This entry was posted on
Friday, May 16th, 2008 at
12:59 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.
By now most of you are aware that, yesterday, Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) was, after his second drink driving offence, hit with an 18-month supervision* order, a 3 month 9pm-6am curfew (enforced via electronic tag) and a 3 year driving ban… and that I was there to watch the proceedings.
I have a busy day today, so pardon me for serving this lot up late in the day and in bite-sized chunks. I have little time for elegance…
(*Yes, a supervision order. The kind of thing they normally reserve for juveniles who lack self-control and access to a responsible adult. I don’t think the judge placed a lot of faith in this 41 year old man’s ability to control himself.)
1. Why was I there? Reasons in full:
– I wanted to meet up with some other bloggers and have a bit of a jolly. (Sadly, this bit didn’t work out.)
– I wanted to see if the multi-talented Donal Blaney turned up as Staines’ lawyer. (He didn’t. Paul appeared alone and without representation.)
– I wanted to see if anybody noteworthy turned up in Paul’s list of character witnesses. (The judge made no mention of it, so I will assume that nobody noteworthy spoke up for Paul.)
– I wanted to ensure that reporting of this event wasn’t left to ‘old media’. (The Mirror has Paul driving without a licence here when what he was driving without at the time was insurance…. and brains. Pandora do better here, but they let the “4 bottles a week” figure slide.)
– And, finally, out of sheer curiosity – with a side order of carefully restrained glee – I wanted to see Paul Staines in a state of contrition. Simulated or not, I just wanted to see it. Just the once. (And it was lovely, thanks for asking. I wish some of his many victims could’ve been there to see it.)
2. Paul Staines doesn’t have a gracious bone in his body. All I had to do was pass a copy of this article to the prosecutor and his day would have ended quite differently:
Pandora – Blogger ‘Guido Fawkes’ is led off to the Tower: “I had been speaking at the Adam Smith Institute,” Guido explains. “They have made a lot of money so the booze is usually pretty good. I moved on with a few people to the Westminster Arms, where I bought drinks, and then to the Kennington Tandoori to show everyone the picture of Prezza on the wall. Then I was giving a few people a lift to Victoria station when the fuckers pulled me over.”
But does he thank me? Does he bunnies…
Nobody should have to put up with paedo-smearing. It’s evil and dangerous and totally uncalled for as a political tactic. Regular readers might recall Nadine Dorries doing it to Alex Hilton and Paul Staines doing it to Mark Oaten (and showing not one ounce of care or regret, as usual). Long-time readers may remember that the main shitstorm over blogging standards started after Iain Dale and Paul Staines stood by and let Milton’s sock-puppeting activists get on with doing it to someone else BIG TIME in Guildford and I subsequently took an interest in the mostly anonymous thugs hanging around their websites and how these two actually manipulated that activity to gain advantage over any readers/bloggers who might disagree with them…. i.e. pretty much exactly the same thing Staines is doing here.
All the guy had the guts to say to my face on the day was “this must be a nice day out for you” and he had all morning to think it up.
And now he unleashes his ‘wit’ and the wrath of his sock-puppeting tosspots? Spare me.
(PS – Bloggage on the subject here would have been considerably lighter had Dale or Staines given me an honest answer to a fair question on their site(s) once in a while instead of throwing sock-puppets and abuse at me. They can both rack off with their ‘stalker’ crap. That goes for their current head-boy and hanger-on Dizzy, too.)
4. How many bottles of wine? “Four a week” said the judge after consulting a piece of paper. Surely this figure comes from Paul Staines’ own rather conservative estimate? Perhaps he would care to confirm or deny that when he’s finished yelling “Stalker!”
[Paul? Your sock-puppeting followers are making something of this and I want to know where the figure came from. How about an honest answer to a fair question? Go on… just this once.]
5. The judge had his eye on that VW Golf and had the power to seize it. In fact, he’d just seized a vehicle in a previous and very similar case.
Paul was asked about the car and IMO only it being registered in his wife’s name saved it from seizure.
That might ring a few bells with regulars.
6. So what’s going on here, then?
Judge Stone: “What do you do for a living?”
Paul Staines: “Advertising.”
Advertising? Beg pardon? With who?
During Spinal Stats we received the following assurance from the advertising firm MessageSpace:
“Paul Staines is neither a shareholder, director or employee of MessageSpace and never has been.”
And Paul can’t be talking about making a living from the Commission Junction banners and what not on his own website. Even if he’s pulling in 100,000+ unique visitors a month (and he’s not) and there’s no overlap month to month (there is), the best he can hope for is baked beans with his four bottles of wine a week.
I think there’s something that Paul’s not telling us. That, or he’s telling wee porkies in court.
7. According to police, Paul Staines was driving “at speed in the Kennington area”, which caused a camera to flash. Police who witnessed this then ordered him to stop and it was noted that he “seemed to be have difficulty staying in a straight line.”
Admittedly, the swerving part could have been the result of Paul’s arms turning to jelly upon seeing the dreaded ECILOPs in his rear vision mirror, but police also reported that “(Paul Staines’) eyes were bloodshot, he strongly smelt of alcohol and his pupils appeared to be dilated” and gave him a (delayed) breath test, which he failed.
At the time Staines claimed to have been “drinking Cobra beer at an Indian.”
Presumably he thought it best not to mention the drinks consumed earlier at the Adam Smith Institute and the Westminster Arms.
8. This was Paul’s second drink driving offence, and fourth drink-related offence.
If drinking causes problems, then you have a drinking problem. If drinking causes serious problems, then you have a serious drinking problem.
A crucial part of the exchange involved Judge Stone’s concern over Paul Staines’ decision not to seek help for his obvious drinking problem. (Paul had instead decided to follow self-imposed “guidelines”.)
He’s rediscovered his bravado since, but the nearest Paul Staines came to saying ‘boo’ in the courtroom was during this exchange:
Judge Stone: “You can’t resist it, can you?”
Paul Staines: [my notes read; “inaudible sound that may have been a protest”]
Judge Stone: “What happened this time?”
Paul Staines: “I was out for a drink.”
That’s where the curfew came from. Right there.
9. Judge Stone also said that Paul Staines’ actions were wholly irresponsible and that Staines lacked the insight to realise when he was a danger to other people, but I already knew that.
In fact, it’s been a primary point of mine from the beginning.
It’s why Paul and his gang of pretend-blogging thugs engaged in a conspiracy of silence about this (and a number of other items).
They demand accountability from others, often in an extremely selective, unfair or dishonest fashion, when they have no intention of being held to account themselves.
Accountability to an audience is the price bloggers are supposed to pay for their power, but people like Staines, Dale and Dorries have no interest in it and will even play the victim if you call them on it… basically crying wolf with their stalker nonsense at the expense of genuine victims of stalking.
It’s selfish, dangerous and destructive behaviour and I really wish they’d stop it.
10. Back to “4 bottles a week” for this last one;
It doesn’t really matter how much you drink. If you can’t stop, then you are by definition an alcoholic. Staines would have received a lighter sentence had he sought treatment for the drinking that was clearly causing him problems, but he didn’t. So he’s either stupid, a glutton for punishment, or an alcoholic.
So, while I hope his electronic tag itches during the day and bothers him when he sleeps, like Clive, I’d like to show Paul that it’s not all ill will over on this side of the fence.
And, speaking for myself, I also want to make sure that I can actually stop anytime I want to.
So for the next 30 days I will be 100% dry… and safely home by 9pm each and every night.
You’re welcome to join me, or sit back and watch me twitch.
NEXT: UK Libel Law, the Demon Almost-Precedent and the Bastard Duke of Brunswick
UPDATE: If you’re at all concerned about your own intake, you might want to grit your teeth and take this test.