Sunday, 3 January 2016

Highland Titles Whining About The Independent Press Standards Organisation

Today we take a look at Highland Titles whining that an apology from the Press & Journal wasn’t prominent enough, while cranking out wholly fake newspaper stories to harass their critics.

Well here's a thing... Douglas Wilson, of Highland Titles and applyehic fame, is one of the signatories to a letter in the Guardian to Sir Alan Moses complaining about their treatment at the hands of IPSO.

Wilson's grievance is described as ‘Complained about an obviously inaccurate article in a Scottish newspaper. Upheld, but the correction was tiny compared to the damaging article.

This refers to a story in the Press & Journal that reported criticism of Highland Titles by the operator of the 'Clan Donald Worldwide' Facebook page as coming from Clan Donald. The P&J published an apology but Highland Titles felt it wasn't prominent enough. Erroneous though the attribution was, the article could hardly have been said to misrepresent clan sentiment – the Convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, Sir Malcolm McGregor, wrote the following earlier this year
"The lawyers have clarified that purchasing a souvenir plot of land in Scotland does not mean the purchaser owns the plot. It is still owned, in this case, by Highland Titles. 
The lawyers have also confirmed that purchasers of souvenir plots are emphatically not landowners. 
Separately, though connected, the titles aspect of this saga also lacks authenticity. 
First, only the Lyon Court can confer genuine titles in Scotland. No one else, and certainly not Highland Titles. 
Second, there can only be one laird or title per geographical location. Highland Titles uses Glencoe. The genuine laird, or chieftain, MacIain of Glencoe (Clan Donald), was murdered on this day in 1692, the day of the infamous massacre. The title belongs to him and his descendants, and no one else. To suggest, as Highland Titles does, that there can be thousands of lairds or Lords of Glencoe is false. 
Third, the actual place from which the title ‘of Glencoe’ is taken is in fact woodland at Duror, 10 miles away and has nothing to do with Glencoe geographically. 
Fourth, the title of ‘laird’ or indeed Lord/Lady is not, and never has been, associated with a souvenir plot of land. Neither Lyon Court nor anyone else would recognise such a claim in respect of souvenir plots. Lyon has said as much in correspondence. 
Highland Titles tend to work overseas where there is less knowledge of these matters. They rarely, if ever, operate in Scotland where they would be laughed out of court. Which is exactly what has happened. 
Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor
Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs"
Additionally, the notion expressed in the P&J article quotations that taking ‘Glencoe’ – known to history for the massacre of 1692 – as a title might be seen as insensitive is well-established. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry for Lord Strathcona, who built Glencoe House:
"When news leaked out that he had chosen the title Lord Glencoe, after a glen where Scottish chieftains had been slaughtered in 1692, a glen he had only recently acquired, colleagues prevailed on him to reconsider. He created the name Strathcona, a Gaelic variant on Glencoe."
Having got the P&J article taken down and an apology printed, an organisation so concerned with setting the record straight will no doubt be keen to apologise to the Earl of Bradford over the fake Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard stories reporting an outbreak of food poisoning at his restaurant, for which the Earl believes Highland Titles was responsible (with very good reason, we would say, having closely reviewed the evidence. It further goes without saying that if the Earl’s allegations were false, Highland Titles would certainly have taken legal action).

Highland Titles also owes an apology to Rob Gibson MSP, the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs spokesman, having fabricated a bunch of quotes from him in support of square-foot lairdship schemes for a fake Daily Record article they created. The quotes inverted Gibson's actual statements. The ASA and Private Eye exposed Highland Titles' fake newspaper story server,, nearly 3 years ago now (although not specifically reporting the Daily Record/Rob Gibson fake – both the Record and Rob Gibson are, however, aware), so the apology is a little overdue.

The victims of Highland Titles’ dirty tricks and their applyehic operation must be staggered at the hypocrisy of them now crying foul. And over what – an unintended confusion (the P&J withdrew the article as soon as it was pointed out) for which Highland Titles received a printed apology. This from a company that cranks out wholly fake Daily Telegraph/Evening Standard/Daily Record stories to harass and bully their critics.

And the less said about Wilson's second IPSO complaint, this time against the Daily Record, the better. There are many points of interest in the complaint and we examine it in more detail in another post. Among the supposed inaccuracies which Douglas Wilson of Highland Titles complained of, to pick one example: ‘The complainant [Wilson] said that the CEO of the company, Dr Peter Bevis, does not live in Spean Bridge, as reported, but in Alderney. He had not lived in the Highlands since 2006.’

We have no doubt that for tax purposes Dr Bevis is domiciled in Alderney, but when a recent puff piece for Dr Bevis's bellringing centre begins, "A LOCHABER couple [Bevis and his wife] will be ringing in the New Year in style with the help of the 20 bells in the bell towers at their home [the bell towers are in their home near Spean Bridge, where Wilson says Bevis does not live and has not lived since 2006]." the accusation of inaccuracy Wilson levelled at the Record stretches credulity more than a little.

The Record offered an apology for this ;error'.

Highland Titles, on the other hand, remain wholly unapologetic about their own behaviour.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for keeping the spotlight on this mob. It's greatly appreciated in Glencoe.