John Redwood’s cackhanded approach to comments

A quick blogging quiz for you:

What’s wrong with this picture?

(Apart from the rather obvious fact that he doesn’t actually answer my question.)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

More bodies in Basra

Times – Dragged to death for helping the British: A man said to have been an interpreter for the British Army in Basra has been killed by militia gunmen on the very day that his wife learnt she was pregnant with their first child. Nine or ten masked men went to the home of Moayed Ahmed Khalaf in the al-Hayaniah district of Basra and beat him in front of his wife and mother, four sources told The Times. They then dragged him away, telling the frantic women that they would bring him back shortly. Khalaf’s body was found on Al Qa’ed Street later that night. He had been shot multiple times, according to Colonel Ali Manshed, commander of the Shatt-al-Arab police station. A cousin, a close friend and two other interpreters all told The Times that Khalaf, 31, had worked for the British at their Basra airport base. Colonel Manshed said that everyone questioned by the police had said Khalaf was an interpreter, adding: “He was a good man, everyone liked him and there was no other reason to kill him.” However Major Mike Shearer, a spokesman at the airport base, said that the army could find no record of Khalaf having worked for the army.

In other words: “Moayed who?”

You can help to stem the flow of blood by applying pressure here and here.








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Bigoted Brits big it up for the Biased BBC weblog

I remember the good old days when the pathetic Biased BBC blog struggled for oxygen and the best they could hope for was some attention from Michelle Malkin, Instapundit and similar sources of right-wing ‘balance’ in the U.S.

Sadly, those days are gone.

Now there’s a whole range of right-wing websites here in the UK, and though they owe their success to carefully massaged traffic figures, the ongoing use of sock-puppetry and outright fraud, they do have a profile that now allows the Biased BBC weblog to enjoy some local attention:

Biased BBC – It looks like we’ve had a result: The Children’s BBC Newsround 9/11 Guide Why did they do it? page, the one that we’ve been complaining about recently, was changed at 2pm yesterday… Thank you to all of you who took the time to complain to the BBC enough to get their attention and have them reconsider and revise these pages. Thank you also to Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale, Conservative Home, Damian Thompson of The Telegraph and all the other bloggers who linked in support of this effort – it is very much appreciated.

Note the headliners there; the three self-declared rulers of The Interwebs.

Iain Dale’s weblog has been home to the most appalling bias… mostly undeclared. The same can be said of Paul Staines’ grubby ‘gossip’ site. Often, the only defence they provide for this is that this particular brand of bias isn’t costing us anything.

Personally, I beg to differ, but let’s get to the meat of this claim that the BBC is corrupting children the BBC isn’t spoon-feeding right-wing fantasies of Good Vs Evil to children:

The Whiskey Priest – Pissing on their Biased BBC Parade: Now, at first glance, it seems like the Biased BBC crowd are right – this page could be read as laying the blame squarely at America’s door. EXCEPT for one small problem, and the problem happens to be the findings of the non-partisan and distinctly pro-American 9/11 Commission…

You can see Sunny in a futile attempt to draw a sensible response out of the monkey here, when what he really should be shooting for is a hissy dismissal from the organ-grinder, because that’s the best he can expect.

People like Iain Dale and Paul Staines will simply turn their backs on any awkward facts or developments; if you pay attention, on both websites, you can see an ongoing campaign of deception by omission or evasion… and now they want to infect the BBC with it.

As Iain Dale himself might say, they can piss off; they really are first class pricks.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

“Get out or die”

Times – Get out or die, security force chief tells interpreters for British Army: Iraqi interpreters working for the British Army have been advised to leave Basra or be killed. The warning was issued by a leading member of the city’s security forces after militiamen attacked and destroyed the home of one interpreter and narrowly failed to kidnap another. There were unconfirmed reports yesterday that a third had been killed. “All the interpreters have to leave Basra because these militia will never let them rest. They will kill everybody they know [who worked for the British],” Colonel Saleem Agaa Alzabon, who leads Basra’s special forces, said. “The interpreters have to leave. They have no choice.”

They have to leave. Now.

And go where exactly?

More here. Click now.








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More on that nice Mr Shapps

A very detailed post from Alex Wilcock about Grant Shapps and his by-election adventures.








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While we wait for the court case to conclude…

… here’s some light reading for you:

The Stormfront White Nationalist Community discuss the Grell affair.

I strongly advise that you observe and not engage in this instance.

(Please note that this site may be blocked by many providers and workplaces. There’s some background here if you need it.)

UPDATE – Tch. Looks like we’ll be waiting longer than expected…

East London and West Essex Guardian – Verdict delayed in councillor “sex slur” case

… but I’m sure you’ll be happy to learn that you’re not obliged to spend the entire waiting period at Stormfront.








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Iain Dale: the smear test

Times – Rising Labour star accused of telling voters: my opponent is a paedophile
Daily Mail – Labour activist accused of branding political rival ‘a paedophile’ to win council seat
East London and West Essex Guardian – Councillor sex slur trial begins
East London and West Essex Guardian – Sex slur allegations were made in revenge, claims (Labour) councillor

BBC – Councillor accused of gay slurs: A Labour politician beat a gay Liberal Democrat opponent in a London local election by making homophobic comments about him to voters, a court has heard. Nicholas Russell told Waltham Forest magistrates his running mate, Miranda Grell, had a “disgusting attitude”. He said Ms Grell told voters her rival Barry Smith claimed to be married yet had a 14-year-old Thai boyfriend. Ms Grell, 29, denies four counts of making false statements about another candidate to gain electoral advantage. Mr Smith, 56, who has a long-term 39-year-old Malaysian partner, had served on Waltham Forest Council in east London for three years and was defending a 600-vote majority in last year’s elections. The court heard Mr Smith was devastated by the way he had lost his seat to Ms Grell by 28 votes. He later moved to northern England. In the final weeks of canvassing, people slammed doors in his face and, after his defeat, he was abused, threatened and spat at, the court heard…. (Miranda Grell) admitted telling one voter Mr Smith was gay and had a “19-year-old Thai boyfriend”, and believed in hindsight this was indiscreet…

Indiscreet?! Not the word I’d use.

Barry Smith is particularly vulnerable to this kind of slur for three reasons:

1) He is gay.

There are a disturbing number of people who are prone to (or happy to exploit) the suggestion that being homosexual automatically makes one a paedophile.

2) His partner is notably younger than he is.

OK, so that partner is 39 years old, but the ‘smoke and fire’ principle can easily be utilised when shenanigans are afoot.

3) His partner is Malaysian.

Malaysia is a separate entity to Thailand (they even have a border to prove it), but in their shared region there is a known problem with human trafficking and ‘sex tourism'; genuine paedophiles often exploit this. Again, ‘smoke and fire’ can be deployed with ease.

Before we proceed, I’d ask you to keep that first (and primary) vulnerability in mind…

As is widely reported, Iain Dale was the first openly gay Conservative to be selected as a Parliamentary candidate. Therefore this story should, in theory, at the very least be of interest to him not because of the slight blogging connection, but because this is not the first case involving gay candidates and paedo-related smears and it certainly won’t be the last.

Now, Iain is away on holiday at the moment, and Shane Greer is filling in for him, but take a look at what Shane wrote when he blogged the Times article linked above:

Iain Dale’s Diary – Top Labour Blogger in Trouble

Top Labour Blogger Miranda Grell – who, Iain tells me is number 37 in the upcoming Top 100 Labour blogs – is in a spot of bother with M’Learned Friend. THIS Times article explains all.

That, to me, reads as if the item were run by Iain Dale prior to publication… and I suspect that the only reason it was featured (apart from maybe an excuse to plug his book again) is because, no matter how this ongoing trial turns out, no Tories will be implicated in any wrongdoing.

A lot of people still wonder why I ‘have it in’ for Dale, so allow me to explain the actual situation to you:

My concern about Dale is ongoing and will remain a high priority for as long as he poses as a ‘commentator’, a blogging expert and/or a leading light of political blogging, because he is extraordinarily partisan and selfish about the way he prioritises and moderates what he and others say on his ‘weblog’.

This alone breeds poison, but many new bloggers (not all of them Tories) go on to follow his very, very poor example. In fact, just to let Iain know that I mean business, I’m going to use the ‘f’ word again:

I think Iain Dale is a fraud, and a bloody dangerous one.

To be specific; I’m of the view that the very poor example he sets threatens to undermine everything valuable about political blogging.

I first began to suspect that Dale had little or no regard for the wider blogging community when I got in touch with him about a case not entirely dissimilar to the one currently working its way through court. (Iain Dale knows this, which is why his often-repeated “Don’t drag me into your blog-wars” gambit still amuses me… especially as he’s the blogging equivalent of an unscrupulous arms dealer.)

Iain didn’t blog the item.

I suspect this was because that particular smear campaign was the work of Conservative activists and I would hope that, after the free ride he gave Grant Shapps following a spectacular sock-puppeting foul-up, that most reasonable bloggers would agree with me.

I can’t stop Dale’s sock-puppeting supporters from screaming the words ‘jealous’ and/or ‘grudge’, but I can try to set the record straight with the following emails, many of which are published here in full for the first time…

In this exchange (also involving that other ‘leading light’ of blogging, Paul Staines) Iain gives some piss-poor excuses for not blogging the item in question:

From: Tim Ireland
Sent: 22 August 2006 13:43
To: iain@iaindale.com; Guy Fawkes
Subject: Guildford Conservatives in ‘paedo’ smear

Please pay particular attention to the closing comment:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2006/08/proof_mike_chambers.asp

Tim

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

From: Tim Ireland
Sent: 22 August 2006 15:37
To: Iain Dale
Cc: ‘Guy Fawkes’
Subject: Re: Guildford Conservatives in ‘paedo’ smear

*sigh*

You both know that if this were a Lib Dem or Labour campaigner, you would be all over it.

Tim

From: Iain Dale
To: ‘Tim Ireland’
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:45 PM
Subject: RE: Guildford Conservatives in ‘paedo’ smear

Yes, but we like to leave some room for you too! Anyway, the first I had ever heard of it was when you emailed it to me…

Iain Dale

I particularly like that patronising pat on the head at the end, don’t you? It’s only late 2006, and he’s already full of himself.

This is a later email (also blogged here) that I sent to Iain in the middle of the so-called ‘blog wars’ in a rather futile attempt to appeal to his human side. It was sent at a rather ungodly hour, but I’ll hope you’ll note that it’s coherent… and completely in keeping with all I’ve said here and elsewhere on this subject:

From: Tim Ireland
To: Iain Dale
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 1:47 AM
Subject: For the human being that lurks somewhere inside of you

While you’re busy playing the victim (i.e. while you’re ‘in the zone’), just imagine for a second what it would be like to be a gay candidate and have this gang of fuck-heads messing with you:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2006/08/guildford_tories.asp

They’re one of your lot, too…. approved by Head Office:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/01/indulgences.asp

Take a look at how close their techniques are to Paul’s…
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/01/briefing_astro-turfers.asp

and yours*:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/guido_fawkes/2007/02/manics-tips-for-becoming-successful_02.html

*This still applies even if you don’t write the defences/trolls yourself. You hide behind them and/or use them as weapons on a regular basis. And if you don’t reign the bullies in, they’re your bullies. You own them. Here’s a small example for you to follow (best I could find at short notice)… see comments:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/01/onmarks.asp

The longer you keep this shit up and ponce about as a very poor example, the more damage you do and the more common this kind of thing becomes.

Now, perhaps, you will understand why you have finally managed to make me angry… especially when you insist that you are the victim of a smear/attack.

You, Iain, are the potential father of countless smears and attacks.

Wake the fuck up.

Tim

He replied to other emails at that time, but not this one… and he carried on playing the victim.

Since then, from Iain we’ve seen not only the free ride for Shapps but also some suspiciously scant attention paid to the online impersonation of Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb.

Iain Dale has no business posing as any kind of senior authority on weblogs, as he fails to understand the serious long term consequences of these shenanigans, and/or is willing to turn a blind eye when people from his team engage in them.

In my mind, the publication today of the Greer item following his refusal to publish anything about a similar case involving Conservatives heavily suggests the latter especially.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

John Redwood should show his readers some respect

Mirror – Fury as Vulcan attacks: Tory MP John Redwood launched a vicious attack on the parents of Madeleine McCann yesterday. He said Kate and Gerry were more interested in spinning to the media than finding their daughter. And he asked where was the evidence to back the abduction claim.

Daily Mail – Gerry McCann: ‘Kate and I are 100% confident in each other’s innocence’: Senior Tory John Redwood made an extraordinary intervention in the Madeleine case yesterday. The former cabinet minister said on his blog that Gerry and Kate McCann had fallen victim to the “modern disease of fighting battles through the media instead of people getting on and doing their jobs diligently”. He added: “Maybe the McCanns should employ a private detective rather than a spin doctor, to find evidence of the abduction they are sure happened and the trail to her present whereabouts.” Last night Mr Redwood said he bore no ill will towards the couple. “I didn’t mean to be hurtful. I was trying to be helpful.”

Mirror – Vulcan ditches Net slur: John Redwood was forced to back down last night after he launched a vicious attack on the McCann family. Yesterday Mr Redwood removed the offensive passage from his online blog. A spokesman said: “He felt what he was saying was being misrepresented.”

Let me absolutely clear about this; I’m making no comment here on what John Redwood has the right to say about the McCanns, legally or morally. I also happily acknowledge that some of this outrage, at the very least the beginnings of it, could well be the of the faux, fabricated, OTT and/or strategic variety, just as it was in the case of two Labour bloggers I’m about to mention.

The point I want to make here is about accountability, respect, and retromoderation.

When Bob Piper was set upon over a repeat of a ‘racist’ image, he removed the item in question, apologised, and made a note of it on his weblog.

When Tom Watson was copping stick over Sion Simon’s video, he removed the item in question, apologised, and made a note of it on his weblog.

And what has John Redwood done when faced with the same level of unwelcome MSM attention?

He has simply deleted the offending post without explanation or notation.

[Note: that post is still live in Google’s cache, and will probably remain there for a few days.]

I’ve seen quite a few Tories posing as bloggers doing this. Some of them are shameless about it. I’m aware of the curious Tory code (often credited to Benjamin Disraeli and far too often adopted by senior politicians of all parties) that one should “never explain, never apologise”, but often it goes deeper than that; this bad habit of ‘disappearing’ information extends into comments… via a series of deceitful machinations and/or outright deletion, information submitted by readers often disappears into the ether, too.

John’s a beginner, so I’ll patiently explain this to him in case he’s not aware:

When you begin a weblog, you also begin a relationship with those who read and interact with it. To simply delete content without explanation shows a complete lack of regard for this relationship and/or respect for those who take part in it.

Just a short note will do, John… when you’re ready.

(waits)

[Note: Of course, there’s no mention of any of this on the weblog Tory propaganda machine Iain Dale runs, or on Paul Staines’ site. And, yes, I’ve had to remove a post myself this morning…. I haven’t apologised, but after removing the item in question, I did make a note of it on my weblog.]








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

Foot and mouth confirmed in Surrey… again

BBC – New foot-and-mouth case confirmed: A new case of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed in Surrey, the government has said. Chief vet Dr Debby Reynolds confirmed the outbreak near Milton Park Farm, near Egham. A 10km control zone has been set up around the site…. The latest outbreak in Surrey comes just days after the government declared the county to be free of foot-and-mouth. The farm is about 10 miles from an animal research site in Pirbright, which was the centre of an outbreak in August. The surveillance zone around the original outbreak was lifted only at midday on Saturday.

Bullocks.








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Yet another alternative Tory banner

This one’s by Beau Bo D’Or.








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