Nadine Dorries: conflicting claims

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 in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 10 Comments

Nadine Dorries: enough rope

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 in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments

The Ministry of Rice [contains: GMO Bayer LL62]

It’s no big secret that I’ve a friend or two involved in Greenpeace. I just wanted to say that for the sake of clarity before I also say… that this is an epic campaign video that inspires me greatly (and not just to do better on my own little videos).

Oh Dog, how I love this. I love this so much, I’m immediately pushing down this Dorries whopper, because I want to show this around to everybody I know right now.

[Note – owners of narrower blogs will want to embed this version (while wishing you have my elbow room: optional but inevitable).]

Greenpeace – Ministry of Rice

It’s bloody great, isn’t it? Perfectly pitched. I’m neck deep in other people’s bullshit right now, but totally inspired by this, so it earns the full drill:

Take action: Stand up for your rice! (includes petition that I totally support, and have just signed)

Follow Greenpeace and/or Greenpeace(UK) on Twitter. (Or first join Twitter, then sign up up to follow Greenpeace and/or Greenpeace(UK) on Twitter. (Twitter’s a doddle and an ideal primary or secondary web presence for those who may not have the [whatever] for blogging.)

Read more about Bayer.

And, most importantly… pass it on.

Cheers all.

[Hello, Greenpeace video/marketing/other people who will read this. This is my latest. Drop me a line if there’s any corporate sock-puppeteers to be hunted down, because I take great joy in the sport.]

Posted in Consume! | Comments Off on The Ministry of Rice [contains: GMO Bayer LL62]

Smeargate: the incredible account of Nadine Dorries

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.)

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on Smeargate: the incredible account of Nadine Dorries

Iain Dale tells lies about his political enemies

Tom Watson: Press Release

Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail, apologised today to Tom Watson MP in a Statement in Open Court read before Mr Justice Eady.

Mr Watson complained of an article by Iain Dale, headed “Smears, glowering henchmen-like the Nixon White House” published in the Mail on Sunday on 12 April 2009 in which it was stated not only that Mr Watson was copied into emails sent by Downing Street press adviser Damian McBride to Derek Draper, but that he “encouraged” them. The emails were reported to have made serious and false allegations about the private lives of a number of Conservative Party MPs in the course of discussing proposals for a new website to be known as “Red Rag”.

As the Court heard today, Associated Newspapers Limited now accepts that these allegations are entirely untrue. In fact, Mr Watson was not copied into any of the emails exchanged between Mr McBride and Mr Draper. As Mr Watson has already publicly made clear, he had no involvement in or knowledge of the “Red Rag” website and he did not condone the content of the emails and, indeed, regarded them as completely inappropriate.

Associated Newspapers Limited has unreservedly withdrawn the allegations, apologised to Mr Watson for the distress the article caused him and his family and has joined in the reading of the Statement in Open Court today. In addition, Associated Newspapers Limited has agreed to pay Mr Watson substantial damages, together with his legal costs.

1. Good. I hope that stings, and fewer people trust his claims as a result.

2. After Iain Dale ‘accidentally’ fed this lie to the Mail on Sunday, he allowed readers of his weblog to remain under the false impression that what he had claimed was true, when it was not . It took him days to add a minor correction to his site, under a single post.

3. To cut a lonnnnnng story short, Iain Dale lied to me about something quite important when I was the victim of harassment, then refused to discuss this (or any other matter) or help me with much-needed input on a police statement. He then sought to stonewall/undermine me by spreading/publishing lies about me. Those lies included multiple false claims of harassment. He has informed at least one person that he has reported me “to the authorities” because I dared to persist when he refused to answer his phone, but he later (accidentally) revealed that this too was a lie. And even if he did wish to file a harassment complaint against me in these circumstances:

Extract from Protection from Harassment Act 1997

(4) It shall be a defence to any action of harassment to show that the course of conduct complained of–

(a) was authorised by, under or by virtue of any enactment or rule of law;

(b) was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; or

(c) was, in the particular circumstances, reasonable.

4. I’m willing to have my conduct tested in a court of law, but it seems Iain is not in this case. Instead, he is publishing lies about me and issuing false claims and implications that I have broken the law, that I intend to break the law and/or that he has made a valid harassment complaint about me. Further, Iain has had comment moderation switched on for over a month now, meaning that his lies go unchallenged, at least as far as his readers are concerned. I expect that he does all of this with some degree of confidence that I won’t be reaching for lawyers anytime soon.

5. Iain’s lies have prompted at least one copycat action of the paedo-smear harassment against me, which I have also been forced to report. The timing and specifics of this copycat attack leave little doubt about this.

6. A further copycat action has just emerged, and this one builds on Iain Dale’s multiple publications of ugly lies and implications about my motives/status/credibility as a blogger and the state of my mental health.

7. Iain’s actions have also led, in part, to one of his friends at Private Eye joining in the fun, by making misleading claims about our correspondence and the state of my mental health.

8. Iain Dale knows that the relevant claims he has published about me are not true. He is also aware that these claims have led to at least one reprisal, if not two or more*. But he refuses to even discuss the matter.

(*There have been multiple actual-if-pathetic DOS attacks against me, including the submission of my email addresses to every spammer under the sun , the BNP mailing list, etc.)

9. I’m at a loss; how is one supposed to handle a lying manipulative bastard like this without a lawyer?

10. I know the answer to that; I just don’t like it is all.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

ACA: Nadine Dorries has clearly broken the rules

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 in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 7 Comments

Nadine Dorries and one or two stays at The Carlton Club

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 in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments

BNP stealing images, short of photogenic supporters

[I wrote this last night and found out this morning I was scooped by Newspeak who also confirm stock status of the doctor and the soldier. Forgot all about the excellent Tineye. Oh well. Here we go anyway…]

The night before last on Twitter I linked to a few images from that the BNP had helped themselves to without permission (watermarks and all) to make campaign material. The relevant Flickr account has since been removed for reasons unknown (spotter: Jim Barker).

I am yet to confirm if all of the images involved have been used without permission (I’m still stalking chasing people), but in the meantime I have just seen a scan of one of their pamphlets (from a reported pamphlet run of 29 million) and know enough to ask;

1. Are the BNP really so short of genuine supporters that they have to use stock images?

I ask because the doctor looks like a stock image and I know for a fact that the mature couple and the mother and daughter are stock images.

2. What am I to make of this?

The mature couple are a top search result for ‘retirement’ at, which appears logical given the text the picture needs to match, but the mother and daughter image took some finding; they didn’t turn up in the first few pages for anything I looked for until I remembered what I was dealing with. This image turned up in the top row on the front page for… ‘white mother’. Bingo.

Oh dear...

(Psst! BNP peeps! Next time, take a tip from Conservative MP Anne Milton and use members from your campaign team to pose as ordinary work-a-day voters. This only leads to trouble if you’re running in a constituency with an obsessive in it. And by ‘obsessive’ I mean someone who doesn’t appreciate being push-polled and then lied to about it. Anyway, while I’ve got your attention, I love the reassuring ‘data protection secure’ logo in the bottom right-hand corner. Still stings, does it?)

UPDATE (15 May) – After some discussion and a day of stalking chasing, I can now confirm that some of these images have been paid for, however, I have also been informed by iStockphoto that this use of these images (i.e. assigning a political opinion to the models, imposing on them an endorsement they have not made and few would wish to be associated with) is NOT permitted under the terms of the licence. It is also quite likely that use of a model’s image in this way amounts to an offence under the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002.

Here’s an extract from the Parties, Candidates and Agents Guidance book:

3.29 Candidates may wish to use canvassers to help with the election campaign. It is, however, illegal to employ paid canvassers for the purpose of promoting or procuring a particular result at an election before, during or after the election…

3.30 The legislation describes canvassing as: … by word, message, writing or in any other manner, endeavour to persuade any person to give or dissuade any person from giving, his vote, whether as an elector or proxy

Watch the comments over at Newspeak for developments or follow me on Twitter.

(Psst! Long-time readers of Bloggerheads may be interested to know that paid agents of any party who are sock-puppeting for or against any party or candidate may also be guilty of an offence under the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, as this too appears to qualify as paid canvassing.)

UPDATE (16 May) – A company spokesperson for iStockphoto has issued the following statement (much earlier than today, I should note; the email granting me permission to publish it bounced during a server outage):

“In regards to the use of imagery in conjunction with testimonials, this certainly falls outside of our license terms as users are not permitted to impose these endorsements onto models featured in our artists’ content. In response to BNP’s use of iStock content in conjunction with testimonials, we shall be contacting them to clarify and address the matter.”

So, to make that absolutely clear, even if money did change hands over these images, the BNP did not and do not have permission to use these images in this way… so please speak up if you are aware that they are still distributing unaltered pamphlets like this or this without, for example, obscuring these faces with little white stickers.

Oh, and a big ‘thank you’ goes out to the good people at the Telegraph, who have picked up the story and given a platform to some of the victims. If someone slapped my face next to a positive testmonial in a BNP pamphlet, I’d be more than a little peeved myself.

[Psst! Don’t forget to scan and upload all of the electoral pamphlets you get to, folks.]

UPDATE (20 May) – The ‘British jobs for British workers’ builders are from Oregon, in the US. The soldier exploited by the BNP had the temerity to call the BNP and complain… they told him to “f**k off”. The family picture on the front is genuine; the only genuine picture in most if not all versions of this pamphlet, in fact. The picture is of candidate Nick Cass and his family (this article also points out that; “the BNP’s chief designer is one Mark Collett of Leeds, a man widely derided in the BNP as incompetent”).

IMPORTANT – All of the victims of the BNP’s creative approach to campaign material have now been identified and notified. There is no need for you to re-notify them, as much as the thought/effort is appreciated.

Cheers all.

Posted in Tolerance | 9 Comments

An open letter to Ian Hislop of Private Eye magazine

This one’s quite a whopper, folks. Watch out for the previously unblogged material, most notably the details about a letter from The Sun to the PCC.

This is not a letter that I write lightly, and I regret having to write it as an open letter to a man I regard to be both sensible and honourable.

If you’re a long-time reader and would like to help me get my point/case across, you could write a MUCH SHORTER email/letter to Private Eye, pointing out that I haven’t actually boiled any bunnies… that you’re aware of.

Dear Ian,

First, please excuse my writing this as an open letter; I have always regarded you to be an upstanding individual who won’t stand for bullshit or injustice, but I have been let down by quite a few people lately, and don’t feel much like taking chances today.

My name is Tim Ireland; I have been a blogger for over seven years, and a reader and supporter of your magazine for over a decade. While I disagree with your standoffish approach to Teh Internets in general, I – like you – have grave misgivings about the antics and tactics of self-proclaimed masters of new media such as Paul Staines and Iain Dale.

So much for introductions and niceties… here’s the meat of the sandwich:

I feel that I am being unfairly victimised to some degree by one of your writers, due in part to his friendship/association with Iain Dale, but also due to (or triggered by) a story that I uncovered and your magazine took the credit for.

I honestly believe that, when you are fully aware of the situation, you will be moved to take immediate and appropriate action to protect my reputation, and that of your magazine.

I realise that you’re a busy man, but I really would appreciate it if you would make the effort to at least read the following timeline, that should make clear what’s going on in a very complicated situation (and where you and your writers fit in). I have evidence to back every claim that I make in this timeline, and it’s yours for the asking if you want to look into any of this in detail before taking action:

Jan 8 – The Sun runs a story claiming that ‘top Jews’ have been targeted by Muslim extremists inhabiting forums hosted at The source of the story is self-described ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey. responds with a complaint to the PCC, a claim that a single contributor (‘abuislam’) is responsible for the offending content, and a further claim that the ‘abuislam’ profile was created using the same computer as that used by a self-described freelance journalist using the name ‘Richard Tims’. Within a couple of hours, I have uncovered/established a firm link between ‘Richard Tims’ and Glen Jenvey, and by 9pm my findings are published on my main website at

Jan 9 – After a long night of writing and later alerting the offices/agents of certain ‘targeted’ celebrities to the reality of the situation, I send a link to my story to your office via email (on Fri Jan 9, 2009 at 2:18 AM).

Jan 12 – I enjoy the first of 16 visits to my website from a customer of Star Internet Ltd (your service provider).

Jan 14 – I am contacted via email by a freelance writer from your office by the name of Elinor. In a phone conversation I do my best to help her understand (and/or better establish) the link between Glen Jenvey and the alias ‘Richard Tims’, as this is key to any allegation/implication that you wish commit to print.

Jan 20 – Issue 1228 of Private Eye is released. On page 4 under the heading “How Extremism Works” I find that my scoop/discovery has been used without due credit.

Jan 21 – I email Elinor about this, and politely express my disappointment. Nothing happens for a very long time, but in the meantime…

Jan 28 – The Guardian reports that the PCC has (finally) announced that it is investigating the story. Glen Jenvey responds via a friendly writer and a series of Wikipedia/ sock-puppets with absurd claims that the PCC and the Guardian are in league with extremists/terrorists and anti-Jewish “Nazi’s” (sic) guilty of hate crimes.

Feb 6 – I send a polite reminder email to Elinor about credit for the story.

Feb 9 – Susan Roccelli kindly informs me that the matter will be brought to your attention. On that same day, I am shown a letter from The Sun to the PCC that contains (a) a far stronger denial from Jenvey that he is ‘Richard Tims’ than anything that has been seen in public, and (b) a false allegation that I have falsely accused Glen Jenvey of being a paedophile. The basis of Jenvey’s allegation is a sentence that has been taken out of context, and not written about Jenvey by me, but about Osama bin Laden by… Glen Jenvey writing under yet another pseudonym (‘saddam01’). . This same letter seeks to assure the PCC of Jenvey’s credibility with a glowing endorsement from Conservative MP Patrick Mercer. Please read on to see just what the hell any of this nonsense has to do with you.

Feb 12 – At roughly 7pm, I get an email from an Adam Macqueen, who cleverly offers me a ‘freelance payment*’ while not admitting to nicking the story in any way, not even by accident. Instead, he attempts to pass off my contribution as some missing garnish and claims that he was “tipped off to look into this story by a contact of mine”… who we must assume either found the same ‘Tims’/Jenvey link within a few hours independent of my website or read about the ‘Tims’/Jenvey link on my website. Given that posts on my website are visible in Google within an hour and were an immediate top search result for ‘glen jenvey’ and ‘richard tims’ at the time, it’s most likely the latter, because anyone researching the story by that time will have found that it had already been written (if they had not instead found an earlier post that picked apart the tactics used by ‘abuislam’ and included an increasing number of signposts to the ‘Tims’/Jenvey connection under comments).

[Note – During the above exchange Macqueen also made an odd complaint that “Glen Jenvey is now trying to take us to the Press Complaints Commission.” Given that your magazine does not consider itself answerable to the PCC, I took this to be a rather pathetic attempt to assure me that you were taking as much ‘heat’ over this story as I was… perhaps so I would be just a little more grateful for the lousy £50 that was eventually sent to me almost two months later.]

Mar 13 – Adam Macqueen makes a false claim on his personal weblog that I (and/or my associates) have ‘stolen’ his stories on the weblog ‘The Sun: Tabloid Lies’ in much the same way that students steal your funny material for their newsletters/newspapers. That post is immediately brought to my attention by a gleeful Paul Staines who says “He thinks you are a cunt too.” In comments under his post, it is explained to Adam Macqueen that ‘The Sun: Tabloid Lies’ includes mostly original stories, but it also has a ‘media watch’ editor who reports on those all-too-rare instances when another media outlet calls Rebekah Wade on her bullshit. In each and every instance, we can’t help but credit the source of the story, because the whole fucking point of the feature is to report who is reporting any given story. Macqueen responds by ignoring this central point and instead expands on his earlier belittling efforts, even though it is also pointed out to him that “scanning and crediting a story spotted in another magazine as part of a ‘media watch’ feature is not the same as ripping off other people’s work and passing it off as your own”… as he himself had done in the pages of your magazine.


It is here that I should point out that Paul Staines does not like me and hasn’t liked me since I dared to criticise his conduct as a blogger. He is fond of writing/publishing false and malicious claims about me that he cannot back with evidence, because he has no other response to my many criticisms of him that I can back with evidence. Well, he does have one other response; quite often he will explain away the expanding documentation of the many fascinating tactics he uses to cheat his readers and refuse accountability (when he himself gains power by demanding accountability of others in power) by claiming or implying that I am “obsessed” and a deranged stalker, guilty of harassment.

Exactly the same can be said of Iain Dale (who, I will remind you, is a friend of Adam Macqueen’s and even listed as such on his weblog).

This briefing against me goes back many years and is quite deliberate; I have no doubt that you’re familiar with the tactic. Again, I must ask you to read on in order to be fully aware of what all of this has to do with you.

Mar 16 – Through a combination of sheer luck, hard slog and a tiny dash of ingenuity, I finally authenticate an audio recording of Glen Jenvey admitting to using the alias ‘Richard Tims’ (when he had previously denied ever using it or even knowing anyone by that name). The connection between Jenvey and ‘Tims’ that Private Eye was so uncertain about is now rock-solid. I confront Jenvey with this revelation, and he responds with threats and (wait for it, wait for it)… claims I am a deranged stalker, and guilty of harassment. In that same audio, which is also firmly established as being recorded over a year earlier, Jenvey spells out an ongoing conspiracy to bypass the appropriate authorities and ensure that his terror ‘investigations’ get results by hook or crook:

“I was… I basically… I basically uncovered all the films. With…. a university professor whose cousin, Sherard, is the British Ambassador to Afghanistan, but at that stage was the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. If I don’t think the cops are taking me seriously… or not acting on information given over to them or MI5… we bypass them and I will use one of my number of diplomatic contacts… or it will go to Sherard. And if that fails, I then go to the press.” – Glen Jenvey

Mar 17 – I’ve already named a few names and rattled a few cages by now, but today I’m able to spell it all out; Glen Jenvey’s primary accomplice that he himself identifies in the audio recording is Michael Starkey, who is a university lecturer, cousin of Sherard Cowper-Coles (former ambassador to Afghanistan) and brother to Sir John Philip Starkey, who sits on the executive committee of Tory MP Patrick Mercer (source of the aforementioned glowing endorsement and many, many quotes reinforcing and/or reacting to Jenvey’s dubious claims/stories).

Mar 18 – From about midnight on this day (or possibly earlier, late on the evening of the 17th) Glen Jenvey and/or a close associate, initially on Thai Web forums/blogs, and then later in blogs in the UK and the USA, falsely accuses me of being a convicted sex criminal with “a record as long as your arm for child sex offences”. The report also falsely accuses me of being arrested for sex with a young girl abroad and says that I was rumoured to have had sex with children as young as nine in Thailand. I am further accused of hosting child porn on my website, and the messages also include what I interpret as a threat to my person and/or an effort to prompt vigilante action (if you would like to just let Tim know what you think of sex crimes in Thailand info coming soon”). Given that this action by Jenvey is almost universally condemned, even by people who hate my guts, I feel pretty safe in enlisting the help of Iain Dale in getting a message directly to Patrick Mercer (as the two have a past association, and for some inexplicable reason Mercer’s staff are not cooperating or even passing messages on).

Mar 19 – The police are called, and the long process of filing a harassment complaint begins. I am surprised that I have to chase Iain about this matter, but he later assures me that he understands the situation and that contact has been made. He then leaves me in no doubt that Mercer is now personally aware of the situation. I am left mystified that still no action is taken by his office to restrain or disown Jenvey, and a long sleepless night follows.

Mar 20 – I source a copy of Mercer’s mobile number through my own contacts and then call him directly. He answers, listens, claims it’s the first he’s heard of any of it, and immediately issues a statement disowning Jenvey.

Mar 26 – Emails are sent to James Harding (editor of The Times), Lloyd Embley (editor of The People), Dawn Neesom (editor of the Daily Star), Rebekah Wade (editor of The Sun), Paul Dacre (editor of the Daily Mail), Peter Hill (editor of the Daily Express) and Martin Townsend (editor of the Sunday Express). All of them appear to have carried Jenvey-sourced stories in the past, but none of them respond.

Mar 27 – I confront Iain Dale about his apparent inaction regarding his promised direct call to Mercer. He ignores/avoids the matter when I raise it in comments on his site, and it takes 5 emails over the space of 6 hours just to get him to respond. He implies that he was unaware of the need to contact Mercer directly and informs me that he contacted the same staff that I had already informed him were not cooperating or even passing messages on. He also informs me that “this will be the only email from me you get on this” as if it’s the end of the matter, and insists that his excuse remain a secret.

Mar 29 – Iain Dale refuses to discuss the matter on his website and continues to insist that his excuse for not contacting Mercer remain confidential. He accuses me of harassment, gives his readers the impression that he’s on the verge of making a police complaint, and ‘bans’ me from leaving comments on his weblog. ( does not let you ban individuals, so this amounts to Iain deleting comments of mine as soon as they appear. This little game continues for some time.)


It was at about this stage that ‘smeargate’ exploded and Iain Dale went on to make a number of claims (that he could not back with evidence) that it was all about him and that there was a document proving a Downing Street conspiracy against him specifically. We have yet to see this document, despite a months-old promise from Paul Staines on live television to produce it that very afternoon. Iain reportedly earned around £5,000 in media appearances peddling lies and playing the victim, and by now I was royally pissed that he would be such a brass-necked bastard about it after standing by and allowing me to be smeared with a claim that was far worse than anything he was busy feigning outrage about. During this period, Iain ignored my repeated requests that he (a) explain his inaction over the Mercer call, (b) cooperate with my soon-to-be-finalised police statement, (c) remove/address any false claims hosted on his website that I am or ever was associated with Derek Draper and/or currently in the pay of the Labour Party, Downing Street, Cabinet ministers, etc. (for some reason, these claims enjoyed a resurgence following ‘smeargate’ and my criticism of the way certain bloggers had conducted themselves over that affair).

So for well over a week Iain Dale is on TV and on the radio and in newspapers saying how awful it is that Downing Street planned to smear him personally when he has no proof to back this up, *and* while he is refusing to cooperate with my police statement about a genuine smear.

Here comes the third and final act, which explains the role played by Private Eye in this ongoing soap opera playground drama. Brace yourself…

Apr 15 – I submit a comment to the website of Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) and ask him to produce evidence to support his repeated claim of a Downing Street conspiracy against him and Iain Dale specifically. Staines ignores the question, but goes on to publish many anonymous comments claiming that am currently in the pay of the Labour Party, Downing Street, Cabinet ministers, etc. and deletes my reply denying all of that. I then put pressure on Jag Singh, CIO of MessageSpace, on the basis that weblogs in his network should conduct themselves professionally, at least with regards to outright libel.

Apr 16 – Sadly, on the same day that Paul Staines is compelled to remove every false claim about my being a paid Labour/Brown/Watson stooge (which is quite a victory), Iain Dale reacts to my constant pressure that he explain his (in)actions over what are now multiple smears (on and off his website) by misrepresenting my multiple calls and emails and (*deep sigh*)… making me out to be a deranged stalker and guilty of harassment. He presents a single private email out of context, makes false allegations declaring me to be guilty of criminal intent/activity, and then significantly changes the settings on his website that (a) allows for totally anonymous comments, (b) makes it much easier for everyone (including himself) to pretend to be more than one person, and (c) only publishes comments that he has pre-approved. It is in these circumstances that he publishes (under his false claims and implications) a total of 115 comments, the majority of which make further false claims of criminal intent/activity and pass judgement on my mental state. I am again in contact with Jag Singh who reluctantly agrees to intervene and convince yet another blogger on his network that they should conduct themselves professionally, at least with regards to outright libel.

Apr 17 – Jag Singh is yet to get back to me with any progress. He is informed that I have proof that at least one person has been directly inspired by Iain’s post to repeat Glen Jenvey’s false claims of paedophilia. There is no reply.

Apr 28 – Four emails have been sent over the space of a week, but Jag has ignored all of them. He finally responds to the fifth by laughing off his attempt to ignore the problem in the hope that it would go away (“Ha! That works with some people, but you’re the most persistent mo-fo I’ve seen in a while”). Jag relays a claim from Iain that he has already “involved the authorities”. He later attempts to draw our conversation away to a private, nondescript email address on the basis that he fears he is being bugged, and again goes quiet when I persist with using an official MessageSpace address.

May 4 – After Harry Cole (aka ‘Tory Bear’; yet another MessageSpace blogger with a close association with Paul Staines) falsely implies that I am a “shady” character somehow in league with Derek Draper, I issue Jag Singh with an ultimatum by email and attempt to reach him by phone. He fails to answer his direct line or his mobile, and when I call the switchboard for MessageSpace (in the middle of a weekday) my calls are diverted to an answering machine. I mask my number and call again. The person who (finally) answers the phone is clearly evasive and goes on to ask me what I am wearing. This query expands into a bizarre faux-homosexual come-on that I just happen to record in full. When I finally reach Jag Singh later that afternoon, he reacts with relative good humour until he finds out that I can prove what I claim. He then greatly overstates the number of times I have tried to contact him and (*even deeper sigh*)… refuses to correspond any further on the basis that I am a deranged stalker and guilty of harassment. He follows this up with a letter to my home address, even though his business has no legitimate reason to have this ex-directory address to hand. The letter implies that I was subjected to sexual harassment because the person harassing me felt harassed. Clear? Good. We’re almost there.

[Note – Harry Cole and Paul Staines and MessageSpace all share the same fax address; 070 9201 2337]

May 6 – Iain Dale inadvertently reveals that, despite his many claims and implications to the contrary, he has not actually submitted a harassment complaint to the police.

May 8 – Adam Macqueen submits the following comment to a post that (a) repeats Iain Dale’s false allegations/implications of harassment, (b) further implies that I am some way associated with Derek Draper, and (c) carries some comments by me refuting these allegations. Adam Macqueen’s comment clearly accepts all of this without contradiction, and instead refers to my input and dismisses it in the following manner:

Adam Macqueen said…

Oh my god! You made eye contact with the nutter on the bus! You should never, ever do this. I found this out the hard way a few months back…

Still, “imagine what might have happened”, eh?

hope all’s well
08 May 2009 23:43

May 9 – Having contributed/subscribed to the thread earlier, I am alerted to this latest contribution automatically and I email Adam at his Private Eye address, because we have only ever corresponded twice, and both times on matters to do with your magazine, as spelled out in the timeline above (i.e. when he has “made eye contact with the nutter on the bus” according to his account, which some regard to be misleading).

From: Tim Ireland
Date: Sat, May 9, 2009 at 12:29 AM
Subject: Your comment

Adam, where do you get off calling me a nutter?

I may be the life of the party right now, but most of this shit started after a story that I took the risk on and you took the credit for, if you recall.

(Thanks for the £50, by the way. If you mean[t] ‘token payment’ you should have said ‘token payment’.)

And you moan to me that Jenvey’s taking you to the PCC. Diddums. Your magazine doesn’t even sign up to the PCC code, so I fail to see how this could bother you.

Meanwhile Jenvey’s retaliating by accusing me of paedophilia and Iain Dale – a blogger you list as a friend – tries to screw me over when I ask for his help to prevent that.

And when he refuses to even talk to me about that, or the repeated false claims he has published about me on his website, I’m not allowed to press him or chase him?

(Sorry for all the pesky detail. It just seems to be beyond you is all.)


May 11 – I receive my reply and immediately make a decision to approach you about this matter as soon as I am able:

From: Adam Macqueen []
To: Tim Ireland
Date: Mon, May 11, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Subject: RE: Your comment

Because you obsessively trawl the internet responding to every single comment you dislike. As you’ve just proved.

Now go away.

Pardon my French, but I don’t think I’m le cunt here.

(I’m not sure if this should be masculine or feminine… I hope it doesn’t fuck my joke.)

But the way Adam Macqueen would have it, if I complain about him nicking my story and later falsely accusing me of taking credit for his work, then I’m a nutter.

Further, my disagreeing with that assertion proves the assertion, and if I seek to discuss this absurdity any further with Adam Macqueen, he will no doubt feel justified in claiming that I am (yes, you guessed it) a deranged stalker and guilty of harassment because he told me to go away and I refused to do so.

Additionally, I can probably enjoy a good going-over courtesy of this writer at the earliest opportunity, either on his blog or in the pages of your magazine.

Adam Macqueen admits elsewhere, for example, that he’s responsible for the single sentence of praise that opened your recent article on Paul Staines (“Well, the whole piece wasn’t my work, but that opening was, and it was entirely sincere”). I feel it is quite reasonable for me to now expect that it is only a matter of time before I am persistent enough to pursue something that warrants a mention in your magazine and he uses that opportunity to slip in the ‘obsessive’ and/or ‘stalker’ tag.

I write to you today mainly to ensure that you are aware of the situation and therefore unlikely to allow that to happen, but I think I’m also well within my rights to expect some form of disciplinary action against Adam Macqueen, who is clearly compromising his professional integrity by involving himself in a personal vendetta and playing along with this lovely smear that comes complete with its own Catch-22.

Oh and I’d also like to offer you that £50 back on the sole condition that it be stuffed up Adam Macqueen’s arse.

If you regard this account and these expectations to be reasonable, then please do give me at least a day’s notice to pop down to the bank and have that fifty changed into 2,500 two pence pieces.

Otherwise, please do get in touch and request any details that you might require to better gauge the accuracy of my claims and/or any counter-accusations that are almost sure to follow… like my having girl’s germs or smelling of wee (with an added “Jinx!” for good measure).


Tim Ireland

Phew! Well, I have no time to hang around and see what that shakes loose, but I will mostly likely be with you again at this same time tomorrow.

Please do take the time to write in to Private Eye if you’ve been following the blog (and/or this saga) for a while.

Cheers all.

PS – Never, ever, EVER take this kind of shit lying down, or every bugger with a beef will jump on top of you… and the next person that dares to take your place.

Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement | 20 Comments

I’d like you to meet a man of courage*

Stuff me and my selfishness; I was too caught up in my own shit to fully appreciate what poons has been going through, so please excuse me while I take care of a Bit of Necessary:

“Hi my name is poons and I am an alcoholic.”

Well, my name is Tim Ireland… and I too am an alcoholic.

I haven’t touched a drop for almost a year now – essentially since discovering the magic and purity of the word/concept ‘zero’… but I was a relative lightweight in the field, I had the luxury of looking into somebody else’s abyss, and I didn’t have the balls to blog the process.

Poons, you’re a bloody champ. I applaud you.

COMING SOON: Some stores and pubs are great about stocking decent 0% beer, but others not so much. I say it’s time the non-drinking beer drinkers had more choice than Becks or that goats-piss they call ‘Kaliber’ and I’m prepared to campaign for the privilege. For the record, there are two excellent and affordable options generally available; Bavaria 0.0% and my personal favourite, Cobra Zero. Both of these are stocked by major chains Sainsbury’s and Tesco, who have (I have noticed) slowly surrendered an increasing amount of valuable real estate to their range of non alcoholic beers. Non-alcoholic wine, however, is another matter, but I need to research some products more before pushing for anything.

(*That’s an easy pun for the taking, but you might want to leave it for the next guy.)

UPDATE – I’ve been meaning to post this picture of my local off-licence for a while now, too:


Sorry about that, Threshers.

Posted in Consume!, Updates | 4 Comments