This entry was posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007 at 12:43 pm and is filed under The Political Weblog Movement.


I think from here on in it’s pretty safe to say that if Iain Dale claims to be outraged by someone’s behaviour, there’s a very good chance that he’s not genuinely outraged about the behaviour itself, but instead is merely upset that a member/supporter of an opposing party is gettsing away with it.

Further, he likes to suggest or claim that anyone who points this out is guilty of… partisanship.

Iain Dale is leading bloggers in the wrong direction, and when he engages in purely partisan attacks and screams ‘partisan attack’ every time he gets caught at it, he undermines the credibility of all political bloggers.

For those who came in late, here’s a report on Garry and Scotch pressing Iain Dale for answers to some pretty valid and straightforward questions. What followed was Iain making a final attempt to fob off both questions and close the debate.

Garry has his final report here, and this report deals with Iain’s response to Scotch’s question.

As was reported here, Scotch had asked Iain why he had featured one story about council-election-level claims of paedophilia and not another, and Iain initially attempted to skip over the question by claiming to have no recollection (and questioning Scotch’s independence and motives).

What follows is a pretty remarkable faggot of fiction from Dale, which I’m going to break one twig at a time.

Iain’s comment appears in full here, and is fisked below:

Scotch, having now just had the extremely unpleasant task of trawling through Ireland’s archives I now know what you refer to.

Iain did not have to trawl through my archives; the relevant matter has been linked to prominently and repeatedly in recent days. All Iain had to do (if he truly was unable to remember a pretty definitive exchange from just over a year ago that he has been reminded of publicly and privately on a number of occasions since) was follow a readily-available hyperlink. Note also one of Iain’s favourite tones on his dog-whistle; “You should not bother reading [site which is critical of me] because it is boring, unpleasant, and/or a waste of your time.”

He emailed Guido Fawkes and I about an allegation he was making against a Guildford councillor.

Of course, I also presented some pretty compelling evidence at the time, but Iain chooses not to mention that.

At the time I was on the Prescott case.

Here, Iain gives the impression that he was busy pursuing a serial liar and sex pest at the time. Not so. The relevant email exchange (which you can see here) took place between 1:43pm and 3:45pm on August 22, 2006.

The *only* post that Iain made on the day was this one at 3:54pm, where he declares that he is taking the day off. Amusingly, he signs off with the words; “No rest for the obsessed.”

The next day? Brown and Blunkett. No Prescott. Of course, there’s a grain of truth to Iain’s bullshit, and you can review his archives for August 2006 to determine for yourself how likely it is that it was The Prescott Priority that kept Iain from reporting that a Conservative activist had falsely published a claim that his Lib Dem opponent was a paedophile.

According to his records I replied…

“Think I’ll keep concentrating on Prescott if you don’t mind…!”

He then replied: “*sigh*

You both know that if this were a Lib Dem or Labour campaigner, you would be all over it.

Tim”

I then replied
“Yes, but we like to leave some room for you too! Anyway, the first I had ever heard of it was when you emailed it to me…”

“According to his records…?” Another dog-whistle alert. Surely it’s not too much trouble for Iain to check and confirm that my records are 100% correct. After all, he himself made claims about our email exchanges (that he refused to show anyone) just the other day. He obviously keeps records. But instead, he’d rather run with a subtle suggestion that my version of events can’t be trusted. Been there, done that.

I am a Conservative blogger, I do not pretend to be impartial and never have. I was told that an allegation was being made. I don’t remember the exact details and I have no intention of trawling his archives even further to find them. My recollection (and I am sure you or Ireland will tell me if I am wrong) is that this is something which Ireland was alleging and it never went to court.

A staggering admission in that first sentence; Iain is clearly stating that – as a Conservative – he is less likely to report the wrong-doings of a fellow Conservative… no matter how wrong those wrong-doings are.

And he *does* pretend to be impartial… every time he bills himself as a commentator and not a campaigner and/or proclaims certain behaviour to be unacceptable when it’s pretty clear that he regards them to be totally acceptable when his fellow Tories engage in the same or similar behaviour.

He then goes on with repeated blasts from his dog-whistle and another claim of poor recollection.

Here comes a whopper…

Sadly for Iain, a hyperlink to the information he had so much trouble finding appeared in the very same email exchange he quotes from in this exchange… before he removed it.

Iain is claiming that he cannot recall the relevant information, and can’t be bothered to go looking for it. But it’s pretty bloody clear that he’s already seen it, and would rather discuss the matter without certain details coming to light in front of his readers.

The evidence presented to Iain is comprehensive and damning. And despite what he may suggest here, Iain is not in the habit of waiting until judgement has been passed in the courts before passing judgement himself.

Seeing as at the time he was obsessed by Anne Milton and took every opportunity to have a go at her – all because she refused to have a blog – you will forgive me if I had my doubts about his version of events.

There’s that dog-whistle again… but it’s not me experiencing selective memory loss and censoring comments that link to evidence. And it’s not me with a track record of partisan hackery:

Anne Milton’s status as a non-blogger was never the core issue. Ever. And one does not have to “trawl thought the archives” to know it; there is an obvious link at the top of every page of the Anne Milton weblog that explains why I started the blog; Anne Milton lied to me and then tried to fob me off with more bullshit and/or shut me out when I found out about it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I hit a rich seam of paydirt in two of my earliest posts; the outing of one activist (posing as an independent supporter) and the antics of another (publishing and distributing dangerously misleading literature). After this, many of Milton’s questionable tactics as a candidate were highlighted (pretty much every ‘independent supporter’ shown in her pamphlets was a ringer, and she even flaunted electoral guidelines by posing as a local through the use of a single-bedroom flat). Since she squeaked past the post with a 347-strong margin, I’ve published evidence that clearly shows her to be a shiftless, witless and deceitful MP.

In response, she and her activists used many of the tricks that Iain Dale excels at in an effort to avoid accountability and/or undermine the person calling for it.

First, I was asked by one of her flunkies why I didn’t have anything better to do. When the matter became impossible to ignore, Milton herself feigned disinterest and sought to cast me as ‘an angry young man’. Soon after, her activists went to work; primarily in an anonymous capacity, on my site and others. When it became clear to them that they would usually lose in a fair debate (and/or dump themselves in it in the process), they reverted to spending most of their time briefing against me via a series of anonymous comments and websites; their two main weapons were repeated suggestions about my sexuality and state of mind, and repeated attempts to pass off the Anne Milton weblog as a personal attack and/or a party-political one.

This eventually led to their publishing and promoting the paedo-smear that is so central to this issue.

One can understand why Iain Dale might be less-than-comfortable about bringing that up, but he can’t claim to be unaware of it or how it so closely parallels my relationship with him.

After all, I took the time to explain it very clearly to Iain only a few short months ago, and he must remember that exchange… because it was during that exchange (right after I pointed this out) that he banned me from leaving comments on his weblog. A decision he has yet to justify beyond repeated false claims of ‘vitriol’ that he refuses to back up with evidence.

My initial reply to him was not a reply which indicated “F off and dont darken my doors again”. At that point he hadn’t launched his Jihad againt me. It was a good humoured reply, which, as you will see from the tone and the exclamation mark did not imply and ill feeling towards him at all. That’s because at the time there was none.

Oh, yes. I clearly should have accepted that Iain thought it was OK for gay men to be targeted in this way if they were members of an opposing party, purely on the basis that he was polite about it. (And for ‘Jihad’, see: ‘dog-whistle’.)

Now, let me say something. It is now clear to me that ireland has got his friends to do his dirty work for him, with you and Garry continually plugging away. He is using you in the same way that he accuses me of orchestrating comments on my site – something which, incidentally, I have never, ever done.

I’m sorry, but that’s an outright lie. Iain regularly orchestrates comments on his own site and his recent censorship of an exchange where he came off second-best (followed by repeated attempts to hide that censorship from his readers) proves that.

The primary communication that took place between Garry, Scotch and myself took place right here in full view of everybody who cared to follow the exchange; they acted, and I reacted. NOT the other way around, as Iain would have you think.

And why did they act? Not because I told them to, but because they recognised that Iain was using his arbitrary and inconsistent ‘ban’ to avoid dealing with key issues. Someone else had to step up to the plate, and I’m grateful that two very patient people took the time to do so.

Compare this with the actions of Iain Dale; recently, I openly copied Iain on an exceedingly polite email to Paul Staines about the matter of his publishing and hosting false, misleading and/or libellous statements about me on his website. Iain was copied on the email because the same people often make comments (including this kind of comment) on his website. He took it upon himself to secretly copy Dizzy on that exchange but – oops! – Iain suffered a Grant Shapps moment and clicked ‘CC’ instead of ‘BCC’.

It is Iain, not me, with a track record for behind-the-scenes conspiracies. I have evidence and admissions from the parties involved that back that up. Iain also has a track record of dismissing evidence of conspiracy as ‘paranoia’ while himself claiming – without evidence – that he’s a victim of a conspiracy.

I have been more than open with the both of you, but when I see your comments and questions immediately appearing on Ireland’s site please don’t think I am stupid enough not to realise what is going on.

No, he *hasn’t* been open. Far from it. He’s been evasive and deceptive. Repeatedly. I’m also quite surprised that this is the first time that Iain has seen someone read comments that have been published on one weblog and raise them on another.

So I am drawing this debate to a close now, whether you like it or not.

Hm. You might want to remember this statement the next time Iain carries on about Gordon Brown’s great big clunking fist.

A nice comment from Chris Paul over at Garry’s leads us to the conclusion of this post; [Iain Dale] puts himself at the centre of the solar system and is continuously up himself and then he complains that we planets and moons don’t orbit his greatness in silence and/or awe, or with fulsome praise.

Contrary to what that propagandist would have you believe, I do not obsess over Iain Dale.

I do, however, worry a great deal about the potential that’s being pissed away by Dale and others like him who declare themselves the masters of the blogosphere while rejecting everything that makes blogging valuable to the electorate.

I often heard Dale claim that the UK is/was “4-5 years behind the Americans” with regards to political blogging, when this simply wasn’t the case at the time. Unlike the Americans, a couple of short years ago we enjoyed cross-party dialogue that actually involved elected officials. Take-up was slow because of the challenges involved (tricky things like transparency and accountability) but we had something valuable that the Americans did not, and it was growing.

Then a whole bunch of carpet-baggers came charging in with Iain Dale and Paul Staines at the head of the pack. They mimicked the counter-productive shouty and tribal approach used in the US and declared themselves pioneers.

Suddenly, certain elected officials, activists and media controllers felt free to run faux-weblogs because accountability no longer appeared to be a defining or requisite factor. This turn of events also allowed certain other elected officials, activists and media controllers to refuse to engage on the basis that the blogging community had nothing valid to offer.

It was in this environment that David Miliband launched the very first major political weblog that didn’t allow party-political discussion.

It was in this environment that the Dail Mail started allowing comments under their articles… but not displaying any that were critical of them.

It was in this environment that the Sun and the Express only allowed feedback from faithful members of their tribe.

It was in this environment that the then-head of campaigning for the Tories thought he would get away with sock-puppeting… and was rewarded with a ‘get out of jail free’ card from Iain.

Those currently in control of (or benefiting from) mainstream media have a vested interest in rejecting much of what this community has to say while they busily try to catch up and take control of as much of that community as possible… on Iain Dale’s terms.

Political bloggers should be transparent about their origins and affiliations, unafraid to have their claims subject to scrutiny, and committed to this and similar principles of accountability. At the very least, they should have some small level of concern about the impact their behaviour has on the other bloggers in the community.

Iain Dale cares not a jot about any of the above.

And yet somehow, the poll he conducted on his own website led to him being voted the very best political blogger in Britain.

Fuck him, his selfish ways, and his path of least resistance.

-

UPDATE (Sep 2010) – I’ve linked to archived versions of the post originally hosted at http://www.sticksandcarrots.net/2007/10/27/in-conversation-with-iain-dale/ so people can still read the relevant conversation if they wish