Nadine Dorries MP: Using the Police to Undermine Democracy

Back in September, Nadine Dorries made an announcement on her blog:

Some time ago, Tim Ireland, who hosts a number of objectionable websites, was questioned for five hours by Bedfordshire Police. Under caution and on tape, he was given a warning as to how his actions could be construed in relation to Section 2 of the Harassment Act.

Before and after that interview I had a number of meetings with the Police at which notes were taken.

Weeks ago, Tim Ireland applied for and was sent the redacted notes using the FOI act [Freedom of Information Act]. I assume he will publish them…

I blogged on some of the content Tim received here. Tim has now indeed begun publishing the materials he has been given – which consist not of “notes”, but of the actual correspondence that Dorries sent to police.

Dorries’ complaint shows her to have a shocking sense of entitlement and to be worryingly detached from reality. Her tirades ought to be hugely embarrassing for those who have band-waggoned on her accusations for their own purposes: these include Conservative bloggers such as Iain Dale, lazy journalists who have used Dorries’ outbursts as a source of easy churnalism, and a gang of on-line thugs who subjected Tim to a campaign of abuse and threats of violence as some kind of vigilante vengeance.

This is of some direct interest to me: Dorries has close links with UK Christian Right lobby groups, but there’s also a personal aspect. The gang of thugs who targeted Tim have also attacked me for daring to object to their behaviour: I’ve had threatening and goading emails, abusive websites created about me, and even identity theft on Twitter. The man who organised these attacks, Charlie Flowers, is today associated with activism on behalf of the Quilliam Foundation and British Muslims for Secular Democracy, and he has referred them to Dorries’ public statements on Tim as evidence of why I deserve such treatment, since I am a friend of a “stalker”.

The first segment which Tim has published comes from  a letter dated 10 July 2010 – Dorries has claimed she reported Tim to police before this date, although she hasn’t gone into details. The letter is typed and on House of Commons notepaper, but it begins with a handwritten “Dear Gillian”; this is Gillian Parker, at that time Chief Constable for Bedfordshire Police:

Dear Gillian,

For a number of years I have been subjected to a huge volume of internet attack from three individuals.

It began when a blogger, Tim Ireland, took exception to my position on abortion and the Bill which I took through the House of Commons. His blog is called Bloggerheads and his Twitter account is of the same name.

I cannot have a Twitter account as he has taken every permutation of my name which would be possible for me to use.

His previous Vitim [sic] before me was the [REDACTED BY POLICE] however, he moved away from [REDACTED, ALTHOUGH FINAL LETTER “r” IS PARTIALLY VISIBLE – READ AS “her”] when I launched my Bill.

His web site is almost totally devoted to me and if you read back you can see it is obsessive and aggressive to say the least and contains almost 100% lies.

During the General Election he moved from being an internet stalker and travelled from Guildford in Surrey to gatecrash one of my hustings. He seems to be unable to accept the fact that as he is not my constituent, I am not answerable to him.

One notes that Dorries’ sweeping accusations manage to include irrelevant facts – such as the sinister detail that Tim travels by train – but fail to give any example of how Tim’s actions could be regarded as either threatening or personally intrusive.

This is because she is lying to the police in an attempt to use them to intimidate a member of the public from holding her to account as an MP.

Tim writes:

It is true that Dorries first earned my attention while expressing her opinion on abortion. I watched her make a false accusation against a critic right before she claimed a 21-week-old foetus had punched its way out of a womb and misled Parliament

Of course, Dorries didn’t actually use the phrase “punched its way of a womb” – this a satirical gloss on her use of the famous pro-life “Hand of Hope” photo, which was taken during an instance of in-utero surgery in the USA. A fetal hand is shown sticking through a surgical incision and resting adjacent to the surgeon’s finger; an “urban legend” has developed that the fetus had grabbed the surgeon’s finger (Ben Goldacre has the full story here). However, Dorries – a former nurse – pushed the tale even further:

…My second point is look at the tear in the uterus. See how jiggered it is just above the hand; and yet the rest of the surgically incised openings are controlled and neat. This is, in all likelihood, because the hand unexpectedly thrust out.

Tim also deals with Dorries’ other accusations:

The accusation of lying is especially insulting from someone who admits to using “70% fiction”on her ‘blog’ before changing her story and claiming she meant 30% fiction, and then changing her story again to say that she really meant no fiction at all, if one didn’t count the special lies she says the police advised her to publish to avoid the imaginary stalkers.

In particular, Dorries’ claims about not being able to have a Twitter account are easily shown to be a lie:

I have ONE account in the name of ‘Nadine Dorries’ and Dorries knows this. She has also seen this confirmed by authors of the other accounts using her name for a range of satirical vehicles. She also knows my and their use of this account name (and her name) is entirely legitimate… She shuns scrutiny to such an extent that she’s left Twitter in a huff twice now…

Dorries last deleted her Twitter account shortly after boasting that she was due to have a private meeting with the Prime Minister – whether there was a connection between the two events is unknown.

Among other matters, Tim’s subsequent posts will deal (once again) with the stalker smear, and with the other “individuals” she has accused. He’ll also revisit her claim that she has reported not just three, but “four stalkers” to police:

The four stalkers are three bloggers… and one big surprise. It is not a journalist, as previously thought. Details in an upcoming post. You’re going to love it. The sense of entitlement is off the scale.

The above is just a short summary focusing on some of the main points – for a proper understanding, I’d urge everyone to read Tim’s post.

(I’ve had a sneak preview; naturally, I won’t be giving any spoilers, but I will clarify that Dorries has not anywhere referred to me.)