Friday, 16 November 2012

Tim Ireland - More Tory Than The Rest Of Us?

Tim Ireland - More Tory Than The Rest Of  Us?

He is the computer geek long on talk and short on courage.

A man who repeatedly rants  about what the  Tories have done to the UK and who has “joked” about shooting one female Conservative MP through the brain and of raping another.

But the real wheeze is that Tim Ireland, who has occupied 100s of man hours from at least three police forces due to his venomous attacks on Twitter and on his blog, isn’t even from these shores.

The oddball who lives in a former council house (much, much more on this later) in Guildford, Surrey, originates from a small hick town in Australia.

Still more hilariously, that he lives here at all is largely due to his marriage to the daughter of a onetime banker whose family have much more in common with the kind of dyed-in-the-wool Tories that he loathes than the working class Lefties who follow his hysterical tweets.

Indeed so blue-blooded is Timothy by marriage that he is actually listed in The Peerage (a genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the Royal families of Europe) – yes the man who hates all things Conservative! 

His father in law, the late Peter Allsopp, a former director of the London Bach Society no less, was even educated at Eton College (yes the same one where David Cameron and most of his Tory cabinet list as their Alma Mater).

Sometimes, as the saying goes, truth is truly stranger than fiction:

Peter William Allsopp1
M, #442141, b. 2 May 1940

Last Edited=21 Mar 2012
     Peter William Allsopp was born …… He is the son of John Ranulph Allsopp and Audrey Carteret Priaulx Fellows.2 He married Pepita Mason, daughter of Lt.-Cdr. Peter E Mason, on …..1
     He was educated at
Eton College, Windsor, Berkshire, England.1 He lived in 2003 at……….

Ireland himself appears in The Peerage courtesy of his marriage to Mr Allsopp’s youngest daughter Katherine.
Katherine Pepita Allsopp1
F, #442147,

Last Edited=21 Mar 2012
     Katherine Pepita Allsopp was born on …..1She is the daughter of Peter William Allsopp and Pepita Mason.2 She married Timothy Scott Ireland, son of Donald Ireland, in 1993.1
      From 1993, her married name became Ireland.

As Ireland himself tweeted last month – the couple reside in a former council property, which found its way onto the private market as a result of a Tory policy which enabled the working classes to become homeowners.

Ireland ranted about this to his supporters but left out one very salient – one might even say hypocritical fact. His mother in law has bought the council house immediately next door to him as a Buy To Let. Not bad so long as you have £250,000 cash to spare – Mrs Allsop bought the house without a mortgage.

Whenever there has been speculation about Ireland’s Tory connections he has dismissed them as lies – no doubt more than a little concerned about that his comrades might think.

Sadly for Timothy a piece of Labour legislation this time – means that the ownership of properties such as that in the hands of Mrs Allsopp can be ascertained for as little as £3.

More bloggage on our hypocritical – and very cowardly – friend (very) soon.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Stalking someone near you.

* Pictured here Tim Fenton - his real name is Paul but that's not the only oddity about the balding blogger.

Twitter has given us a unique opportunity to bring social classes, sexes, and those of every race and creed together in one 140 word melting pot.

Sadly for every star on Twitter - Guido Fawkes being one - there is a stalker, usually a social misfit who goes virtually unnoticed in their everyday existence.

Paul Timothy Fenton, born in Leeds in September 1954, lives alone in Crewe, and has never been married. He grew up in Bradford, and seems to have become a train spotter from an early age. Sadly the advance of the worldwide web has led to Timothy deciding the outside world should have his views on more than the latest locomotives.

 He is on several social networks, including Facebook, where he has a total of 14 friends.

Odd then, perhaps, that when we switch to Twitter he has more than 4,000 followers except, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the vast majority are fake.

In fairness to oddball Tim he has pointed out that the bogus followers were bought by others as a joke - but has been in no hurry to use easily available software to have them unfollow him.

Fenton you see is all about attention - usually tweeting and attacking other more successful bloggers such as the aforementioned Guido in a bid to divert some of the attention they receive on to himself.

Quite what he does away from Twitter is unclear - and from the little there is it is nothing much to shout about.

Tim is a director of an IT consultancy bearing his name - his younger sister Miriam  is the company secretary- but the last set of accounts in 2010 show profits of just £7,558. Home is a terraced house he purchased for under £100,000 from where he works comically from a PC he calls "Tim's computer".

Online rarely a day goes by without Tim stalking Guido or his counterpart Harry Cole - then writing a blog about it. Rarely do they provoke any reaction - leading to the entirely accurate description of him as "No Comments Tim", so he has got nastier and nastier in a bid to get a reaction.

Recently that has included turning his bile on the Troll - with disastrous consequences.

Compliments to blogger Billy Bowden for his brilliant expose here:


Tim puts his foot in it!

I dont normally get myself involved in spats that have nothing to do with me, but due to my strict beliefs of honest blogging and my hatred of smears i have today broken that rule.

This is a pic of Zelo Street (Tim Fentons blog page)

Very brave Tim, very brave.

However all is not what it seems.

Now to my untrained eye those two pictures look the same, the person that Tim claimed was Dennis was actually Rupert. Normally this would be embarrassing at worst until i found this

Stay classy Tim!

Of course he has now removed the picture, i hope he will apologize to the family of the late Mr Hamer for any distress caused and i hope he takes time out to reflect on what has happened.  Update :

Those familiar with these nasty moments on Twitter - taunting a cancer victim is another  recent example - won't be surprised to hear that examples of his bile even before social networking aren't difficult to find.

One Googlegroups exchange on the UK railways shows Fenton routinely becoming involved in spats with other trainspotters - so crude are the remarks that they are better not mentioned in detail here. Suffice to say he discusses cancer, masturbation, and claims that his rivals's partners are sleeping around.

As Timothy would say - no change there then.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Being A Journalist: Why Bother Anymore?

This week 26 leading media academics backed calls for Mr Justice Leveson to propose a statutory framework for new laws which would make journalists answerable to politicians for the first time in a century.

They are part of a view in some quarters that  we are no longer capable of governing, policing, or whatever you want to call it, ourselves.

That MPs - still seething over having their expense fiddling laid bare by a brilliant piece of investigative work by the Daily Telegraph - should have a say in judging the behaviour of others is especially ironic.

What the students of these academics, or their counterparts studying media up and down the country with a view to joining the profession, must think about all this Lord only knows. Many are spending tens of thousands of pounds in pursuit of a dream of working in national TV or broadcasting at a time when it seems the profession is in the grip of the Black Death.

Last week one young reporter from a prominent national newspaper told colleagues he had had enough and was taking a job in the private sector. Another, short listed for Young Journalist of The Year, has been doing the rounds of Corporate Intelligent firms looking to do the same.

Next week I will have lunch with a hack who appeared to have the world at his feet until a dozen police officers arrived to give his family a 6am wake up call five months ago.

His lawyers are confident that the charges he eventually expects to have laid against him - predominantly around alleged corruption of an official in a public office - will be thrown out of court.

Indeed they also say there are grounds for substantial compensation against his employer over their part in his arrest and the way he has been systematically isolated since.

But, as my friend explains, this will only likely come at the end of two years. His life will be on hold until then - a career in suspended animation when it should be at its peak.

Now, thanks to the marvel of Twitter, individual journalists can be pilloried for the occasional excesses of their employer (s).

During the last month, for example, even hacks new to the profession have been blamed for the Hillsborough police cover up, Jimmy Savile's decades of sexual abuse under the eyes of his BBC bosses, and the oft-quoted hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. This all despite many on the receiving end weren't doing the job 25 years ago, and didn't work for the News of the World.

Then we have the curious case of Richard Peppiatt, who spent so long trying and ultimately failing to become that which he now openly despises.

He was supposed to be the lightning rod for young journalists to flood forward with similar tales of tabloid abuse - oddly then haven't.

Indeed Peppiatt's supporters from the blogging community continue to beat the mantra that it would be better to be rid of all "unscrupulous" hacks. Presumably - despite having no formal training - they believe they can fill the void which would be left behind.

To be fair there is plenty of evidence of the likes of Guido Fawkes and Harry Coles more than holding their own- the pair regular break exclusives which are the envy of many in the national television and newspaper lobby.

Then we have the other up and coming bloggers, the likes of Billy Bowden, who write with both wit and invention.

The trouble is that for the present there are too few of them and, like it or not,  most of what matters news-wise still originates with the national media.

Thus it was The Sun who broke the story of Plebgate, or Gategate, which, with no sense of self irony, the same bloggers who stalk and abuse hack via Twitter, then followed and wrote extensively about themselves.

Then we have the TV journalist who at last told the public about the awful crimes perputated by Jimmy Savile against young and vulnerable women. Another brilliant piece of journalism which has since (rightly)dominated the blogosphere.

So now we come to the point of hopefully showing why it is important that - among our ever dwindling numbers - we must still bother.

Without you we potentially won't have the next big scandal laid bare.

The training of journalists - yes including from the academic centres now rubbishing the job - is still without equal when compared to other professions.

Still, even now, during this unprecedented witch hunt, we have far less numbers going to jail than from the legal profession, who have by far the greatest numbers of professional misconduct hearings of any industry out there.

And - unlike in say the likes of Sweden - we do all this without public funding.

When we get it wrong, which for all the abuse is extremely rare, it goes badly wrongshould rightly be covered elsewhere, as was the case of the excesses of a tiny minority on the News of the Word.

But when we get it right, which is often, then being a hack is brilliant and what we do is brilliant.

Don't give up - stay the course. Bail out now and you are giving those who seek to silence us just what they want.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Police Arrests - The Unknown Victims

The following is a blog posting by former Sunday People Editor Neil Wallis - TT assisted with it and it's well worth a read.

Neil Wallis


Hidden Victims of Phone Hacking - The Families of the Hacks Arrested

Posted: 31/08/2012 00:00

At 7am yesterday a squad of Scotland Yard's finest hammered on the door of a North London flat, ordered the stunned man inside to get dressed, began a forensic search of the premises as his terrified pyjama-clad girlfriend looked on, then marched the dazed suspect out to an unmarked police car and roared off.
A dawn raid to nab an armed robber, perhaps? A notorious thief, or escaped convict? Drug-dealer, terrorist, thug? No, the man was journalist Patrick Foster, formerly of the Times, who - as was widely reported at the Leveson Public Inquiry into Press Standards in early summer, and previously covered extensively in the media - has been linked with the well-known alleged hacking of an email account more than three years ago.
There is no suggestion that any such hacking was for commercial gain, incidentally, the case all revolves around a newspaper story.
Mr Foster and his girlfriend have lived openly at the flat for several years, I'm told, he's well-known in what used to be called Fleet Street, hundreds of colleagues friends and associates have his phone numbers and email address, he's easy to get hold of.
The question is therefore, why did the Metropolitan Police feel the need to subject Mr Foster and his girlfriend to such a heavy-handed and (I know from personal experience) terrifying ordeal rather than simply make a straightforward request for him to turn up at a police station for an interview?
That question about Mr Foster's experience yesterday echoes growing disquiet in some circles about identical or worse ordeals that literally dozens of journalists and their families have undergone in the last 18 months at the hands of police involved in the so-called phone hacking scandal and the various criminal investigations that have resulted.
And now we hear that the News of the World's legal manager Tom Crone has been arrested in another dawn raid today...
First, a vital disclaimer that cannot be stressed enough - what follows is not in any way a denial of, nor intended to make light of, the dreadful pain and distress wrongly caused to many of the victims of phonehacking. No-one would begin to gainsay how awful the suffering has been for the families of Milly Dowler, the Soham victims Jessica Wells and Holly Chapman, those caught up in the 7/7 terrorist bombings, and too mant others.
It is not in any way either an attempt to equate the degree of suffering. It's not. Nor, it must be stressed, is it an excuse for nor mitigation of any crimes that may have been committed. Similarly, there is no suggestion that any alleged crimes should not be vigorously investigated.
But two wrongs don't make a right.
The ordeals imposed by police on journalists and their families caught up in the phone hacking investigations are unnecessary and disgraceful. And please do remember, we're talking about journalists here, not hardened villains with criminal records as long as their arm. Yet that is how they and their families are being treated in scenes the Stasi would be proud of.
Yes, police must investigate all allegations of crime equally without fear or favour, but there simply IS a difference between dealing with a hardened criminal and a middle-class middle-aged white-collar journalist.
Sadly there are many examples of what many might call abuses of police power and process. Almost all those arrested have suffered dawn raids by carloads of burly officers, 5am door-knocks leading to scenes where children and the sick - including in at least one case a cancer victim - have been rudely woken up by strangers and turfed from beds so their rooms can be searched.
Reporters who once accompanied detectives on police PR-boosting dawn raids on drug dealers gangsters and illegal immigrants have now found the boot is firmly on the other foot, their families and neighbours woken by hammering on the door in the pitch-dark, then being stood over in their bedrooms while they put their underpants on and get dressed.
Children's bedrooms and granny flats, the shivering and frightened occupants turfed out by burly men in dark suits, are searched just as thoroughly as every other room in the house. 
Vast quantities of material has been seized and kept for months - phones, laptops, children's computers, wedding pictures, holiday snaps, personal diaries, private documents and so on.
One wife's one-woman business nearly went under because police insisted on seizing her work computer with all her accounts, contacts, orders and bills despite her opening it up to show them the contents. Another shocked mum had to watch as her children vomited in fear over the strangers marched through their home.
Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie taken away from their new-born baby at 6am and not allowed to return until late that night.
The wife of another journalist, who worked in the health service, had to cancel a speech she had been due to give at a conference because she could not persuade police that the computer they were seizing was hers, and had nothing to do with her husband.
Another was left in floods of tears after detectives insisted on pawing through and reading cherished love letters she had exchanged with her partner 25 years earlier. Indeed she was so distraught at the intrusion that she threw them on a bonfire later the same day.
The effect of being arrested and - in the early days - suspended from their jobs on the journalists themselves has for some of these otherwise-unimpeachable individuals has been no less pronounced. There have been several suicide attempts, a number of breakdowns leading to stays in mental hospitals, a whole series of illnesses.
One renowned universally-admired veteran reporter attempted to jump off a notorious suicide bridge until thankfully a passing off-duty police officer spotted him climbing the ladder. Eight months later he remains devastated, incapable of work.
Another attended an interview at a police station with her forearms heavily bandaged after another apparent suicide attempt. They and at least a further two arrestees have suffered mental breakdowns of such magnitude that they have been confined to mental hospitals for several weeks and months.
Eight months on, one family have had to cancel an overseas holiday because detectives seized their childrens' birth certificates - along with the parents' wedding photos, family videos, children's holiday snaps and so on. Detectives in the case still refuse to return such family memorabilia.
My good friend and former colleague Trevor Kavanagh wrote a harrowing piece in the Sun almost eight months ago revealing such harrowing stories. But still the Stasi-like activities go on.
There's the disgusting spectacle of a senior executive's two young teenage girls being ordered to leave their bedrooms, made to stand apart and not talk to one another, while officers rifled through their underwear drawers.
Then there is the case of the journalist who was arrested for stealing mobile phones because cops found them in his flat. The fact that he has since proved they belong to him has not resulted in an apology or the issue of a press release.
During one raid a reporter's wife, still fragile and vulnerable after years of battling cancer, was actually ordered to get up from her sickbed so police could search under her mattresses. Her husband, incidentally, wasn't even allowed by detectives who knew her condition to ring her from the police station to check on her welfare after all that trauma.
Please remember, we're talking about journalists here, not the inhabitants of a Micky Spillane novel nor - in MP Tom Watson's shameful phrase at a Parliamentary Select Committee - members of the Mafia.
The reaction by journalists elsewhere has been mixed. Schadenfreude struts the newsrooms of some of the broadsheets and the BBC, to the point where the deputy editor of the Guardianreportedly had to issue a memo instructing staff not to celebrate to arrests and charges of fellow journalists too loudly.
Sympathy on the likes of Twitter has been scant - with a vociferous and vicious minority jubilantly enjoying the hacks discomfiture and justifying their spite by claiming the British media hasn't been concerned about the concept of "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" before now. 
However, there are others like the anonymous journalist Tabloidman (@tabloidtroll) who have collated and publicised the ordeal of their national newspaper colleagues and their families.
For many other journalists, there has simply been fear - fear of guilt by association, fear of contamination, and plain embarrassment over those who have been singled out.
Other perhaps well-meaning, observers say blithely that the arrested journalists will all get their day in court, and that if the police were wrong to arrest them they they will be cleared. So that's all right then...
The fast emerging problem is that the sheer weight of the police inquiries, and the complex nature of them, means that the majority of the cases could take at least TWO YEARS to get to court.
I know a journalist who was arrested nine months ago who has recently had another officer appointed to his case who admitted cheerfully that no-one had even begun to sift through the evidence against him so they were starting from scratch.
One of the journalists arrested in the early days of Operation Elveden, for example, has still not been charged many months on from his original arrest. His police bail has twice been extended and he has been warned that if he is eventually charged the earliest a court can hear the case is late 2013, possibly 2014. 

That mirrors my personal circumstances. Arrested by a dawn knock on 14 July 2011, I am still under investigation, have already been bailed three times, am due to return bail again next month September 2012, but have been given no inkling whatsoever of what happens then. If I am charged, my lawyers warn it could be at least another year before any trial.
Like a number of others, I lost my job upon arrest and have been unemployed since. Like others, I see little prospect of that changing. Even if I am cleared, isn't my career in ruins? The strain is significant.
Some, particularly in Twitter and on blogs, venture the opinion that if someone is guilty of hacking a phone, or perhaps paying a public official for information without a public interest defence for doing so, then who cares if they have to wait to be sent to prison?
All very well but what about "innocent until proven guilty"? What about those who turn out to be completely innocent? What about proportionality?
One news international security guard, for example, has been arrested for conspiracy to cover up phonehacking. His "crime" appears to be obeying an order to help Rebekah Brooks carry some boxes of private belongings from the office to her car.
Some of those arrested at News International but not sacked have also apparently found themselves sidelined within the offices of the papers who have made a show of continuing to employ them while they are on bail. Others say that having their careers in what is effectively limbo for two years will harm them irreparably whether they are cleared or not.
The Metropolitan police, meanwhile, is continuing to spend tens of millions of pounds on Operations Weeting, Elvedon and Tuleta while at the same time as the Leveson Inquiry continues - which few would argue has already dramatically changed the landscape of the British media forever.
Operation Weeting et al will look very hollow if they fail to achieve convictions to match the vast expenditure in both money and officers (almost 200, currently). The political pressure to make the investigations work are enormous - more so given the accusations that the force arguably failed to properly investigate phone hacking when it was first reported to them.
Quite how the public will react if the evidence reaches the courts and is summarily tossed out is anyone's guess.
But in a way that is not the point. Journalists are above all supreme realists - they accept that, for political reasons at least, these investigations are going ahead. It's accepted that things went wrong, there are issues that must be investigated, that the police must do their job and properly, and that what is now started must be allowed to reach its conclusion.
But like this? Really? Is this level of heavy-handedness genuinely proportionate? Ransacking a teenage girl's knicker drawer?
Some will no doubt ask why it had to go that far for this to happen - especially the families who may end having their breadwinner declared innocent but have gone through two years of hell nevertheless and having to look for a new career at the end of it all.
(Tabloidman, tweeting as @tabloidtroll, has made a major contribution to this blog post.)

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