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Saturday, September 12th, 2009 at
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This is my response to an email I received on Thursday night. Yes, it’s real, and yes, both the instigator and the interviewer (assuming they are two different people) are for real.
I have not edited or changed any of the questions in any way, apart from one snip where the instigator seeks to sneak in a bit of libel (about someone other than myself) and a further snip of the interviewer’s phone number in the U.S.
For details about the instigator, tune in on Monday morning (and for the whistle before the kick-off, tune in to Donal MacIntyre on Radio 5 Live, 7:30pm this Sunday).
No, it’s probably not any of the names you can think of; this will be a new name to most of you. This person popped up with one hell of a sock-puppeting effort in the middle of the whole paedo-smear thing and caused all kinds of difficulty in pursuit of his own personal agenda. In fact, it’s fair to say that this stunt was the main reason for recent radio silence.
Eventually, I caught him at his little game. Led the police right to him, in fact. He is obviously NOT happy about that, and planning to reveal all sorts of perfectly rational reasons why what he did was reasonable.
Dear Mr Ireland,
I am writing an article about you and the British blogosphere.
Can you please answer the following questions for me?
This article is due out round about the 27th of this month so I would appreciate prompt responses, please.
Oooh, an interview! I’m always hungry for personal publicity, me. Hungry, hungry, hungry. And this request is coming from America, so it couldn’t get any more important. And it’s definitely nothing to do with a certain British chap who’s really got it in for me lately.
Thing is, regardless of that certainty, I’ve got this silly paranoid notion that the interviewer may be planning some kind of minor ambush. Perhaps even (dare I say it?) some kind of hatchet job.
Oh well, nothing to it but to do it. Onward to the interview.
(From here on in, I’ll be speaking to this interviewing guy, and not to you, OK? That’s how the pros do it. I’ll meet you at the end for tea and biscuits.)
1.You have been called a stalker by the online community? Is there any truth to Iain Dale’s allegations that you telephoned him repeatedly and sent him endless numbers of emails this year?
A: This is a ridiculous question, if you don’t mind me saying, Mr Interviewer Person. ‘Repeatedly’ I can work with, because it covers everything from two calls and up, but ‘endless’? Obviously the emails will end (or, if you prefer, ‘cease’) at some stage, even if it’s when I drop dead from exhaustion or Iain does. And, as I made perfectly clear when I spray-painted it on his car last night, the emails will end when Iain answers the bloody question; “Why didn’t you call Patrick Mer…”
(The last word is supposed to be ‘Mercer’. And then a question mark. Iain should buy a station wagon or a transit van; there’s bugger-all writing space on a four-door sedan.)
2.What is your relationship with Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan?
A: I first became aware of Craig Murray when he was smeared by Jack Straw’s minions. It turns out Jack was a bit of a naughty boy (with the very best of intentions, obviously), and wanted to discredit the guy who could finger him for it. His mate Tony played along, and…
Sorry, I just realised that you might find it hard to relate to most if not all of this answer. I’ll try to do better on the next one.
3.What led you to blogging in the first place?
A: Christmas crackers. True story.
4.How do you feel about the victims you create by attacking your targets? Ann Milton’s husband? Nadine Dorries’ family? [libel snipped] Other collateral as well as direct damage.
A: Ann Milton? I don’t know anyone named ‘Ann Milton’. I do know an Anne Milton, and to answer your question I think her husband has suffered enough.
As for the impact on Nadine’s family, it’s not me who swings her daughters about by the legs* anytime someone approaches her from an upwind direction.
(*She used to swing them around by the hair until she started worrying that their eggs might fall out.)
5.Have you ever regretted targeting someone and now see them as a victim?
A: Yeah, but who gives a damn about other people, right?
6.Would you plead guilty for manslaughter if you pushed one of your victims to suicide?
A: No, I wouldn’t… for the very simple reason that pushing** him/her would be murder. I watch CSI.
(**Or did you not mean literally?)
7.Do you feel it is a foreigner’s place to be attacking British politicians, public figures and others in Britain?
8.You publicly have admitted to once being an alcoholic, correct?
A: Yes, but I could have been drunk at the time.
9.Is not your success in overcoming the addiction to alcohol a success you should celebrate publicly and share with others who might be going through the same kind of addictions?
A: You know, you’re right. And despite being happily teetotal, I should wear a t-shirt that reads “self-confessed alcoholic” and encourage as many people as possible to use that term to describe me. I shouldn’t be at all concerned that someone might present that out of context for personal/political reasons or otherwise exploit my attempt to help a fellow human being. I mean, really; who’d be so cruel and selfish as to not only do that, but then seek to somehow justify it, even after that human being had tragically passed on? There isn’t a bastard alive who’d do that. Science would have to create some kind of super-bastard before that would happen. I’m clearly fretting over nothing.
(Psst! I used to be a child, too, but I grew out of that.)
10.Do you feel you have an addictive personality?
A: No. Next question!
11.If so (10) then why?
A: I said NO! Now give me another question! Quick!
12.Have you ever taken Class A drugs and if so have they had any effect do you think on your mental state?
A: Oh, man, that’s some good Question. Wowwwwww. It feels like two questions at onc… hey, look at how big my hands are! Wowwwww…. they’rrre moooving to the muuuusic…
13.Where do you position yourself on the political spectrum from far left to far right?
A: Dominant. (Sorry. In-joke.)
14.You hardly live in luxury. Why sacrifice (as you clearly do) so much of your time to a blog which has a relatively small audience when you could be earning money by doing paid-work with that time and better providing for your family? Could, in that respect, your behaviour be considered selfish?
A: You’re right. I’m going to start charging you £5 per question. From now.
15.Do you consider yourself a selfish man, Mr Ireland?
A: I’m keeping this £5, if that’s what you mean.
16.Have you ever had a CCJ or financial default in your lifetime either in the UK or Australia? If so, how did you feel about it?
A: Tut. You’re fishing too close to the bank. And with two questions there, that’s £15 you owe me now. Don’t make me chase you.
17.You have a team of “helpers” including Mikki the Moose and others. Do you ever break the law in searching for information on targets? Do members of your team? If you admit that members of your team do break the law then have you ever accepted illegally-obtained information from them?
A: I can go you one better than that; I’ve knowingly broken the law on multiple occasions (see #31). Can’t recall doing anything seriously c**tish on the information front, though. BTW: £20! £25! £30! It’s clocking up.
18.What is your opinion on people who plant spybots on other people’s computers?
A: There’s a word for people who do that, but you shouldn’t use it in mixed company. In fact, you can’t. £35!
19.Have you ever blagged or sock-puppeted?
A: I won’t count this as two questions, but I will answer ‘maybe’ to both so you’re forced to ask a further question and I can earn another fiver. The kids are sick of living on beans, and the scurvy is disrupting their work in the salt mines. £40!
20.You have been found to share IP addresses with extremist Muslims who run websites glorifying terror and celebrating 911. How do you feel about this? Do you wish to apologize to the victims of 911 and the families of allied victims in Iraq and Afghanistan for your actions?
A: I will not rest until the victims of 9/11 accept that they are in fact the victims of 11/9. Then they can apologise to me. £45! (I’ll only charge you for the second half, because I’ve treated the first half with the contempt it deserves.)
21.When you were a child (under 16 years old) did you ever bully anyone? If so, did you ever get in trouble for bullying at school?
A: Yes to the first question, ‘no’ to the second; to avoid detection, I cunningly disguised myself as a dozen other people using old socks, papier mache, and used ping pong balls. (This was before the World Wide Web, you understand.) £50!
22.Would you agree that behind every bully is a coward?
A: Of course not. Behind every bully is old socks, papier mache, and used ping pong balls. You’ll only waste your money if you don’t pay attention, and we’re already up to a whopping £55!
23.Do you consider yourself a coward, Mr Ireland?
A: You’re the one holding a handful of papercraft right now, sunshine. You tell me. (£60!!)
24.You are linked by association with the violent anti fascist groups who have been fighting the EDL on the streets of England. Do you condone violence?
A: I am? Do I? Hang on… damn, I owe you £10 now, don’t I? Damn, I did it again! Make that £15! Tell you what; I’ll just take it off what you owe me. We’re at £45. Moving on.
25.Would you agree that the far left in England is allied with the Islamist extreme in what is called the Black Red Alliance and that in some ways you are the personification of this?
A: Would I agree the who is where in the what now? I have no bloody idea wh..* Gah! You got me again! OK, £30 it is.
26.Have you ever been a director of a company? If so, which one(s)?
A: Does a company of actors count? Once I…* Damn, blast and buggeration! £25 – and I’m beginning to think I underestimated you.
27.What is your retort to the accusation that “you can dish it but you can’t take it”?
A: “I know you are, but what am I?” Hahahah….* Oh, for… OK, we’re down to £20, are you happy? …..* DAMN!! £15!!!!
28.Why did you attend Paul Staines drink driving hearing in May 2008? Do you not think that this makes you look like a stalker and a sad, embittered loser who enjoys any negatives affecting your more successful competitors?
A: Why did the chicken cross the road? He wanted to see a man lay a brick.
(I know that joke cost me another fiver, but I’m past caring now.)
29.Are you on any form of medication?
A: Only if endorphins count; you’re making me very happy right now.
30.Have you ever been burgled? Did the police have time to investigate?
A: Ah-ha! Two questions in one. I’m back in the game and riding high at £25, assuming my maths is on the money.
Some damn fool stole my car once to hold up a petrol station. No word of a lie. Instead of getting out while the going was good (if not quite as good as it would have been if he’d bothered to look in the boot), he decided to go out for a leisurely drive in the same damn neighbourhood in the same damn car the very next day, and that’s how the police caught him. I know that’s not funny, but it’s a true story, and something you might want to reflect on.
31.How many times have you called the police on others and had the police called on you in the last five years? What is your opinion on wasting police time?
A: Ah-ha! Two questions in one again, which takes us up to… (counts)… £35! But to make it worth your while, I will tell you that I have deliberately wasted police time and have no regrets (see: SOCPA). Do your worst.
32.Why did you leave Australia?
A: We’re up to £40 now, but you’ll totally get your money’s worth:
The two deadliest spiders in Australia are the Redback and the Sydney funnel-web. Across that city, people are right now building houses and living lives that generate dry, clean hiding places that the Redbacks love, and wet, clean hiding places that the funnel-webs love. While you think about that, also consider that often we have bushfires that only the floods can put out, and when it’s not on fire or balls-deep in water, the bush (and the sandy bit beyond it) is home to the largest array of venomous snakes in the world. This rich selection includes the Taipan, which not only has the most toxic venom of any snake species known to man, but also a reputation as toey bugger, being one of the only snakes in the world that will seek you out and have a go at you just because it doesn’t like the look of you (or, rather, the smell of you).
If you somehow manage to escape the bush and reach the beach you’ve got blue-ringed octopi, stingrays, and great white sharks to contend with. Pick the wrong beach on the wrong day, and you’ll meet the humble box jellyfish, a creature with a sting so powerful that if you get done by one, the paramedics will administer a dose of morphine, but only to keep your screaming down to dull roar so they don’t get distracted while driving the ambulance to the morgue.
Take a look at the size of Australia (which is bigger than twenty Britains), then the population (which is less than half if not a third of the population of England alone), then take a look at where those people live. Population maps will show a mere 20 million people dotted around the coast, sandwiched between the bush and the beach.
Some people have unkindly likened this to scum washed up on the shore, but they’re missing the point and haven’t enjoyed nearly enough brushes with death to speak with experience.
The fact of the matter is this; Australia clearly wants us to Fuck. Off. Home.
So I did.
This is home.
OK, so our lot have been in Australia for several generations, but we’d been here in England for much longer before this; so long, in fact, that they were just beginning to hand out surnames when we wandered in from Ireland (or something like that). The name stuck, even after a whole bunch of us sailed off to Australia in the 1800s (not as convicts, promise).
Even if all of that counts for nothing; I’ve been here for over 10 years now, I’ve almost got the language down patch, and I really, really like it here.
May I stay? Oh go on… pleeeease?
33.What would you say to the accusation that Richard Bartholomew is your (quote) stooge?
A: I would say; “You’ve just wasted another five pounds!”
That’s £45 you owe me now.
34.You live in a Tory heartland. Apart from once in the last 50 years your area has returned a Conservative politician as its member of parliament. Since you attack Tory MPs on an almost permanent basis, how does it make you feel, as it were, living amongst the enemy?
A: I note it’s ‘my’ area now. I hope that means I can stay.
Obviously my ‘attacking’ a few Labour MPs has escaped your notice. I haven’t bagged a Lib Dem yet, but there aren’t as many of them to go around as there should be.
You also appear to struggle with the idea of optional voting and electoral roles, first-past-the-post systems and majorities, and how all of this allows for great swathes of ‘my kind of people’ (as it were) in ‘my’ area (as you describe it), possibly even living in harmony with these millions of Tory masters, of which you are one.
And you owe me £50. Sir.
35. In the choir photo in Westminster you look overweight. Do you consider yourself of a normal weight or do you think it is time to lose several pounds?Would you ever call, for example, Paul Staines “fat”?
A: I do look fat in that photo you speak of. I’ve lost a lot of weight since. It was as easy as modifying my diet by taking out one thing. I’ll leave you to guess what that is.
I would never hesitate to call Paul Staines a fat bastard, because for years he allowed similar mockery of others while hiding behind a character he didn’t even own (copyright: IPC magazines) while being more than a little hefty himself. This makes him a bastard, and to my mind allows me to call him ‘fat’ whenever I damn well please. Ditto for repeatedly describing him as a ‘drunkard’ etc. after his similar treatment of Charles Kennedy (and others) in very similar circumstances.
And another two-fer takes us to £60.
36. Your self-given nickname is manic. You also post notices about
yourself being a twisted genius? How apt to you feel these labels are?
What evidence is there that you are a genius? (sorry, I’ve not been
able to find any).
A: I may not be one of them official genuises what are in MENSA and all that, but I do know a last-minute question sent by email when I see one. How kind of you to wrap this text for me…. and to include so many questions! We’re at £75 already!
FYI: The nickname ‘Manic’ stems from my (now past) habit of working as a DJ all night and then directing videos the next morning, with nothing but adrenaline to hold me up (no Class A drugs use, sorry). This, combined with the creative nature of the process and the rush to complete, led to seemingly manic behaviour/situations at times, and the word was used often. It began to stick as a nickname after I pulled an all-nighter here with a dozen other people to get a website launched on time and chose ‘Manic’ as a username during that process.
It’s a long way from that (or “twisted genius”) to actual mania or psychosis, if that’s where you’re going. And now that you bring it up, the nickname also dates from a more innocent time on the web, when there were fewer people around wanting to be a cock about it.
37. Is it true that you are having a mid-life crisis? After a life of failure you
have realised that even in the Blogosphere you are a failure and are at
a big crossroads in your life now that your best years are behind you?
A: I’ve been through a few failed interviews my life, but this one’s my very favourite.
And so far it’s made me £85.
38. Finally, have you ever attended, or are you planning to attend, a lemon
A: It amazes me that you had to go away and think of that question…. and then bothered to come back with it! It amuses me it cost you another fiver, giving us a grand total of £90.
[Hint for n00bs: if you don’t know what a ‘n00b’ is, you’ll probably search for ‘lemon party’ even if I tell you not to. Sorry, but it’s out of my hands. No, you’re not going to listen, you’re going to go right ahead, and we’ll wait right here while you loo…. SEE? I told you. Next time, you’ll know better, won’t you?]
I look forward to your responses. Either you can email me or telephone me. My hours of operation are from 0900 to 1800 weekday but I am several hours behind your GMT so bear this in mind if you wish to telephone me your responses.
A: I look forward to that £90… but judging by what some people have told me, I doubt I’ll ever see it.
Thanks for your time.
Have a nice day.
[phone number snipped]
A: Gah! I should have read to the end of the exam paper before starting work.
Ugh! You got me! Dick.
So there you have it, folks; my first interview in a while. I think it went as well as could be expected.
For the record, my mind is important to me, and while I’ve tried very hard not to lose it, I’ve not taken it out and measured it for a while. However, the last time it was checked by a government authority, I was technically a borderline genius, and ticking over at somewhere between 130 to 138 on your standard IQ scale.
Being a borderline genius means that I don’t get to be a genius every day, but instead only get to enjoy moments of true genius, every now and again, mostly through luck.
You will let me know when that kind of thing happens, won’t you? I’d hate to miss it.