Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A summary of the holes in Lucy Allan's explanation of 'Unless you die'

10 reasons why I cannot believe Lucy Allan’s explanation of the ‘faked death threat’

Following my post of 26th December 2015, in which I revealed Lucy Allan’s astonishing email to me on Christmas Eve, I thought it would be useful to summarise the reasons why I cannot believe Lucy Allan’s claim that the words ‘Unless you die’, which she admits adding to a constituent’s email, came from a separate single email.

Just to clarify, ‘Rusty’, who was the constituent in question, is an online pseudonym of Adam Watling and he is the son of one of the local Councillors. It is Rusty who was called by Lucy Allan on 14th December 2015 a ‘creepy son who is a stalker’ in a facebook post that she subsequently removed.

Here are my 10 reasons (I am sure there are more and this story is still developing):

1.   Lucy Allan has now given a new explanation which conflicts with her previous statements  

In her official statement published on her facebook page on 11th December 2015 and on her website the following day she states:

 Equally, I have acknowledged that a recent Facebook posting made by me drew upon two separate anonymous communications sent to me online.’

She has restated her claim that the words ‘Unless you die’ came from a separate single email on other occasions and yet on 24th December 2015 she stated to me by email:

‘Please note the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.’

To be consistent with her previous statements Lucy Allan should have said ‘which include a communication’ but instead she said ‘include communications’ plural. The sole point of my email to Lucy Allan was to seek clarification on why she has not published the single email which she says contains the words ‘Unless you die’ and yet, rather than giving me a clear explanation, she has given me an explanation which is at odds with her previous statements !

2.   It makes no sense that Lucy Allan has so far failed to publish the email which contains the words ‘Unless you die’

Many people have been calling for some time for Lucy Allan to publish the second email which she claims contains the words ‘Unless you die’. Rather than explaining her reason for not publishing it, she has either ignored the question or has blocked people from her facebook page (as she did with me when I asked her the question).  Her failure to publish the email is continuing to lose her support from people who supported her at the May 2015 election. You would think that she would publish the anonymous email to help to stop her losing support , especially when she knows she has such a slim majority of 730 and so needs to hang on to every bit of support she has got.

What Lucy Allan has told us is that ‘the Metropolitan Police are investigating a cyber harassment campaign’ (her statement of 11th December 2015) and that ‘the police have a file containing various online malicious communications, which include communications containing the words to which you refer.’ (her email to me of 24th December 2015).

As well as the confusion over the number of communications in question this begs the question ‘have the Metropolitan Police instructed Lucy Allan not to publish the email(s)?’ I would find that hard to believe because Lucy Allan has admitted that the email with the words ‘Unless you die’ does not constitute a threat, she says the email is anonymous and she was very quick to publish an extract of Rusty’s email and indeed she was very quick to release the tape of the phone death threat. When she is under so much pressure at the moment you would think that she would do the obvious thing to help win back some support which is to publish the elusive email that so many people are crying out for.

3.   Lucy Allan introduced her facebook post by saying ‘This is from Rusty from Dawley’

Straight away she represents that ‘Rusty’ was the author of the whole of the text she quotes. Not only does she name ‘Rusty’ as the only author of the text without naming the other anonymous author of the words ‘Unless you die’ but she says ‘This is from Rusty’ making it very clear that she wants us to believe Rusty wrote the whole of the text including the words ‘Unless you die’.

4.   Lucy Allan’s use of quotation marks makes us believe Rusty wrote ‘Unless you die’

Lucy Allan introduces the alleged extract of Rusty’s email with a double quotation mark and then there is no further quotation mark until right at the end of her quotation, which gives the clear impression that the words ‘Unless you die’ came from Rusty. There is no quotation mark after ‘hope’ and before ‘Unless’ which should  have been the case if Lucy Allan wanted us to believe the words ‘Unless you die’ came from a separate author. 

5.   Simply quoting the three words ‘Unless you die’ is meaningless

Lucy Allan has said that these words were posted as an example of ‘unacceptable online abuse’. However these three words on their own make no sense. Surely, if Lucy Allan had received an anonymous email containing those words she should have published the whole of that email or enough of that email to allow us to understand the context in which the words ‘Unless you die’ had been written.   

6.   Adding ‘Unless you die’ fits perfectly with Rusty’s email to turn it into an apparent death threat

Isn’t it strange that, out of all the examples of daily online abuse that Lucy Allan says she receives, she chose to extract only the three words of ‘Unless you die’ from another single email and, rather than quoting other parts of that email, she decided to add just those three words to Rusty’s email, the effect being to turn three words which are meaningless on their own into something that appears like a death threat from Rusty ? Those three words were added immediately after Rusty’s words of ‘in which case there is no hope’. They were not shown in a separate paragraph and they were not even shown on a separate line as the words ‘Unless you’ immediately followed ‘ in which case there is no hope’ on the same line with the word ‘die’ then appearing on the next line. 

7.   Lucy Allan altered Rusty’s email to make it appear worse than it was

Lucy Allan did not just add the words ‘Unless you die’. She actually misquoted Rusty’s email as follows:

(1)   Lucy Allan omitted altogether the first 5 paragraphs of Rusty’s email which in my view were polite and made very valid points. Rusty’s comments, which Rusty took from a template from anti-bombing campaigners, appealed to her to oppose Syrian air strikes while offering an alternative approach to defeating ISIL.

(2)  Lucy Allan omitted the signing-off words that Rusty had put on his email which were:

‘Think about it, yeah?



(3)    In the text from Rusty’s email that Lucy Allan did publish she changed Rusty’s text of:

‘Look, I know that you’re probably just a robot or at the very least a person so detached from reality that they have no empathy for anyone but their super rich buddies and benefactors…’

to her altered version of :

‘Look, I know that you’re just a robot or at least a person so detached from reality that you have no empathy for anyone but your super rich buddies and benefactors…’  

Lucy Allan must have spent some time consciously making these changes, the effect of which was to make Rusty’s email appear more like a personal attack on her. Why else would she have changed ‘they’ to ‘you’ and ‘their’ to ‘your’ ?

8.   Lucy Allan’s facebook explanation makes little sense

After Rusty pointed out that Lucy Allan was wrong to attribute the words ‘Unless you die’ to him she posted on her facebook an explanation which makes very little sense:

‘ Re Rustygate: I posted actual comments made to me on the same day, although not in the same email. Comments were added to the post as they came in. I posted them to show examples of the type of unacceptable online abuse that comes in most days and that most people tolerate silently.
The comments were not posted to discredit any individual. ‘’Rusty’’ could have been anyone, or a wholly fictional person. He chose to identify himself and came forward with a surname. At that point I took the post down’. 

Note how Lucy Allan is therefore telling us that the words ‘Unless you die’ must have been sent to her in an email dated the same date as Rusty’s email of 27th November 2015. However, she did not post Rusty’s doctored email on her facebook page until 1st December 2015. So, what can she mean when she says ‘comments were added to the post as they came in’ and why did it take her 4 days to post Rusty’s email plus the words ‘Unless you die’ ?

I also cannot accept her words that ‘The comments were not posted to discredit any individual’. I think they were because she named him, albeit a pseudonym, and she identified the town where he lived. I believe that Lucy Allan was clearly looking to ‘name and shame’ from her words ‘So starting today I will publish it – you have been warned!’

9.   Lucy Allan’s twitter explanation seeks to blame Rusty

On 1st December 2015 Lucy Allan tweeted to News Editor Alex Wickham:

‘@ WikiGuido have emailed u. Rusty is a fake name. I posted his troll comments to expose it and later updated my post with further comments.’

This comment and subsequent responses from many angry people can still be seen on Lucy Allan’s twitter account, as of today, and it makes interesting reading. In this comment from Lucy Allan there is clearly no sign of any remorse for the misrepresentation of Rusty’s email. On the contrary, it is more of an attack on Rusty than an apology to him or to the many people who were misled by her comment. 

Alex Wickham works for the political blog Guido Fawkes and on 2nd December 2015 Guido Fawkes published the following explanation from Lucy Allan that she had given to them:

“I took the unpleasant stuff from one of his emails and posted it on my Facebook to expose some of the relentless stuff we get. More stuff then came back by response, which I then added to my original post. I added more of the abuse received to my face book”

Sadly, this explanation makes little sense to me. What does Lucy Allan mean by ‘More stuff then came back by response’ – who from?

10.               Lucy Allan blames Rusty for the ‘faked death threat’

I find it incredible that Lucy Allan stated the following in her email to me of 24th December 2015:

For the record it was the son of a Labour Councillor, who falsely claimed I had faked a death threat. This was a bizarre and twisted claim. The reality was, I re posted words on my Facebook page that were sent to me by someone using a false name. I did not suggest at any point  those words amounted to a death threat.  I did not 'make up' the words used. MPs routinely receive this kind of material including me.’

My view of this is that Lucy Allan seems to be in denial as to what she has done but to actually blame the victim for her own actions I find hard to comprehend.

Where to go from here?

My hope is that Lucy Allan will speak to the media upon her return to her office on 4th January 2016 as she was generally unavailable for comment in the run-up to Christmas. Hopefully we will get closer to the truth over the ‘Unless you die’ email if she speaks with the media.

In the meantime, I would suggest that any Telford constituent who is also unhappy with the non-publication of the ‘Unless you die’ email contacts  Lucy Allan at  and , . Please make sure you include your full name and address and you should receive an acknowledgement to say Lucy Allan aims to respond to you within 5-10 working days.

Neil Phillips

30th December 2015