Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 1, 2011

Category: Consume!, Marketing, Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

[MINI-UPDATE (03 Jun) – THE object to my use of the word ‘dishonest’ in this headline. I stand by my use of the word, but as a courtesy, I have placed this prominent and immediate link to the relevant correspondence so readers might better judge for themselves.]

Regulars of Bloggerheads will be aware that my family and I been through some difficult times recently. During the rolling crisis, several two-bit operations have sought to hijack the ‘bloggerheads’ name that I created, but my priority has been those attempting to associate this unique name (and mine) with paedophilia, stalking and what have you.

Recently, I complained to staff at the magazine Times Higher Education about their use of ‘bloggerheads’ – a unique name that I created to title my blog about blogs – to title a web round-up feature (i.e. their blog about blogs). I repeatedly made it clear that I wanted them to come up with their own name, especially when they clearly planned to use it to blog about other weblogs. They pretended there was no room for confusion, offered to put ‘the’ in front of it as a “concession” and left it at that. Almost immediately references to their magazine started turning up in Twitter and Google in searches for my unique name.

I complained again. They gave me the very clear impression that, were the name protected as a trade mark, they would immediately comply with my wishes.

Several times I pointed out to them that I had a significant and demonstrable moral claim to the name dating back many years, but they dismissed this notion in the most patronising way possible. I also pointed out that if they seek to market themselves on the via web/blogs, then there are far better ways of going about it than hijacking an existing name, which is one good reason why the expense of a trade mark has never been necessary before now in the decade I have been using the name ‘bloggerheads’.

I also pointed out that I was busy battling an ongoing campaign of harassment, and their position compelled me to spend money we could ill-afford at the moment, but they stood firm on their position (along with the ridiculous implication that they had searched the trade mark database but not Google when they decided on using this name as their own).

Ultimately, Times Higher Education Editor Ann Mroz left me with no choice but to trade mark the name so I might call their bluff and take further steps to protect it from recent misuse and/or appropriation by their organisation and others.

But now I have begun the trade mark registration process, they have changed their position, and plan to continue using the name as they have before!

That’s a class act, all the way. After compelling me to trade mark the name, now they’re going to compel me to await the completion of the registration process (and then, presumably, take them to court) before they will be in any way reasonable about this.

Their Deputy Editor can’t even name the sub-editor they claim ‘invented’ the word, but Times Higher Education staff are unwilling to admit that they made a mistake by using this unique name without first researching it. They even have the audacity to minimise the significance of its use from their point of view (e.g. it’s ‘only’ on page 24 of their magazine), but surely if it’s no big deal to them and a bloody big deal to me, then that’s even more reason for them to back off and do what they should have done in the first place; come up with a unique name of their own invention.

[Other, smaller, organisations who have recently sought to appropriate this name have also been contacted about this matter today. I am hoping that they will be more reasonable. I certainly can’t see how they can top this response from Times Higher Education. I realise THE are in the education sector, but surely they’ve grown out of playground games by now.]

UPDATE – Check the comments for a contribution by ‘Malcolm Kent’. It was submitted using false details, and is an obvious sock-puppet.








Posted by Tim Ireland at May 21, 2011

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The following is an extract from a talk I have just given at OpenTech. I’ll put some audio and vision of the complete talk together shortly. The tag for discussion on twitter is #outpost.

… Some MPs get up to a lot of questionable stuff that simply isn’t recorded or reported anywhere. In fact, a significant information vacuum exists around many serving members of Parliament.

In the current Parliament there are 650 MPs, many of them are not adequately covered in the Information Universe, and some of them are actually sources of poor if not entirely false information.

I propose that a group of like-minded publishers research, evaluate and then selectively populate this information vacuum using a series of purpose-built MP-specific websites – or “space stations” – supported by a loosely networked group of independent publishers, in small teams of two or more.

I further propose that we use as a foundation for each project a bi-monthly report on that MP’s expenses; data that is available through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority website, but not widely or reliably visible in the Information Universe. These screen captures display how this published expenses data is invisible to search engines; a search for one MP by name on the one site that IS partly indexable only turns up single passing mention, and no expenses data.

It would be foolish to expect anything but a handful of visitors to most sites of this type, but once you publish this particular data and make it more visible, the website only really needs an audience of one person to be of any relevance; the MP themselves.

There will be no need to chase or capture a constant audience by populating the sites with churnalism and/or mere opinion, but they can easily expand into some occasional fact-checking about what is reported about or published by that MP; crucially, only when there is a need. In this way, the demands of the individual sites are kept to a minimum, and speciality skills (writing, analysis, research, data crunching) can be shared across the network according to demand.

And, ultimately, you will be competing for relevance for a single name, not a series of names or a party name or politics generally. For most backbenchers, the only time you are likely to be crowded out of the top ten is when your adopted MP is finally getting some mainstream coverage. Here, we see The Nadine Dorries Project displaced to 8th place by all of the fuss about her latest poorly disguised campaign on behalf of religious fundamentalists. Normally it ticks along in third place, just as it is doing in Yahoo today.

Also, over time, because each publishing body attracts traffic specific to a single MP, people with an interest in this MP will eventually begin to feed it new information based on their own experiences, research etc., and this process remains entirely sustainable long before you approach anything like some of the sillier visitor claims that people have been throwing around. So long as that site is accumulating sufficient relevance to command high search results for that MP’s name and associated queries, starting with expenses, it is playing a valuable role, and requires minimum upkeep.

That said, if you do plan to confront your own MP with anything of substance, please be warned that it can lead to a situation where you are effectively cut off from local politics as a result, and not in a position where you can lobby your MP. The project I describe shouldn’t cost any money, but this can be a hell of a price to pay. I’m not just talking about myself here; the organisers of a certain hustings at Flit-ick were accused by Dorries of being part of a conspiracy against her, and she refused to engage with their group as a result.

For this reason I think potential participants should seriously consider targeting an MP other than their own, even if it does leads to cries of “they’re not even a CONSTITUENT!’

On that note, I would wish to remind you good people that taking on liars is not for the faint-hearted. You often get lied about as a result. You may even get smeared as a stalker. I Am Not A Lawyer, but I can tell you from experience that the law does not regard scrutinising an MP to be stalking or even harassment. However, you will appreciate having team-mates and a wider support network should this false accusation or any other be used against you in response to valid and fair scrutiny.

Also, if you have any interest in media watching at all, you will have noticed by now that MPs with an agenda often serve as hot spots for bullshit, as they are often the origin of lies, if not the source of ill-informed opinions used to sell or perpetuate them.

This information vacuum is a largely unexplored and poorly exploited region on the frontier, it is in the public interest that we have someone manning it, and it has a glorious sweet spot for those in the know; a place where many small publishers can have a significant impact on politics with very little effort, without surrendering their independence, and without falling into the old pattern of surrendering to gas giants and the passing garbage they attract.

In my opinion, pursuit of a mass audience is a fallacy, a false ideal for bloggers that discourages many talented publishers from fulfilling their true potential. If you are reaching any of your target audience, you shouldn’t have to worry about your audience size any more than boys should worry about penis size, PLUS I have just given you a short manual on knowing how to use it.

There it is. That’s my thought. It’s for you to determine how relevant it is.

If you’d like to chat about it on Twitter in coming days, the call to action from this talk will be live on my blog shortly and the tag for discussion is #outpost.

I look forward to manning the frontier with you. Thanks for your time.

Related link: Dave Cross – Watching the Press – Notes








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 21, 2011

Category: Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

CCC11-02 – Jeremy Hunt rhymes with something

The latest edition of Conservative Change Channel is (finally) out and it includes two special moments from Jeremy Hunt (recorded just prior to the 2010 General Election):

1. The first is classic Hunt. He once again brushes right over the significance of two local Conservative activists who smeared an opponent as a paedophile, as if it’s of no significance. The look on his face at the time was ‘yeah, so what… get to the point’. He has repeatedly dismissed the importance of this smear campaign and repeatedly endorsed the MP (Anne Milton) who turned a blind eye to this campaign and involved herself personally in a further smear campaign against me. Hunt’s wife once gasped in shock when hearing about it, and Hunt shushed her loudly right there in the street, lest she make the fatal mistake of expressing any kind of alarm about it.

(I often wonder what he told her after making his excuses and hurrying off, as he so often does. I doubt it was the truth.)

2. Jeremy Hunt rather rashly weasels his way out of his practice of deleting past entries from his weblog and Twitter feed by claiming he is accountable after all… but only because of measures that corrupt liars like Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries describe as ‘stalking’ (when their mates are not doing the same or worse to people they don’t like).

So over the coming days and weeks – knowing that I have the blessing of the Minister of Teh Internets – I am going to encourage others to hold their MP to account via a weblog, starting with some simple tasks you will find surprisingly manageable and effective. I even have a plan for sharing the load on some of the more specialised/work-intensive tasks (e.g. journalism, research, data analysis, etc.). I will also be making recommendations* designed to minimise the risks I’ve exposed myself to, and you certainly won’t find yourself standing alone if some scumbag fights back with lies or smears.

I ran a similar (and successful) campaign for people to blog on behalf of MPs in 2005, but we have a much busier online village now, with better tech at our disposal, and this effort is going to be a lot less forgiving; we have a whole new gang of liars in charge, and they’ve been making all sorts of promises about transparency that they probably never expected they’d have to live up to.

(*On this note; you do NOT have to be a constituent of any given MP to take part. In fact, it’s probably better if you’re not; I found myself cut off from democracy at a local level because I dared to scrutinise my MP, and I’d hate to see that happen to someone else. Take your time. Choose your target. I’ll be on deck with Lesson One shortly.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at December 17, 2010

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

I’m too time-pressed to write a proper farewell to Iain Dale and his particular ‘style’ of blogging (allowing your site to be used as a platform for anonymous attacks on your critics and rivals then screaming ‘personal attack’ when confronted about it) but he’s now claiming in Twitter that he never blamed me in any way for his failure to secure a seat as an MP.

Technically, I’m violating the Chatham House Rule here, but as his mate Phil Hendren is busy publicly pushing his interpretation of what Iain Dale said privately, I don’t see I have much choice.

This is what Iain Dale said:

“I didn’t apply for several parliamentary nominations in the wider Guildford area because I was convinced Tim would turn up at them and ruin my chances (Woking being the main one, I remember). You may think that is preposterous, but when you are feeling stalked or harassed, that’s how you think.” – Iain Dale

Today, Iain Dale first claimed I was ‘making it up’ and/or imagining that he said anything like this, then later had his mate do the back-pedalling for him, which allows him to put it about as a misinterpretation of what he said while not admitting (oops) that he had actually blamed me, at least in part, for his wider failure to secure a seat.

Well, now you can read what he said and decide for yourself.

He’s talking absolute bollocks about “feeling stalked or harassed”, by the way. He retreated to this position after falsely claiming that I actually stalked/harassed him (months later he deleted this from his site without retracting it). You may also note that rather than host even this watered-down claim himself, he instead burdens the BBC with it as he describes it as “effectively stalking”.

Currently he defends this as opinion when he knows it is being passed off as fact by people who are actually harassing me.

The guy who has been watching my house and blogging details about where I live uses Iain Dale’s claims that I stalk him to justify his actions.

I’ll repeat that bit:

The guy who has been watching my house and blogging details about where I live uses Iain Dale’s claims that I stalk him to justify his actions.

I have been targeted. My family has been targeted. And yet Dale claims the moral high ground and describes my objecting to his role in it as putting him “through hell”. Pardon my French, but he’s a cloaca.

Unlike Iain, I have responded to what I claim to be harassment with an actual attempt to report the matter to police and have the individual(s) concerned prosecuted. A police investigation is in progress. Iain Dale refuses to cooperate with this investigation (just as he refused to cooperate with those that preceded it; a major reason for the calls he puts about as ‘proof’ of my stalking him), even so far as refusing to provide a simple incident number for the single complaint to police he claims to have made (that went nowhere, if it ever happened at all). Instead of offering this simple scrap of data, Iain tells me to “go to hell”. Also, he wants to be the only person active in the original matter who does not want to supply a statement; instead he wants police to call him so he can tell his side of the story on the fly, like he’s some kind of VIP.

[Sidebar: note the similarity between the position of Dale here and the position of Nadine Dorries; Dale has repeatedly put it about publicly and privately that I am guilty of stalking him, Dorries claims I was under investigation for stalking her at one stage, but neither can produce a crime reference number that would accompany any investigation and/or subsequent prosecution… or even an incident number to show that they ever made a complaint.]

Now, while I would certainly campaign against this proven liar, I have never stalked or harassed Iain Dale by the legal or even the popularly-accepted definitions of these words, and especially not in the manner he describes/implies in this email (i.e. as if I am likely to follow him around and linger outside his house, work etc.)

And to show you how I know that even his claim that he is/was “feeling stalked or harassed” is bollocks:

All of Iain’s decisions in this respect were made well in advance of the May 2010 election, which should be obvious. Yet in the relevant email, Iain Dale cites an event during that election as his primary justification for thinking this way long before the election.

(Dale often uses this ‘time machine’ technique; he once claimed he didn’t intervene when I was being smeared as a paedophile because of the way I reacted after he promised to intervene and didn’t, then lied about it.)

As you’ve probably guessed, in the relevant email he references the Flitwick meeting that I was invited to by participating constituents in Mid Bedfordshire where Dorries accused me of stalking her.

Dorries plays a similar ‘time machine’ game now. She claimed at that event that I was under police investigation for stalking her. This claim was entirely untrue. Now she has others doing her dirty work for her (Dorries uses Harry Cole in the same way Iain Dale uses Phil Hendren) and putting it about that my presence at that event somehow proves what she claimed happened before that event.

Also, in this same email, Dale holds the contradictory positions that (a) Dorries’ claims justify his position, but (b) he does not want to talk about them in detail because they are irrelevant to his position:

“I am not going to involve myself in the Nadine stuff beyond saying this, as it is irrelevant so far as I can see to the situation between me and Tim.” – Iain Dale

Iain Dale is either an outright liar or as delusional as he makes me out to be. All I have ever done is confront him with due criticism. Typically, he has responded to this criticism with lies and/or smears, or had others do this dirty work for him. This instance is no different.

Iain Dale also claims today, not for the first time, that I have repeatedly lied about him. He once even sent me an absurd legal threat that accused me of libel. Because it contained no specifics (as genuine concerns of libel do) his cut-price lawyer was challenged to identify just one single instance of libel on my site. He failed to do so. Meanwhile, I could then and can now easily establish that Iain Dale not only libelled Tom Watson, but libelled me in the process.

Iain Dale is a liar; a precious, malicious, vindictive and deliberate liar who knowingly uses damaging lies against political enemies (both real and perceived); his claims that I (almost… maybe… allegedly… ‘effectively’…) stalked him are nothing more than a smear campaign designed to discredit me while excusing his repeated failure to account for his disgraceful conduct.

UPDATE – Upon ‘retirement’, Iain Dale stated that the time to stop doing stuff is when you stop enjoying it. Despite his claims to the contrary, Dale knows exactly who is targeting me and how, and how his outbursts egg this person on. And yet, despite his inability to substantiate his (recently watered down) claims, he won’t stop doing it. Excuse me for suspecting that he is enjoying it.

RELATED: Richard Bartholomew – Why Iain Dale Should Stop Accusing Tim Ireland of Stalking

UPDATE (10:20pm) – Iain Dale, mostly through his hostile little mate Phil Hendren, is telling anyone who will listen that I am a liar and that he hasn’t refused to cooperate with a police investigation as I have said. As usual, the devil is in the detail that Dale hates so much:

1. In any harassment case, a tremendous burden is on the victim to gather evidence before passing it to police. Dale/Hendren would have you think that because it is me asking for the evidence that Dale’s refusal doesn’t amount to a refusal to cooperate with a police/criminal investigation, before going on to claim/imply that he never refused in the first place.

2. Iain Dale damn well did refuse to cooperate in the police investigation of April 2009, but while denying this ever happened, he uses the calls I made to him seeking his statement when it happened as his primary ammunition to publicly claim I am a stalker. That’s really taking the piss. Dale has never once sought to account for his actions on that weekend, but apparently I am to be branded a stalker (and stalked by a stalker calling me a stalker) based on nothing more than his partial account and his untested assertions.

3. Earlier this year, I had good reason to believe police were not taking my complaint seriously because of the counter accusations made by the person targeting myself and my family; the bulk of these resulted from (false) claims by Iain Dale, who refused to even discuss much of the detail privately, never mind provide a public statement. Instead, he made a counter-offer; he wanted me to provide police with a phone number so they could call him. This was at the stage when I wished to present an ordered summary of evidence to get a case going. Dale offering his phone number in these circumstances was beyond inadequate; it was an insult to the intelligence. What was I supposed to do; leave a big gap, say “call Iain Dale for the rest” and hope for the best? Dale has not offered cooperation by any stretch of the imagination.

4. Now I’m being badgered by his mate Hendren, who is claiming I “repeatedly lied about Iain Dale refusing to cooperate with a police investigation” and trying to put me on the spot with the question; why won’t I let the police call Iain Dale so he can help me? Well, the investigation is underway and my needs have changed; it is no longer a matter of getting past counter-accusations by the person targeting me. While a statement would still be appreciated and useful, currently it is mainly a matter of trying to connect somewhere between 3-6 police forces so there is a complete picture of what is going on (not least because recent advice released by the CPS makes clear that the wider picture needs to be taken into account in the particularly tricky realm of cyber harassment). What I need to help this along is the reference numbers that police live by; anything less risks wasting their time or putting them off, and if Dale cannot provide the incident/reference number that he would have been given if he had made a complaint (as he claims to) then I am not going to complicate matters by insisting that they chase him for it. Who the bloody hell does he think he is? Dale has not only refused to provide this number, he has refused to acknowledge receipt of emails requesting it. No doubt he is hoping I will repeat the mistake of trying to call him so he can wave this about as if it proves there’s substance to this smear campaign of his. If Dale is seriously claiming that he wants to cooperate at this time, then the cooperation I need at this time amounts to him providing a reference number that he should already have to hand.

5. Ditto Nadine Dorries, who once offered to ask police for incident/crime reference numbers she would already have to hand if she were telling anything near the truth about complaints she claimed to make and investigations she claimed took place. It is well over a month since she made this offer, but there is no sign of any number(s) and like Iain Dale she is refusing all communication and instead letting others attack me on her behalf. Currently, I am forced to read between the lines of this outburst, where Dorries appears to reveal that she has only recently attempted to make a complaint, only to be told by police that my conduct is completely within reasonable bounds (see here where she says: “I am expected, even though you aren’t one of my constituents, to take it”). I hope to know more about this soon; I am awaiting important data (and not from Dorries).

6. Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries have repeatedly sought to try me in the court of public opinion rather than address this properly through a criminal or even civil route. Worse, they do this knowing how it encourages the person targeting me. Dale is particularly mendacious about this; he privately defends bold assertions/accusations as opinion, while knowing this person targeting me passes it off as fact. He then has the temerity to call me a liar and claim I put him through hell over this. Dale and Dorries have sought to pursue this through the court of public opinion, and if they wish to continue on this path and allow their accusations to stand without retraction, then that is where they should be offering their evidence.

7. Finally, I have NEVER been contacted by police about ANY instance of alleged harssment which is standard protocol for every force following any credible complaint. If Dale or Dorries ever made a complaint, it amounted to nothing. I part suspect that Dale did make a complaint to police as he claimed, but that it is not what he makes it out to be and/or he was as honest with them as he was with me about his promise to call Patrick Mercer. If either is the case, there may not be a number because his complaint was so inconsequential as to be dismissed*, or he would have good reason to withhold the number despite the doubts many people now have about his account/claims. But if he never made that complaint at all, and only claimed that he made a complaint so, like Dorries, he could then claim/imply I was subsequently guilty in some way, then obviously he has no reference number to give.

*MINI-UPDATE – This passage changed slightly to include the possibility that Iain Dale made a complaint and was not issued with a reference number because it was so inconsequential he was advised by police that he was wasting his and their time. If this is the case, Dale has been misrepresenting the nature/significance of his complaint for well over a year and a half.

UPDATE (19 Dec) – Iain Dale is still having his mate Hendren call me a liar on his behalf (while refusing to engage or communicate himself), despite the update above. Offering to do something entirely different than what is asked of you is NOT cooperation, especially when it is so thoroughly inadeqaute as what Dale offered. In any instance, he restricts his bullshit defence to the current investigation, and it is my clearly stated position that he refused to cooperate with more than one. Further, he only made the recent offer in the face of bad publicity; it wasn’t out of any altruism as he pretends. You may also note this accusation does nothing to address the other concerns raised in this post; it only implies that I have lied about it all. Typical of Dale and his leading flunky.

UPDATE (19 Dec) – Oh dear. Dale has just had a comment published over at Hendren’s, and it’s becoming clearer why he cannot produce a reference number, and why he has avoided giving any details about his ‘complaint’ for well over a year:

I visited Tonbridge Police Station on the evening of 15 April 2008. That is all you need to know., I asked their advice, Their advice was to take out a harrassment [sic] order on you. I proceeded to take legal advice and you then received several warning letters.

Quite why you think you are entitled to any information from me after your behaviour towards me one can but wonder.

“15 April 2008”? Dare I bark at Iain to get his facts straight? Doesn’t he allege the events took place in 2009?

And why go to the police station? For dramatic effect? For exercise? A phone call would have done. It would have been logged, too, but surely that’s by the by.

Also, note in this closing paragraph he is again attempting to justify his refusal to cooperate when he claims he is cooperating (and basing a claim that I am a liar on this and this alone).

But most importantly, Iain Dale has repeatedly claimed elsewhere that he “reported me to police for harassment” as if he filed a report or statement (that he would later have to account for if untrue) and/or as if police somehow agreed my actions may have equated to harassment… now he says he merely asked police for their advice, and judging by this account he never got any further than the front desk! This, after claiming to have been the target of stalking for “years”.

He also implies here that he had cause to take a harassment order out against me and further implies that he began this process in earnest, when all he sent was two (not several) deeply flawed letters (that read like he wrote them before having a two-bit lawyer sign them off) containing accusations that he could not substantiate then and cannot substantiate now. The first relied heavily on a claim of repeated libel (not harassment) that, when challenged, was never mentioned again! Tellingly, he even feels the need to exaggerate the number of letters.

Dale’s recent account makes it pretty clear why he cannot produce a reference number; his ‘complaint’ to police was nothing like what he describes when repeatedly smearing me as a stalker and, like Dorries, he falls back on some vague talk about a conversation that is impossible to verify, where he is given ‘advice’ by police which most sensible people would interpret as ‘please stop wasting our time’.

And still he portrays my actions as if they amount to harassment/stalking, despite knowing how his accusations feed a genuine campaign of harassment targeting me.

(To add insult to injury, his mate Hendren is publishing comments suggesting I am imagining the process where the person targeting me recycles Iain’s lies and hyperbole, when he knows it to be a valid concern about actual events.)

UPDATE – Here’s Iain Dale lying about the ‘complaints’ made by himself and Dorries. I’ll include a screen capture in case he later deletes it as if he never said it (as he does often):

Yes, he did make it up. So did Dorries. Neither of them made a complaint that was anything like what they described when repeatedly smearing me as a stalker. If they have a case, let them pursue it through criminal or civil means, not through a whispering campaign, trial by (new) media or tacit approval/encouragement of vigilante action.

MORE RELATED BLOGAGGE:

Ramble On: Billy don’t lose my number

Never Trust a Hippy: Blogging v political careers








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 16, 2010

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

One of the main issues I have always had with Iain Dale is his ‘style’ of comment moderation.

In his post on ‘rules’, he says that he will not allow comments that could be “construed as libellous” and reserves the right to remove comments that are “insulting to me or other people posting in the thread”.

However, the sad truth is that Iain Dale has allowed this kind of content many times when it has suited him.

What follows are some choice extracts from a comment thread in which Iain Dale resorted to his all-too-common tactic of actively exploiting or engaging in exactly the kind of behaviour he says he won’t allow on his site… and on this occasion, I copped the sharp end of it when I dared to complain about this very thing.

Please note that Iain Dale may suddenly delete any or all of these examples (and pretend that he is trying to do me a favour when doing so, when he knows I seek a retraction over deletion). If this happens, I will add a screen capture and/or link to the archived version of this same page. To be clear; I would really prefer at this stage that Iain Dale try to defend his position and what he allowed in this thread, or issue a full and sincere retraction. I would regard the sudden deletion of the offending comments in this thread, without discussion or retraction, to be no more than a further attempt to retro-moderate his site (see: Jeremy Hunt) and pretend that none of this ever happened and/or did not happen in the way I describe(d) it.

For those wondering what relevance a thread from 2008 has here in the far-flung future world of 2010, it is this; Dale denies that he played any significant role in popularising and publishing the accusation that I am a stalker generally, and denies that what he has said in the past is in any way relevant to my being accused by others of stalking Nadine Dorries and Anne Milton specifically. This thread proves otherwise.

“Why should he answer any questions from someone who has clear mental problems.”
Comment by ‘Curbishlyauto’, directed at me, published by Iain Dale

“Tim, you have a blog which nobody reads, and your only significance in the blogging world is when you stalk successful blogs and try to blow up something with them.” Anonymous comment published by Iain Dale

“Iain, why is it that you insist on publishing anonymous comments that rubbish what I’ve done for the [political] blogosphere and/or call me a stalker or troll with mental problems?” – Comment by me (shortly before I was banned from making further comments by Iain Dale)

“Erm…. and Stalker Tim, as Iain has one of the most widely-read and influential blogs in the country (as does Guido) that does in fact make them experts, and you an amateur.” – Anonymous comment published by Iain Dale

“Excuse me Tim, you useless little stalker, I don’t see you answering MY questions…” – Anonymous comment published by Iain Dale

“Overnight Tim Ireland has sent two emails making non specific threats. Either I obey his rules and dikats or I should face the consequences. As a result he is now banned from making further comments on this blog if he persists in his campaign of vilification I shall be placing the matter of m’learned friend. Ask Anne Milton or Nadine Dorries what it is liked to be stalked by this idiot. I was so stupid to reverse the previous ban. It won’t be happening again. This time it’s permanent.” – Comment by Iain Dale himself

Before we proceed, I am happy to repeat Iain Dale’s denials that he submitted these anonymous comments himself; I don’t see how this stands in his favour when he has knowingly exploited them in violation of his own comment moderation policy, but he seems to think that the distinction is important, so I’m happy to make it.

My position is that Iain Dale has knowingly and repeatedly allowed his website to be used as a platform for anonymous abuse and false accusations designed to damage his critics, and that he has done it so often that it’s neither here nor there if he typed these comments himself; he created an environment that encouraged sock-puppetry in his favour, and used this consistently to gain advantage in online debates that he hosted. I regard this to be an abuse of his readers trust, and an abuse of his wider responsibilities as a publisher.

Iain Dale currently regards the publication of the above accusations on his website to be ‘irrelevant’. He has since offered to delete them, but refuses to retract them. He is now upset because I may have to resort to civil action (as if this is a certainty, and aimed primarily at him for personal reasons).

I also question his use of the word ‘threat’ here, and not for the first time. Like ‘stalker’, it is a word he is all-too-willing to throw about like candy, and he has often given the false impression that a threat of attention, exposure or confrontation has been a threat of physcial violence, but he’ll throw a full-on wobbly if anyone dares call him a ‘liar’ when he is caught lying, and will classify an charge of ‘hypocrisy’ as ‘abuse’ while thinking nothing of calling someone a “sack of shit” and/or telling them to “piss off”.

(Psst! If you have the stomach/patience to read the entire thread, you may note that Iain Dale calls me a ‘liar’, too, basing this on the possibility that I might have been half-wrong about something. In his opinion. He also publishes comments that imply that I have defrauded my clients/employer.)

Currently, it is not going to cost Iain Dale anything but his pride to retract these claims that he defends as opinion, when he knows that they are being passed off as fact in an ongoing harassment campaign.

But, despite knowing of the dangers to me and my family (and even a lot of the background that I dare not publish), he won’t even discuss the evidence on which he bases his judgement… so it can’t even be said that he can defend it as opinion, because he has so far refused to do this.

So, basically, I’m to be branded a stalker on the basis of Iain Dale’s “because I say so”.

I can, theoretically, step past Dale and the barrier of bullshit he knowingly maintains despite the risks to me (and my children), but even that will take money.

If I am to attempt prosecution of Dominic Wightman, the man most instrumental in the 18 month campaign of harassment against me (and now my family), I will need expert representation, and that takes money. Please donate today.








(Or maybe have a quiet word with Iain Dale and point out that he looks a bit silly pretending that he’s gone out of his way to help when he won’t issue a simple retraction or defend this opinion of his. He’ll most likely pretend he’s already dealt with this. He hasn’t. He knows his site has been used as a source of ‘dirt’ against me by the same people repeating his published opinion as fact. If he will not and cannot defend his opinion, on what basis does he refuse a retraction? Oh, and a relevant statement to police; he seriously wants me to provide him with their phone number and/or have police call him so he can wing it over the phone and ‘reassure’ them based on his current illogical and unsupported stance. I won’t be agreeing to this in a hurry. Retraction on site and written statement to police, or I will be forced to go around him, or over him. That’s the reality of it, and no ‘threat’.)

NEXT: The MPs who knowingly shun due scrutiny with false and hysterical cries of ‘stalker’… including one cabinet minister who has lied about doing so, and another who has given an entirely false account of what they claim to have by way of supporting evidence.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 6, 2010

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

Greetings! The post you are reading at this moment is appearing simultaneously on four websites:

Bloggerheads (post permalink) – my personal site
The Sun: Tabloid Lies (post permalink) – a media watch site targeting The Sun
Daily Mail Watch (post permalink) – a media watch site targeting the Daily Mail
Express Watch (post permalink) – a brand new media watch site targeting Express newspapers

I’m not the gaffer for all of these sites, but I have had a word with the relevant writers and webmasters about what I’m about to share with you, the reader, so you know what to expect from these media watch sites targeting The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express:

All three sites will now operate as open clubhouses for the following writers and bloggers, all of whom have a solid track record* and ongoing interest in blogging and media watchery:

5cc :: @
bigdaddymerk :: @
Adam Bienkov :: @
Chris Coltrane :: @
D-Notice :: @
Daily Quail :: @
Dave Cross :: @
Kate Griffin :: @
Daniel Hoffmann-Gill :: @
Tim Ireland :: @
MacGuffin :: @
Hannah Mudge :: @
Carl P :: @
Nadia Saint :: @
septicisle ::
Sim-O :: @
Uponnothing :: @
Anton Vowl :: @

(*I could be more effusive if I weren’t in the list myself. Damn my modesty.)

From today, these writers will be free to submit original content and/or reference or mirror articles from their own sites about The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express newspapers.

Don’t expect everyone to come rushing in at once; the whole idea is that we can all drop in as and when we please; i.e. whenever we have time to report/share clear examples/evidence of these newspapers deceiving their readers.

(I’ve started by popping a couple of backdated mirrors about the Dunblane incident and a recent dash of homophobia and hypocrisy in Express Watch, BTW, and you will probably see more like these appearing over the coming days/weeks as we go about the process of populating the newer site with a little historical data on a writer-by-writer basis.)

There are bound to be varying degrees of tolerance between writers and over time, but we will continue to avoid ‘hating’ on tabloid readers generally (this being existing policy on the two older media watch sites), as we recognise that even the worst elements are victims to a degree if they base their fears/prejudices on misleading information fed to them by these newspapers – and we are ultimately out to bring some of them on board with the whole ‘honesty in media’ policy (at least to the extent that they cease reading, funding and otherwise enabling these media outlets that play so wilfully on the fears of others).

To put it bluntly, we as a group (a) seek to remind the readers of these tabloids that they are being lied to on a regular basis, (b) will attempt to call their owners and editors to account where possible/appropriate, and (c) aim to chip away at their circulation in the process by the devilish means of repeatedly exposing their fraud… when we each have a few minutes.

This ‘clubhouse’ approach should be enough, one hopes, to keep all three media watch interests ticking over a steady rate, and keep the documentation of the worst of these tabloids’ deceits relatively central and readily accessible.

With that newly-centralised relevance in mind, from an SEO (search engine optimisation) perspective, I also have designs on all three sites eventually earning very high placement for the name of each newspaper title; Daily Mail Watch is at present 7th for ‘daily mail’ in Google UK and prone to go higher, and The Sun: Tabloid Lies has just recently entered the top ten for ‘the sun’ (i.e. it is now 9th in Google UK).

Keep an eye out for our clubhouse members as they begin to appear over the coming week. Oh, and do add the following to your sidebars, readers and bookmarks, because these sites are about to become your first stop for any news involving any of the following tabloid newspapers:

The Sun: Tabloid Lies
Daily Mail Watch
Express Watch

Cheers all.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 4, 2010

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

OK, so Iain Dale, the publisher of the ‘unbiased’ junk-mail magazine Total Politics is busy assuring us that what Andy Coulson certainly didn’t do (summary) isn’t quite so bad, because guessing someone’s password isn’t really hacking, according to his close mate Phil Hendren (‘Dizzy’; the same bullying ratbag who says publishing my ex-directory* home phone number in two parts in two consecutive comments isn’t anywhere near as bad as publishing my ex-directory home phone number all in one go):

Iain Dale – Coulson’s Accusers Can Go to Hell

Dizzy’s take is interesting HERE. And he takes to task those who refer to hacking and tapping without really knowing what they are talking about… “Calling someone’s mobile, waiting for it to go to voicemail and then entering their four digit pin (0000) is not hacking. Hacking is about circumventing security, not being presented with them and passing them”

But when Grant Shapps (another senior Conservative in charge of communication) was caught in a pathetic astroturfing/sock-puppeting attempt, and used as his excuse that someone must have accessed his account using his “all too guessable” password (‘1234’), Iain Dale declared that guessing a 4-digit code WAS hacking:

Iain Dale – Shapps Denies Astroturfing Allegations

This all seemd [sic] a bit odd to me so I went to the horse’s mouth and have got a categoric [sic] denial that Grant did anything of the sort. It appears that he had a very easily guessable password on his Youtube account (it was 1234 !!!) and someone hacked into it.

Further, I’ve checked with someone who actually knows the law (thank you, Jack of Kent) and I can confirm that the law specifically recognises that intercepting a voicemail is the same as intercepting an actual call being made:

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 | Section 2. Meaning and location of ‘interception’ etc.

(8) For the purposes of this section the cases in which any contents of a communication are to be taken to be made available to a person while being transmitted shall include any case in which any of the contents of the communication, while being transmitted, are diverted or recorded so as to be available to a person subsequently.

There it is in black in white, and unchanged by anything Iain Dale and his mates might say about what does or does not classify as ‘hacking’… which they are wrong (or lying) about, by the way:

Wiktionary
hacking: (computing) Unauthorized attempts to bypass the security mechanisms of an information system or network.

Of course, the word has other meanings, as does the word ‘hack’, which Iain should be painfully aware of having been called one so many times… and with good reason.

Guessing a poorly-configured password is still hacking in much the same way as walking through a door or gate that is poorly secured is still breaking and entering.

This is just another case of Iain Dale and Phil Hendren attempting to bamboozle their readers with bullshit and despite his ready-made protests (“I quote Dizzy not to condone the practice”), by minimising the alleged offence(s) in this way, Dale does in effect seek to make excuses for what is actually hacking/interception.

He has since levelled a false accusation at a Guardian editor because they dared to point this out:

“I absolutely did NOT defend phone hacking. How dare you suggest I did. How typical of The Guardian to mislead and smear.” – Iain Dale

But defending the act of phone hacking is exactly what Iain Dale did. He tried to make excuses for those alleged to have engaged in this type of hacking by claiming that it wasn’t really hacking.

Why he would bother doing this when he claims to be utterly convinced of Andy Coulson’s innocence is unknown at this time**.

[NOTE – Dale is already backpedalling by claiming he didn’t actually say it wasn’t hacking himself, and that he was only quoting somebody else’s view. Well, from here it looked like he was heartily endorsing that view and using it to support his argument.]

(*Iain Dale denies being the source of this ex-directory number, which I mistakenly trusted him with in his role as a publisher. I have my doubts, especially when Hendren’s story about how he got it keeps changing and Iain Dale has flat-out lied in previous denials.)

(**Iain Dale also ends his post with the declaration that “Coulson is innocent until proven guilty.” But he didn’t feel that way about Tom Watson when he was so convinced of that man’s guilt he was knowingly using false information against him, he has no comment to make about his friend Nadine Dorries making false accusations about police investigations that never took place (most probably because he’s a primary instigator of the same smear), and he doesn’t seem to think the same way about one of Coulson’s accusers when he says that man was “sacked by the paper for persistent drug and alcohol problems” and wonders out loud; “You don’t think he might have a grudge, do you?”)

UPDATE (05 Sep) – I’m happy to note that I’ve made the distinction between ‘hacking’ and ‘password cracking’ myself, but this was when Rod Liddle was making excuses that were so vague, it risked giving the wrong impression about the security of a whole site, not just a single account. In the instances cited here, Iain Dale takes one position on ‘hacking’ of specific accounts by guessing a 4-digit password and then takes the opposite position on ‘hacking’ of specific accounts by guessing a 4-digit password. That he and his mate Hendren would pretend the two events are comparable and make such a big deal of it after spending all of yesterday ignoring the challenge to their semantic bullshit is only further evidence of their intent to deceive. Further, we have yet another example of Iain Dale only ever engaging when he thinks he has the upper hand (a classic tabloid tactic); when he is making excuses for not engaging, he will claim that he has been given professional advice to ignore me at all times. Like Dorries, he is lying through his teeth, and busies himself smearing me privately, or using his friends to smear me on his behalf, while he ‘ignores’ me and plays the victim. Dale’s real problem is that he cannot engage with me openly without admitting to some really quite awful behaviour that’s not in keeping with his brand. (I’d say ‘public image’ but more and more people are seeing through this charlatan, especially now the Tories are in power and he’s busy making excuses for them every other day.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 2, 2010

Category: Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Iain Dale is currently very busy putting himself about in the mainstream media taking a ‘principled’ stand against the way Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) has been running his site like an open sewer. To cover his arse, on TV/radio he speaks vaguely of his own regrets about what he has allowed/published on his own site in the past, but offers no specifics.

In 2006 both Paul Staines and Iain Dale refused to condemn two political activists who were using blogs/comments to ‘innocently’ air questions about a political opponent being a paedophile, despite evidence I had published clearly establishing their involvement.

(The same men were also comment contributors to either/both sites controlled by Iain Dale and Paul Staines. To give Staines some credit, he did see the sense in deleting one comment linking to the main smear, but he was most ungracious about it, as if I were worrying about nothing and somehow owed him a favour.)

What follows is a copy of the email where Iain Dale refused to cover the story and expose the two people involved:

From: Iain Dale
To: ‘Tim Ireland’
Cc: ‘Guy Fawkes’
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:34 PM
Subject: RE: Guildford Conservatives in ‘paedo’ smear

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

Iain

Iain Dale never did get on with focusing on that Prescott ‘story’ as he claimed he was doing, which is kind of good thing because this ‘story’ appeared to be yet another example of Paul Staines recycling Westminster tittle-tattle and other unsubstantiated claims about where Prescott had put his penis.

So, to summarise, Iain Dale refused point-blank to publicly condemn two activists who were ‘innocently’ airing claims their political opponent was a paedophile, and used as his excuse his desire to focus on the Paul Staines ‘story’ that involved yet more gossip about yet another person’s sex life.

Perhaps this is one of the regrets he speaks of… and perhaps he plans to continue to pretend as if this never happened because the target of this smear was a Lib Dem and the MP closely associated with the smearing activists was a fellow Conservative and a friend of his… Anne Milton:

Iain Dale and Anne Milton

Iain Dale also refused to condemn Paul Staines when that ‘blogger’ heavily implied that a Lib Dem MP was a paedophile, equating homosexuality with paedophilia in the process.

More recently, Iain Dale refused to take a stand against a campaign of harassment against me where I was smeared as a paedophile*, to the extent of not only refusing to participate in the relevant criminal investigation, but going on to use my attempts to contact him about that to generate a false claim of ‘stalking**’ that he maintains privately to this day, despite the belated deletion of this claim (and others) about me from his blog.

The long and the short of it is that all of the targets of these smears were people that Iain Dale sniffily refers to as ‘lefties’.

William Hague, on the other hand, is a Conservative and a member of Cameron’s cabinet, and if Dale is going to come out against these smears targeting Hague while not specifically regretting or even acknowledging any of the above I am going to dare to suggest that he does so for reasons of politics, not principle.

[*The man who originated this smear also happens/happened to be a personal and political associate of Anne Milton, but that’s for another day.]

[**In fact, it needs to be noted that after I confronted Paul Staines about exactly this kind of thing years ago and revealed his shady political past involving strategic overtures to the BNP, Iain Dale responded by portraying my concerns as a personal attack and allowing his mostly-anonymous comment contributors to slag me off on his site (as ‘obsessive’, a stalker, and worse). Further, Iain Dale’s own smears about my stalking him and others began with anonymous claims made on his own site by ardent supporters of Anne Milton; most likely the very same people behind the 2006 paedo-smear. That Iain will now repeat these claims privately but not test them in court or even expose them to scrutiny should tell you all you need to know about what’s really going on here; Iain Dale’s actions amount to no more than a whisper campaign, and – like his mate Nadine Dorries – Dale engages in this activity knowing that his smears are being repeated in public, sometimes alongside my home address.]

UPDATE (12:30) – I dared to approach Iain Dale for comment on this one, as he appeared to have changed his tune, and I wanted to be sure. I asked him if he had any regrets about any of the above, and this was his response:

“Oh, fuck off!”

How nice. Still, at least it does tell me in a roundabout way that he’s a long way from regretting any of it.

UPDATE (07 Sep) – Iain Dale still doesn’t regret any of it, even though he knows my wife and kids are in the firing line now. What a deeply unpleasant individual.








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 13, 2010

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

In honour of Iain Dale’s repeated attempts to have his slightly-less-rigged blog-poll taken seriously (see also: Top 100 Worst Blogs Poll) I’ve decided to conduct a poll of my own based on my own interests… i.e. exposing liars and watching them squirm like cut snakes.

Instructions follow:

Top 10 Biggest Liars in British Blogging Poll

1. Email me [bloggerheads DOT com AT gmail DOT com] with a list of anywhere from 1 to 3 nominees for ‘biggest liar’ including their name/nickname and a link to their main blog

(Please rank them in order of their dishonesty, according to your own judgement, based on what you can prove.)

2. If a blogger dedicates the majority of their efforts to having an impact of British politics (and tells lies in the process), they qualify as a potential nominee. Yes, even if they’re an expat and/or have recent/past form for skipping the country when the heat’s on.

(People who engage in micro-blogging on Twitter also qualify, but I reserve the right to chart these liars separately. Ditto for journalists/columnists who pretend at blogging on newspaper websites, but couldn’t hold their own in a comments-based conversation if they tried.)

3. For each nominee you list, you must show an example of a clear intent to deceive and provide relevant link(s)/evidence to back it up.

(If there’s no single article that summarises/exposes the evidence, you may consider writing one. If you wish to base your claim that someone is lying on evidence that no-one is allowed to see, then please piss off and have a seat over here, next to Ian Hislop.)

4. Nominations close at midnight on 13 August, 2010

This last measure is designed to discourage/discredit certain people who are likely to dismiss your claim as a personal/political attack while running around making unsubstantiated claims about you or other people being liars in the process. I’ve learned from bitter experience that this comes as naturally to some liars as breathing.

Please note that while a single post/event involving multiple lies should (in theory) be acceptable, you are broadly restricted to one example/event for each nominee, so please make it a good/illustrative one. I’d include an example* or two to guide you on this point, but that might skew the results, and we can’t have that. If I have any doubts about your submission, I’ll ask.

(*I will take the time to clear up a common point of confusion: an error/mistake is not a lie, but it quickly becomes one when the author refuses to acknowledge they were wrong, despite the evidence.)

The final chart will be decided on a balance between how many times a person is nominated (i.e. whose proven lies had the most impact?), how highly they are placed in comparison to others (i.e. how serious do others regard their lies to be?) and the variety/strength of examples listed for each nominee (i.e. who tells the most lies?).

Above all, keep in mind that I will as a result be hosting a post that declares a number of potentially quite litigious people to be some of the biggest liars in British politics, so I will want to be very comfortable with the body of evidence. If you wish you vote/nomination(s) to count for something, the onus is on you to provide what liars hate the most; evidence.

Happy voting!

UPDATE (29 July, 2010) – I’m calling this one off on the basis that I have other priorities at the moment, and won’t have time to give all nominations due care and attention. (calling someone a ‘liar’ is serious business, and you need to be damn sure of your ground). If it’s any consolation, unchecked entries wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway; Iain Dale and Nadine Dorries were streets ahead, and no-one else came within shouting distance (not that this stopped Phil Hendren from shouting anyway).








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 12, 2010

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The delightful Ms Humphrey Cushion spotted some fresh expenses data released on July 8, 2010. There’s no master page for it that I can find, sorry, but if you visit this page and click on most MP’s names, it should appear as ‘Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure 2009-10’

It’s easy to be thrown off by the title of the release (and the date it was released) but these are the accommodation-related claims for April, May and June 2009… i.e. these forms and claims were submitted as the expenses scandal unfolded last summer. I’ve only browsed through a small percentage of the data myself, but I’m already seeing a clear pattern of MPs backing off on expenses claims and/or stopping entirely during this period, and it’s fascinating.

A few of us Twittery bods have taken it upon ourselves to organise this data into a spreadsheet before the Guardian/Telegraph (and/or in greater detail), and if you have any spreadsheet experience (it doesn’t take much) then I invite you to join us. Instructions follow:

1 – Email me for an invite to access the spreadsheet on Google Docs: [bloggerheads DOT com AT gmail DOT com]

2 – Pick a set of MPs no-one else is working on (they are arranged alphabetically and grouped by first letter of surname; it is easy to spot areas where people are working as completed rows are coloured yellow)

3 – Starting here, click on your chosen letter/group. then click on each MP’s name in turn, and see if there’s an entry for ‘Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure 2009-10’, and…

(a) If there isn’t, or if the only form is one of these, then just put ‘N’ in the column marked ‘Did they file claim(s) for 2009/10 (Y/N)’, then enter your name under ‘Data input by’, then colour the row yellow, and move on to the next MP. (Psst! Don’t forget to fill in the column telling us who entered this data!)

(b) If there is, but it looks like the forms have been filled in with crayon by an idiot, then move on to the next MP and try again, or give up entirely knowing you just don’t have the patience for this

(c) If there is, then take note of the date on the main form(s), labelled ‘PAAE 2’ in the top right hand corner (ignore the stamped date; you want the date range listed in ‘Claim details’ right under the MP’s name) and just enter the relevant numbers in the correct columns (‘Mortgage Interest’, ‘Rent’, ‘Gas’, ‘Electricity’, etc.), do this for each month (i.e. 04/09, 05/09 and/or 06/09 where applicable) then colour the row yellow when you’ve entered all visible/relevant data, and move on to the next MP.

(We’ve been adding columns where new claim types emerge, but if you are in any doubt just stop work on that row and move on (i.e. leaving it coloured white). The same applies if you’re in doubt about things like multiple forms for single months, forms in the wrong order, random scans of bills that have no relevance to the figures quoted in the main form(s), etc. etc. etc.)

I won’t pretend to have time to handle more than a dozen entries myself today, but if enough people chip in, we can get this done in good time and release the itemised/organised data for wider analysis this week.








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