Link of the day, week and year

Dan Hardie – Iraqi Employees: Maintain the pressure: Gordon Brown may apparently be making a statement on Iraq to the House of Commons tomorrow afternoon, sometime after 2pm. He may or may not mention Britain’s Iraqi employees and the need of some of them for asylum. The Times article of Saturday promises nothing but gave the Government a big, positive headline: classic spin. I have always said, when writing to Jacqui Smith and other Ministers, that to pre-announce asylum for Iraqi employees before they’d actually been taken to safety would increase the risks to them and to the British soldiers who would have to evacuate them. I hope desperately that this won’t happen. I also hope that we will see a genuine promise of resettlement for all who are identified as being seriously at risk for having worked for the British in Iraq.

Blog it, please. You may also want to bring attention to this small correction.

I’ll be PFB until then, but hope to see a lot of bloggers and MPs on deck on Tuesday night, regardless of whatever spoiler(s) Brown might be cooking up.

UPDATE – The meeting on Iraqi Employees will take place on the same day (Tuesday 9th October) at the same time (7-9pm) with the same speakers in a changed venue very close to the original one: the Attlee Suite in Portcullis House.

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | Comments Off

Little boys in blogshorts

Man, that is a *lot* of effort for a little biscuit, when a simple post or email would have settled it, but I guess Paul Staines has seen better days and Phil “I have no reputation” Hendren is still busy making a name for himself. And it’s no surprise at all that the lead blogger circle-jerker Iain Dale is pitching in.

It creates a compelling illusion for the witless though, and you can see Paul Staines reinforcing that illusion here. By needlessly going all-out on Tom Watson, they seek to convince others that Tom would not have acted honourably (or at all) otherwise.

But, to be fair, these three are notorious for never admitting when they’re wrong, unless a fellow Tory is involved… so perhaps they’re merely projecting their values onto Tom here. I’ve certainly seen that in the case of another member of their team, Praguetory; he’s a serial retro-moderator and a total control freak when it comes to comments, but he’s claimed a moral authority over Tom Watson ever since a concerted spam attack on Tom’s comments function meant that some of his comments fell by the wayside (in Dominic Fisher’s mind, they were censored).

[Meanwhile, not one of these three bloggers has mentioned the name Philip Clarke, which I find curious (see: misleading attacks on Bob Piper).]

Staines, Hendren and Dale like to scream ‘”Obsession!” (or have a sock-puppet do it for them) if anyone presses them for an answer a third or fourth time or takes any effective steps around their comment control-freakery… but they themselves seem obsessed with taking down any bloggers on the left who are more senior to them. Perhaps it has something to do with sustaining Iain Dale’s slowly-coagulating ‘the Tories were here first’ narrative.

It bears mentioning at this point that these three have yet to out-grow Blogspot, and it’s been less than a year since two of them decided to make more than minimal use of a domain name. Dale, the so-called blogging ‘expert’, has yet to make the move.

[For the record: Webcameron was a sham and remains a sham. And very few videos on Webcameron out-perform this single video that shows what a sham it is…. even after a year and a shipload of cash and effort.]

UPDATE – How silly of me… I almost forgot to mention that David Cameron is *still* pretending to operate without the aid of a script and, like most frauds, he’s getting bolder over time.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Keywords: ‘brown’ and ‘bottle’

Gordon, you’re a fool and an arsehole. What made you think that we’d be in a mood to hold our breath over your election plans after months of holding our breath over Blair’s departure? Dickhead.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

(Online) poll-rigging in Guildford: council leader Andrew Hodges caught and not punished

Via Chris Paul, who covers this and the not-entirely-unrelated scrutiny of the civic car park sale:

(Psst! If this is new to you, you can find the earlier post here.)

Surrey Advertiser – Council chief clears authority of poll rigging: An inquiry by Guildford Borough Council’s chief executive into allegations of rigging an online poll has cleared his authority of any wrong-doing… Council boss David Hill’s investigation unearthed that Guildford Borough Council leader Andrew Hodges used two council computers to vote ‘no’ twice. Cllr Hodges, a Conservative councillor for 30 years, said he voted twice in the poll out of “frustration”. He also claimed the poll was based on “a misrepresentation of the facts on the council’s position by the Surrey Advertiser”. “This was on an important subject and in my frustration I registered two votes to what I thought was a flawed poll,” Cllr Hodges added. No action will (be) taken against Cllr Hodges for his actions.

Read that again; Guildford Borough Council leader Andrew Hodges used two council computers to vote ‘no’ twice. No action will (be) taken against Cllr Hodges for his actions.

Way to go, Guildford Borough Council. My confidence in our local elected representatives is now at an all-time high.

1. Andrew Hodges? Now, there’s a familiar name. There’s a word for his relationship with our local MP Anne Milton and her inner circle, and that word is ‘tight’.

2. I really feel for Cllr Hodges. Time and again I’ve been frustrated by dishonest campaigning and a lack of proportional representation, which is why I always vote twice*, even when I’m not supposed to be voting at all..

3. If it was such an important subject to him, and Cllr Hodges doesn’t object to the concept of multiple votes (check his statement; you won’t see an apology there), why did he only vote twice? (Assuming, of course, that he didn’t pop back to his place to secretly express his frustration with a few extra votes before a late supper. They have The Internets in homes these days, I hear.)

4. The next time Cllr Hodges is faced with a situation where he is of the opinion that something is less than fair, he would do well to remember that two wrongs rarely make a right. He should also in future consider that if a poll is fundamentally flawed, then he should challenge or boycott the poll rather than participate in it. Twice.

5. The Surrey Ad works diligently to remain balanced; their reward is to have the local Tories scream “Bias!” whenever one of their gang is caught doing something questionable or downright wrong and the Surrey Ad has the audacity to (brace yourselves) report it. I wish the Surrey Ad the very best of luck in tracking down the single computer/user responsible for an additional 105 ‘no’ votes. Whoever was behind it deserves a bollocking.

[*This is a joke. Much like Andrew Hodges’ attitude toward the public he is supposed to serve.]

Posted in Anne Milton | 2 Comments

Somewhere, right now, a Tory is screaming “Witch hunt!”

Via Tom:

Kevin Maguire – Cam’s big speech con: If David Cameron’s audition to be a cable TV daytime host was unscripted, a line swallowed by many newspapers and broadcasters, can anyone explain why the “speech writer” was last night having his hand shaken by fellow Tories? A lawyer acquaintance waiting in a Euston station taxi queue at about 7.45 watched as a well spoken man enjoyed the plaudits of fellow Cons fresh off the train from Blackpool. Anyone know him? He looked in his 30s, fairish hair, dark suit. chequed shirt and a tie with an emblem or motif from a university or club. Reading a London Evening Standard headline hailing “1 hour 10 mins without a script”, he laughed and claimed he wrote the address before boasting “they believe he extemporised!” Another Tory laughed too then grabbed his hand before saying: “Seriously though, great speech. Congratulations.” That Cameron somehow made it up as he went along, apart from a few notes, is the best piece of spin for years.

Oh, yes please… let’s find/identify this man. We should at least give him the opportunity to deny it.


(Psst! Use this general link if the permalink is borking for you.)

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

How many MPs actually live in their constituency?

A big job goes begging….

A few Tories are up in arms over at Chicken Yoghurt, claiming that they’ve been misrepresented by Justin quoting them verbatim and linking to each and every source.

The following thought occurred to me during the early part of that exchange:

… isn’t it about time someone did a fresh study of MPs, showing how many of them live in their own constituency (perhaps with a party-by-party % summary at the end)?

I’m sure I’ve seen studies like this featured in print media in the past… I just haven’t seen one recently.

So, that big job that goes begging is as follows:

1. Locate and collate previous studies of how many MPs actually live in their constituencies (yes, even if it’s only at weekends while Parliament is in session).

2. If no recent study exists, start with this list and draw up a fresh study of how many MPs actually live in their constituencies (yes, even if it’s only at weekends while Parliament is in session). The data should include individual entries for each MP/constituency and the final table should allow users to compare data at least on a party-by-party basis. If you have the capacity, handy extra data-sets to have would include (a) the distance from each constituency to Westminster and (b) the distance the out-of-towners have to travel to get to their constituency and Westminster.

Some detective work and bullshit-dodging will be required; during the 2005 election the then-candidate Anne Milton did not live in Guildford and, as it turns out, had no intention of moving to Guildford. Despite this, the official record (the ballot paper) suggested otherwise at the time, as she had taken out a single-bedroom flat in the area; additionally, her campaign literature made much of the fact that the then-serving MP who *did* live in Guildford had the temerity to be born elsewhere.

Which brings us to…

3. When an election is called (now or later) the data will need to be expanded to take primary candidates into account and, ideally, a central blog/category will need to be created/managed to document campaign literature that disregards and/or plays games with the facts you have in your possession.

This focused project would be an excellent vehicle for an up-and-coming journalist and/or blogger wishing to make their mark. It would also be a valuable tool for the electorate, as the “Are you local?” issue is always a big one and is often a centre of deception in resulting campaign literature.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments


A special treat for anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a “blogs can’t be trusted” cage-rattler from the MSM. Take a look and see how the big boys do it:

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair – Hooray for mainstream media

Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

There are two major demonstrations this coming week..

… and attending one of them could lead to your arrest. Can you guess which?


Join us for a march and rally in solidarity with the monks and peaceful demonstrators in Burma and demand international action.

Assemble at 11.00am at Tate Britain (nearest tube Pimlico). March to Trafalgar Square for a rally at 12.45pm

For more information visit


Calling for the immediate withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assemble at 1.00pm in Trafalgar Square (nearest tube Charing Cross) for rally followed by march along Whitehall to the House of Commons.

For more information visit

Posted in The War on Stupid | Comments Off

Gordon Brown and his mysterious movements

In the greatest show of cheek since adopting the word ‘change’ for a campaign slogan, the Conservatives are now laying into Gordon Brown for playing ‘dog-whistle’ politics; partisan/projection nonsense aside, this is all part of a growing impatience with Brown’s will-he/won’t-he possibly maybe nudge-wink snap election game.

(His greatest weapons are fear, surprise, and the return home of 2,000 1,000 730 500 0 troops from Iraq.)

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | Comments Off

Debra Cagan: Why isn’t this everywhere in the UK? Did I a miss a meeting?

Well, I know I appear to have missed a whopper of a meeting in Washington, but you’ll get what I mean:

(Prepare yourselves, darlings; you’ll simply love what she’s wearing… but I should point out that she wore it for this event, and not the reported event.)

Daily Mail – I hate all Iranians, US aide tells MPs: British MPs visiting the Pentagon to discuss America’s stance on Iran and Iraq were shocked to be told by one of President Bush’s senior women officials (Debra Cagan): “I hate all Iranians.” And she also accused Britain of “dismantling” the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon… The Pentagon denied Ms Cagan said she “hated” Iranians. “She doesn’t speak that way,” said an official. But when The Mail on Sunday spoke to four of the six MPs, three confirmed privately that she made the remark and one declined to comment. The other two could not be contacted.

(Note – Even if this turns out to be old/non-news, it’s still fun to watch the folks at the Mail scream ‘Nazi’.)

Washington Post – An Iranian University Invites Bush to Speak: In a separate matter, a remark attributed to Debra Cagan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for coalition affairs, that she “hates” all Iranians has led to calls by Iranian Americans for her resignation… In a statement relayed by the Pentagon press office yesterday, Cagan denied making the comment. “I never said that. And I don’t speak that way in any event,” she said.

Well, this is begging to be settled; even if it’s a bullshit story, it’s worth knowing where it came from.

But even though it’s all over the place in the U.S. (Wonkette and Crooks & Liars head a long list of blogs), I’m not seeing any significant UK-based attention beyond the Mail’s piece, and looking for people who are talking about it locally takes me into new and worrying neighbourhoods.

What this needs is a little British spunk; someone to press that local advantage and clear this up (and, perhaps, to clear up the spunk afterwards).

The Mail says Stuart Graham was there, but they *may* just have been talking about Graham Stuart. Whatever his name is, he’s not talking.

So, who else was there? I count 5 missing MPs, and all of them are (allegedly) members of a cross-party group that travelled to Washington on a ten-day trip “to discuss America’s stance on Iran and Iraq”.

We need names, people.

UPDATE (03 Oct) – I’ve left a message with Graham Stuart’s office seeking more information about this mysterious cross-party group; I can’t find any mention of it beyond repeats of the Mail article above.

UPDATE – I thought that name rang a bell… some background on Simon Walters, the author of the article and political editor for the Mail on Sunday, can be found here and here.

Posted in Old Media, The War on Stupid | 2 Comments