Archive for the ‘Tories! Tories! Tories!’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 14, 2009

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Let’s skip right past the producers of the Donal MacIntyre programme on Radio 5 Live (more) asking me very nicely not to publish anything that might spoil or date their story, and the rich reward that followed (a single word of credit, followed by their later declaration that it was in fact Tom Mangold’s discovery, when I’d been in possession of Jenvey’s confession for weeks) so we can get to the guts of it:

1. Richard Bartholomew also deserves a lot of credit; he’s done just as much work on this as I have, if not more. He also picked up a lot of the slack during the recent periods of radio silence. More on the latter in a mo.

2. It was just as I said all those months ago; Glen Jenvey posed as ‘abu islam’, creating/inventing the ‘Alan Sugar terror target’ story so readily hyped by The Sun. Case closed.

3. When confronted by police recently, Glen Jenvey also confessed to making repeated postings to local and foreign websites, posing as a Daily Mail reporter and making false accusations that I was a convicted paedophile. He has since apologised profusely and, taking certain circumstances into account, I am prepared to accept that apology.

4. I am also personally satisfied that Glen Jenvey’s associate Michael Starkey was NOT aware of either of these deceptions, and is sincere when he assures me that had he known about the latter especially, he would have done everything in his power to combat these lies.

5. Glen Jenvey now goes by the name of Omar Hamza Jenvey and has declared that his “spying days” are behind him. I’m concerned about some of the company he’s been keeping since his recent religious journey, but for now let’s just recognise that this journey and other recent developments have led to the complete breakdown of the amateur ‘terror tracker’ network that was so closely involved with the office of the Conservative MP Patrick Mercer (the former Shadow Minister for Homeland Security, and present Chairman of the House of Commons Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism).

6. But there’s still some cleaning up to do, and that’s what this week is all about for me. I’ll be dealing with the following, step-by-step, hopefully more or less in the order that they appear below. But first, a refresher course and the latest data for those in need of a catch-up. Get yourself a hot cuppa or a cool drink (and maybe a packed lunch) and please read this first:

SpinWatch – The British amateur terror trackers: A case study in dubious politics

Investigations by Spinwatch reveal that a group of freelance terror trackers who promote stories about the threat from violent Islamists have been involved in exaggerating and even fabricating such stories, which they then comment on in the national press and on network television and radio. The group – which has now fallen apart – was centred on freelance spy Glen Jenvey and Conservative Party member Dominic Wightman, who uses the pseudonym ‘Whiteman’. (more)

That article contains a lot of fresh detail about a man named Dominic Wightman. He heads the list below mainly for reasons of context. Once his role is seen in the proper light, everything else will make a lot more sense to you (as it now does to me).

Dominic Wightman

In recent emails, Wightman has insisted that the above article will result in the mother of all legal actions when making one argument, then dismissed it as a piffling trifle when making another. He has also declared that it includes libel without being able to identify any specific instance of it. I therefore feel quite comfortable in linking to it, despite his recent promise to sue me if given the chance.

It was Wightman who was the source of the audio with Jenvey admitting to be Richard Tims (an alias linked to the ‘abu islam’ account that he had repeatedly denied using) and what later emerged to be quite selective and sometimes misleading background information relating to his association with Glen Jenvey, Michael Starkey, and Patrick Mercer. Despite what Wightman claims now, he insisted on remaining anonymous at the time.

Late Sunday evening Wightman used a sock-puppet account (and/or that of a close ally) to publish/promote a quite extraordinary attack on me that’s an epic work of confusion, conflation, misrepresentation and outright invention, but the most striking thing about it for me is the scope of the tell-all article that he imagines I planned to respond with; amazingly, he himself specifies many possible/worthwhile avenues of investigation (mostly to do with money and deceit) that I personally had dismissed as completely surplus to requirements; what I can prove about how he conducted himself during this most recent event is enough to finish the most robust of reputations on its own:

It was Wightman who released an ‘interview’ with Jenvey that was obviously a forgery, but could not be easily dismissed, as it smeared so many targets at such a tumultuous time that there was no telling who the likely target was, never mind who the perpetrator might be or even what their agenda/allegiance might be. I will be revealing the details of this action and its wider implications in full, later today (Monday).

(MINI-UPDATE – Meanwhile, feel free to whet your appetite with this illuminating post from Richard Bartholomew.)

Patrick Mercer MP

Both Heather Millican and Edward Barker, acting as staff for this Conservative MP, failed to pass on any of my concerns about Glen Jenvey at any stage, well past the point where Jenvey was out of control. Their impenetrable firewall made it necessary for me to seek a way to get directly in touch with Mercer after Jenvey published false claims of paedophilia (see: Iain Dale).

The rude and awkward introduction that followed when I was finally able to get in direct contact, combined with Mercer’s refusal to use the web or email, plus later accusations levelled against me (see: Iain Dale) were, I am sure, major contributing factors to my not hearing any warnings about Dominic Wightman bar a single vague reference to him going “off the rails” (weeks after it would have been of any use).

I also have serious issues with the evasive and unprofessional manner in which he and his staff treated a related information request, and more.

Details to follow on Tuesday.

(Last week, a request was sent to Patrick Mercer’s office, and then Patrick Mercer himself, requesting a statement outlining his past and present relationship with Dominic Wightman. At the time of writing it has not yet emerged.)

Iain Dale

Iain Dale was literally the last person on my list when I was looking for people I knew who might be able to make a call directly to Patrick Mercer. The first two were unable to help, so I was forced to call Iain.

I explained the situation to Iain carefully and repeatedly; I needed him to call Mercer because nothing was getting through his office, or past his staff. Glen Jenvey was smearing me as a paedophile repeatedly at that stage, but according to all visible accounts was still aligned with that MP (and, according to a quote attributed to Mercer himself, a man who “ought to be listened to”)

Iain Dale promised to call Patrick Mercer, but didn’t. He later gave me the impression that he had made Patrick Mercer aware of Jenvey’s smears, despite knowing that he had merely (and quite inexplicably) called the same office that he knew was not passing on any messages involving Jenvey.

Iain has since refused to discuss this matter beyond a single email claiming that in calling the office he had in fact called Mercer. I’m still not sure if he was playing political games or just being extremely slack about it, but he then more or less immediately went on to bust a gut over some other smears involving Derek Draper, and smeared Tom Watson when doing so. Repeated attempts to have him explain his actions resulted only in his declaring to his readers that I was harassing him for personal/political reasons. He then went on to (finally) call Mercer direct, but only to relay this same accusation!

It was difficult having a sensible and constructive conversation with Mercer before this; it was near-to-impossible afterwards. Further, Dale’s extraordinarily dishonest attack on me (example: he spoke of a “barrage of emails” without revealing that the bulk of them resulted from his repeated refusal to acknowledge receipt of a single email) created a hostile crowd so large that several Dominic Wightmans could have hidden themselves inside it, and I plan to reveal more about what Iain knew but didn’t give a damn about on Wednesday.

(Iain Dale currently has comment moderation on, which means he reviews comments before publishing them. He still will not accept comments from me, but last night published the URL of Wightman’s disgraceful pre-emptive strike without complaint. It was still live, hours later, at the time of writing. Nice. No doubt he’s happy that it repeats many of the empty allegations he so readily hosts on his website on the basis it is ‘honestly-held opinion’.)

Adam Macqueen

Jenvey = ‘abu islam’ was my scoop. Private Eye stole it and took the credit for it. End of. Adam Macqueen (a writer for Private Eye and friend of Iain Dale’s) tells people he didn’t even write the relevant story, which is a misleading claim at best; privately he admitted that it was he who struck out my contribution, which is the crux of the matter. Later – in the wake of Iain’s misleading allegations of harassment – Macqueen publicly likened our private communication about this matter to meeting a “nutter on a bus”… and then went on to claim that my objecting to that description proved his point!

An open letter complaining about the smear was sent to his editor, Ian Hislop, who emailed but refused to acknowledge the significance of any of this. I tried to reply, but found that someone at Private Eye had put a spamblock in place, bouncing any email from me.

The forged interview (later found to be the work of Dominic Wightman) quite specifically smeared me as being mentally “unstable” and was written the day after I published the relevant open letter to Hislop. That forged interview was a real piece of work, and not something you could accuse anybody of without proof, even if I could somehow contact the offices of Private Eye without having someone use that as further ‘evidence’ of nuttiness, but what’s a guy to think in a situation like that? Me, I had it filed under Find. The. Author. (which is what I did, at great cost to myself, while hangers-on of Iain Dale gleefully repeated Macqueen’s response to my open letter and his ‘nutter’ diagnosis as if it were the last word on the subject). Thursday.

Graham Dudman

Acting as Managing Editor of The Sun, in January 2009 Dudman wrote a letter to the PCC that sought to discredit me while bigging up their ‘expert’ (Jenvey). Dudman owes me more than one apology, but I expect the biggest one will involve his false accusation that I had falsely accused Glen Jenvey of being… a paedophile.

Yes, you read that right; roughly six weeks before Glen Jenvey actually did this to me, I was falsely accused of doing it to him. This was one of many deceits and inventions in this letter, which I plan to publish (in part if not in full) along with my response to it on Friday.

It’s going to be a fun-filled week, folks.

Please stand by.

[MINI-UPDATE (17 Nov) – Some of this promised content was delayed by ongoing attacks/threats, mostly from Wightman’s corner. The Dudman letter was eventually published here. Private Eye are, surprisingly, still being dicks about it. Iain Dale is also still being a dick about it, but that surprises me less.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 12, 2009

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

This is my response to an email I received on Thursday night. Yes, it’s real, and yes, both the instigator and the interviewer (assuming they are two different people) are for real.

I have not edited or changed any of the questions in any way, apart from one snip where the instigator seeks to sneak in a bit of libel (about someone other than myself) and a further snip of the interviewer’s phone number in the U.S.

For details about the instigator, tune in on Monday morning (and for the whistle before the kick-off, tune in to Donal MacIntyre on Radio 5 Live, 7:30pm this Sunday).

No, it’s probably not any of the names you can think of; this will be a new name to most of you. This person popped up with one hell of a sock-puppeting effort in the middle of the whole paedo-smear thing and caused all kinds of difficulty in pursuit of his own personal agenda. In fact, it’s fair to say that this stunt was the main reason for recent radio silence.

Eventually, I caught him at his little game. Led the police right to him, in fact. He is obviously NOT happy about that, and planning to reveal all sorts of perfectly rational reasons why what he did was reasonable.

Read on:


Dear Mr Ireland,

I am writing an article about you and the British blogosphere.
Can you please answer the following questions for me?

This article is due out round about the 27th of this month so I would appreciate prompt responses, please.


Oooh, an interview! I’m always hungry for personal publicity, me. Hungry, hungry, hungry. And this request is coming from America, so it couldn’t get any more important. And it’s definitely nothing to do with a certain British chap who’s really got it in for me lately.

Thing is, regardless of that certainty, I’ve got this silly paranoid notion that the interviewer may be planning some kind of minor ambush. Perhaps even (dare I say it?) some kind of hatchet job.

Oh well, nothing to it but to do it. Onward to the interview.

(From here on in, I’ll be speaking to this interviewing guy, and not to you, OK? That’s how the pros do it. I’ll meet you at the end for tea and biscuits.)

1.You have been called a stalker by the online community? Is there any truth to Iain Dale’s allegations that you telephoned him repeatedly and sent him endless numbers of emails this year?

A: This is a ridiculous question, if you don’t mind me saying, Mr Interviewer Person. ‘Repeatedly’ I can work with, because it covers everything from two calls and up, but ‘endless’? Obviously the emails will end (or, if you prefer, ‘cease’) at some stage, even if it’s when I drop dead from exhaustion or Iain does. And, as I made perfectly clear when I spray-painted it on his car last night, the emails will end when Iain answers the bloody question; “Why didn’t you call Patrick Mer…”

(The last word is supposed to be ‘Mercer’. And then a question mark. Iain should buy a station wagon or a transit van; there’s bugger-all writing space on a four-door sedan.)

2.What is your relationship with Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan?

A: I first became aware of Craig Murray when he was smeared by Jack Straw’s minions. It turns out Jack was a bit of a naughty boy (with the very best of intentions, obviously), and wanted to discredit the guy who could finger him for it. His mate Tony played along, and…

Sorry, I just realised that you might find it hard to relate to most if not all of this answer. I’ll try to do better on the next one.

3.What led you to blogging in the first place?

A: Christmas crackers. True story.

4.How do you feel about the victims you create by attacking your targets? Ann Milton’s husband? Nadine Dorries’ family? [libel snipped] Other collateral as well as direct damage.

A: Ann Milton? I don’t know anyone named ‘Ann Milton’. I do know an Anne Milton, and to answer your question I think her husband has suffered enough.

As for the impact on Nadine’s family, it’s not me who swings her daughters about by the legs* anytime someone approaches her from an upwind direction.

(*She used to swing them around by the hair until she started worrying that their eggs might fall out.)

5.Have you ever regretted targeting someone and now see them as a victim?

A: Yeah, but who gives a damn about other people, right?

6.Would you plead guilty for manslaughter if you pushed one of your victims to suicide?

A: No, I wouldn’t… for the very simple reason that pushing** him/her would be murder. I watch CSI.

(**Or did you not mean literally?)

7.Do you feel it is a foreigner’s place to be attacking British politicians, public figures and others in Britain?

A: Que?

8.You publicly have admitted to once being an alcoholic, correct?

A: Yes, but I could have been drunk at the time.

9.Is not your success in overcoming the addiction to alcohol a success you should celebrate publicly and share with others who might be going through the same kind of addictions?

A: You know, you’re right. And despite being happily teetotal, I should wear a t-shirt that reads “self-confessed alcoholic” and encourage as many people as possible to use that term to describe me. I shouldn’t be at all concerned that someone might present that out of context for personal/political reasons or otherwise exploit my attempt to help a fellow human being. I mean, really; who’d be so cruel and selfish as to not only do that, but then seek to somehow justify it, even after that human being had tragically passed on? There isn’t a bastard alive who’d do that. Science would have to create some kind of super-bastard before that would happen. I’m clearly fretting over nothing.

(Psst! I used to be a child, too, but I grew out of that.)

10.Do you feel you have an addictive personality?

A: No. Next question!

11.If so (10) then why?

A: I said NO! Now give me another question! Quick!

12.Have you ever taken Class A drugs and if so have they had any effect do you think on your mental state?

A: Oh, man, that’s some good Question. Wowwwwww. It feels like two questions at onc… hey, look at how big my hands are! Wowwwww…. they’rrre moooving to the muuuusic

13.Where do you position yourself on the political spectrum from far left to far right?

A: Dominant. (Sorry. In-joke.)

14.You hardly live in luxury. Why sacrifice (as you clearly do) so much of your time to a blog which has a relatively small audience when you could be earning money by doing paid-work with that time and better providing for your family? Could, in that respect, your behaviour be considered selfish?

A: You’re right. I’m going to start charging you £5 per question. From now.

15.Do you consider yourself a selfish man, Mr Ireland?

A: I’m keeping this £5, if that’s what you mean.

16.Have you ever had a CCJ or financial default in your lifetime either in the UK or Australia? If so, how did you feel about it?

A: Tut. You’re fishing too close to the bank. And with two questions there, that’s £15 you owe me now. Don’t make me chase you.

17.You have a team of “helpers” including Mikki the Moose and others. Do you ever break the law in searching for information on targets? Do members of your team? If you admit that members of your team do break the law then have you ever accepted illegally-obtained information from them?

A: I can go you one better than that; I’ve knowingly broken the law on multiple occasions (see #31). Can’t recall doing anything seriously c**tish on the information front, though. BTW: £20! £25! £30! It’s clocking up.

18.What is your opinion on people who plant spybots on other people’s computers?

A: There’s a word for people who do that, but you shouldn’t use it in mixed company. In fact, you can’t. £35!

19.Have you ever blagged or sock-puppeted?

A: I won’t count this as two questions, but I will answer ‘maybe’ to both so you’re forced to ask a further question and I can earn another fiver. The kids are sick of living on beans, and the scurvy is disrupting their work in the salt mines. £40!

20.You have been found to share IP addresses with extremist Muslims who run websites glorifying terror and celebrating 911. How do you feel about this? Do you wish to apologize to the victims of 911 and the families of allied victims in Iraq and Afghanistan for your actions?

A: I will not rest until the victims of 9/11 accept that they are in fact the victims of 11/9. Then they can apologise to me. £45! (I’ll only charge you for the second half, because I’ve treated the first half with the contempt it deserves.)

21.When you were a child (under 16 years old) did you ever bully anyone? If so, did you ever get in trouble for bullying at school?

A: Yes to the first question, ‘no’ to the second; to avoid detection, I cunningly disguised myself as a dozen other people using old socks, papier mache, and used ping pong balls. (This was before the World Wide Web, you understand.) £50!

22.Would you agree that behind every bully is a coward?

A: Of course not. Behind every bully is old socks, papier mache, and used ping pong balls. You’ll only waste your money if you don’t pay attention, and we’re already up to a whopping £55!

23.Do you consider yourself a coward, Mr Ireland?

A: You’re the one holding a handful of papercraft right now, sunshine. You tell me. (£60!!)

24.You are linked by association with the violent anti fascist groups who have been fighting the EDL on the streets of England. Do you condone violence?

A: I am? Do I? Hang on… damn, I owe you £10 now, don’t I? Damn, I did it again! Make that £15! Tell you what; I’ll just take it off what you owe me. We’re at £45. Moving on.

25.Would you agree that the far left in England is allied with the Islamist extreme in what is called the Black Red Alliance and that in some ways you are the personification of this?

A: Would I agree the who is where in the what now? I have no bloody idea wh..* Gah! You got me again! OK, £30 it is.

26.Have you ever been a director of a company? If so, which one(s)?

A: Does a company of actors count? Once I…* Damn, blast and buggeration! £25 – and I’m beginning to think I underestimated you.

27.What is your retort to the accusation that “you can dish it but you can’t take it”?

A: “I know you are, but what am I?” Hahahah….* Oh, for… OK, we’re down to £20, are you happy? …..* DAMN!! £15!!!!

28.Why did you attend Paul Staines drink driving hearing in May 2008? Do you not think that this makes you look like a stalker and a sad, embittered loser who enjoys any negatives affecting your more successful competitors?

A: Why did the chicken cross the road? He wanted to see a man lay a brick.

(I know that joke cost me another fiver, but I’m past caring now.)

29.Are you on any form of medication?

A: Only if endorphins count; you’re making me very happy right now.

30.Have you ever been burgled? Did the police have time to investigate?

A: Ah-ha! Two questions in one. I’m back in the game and riding high at £25, assuming my maths is on the money.

Some damn fool stole my car once to hold up a petrol station. No word of a lie. Instead of getting out while the going was good (if not quite as good as it would have been if he’d bothered to look in the boot), he decided to go out for a leisurely drive in the same damn neighbourhood in the same damn car the very next day, and that’s how the police caught him. I know that’s not funny, but it’s a true story, and something you might want to reflect on.

31.How many times have you called the police on others and had the police called on you in the last five years? What is your opinion on wasting police time?

A: Ah-ha! Two questions in one again, which takes us up to… (counts)… £35! But to make it worth your while, I will tell you that I have deliberately wasted police time and have no regrets (see: SOCPA). Do your worst.

32.Why did you leave Australia?

A: We’re up to £40 now, but you’ll totally get your money’s worth:

The two deadliest spiders in Australia are the Redback and the Sydney funnel-web. Across that city, people are right now building houses and living lives that generate dry, clean hiding places that the Redbacks love, and wet, clean hiding places that the funnel-webs love. While you think about that, also consider that often we have bushfires that only the floods can put out, and when it’s not on fire or balls-deep in water, the bush (and the sandy bit beyond it) is home to the largest array of venomous snakes in the world. This rich selection includes the Taipan, which not only has the most toxic venom of any snake species known to man, but also a reputation as toey bugger, being one of the only snakes in the world that will seek you out and have a go at you just because it doesn’t like the look of you (or, rather, the smell of you).

If you somehow manage to escape the bush and reach the beach you’ve got blue-ringed octopi, stingrays, and great white sharks to contend with. Pick the wrong beach on the wrong day, and you’ll meet the humble box jellyfish, a creature with a sting so powerful that if you get done by one, the paramedics will administer a dose of morphine, but only to keep your screaming down to dull roar so they don’t get distracted while driving the ambulance to the morgue.

Take a look at the size of Australia (which is bigger than twenty Britains), then the population (which is less than half if not a third of the population of England alone), then take a look at where those people live. Population maps will show a mere 20 million people dotted around the coast, sandwiched between the bush and the beach.

Some people have unkindly likened this to scum washed up on the shore, but they’re missing the point and haven’t enjoyed nearly enough brushes with death to speak with experience.

The fact of the matter is this; Australia clearly wants us to Fuck. Off. Home.

So I did.

This is home.

OK, so our lot have been in Australia for several generations, but we’d been here in England for much longer before this; so long, in fact, that they were just beginning to hand out surnames when we wandered in from Ireland (or something like that). The name stuck, even after a whole bunch of us sailed off to Australia in the 1800s (not as convicts, promise).

Even if all of that counts for nothing; I’ve been here for over 10 years now, I’ve almost got the language down patch, and I really, really like it here.

May I stay? Oh go on… pleeeease?

33.What would you say to the accusation that Richard Bartholomew is your (quote) stooge?

A: I would say; “You’ve just wasted another five pounds!”

That’s £45 you owe me now.

34.You live in a Tory heartland. Apart from once in the last 50 years your area has returned a Conservative politician as its member of parliament. Since you attack Tory MPs on an almost permanent basis, how does it make you feel, as it were, living amongst the enemy?

A: I note it’s ‘my’ area now. I hope that means I can stay.


Obviously my ‘attacking’ a few Labour MPs has escaped your notice. I haven’t bagged a Lib Dem yet, but there aren’t as many of them to go around as there should be.

You also appear to struggle with the idea of optional voting and electoral roles, first-past-the-post systems and majorities, and how all of this allows for great swathes of ‘my kind of people’ (as it were) in ‘my’ area (as you describe it), possibly even living in harmony with these millions of Tory masters, of which you are one.

And you owe me £50. Sir.

35. In the choir photo in Westminster you look overweight. Do you consider yourself of a normal weight or do you think it is time to lose several pounds?Would you ever call, for example, Paul Staines “fat”?

A: I do look fat in that photo you speak of. I’ve lost a lot of weight since. It was as easy as modifying my diet by taking out one thing. I’ll leave you to guess what that is.

I would never hesitate to call Paul Staines a fat bastard, because for years he allowed similar mockery of others while hiding behind a character he didn’t even own (copyright: IPC magazines) while being more than a little hefty himself. This makes him a bastard, and to my mind allows me to call him ‘fat’ whenever I damn well please. Ditto for repeatedly describing him as a ‘drunkard’ etc. after his similar treatment of Charles Kennedy (and others) in very similar circumstances.

And another two-fer takes us to £60.

36. Your self-given nickname is manic. You also post notices about
yourself being a twisted genius? How apt to you feel these labels are?
What evidence is there that you are a genius? (sorry, I’ve not been
able to find any).

A: I may not be one of them official genuises what are in MENSA and all that, but I do know a last-minute question sent by email when I see one. How kind of you to wrap this text for me…. and to include so many questions! We’re at £75 already!

FYI: The nickname ‘Manic’ stems from my (now past) habit of working as a DJ all night and then directing videos the next morning, with nothing but adrenaline to hold me up (no Class A drugs use, sorry). This, combined with the creative nature of the process and the rush to complete, led to seemingly manic behaviour/situations at times, and the word was used often. It began to stick as a nickname after I pulled an all-nighter here with a dozen other people to get a website launched on time and chose ‘Manic’ as a username during that process.

It’s a long way from that (or “twisted genius”) to actual mania or psychosis, if that’s where you’re going. And now that you bring it up, the nickname also dates from a more innocent time on the web, when there were fewer people around wanting to be a cock about it.

37. Is it true that you are having a mid-life crisis? After a life of failure you
have realised that even in the Blogosphere you are a failure and are at
a big crossroads in your life now that your best years are behind you?

A: I’ve been through a few failed interviews my life, but this one’s my very favourite.

And so far it’s made me £85.

38. Finally, have you ever attended, or are you planning to attend, a lemon

A: It amazes me that you had to go away and think of that question…. and then bothered to come back with it! It amuses me it cost you another fiver, giving us a grand total of £90.

[Hint for n00bs: if you don’t know what a ‘n00b’ is, you’ll probably search for ‘lemon party’ even if I tell you not to. Sorry, but it’s out of my hands. No, you’re not going to listen, you’re going to go right ahead, and we’ll wait right here while you loo…. SEE? I told you. Next time, you’ll know better, won’t you?]

I look forward to your responses. Either you can email me or telephone me. My hours of operation are from 0900 to 1800 weekday but I am several hours behind your GMT so bear this in mind if you wish to telephone me your responses.

A: I look forward to that £90… but judging by what some people have told me, I doubt I’ll ever see it.

Thanks for your time.

Have a nice day.

Dick Walker
[phone number snipped]

A: Gah! I should have read to the end of the exam paper before starting work.

Ugh! You got me! Dick.


So there you have it, folks; my first interview in a while. I think it went as well as could be expected.

For the record, my mind is important to me, and while I’ve tried very hard not to lose it, I’ve not taken it out and measured it for a while. However, the last time it was checked by a government authority, I was technically a borderline genius, and ticking over at somewhere between 130 to 138 on your standard IQ scale.

Being a borderline genius means that I don’t get to be a genius every day, but instead only get to enjoy moments of true genius, every now and again, mostly through luck.

You will let me know when that kind of thing happens, won’t you? I’d hate to miss it.

Cheers all.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 26, 2009

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

Hi, kids!

Hey, do you want to be the coolest and HIPPEST cat in your playground or office? Then show your grasp of current affairs by playing this GREAT NEW GAME with your friends, family and assorted associates:

NAD-LIBS! It works a lot like Mad-Libs, only focused entirely on the antics of one of our most dishonest, juvenile, delusional and dim-witted MPs; Nadine Dorries.


The BIG HINTS for playing this game successfully include:
a) never try to play online, because it rarely works as well as it does ‘live’
b) choose an audience that’s at least dimly aware of our dimmest MP
c) alternatively, just find some children (or some people who think like children)
d) do not show or share any of the story to your audience until it is finished

Here are all the HILARIOUS and FUN story-sheets that are a available right now as a FREE DOWNLOAD!

NAD-LIBS: Sheet# 1 – Nadine Dorries wins the day [DOWNLOAD]

Erm, well, as you can see, there’s only one right now, but I thought some of you might like to try writing one or two yourselves, as I have other things to get on with. If you send anything in, inline text in an email is fine, and please try to stay near 100-150 words (including blanks) with no more than 20-25 blanks in all.

Cheers all.

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 21, 2009

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

So first we have this:

Nadine Dorries – Clarification
Posted Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 11:12

I’ve finished going through all my receipts and thought I had better make some things crystal clear:

I do NOT own a home in South Africa.

I do NOT own a home from which I receive a rental income.

And then we have this:

Nadine Dorries’ Register of Members’ Interests
Listed as current as at 20 May 2009

DORRIES, Nadine (Mid Bedfordshire)

8. Land and Property
House in Gloucestershire, from which rental income is received.
Holiday home in South Africa.

Which claim is true? They can’t both be true, surely?

Hat-tip to spotter Chris, who also notes; “(this is) what the MP submitted in November 2005 and which has never been changed”

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 21, 2009

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

The woman who lied her way through ‘smeargate’ is back and at her brass-necked best on the subject of expenses and what may or may not be her ‘second’ home:

Nadine Dorries – Clarification
Posted Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 11:12

The Green Book rules state ‘ if an MPs designated main home is not in either London or the constituency the ACA can be used to buy or rent in either’.

There is no stipulation on nights to be spent in either location.

Erm, sorry? The Green book stipulates that you can only claim in the way Dorries has on a second home, and defines the first home as “(normally) the one where you spend more nights than any other”. It’s pretty clear… unless Dorries is stretching the elasticity of the rule to absurd extremes while blaming Gordon Brown for their fundamental elasticity:

Extract from The Green Book – Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions (820 Kb .PDF) (summary)

3.11.1. Definitions

Main home
When you enter Parliament we will ask you to give the address of your main UK home on form ACA1 for the purposes of ACA and travel entitlements. Members are expected to locate their main homes in the UK. It is your responsibility to tell us if your main home changes. This will remain your main home unless you tell us otherwise. The location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other. If there is any doubt about which is your main home, please consult the Department of Finance and Administration.

Either way, what is still missing from her non-blog is a clear statement that her Cotswolds residence is her first home, an explanation about the many claims she has published on her non-blog that contradict this latest assertion, and some scrap(s) of evidence to back all of this up. Then we can discuss the extent to which she has managed to break these remarkably elastic rules.

Also, take a look at this dramatic flourish, reminiscent of the dramatic flourish she departed on during the ‘hand of hope’ debacle (as above, the highlight is mine):

The atmosphere in Westminster is unbearable. People are constantly checking to see if others are ok. Everyone fears a suicide. If someone isn’t seen, offices are called and checked.

Oh, spare me.

If I weren’t a gentleman, I’d threaten her with violins.

So what’s it going to be, Nadine; our cash back or transparency?

Lists of irrelevant items count for SFA. Say it clearly and back it with evidence; in which residence do you spend more nights than any other?

(Psst! Nadine! Your stays in London are irrelevant, and every time you bring them up, you raise the question of how/why you stay in London without claiming expenditure.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 19, 2009

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

This latest fuss involving the fragrant Nadine Dorries began when the Telegraph wrote to her with a series of queries, including this one:

Land Registry records show that your former family home in ************* was sold in 2007. You have announced publicly that you have separated from your husband. Since then the only address on any of your files is your rented house in Bedford, on which you are claiming ACA. On this basis, we have reason to believe that you only live in one home and are therefore ineligible to claim an allowance for running a second home.

Nadine Dorries responded with more front than substance, but what little substance she did offer appeared to suggest that, while the Telegraph were unaware of another home in the mix, the rented residence in Woburn, Bedford was very much a first home and not a second home:

“On the weekends I have free, and during the recess, I go somewhere else. I am not publishing the address. I gave it to my whip and emailed it to the fees office in 2008. I spend most of the holidays abroad, all of which can be confirmed. My children stay with me when I am in the constituency, where I go my girls go, however, one also lives in London and one is at Uni. This has not always been the case. I now spend my late nights in London. At my own expense. I keep the dogs at the constituency address as I am often there on my own and it confuses them being moved around. When I am not in the constituency, especially during the long summer break, we have a house sitter, at my expense. Again, this can be confirmed. During term time I spend the majority of weekends in the constituency as my job tends to be seven days a week, as detailed above. My youngest daughter has attended a school in Bedford since last September.” – Nadine Dorries (May 15, 2009)

[Apologies here for the permalinks to Dorries’ website, most of which will only work in some browsers.]

Like most of Dorries’ rants, it’s inconsistent and rambling (where she goes her girls go… except when they don’t, which is often), but there’s a clear pattern there of her only staying “somewhere else” during weekends and breaks. That she stays in London on late nights (that may or may not be related to Parliamentary business) at her own expense is neither here nor there; the point is that she has been claiming expenses on the basis that Woburn, Bedford is her second home, when she is describing circumstances where it can only be interpreted as her first (i.e. the abode in which she spends more nights than any other).

Dorries then did a spectacular backflip with this response, again waving her children in our faces while demanding her privacy. In this version of events, she presents her life as some form of Greek tragedy that she bravely faces against the odds and blah blah blah…

“I never wanted my constituents to think that I had another prime responsibility other than Bedfordshire and Parliament; maybe I should have been more open. My daughter was due to start boarding school in September but instead she started at a school in Bedford. At the weekends we go back to the Cotswolds together, or, if I have to work such as this weekend, we stay in Bedfordshire. During the Parliamentary term time, it is unusual for me not to have a constituency engagement. I spend more nights away from my constituency home than I spend in it and I use it for the purpose of my work. I do, however, retain the right to have my daughter, or daughter’s with me depending on who is with me at the time. It may only be a second home, however, it is a home. So, to my constituents and no one else, I am sorry. My crime is that I haven’t owned up to you that I don’t always live here – that I have a private life, which has not always run smoothly.” – Nadine Dorries (May 16, 2009)

… but slipping between the cracks here are some weekends that she spends at her ‘first’ home in the Cotswolds, which she then admits are infrequent for the entire period that ACA applies. She then goes on to say “I spend more nights away from my constituency home than I spend in it,” which cleverly implies that she spends more time in the Cotswolds, without actually saying this. Given her account(s) to date, the time away from Woburn she is referring to here is more likely to refer to stays in London.

To repeat: that she stays in London on late nights (that may or may not be related to Parliamentary business) at her own expense is neither here nor there; the point is that she has been claiming money on the basis that the residence in Woburn, Bedford is her second home, while describing circumstances in which in is her first… and if you don’t believe me, here’s Nadine announcing where her main home is on her own damn website:

Nadine & Family To Settle In Woburn (circa 2005)

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Beds, and her family are to make their new home in Woburn.

“The decision was very much taken out of my hands by the kids” said Nadine. “They fell in love with the town and it didn’t matter where else we went they kept coming back to Woburn.

As any parent will know, a move is a huge thing especially 3 lively girls. It helps with the process when the children have a big say and feel they an input in to what is happening.

It also makes sense logistically. My constituency office is in Shefford and I am in the House of Commons four nights a week so it is manageable”.

[A tip of the hat to David Titchmarsh over in comments at Craig’s place.]

And here Nadine speaks of her ‘local’ (pub), which is based in Woburn, not “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds:

“In my local last night with friends, The Black Horse in Woburn, it didn’t take long for the conversation to get around to Iraq…” – Nadine Dorries (April 10, 2008)

And her true friends and neighbours? Also from Woburn, and not “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds:

“Last night a true friend and neighbour took me for dinner at the Birch in Woburn…” – Nadine Dorries – (June 7, 2008)

That last one was a weekend, too; one of those weekends that she claims to spend “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds… except when she doesn’t, which is often.

Here she is waking up in Woburn on a Monday, which is kind of hard to do when you fall asleep “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds on a weekend:

“I got the papers at seven and read every one back to front. Sky sent a car for me and I read all the way from Woburn to Islington…” – Nadine Dorries – (Feb 6, 2007)

In these and other entries that are too personal to go into, Dorries repeatedly publishes accounts portraying Woburn as her first/only home and time in the Cotswolds as time away not only from Parliament, but from her family (in the couple of entries on her non-blog that mention the Cotswolds here and here she speaks of being alone – i.e. minus her ‘girls’ – and/or free of distraction).

Further, repeated mentions of her staying in London ‘at her own expense’ seem a bit odd when she appears to be describing circumstances where she is free to claim for that expense, so I think I’m within my rights to suspect that she’s been staying somewhere in or near London that requires little-to-no actual expenditure, and her implication that she’s somehow hair-shirting on this front is a ruse.

Getting back to the Telegraph and a puff-piece from happier times:

Telegraph – The Tories’ Nadine Dorries: Bridget Jones, MP

Working 100-hour weeks and commuting from her “post-divorce bolt-hole” in Woburn to London every day, Dorries says she finds the working mother in politics routine “very difficult”.

Commuting from Woburn to London, you say? Every day, you say? And for that added touch, here’s Nadine telling us that this interview was conducted at her home… not her other home or her holiday home or her constituency outpost:

“The Sunday Telegraph sent a reporter and a photographer to my home yesterday to interview me…” – Nadine Dorries – (Nov 3, 2007)

That same week, Nadine describes BBC Three Counties (which covers Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire and NOT the bloody Cotswolds) as “my local radio station”.

And so it goes on and on and on and on…

So, to summarise:

By her own account, Nadine Dorries’ first/primary home is, and has been for years, in Woburn.

If she now wishes to claim otherwise, she can come over here, bring her damn lawyers with her, and prove that it has been otherwise… throughout the period where she was claiming our money while claiming Woburn was her second home.

Even if she somehow manages this by proving that she’s stayed in the Cotswolds property for more nights than she has spent in the Woburn property (ideally, during/including those periods when Parliament was in session), she can still be described as breaking ACA rules, as she will have volunteered information providing “grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money” and created an “arrangement which may give rise to an accusation [of] obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds”.

Oh, and if she wants to bring stays in London into it, she can first pay back any money she may have falsely claimed against her Woburn residence, and then produce receipts for these overnight stays (where possible/applicable) and claim this money back by the book.

Nadine Dorries has reportedly claimed a total of £65,918 under the Additional Costs Allowance since 2005. At least £18,000 of this is reported to have been claimed against the Woburn residence under second home expenses over the past two years (i.e. including the period she was busily blogging details portraying it as her first home)

While the rules are so extraordinarily elastic as to defy logic, Dorries has clearly broken them; there’s no question about it.

Further, she has responded not with transparency, but a barrage of largely irrelevant emotionally-charged bullshit and insisted that the circumstances in which she has claimed our money is none of our business! WTF?

Well, I’m sorry, but as long as our money is involved, it’s our damn business. If she values her privacy so much, she can return the money; then she can stay where she likes, when she likes, with (almost) anybody she pleases.

So what’s it going to be, Nadine; our cash back or transparency?

Once we’ve settled that, then we can discuss to what extent you have broken the rules and if you’re fit to hold a seat in Parliament.

Extracts from The Green Book – Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions (820 Kb .PDF) (summary)

3.1.1. Scope of allowance
The Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) reimburses Members of Parliament for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence (referred to below as their main home) for the purpose of performing Parliamentary duties. This excludes expenses that have been incurred for purely personal or political purposes.

3.2.1. Eligibility
You can claim ACA if:
a You have stayed overnight in the UK away from your only or main home, and
b This was for the purpose of performing your Parliamentary duties, and
c You have necessarily incurred additional costs in so doing, and
d You represent a constituency in outer London or outside London.

3.3.1. Principles
You must ensure that arrangements for your ACA claims are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money. Members should bear in mind the need to obtain value for money from accommodation, goods or services funded from the allowances.

You must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you are, or someone close to you is, obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds or that public money is being diverted for the benefit of a political organisation.

ACA must not be used to meet the costs of a mortgage or for leasing accommodation from:
* yourself;
* a close business associate or any organisation or company in which you – or a partner or family member – have an interest; or
* a partner or family member.

3.4.1. Location of overnight stays
If your main home is in the constituency, you can claim ACA for overnight stays in London – or in another part of the constituency if reasonably necessary in view of the distance from your only or main home.

3.11.1. Definitions
Main home
When you enter Parliament we will ask you to give the address of your main UK home on form ACA1 for the purposes of ACA and travel entitlements. Members are expected to locate their main homes in the UK. It is your responsibility to tell us if your main home changes. This will remain your main home unless you tell us otherwise. The location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other. If there is any doubt about which is your main home, please consult the Department of Finance and Administration.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 16, 2009

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

OK, so there’s this place called The Carlton Club where “only persons of full age who support the Conservative Party shall be eligible for membership” and they offer hotel-style accommodation to their members.

From what I can make out from the shouty account of Nadine Dorries (republished in part by the Telegraph), this is what’s going on:

A friend of Nadine’s stayed in one of these hotel-style rooms on New Year’s Eve 2006 after DEFRAUDING THE CLUB BY POSING AS A MEMBER AND FALSELY USING THE NAME ‘MR N DORRIES’!!!

Somehow, most likely through the normal billing channels for members, the invoice for this accommodation wound up in the hands of Nadine Dorries or passing through the office of Nadine Dorries, and HER OFFICE THEN ATTEMPTED TO FRAUDULENTLY PASS THIS EXPENSE ON TO THE TAXPAYER!!!

However, in Nadine’s mind, because the claim was rejected and she personally did not stay in the room, SHE IS TOTALLY INNOCENT AND THE VICTIM OF A WITCH-HUNT! ZOMG!!!

Further, she needn’t answer any questions about a similar bill for holiday accommodation “a few days before Christmas” BECAUSE SHE HAS NEVER STAYED IN A HOTEL ROOM ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, EVAH!!! EVAH EVAH EVAH!!!

I’m sure Nadine’s lawyer’s will correct me if I’m wrong here, but SHE’S FUCKING HAVING US ON, ISN’T SHE?!!!

Posted by Tim Ireland at March 13, 2009

Category: Old Media, Tories! Tories! Tories!

For the benefit of newcomers, I’ve timelined this one… watch as Elizabeth Smith is seen to attack survivors of the Dunblane massacre, before standing up for them… and then sitting down again:

Sunday 8 March

Elizabeth Smith MSP is quoted in an article by Paula Murray about survivors of the Dunblane massacre:

MSP Elizabeth Smith, Scottish Tory spokeswoman for children, schools and skills, said: “I have to say personally I’m not happy. Some of the things that go up on these websites are very unfortunate and I don’t think they give a very good picture about the youngsters. Some of them are in great bad taste and I am quite worried about that. I feel embarrassed about it and I’m sure other people do too. In some cases the people are still really young and you can’t really expect them to have a sense of responsibility. I’m sure that when they look back at what they have done in 10 years time they will be cringing with embarrassment.” (archive of source)

Monday 9 March

In response to widespread outcry from “mass bloggers”, Smith issues the following statement to ‘Catkins’, a comment-contributor to Anton Vowl’s weblog:

“My comments were not made in the context of Dunblane. The journalist did not ask me anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual involved. It would be quite wrong for me to do so. I have made comments recently to several newspapers about the issues related to young people using internet sites and the inappropriate use of that material. It is in relation to these views that I was approached and I can assure you there were no references to Dunblane. What the Sunday Express chooses to print as the context is a matter for the relevant editor.” – Elizabeth Smith (source)

Wednesday 11 March

Your humble author (and notorious “mass blogger”) chases Elizabeth Smith with a polite email, and asks specifically if she is claiming that her interview was conducted with no mention of Dunblane or any of the survivors. She replies:

“May I give you a categorical assurance that, in her press enquiry to me, Ms Murray did not mention any names of the individuals involved in Dunblane and may I also repeat the fact that the journalist did not ask me anything about Dunblane nor did I comment on it or on any individual involved.” – Elizabeth Smith (via email)

Various writers and editors at Express Newspapers are notified of this, and asked for a response. A number of ‘read’ receipts arrive, but the only reply that day comes from Daily Express editor Peter Hill, who dismisses it as somebody else’s problem, especially now that the article has been removed from the (shared) website at

Thursday 12 March

A report about Smith’s claim is published on Bloggerheads in the wee small hours. Later that morning, a response from Express Newspapers finally arrives via Derek Lambie, editor of the Scottish Sunday Express, who claims to have a transcript and recording of the Smith/Murray interview, and (eventually, when prompted) disputes Smith’s claim:

“Liz is on tape speaking about this. We have full transcript. I hope the personal attacks on paula murray will cease or further action will be taken.” – Derek Lambie (more)

[“I note that in your email you don’t dispute Elizabeth Smith’s claim… Do you dispute Elizabeth Smith’s claim?” – Tim Ireland (more)

“Dispute that and as I say it is on record. This should be the end of the matter.” – Derek Lambie (more)

A request for an extract from the transcript is ignored. Twice. Needless to say, no recording is produced or offered, either.

[Psst! Lambie rather hopefully (and a bit snippily) declaring the entire issue to be closed on the basis of what he claims about a single aspect is quite possibly my favourite thing ever. Include the ‘no comment’ card, the ‘abuse’/victim card and the non-specific-threat wild-card, and it’s identical to the hand Paul Staines has played for everything from his 1986 adventure with the BNP to his mysterious encounter with bankruptcy. See? I keep telling you he’s got Teh Skillz.]

Meanwhile, the PCC are in touch and wanting to know if Elizabeth Smith wishes to proceed with a complaint about this aspect of Paula Murray’s Dunblane article. I relay the question to Smith.

Friday 13 March

Elizabeth Smith contacts me via email with the following message:

“Thank you for your enquiry yesterday. A satisfactory resolution has now been reached between myself and the [Scottish] Sunday Express and, as a result of that, I have no further comment to make.” Elizabeth Smith (via email)

Your humble author (and notorious “mass blogger”) responds and asks quite specifically if she will be withdrawing her earlier claim. She responds:

“I have made it clear that I am not prepared to make any further comment on this matter. I am very satisfied with what has been agreed with the Editor of the [Scottish] Sunday Express.” Elizabeth Smith (via email)

1. The editor of the Scottish Sunday Express is Derek Lambie, who appears to enjoy conducting the bulk of his public-facing affairs in a most secret fashion. I sense, at the very least, the sweet tang of hypocrisy from this tabloid editor that could lead to some conflict between us.

2. The following is the official current position of Elizabeth Smith, Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament for Mid Scotland and Fife on the subject of a petty and needless media attack on survivors of the Dunblane massacre in which she appeared to take part:

“______________________________________________________________________.” – Elizabeth Smith, MSP

Elizabeth is the education spokesperson for the Scottish Conservative Party, and was once a teacher. Her experience in dealing with vulnerable young people speaks volumes… but I guess it has to when she won’t say anything herself.

(Note – So far, no-one from Express Newspapers has been in touch to demand that I remove/quantify Smith’s claims. Email correspondence with advertisers will continue shortly.)

UPDATE (6pm) – Entry corrected. Derek Lambie is editor of the Scottish Sunday Express, and the man Smith is referring to. My bad. Typing in waiting room. Muzak numbs mind.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 29, 2009

Category: The War on Stupid, Tories! Tories! Tories!

The Herald – Action urged on Parliament Square protest camp: The protest camp in Parliament Square is a “national embarrassment” that is “permanently disfiguring” London, senior Tories said today. Shadow Commons leader Alan Duncan and Sir Patrick Cormack urged the Government to ban the “grotty” and “squalid” row of tents from outside the Palace of Westminster.

Perhaps their good leader or the nearest underling could make their position on sections 132-138 of SOCPA clear. Just so there’s no confusion about what they want and when they want it.

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