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Glen Jenvey Saga Spin-Offs

Earlier this year the Sun ran a front-page splash claiming that Sir Alan Sugar was on a hitlist of British Jews to be targeted by Muslim extremists, based on evidence from self-styled “anti-terror” investigator Glen Jenvey gleaned from a Muslim discussion forum. Blogger Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads discovered that the “evidence” had in fact been planted by Jenvey; the result was that the Sun removed the story and Sugar threatened legal action.

I’ve written a number of blog entries on the subject since then, noting subsequent developments and making a few minor contributions of my own (such as here), which Tim has used and acknowledged. In particular, Tim unearthed a recording of Jenvey talking to a journalist, in which he boasts of links with Patrick Mercer MP, a British diplomat named Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, and a lecturer named Michael Starkey (a distant cousin of Cowper-Coles). Cowper-Coles and Mercer have distanced themselves from Jenvey, but there has not been much media interest, besides short pieces in the Media section of the Guardian and in Private Eye. Perhaps this is because so many media outlets have relied on Jenvey’s material that they’d all rather not talk about it (he was even used by Newsnight once); perhaps there is also some annoyance at a blogger showing them up. Since the initial revelation we’ve seen Jenvey’s public response: a bizarre conspiracy theory about the Guardian, which was helpfully promoted for him by an evangelical journalist named Jeremy Reynalds; and his private responses: a physical threat against Tim, and fake comments to blogs supposedly from the Daily Mail accusing Tim of being a sex criminal.

The main story is ongoing, but the saga has also sparked some spin-offs of interest. For my own part, I have been playing close attention to one of Jenvey’s few remaining defenders, the virulent anti-Muslim blogger Paul Ray (aka “Lionheart”); while Jenvey has kept a low profile of late, he has shown an interest through Facebook in “March for England”, with which Ray also has close links.

Meanwhile, Tim has been drawn into a dispute with A-list conservative bloggers Iain Dale and Paul Staines. He and they have clashed on numerous issues over the years; most notably last year, when Staines used fellow Tory-blogger and lawyer Donal Blaney to convey a libel threat (a typical course of action which has more than once exposed the humbug of the “libertarian” Tory right when it comes to free speech and critical investigation on-line). In the wake of Jenvey’s malicious behaviour, however, Dale apparently agreed to help Tim get into contact with Patrick Mercer but then failed to deliver. Tim claims Dale misled him in the process, and Tim went to some efforts to get through to Dale how serious the situation was. Dale’s response was to publish a blog entry accusing Tim of being a stalker, which was picked up by various sympathetic blogs. Tim left a response on one, which was followed soon after by a comment from a certain Adam Macqueen addressed to another commentator:

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…

This is actually shockingly shabby, for reasons that Tim went on to note:

In one of those coincidences that continues to make life delightful, Adam MacQueen is the man responsible for Private Eye taking credit for the discovery of the connection between the ‘Richard Tims’ alias and Glen Jenvey.

It was Jenvey who finally lost it and started accusing me of paedophilia… i.e. because I took the risk on the story for which MacQueen took credit.

Tim then sent an email to Macqueen, who responded that he was justified in calling Tim a “nutter”

Because you obsessively trawl the internet responding to every single comment you dislike.

I complained about Private Eye‘s failure to credit Tim for his research at the time; to find that the journalist concerned would further stoop to such conduct is disheartening. PE‘s editor Ian Hislop is a bit snotty about blogs and the internet, but among bloggers there is great respect for the magazine’s ability to spotlight hypocrisy and corruption in an amusing manner, and for its aggressive stand against the absurdities of UK libel law. This, then, is something of a kick in the teeth.

There is evidence that Macqueen has sympathies with Dale and with Staines, whose own blog until recently carried comments accusing Tim of supposed secret political links. Tim complained about these claims, as well as Dale’s, to MessageSpace, an ad service which is used by a number of conservative bloggers, including Dale – Staines is connected with it, and the Chief Information Officer is a certain Jag Singh. Although Staines has apparently now removed the offending comments, Tim’s complaint to MessageSpace was met with a joke homosexual advance from one of Singh’s minions.

The full account can be read here.

UPDATE: Since the above, Dale has been waving lawyers at Tim, complaining of “harrassment” and (inevitably) making a vague accusation of libel. Dale has also told his readers (while attempting to appear non-boastful about it) about a recent Private Eye lunch he attended:

It was good to see Adam Macqueen again. He worked for me briefly (don’t they all?!) at Politico’s many moons ago and is now one of the Eye’s main journalists. He is also writing a history of the magazine to mark its 50th anniversary, and blogs HERE. An all round good guy.

The lads all stick together, eh?

10 Responses

  1. Another great summary, Richard… and Dog knows I need them.

    Many thanks.

  2. There’s a contrast to be drawn between the way PE didn’t credit Tim on the Jenvey story but did AFAIK credit Blairwatch when they picked up quarsan’s Nick Kollerstrom story a few months earlier. PE does suffer from a blindspot about causes dear to the Decent Left, doubtless through Francis Wheen. Hence exposing Holocaust denying conspiracy theorists = internet at its best; exposing fantasists who provide useful cover for Islamophobes = needs exposing (because journalistic hypocrisy is the Eye’s meat and drink), but is a bit sordid really.

    What the Eye notably haven’t done even in their recent critical piece is point out Paul Staines’ various connections to 80s dirty tricks campaigns, ‘freedom fighter’ outfits, spookery, right wing student outfits, David Hart*, hardcore union-bashing, neocons before they were famous etc., which should be right up their street and something I’d be very interested in reading a proper Eye takedown of. A lot of people probably assume the man sprang fully formed along with the internet, whereas he actually learnt from some really, really good hard right propaganda merchants.

    * although not directly Staines-related, the late 80s orgy of BBC and ITV bashing was also linked to this crowd, which has interesting echoes even today. Where I grew up in Suffolk Hart was a local big man throughout the time of the Sizewell protests, a time which saw large numbers of spooks and ex-spooks descending on Suffolk to keep the nuke bandwagon on track – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_a_Free_Britain

  3. Tom, funny you should mention that – the 1980s Tory “radical libertarian right” is a particular interest of mine. See here and here, with a bit more (and a comment from Staines) here.

  4. @Tom-
    Blimey; you mean Paul Staines was up to stuff even before Sunrise? My auntie-ji used to follow the Sunrise crew and all that lot, back in the day when the PPU used to chase them all round the M25. Didn’t know about any of this tho!

    @ Richard-
    Salaams!
    and imeeen :)

  5. “Shooter”? Why that name?

  6. D’you promise not to laugh?

  7. when I was in school at sixth form, I shot another girl in the ass with an airgun. And the nickname stuck.

  8. […] A reporter for Private Eye, by contrast, shamefully used Tim’s research uncredited and declared him to be a “nutter” when he […]

  9. […] (This blog entry is partially recycled from this one) […]

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