A question for Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’)

Posted by Tim Ireland at 25 March 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
at
12:00 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

OK, folks… it’s time to play Follow The Money.

Feel free to join in at any stage, but please be aware that that this is an E ticket ride, and you must be <------ this ------> willing to put up with bullshit, spin, sock-puppeting and/or outright abuse before climbing aboard:

To: Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’)

From: Tim Ireland

Subject: Show me the monkey!

Paul,

Would you care to make a public statement on the subject of bankruptcy*?

(*Fiscal, not moral; we’ve already covered the latter.)

Cheers

Tim

PS – Please do keep in mind that your answer may raise some follow-up questions (i.e. the kind of thing that Iain Dale often describes as “changing the question”).

Bloggers who are asking a similar question:
Justin McKeating
Clive Summerfield

UPDATE (4pm) – David Boothroyd asks over at Justin’s; “At a guess, are we talking about page 12536 of the London Gazette of 9 October 2003 here?”

Why, yes… yes, we are:

The London Gazette – Thursday, 9 October 2003

Date: 9 October 2003
Issue Number: 57079
Page number: 12536
Publication Date: Thursday, 9 October 2003
Notice Code: 2503

STAINES,Paul Delaire, Paul Delaire of 154 Parliament View, 1 Albert, Embankment, London, SE1 7XQ unemployed. Court–HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE. Date of Filing Petition–2nd October 2003. No. of Matter–8239 of 2003. Date of Bankruptcy Order–2nd October 2003. Whether Debtor’s or Creditor’s Petition–Debtor’s. Official Receiver–21 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3SS.

(2001)

UPDATE – Just in case there’s any doubt; this is not a current address for Paul Staines. It’s authentic… just not current.








52 Comments

  1. Jherad says

    Heheh, I followed that from one of your previous posts where you’d linked to the Gazette as a ‘hint’, but didn’t want to say anything at the time. Nice find. Fun fun fun :)

  2. Manic says

    You weren't alone.:o)

  3. Dave Cole says

    "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"

  4. Manic says

    "Something something something cactus, Paul Staines clearly needs more pratice."

  5. mikkimoose says

    well he does seem to have purchased the worst property investment in London, paying £620,000 in 2001 for his third-floor river-view flat, and selling for £680,000 in 2006. Must have been quite a mortgage on that, hard to see how an unemployed person could pay it, especially after going bankrupt in 2003

  6. Manic says

    Got a link for those figures, mikkimoose?

  7. David Boothroyd says
  8. Manic says

    That link does us nicely. Ta.Screen capture for the archives:http://www.bloggerheads.com/images/sale1.gif

  9. Rwendland says

    Interesting wide variation of prices in that apartment block, from £250k to £2.9 million (since 2003 – with a strange £100k outlyer/mistake)!Flat D156 also saw little price increase over 5 years – £510k to £525k.<a href="http://www.houseprices.co.uk/e.php?q=SE1+7XQ&n=20&quot; rel="nofollow"&gt <a href="http://;http://www.houseprices.co.uk/e.php?q=SE1+7XQ&n=20” target=”_blank”>;http://www.houseprices.co.uk/e.php?q=SE1+7XQ&n=20

  10. Manic says

    I'm sure that Paul had many interesting neighbours at the time.I have other questions on my mind.

  11. mikkimoose says

    The two £2m+ flats are both duplex penthouses.Hence the price.Paul's budget did not stretch to those heights.It is unclear why his bankruptcy did not take his house.You would be expected to sell in order to pay off your creditors.It appears no charge was even taken on it, since he sold it before 3 years from the date of bankruptcy.Certainly being a bankrupt would mean you would be unable to gain employment in any normal financial-type job in the UK.

  12. Manic says

    I'd like to get a statement from MessageSpace on that last part, but I thought I'd wait until I got an answer from Paul Staines first.(Yes, I'm still waiting.)After all, the two are quite distant and distinct.

  13. mikkimoose says

    I'm not sure that Messagespace need to say anything. According to Staines' Wikipedia page, Messagespace has not got him as a Director, and he's not even a Director of his offshore Irish company (which he probably legally could be, because I guess UK bankruptcy has little effect).Apart from being banned from becoming Company Director, and an effective barring from the UK finance industry (plus quite a few other jobs that credit check new staff), a discharged bankrupt is supposed to be pretty much unencumbered and free to get on with life.Unless there is something specific that you know regarding the circumstances of his bankruptcy there doesn't appear to be anything *wrong*, aside from the obvious fact that it's a little odd that he got to be in that situation given that he would have had to been making (very) good money to earn or borrow £600+k.

  14. Paul Linford says

    Sorry to take issue Tim, but I thought you didn't agree with the practice of bringing up people's pasts for no good reason other than that you don't like their views.

  15. Paul Linford says

    There was supposed to be a link with that.http://www.theuktoday.co.uk/iain_dale/2007/04/iai

  16. Manic says

    I'll happily address that, Paul:"for no good reason other than that you don't like their views"That's not the case here. I have very good reasons.And a lot of questions.And I've been sitting here for almost a whole day now waiting for Paul to give his side of the story.

  17. Dave Cole says

    In fairness, Tim, you might want to say what those reasons are…

  18. Paul Linford says

    Okay, but does the fact that he published a partisan blog post several months ago about the number of failing businesses under Gordon without mentioning that he himself went bankrupt in 2003 really justify all this? And why is he under any obligation to you to make a "public statement" about bankruptcy as you have requested?

  19. Manic says

    Paul: I'm pretty sure that Justin's phrasing of the question had a smidgen of jest to it.And Staines is not presently under any obligation… he's just been invited to put his case if he wants.Dave: Yes, but I'd appreciate Paul's input before going into too much detail.For now, just allow me to point out that there is a big black hole where everybody thinks Paul Staines keeps a big pile of money.

  20. mikkimoose says

    Experience would suggest that Staines is unlikely to respond even if there is something he should respond to.At the moment, as others have noted, his status as a discharged bankrupt would not appear to be particularly relevant. At present it looks like muck-raking for its own sake, as the given link is a little tenuous.Perhaps it would be better to get to the point, if there is one?

  21. Manic says

    Soon enough.

  22. Paul Linford says

    Sorry, but who thinks Paul Staines keeps a big pile of money? And where do they think he keeps it? Do enlighten us..

  23. Manic says

    I'm anticipating a "You can't believe anything you read on Wikipedia" ploy at some stage, but it's pretty clear that this passage from the introduction has stood uncorrected for a great deal of time, and actually built upon:Added over a year ago:"He then spent several years in finance, which was to provide him with the means to dedicate time to his blog…"URL of that edit:http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paul_St…Current:"He then spent several years in finance, which, along with his stake in the MessageSpace blog advertising network, provides him with the means to dedicate time to his blog…"It's an illusion. Several things look very different now that it's gone… but I'll be proceeding with caution if Staines isn't going to simply front up for a chat about it.

  24. Paul Linford says

    But you wouldn't need a "big pile of money" to dedicate all your time to blogging, just (say) a partner who had a good enough job to cover the mortgage. I'm not saying that this is necessarily how Staines operates, just that we don't know (and as far as I'm concerned don't need to know.)

  25. mikkimoose says

    We can't really judge whether that is true or not. Obviously Staines *was* fairly wealthy, because he bought a £620,000 house, and was able to keep it for almost 3 years following his bankruptcy, which would suggest that his mortgage was either very small, or there wasn't one.The sale of the house for £680k, absent a large mortage to pay off, would, on its own, provide someone with more than adequate funds to spend time tinkering about on websites, boozing it up in France, etc.The exact circumstances of the bankruptcy would have been considered by the official receiver alone.

  26. Manic says

    Paul & mikkimoose: I'd much rather hear from Staines before discussing anything like that.

  27. Paul Linford says

    Don't you just think that if someone has had those kind of problems in their life and managed to turn it around, it's time to let bygones be bygones?

  28. Manic says

    This isn't about the past, Paul.

  29. mikkimoose says

    Are you basing this on something on wikipedia not written by Staines, saying that he made money in finance? There's nothing here to say that's not the case. There's relatively few people in �620k Thames-view flats that DON'T work in finance.There are plenty of explanations for the bankruptcy, I know a city trader who by his own admission is a failure and will be sacked, and he is currently buying a Maserati. High burn rate, make the wrong bet, go bust, start again. It's all rather irrelevant though, since(a) Staines hasn't claimed that he did make a fortune in finance, nor has he specified the size of his wealth, although he has made a few macho references to being some sort of genius City type, which might imply this. Someone else, who isn't Staines, has added on wikipedia, that he made money in finance, which Staines' apparent life of leisure would be consistent with, but in any case(b) the ownership, in 2001, of a �620k flat would be consistent with someone who was a reasonably big earner in finance, and there's a fair bit of published evidence that he did work in finance for a few years.So he doesn't really have anything to answer to, unless you have something further to add about this.

  30. Manic says

    I used the word 'illusion' over 'trick' quite deliberately, mm.An illusion was there and now it's gone. Some things are cast in a different light now it's gone.At this stage, Paul Staines is not being accused of anything (apart from, perhaps, being a teeny bit shy).

  31. David Boothroyd says

    When the Bankruptcy Courts were surveyed in 2006 – http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/insolvencyprofession… – it was discovered that the reasons for bankruptcy varied:Credit misuse – 49%Failed business – 16%Illness – 12%Divorce or failed relationship – 7%Redundancy – 6%Spouse's credit misuse – 3%Family problems – 3%Change in income – 2%Tax debt – 2%A significant number of these are not the fault of the bankrupt, so it is wise not to jump to conclusions on an individual bankruptcy.

  32. Professor Paul says

    Tim;Speaking as more of a blog reader than a writer (I've got no further than ranting on myspace) I do share your views that both Guido & Iain Dale have a certain self view they want other to perceive as their true selves.Dale has even retconned Tory history to claim a position he has no right to,check his wikipedia entry!But I'm at a loss to know where you are going with this one

  33. Manic says

    I agree, David. A good thing, then, that I'm not all that interested in the events leading up to the bankruptcy.:o)

  34. irritant says

    Paul Linford/Professor PaulI don't like it either. However it should be allowed to play itself out. The pity is both Guido and Ian can knock out entertaining stuff but both of them are in effect well-resourced msm acting as bloggers and are having a disproportionate effect on the UK blogosphere. Yet regardless of their clout neither has done anything significant to bolster UK bloggers rights. Guido is reckless and Ian can be a bitch (see recent Neal Lawson remark). If either of them fuck up it could have a chilling effect on all UK bloggers.

  35. Professor Paul says

    To be honest,Iain Dale is a media whore & obsessed with his own image.If they made a film of his life they would call it "The Ego has Landed" but he would probably have rewritten the script several times to alter history to suit his own views.There is really no beginning to his talents.But these teasers about the equally appalling Paul Staines make you wonder if there is really something for bloggers to be bothered about.As I said,I'm more a waspish observer than a contributor,there are many who can put what I feel far more lucidly than I do;but if Guido can't take the trouble to answer,for whatever reason,perhaps we should know what Tim & his friends are driving at?It's beginning to have a certain car crash fascination to it!

  36. Paul Linford says

    What is rather irritating about this thread is that the big secret (whatever it is) has clearly been shared with Tim's favoured blogging associates while the rest of us are left scrabbling around in the dark wondering wtf is going on.

  37. David Boothroyd says

    Paul, I was under the impression you were a journalist. Are you saying you know no way of finding sources to explain the background of incidents in the lives of famous men?

  38. Manic says

    Big secret? Funnily enough, you're looking in the wrong place for something that isn't there, Paul.I know of other data online that relates to this, but what I want to talk about is how this simple fact about Staines and his financial circumstances casts many things in a new light.If you or anyone else would like to see that data, I'm happy to point it out via email, but I'm not going to splash it about here (a) when it will most likely serve as a distraction at this stage and (b) while the 'muckraker' tag is already in play.The only parties really holding out here are Staines and MessageSpace. Of course, from a legal standpoint that makes it very difficult to phrase what would otherwise be some very straightforward discussions about this, but I'm guessing that's the point.Post coming soon.

  39. Manic says

    Just a quick courtesy ping for Paul, mm and others:No, I haven't forgotten you.Yes, I am working on it when I can.

  40. Paul Linford says

    Take as much time as you need Tim. It's going to have to be something good to convince me that all this was really justified.

  41. Manic says

    I'll try not to disappoint. Just so you're clearer on what to expect;a) there are a few things that are cast in a new light now that this information is in the open.b) this is not about the bankruptcy, or the circumstances leading up to it, just the fact that something many people thought was there… isn't/wasn't really there.c) a few points will be raised about this, over time

  42. mikkimoose says

    As Paul implies, all this sounds like you don't have anything meaningful to say in relation to this, which is why you are dropping essentially meaningless hints – it looks like you have nothing and are just muck raking.Let's hope that something comes of this.Will be waiting in either case.Try not to keep us waiting too long.

  43. Professor Paul says

    I've got to say I agree with the last two comments.Much as I detest Guido for his double standards & his political views (I don't really bother with politics,I vote Liberal)all these little hints make me think of a Monty Python sketch."Nudge nudge, wink wink ,SAY NO MORE!"

  44. Manic says

    If that were the case, then my final question would be:"I mean, you've been around a bit, you know, like, you've, uh… You've 'done it'… Well, I mean like,… you've been BANKRUPT, in a real court."(Yes?)"What's it like?"

  45. Professor Paul says

    I'm beginning to think"This story is no more.It has ceased to be".Tim,if there is a story let us know.But sooner rather than later,what seemed to be a potentially interesting post is dying on it's arse!

  46. Paul Linford says

    Most of the Python sketches did, if the truth be told.

  47. Manic says

    Professor Paul: Some private correspondence has led to further delays. You may even have to suffer over the weekend.Just so we're clear, you are not waiting for some almighty/immediate revelation, and though there is more data to be seen/found regarding Paul's bankruptcy I don't wish to dwell on the bankruptcy itself.

  48. Kate says

    Is this about the affordability of certain threats of legal action?

  49. Manic says

    Kate: Yes, that's one thing that now looks very different. I'll expand on that and others tomorrow.

  50. irritant says

    Quite interesting that Paul claims to live in Ireland. Could we be witnessing the first UK blogger ending up in the slammer?

  51. Manic says

    Calm down, irritant . No-one's going to Teh Big House just yet.:o)With you shortly folks. Working.

  52. Manic says

    Here you go. Sorry for the wait:http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/03/paul

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