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Sunday 17 June 2012

Dishonest Dorries Doublespeak

[Updates, two so far, at end of post]

Today, ConservativeHome has featured a piece by Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, where she pontificates on the subject of internet trolling. “Free speech on the internet cannot go unpoliced” is the message to readers, who unlike on Ms Dorries’ own blog, are able to pass comment, some of which is adverse. But what of her message?

Ey yew, youse camera's stalking me!

She talks of anonymous posters and commenters, citing two cases where individuals subjected to abuse online eventually secured redress, but is apparently concerned about the attitude of the Police: “For an individual who is not in the public eye, it is difficult to get the police to take a request for help seriously”. Somewhere in south eastern England, one reader of that line may experience involuntary hollow laughter.

And, as the man said, there’s more: “For many people, teachers, health workers, those in the charitable sector and many other walks of life, reputation is everything and whereas I would fight to the death to protect the principle of free speech, on the internet a lie can be posted, reproduced and spread, destroying the lifetime career and livelihood of an individual in minutes”.

Nadine Dorries would know all about formulating, reproducing and spreading stories that are totally untrue, as Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame knows all too well. In the run-up to the last General Election, he was invited by one of Ms Dorries’ constituents to attend a hustings at the commuter village of Flitwick (it’s roughly north by northwest from Luton, on the rail line to the East Midlands).

Tim had discussed his presence there with the chair of the meeting and obtained permission to film. This he did. Ms Dorries, on discovering his identity, proceeded to make the untrue and seriously defamatory accusation that he was stalking her (she claimed that, at or around that time, she was subjected to the attentions of a number of “stalkers”, one of whom was her Lib Dem opponent).

The “stalking” accusation was then disseminated around the right leaning part of the blogosphere, and although it is not known whether Ms Dorries gave encouragement to the process, she made no obvious attempt to stop it. She then asserted that Tim had been given a “Police caution”, but he had not. No Police action was taken against him, and he does not have a criminal record of any kind.

And while maintaining the pretence that it was her who was being hounded, Nadine Dorries recently contacted the BBC’s Big Question team, on which program Tim Ireland was slated to appear, making a malicious and defamatory assertion about him in an (unsuccessful) effort to prevent him from appearing. So she knows all about spreading untrue statements: on this, she has form.

Strangely, though, ConHome has no mention of this. Ask me if I’m surprised.

[UPDATE1 18 June 1215 hours: another potential problem for Nadine Dorries is that Bedfordshire On Sunday, previously a bastion of support for the MP, has started to ask awkward questions, such as the amount of public funds paid to her daughter Philippa, who is a law student, but works part time as Ms Dorries' office manager.

All that can be gleaned from currently available information is that Philippa Dorries is paid at a rate that would give a salary of "up to £39,999 a year" were she a full-time employee. The paper has been bodyswerved by both mother and daughter in its efforts to get answers, but the message is clearly that the fragrant Nadine is losing support]

[UPDATE2 19 June 1040 hours: worse news for Nadine Dorries has come today, with the Maily Telegraph picking up on the Bedfordshire On Sunday story. James Kirkup has annoyed Ms Dorries by doing little more than recycling the local paper's piece, although he has included an extensive and adverse comment from non-job holder Robert Oxley of the so-called Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA).

The TPA are, of course, big pals with Paul Staines and his gofer Henry Cole at the Guido Fawkes blog, who are in turn big pals of Ms Dorries, so the Conservative Movement is starting to fight among itself, a sight which may in time yield excellent spectator sport.

And, to put the lid on, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Mail have lifted the Telegraph story, giving Ms Dorries' affairs a rather wider audience. Pride, as ever, comes before a fall. Nadine Dorries, already facing political oblivion as a result of upcoming boundary changes, is now looking at something yet more embarrassing, and that is public ridicule]

1 comment:

Martin Milan said...

Interesting moderation policy they seem to have over at Conservative Home...

Anyway, I've left a comment on her article for what it's worth.