Saturday, May 23, 2009

+++ Telegraph Group takes down Dorries blog +++

Some interesting developments have happened overnight. Nadine Dorries has seen the blog part of her website instantly taken down after she made allegations against the owners of the Telegraph Group, Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay.

Lawyers acting for the Barclay brothers, Withers, instructed the takedown carried out by Acidity via mail to Coreix last night, citing the Acceptable User Policy. The takedown will be bolstered by the Godfrey vs Demon precendent, where an order can be made and it will be done instantly.

Of course, if the website was being hosted in the USA it would be much harder to order the instant takedown. You'd think though, that if the allegations were moonbat untrue there would just be a "point, laugh and call them ridiculous" strategy rather than ordering a takedown to gag Nadine from saying it.

This is especially the case I would've thought because once Recess is over, Nadine would be free to say such things in the House and be protected by Parliamentary Privilege. By taken her down like this the Telegraph will have fed the very idea of some sort of hidden agenda. Suppression, whether it is of speech that is right or wrong, is usually counterproductive.


The Independent's leading article has come out in support of Nadine's position on the "witch hunt" : The pursuit of MPs is becoming a witch-hunt. Thet also carry an article by Nadine titled This is a witch hunt – the torture must end.

The Times has an exclusive where the Archbishop of Canterbury echoes Nadine's comments: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams: humiliation of MPs must stop.

I can't say that I disagree with their sentiment to be honest and, without using the term "witch hunt" this week, I have alluded to the sense of proportion that is being lost over this.

Update II: Interesting to note that the day after Nadine makes allegations that the Telegraph has a hidden proprietor driven agenda to drive votes to UKIP (I repeat this is an allegation not a proven truth), her blog gets taken down by lawyers and then this morning's Telegraph carries not only more expenses scandals but a gushing piece about UKIP.

As I said above, suppression of a theory, however right, wrong, moobat it might be, can and usually is counterproductive. If the target of said theory then appears to act in a way that endorses the theory it ain't going help such theories go away whatever the status of their veracity might be. Conspiracy theories breed conspiracy theories, its how they work sadly.

Update III: There have been some claims made elsewhere that as this is a "single source", the circumstances of this take down are questionable because they are not really known. The circumstances of the take down however were very clear.

Yesterday, after a number of media spots by Nadine, lawyers acting for the Telegraph wrote to Nadine and CC'd the hosting provider stating that the allegation against the motives of the Telegraph were not as alleged. The lawyers argued that the Telegraph had only ever acted in the public interest on the expenses matter. They also stated that the allegation against the Barclay brothers were nonsense but no less defamatory.

From a purely technical point of view, the blog was taken down by someone working at Acidity on the following basis,
due to the nature of this issue and the potential liability that ourselves and our upstream providers face, having been made aware of this complaint, I have taken the decision to stop the website in IIS on TWW55.

Please ensure that the website is not reinstated on any server/service provided by TDMWeb until the offending material has been removed
The implication appears to be that if the allegations are removed from the content management system, then the blog will be able to go back online with the same provider. By all accounts this is, as is always the case with ISPs, that they're considered the publishers rather than the carriers of actionable content - just as Clive pointed out in the comments below.

It is a situation that sucks, obviously, but unless something is done about it, then if you say something about someone who has the resources to instruct global lawyers against you, then you can be taken down very quickly. As I said though, in this case I think they just help feed the theory they are trying to suppress for those that choose to believe it.

Update IV : Added clarity to initial post noting Acidity did the takedown after legal mails sent to Nadine and upstream provider Coreix.


Two Trees said...

I'm not surprised.
Her comments about the Barclay brothers were becoming somewhat hysterical.

Plato said...

I took a copy of her blog from Google cache last night.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has one either. As soon as she went bonkers on the BBC and they linked to her blog this became inevitable.

Her conspiracy theory about a long planned sting operation is highly amusing - and OH reckons we've had a virtual military coup.

Things have gone quite mad.

Anonymous said...

You a UKIPer by any chance PlAto?

Doktorb said...

I listened to her Radio 5 Live interview, where she began to slowly unwind and waffle. Sadly her very valid points were totally covered up by talks of "the media control the news agenda" and mentioning Israel and Gaza. Sticking to the script would have done her far more favours.

However taking down the blog may look, it is probably the only option they had once she ventured into such terrorities.

Summer said...

A look at the comments on both The Independent and The Times articles will tell you that they are not popular.

The Telegraph situation is complicated - firstly, it most definately has done the public a favour. If we can salvage our democracy from this mess then it is a good thing.

However, it does seem to me there is rather too much emphasis on moats and duck houses, and not nearly enough on the sheer fraud and criminal tax dodging by ministers. The 'several times' flipping Balls are still sitting comfortably. Is the Telegraph now using this to make the Tories look bad and hide Labour's misdeeds?

Time to move the action to getting the criminals out of government and consider how we are going to restore democracy.

Nadine is a silly women - we are her constituents, she is not representing our views, and we will NOT vote for her. Even if that means we don't vote!!

IanVisits said...

One of the reasons (out of several) that I host my websites in the USA is the UK legal situation regarding a take-down notice.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Dizzy. You are ahead of the curve here. People are starting to see it your way with the Independent speaking up.
A valid and related point above, too. The tax and other frauds are far more serious than any duck house.
Let's stop this mass hysteria with the public, full of self righteousness and thoroughly enjoying having someone to hate.

Cassius said...

Nadine is the wrong person, saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time. Her comments betray a total misunderstanding of the basis upon which she was elected.

Kalvis Jansons said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

Whether or not I agree with what Nadine Dorries said on her blog is irrelevant to my queasy feeling that this is unwarranted censorship.

As you say, ultimately counter-productive. I hadn't read it but I have now via Google's cache. How many times will the page be saved from the cache and published elsewhere? How many others will seek it out just *because* it has been suppressed and therefore read the very things the Telegraph hoped they would not? I thought lawyers were supposed to have brains!

Plenty said...

I take the Iain Dale approach. I think MPs should shut up and just ride it out. I don't think the public care that some of them are starting to feel the heat. You know what they say, if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. As for Dorries, she has only driven the story on, not quelled it.

Letters From A Tory said...

Thanks for keeping tabs on this, I daresay there is more to come over the next few days.

Jess The Dog said...

I have a small amount of sympathy for her point - some claims may appear questionable but may have underlying reasons (Nadine's divorced for example).

However, she's wide of the mark as is the Independent - Steve Richards this morning on R4 sounded like a paid-up member of the political-media class.

The public anger is real and undeniable - it isn't a witch hunt. The anger goes further than expenses - the recession, a litany of broken promises, the unparalleled deceit over Iraq. It's all there in the cauldron. bubbling away!

We now have a chance to shatter the politico-media clique that has ruled this country for the last decade.

It doesn't add up... said...

Now the DT adds censorship of the blogosphere to its grip on power.

There are real questions for the DT to answer about their editorial policy in reporting MPs’ expenses. The column inches and relative prominence of reports strongly suggest that they have hidden agendas that amount to personal opinions about individuals regardless of the reality of their particular expenses claim, and a policy agenda beyond that. The DT is behaving as god, judge and jury, barely one step up from Can’t Prosecute Socialists.

For example, many have remarked that Balls/Cooper seem to have had little prominence, perhaps because of a drinking relationship. More frivolously, they don’t like water features - be they jacuzzi, bath plug, moat or duck pond.

They have failed to shine much of a torch on the behaviour of the Fees Office itself (by now they must have a fair idea whether certain individuals within it seem to have had an undue bias toward accepting ridiculous claims or favouring a particular party).

The Barclays are feudal press barons. Who do they wish to parachute into vacant constituencies? (”Mr Cameron will also be able to parachute new candidates, including women and members of the ethnic minorities, into some of the country’s safest Conservative seats.”)

Is it an accident that they come out in favour of Widdecombe as Speaker?

Why do they indulge in class war? (”Mr Cameron taking on the toffs would show the Conservatives have changed.”)

These things do not speak to supporting a parliament of talent and integrity democratically chosen.

dizzy said...

All, I have had to reject a couple of comments. To those rejected who will know who they are there are lawyers involved in this story and right now, even if the law is an arse and I am hosted in the US, I don't want to take any risks or test it. Sorry.

jd said...

I'm no fan of the Barclay brothers - the Sark affair was a disgrace, and recent reporting coup aside, they've trashed the Telegraph as a quality paper - but 'a gushing piece about UKIP'?

This is an article which describes UKIP as 'essentially a single-issue party, given to bouts of vicious infighting', hints unsubtly at a BNP-UKIP non-aggression pact while carefully denying such a thing exists, and which concludes that without Farage, the party has no credibility, being "Surrey with a lunatic fringe on top".

It may be gushing about Farage - and personally I do think he is a loss to the Tory Party - but if that's the Telegraph swooning over UKIP, I'd hate to see the hatchet job.

Ed said...

Nadine should offer to redact all the allegations from her blog, pending whatever legal process is now afoot, in turn Acidity should allow her blog back online. That will give Acidity 'safe harbour' privileges.

Man in a Shed said...

This is shocking censorship. I have been worried for quite some time about the Telegraph's real agenda.

As an earlier commentator has said we've all been making copies of Nadine's blog.

The Telegraph has done a lot of damage to itself today.

scaramangers said...

Obviously the DT will not countenance criticism. Amazing the way they have free reign to say pretty much what they want about anybody, but can have a blog removed instantly when the shoe's on the other foot.
I was of the opinion that in starting their story (how long ago, now?) with the government, concentrating the public mind for 4 days, they were doing it purely to undermine Labour; they admitted as much themselves saying it would harm the government more than anyone. Ms Dorries has now shone a different light on the matter, and has obviously hit home. This is now about vindictiveness (search Jim Sheridan, who then had his expenses revealed by the paper) and revenue. What was so wrong about running ALL mps expenses for 3 days? Not enough for the coffers. Thank the Lord for Google cache. And the people of Sark!

Anonymous said...

Nadine gets it bang on and everyone berates her. I heard her on 5Live and she was brilliant. What is the agenda on these web sites? Are they all inhabited by Conservative misoginists who hate women MPs, because they think they might be nicking a seat that had their name on?

jailhouselawyer said...

I have attacked The Independent leader article...

Sour milk

Clive said...

Given that Acidity don't have a publicised AUP, and their server is provided via Coreix Limited I assume the request went to Coreix first. They then went to Acidity.

From previous experience, it was most likely a request to remove a defammatory post or three. Coreix would have (or tried to) get hold of someone at Acidity. Depending on timing that may not have been possible. Or the person at Acidity may not have had access to the CMS behind the blog. Therefore the simplest solution for now Acidity is to remove the Blog.aspx page.

Even Schillings, under the instruction of Alisher Usmanov, never asked for an entire blog to be taken down. The legal paperwork typical made reference to such-and-such post, at blah-blah url, being defammatory and requesting confirmation of removal within a reasonable timescale. In the case of Usmanov it was Fasthosts who caused all the trouble by killing an entire account, taking a couple of servers and many sites offline.

This is just a consequence of a shitty set of libel laws making it damn near impossible to run a UK-based hosting business. And a less-than-ideal blogging platform.

Chris Morris said...

Whatever you think of Nadine, this is a crazy situation. An intimidating letter from a big law firm is all it takes to gag any small website and censor criticism. If the cases got to court, most of them would collapse - but most ISPs won't take that risk. They work on small margins and they can either lose £10 a month or risk losing £100,000+ in some test case challenge. Easy choice! I had a similar situation a few years ago -,4273,3981521,00.html - and hundreds of other websites have also been censored using this same technique. It's a crazy situation for a democratic country. Will Nadine join the campaign to reform the defamation act? People should be held accountable for what they publish. ISPs should have the same protection that other "handlers" have - including Royal Mail and the phone companies.

Jabba the Cat said...

Not sure if we are reading the same DT article on UKIP, but I got the distinct impression that the DT was less than gushing about Farage and his band of pygmies who are clearly on the Brussels unaccountable gravy train four trotters and snout firmly in.

Alex said...

I would have had more sympathy if Ms Dorries had not censored reasonable but disapproving comments on her own website. She is getting a dose of her own medicine.

Anonymous said...

The expenses thing is just an opportunity siezed by the public to vent some anger towards an increasingly authoritarian and invasive government. We have to put up with heavy taxes, people checking our rubbish, no voice on EU matters, and worst of all, Harriet Harman. Things will only get better once the notion of personal responsibility makes a come back. Election please.

Best blog on the web, by the way.

Eckersalld said...

The Maily Telegraph may be conducting a witchhunt, but for the public this a long overdue reckoning.

Dorries et al need to take a good look at why the people are so furious, and - if any of her accusations are true - understand it is a failure on their part, as stewards of the UK, to have allowed a situation to develop that can be manipulated so.

The MPs are the architects of this chaos, the DT merely took the building plans and constructed them to their own ends.

dizzy said...


Correct the letter went to Coreix and my understanding is Acidity then acted.

Lexander said...

Well done yet again Dizzy. No point repeating my views about the Barclay bros. Much more of this though and my Telegraph sub is cancelled.

scaramangers said...

People need to step back from the self-righteous indignation thing for a minute, and consider if they may have been mere puppets for the DT's frenzy-mongering of the past fortnight. There's only one line that rings true through all of this, it's the timing- coming before the Euro elections, it was a guaranteed 'underminer', with the Euro-sceptic parties favoured by the Brothers Grim, coming out on top, resulting in (God forbid) a voice in Europe, which many see as the base for REAL power in this country.
Some may say, 'yes but we wouldn't have known about addresses etc when the details came out'- are you seriously suggesting Mr Wick, with all his money and dubious contacts, wouldn't be able to ferret out such information?
A general election in such circumstances would surely be irresponsible given the public feeling at the moment. A more measured decision, without the overriding influence of what might turn out to be a cynical campaign by said paper, is what's needed at the ballot-box.

jingouk said...

Well done, Dizzy. A good piece.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

You all could join the Libertarian Party , or donate so that we can field candidates and then you would really have a choice at freedom rather than a two horse parliamentary system that is joined at both fetlocks to one cart called British Government

Release your shackles and be free

wv outiol ( I shit ye not)

Anonymous said...

You know what, I think it's all a conspiracy. Faced with humiliation and anniliation at the polls next year, Gordon Brown has acted.

First, he had a bucket load of MP expense info leaked to the Telegraph so that they could whip up a storm of controversy and protest around our elected representatives just before the Euro elections. Next, he has had his stooge on the Tory benches - Nadine Dorres - suggest the bizarre idea that the whole thing is a pro-UKIP plot. Just to really help give that some credibility, he's got the Barclay Bros to suspend Dorres blog.

This is already bring seized upon by the usual moonbats, blogosphere, and rival papers as evidence. They will whip up the view that it is indeed all a pro-UKIP Barclays plot, an 'underminer', and that a general election in such circumstances would be irresponsible. In the coup de grace, Brown will call a state of national emergency, postpone elections, and declare himself Lord Protector.

And yes, I am taking the piss, you tinfoil-hatted loons.

Tim said...

The implication appears to be that if the allegations are removed from the content management system, then the blog will be able to go back online with the same providerBut you have only just made this clear. Just so we're clear.

dizzy said...

I'm not sure what your point is. I had to seek advice on the letters and what could or could not be published about it.

The initial post remains accurate. Lawyers sent a 'you are host and you are liable if you don't act' and the host acted.

You got a problem with that?

The Amazing Toad said...

Witch hunt?? What complete bollocks!

Has Dorries any idea of what goes off when a businessman gets investigated by those vindictive and vicious subordinates of parliament, the Inland Revenue? A friend of mine nearly lost his marbles during a probe over a £2k tax bill that the revenue investigated over seven months and went down to the level of receipts for toilet paper. His wife was habitually in tears and was lucky not to have had a complete breakdown. The threats
were incessant and frightening. He really thought he was going to prison on
several occasions. What MPs are now facing is nothing in comparison.

Dorries' expressed the view that it was commonly known
that the allowance system was there to subsidise their salary as their
salary is unfairly low. I would like to ask her if this was known to all MPs
or just a select majority? Because Philip Hollobone and Dennis Skinner and a
few others who are not wealthy in their own right, don't seem to have known
about it. Why was this information withheld from them?

She says the Telegraph are dripping the story for commercial gain and at the same time persecuting good people. The DT has a terabyte of information and with all the will in the world, they could not publish, or investigate it, in one go. But Dorries and her friends have the power to stop the Telegraph in their tracks by publishing their claims themselves, thus stopping the "torture" and robbing the Telegraph of their exclusive. Oddly, they're not doing that, are they?

Anonymous said...

David Keen said...

I wonder how many of our leading, courageous, freedom-fighting bloggers will have the guts to repost Nadine's 'offending' remarks? Haven't found one yet.

John McClane said...

The Telegraph, like MPs, don't like it up 'em

Joe Public said...

Never has Politics been so much fun.

Long may any organisation continue to expose the troughing & hypocracy of those who "govern" us.

Jack of Kent said...

Am not a Dorries supporter, but this appears to be an outrage.

Have blogged here:

Anonymous said...

Apparently sales of pitch-fork sharpeners have gone through the roof, it's an ill wind....

David Davis said...

She's a stressed, single mother of several nice, vulnerable girls, and also in Parliament (which she probably never intended to be but you know, it just sort of happened) and out of her intellectual depth.

Her blog is, er, kind of "Hello", "Ok", "Heat" , "Closer" type reading.

She is not really "Enemy Class" Material, and should never have been allowed anywhere near...

...The Front Line.

Please see Dr Sean Gabb and his website, for stuff about The Enemy Class.

or ours,

and just hit the search button.

David Davis (not that one, I am the other one.)

King Canute said...

You know what, I think it's all just coincidence that the European elections are coming up soon, that UKIP have been kept out of the DT's never-ending 'revelations' until Ms Dorries pointed the finger, that her blog's been pulled down, that the Brotherhood are fiercely anti-Europe, that the DTs whipping-up of public outrage campaign has had no effect on voting intentions, although the public say it has....and yes I'm also taking the piss

Niklas Smith said...

@Chris Morris: ISPs should have the same protection that other "handlers" have - including Royal Mail and the phone companies.I agree. ISPs should only be made to take down websites if they contain criminal content (such as incitement to violence). It's shocking how English libel law allows people to be intimidated into silence without cases reaching court. I remember a talk from Richard Evans where he recounted how difficult it was to publish his book about David Irving's lies even though Irving had lost his case against Penguin and Deborah Lipstadt.

Dizzy, please understand I sympathise with your fears. I just think that no one should be forced to censor themselves like this in a "free" country. (I should also add I think Ms Dorries is a crank and that her allegations are farfetched.)

Niklas Smith said...

@Chris Morris: ISPs should have the same protection that other "handlers" have - including Royal Mail and the phone companies.I agree. ISPs should only be made to take down websites if they contain criminal content (such as incitement to violence). It's shocking how English libel law allows people to be intimidated into silence without cases reaching court. I remember a talk from Richard Evans where he recounted how difficult it was to publish his book about David Irving's lies even though Irving had lost his case against Penguin and Deborah Lipstadt.

Dizzy, please understand I sympathise with your fears. I just think that no one should be forced to censor themselves like this in a "free" country. (I should also add I think Ms Dorries is a crank and that her allegations are farfetched.)

Fitaloon said...

What about the fact that this data for the expenses has again been lost from a Government department. After the Poyntner report last year how did they manage this on what should have been highly confidential data. Not only that they appear to have managed to het hold of a complete system/database and not just an extract of data. This sounds likely incredibly lax security at the heart of government. More thoughts here

Richard said...

I just had a look at TDMWeb, very expensive for what they offer, better off in the US!

Anonymous said...

So, has anyone done the statistics? Possibly a third of MPs have behaved sensibly realising the rules were bad rules and have implemented their own sensible interpretation. Another third are in a grey zone, and another third have been downright dishonest and they deserve what they get, as any citizen would.

And now, don’t you detect an establishment closing of the ranks (don’t you get drawn into it Dizzy). And BTW, the AoC, the man who thinks Sharia is a good idea, is the last person I would look to for guidance.

Anonymous said...

First of all, if the MPs are finding it 'torture' perhaps they should not have so keen to a)profit from expenses & b)refuse to reveal their expenses. Basically, they're reaping what they've sown. What would happen to a private individual who obtained money by fraud or who cheated HMRC? They might like to think about their mantra to us, the public, while snooping into every aspect of our lives 'nothing to hide, noting to fear'. The boot is now on the other foot & they don't like it - tough!
That said, I find the censorship of Nadine Dorries' blog frightening. While I may not agree with what she says, she has every right to state her opinion. She is still an elected representative of the the voters of the UK. Yet Big Business - in the shape of the Barclay Bros - is able to stifle her voice - that is wrong, wrong, wrong. I would refer readers to the exploits of the Brothers in Guernsey & Sark - democratic behavour? Not in my opinion. I will now do what so many other eeaders have done & try & get a cached copy of Nadine's blog.

Anonymous said...

Quote from Dorries blog:

'Treating a group of people in this almost sadistic way is appalling and has to stop'

I don't know what she's complaining about, smokers, thanks to her and her ilk, have been treated worse than murderers, terrorists & hardened criminals, and most of the MPs voted for smokers to be treated sadistically & appalling, even encouraged it.

Now her and her ilk knows what it feels like to be demonised & denormalised. Smokers have been told by these so-called paragons of virtue, deal with it. Therefore I suggest the same to Dorries, deal with it.

Begone! said...

I dislike censorship, and think that a blog should only be taken down by Court order (much like an emergency injunction to stop a newspaper publishing).

But this may be for her own good - Nadine did seem to be posting increasingly bonkers comments.

tory boys never grow up said...

In case Dizzy thinks that he is censoring my comments because they are libellous/unsubstantaiated they are not - evidence re loans by Ashcroft companies to Misick, the former Prime Minister of T&C can be found here

Evidence re Ashcroft's involvement in taking down the TCI Journal website is here

dizzy said...

Cheers for the links.