Patrick Mercer MP and the ex-military online scammer…

There are some people for whom I have a great deal of respect who think hyper-linking back stories distracts from the blog’s narrative. Well, have a look at this terrible beauty from manic (aka Tim Ireland)… And read ALL the back links and you’ll get the full extent of a story that Fleet Street has either totally ignored or was simply too busy to follow up (then look at the lack of detail in the Sun’s belated apology). It concerns the very dubious (and ongoing) relationship between Tory MP Patrick Mercer, who chairs the parliamentary counter terrorism subcommittee, and one very dodgy geezer, Glen Jenvey. Jenvey was the source (and originator creator – audio from of a completely spurious story published by the Sun back in January, with Mercer acting as his ‘conduit’ to give the story credibility in the eyes of the journalist. Despite the MP’s denial that there was any kind of ongoing relationship between the two, Bloggerheads has evidence pointing to the fact that his staff were proactively working with him months after the January scam. And they wonder why trust is an issue with some elected politicians…

  • Paddy Matthews

    There are some people for whom I have a great deal of respect who think hyper-linking back stories distracts from the blog’s narrative.


    I think people’s problems have not been with the use of hyperlinks as such; they’ve been with hyperlinks being used by some posters as infinitely-recursive cryptic crossword clues.

  • Only Asking

    Can’t say it’s all dodgy geezers Jenvey’s fault, Mercer should learn how to send an e mail and not be so overly reliant upon his staff, who by the looks of things weren’t always acting in his interests. I can’t find any evidence of any money changing hands between Merciers staff and Jenvey, do you know if it did? If so what is the reasoning for their behaviour, to cover the fact that Mercer had worked with Jenvey in the past? Is this Jenvey’s first dip into ‘islamic extemism’?

    It’s a fascinating story all by its self, I still think the conflict – if that is what it is – between Dale and Ireland is petty, Dale withdrew the piece on his blog, and I can’t remember if he did pass on the message to mercer, but that part of it does appear to be all much ado about nothing.

    Mercers office did indeed do more than spill this guys pint, will there be any compensation in it for him?

    Great changes to the blog mick, much more varied…nice work.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Paddy nails it in one… if only we ever got to the back story on some occasions. There is a world of difference between the bloggerheads entry – which doesn’t actually contain THAT many links, and fewer still to other bloggerheads posts – and the self-referential pointlessness discussed here ad nauseum in the past.

    Anyway, fair play to Tim, he’s made Mercer look like a bit of a dick and Iain Dale underhand, though the row seems to be rumbling on for longer than it may be able to sustain interest.

  • Only Asking

    I, too, think Paddy nails it with the crossword cryptic clues, there are times when posts don’t make sense unless you go to the bother of unravelling the links and sometimes there just isn’t the time. Bloggerheads has links but they are well spread out and don’t interupt the flow of the story line. The story is still of a piece, it makes the point it wants to make and the links are an option to the reader it they want to follow things up. Thats not how it is here, with the cryptic clues.

    I don’t think Dale comes out of it looking underhand, he didn’t apologise but did publish his reasoning at the time, which I remember agreeing with. But agree with you that the interest is waning.

  • Mick Fealty


    Agreed re the dispute between manic and Iain. But that’s not the substance of the story.


    Now, remind me: why are we talking about the first line of the blog and not the rest of the story?

    Here’s my link to this post on Twitter:

    Both this story and Pete’s work demonstrate just what a stupid form* print journalism can be in comparison with three dimension of the net.

    * That’s form, it does not describe the people who work in it…

    The whole way through the negotiation Slugger was the only media outlet that got the devolution of policing and just right on the money up until 8th May last year.

    Why? Because some of us had no trouble following Pete’s rather simplex crosswords.

  • Only Asking.

    Mick, So what if it isn’t the substance of the story? It’s part of it isn’t it?

    You’re coming at this from a biased angle, if you were in the print media you’d be saying that blogging is a poor imitation, its unregulated, and a lot of blogs put stuff up that is simply made up too. So the Sun got duped, didn’t you get duped before, picking up ‘rumour’ and then had to correct it. So tell me the difference, other than you didn’t label someone a child molester, and go to the lengths merciers office did to blacken someone.

    Hyperlinks hardly prove bloggings worth. Are you saying slugger got something on the money, and its all down to hyperlinks, and how to follow them? That hardly equates with journalism.

    The Sun isn’t the first paper to be duped, didn’t the Daily Mail get stuff wrong not so long ago, they mixed up two people with the same name, David Davis, yes here it is

    Er, just one problem. The David Davis they refer to as speaking at the Libertarian Alliance conference is not the former Shadow Home Secretary, he is the Director blogger in chief for the Libertarian Alliance of the same name.


    Yes, they get duped, they make mistakes, and print
    inadequate apologies, and yes some blogs do break stories like Staines’, but blogs can get it wrong, as you well know from picking up stuff from other blogs (horseman wasn’t it?). And some of the 9/11 conspiracy blogs, they could give traditional journalism a run for their money I’m sure……

    As for discussing the hyperlinks, and the first line of the story, you put it in there, is it off limits? If you don’t want hyperlinks discussed don’t open up the opportunity.

  • Paddy Matthews


    The Tim Ireland posting that you link to is an example of how to properly use hyperlinks to inform the reader.

    The links are there, and the reader can go through to the sources to get more detail, but it’s possible to follow what the posting is about without having to hack one’s way through an undergrowth of smart-aleckish cross-references. Think of the links as being the equivalent of references or footnotes in a book.

    There’s a world of difference between that and the Slugger contributions we’re talking about. If “journalism” is being treated as an exercise to show off how clever the writer thinks he is rather than as an effort to alert and inform the (often casual) reader then frankly it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

  • Only Asking

    Our post journalistic world

    Bowden says in conclusion that we now live in a “post-journalistic” world, in which our democracy is in a constant political battleground. Bloggers exist to help one side or the other, which leads to what Bowden sees as “distortions and inaccuracies, lapses of judgment, the absence of context,” which do not bother the bloggers, since they are simply ammunition for their own chosen side. Truth is simply what comes out of whoever wins a particular battle — it is winning that is key, not who is right. This, Bowden argues, is not journalism.

    Here is Bowden’s key paragraph:

    Television loves this, because it is dramatic. Confrontation is all. And given the fragmentation of news on the Internet and on cable television, Americans increasingly choose to listen only to their own side of the argument, to bloggers and commentators who reinforce their convictions and paint the world only in acceptable, comfortable colors. Bloggers like Richmond and Sexton, and TV hosts like Hannity, preach only to the choir. Consumers of such “news” become all the more entrenched in their prejudices, and ever more hostile to those who disagree. The other side is no longer the honorable opposition, maybe partly right; but rather always wrong, stupid, criminal, even downright evil. … In a post-journalistic society, there is no disinterested voice. There are only the winning side and the losing side


    (submit the word you see below: congress)

  • Mick Fealty


    You know I would love to have you on the team, I’ve made the offer and it still stands. But one of the things you learn about blogging is that there is no *proper* way to do it!


    Great pick. And a huge can of worms. Why did PoliticsHome crash and burn when it changed hands from one centre right owner to another? For my money, the model was not robust enough (and it suffered from that old problem of being composed of people who tend to hunt in packs –

    Here’s how Ron finishes that piece off:

    “…is there any media source one can listen to on TV that is not part of the either-or mindset? Fortunately, if you get up early, there is Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe each day 6-9 am East Coast Time. He and his guests of different persuasions discuss things rationally, without screaming at each other, and in a mature and serious way.

    “They have the kind of conversations you would have yourself with friends, probing those you disagree with and trying to reach them with arguments. It doesn’t always succeed, but it is a refreshing change to watch after spending an evening with Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity or Olbermann and Maddow — or a radio interlude with Rush Limbaugh.”

    This I agree with. Blogging relieves truth tellers (once known universally as journalists) from the burden of working for someone wealthy enough to be able to buy and maintain the means of production (and distribution)…

    BUT nothing else is guaranteed. Especially when there are liars and charlatans released by the same new bargain. As amply indicated above…

    Truth and moment occur in the interstices, and not always where where we expect them to take place…

  • Jimmy Sands

    I was even thinking about getting off my arse to blog this. The first point is to highlight this as an example of what a blogger can really do. The real story is not insignificant as it concerns the press narrative which portrays British and indeed European moslems as a fifth column of extremists and potential terrorists. The Sun published this nonsense without checking because it suited this narrative. What is striking is the fact that there appears there was little likelihood of it being uncovered had it not been for Tim Ireland’s efforts.

    What followed is I think an essential part of the story because in the same way that Jenvey’s lies were used to smear British Moslems, smears began to appear about Tim Ireland and personal details published. The smears went beyond the bloggers. You mention Mercer but he is not the only MP implicated. There are both newspapers and politicians perfectly happy to repeat unverified information from the internet if it suits their agenda to do so.

  • Only Asking

    Great pick. And a huge can of worms. Why did PoliticsHome crash and burn when it changed hands from one centre right owner to another? For my money, the model was not robust enough

    Mick Ashcroft tried to have a website closed down, that hardly recommends him…..


    NOT a good example when trying to boost on line ‘journalism’ vs traditional journalism….

  • Only Asking

    The real story is not insignificant as it concerns the press narrative which portrays British and indeed European moslems as a fifth column of extremists and potential terrorists

    Jimmy why did you get ‘fecked off’ Vances site?

    Somethinhg to do with moslems? lol.

  • Mick Fealty


    “…the erosion of the categories of left and right in the common conversation is, in part, a result of those categories’ failure to adequately “make sense of the complexities of environmental or identity politics, or the savage logics of ethnic and sectarian strife”.

    Sound familiar? The risk, as I see it, is that, as that erosion continues, the apparent certainty offered by the savage logic may seem more appealing to some, not less.”

    “There is, of course, the option of the optimistic, creative, way forward.”

    Who said that?

    But that, in itself, is a *political* decision that people have to make for themselves. It cannot be foisted upon them…

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Jimmy why did you get ‘fecked off’ Vances site?”

    My expulsion from Eden has not been formally explained, but I believe it had something to do with being insufficiently respectful to the Daily Mail.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s fair comment on Ashcroft. Although I would not condemn out of hand every individual I’ve had a face off with over the years, just because I’ve had a face off with them…

    It is the detail that matters… The value of a more robustly pluralist project would be more self evident that PH was: ie not just the consolidated voice of a set of London pol and media hacks who drink in the same privileged watering holes…

  • Only Asking

    Who said that? Mr link?

    But that, in itself, is a *political* decision that people have to make for themselves. It cannot be foisted upon them…

    Which leaves us back at this point again….from my link above

    Americans increasingly choose to listen only to their own side of the argument, to bloggers and commentators who reinforce their convictions and paint the world only in acceptable, comfortable colors.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Mick Ashcroft tried to have a website closed down”

    Only one?

  • Mick Fealty

    No it doesn’t. You’re choosing to blank out the material offered by the blogger who led you to the journo he’s rapping on.

    Before we had newspaper owners who took this view. Now we have many, many blogs who ape that old world view of ‘reporting’ the world. There is NOTHING automatic about it.

    Except that in an increasingly complex world, the capacity to convene diverse opinion is much more empowering that the inevitable brigading of tribal power.

  • Only Asking

    lol micks on a roll and I’m too tired , (my eyes are going together and are being held open by match sticks,) to go read it again, I plead mitigating circumstances….

    I shall come back tomorrow refreshed and haunt this website more…..

  • Hi Mick,

    Thanks again for taking an interest.

    Having read this post afresh (i.e. while keeping in mind those who do NOT read hyperlinks), I feel I should say that your article could make it clearer that Mercer did finally end the working relationship between Jenvey and his office sometime between 2-20 March 2009. (Or you could simply slip in a */’footnote’ link to this comment. Yay, technology.)

    Mercer has also spoken privately/vaguely of breaking ties with my more recent attacker (Dominic Wightman/Whiteman of ‘Vigil’ fame), but he seems reluctant to make a formal statement about that, despite Wightman suggesting to others that he still enjoys that MP’s support to some degree.

    (As for Dale’s claims of harassment and stalking – something he has been throwing in my face for years because I don’t accept his first lie and leave him to it like most people do – the offer stands for him to put his case and prepare to have it challenged, blogger to blogger, in court, or wherever we can discuss it fairly as equals… i.e. NOT whispered in secret to his Tory mates who won’t bother to check the facts, and NOT published on a site where I am not permitted to challenge his claims or defend myself while Iain publishes mostly anonymous claims that I am “clearly psychotic”. I mention this only to make it clear why I am not being drawn into existing discussion of this aspect of the matter in this thread. Cheers all.)

  • John H

    Let’s get something straight, Patrick Mercer is proficient when it comes to sending emails or using his laptop computer which he sometimes takes with him to London so it’s not all the fault of his staff. His personnel do what they are told to do and so it’s unlikely to be a matter of poor management of staff and Mr Mercer been know to search the internet.

    Failure to comply is a trait of Mr Mercer whenever someone incurred his displeasure and then he will not give them the time of day. I have found Mr Mercer to be somewhat indifferent so what makes Tim think Mercer ought to give a damn for his troubles or get involved with them?

    Mr Mercer is perhaps a law unto himself nobody unless they are VIP tells him what to do and Tim is apparently no exception. Tim can make all the fuss he likes but in the end I doubt he will win over a man that I believe to be well-versed in such matters of confrontation.

    The best of British luck Tim, you’re going to need it if you take on Patrick Mercer OBE.

    The national papers and Cameron seem to have little interest, to them; it’s but a tempest in a teapot.

  • As my fingers fly stagger across the keyboard, my ‘phones give me The Highwaymen telling me:

    The road goes on forever
    And the party never ends.

    That’s all about robbery and opportunist murder, too.

    The Tory campaign, over some time, has been sheer exploitation, with the traditional Tory media piling in wherever possible. Who needs principle or ideology or “policy” if lying, cheating and misrepresentation works?

    Even today there’s yet another example: the Mail on Sunday buys up an illegal immigrant persuades a poor unfortunate to tell her full story, with no hope of reward. The Tory claque, en masse, assumes her version must be gospel: the Attorney General therefore must be “perjured” (that’s the line on ConHome, at least). The sleazy Chris Grayling — £68,304 mortgage claims over four years for a second-home flat bought for £127,000 — is, inevitably, to the fore.

    If the polls are correct, this represents the future morality, “Conservative family values”, for the British people. Heaven help them.