Sunday, 28 October 2012

Andrew Gilligan and Matthew Brown

This post could be a lot shorter and punchier if I didn't have to back up what I'm saying with screenshots.  There's a reason why I've had to go into so much detail: I'm highlighting the deficiencies (and rudeness) of a journalist in a "quality" national newspaper.

The story is effectively this: Andrew Gilligan of the Telegraph produced an article last Sunday, which was, I believe, poorly researched and entirely wrong in its thrust.  He alleged that Mervyn Barrett's campaign to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire was being secretly backed by American neoconservative lobbyists and companies pushing for police privatisation.  His story was largely based on statements by a "Matthew de Unger Brown".  I happened to know Matthew from personal experience of his fraudulent activities on and off line.  I saw Gilligan's piece last Monday evening and revealed what I knew about the fraudster on my blog at Tuesday lunchtime.  I cannot blame Gilligan for not having the personal knowledge that I did, and was relatively generous in the way I referred to his piece.  I said I suspected my post touched only on the "tip of the iceberg" about Matthew and got in touch with Gilligan to offer him more information and help to get to the bottom of the matter. 

Instead of taking me up on my offer, and having read my post, Gilligan made a decision.  This was to continue with the thrust of his original story, rather than consider if he had been duped.  He suggested that he himself had suspected that Brown might be a fraud, but could not say so for legal reasons.  He referred to me as "an anonymous blogger" in the piece.  After Barrett resigned and made a full statement confirming that Matthew had defrauded him, Gilligan said that he was cynical about this and said that something about this did not "ring true".  In responding to comments to that story, he first claimed he did not receive my emails offering assistance, and then said he did not consider talking to me because he could not establish my identity.  He also said he was not sure he would have taken any information I gave him seriously.  He then launched into a sustained set of attacks on the blogging fraternity generally.

The net result of this is I provided a substantial amount of additional material and leads to the Sunday Times, whose proper investigative journalism team has produced a full page feature for today's edition.  My impression of Gilligan is of a rude man who needs to realise that bloggers and journalists should work together for the greater good, rather than patronising those who share a common interest in revealing the truth in the public interest.  He also needs to realise it is a better person who admits that he makes a mistake and works to correct that, rather than being blinded by his own pride.

Gilligan's First Article

Now let's go to the detail.  On Friday 19 October, Gilligan reportedly spoke to "Matthew de Unger Brown" the campaign manager of Lincolnshire's then high profile PCC candidate, Mervyn Barrett.  Last Sunday, 21 October, Gilligan published an "exposé" [click for link] about Barrett's campaign.

My summary of the article is as follows:

1) it suggests secret neo-conservative US lobbyists were behind Barrett's campaign;
2) the campaign was run by the "Fund for the New American Century", funded in part by a variety of corporate donors with an interest in police privatisation;
3) the Fund's chairman is Matthew de Unger Brown who was Barrett’s special adviser, campaign manager and press spokesman;
4) "Investigation" of Mr Barrett’s campaign website reveals that it is registered to a NewYork and Washington-based political action committee called MatthewPAC.

I believe the entire thrust of the article to be wrong and based on deficient research by Gilligan.
 
As I said, to be fair to Gilligan, he does not have the personal information that I do on Matthew.  I have met him in one of his many guises and have been following his fraudulent activities for some time, having been a victim of them.  A generous way of looking at Gilligan's first article is that it was based on incomplete work and he jumped the gun by publishing it when he did.  

I set out what I know about Matthew Brown on my blog post on 23 October.   I was rather too kind to Gilligan when I stated that I wasn't sure that the Telegraph got the story "entirely right".  I stated there was a strong likelihood that the fundraising group MattPac doesn't exist and was in fact a figment of Matthew's imagination.  This assertion is based on evidence which I hold.  In effect, I believe Gilligan unveiled a fraud in the national press (for which he is to be applauded), but only by falling for a fantasy of the fraudster.

The fraudster Brown this time fantasising about standing for the US Senate

Gilligan's Second Piece

After I had published my blog,  Gilligan followed up his 21 October piece with this somewhat extraordinary article on 23 October.  In it he says he had:

".. originally hoped to write more on Sunday about the very curious phenomenon that is Matthew de Unger Brown. Most of it, unfortunately, had to go for legal reasons. There are, for instance, various pages on the internet claiming that his real name is Matthew Brown, that he has been convicted of fraud, expelled from the Tory Party, and has pretended to be various incarnations of British and European aristocracy. Matthew neither confirmed nor denied these claims when I put them to him on Friday. Cuttings searches do show various “Matthew Browns” convicted of fraud – but it’s a common name, and it could quite easily have been someone else. It would have been hard, therefore, to label him explicitly as a fraudster in our news story."

The key points to note are that Gilligan claims to have been aware that Brown might be a fraud and claims to have put these allegations to him in person on 19 October.  He says that Matthew did not deny the allegations, but nonetheless Gilligan published his piece on 21 October, without mentioning either of these facts.

Gilligan also claims to have known that neither the "Fund for the New American Century", nor its political action committee arm, "MatthewPAC", were registered with the US Federal Election Commission.  He noted they did not have much presence online.  This last statement is quite an understatement: its website is a single page.  I am surprised that a serious journalist could take it as evidence of the existence of this organisation, if this is what Gilligan did.  I certainly can find no other proof of its existence anywhere and Gilligan himself now claims he had his doubts.  Nonetheless, despite these doubts, Gilligan chose to publish on the Sunday Telegraph's website a piece that made the four points I have summarised above, as fact.  That piece appears, to me, to be based entirely on the evidence of the words of a suspected fraudster and a one page website of a body not registered with the US FEC.

I also do not quite understand why Gilligan states that the existence of allegations of fraud surrounding Matthew could not be mentioned on 21 October "for legal reasons", but the same author in the same publication could mention them by 23 October a few hours after I published my blog post. 

Mervyn Barrett Withdraws from the PCC Election

A day later, on 24 October 2012, Mervyn Barrett announced his withdrawal from the PCC race with the following statement.  The statement strikes me personally as a very sincere, heartfelt and deeply upsetting piece.  In it, Barrett stated that he been the "victim of a bizarre and hugely embarrassing deception by the person who was acting – and I use the word “acting” quite deliberately – as my principal adviser and campaign manager until Saturday."  He is of course referring to Brown, the fraudster whose previous activities I had set out.

Gilligan updated his second piece with this information and commented "Call me a cynic, but something about this still doesn't wholly ring true. Barrett has been campaigning for almost three months – can he really have suspected nothing until the Telegraph came to call?"

I think that is unfair and on a personal level it is deeply unkind.  Numerous people have testified to the good character and integrity of Barrett.  I have no evidence whatsoever to suspect his honesty.  Of course no one knows for sure if is he lying, but I do not understand why Gilligan decided to publish a comment airing doubts about the truth of Barrett's statement, without giving solid evidence to back that up.  On a human and journalistic level I'd say it would show better judgement to hold those suspicions back until evidence could be found and published.

Pond Life: "Anonymous Bloggers"

I blog under the name "Peter" and appear on Twitter with the user name "PME2013".  You can see my reasons for choosing to do so on this post.  However, my identity is not exactly a well-kept secret.  I have posted from my Twitter account to the New Statesman website, where I blogged last month, and to an American tour company where I also blog regularly under my full name.

In his piece of 23 October Gilligan referred to me, perhaps a little dismissively, as "an anonymous blogger who claims to know" Matthew.  My interest in looking at this point goes beyond his somewhat belittling description and to the honesty and integrity of a journalist at the Daily Telegraph.

Peter Savage picked up on this description, on the evening of 24 October:


It is possible that Gilligan is simply standing by his description of me as an anonymous blogger because my blog does not carry my full name.  However, in a later exchange with me he expressly stated that he could not establish my identity:



That is entirely untrue: Gilligan knew my full name at all material times.  I  emailed Gilligan a link to my post 5 minutes after publishing it, at 14.54 on 23 October:



The following day at 15:19, I sent a second email with some more information on the story and the following offer: "I am happy to help you in any way I can and to provide any proof of my identity etc if you require it." I gave Gilligan my full home address, and telephone numbers in this second email.

Gilligan claims not to have received my emails.  I did not receive a notification that they had bounced back, but leaving that aside, separately Gilligan had emailed a partner at a City law firm on the morning of 23 October.  He asked if she had any leads on the story.  She happens to be a personal friend of mine.  She responded at 14:59 that day:


Gilligan acknowledged and responded to this email within 10 minutes, at 15:08 on 23 October.

[Name of my friend redacted]

Gilligan can say that I'm an anonymous blogger, but it is entirely misleading for him to imply that he did not know my name in full, or that he could not establish my identity.  I am on the electoral roll, the roll of solicitors, and am a company director.  I had offered to speak to him and this offer was passed on through an email from my friend, which he acknowledged.  Had he spoken to me, I could have given him four other people up here to talk to in person about these "potentially defamatory claims": three of us had actually gone to the police and been interviewed in person about Brown's fraudulent activities. 

All I can conclude is that Gilligan did not want to establish my identity, not that he could not.  He either needs a lesson in the meaning of the use of modal verbs, or one in honesty.  My own guess is that he did not want to talk to me, because having read my post, he was aware that he had been taken in by another of Matthew's frauds and was embarrassed.  He therefore falsely claimed he could not verify my identity.

I'd also like to pick up again on the fact that Gilligan seems very happy to doubt my words (remember I was recommended to him by a personal friend who is a partner at a City law firm), and to cast doubt on those of Barrett.  By contrast, Gilligan thinks the words of Barrett's official spokesman count "for more".  That spokesman is the person whom he describes as "the very curious phenomenon that is Matthew de Unger Brown" and about whom he claims he was aware there were fraud rumours circulating on the Internet.  This shows curious judgement on the part of a national journalist.

Gilligan's Rapid Twitter Searching Abilities

Gilligan also claims to have found my blog through a Twitter search:


My blog was published at 14.49.  I first publicised it by a tweet (below) at 14.51.  He would have had to be at his desk searching for the name "Matthew Brown" that I used to find it.  It would not have shown up for anyone searching the name "Matthew de Unger Brown", which is how Gilligan has always referred to him. 


Gilligan was also jolly quick to find it from a Twitter search, because my email alerted him to it three minutes later at 14.54.  Even if he didn't receive that, my friend's email alerted him to it eight minutes later at 14.59.   Therefore if he really did find my blog as a result of his own research on Twitter, carried out before he received these emails, he truly deserves the hashtag #ImpressiveSpeedyJournalist.

Alternatively, make of Gilligan's claim what you will. 

Bloggers "Go with any old stuff they find on Google"


Now that assertion is actually taking the piss. I'm not a prick, and I would really rather Gilligan does not make me out as one.  My piece was carefully written and every factual assertion I made can be backed up with evidence.  With my legal background (Cambridge/ Clifford Chance), I am quite aware that I might have to prove any potentially defamatory allegations in a court of law.  It is a risk every writer takes.  Pressing "publish" is not something I do without some amount of thought.

In this case, I would have to produce a whole set of material that I have to hand, much of which is already on a disc given to Suffolk Police.  I was quite happy to provide any of this to Gilligan to help him with his story, but it is not something I can readily publish on a blog.  Much of it is emails between me and Matthew, as well as a whole set of screenshots.  In my own mind, however, I was absolutely satisfied that I could back every single line of my post up. 

I do also think anyone reading my post could reasonably assume that despite the story being fantastic, it is backed up on its face by enough screen shots, links and other material to give it some amount of credence.  It is plainly not a work of fantasy: there is a difference.  A blog does not receive over 300,000 hits if it routinely publishes nonsense.  His comment is, I believe, simply indicative of his completely dismissive and condescending attitude to bloggers in general.  I do not "go with any old stuff I find on Google", as I shall demonstrate below.

A Lesson For Gilligan In Research

Gilligan's comment about Google searches is presumably referring to Matthew's fraud conviction in 2004, which I refer to in my post.  Gilligan dismisses this as not being a proven link because Matthew Brown is a common name, and it could quite easily have been someone else.

He is correct, which is why a responsible blogger or a thorough, investigative journalist would look for other evidence such as conducting a search of paper copies of newspapers to see if there is provable link.

If Gilligan had done the latter he would have found around 8 reports about this particular story at the time.  The one below, from the Scottish Daily Mail, produces a photograph that shows exactly which Matthew Brown was involved, together with his month and year of birth (August 1984).  This is the Matthew Brown, who is the fraudster who has recently worked as Barrett's campaign manager, whose image has appeared in the media, and whom I have met in person.


I therefore find it offensive that Gilligan is lecturing me about research and evidence, when he could have found the above evidence himself with a very small amount of work.  There is also a great deal of irony about the fact that the only evidence I can find for the existence of MattPac is a shitty one page website that comes up after a Google search.  More about that in a moment. 

Gilligan also says he was aware, before my blog was published, of various pages on the Internet claiming that Matthew's real name is Matthew Brown, that he has been convicted of fraud, was expelled from the Tory Party, and has pretended to be various incarnations of British and European aristocracy. 

How interesting.  I can't find any such pages, and I've spent quite a long time looking.  I did have them, screenshot from 2008, but I cannot find them in searches four years later.  I'm particularly interested in two things:
  • Any page on the Internet that relates to Matthew's alleged expulsion from the Tory Party.  I've only ever seen it on his fake Wikipedia entry as "Sir Matthew Brown".  This was deleted in April 2008, which I screenshot at the time and have since held privately.  I can't find a retrieved or cached copy.  
  • Any page on the Internet that claims Matthew pretended to be a member of the European aristocracy.  The sole example that I know of his claiming this was a handwritten card which we discovered signed "Paris, Prince von Thurn und Taxis" that he left at Thornham Magna church in Suffolk.
If Gilligan can enlighten me as to how he was aware of these two specific allegations from the Internet, before having read my post, I'd be delighted.

A Lying Blogger Who Can't Read Properly

When challenged in the comments section on various points about his second story, Gilligan behaved extremely rudely to me.  He condescendingly asked me "for a second time.. to read what I said properly".  He said that given my "repeated misrepresentation of what I've written", he is not sure that if I had provided him with more material he would have taken it seriously. 

As if this were a matter of terrible importance to his pride, Gilligan wrote that I was prompted by his story to publish my blog post.  I responded that "For the record, your piece did not prompt me to write my blog.  I have had the material linking the real life fraud with the fake QC profile and fake MattPac profile for some time.  An email exchange with Matthew prompted me to publish it.  I thought it would help you with your story: instead you have responded with personal rudeness and a complete lack of grace."

He responded to his by doubting my honestly: "Nor, frankly, do I believe your claim that your blog wasn't prompted by what I wrote."   Sigh: not for the first time do I have to publish something to prove to a dick on the internet that I'm not a liar:
 
I think this is quite self-explanatory.  I believed Matthew was behind the fake Mountbatten account.  I tweeted about this on the evening of 22 October, which led my friend Peter Lord to alert me to the BBC story about Matthew, which  led on to my reading Gilligan's exposé of 21 October.  As a result of my tweets Matthew emailed me in a panic, out of the blue.  I was fully prepared to let everything go until I became annoyed with him once again and decided it was time to reveal the full facts I knew about him.

Gilligan seemed a natural port of call because his article, for all its poor research, did undoubtedly have the effect of Barrett resigning.  My story was therefore now of much greater public interest, but Gilligan's article did not "prompt" me to blog.  My annoyance at Matthew did.   As matters turned out, I did not speak to Gilligan, but blogged myself.  It's a minor point but it shows up Gilligan's vanity and his willingness to doubt perfectly decent people's integrity, on a national newspaper's website, with nothing to back it up.  He is wrong.

Matthew and MattPac

I had possessed all of my material on Matthew for a long time.  I made the link between Banffers QC and Matthew, who had defrauded me in real life, at a pub with my barrister friend Adam on 24 August 2011.  I was alerted by Adam to a new fake twitter account in which Matthew was posing as the CEO of MattPac, together with a related Facebook page, Wikipedia entry.  Finally I found  the MattPac website on which Gilligan seems to have placed so much reliance.  I took a day or so to prepare my approach to Matthew.

I emailed him on 26 August 2011 and put to him (amongst other things):


His response was:


Note the line: "On-Line... I have let my imagination have free rein".  As a result of this exchange, Matthew deleted all Internet presence of MattPac, a process which was completed by 23.00 on 27 August 2011.  I am not persuaded that had MattPac in any way been a real fund, Matthew would have deleted all presence of it in August 2011.

Matthew also agreed to disappear for good from Twitter, to leave my friends alone, to keep away from my home area, and to pay me £25 a week off the £1080 CCJ I held against him.  He broke at least three of these four agreements.

HM Prison Wayland

Further, I now believe I know why Matthew was "away from it all in 2010": this letter in "Inside Time" suggests that there was a Matthew Brown at this time in HMP Wayland.  Inside Time is an online publication for prisoners.  In it the author writes about his Roman Catholic faith (a common theme from Matthew's Banffers days). 

Again, Gilligan might huff and puff that it's a common name and you can't rely on an internet search.  I agree that it isn't definitive proof (though I do have three other pieces of evidence to back this up) but it is a useful pointer for a proper investigative journalist to search official records.  I have not been able to do so (I am a mere "anonymous blogger"), but should I be correct, we would have to believe that Matthew came straight out of prison and a year later set up a neo-conservative political fund with offices in New York and Washington, and was appointed its "global CEO " as he claimed (on Twitter).

MattPac?  I am quite sure it does not exist for all of the reasons given.  Given its existence is the very heart of Gilligan's first article, he should have done more research and not been so ready to publish.  This is shoddy work, Gilligan, and to use your words - it is not good enough!

Best in Breed: A Lesson For Gilligan

Finally, we move to Gilligan's sustained assault on bloggers and blogging.  All of it is of course made - deliciously - from a blog, the irony of which has been noted by plenty who saw the exchange.

I understand that Gilligan's employers are keen to develop blogging as a future business model.  They perhaps ought to send their employees on some courses to understand the medium better and to not display such obvious contempt for it:






This tweet was one in a series between Gilligan and the respected journalist, blogger and lawyer David Allen Green.  What I think we saw was a clash between old and new: the pompous voice of (not terribly impressive) investigative journalism sneering down its nose at the new medium of blogging.  As DAG pointed out to Gilligan: "Your bluster and arrogance in response to critical comments is misconceived.  But it also short-sighted. The more sensible journalists now work with and not against bloggers in their respective areas."

He is absolutely correct in the last respect: I have received a lot more information on Matthew from all sorts of people who have seen my post.  I have forwarded it all, along with all the source material that backs up by post, to Robin Henry at the Sunday Times.  Robin is not of Gilligan's "breed": he is charming, polite and has fully acknowledged my contribution on Twitter.  Robin and his colleagues have apparently done an excellent job on following up leads from this and there is a full page spread published on Matthew today.  As I suspected, my knowledge was the tip of the iceberg.


It is a valuable service that all this has now come up and I look forward to reading the story after I've published this post.  The Sunday Times can reach a far wider audience than my blog and can warn people of Matthew's activities.  Matthew fully deserves the exposure.  It is an excellent demonstration of what DAG talks about: bloggers and journalists cooperating to get the truth into the public domain.  Andrew Gilligan has nothing but his own rudeness, condescension and arrogance to thank for the fact that the piece is not in the Sunday Telegraph.


UPDATE: Quite remarkable.  Alerted to the above, here is Gilligan's rude response.  I have reported him and await the Telegraph's reply.  I read this as a defamation of me by the Daily Telegraph, on their website, which is read by tens of thousands of people:






30 comments:

  1. No, it's not nice for "journalists" to rip-off one's work & then claim credit for it.

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  2. Fascinating. It must be quite exciting (if that's not too strong a term) for you to get more definitive answers about those things you suspect, but could not pursue, once the Times publishes the story. A good example of how citizen and professional journalism can work together. Bravo, Peter :)

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  3. Very interesting, well written and researched blog. Oh the irony! An anonymous blogger showing a Telegraph journalist how it should be done!

    Intriguing that Mr Brown was apparently within the Justice System prior to his voluntary work with NACRO/Barrett, wouldn't NACRO be privy to his records? Wouldn't that be your first port of call before giving access to your bank account to your new campaign manager for the PCCs? Or a CRB at the very least.

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    1. You cannot carry out a CRB check unless a role qualifies for one. Brown's main role as a volunteer was updating records on a database. This would not qualify for a CRB check. PCC candidates and their campaign teams are not CRB or security checked either the whole process relies on candidates self-disclosing their criminal records, which is a massive flaw. It is important to note Mr Barrett said he was aware that Matthew Brown had a fraud related conviction, yet still allowed him unrestricted access to his bank account.

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    2. I beg to differ. NACRO works with offenders resettlement. Offenders are classed as vulnerable adults, when working with vulnerable adults, voluntary, paid, hands on or handling their confidential data on a system a person would require a CRB check.

      If the Wayland connection is accurate, which, knowing peter's attention to detail I'd believe it to be, Matthew Brown would himself be on resettlement and even probation.

      If I was a journalist, like Gilligan, who still smells a rat, I'd look further into how these two met. He's right, it doesn't add up. Nobody at Barretts age, experience and status would be that gullible, especially when you've worked with offenders because there's always safeguarding training involved, which includes anti-conditioning training.

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    3. Did Barrett say he knew about the fraud conviction? I can't find that. He said tax evasion

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    4. CRB checks are not a good check anyway, don't know why anyone bothers with them. They are only valid on the day they are issued and Ian Huntley case indicates how easy it was to evade soft intelligence being passed on. Bichard enquiry hasn't changed much.

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  4. ________________________________________
    From: Anya Palmer
    Sent: 28 October 2012 11:44
    To: Anya Palmer
    Subject: comment

    Excellent post. A number of points occur to me:

    1. I too find it hard to believe that Gilligan did suspect Matthew Brown to be a fraud until he read your blog. If he did, why publish a story based almost entirely on statements emanating (directly or indirectly) from Brown himself?

    2. I expressly asked Gilligan in my comment on his "blog" what allegations he actually put to Brown prior to publishing the original story, given he appears to refer to allegations first set out in your blog post, which had not yet been published. He refused to answer me and responded with abuse about bloggers instead.

    3. Nowhere does Gilligan actually say that he tried to speak to Mervyn Barrett directly, rather than rely on what Brown was telling him. Again this seems strange if, as he claims, he suspected all along that Brown was a fraud but couldn't say so for legal reasons. This was a very serious allegation indeed to make about Mervyn Barrett with putting it to him directly.

    4. I agree with you that Gilligan needs lessons in blogging. For example a blogger does not expect to be able to bluff about their sources ("various pages on the internet") and get away with it - a blogger would link to their source in their piece so that their sources are fully transparent and acknowledged. I suspect Gilligan gambled that he too could find your sources if he looked; he didn't realise that would not work because the information is no longer available online. Had he followed basic rules of blogging in writing his "blog", he might have avoided damaging his credibility further in this way.

    5. The original story was a serious and embarrassing mistake for Gilligan raising serious issues about his competence. But what is even worse than the competence issues is that Gilligan's face-saving exercise raises serious issues about his credibility, as he appears to have lied in his account of both (a) the state of his knowledge when publishing the original story and (b) his reasons for not contacting you subsequently. If I were his employer I would be looking closely at both the competence and the credibility issues.

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  5. I find it absolutely unfathomable that Gilligan should publish a story and subsequently claim to have known that elements of it were untrue, in order to avoid admitting to his poor research. It seems rather like saying that you can't possibly have assaulted person 'x' because at that time you were busy murdering person 'y'. Bonkers.

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  6. Hahaha. Excellent analogy, mightynobble.

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  7. I'm Gillian Radcliffe... former PCC candidate for South Yorkshire. I'm a qualified journalist and have previously worked as a communications director with the police service and with government departments. I have been giving Mervyn Barrett (unpaid) support with media responses for the last few days. I just wanted to chip in with a couple of comments.
    After a two-hour interview with Mervyn Barrett two days ago, Andrew Gilligan has finally blogged about the matter again today(http://bit.ly/UUZbb0). There is still no correction of last week's damaging errors; just another barbed criticism of Mervyn Barrett, the victim of a very serious crime. With errors: he says Mervyn knew of Matthew's fraud conviction. Mervyn actually said he was told Matthew had been convicted some time ago for tax evasion. The implication is that he knew he was dealing with a conman. That's not was Mervyn said. I was present during the interview and was making notes.
    I find Andrew Gilligan's determined stance against Mervyn Barrett very peculiar. Even after a no-holds-barred interview on Friday, he walked away shaking his head and saying Mervyn's account didn't convince him and he didn't know what to do with the information. I'd have thought the obvious thing to do was report it, impartially and to offset last week's unsubstantiated and very damaging story with some balance. Let readers decide what to think rather than playing judge and jury.
    Peter, you've done a brilliant job and many of us should be grateful for your thoroughness and sense of duty in exposing this issue.
    Just one small factual point though (which you had no way of knowing): Mervyn did not resign because of Andrew Gilligan's neo-con story. He decided to resign because Matthew had delivered terrible news of lack of progress for his campaign in the opinion polls. The opinion polling appears to have been a total fantasy but Mervyn didn't know that and decided he should not continue the fight for Lincolnshire so he planned to step down before the withdrawal deadline. That was on Friday 19th Oct, before the neo-con story and your unmasking of Matthew, though of course everything got swept away for the sudden tsunami of publicity.

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  8. Some people are clearly feeling threatened by us bloggers. Keep up the good work Peter.

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  9. What a travasty of an election campaign, You couldn't make it up.
    The whole election needs setting aside. The way it's going, Lincolnshire will end up with it's number one trouble maker as its PCC.

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  10. I ake it you meen David Bowles(God for bid)

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  11. Gilligan has form for this sort of thing... check here http://liberalconspiracy.org/2008/11/25/andrew-gilligans-false-allegations/

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  12. As a former (and fully trained) journalist who prefers blogging, can I just say well done Peter. Gilligans responses scream of fear of a new medium and highlights that often the 'old school' professionals lack the skills needed to survive in media as it stands now. Leave the old timer to his falsities and irregularities. It's obvious from very public interactions who has behaved in a professional and proper manner. One up for anonymous bloggers ;)

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  13. Papers would be worth buying if articles were as detailed and well sourced as this. Well done.

    Although I'd agree about Gilligan's behavior I have to say I do agree with him thinking Mervyn Barrett is not the victim he's trying to portray.

    Many things don't ring true. Even his Yorkshire terrier can't lie straight.

    We must remember what role he was running for. He would have been more careful than he makes out to have been.

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    1. I'm not aware Mervyn has a Yorkshire terrier. If he did, I'm sure it would be a good sort.

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  14. This is the page I found on 21 October, listing Brown's fake titles (but not any bogus European royal titles) and his alleged expulsion fronm the Conservatives: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Sir-Matthew-Brown,-4th-Baronet-of-London

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  15. Thou doth protest too much, Peter. Gilligan shot your fox. Get over it.

    The PCC election scheme is a can of worms - suggest everyone start asking questions about that instead, before it is too late.

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    1. "Gilligan shot your fox"? Who could possibly think that I wonder?

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  16. Peter

    I wonder who is writing some of these replies..?

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    1. I thought to query that myself. 10,500 people viewed the blog yesterday: there was not one negative comment.

      Guess it figures that there will always be someone who either fails to understand the very simple message of the post, or who has some 'other interest' in defending Gilligan and therefore comments from an anonymous profile in odd, pompous and antiquated language.

      The commentator's second point is valid though: I bet there are indeed people out there right now, with an interest in and asking questions about the PCC election. I gather Gilligan himself wrote an article, just yesterday, on it!

      As for me, I shall take this sensible advice and just "get over it". I've other things to think about, like my Christmas shopping. These look nice: http://www.johnlewis.com/231046474/Product.aspx?s_pccid=pc_gs_700_100000&

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    2. "Indigo" isn't AG, it's this person here, involved in the failed NOGOE campaign to stop the Olympic equestrian events in Greenwich Park, which was championed by Andrew Gilligan in his long-gone column for greenwich.co.uk, and latterly on his Telegraph blog. She ended up being blocked by local websites for her rudeness, and lost her gig tweeting for NOGOE because she spouted off some bizarre anti-Irish stuff one day. The whole NOGOE campaign ended up looking rather stupid, but Gilligan remained (and presumably still does) a standard-bearer.

      Of course, it's not just anonymous blog types Gilligan tries to demean - I'm not particularly anonymous these days, but found myself branded a "lesser-known local media personality" in a Telegraph blog post about the trouble some Greenwich shops had during the Olympics, quoting me out of context to misrepresent me, but not linking back to the blog. All this was because a couple of us had taken the mickey out of him on Twitter. Must be nice to get paid to pursue private vendettas - we all know his failings, and none of us are perfect, but this doesn't reflect very well on this employers at the Telegraph.

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  17. Gilligan - rude and wrong? I find that hard to believe.... :-)

    Excellent work, Peter and full credit to the Sunday Times for running the proper story with appropriate credit for Peter's hard graft.

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  18. Fascinating reading - many thanks for taking the time to construct such a comprehensive blog post. Andrew Gilligan does himself a disservice in not acknowledging your hard work.

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  19. Proper hardcore blogging, PME2013. Gilligan will soon be on his travels I suspect. ;o)

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  20. So which Candidate gets to benifit out of this? What part did David Bowles play? We know he played some part but to what depth?

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    Replies
    1. David Bowles is standing for a newly registered Political Party, with Gary Walker as its leader and another member of David Bowles family as its nomination officer.

      As this Party has a very political agenda who can he discribe himself as Independant?

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  21. So "strident certainty based on by inadequate evidence" is now a bad thing? Well, at least Gilligan has moved on from the Kelly business.

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