Brothers, only with a lot more evidence and a lot less fruitcake

But as Iain Dale would have it, my criticism of the way he misleads his readers is a “gratuitous personal attack”, mostly having “nothing to do with advancing political debate or matter[s] of any public importance”:

1. Who the f**k does he think he is?

2. Scroll up for a bloody good example of my being right about Iain Dale misleading his readers that also shows my concerns to be of significant importance, not just to me but to the public at large.

3. Iain Dale is a rogue publisher, a shameless, malicious liar, and a bloody menace.

4. And he is cordially invited to bring it on:

I am withdrawing all offers made in this letter, as I now regard the terms I offered to be far too generous in the circumstances. Iain Dale is clearly taking the piss and most likely wanting to manoeuvre me into a position where he can continue to do so while gagging me, and I’m not having it.

If Iain Dale is genuinely convinced that he is the victim of harassment, then he should do what any one of us could have done by now; he should walk into a police station, and make a formal complaint. Even if for reasons best known to himself he instead chooses a civil remedy, he should prepare to defend in court the conduct he refuses to discuss in public.

(During the Usmanov event, Iain Dale claimed to be supporting me, but took the opportunity to falsely accuse me of smearing him. Again, he was unable to specify what I may have said that might not be true.)

(*Nobody expects the Sp… oh, bugger.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 23, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!, UK Libel Law

Nadine Dorries, as it was once put so delicately by Dawn Primarolo:, has recently asserted many things to be facts that are not.

While stating as facts things that are not facts, Nadine Dorries has also – by the account of many credible bloggers and their contributors – refused to allow her claims to be substantially challenged under comments (which she has only just reinstated after this disaster where she also asserted many things to be facts that were not, and responded with the censorship, manipulation and sudden withdrawal of comments).

This is not how a typical blogger behaves, the timing/nature of the dialogue leading up to the removal of her weblog is a major factor in the rights and wrongs of this, and so far we have very little reason to trust the word of Nadine Dorries or almost anyone else in her camp at this stage.

Further, I suspect that Phil Hendren* and Iain Dale might be declaring this to be somehow equal to the Usmanov/Shillings/Fasthosts event a little prematurely, and I for one would like to hear more about the specifics of it from more than one source before I rush to judgement.

Until then, as far as I’m concerned, Nadine Dorries can go stay in London at her own expense.

[Psst! I would also appreciate hearing Iain Dale’s position on his use of legal threats to avoid mere dialogue, let alone any challenge in response to his asserting many things to be facts that are not.]

PS – Yes, I’m aware of the absurd aspect of UK libel law that allows this to happen, just as I’m aware of suicide statistics that might appear to support some of Nadine’s recent assertions. Nadine Dorries and her supporters will take anything they can get at this stage to divert attention away from what she has said about helping herself to a pot of money that she (and, she claims, all MPs) regarded to be theirs by right, regardless of any rules.

UPDATE (24 May) – *’Dizzy’ is upset, so allow me to point out here that (a) it was Iain waving the ‘Usmanov’ name about, and not him, and (b) they most certainly did not collude to deceive; such a thing would be as unthinkable as it is unprecedented. More details are here, but I think these two allies of Dorries could be clearer about what has happened here… and about what has not. It is not fair or accurate, for example, to say something like this:

“The Telegraph deleted Nadine Dorries blog?!” (source)

More to follow. Sunshine first.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 22, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Please excuse me while I quickly post a response to a letter that just arrived in the post

Open Letter to Rubenstein Phillips LLP, Solicitors

Re: Your client (Iain Dale) and your recent letter

Dear Sirs,

1. I take offence that you would expect me to act in the manner of Nadine Dorries (or your client, for that matter) and publish your CONFIDENTIAL letter immediately and without due warning, cause and/or permission, but feel free to tell your client to make good on his threat to publish that same letter in full himself, as I suspect I may have already repeated parts of your letter by using the words ‘to’, ‘the’ and ‘or’.

2. However, in your letter, your client states many things that simply are not true, and he publishes such claims at his own risk.

3. If your client (an expert blogger) is aware of any libel on my site, he has yet to challenge a single claim that I have made under comments, as is the norm. Let him come forward and identify the alleged libel, or take me to court over it (i.e. instead of discussing it), or shut the hell up.

4. Thank you for confirming that, while he has claimed/implied otherwise elsewhere, Iain Dale has NOT at this time instigated any kind of police investigation against me. I would be interested to know when (and in what context) he issued a ‘report’ to his local police, as the devil is usually in the detail with your client.

5. I needed your client’s input on a police statement being prepared for an investigation that is now in progress. I wished to give an accurate account of an important event that he took part in. Here, I refer you to those sections of the relevant Act that have to do with “preventing or detecting crime” and other reasonable circumstances.

6. Your client was in a position to help prevent a crime, but did not do what he agreed to do, and then lied about it. I needed his full account of the relevant telephone exchange for the statement I was preparing for police at the time, but he then refused to talk about that or anything else. I have already explained this to your client, but instead he persists with false claims/implications that I have made a false allegation against him.

7. Thank you for your kind invitation that I stop contacting Iain Dale of my own free will and without any actual legal compulsion beyond your opinion that an offence has been committed. I will happily pledge to never again telephone or email Iain Dale directly ever, ever, ever – if he removes each and every claim about me on his website that he cannot substantiate (including claims published as comments), agrees not to publish such material again, and further agrees to take more care in comments to the extent of ensuring that all comments published by him are read by him or by a member of his staff (not just for my protection, but for the protection of others).

8. I fully reserve the right to submit comment(s) on any article/comment he publishes about me or involving me on his website, or about anything he claims when he is contributing to any external website.

9. The Iain Dale Fan Club will close up shop at the moment that Iain Dale apologises on his site for repeatedly publishing false claims about me while denying me a right of reply, agrees not to do it again, and re-introduces the ‘Registered Users only’ setting on his Blogger.com-hosted website (he knows why I regard this especially to be a fair expectation). The Iain Dale Fan Club is in no way a DOS attack, and doesn’t even begin to approach the type/scale of DOS attack claimed/imagined by your client. It is instead a perfectly legal braking mechanism that only prevents Iain Dale from cheating in a certain way using comments. If he’s no longer cheating in that way, then the brakes serve no purpose, and I can relax. Simple. Finally, on a personal note, I am greatly amused at any reference to it in a legal letter, but I only earn points if you mention the group by name. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble…?

10. I will even quietly drop the Mercer/call matter to the best of my abilities* if Iain agrees to the above terms. We can leave it at ‘Iain was in a unique position to help someone being smeared as a paedophile and did sod all’, as we have already arrived at and successfully held this position once already, and quite successfully, for years. It’s a downright disgraceful state of affairs, but I know from bitter experience that it is a bearable state of affairs.

11. If Iain Dale seriously believes that I criticise the likes of Nadine Dorries just to get at him, then he’s as confused and delusional as she is.

12. This is only here so your client doesn’t suspect that I went to ’11’ on purpose.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

(*There is no telling at this stage how relevant Iain’s call/role was and I have little control over what develops during the course of the investigation.)

Comments are open, but do behave. Iain’s lawyers are watching.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 20, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Iain Dale wasn’t the only person making claims that he could not back with evidence during ‘smeargate’.

Take a look at this partial transcript from Nadine Dorries being interviewed live on Sunrise (SKY News) by Mark Longhurst; this went out at 0906 on 13 April… two days after 11 April, when Iain Dale submitted to the Mail on Sunday a false claim about Tom Watson being CCed on the ‘smeargate’ emails, and claims he found out too late to stop it from going to print:

[The bold highlights are mine. The spotter was Prodicus (hat tip, sir). SKY News advise me that selected soundbites from this interview were rebroadcast throughout the day, but didn’t appear in the later Niall Paterson report from about 2200 on.]

Mark Longhurst: What’s your reaction to what Alan Johnson’s just said?

Nadine Dorries: When you have a surgeon he doesn’t remove part of a tumour, he removes the entire tumour. What we have at the heart of Downing Street is a cancer. We had Damian McBride and next to Damian McBride Tom Watson. And Damian McBride reported directly to the prime minister and took his instructions from the prime minister. An employer is ultimately responsible for the actions of his employee and I think it’s not enough for the prime minister to say Damian McBride has gone. We have the cabinet minister Tom Watson desk to desk with Damian McBride and we had the prime minister who is the boss who issued the instructions. These people worked in one office at the heart of Downing Street. The prime minister has to apologise and he has to take more steps to remove this cancer in the prime minister’s office.

Mark Longhurst: So you don’t accept what the prime minister said that no one else in Downing St had knowledge of these emails?

Nadine Dorries: I know that not to be true. We have the cabinet minister who issued a statement yesterday which left more questions than it answered in the statement. Tom Watson’s desk was right next to McBride’s. I believe he was even mentioned discussing the emails with McBride.

Further on, she had this to say… note that she bases her claims on unsubstantiated claims that she claims were made by other people:

Mark Longhurst: Why were you targeted.. what threat did you think you posed to them?

Nadine Dorries: I’ve no idea. I run a blog, I’m a backbench Conservative MP, I’m female… I’ve no idea.

Mark Longhurst: Is it because you run a blog?

Nadine Dorries: Possibly. I have had emails which have said Downing St are not impressed with some of the things I’ve said about the prime minister on my blog. I can understand that – he is the prime minister of the Labour party and I’m the backbench MP of the Conservative party. That in itself displays a level of control freakery which is quite alarming.

That in itself displays something far more alarming than control freakery (alleged or otherwise).

Nadine Dorries might be able to explain away a little of this as rhetoric, but there are specific claims within her statement that she cannot back with evidence… so how does she get away with making claims like this on live television?

Answer: She had momentum and what was widely seen to be unassailable moral authority on her side at the time.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that she might have taken unfair advantage of that, possibly to the extent of smearing others while enjoying the role of the innocent victim of smears… and/or that she may have fallen victim to self-important (and self-righteous) fantasies while in the media spotlight.

So… here’s the big question that will decide which of the two should get it in the neck for this one:

– What did Iain Dale tell Nadine Dorries and when did he tell her?

Plus, here are some bonus questions for those who are worried about other stuff that may have whooshed by during the excitement of ‘smeargate’:

– Who is the source of these claims about emails which have said “Downing St are not impressed” with some of the things Nadine Dorries has said about the PM on her not-a-blog? Is it the same single source that led Iain Dale to make false claims about Tom Watson? Or is Nadine Dorries merely confused, and imagining that these emails/claims exist?

– If there is a single source, is it Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’), who has yet to produce the killer document he promised on live television months ago proving a Downing Street led conspiracy against Iain Dale specifically?

(No, Iain; this is not the same. Your catch is smaller than your bait. Try again.)








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