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My sympathies for Nadine

I lay in bed last night thinking about Nadine’s dilemma. I image expressed my disappointment yesterday that she had switched off her comment facility, which I feel is crucial to a blog.

Nadine indicated it was a time-issue, without mentioning that she had been targeted by hundreds of merciless "low-life" bloggers. I’m sure I would do the same in her shoes.

The furore followed her controversial posts on abortion and the science and technology committee on which she sits. Abortion is a subject Nadine feels passionately about. As an MP with a medical background, her judgement should be valued. She believes the committee was hi-jacked by those who have powerful financial vested interests in the abortion industry.

This is Nadine’s report on abortion, describing how she thinks MPs were misled and not presented with all the facts about foetal pain. MPs were discussing whether changes should  be made to the 24 week limit for abortions. They decided it should remain unchanged.

Nadine left a comment last night in response to my post. I do send her my sympathies, particularly being sent "scary" messages too late at night. It is unfair that her loyal following should be deprived of the chance to debate a very serious topic, that it should be hijacked in such a forceful way, leaving her no choice but to ban comments altogether.

I share Nadine’s hopes that she will re-open her comment facility when she feels comfortable about it. We want Nadine to continue writing her great posts without being under duress from cyber stalkers.

This is what Nadine said:

The fact is I was getting hundreds of comments. Many, as a result of what I have been doing with regard to abortion, some of which were absolutely vile.

There are some lovely people out there, but there are also some serious low life – and when you put your head above the parapet, as I have, the low life take aim.

I may, when my work regarding abortion takes a slower pace, re-introduce comments. However, in the meantime, having to deal with people who think it’s cool to re- post their comments 40 times a night, and there are dozens of them, so that it takes over an hour to sort out the email account in the morning is no joke.

The comments I now take on email are far more serious in content.

It would be great if I didn’t have a day and night job and could focus on the blog, but that‘s not why I’m here.

Very few of my constituents used the blog to communicate with me, but almost every person I meet reads the blog and therefore that is where I need to focus what little time I have.

I did take comments on my BB but I am afraid I had to stop that also when I started to receive some very weird posts late at night, which frankly scared me.

*I’ve just spoken to my technical adviser Geoff and he recommends Nadine should add blocks to prevent offensive comments and emails. 


22 Comments

  1. That should be “wasn’t working” in the penultimate sentence of para 3. Ooops.

  2. To be honest Nadine brings these things on herself Ellee to a large degree. I think her “medical background” could easily be overstated. Fairly short, fairly long ago, and very very junior.

    And her blog comments feature was among areas of very serious technical trouble.

    Naturally these were to be moderated. She does write provocative, some would say annoying stuff. But when one writes a comment as I have done from time to time there is no indication that it has been received. No receipt or sign of success. And as far as I remember the button was not annotated with “one click is enough” or the like. This alone explains comments being “re-posted 40 times”. Probably someone thought it was working and clicked many times to try to make it work. No harrassment just shoddy web building coming home to roost.

    And I also think it is true that whatever we may think about the so called Choice and so called Life positions that Nadine’s Minority Report and the utterly unfounded accusation of a leak against both Ben Goldacre and her committee colleagues would have been risible if it were not on such a very serious issue where feelings do run high.

    Yesterday, I think, she posted news that she has become British Computer Society-recognised ?Princess of the Blogs?? Er, not. She actually, at a stretch, arguably tied for 13th with George Galloway. Lynne Featherstone was 2nd equal. And in this way – not mentioning any of the real winners etc – Nadine Dorries brings these things on herself.

  3. Nadine is right about serious lowlife. She is utterly on the button. These guys are scum.

  4. Well, I’m not sure I understand all the above comments but I do understand that if Ellee says she hasn’t deleted any, she hasn’t!

  5. Let me quickly correct any impression given by my garbled syntax that I’m a friend and admirer of Ms Dorries. God forbid!

  6. All Nadine Dorries had to do was acknowledge her (rather foolish) mistake and apologise to Ben Goldacre. But for some reason she has been unable to bring herself to do so and instead has decided to expunge any references to her foolishness from her blog (using a spurious excuse about cyber-stalking). Bad enough behaviour from a blogger let alone an MP.

    By defending her you have made yourself look as foolish as she has. If she finds it impossible to admit her mistake perhaps YOU would like to publicly state that her allegations about Ben Goldacre were clearly mistaken and advise her to do the honourable thing and retract them.

    As a friend and admirer of Dorries I would have thought the best thing you could do is to have a word in her ear and try and encourage her to salvage her reputation over this issue. Cyberspace has a long memory.

  7. Dave Hansell

    And the more Ellee continues to defend the indefensible and allow herself to be used to smear other citizens and taxpayers the more foolish she looks.

  8. The longer Nadine refuses to retract her allegations the more foolish she looks.

  9. Ellee,

    You say that you respect Nadine’s judgement on this. I just wanted to clarify that you understood what has happened here.

    In her Minority Report, Nadine says:

    We were greatly concerned to read in the Guardian on 27 October an article clearly aimed at undermining the credibility of Professor John Wyatt, which contained detailed information about Wyatt’s evidence, which was passed by him to the committee after his oral evidence session, and which could only have been passed on to the journalist concerned by a member of the Select Committee.

    Which casts serious aspersions on Ben Goldacre as a journalist. In a response to this report, Ben writes:

    My article did indeed contain detailed information about Prof Wyatt’s evidence, but I suspect any enquiry set up to examine how I managed to obtain that information would finish its work well before the first set of tea and biscuits arrived, since all the facts came from the written evidence published openly and in full during the select committee hearing.

    So it seems to me (and to a few others by the look of it) that Nadine accused Ben of getting hold of information by nefarious means when actually Ben just used information that was in the public domain.

    Do you still respect her judgement on this?

  10. Ellee, you are Iain Dale and I claim my £5.

  11. Ellee, a couple of polite questions.

    Clive, no comments have been deleted. I’m afraid I can’t answer your question as I don’t know the answer.

    As I’m sure you’ll agree, there are comments missing from this thread. Matt, Dave and I all referred to them. Are you intending to find out what happened to them and let us know?

    I admire Nadine and respect her judgement on this.

    In my first comment, I’ve supplied evidence which proves that Nadine was wrong to claim that Ben Goldacre was improperly given evidence by another member of the Select Committee. Are you saying you admire her judgement on that?

    I think that MPs ought to apologise and publicly withdraw any demonstrably untrue allegations they make. You appear to disagree. Could you clarify your position on that?

  12. Ellee, a couple of polite questions.

    Clive, no comments have been deleted. I’m afraid I can’t answer your question as I don’t know the answer.

    As I’m sure you’ll agree, there are comments missing from this thread. Matt, Dave and I all referred to them. Given your insatiable curiosity, are you intending to find out what happened to them and let us know?

    I admire Nadine and respect her judgement on this.

    In my first comment, I’ve supplied evidence which proves that Nadine was wrong to claim that Ben Goldacre was improperly given evidence by another member of the Select Committee. Are you saying you admire her judgement on that?

    I think that MPs ought to apologise and publicly withdraw any demonstrably untrue allegations they make. You appear to disagree. Could you clarify your position on that?

  13. Clive, no comments have been deleted. I’m afraid I can’t answer your question as I don’t know the answer.
    I admire Nadine and respect her judgement on this.

  14. What a weird comment thread. Have some comments been deleted or are Dave and Matt externalising some inner conversation with “Tim”?

    Anyway, a contentious issue such as abortion is always going to attract a not-insignificant level of shouting and haranguing so I’m surprised that Nadine was herself taken aback at the volume of comments. But making the accusation that she did regarding Ben Goldacre was simply inept. And to then effectively run away from the matter is not the sort of conduct we should accept from our elected representatives.

    I vote for my MP to represent me. As such expect the same standard of conduct from them as I would from myself; to be honest and open, to give credit where credit is due and to apolgise when I am shown to be wrong. Were Nadine my MP, then I would be most disappointed in her conduct over this matter.

  15. I can easily prove that the ‘disagreement’ with Anne Milton centred on her making false claims and then attempting to fob me off and/or smear me when I called her on them. In fact, I’ve made that very point very recently.

    I’m happy to address that, as it’s relevant to the wider point of accountability and the anonymous cries of ‘smear merchant’ that result from these and similar calls for accountability.

    But like myself Garry, I’d rather hear any substantial/valid defence of the actions of Nadine Dorries.

  16. My name’s Garry Smith, Dave. I’m 36 years old, live in Aberdeen and can easily prove that I’m not Tim Ireland.

    Why does no-one want to discuss what actually happened, Dave? I’m not that interested in discussing more silly accusations but would be interested to know whether you think Nadine Dorries should withdrawn her false allegation.

    By the way, the one comment I submitted to Nadine’s blog read:

    I wonder if you would like to respond to Ben Goldacre’s reply to the accusation you have levelled against him in your report?”

    .

    I also included the link as in my previous comment above.

    Can anyone explain why this perfectly civil comment was not published during a day when other comments were?

  17. Really Tim, funny that, because on the other blog you and this Garry guy blogged straight after one another.So is Tim Garry and Garry Tim? A certain Anne Milton MP has had some very bad experiences with you hasn’t she Tim?

  18. Agreed. Initially she claimed she was closing comments because she was ‘too busy’, which gives this later claim a fair whiff of invention.

    Nadine’s case is not helped by recent antics of another Tory blogger who falsely claimed that he had deleted an exchange that didn’t go his way, because it contained ‘vitriol’.

  19. Ellee (apologies for carelessly misspelling your name last time round), I don’t wish to clog up your comments but I hope you don’t mind if I ask Matt a polite question.

    Matt said:

    If I were Nadine I would write to the editor of the Guardian, this guy seems pretty un-profesional to me.

    Dr Ben Goldacre, the Guardian employee, used information in the public domain to write an article examining the science being presented to the committee. He then wrote a post highlighting the fact that Nadine Dorries had falsely accused him of participating in some sort of leak/conspiracy. He wasn’t secretly passed information by another committee member as Nadine claims; he downloaded it from http://www.parliament.uk

    Dr Goldacre also supplied evidence – links to the relevant PDFs – proving this (and Ms Dorries refused to allow that evidence to be presented to her readers).

    In what way was that unprofessional?

  20. Well, that’s awful if she is receiving abusive comments but she should have explained this in the first place.

  21. Is this the same Tim Ireland who stalks people on their blogs? Maybe you are the low life Nadine is referring to?
    Read the stuff about the Guardian – seems she was right to me. You wouldn’t be trying to create a storm in a teacup would you so that people will hit your blog via the links you have put on Ellee’s site and put your hit rate up? if I were Nadine I would write to the editor of the Guardian, this guy seems pretty un-profesional to me. Ellee, you should put a block on the name Tim Ireland – he is the reason many MPs don’t blog. He makes their life a misery with his obsessive comments and stalking.

  22. I’m afraid you’ve been sold a lemon, Elle. Nadine closed her comments because she wasn’t able to defend her position. The links Tim has provided explain but here’s the short version:

    In the report you’ve linked to, she wrote:

    We were greatly concerned to read in the Guardian on 27 October an article clearly aimed at undermining the credibility of Professor John Wyatt, which contained detailed information about Wyatt’s evidence, which was passed by him to the committee after his oral evidence session, and which could only have been passed on to the journalist concerned by a member of the Select Committee.

    Ben Goldacre, the author of that article, has responded:

    My article did indeed contain detailed information about Prof Wyatt’s evidence, but I suspect any enquiry set up to examine how I managed to obtain that information would finish its work well before the first set of tea and biscuits arrived, since all the facts came from the written evidence published openly and in full during the select committee hearing.

    http://www.badscience.net/2007/10/oooooh-im-in-the-minority-report/

    That’s the nub of Nadine’s problem right there.

    Rather than dealing with the evidence which demonstrates that she has made a spurious accusation, she censored all mention of Goldacre’s response in the comments to her blog. The next day, she closed comments.

    She has not withdrawn the accusation or apologised for making it.

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