A reader writes…

—– Original Message —–
From: “a” [nospam@connectfree.co.uk]
To: Manic
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 3:44 AM
Subject: Bloggerheads

> Mr. Ireland – You placed a petition on a Number 10 website that the Prime
> Minister “stand on his head and juggle ice cream”.
>
> It is clear that your intent was to damage this new manifestation of
> democracy. You have no interest in the people having reasonable grievances
> redressed, and would rather smear all petitions with ideas of meaninglessness.
>
> I am entirely unsurprised, on visiting your site, that you are a far
> leftist. Your creed is based on ignoring what people want, telling them
> what they need, always leads to subjugation of people, and is in the descendent.

Mr ‘A’ – You sent me an anonymous ‘no reply’ email denouncing this action and making all sorts of assumptions regarding my intentions (and my politics).

It is (*ahem*) clear that your intent was to have your little rant without the discomfort of having any of your assertions challenged.

Rest assured that when I finally do subjugate the people of this nation and the shiny new space-age internment camps are in place, you will be the first inmate to be refused access to oxygen.

[Psst! As I said when I first submitted the ‘ice cream’ petition: This petition project has significant value (well done, mysociety)… but it also shows that there is significant value in creating and maintaining your own little corner of Teh Interwebs… where you can (*gasp*) acknowledge party-politics (without, say, committing to it entirely) and create/maintain material that doesn’t have to be cleared by the Labour Party and/or Downing Street first.]

UPDATE (4:24pm) – Huzzah! A reply from our objecting gent! And what odd time-stamps he has…

—– Original Message —–
From: “a” [nospam@connectfree.co.uk]
To: Manic
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 12:19 AM
Subject: Bloggerheads

> All sorts of assumptions about your politics? Your website espouses every
> far leftist idea known to man!
>
> I would have posted my comments on your forum, but it requires registration
> and I have no intention of giving you any of my information, and receiving
> leftist porn in my email.
>
> You cheaply ignore my main assertion: your petition is meaningless and
> impossible – it thereby makes the statement that petitions are generally
> meaningless tosh that some nutter has a gripe about, and that the business
> of big leftist government should go on unabated regardless of the desires
> of these lunatics (your little leftist brain is itching, nay twitching to
> agree in some smart-aleccy way! you must give in to it! you must!)

I really must apologise for cheaply ignoring his main assertion. The man must feel so cheated after not expecting a bloody reply in the first place!

*ahem*

‘A’, please read the fine print of the petition (under ‘more details from petition creator’) and get back to me… and do include an email address this time; I’m simply dying to send you some leftist pornography!

[I’m not making this up, people… I swear it! Of course, this could be a troll, but if it is, it’s a decidedly jolly one.]








Posted in Tony 'King Blair | 2 Comments

With love from me to you

Greetings all.

‘Guido Fawkes':

You’re probably champing away at the bit and waiting for a key development today, but you’re going to have to wait a day longer, I’m afraid.

For today, I’m in a holding pattern, and wish mainly to direct you to this post by Justin:

Chicken Yoghurt – The last laugh: On Saturday last week, a Guardian article from 1986 was circulated amongst a group of bloggers which related to what Paul Staines, AKA Guido Fawkes, may or may not have got up to whilst a right-wing political activist at Hull University… Shortly after, emails arrived from Paul Staines stating that he considered the publication of the article as defamatory. He demanded its removal from our blogs, stating he had an ‘retraction’ of the article which he would let us see…

Oh, and this one by Clive:

The UK Today – The Ethic of Reciprocity: What this has shown is the breathtaking hypocrisy of Paul Staines. Here is a man who, when the going gets tough, reaches not for his Libertarian principles, but rather for his lawyer and his wallet. If this whole affair has show one incontravertible truth, it is that Paul can give it, but can’t take it.

[edit]: And this from Unity (leading with a superb headline… the bastard):

Ministry of Truth – Knives and Fawkes: So far as that ‘behind the scenes’ activity is concerned, the most pertinent events of this week concern an interview given by Staines to Sunny Hundal, which will appear on Pickled Politics in due course. Sunny will, I’m sure, tell the full story as he sees it and deserves the credit for getting the ‘scoop’ but what I prepared to say on the record that this interview was undertaken at Staines’s own request, that in requesting the interview he requested a ‘fair hearing’ and claimed that he would set the record straight and tell his side of the story and that Sunny, and the rest of us, took Staines at his words and accepted this ‘offer’ in good faith. What we then discovered last night, after talking to Sunny, was that Staines’s side of the story amounted to nothing more than ‘Lawyer says no comment’ and that this was subsequently followed up by further threats of litigation including an assertion that he would seek a high court injunction to prevent publication of the 1986 article and the 1990 ‘retraction’ letter. On the evidence of the last few days, ‘good faith’ would seem to be a concept that has never fully entered into Staines’s philosophical lexicon.

The only thing I can possibly add to this right now, I have already said; “I personally found the reaction to the content to be far more illuminating than the content itself”.

Iain Dale:

If Iain Dale really wants to draw a line under this he needs to know that the line does appear within reach, and the introduction of comment registration on his weblog would take us a big step closer it. (This measure would not prevent people from posting anonymously, it would merely make it more difficult for bullies and astro-turfers to post under multiple/false identities.)

However, he should know that it is still my intention to pursue Nick Boles until he at least provides me with a plausible explanation for his actions, and I will be keeping a very close eye on Fox News Lite in the future.

Caroline Hunt:

Ms. Hunt gets a free ride today, mainly because it would be unwise (and rude) of me to continue our discussion while there are so many people about with speculation that I cannot address and questions I cannot answer. I do not want to put her in a position where other people are posting libel on her weblog. Her own mouth gets her into enough trouble.

Our conversation has (temporarily) been called to a halt at this point.

Comments on this post are closed. Trackback has also been disabled.

Have a good one.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Politics for adults

The UK Today – It isn’t that simple: One thing that has become apparent during the recent blog spat is the tendency of right-leaning bloggers, astroturfers and sock puppets to take a massively simplistic view of peoples motives.

pete – “Fox News for Adults”: The issue here is most definitely declarations of interest. Or rather the lack of… It is not as cut and dried as Iain Dale or 18 Doughty Street make out. Not by a long way.

Chicken Yoghurt – A double edged olive branch: Iain Dale says, ‘let the Blog Wars cease’ and then lets his supporters give Tim Ireland another beating in the comments. Smooth.

Then, suddenly, a glimmer of hope from Iain Dale (who, having longs threads as he does, really should fix those comment permalinks): I have gone through the posts on this thread today and deleted several anonymous posts which were offensive – not to me but to others. I’m going to be much tougher on this in future. Too many people think they can post anynoymous rubbish on here and get away with it. No longer.

Oh, and this from Devil’s Kitchen: Tim Ireland is a mad, stalking cunt who should fuck off and die rather than continue his petty and unpleasant hounding of people on the most spurious grounds possible.

‘Night all.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

I’m a what now?

I’m looking forward to an answer to this.

I’ve also (finally) been promised a video copy of Caroline Hunt’s ‘rant’ on 18ToryStreet.

PS – A good point, well made. Remember; these are the same people who scream “Nu Lab astro-turfer!” when anyone calls them on their bullshit.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

Meanwhile…

Let’s not forget Nick Boles. We wouldn’t want to give him ‘a free ride’ while we ‘navel gaze’, now would we?

Also, this. Lots.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

Spin 2.0

Iain Dale has an exciting new delivery mechanism!I managed to squeeze half an apology out of Iain Dale last night… but he refuses to admit to knowingly describing me as a nihilist. His defence is that he “(asked a guest) a question without realising what the word meant”.

Given Iain’s education, his constant exposure to this word in his immediate political circle (and on his own damn website) *and* his track record of directing arguments, I find this very, very hard to believe.

Speaking of directing arguments, there are several layers of spin – some old and some new – that are taking on a life of their own today (prime example here), and I invite you to watch them in action (and how they are delivered with this exciting new mechanism):

– This is a politically-motivated vendetta (conducted by Brownites or New Labour types)
– This is a personal vendetta with no real meaning (conducted by a mentally deranged individual)
– This is a vendetta that threatens to damage the blogosphere
– This is a vendetta of little importance
– All of the above (delivered under multiple pseudonyms, so there is little chance of contradicting oneself)

That first layer of spin is actually a multiple layer, as it also contains the message that the left fears the ‘natural dominance’ of the right in the blogosphere. This ignores several years of blogging history and glosses over the fact that the current dominance of the right is merely the result of the dishonest approach to blogging that this so-called ‘war’ is meant to highlight.

You’ll also want to keep a sharp eye out for the ‘if you think this is bad, wait until the next election’ line, as I’ve made it perfectly clear from the very beginning that it’s important we arrest this recent decay of blogging ethics long before this happens.

An example:

If you run a weblog that contains a significant level of political discussion, you really should have some form of comment registration in place or be ready to moderate your arse off. If you don’t do either, you lay fertile ground for anonymous bullies who seek to limit free speech by undermining and intimidating those they don’t agree with (while simultaneously screaming about their right to free speech).

No matter where you stand politically, if you allow the above on your website and/or are irresponsible enough to actively use it to your advantage, the only thing you really prove every time you ‘win’ is that you are afraid to conduct an open and honest debate. This does not indicate a significant level of confidence in your political beliefs.

Also, let’s be honest… if you dismiss a valid charge as a ‘smear’ and then hide behind a barrage of vitriolic smears directed against the person who made that charge, you come off looking like a bit of a dickhead.

Finally, if you allow anonymous bullies to regularly have their way, you only encourage more of the same:

The bastards get bolder. The expand their operations. They move from victim to victim and sets their sights ever-higher each time. At the same time, those in the direct employ of the major parties take notice and make their plans to lay their own astro-turf on this same fertile ground.

This is what is going on right now, and at the centre of the storm are the websites of Iain Dale and Paul de Laire Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’).

Staines uses many of the above techniques, but – most importantly – he also does not allow a ‘right of reply’ on his website. (I say ‘website’ because the moment you forbid meaningful interaction with the content you publish, you no longer have the right to describe your set-up as a ‘weblog’.)

And speaking of Staines and the quaint notion of ‘right of reply’…

On Sunday, I linked to and highlighted a particular aspect of an event from his past.

What you’re hearing right now from the spinners is that it was withdrawn, so it must not be true. It’s a desperate gambit (possibly backed an funded by the leftist establishment) who fear Guido’s power to tear away the veil of yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.

Not so.

Under the circumstances, I was perfectly happy to meet with Staines’ demand that I remove all reference to the article in question, as his demand showed him to be a total hypocriteagain.

As I said on that same day; “I personally found the reaction to the content to be far more illuminating than the content itself”.

That’s not to say that the article doesn’t contain relevant and revealing information. It does. In fact, my intention was to publish it myself on Monday afternoon and (again) highlight the most relevant aspect, but I’m waiting.

Why?

Because I want to watch the man behind ‘Guido Fawkes’ enjoy the luxury of being able to *lead* with his ‘right of reply’.

In the meantime, I’m happy to sit back and watch the acolytes of Dale and Staines continue to ride their banthas in single file… as the way they conduct themselves is equally illuminating.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

The ‘Guido’ thing

Stand by. This isn’t over.

UPDATE – Here you go… have a well-earned giggle at the expense of a Guido-loving moron.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Iain Dale plays the victim… again

Oh, so it’s suddenly time to ‘play nice’ again, is it? I wonder what brought that on?

Iain Dale has posted a ‘last word’ on some of the many accusations I’ve levelled against him. The main thing I note is that he has not linked to any of the evidence or background material in his piece… all he provides his readers with is his version of events as he sees them (and the comments on his site again show a series of astro-turfers and ditto-heads eating it up).

Iain Dale’s Diary: Let the Blog Wars Cease

Over the last few weeks a huge amount of damage has been done to the British blogosphere. Blogwars have broken out between various parties which have made us all appear like obsessive schoolschildren [sic] who have nothing better to do with our time than flame each other. It’s developed into a pitch battle between left and right and emerged out of the investigations into the Smith Institute. It’s time to call a halt to this before it all gets out of hand and writs are issued. The latest spat over the weekend where a group of bloggers accused another one of wanting in the past to aide the BNP was a spat too far.

I have made it clear from the very beginning that my concern is that the combined antics and reputations of Paul de Laire Staines and Iain Dale have already done great damage and threaten to do more:

Bloggerheads: This is not what blogging is supposed to be about. It’s not even within shouting distance. Even Iain Dale knows this… or pretends to. In his laughable guide to political blogging in the UK, he pushes Guido forward as his poster-child and states that; “The power of blogging flows from directly connecting with the readers, key to that direct connection is honesty.”

Iain Dale’s only defence for the latter (so far) is that Staines wrote that piece himself and Dale didn’t want to ‘censor’ him… in a publication with Iain’s name and face on the front!

That it has turned into “a pitched battle between left and right” only reflects badly on the Conservative Party:

Political Penguin: The state of play is a bit uneven at the moment, with all honesty I agree with Unity that the Tories are ahead of the game on this, but lets just qualify that statement. The Tories are ahead not because they are technically better, nor more organised, nor more intelligent, they are simply more unprincipled and happy to break long held netiquette valued by those of us who have a sense of fair play and honour.

The Smith Institute mention is merely a veiled ‘Tim Ireland is a Brownite’ smear. The BNP matter I will deal with as soon as I am able… all I can say now that the reaction of the ‘blogger’ involved alone proved many of the points that I have raised about him.

I have been repeatedly accused of lying. I have not responded to these accusations because I have felt that if I do it will merely exacerbate the situation and prolong the torture. At times over the past fortnight I have felt what it is like to be the victim of stalking. Believe me, it is not pleasant. Some will say that by sticking my head above the parapet on certain issues I have only myself to blame. Maybe they’re right, but what a sad situation we have got ourselves into. Others say that being attacked by left wing blogs on an issue where they feel vulnerable is an accolade. I do not share that view.

Iain’s silence has been part of a deliberate attempt to keep relevant revelations from his readers. Now he seeks to address the matter with carefully woven spin, by playing the victim and smearing me in the same damn paragraph.

Iain Dale has, on a number of occasions, failed to give an immediate and direct answers to fair and pertinent questions (read this and this for examples of key techniques).

Pressing the matter does not make me a stalker (until, perhaps, I break into his house and tattoo my unanswered questions on the arse of his Jack Russell).

It is also dishonest to suggest that this is primarily about issues or political differences… it is about integrity, conduct, fair play and respect for your readers.

Speaking of which, Iain has also recently taken to deleting fair comments from his website without publishing them. Below is an example (screen capture here), which – had be published it – would have been the first comment appearing after he asked; “Are there working relations between UKIP and Ashley Mote or not?”

The comment that he aborted read; “Is there a working relationship between you and Nick Boles or not? Don’t lie to me now…”

The British blogosphere has always been a community where people with different views and agendas have a common interest. I happily link to people on the left and they happily link to me – not just in sidebars but on real stories. Over the last few weeks this has changed. We’re now in a situation where people who I have always regarded as sensible people, even friends, have decided that certain bloggers on the Right are their mortal enemies who must be destroyed. This must stop. If bloggers turn on each other we merely give fuel to the arguments put forward by Yasmin Alibhai Brown yesterday.

Tch…. if Iain means ‘uncle’, he should just say ‘uncle’. I doubt he has any genuine concerns for the integrity of the blogosphere, especially as he owes some of his success to a spamming campaign.

Guido has this morning ‘outed’ himself for the first time and confirmed the identity which anyone with a remote knowledge of how to use Google could have done for themselves months ago.

Here Iain glosses over a juicy fact that he would have printed himself had it been about one of this political opponents; the *full* name of ‘Guido Fawkes’, which has only recently come to light…. and has the potential to lead his readers to all sorts of interesting information about the man.

In the spirit of reaching out to those who seem to have developed an unhealthy obsession with me I say this. I refuse to get dragged in to a war with you. You can keep sending over the missiles but I’m not firing back.

There he goes with the ‘obsessive stalker’ smear again… while claiming that he’s “not firing back”!

To Tim Ireland – and this is the first and last time I will be addressing him – I say this. You accuse me of calling you a ‘nihilist’. I emphatically did not. The tape shows that someone else called Guido Fawkes a ‘nihilist’ in a discussion about your spat with him and I asked the question ‘isn’t Tim Ireland one too’? Until I looked back at the tape I couldn’t even remember saying it. Now, I accept that you could draw the implication from that that I believed you to be one too but as I have said before, I actually had to look up what the word meant. If you really take offence at the question then I am happy to say sorry. But I am sure you have been called worse, as have I. I do not normally demand apologies or go to the lengths you have to get one.

Here, Iain Dale expects us to believe that he cut a guest off by throwing a word back in their face… when he did not know the meaning of that word. (Note also how he offers to apologise without actually doing so.)

Any blogger worth their salt would – at least – link to the relevant charge/exchange so people could judge for themselves what he did and did not do.

This is not the first time Iain has insulted me on his show, either. He once introduced an email from me in the following manner before chiding me for my ‘insulting’ tone; “This email is from Tim Ireland, who’s a very bitter young man…”

Why does he do this? Is it because we have ‘different views and agendas’… or is it because it is in his professional interest to continually undermine me? After all, we both claim to be experts in the field of political blogging.

(Something new for you… in this post, Caroline Hunt infers that I am a fascist and publishes the more overt comment ;”Tim Ireland is a fascist”. She also claims that she “got to rant at length about a certan [sic] blogspat” on Iain’s television show. I have made three requests for a copy of that exchange – which is not available online – and all three requests have been ignored.)

Tim Ireland has also accused me of lying about my Wikipedia entry. He says I have written that I was not aware of the page until last week and provide a screenshot of edits on the page. When I wrote “I was not aware of this page until today” I was referring to the DISCUSSION page, linked to from my entry on which I wrote those words. Of course I was aware of the main page. I am not demanding an apology from him. It’s an easy mistake to make. All I ask is that he accepts he was wrong. If he does indeed accept that, he will then presumably agree to remove the entry from his blog.

How very generous of Iain to allow me to retreat from my awful, awful mistake at my leisure. I will do so here without hesitation:

Of *course* Iain could have been referring to the discussion page (available via a link that’s right next to the link for ‘edit this page’):

But he also said that he was “new to editing Wikipedia”. This is not the case. Fine, he may not have used his login for 9 months, but the recent edit history of his article shows that Iain has also been making edits without using his login.

I have said all I have to say on this now. I won’t entering any dialogue about it.

How very convenient.

Either this is accepted at face value or it isn’t.

Anybody who takes anything Iain Dale says at face value is a fool.

If it is to be the latter. the feuding will continue to be very one sided, because I won’t be playing. The reaction of my accusers will go a long way to demonstrating whether the British blogosphere moves beyond its tendency to self-obsess or not. As Tim Ireland might put it. Iain has spoken. End communication!

Again with the faux-concern for the British blogosphere.

Let me make this absolutely clear and invite Iain Dale to enter into a dialogue on this basis (without hiding behind a series of anonymous trolls and smears):

I do not rate Iain Dale as an ‘expert’ in political blogging, as even the most cursory look at his set-up shows that he does not understand some of the basic fundamentals of publishing and empowerment. He also lacks the experience required to develop knowledge of long-term ramifications (and, I would argue, simple instinct).

I make no apologies for criticising his role as an ‘expert’, as he clearly doesn’t believe in many of the core values he insists bloggers should hold dear, and the way he and Paul de Laire Staines have been conducting themselves has given a false image of what blogging is (and should be), scared off many people seeking genuine engagement, and laid fertile ground for the ego-strokers and anonymous bullies of this world… a point I made very clear to him here.

Iain Dale still owes me an apology for the many smears and his outright lie about one of them.

Iain Dale will also want to honour my request for a copy of the rant Caroline Hunt refers to… pretty bloody sharpish.

And, finally, why did Iain leave comments open on this ‘final word’ post (when he makes clear that he not interesting in entering into any dialogue with the subject of that post)?

It is not fair to claim or complain that someone has been smearing/attacking you and then leave your comments open so others can smear/attack them on your behalf. Even from a purely practical perspective, it puts you in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ moderation predicament… especially if you have recently been accused of a less-than-honest approach to comment publication.

In this case, he should have disallowed comments on this single post. Surely an ‘expert’ would have known that?

Again, I’m left wondering if he knows or cares…








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 5 Comments

I will be out for most of Monday morning. Here is a distraction to keep you busy.

Those of you who were here at sparrow’s-fart on Sunday morning may have noticed that I asked a question of Paul Delaire/Delarie Staines regarding tax.

Despite his failure to answer that question today (following several requests that he do so), I dropped that question as a courtesy.

The period of courtesy is now over, because ‘Guido Fawkes’ should know by now that I do not react well to being lied to, threatened, ‘ignored’ and/or fobbed-off.

I have asked Paul Staines directly which version of his pre-hyphenation is correct – ‘Delaire’ or ‘Delarie’ – but have failed to obtain a straight answer.

So, I am forced to do what I always do in such situations; I look at the facts (and I really, really hate being made to jump through hoops like this):

FACT: The ‘Gruadian’ is known as such for a reason. Their version (‘Delarie’) could well be a typo. And who knows what other ‘facts’ they may have got wrong?! (Right, ‘Guido’?)

FACT: Money matters; if someone were to register details for monetary purposes, they would make damn sure that the spelling was correct. (Right, ‘Guido’?)

Here, I offer you this snippet of readily-available IP data:

211.17.152.64 – 211.17.152.71 (MGIFONDS) Staines,Paul Delaire; 3-4-2,Shibaura,Minato-ku,TOKYO 108-0023; JAPAN; JP

And this readily-available Yahoo Profile for Paul Staines of Mondial Global Investors (MGI):

Hobbies: Breathing, meditation, watching the sun set. (Interests: Economics)

Oh, and this snippet from Issue 37 of Free Life (A Journal of Classical Liberal and Libertarian Thought):

Paul Delaire Staines runs a hedge fund in Tokyo. His hobbies are watching the sun rise over Mount Fuji and chasing women.

Sun set… sun rise… there’s a moment of hesitation for me here, but I’m willing to bet that there’s a connection. I recognise that the universe is infinite, but I’m a reckless individual, so I choose to settle on the name Paul Delaire-Staines.

Now, let’s get back to the aforementioned question:

Dear Paul,

Are you a really a self-confessed tax-dodger as this book review (from Issue 26 of Free Life) seems to suggest?

“Offshore investing makes sense if you are rich, so the target market for this book may be limited to the rich and the professionals who serve them, however if New Labour taxes like Old Labour it might be attractive to more of us. Paranoid tax dodgers (like me) will appreciate the advice for the price of the book… What the book lacks, because it is published in conjunction with The Financial Times, is a review of the simple but illegal tax dodges. If as a Libertarian you take the view that the State enslaves and steals from you via taxes, you won’t have any qualms about protecting your property from tax-thieves. Silent Banking, a controlled circulation publication from Scope International used for the training of law enforcement agents to counter money laundering, gives useful tips on how to do it. Offshore credit cards are a good method, untraceable earnings are paid offshore into an account linked to a Visa card! This is simple enough for anyone who is self-employed, if someone is paying you in the black (free) economy by cheque, an offshore sterling account could be handy; spend it untaxed via your offshore Visa card, the back pages of Private Eye advertise this facility. “Silent Banking” is extremely difficult to obtain – sorry, you can’t borrow my copy.” – Paul D. Staines

An honest and straightforward answer would be appreciated.

Cheers,

Tim Ireland

SIDEBAR: Obviously, if there were a massive leftist conspiracy and/or I were a paid-up/hooked-up Brownite (as many contributors to Staines’ website claim that I am), I could have (potentially) been able to do a lot of damage with a private showing of the above quote alone. Mind you, I could have (potentially) been able to do just as much damage by publishing what was readily av…

Oh…

Sorry, Paul.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 5 Comments

“Back, and to the right…”

Just a quick note; I personally found the reaction to the content to be far more illuminating than the content itself.

Also, note who Guido chooses to target here (and how)… and also note who gets targeted in comments (and how) again and again and again. More on this – and other matters – later.

Tomorrow will be interesting. Meanwhile, this is for ‘Guido’.

UPDATE – Also worth noting is Iain’s only post today.

(Hello Iain! I watched you on the BBC this morning, you cheeky, cheeky boy…)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments