The NHS Accounts Saga, Updated

A Response, Rebuttal and Updates regarding the Fake Nurses Twitter Accounts Story.


A response regarding Criticism of the Fake Nurses Twitter Accounts Story

22/4/2020 : 20:00.

Myself and the team involved have, naturally, come in for a great deal of criticism over this matter, from various angles. Mainly concerning the lack of evidence (so far).

You will recall I have stated numerous times that there have are key legal reasons for further developments, regarding data gathering methods used by some of our contributors and legal protection under 'Public Interest'.

In addition, there is ongoing data analysis to be done. More data has been provided to us which has been parked for the meantime.

I stated from the outset, quite clearly, that this was the opening of the process, not the culmination. I was clear, from the offset, that further work would be required, however I understand in an era of instant 24 hour news gratification that there are some demanding everything, now.

Regardless, we know the story that we have, and we have full confidence in the data analysed so far.

In addition, the statements from the DHSC, Twitter and Hootsuite in regard to this matter do not concern us in the slightest. The former (and other Government departments) has form for this kind of activity and the latter have long form for taking a 'see no evil' approach. I note the understandably careful wording of the statements from all three.

Understandably, 'Fact Checkers' (some with integrity, some less so) and various media outlets have stated that 'no evidence has been supplied as yet'. I have no problem with these articles, they are, indeed, factual in saying so. I had hoped that they would await developments before judgement but I clearly underestimated both the interest in the story and the requirements of the news cycle.

This story is one whose timescale does not fit the 'splash it today, forget it tomorrow' media plan, especially not in the current environment of crisis, where even devastating stories one day get swamped by new headlines the next.

Mea Culpa : Did I post too early, with too much ? In hindsight, I would say yes. I had little idea of the traction that would result. Strangely enough, I'd posted on this matter a few days before - to almost silence. Om that, I would hold my hand up. On the story as a whole > no.

On to news:

We are quite used to daily threats of violence and death we receive in our work as Anti-Racism / Anti-Far Right Activists, but today is new. We have received threats of a legal nature regarding this matter, demanding the posts be deleted. You will note that the posts are still online, and will remain so. Should we come under charges of libel or defamation we most certainly have enough to go to court with.

Do we have enough to confirm a singular point of control for nearly all of these accounts ? : Undoubtedly, yes.
Do we have enough to confirm lead involvement of a singular individual with links formerly to the Department involved and currently to a commissioned agency of the latter ? : Undoubtedly, yes.
Do we have enough to confirm almost all of these accounts used photos of genuine former and current NHS / Medical staff without permission ? : Undoubtedly, yes.

There are 31 people working on this in total. Most are neutral politically and two do data analysis for the police and have volunteered their services. We are naturally concerned about our legal position as regards some methods of data gathering of contributors. We will publish, in full, for free, to all, when ready - but we’re rather keen on not going to jail for it. I'm sure  - at least I hope - you will understand that.

And no, there will be no crowdfunding, no appeals for funds, no requests for donations. That sort of political grifting is something I've written abut, often. Thank you all for your offers of funding, please donate to a deserving charity instead.

I have no doubt, of course, as to the anticipated response from this statement. I've already had 3411 comments from 1733 different accounts in the last 24 hours (of those critical, 92% are of course, anonymous) It is what it is.

Two further options remain open to us to be explored : Parliamentary Privilege, and the Parliamentary Select Committee.

I am aware of the public flogging that has been experienced by previous whistleblowers, usually from, but not limited to, the Right Wing media. I've seen it happen. I've seen lives wrecked. We seek a way to deliver this and remain in one piece, legally, financially, mentally.

I have been spending a great deal of time online repeatedly answering the questions I've already answered to others. I expect, after tonight, I will have to do so again, in addition to my other responsibilities, work-wise and volunteer-wise.

I fully expect multiple questions. Only accounts with a genuine name and a genuine bio will be responded to - and that, when I can.

John O’Connell - @jdpoc
Far Right Watch Group -