Ill will in the Season of Goodwill

16 Dec

Some time ago, I agreed to  moderate a website – Scots Titles, which was set up to expose fake Scottish titles in much the same way as the Earl of Bradford’s Fake Titles website does.  I very recently, during this month in fact, became an administrator.

I was initially interested in those characters who pretended to be Clan Chiefs, but without any regard for the Office of the Lord Lyon, the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs or any other Scottish authority.  These people often set up clan Facebook and webpages and asked people to make donations to their fake clan society (which of course went straight into their pockets in most cases).  I don’t like to see descendants of the Scots Diaspora, who are interested in their Scottish Heritage, get conned by those who exploit that interest to fill their own pockets.

Then I became aware of the scam of selling 1 square foot of non-commercially viable land, mainly to people from overseas, with the promise that they would become “Scottish Lairds” and that they would be helping Scottish Conservation.  As a moderator of the site, I gathered evidence and wrote an article for the site “The Ludicrous Scottish Laird Scam“, which was published in the Clan Graham News.

It was at about this time that the site was cloned by an individual based in Alderney, whose telephone number is identical to that of the Fax Number for Highland Titles (screenshots of the information have been taken and stored on several computers).  That fake site, which is currently down (but copies of which have been stored), changed the article so as to favour the 1 sq ft laird schemes and (as was the case in cloned versions of the Earl of Bradford’s website) made personal attacks on the website’s founder, John Duncan of Sketraw.   I, of course, was added to the fake site to be ridiculed and defamed.  Of course, Highland Titles, and their owner Peter Bevis, claim to know nothing of any of this!

However, personal attacks based on facts gleaned from the internet and twisted to portray opponents as  “liars”,  “frauds”, “losers”, “failures” or worse,  in an attempt to deter them from further opposing them with their “lies on hate sites”, as Peter Bevis calls them, seems to be a favourite response to critics of Highland Titles.  Such behaviour, made me even more certain that these schemes are just another scam and only made me all the more determined to expose them.

To this end, I wrote a less academic article “Laird Scheme FAQs” for a lighter approach to the scam.  This drew an almost instant response from Dr Peter Bevis (though Highland Titles was not mentioned by name in the article) in the form of a diatribe against me scotstitles-faq.blogspot.com.   In it, Dr Bevis challenges my arguments, albeit with general information that is as much bluster as it is spin, but cannot resist personally attacking me.  This  he achieves through an ingenious mixture of innuendo,  half-truths, spin and outright lies.  He is particularly offended, it seems, by my use of my degrees and FSA Scot on my articles.  This as we shall see appears to be what psychologists call “projection” on his part.

Dr Bevis likes to describe himself as a “Philanthropist, Conservationist, Biologist” and to dubiously adopt the title “Professor” on the basis that , some 8 years ago, he held the post of Associate Professor in an American School of Medicine  (an American Associate Professor, it should be noted, is the equivalent of a University Lecturer in the UK).  He also used to have outdated post-nominals in his biography (peterbevis.co.uk/).  While his 3rd class BSc in Biology and his PhD appear to be real, his MIBiol & CBiol would seem to be well past their sell by date as, were he a still a member, he would be using the current form of post-nominal for his grade of membership.  Were he indeed a professor, who had maintained his CPD, he would surely have moved from CBiol to CSci (Source: Society of Biology). There is no record of Dr Bevis having maintained his Fellowship of the Zoological Society of London (FZS), to which he was elected in 1979, either.

Thus, one might be tempted to say that his “use of bogus post-nominal initials marks [him] out as very insecure” (a direct quote from Peter Bevis about me); as well might his adoption of the honorific “Professor”, to which, as we have seen, he would not be entitled in the UK.  Very much a case of the pot calling the kettle black, to my mind.

(NOTE: Since this blog was published, Dr Bevis has amended his biographical notes to drop the honorific “Professor” and the Institute of Biology post-nominals.  This practice is all too familiar to watchers of Highland Titles, as when they are caught out on an issue – such as claiming to be a charity – they modify the website, claim that it has always been that way, and brand their critics liars.)

In a recent blog that I have reported to the appropriate authorities, I was described by the author (whose style it must be said is very similar to that of Peter Bevis across a range of examples I and others have seen) – as though he or she has heard many reports about me – as being “…not simply inadequate but unpleasant in a bitter and twisted way.”   Let me return the compliment: it perfectly describes Highland Titles’ attitude and behaviour (and, therefore, that of it’s owners) towards its critics, despite its much vaunted popularity of having more than 100,000 meaningless ‘Likes’ on Facebook.  If they were the genuine enterprise they claim to be, they would not need to resort to such unscrupulous tactics.

I am not going to go through the arguments that I (and others) have made more than amply elsewhere, but instead will point you to a website that exposes the full of gamut of Bevis family scams –   highlandtitlesscam.wordpress.com/  – and let you make up your own minds as to whether Peter J R Bevis and / or Highland Titles are trustworthy or not.

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