I will state at the outset of this article that the actions outlined are not proven to originate with ‘Cure’ – at least yet. I will lay out the facts as I understand them to be and you can reach your own conclusions.
Since I wrote in February to expose the falsehood that has been deliberately entrenched in the public consciousness – that there were 400-1200 ‘excess’ deaths at Stafford Hospital – I’ve come in for a fair amount of abuse from supporters of the so-called “patients’ group” Cure the NHS. Cure‘s credibility will be severely damaged if the discrediting of Stafford’s mortality statistics becomes generally accepted, so I guess this is not surprising.
Some of it has been quite mild, for example calling me variations of an ‘irrelevant lefty’. Some has been much more ugly, such as ‘how dare you disrespect our dead!’ or calling me a misogynist and even a ‘friend of paedophiles’, accusations which are not only unfounded but also happen to be entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether my facts are correct (which I’ve found to be a consisten pattern when you present any facts that Cure‘s supporters disagree with).
But it appears that I’ve escaped fairly lightly so far and that some people associated with Cure might be prepared to go a lot further in order to cause trouble for, and to attempt to silence, people who present facts that are inconvenient to their self-appointed position as ‘saviours’ of the NHS – and, not insignificantly, the media’s ‘go-to’ group when any patient issues are discussed.
One critic of Cure on Twitter is a certain post-graduate student, whom I won’t name here, but who studies not a million miles from Stafford. A short time ago, an anonymous letter was sent to the student’s University, complaining about his/her comments on Twitter. Bear in mind that we’re talking about factual comments – issues of statistics, data input and sources etc.
This letter, shockingly, included information about ‘spent’ convictions from the student’s past – and threatened to send these details to the press if the university did not prevent the student from making comments challenging the basis of the claims on which Cure campaigns.
A ‘spent’ conviction, according to the ‘Ask the Police‘ website, is
a conviction which, under the terms of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, can be effectively ignored after a specified amount of time.
The law therefore does not consider spent convictions relevant to eligibility to a university place, and the student has done nothing wrong in not mentioning them to the university – if indeed they were not mentioned on the application, which they may have been anyway.
For someone to raise these legally and practically irrelevant matters with the university is deeply malicious. For someone to threaten to write to the newspapers about them if the student is not gagged, is blackmail and therefore deeply illegal.
As things stand, there is no evidence to directly link any particular individual to this letter. However, the specific reference to tweets about Cure inevitably suggest that it is from someone with a strong interest in quashing any views that undermine Cure‘s position in the media limelight.
While this malignant tactic is more extreme, it is unfortunately far from inconsistent with the aggressive and accusatory reaction by supporters of Cure to any challenge to their position or claims, even when purely addresses facts, as my own experience attests.
I understand that the matter of the letter is likely to be in the hands of the police very shortly, which is exactly the right response to attempted blackmail and coercion – and that the letter may be analysed for DNA and other trace evidence that could link it to a specific perpetrator or perpetrators. If and when I have more information, you’ll read it here.