David Cameron + Nadine Dorries – abortion and contortion

(Psst! I hope to raise these matters and others in The Dorries edition of The People’s Pamphlet. Come join us.)


It’s election time, and disappointingly, David Cameron has shot out of the gates seeking to rally his right-wing Christian base with a promise to lower the abortion limit to 20 or 22 weeks.

The Conservatives had their chance to make their scientific and political case on this in 2008 and they blew it.

They not only blew the vote, they exploded a dirty great hole in the side of their shiny new facade, as the following examples will show…

David Cameron allowed Nadine Dorries to run with the ball on her 2008 ‘Alive & Kicking’ campaign, and that MP used as her ‘evidence’ several dubious claims about events she claimed to witness as a nurse, including this one repeated today by Christian Concern for our Nation (1, 2):

At the time of the 2008 vote, former nurse Nadine Dorries, now MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, told fellow MPs how she had held a foetus that gasped for breath and took seven minutes to die after a botched abortion. Ms Dorries said: ‘What I thought we were committing that day was murder.’ (source)

Nadine Dorries has a long track record of relying on apocryphal evidence to elicit an emotional response in her favour (see suicide/expenses for her most famous example to date), so I have reason to doubt this event ever really happened as described to begin with. Further, my lead example not only shows Nadine Dorries using apocryphal evidence during the abortion debate, but reveals an alarming level of ignorance about maternal medicine and basic human biology that should cast doubt on the specifics of any medical procedure Dorries claims to have witnessed:

Hand of Hope

In this post on her pretend-blog during the abortion debate (and on the main campaign website) Nadine Dorries presented this image of a foetus ‘reaching’ out of the womb as evidence that life begins earlier than science says it does. When it was put to her that the attending surgeon’s version of events completely contradicted those of her witness (the photographer who describes the event as “God’s message to the world”) Dorries, in a further post laughingly titled ‘Hand of Truth’, none-too-subtly implied that the doctor changed his story because feared violent pro-choice lobbyists (!), showed complete ignorance of how pregnancy works and what a placenta does, and claimed that the “jiggered edges” of what she described as a “tear in the uterus” most likely resulted from a “hand unexpectedly thrust out”… by a 21 week old foetus.

I’ve heard some MPs talk bullshit in my time, but the idea that a 21-week-old foetus could punch its way out of the womb (with or without a starting incision) reached new heights for me.

Full post: Bloggerheads – People of Mid Bedfordshire; your MP, Nadine Dorries, is a muppet

Misleading Claims/Statistics

MPs really don’t like being called on this, but Nadine Dorries clearly misled the House when she made this claim:

“The public do not say that they want the limit to come down from 24 weeks; the public – including three quarters of women – say that they want 20 weeks. They specify what they want.” – Nadine Dorries (source)

“Three quarters of women” did no such thing. Nadine Dorries either completely misunderstood the data or (more likely in my experience) deliberately misrepresented it in order to give the false impression that she enjoyed a popular mandate. As the raw poll data showed, it wasn’t 75% of women specifying 20 weeks, but 15%, and then only because it was fed to them as an option. After literally inviting scrutiny of her assertions in the House, Dorries has never returned to this point.

Full post: Bloggerheads – Nadine Dorries: unbelievable

Laws Drafted by Fundamentalists

Recently Dorries insisted that religion should be kept out of Parliament… but only because she feared it might lead to sharia law:

While the votes may come from secular Tories, the ringleaders of any abortion-tightening attempt will be Christians. In 2008, when parliament was debating embryology, Nadine Dorries, a high-profile backbench Tory MP, led the charge against abortion – and says she is informed by her Christianity (though “if you mention God in an argument in the UK, you lose,” she says). One leading anti-abortion activist noted that behind the scenes the Christian Medical Fellowship and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship were “absolutely indispensable. They did most of the heavy lifting on research. But we could never acknowledge their role. Never. People would never take us seriously again.” (Dorries says another reason she avoids talking about faith in parliament is out of fear it will set a precedent by which Muslim MPs could express – and impose – theirs. “There is no place for sharia law in Britain and as politicians we have to be aware and vigilant to ensure that we don’t ease or facilitate its acceptance,” she says.) (source)

Obvious bias/bigotry aside, how does Nadine Dorries explain/justify her attempts to introduce into law legislation worded by Christian fundamentalists? Does she now think she was wrong* to do so, or does she think it’s OK when it’s ‘our’ fundamentalists?

(*Going by the FT article, I suspect she thinks it’s fine and dandy to inject some Christian fundamentalism into law, just so long as everybody keeps their head down and nobody finds out about it.)

Full post: Bloggerheads – Nadine Dorries and Andrea Williams

David Cameron did not express any doubt or disquiet about the above or any of the case that Nadine Dorries put forward during or after the abortion debate. If anything, he praised her efforts. Repeatedly.

David Cameron either thinks us to be weak-minded fools, or he is one himself.

How might we discover which is closer to the truth?

Well, next time David Cameron brings the abortion issue up, ask him what percentage of women specify a preference for 20 weeks…. or if he really thinks a human foetus can punch its way out of the womb.

Oh, and you may also want to ask if he thinks it’s right to attempt to introduce legislation worded by fundamentalists, because that’s exactly what happened the last time the Conservatives sought to change the laws governing abortion.


(Psst! I hope to raise these matters and others in The Dorries edition of The People’s Pamphlet. Come join us.)

Posted in Christ..., Tories! Tories! Tories! | 6 Comments

Nadine Dorries: The People’s Pamphlet

No, we don’t plan to take 4 weeks away from work/families to hound Nadine Dorries, park a van outside her house and basically stalk her on the campaign trail. That would be just a little bit OTT.

The joke is this is all too close to the fantasy that Nadine Dorries and others hold to.

The People's PamphletThe punchline is that while all the van/stalking crap is fake… The People’s Pamphlet is real.

The relevant wiki is brought to us by the capable and clever Dave Cross (cheers, Dave):

Fellow Traveller’s Wiki: Home of the People’s Pamphlet

Anyone claiming this to be a personal attack of bile and vitriol is going to look a little bit foolish (not to mention dishonest), as it’s designed from the ground up to be as relevant and issue-driven as possible. The whole exercise revolves around deciding on the best issues to put forward, and the fairest (yet most effective) way to present them.

Transparency? The whole thing will be built/negotiated in public, which normally would give the subject plenty of time to prepare for any of the questions raised… but the difference with Dorries over many other MPs is that there are now far too many pertinent questions that she has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid, and by now she cannot afford to answer any of them with any honesty.

So, unlike the baseless, childish and pathetic #kerryout attacks (1, 2), this will be an issue-driven campaign that will be more transparent than anything that’s come before it.

We will be strongly encouraging people to contribute under their own name, and if you’re attached to any party-political campaign/team, you won’t be able to take part.

Also, the project has its own safety-valve; without sufficient support and consensus, nothing gets printed/delivered.

Each contributor will be asked to make a minor initial donation at the point of registration (to keep the site ticking over and keep timewasters away) but we intend to organise the primary/major donations via the wiki, too; with contributors pledging what they can (if they are in agreement with the direction of the letter/pamphlet) toward a goal of (yet to be fully determined/finalised) printing/delivery costs.

If you don’t like where the letter/pamphlet is going, you pull out. Simples. If you agree with where it’s going, we expect to meet you at the lock-off point; where you put your money where your mouth is and sign your name to the letter/pamphlet.

Further, like any wiki, this has the potential for expansion, and while there are very few MPs who are quite so mendacious and reckless with the truth as Nadine Dorries, we are open to the idea of expanding the project to cover other candidates, for as long as we can do so credibly, sensibly and safely.

But first we’re going to start discussing and forming a letter/pamphlet that we intend to deliver to every household in the constituency of Mid Bedfordshire, and we invite you to join us.

And no, this time we’re not kidding.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

Operation Dump Dorries (and The People’s Pamphlet)

Operation Dump DorriesRight, that’s it; I am thoroughly fed up with the notion that Nadine Dorries can lie and cheat her way through a term and expect to keep her all-too-safe seat. The good people of Mid Bedfordshire need to be warned about the party-political (and often all-too-personal) games that Nadine Dorries plays using the power they afford her.

So, along with Dave Cross and Sim-O, I have successfully negotiated 4 weeks off work & family duties, and together we intend to campaign against Nadine Dorries.

Running as an independent is a mug’s game, and we’re not going to pretend for a minute that any of us are prepared to represent the people of Mid Bedfordshire as their Member for Parliament. Hell, we’re not even going to endorse any of the other candidates. What we seek to do is inform the good people of Mid Beds of the full consequences of voting for Nadine Dorries (if they suspect they’ll have a mind to).

We already have a rocking campervan at our disposal, and while we’re not allowed to paint it (boo!), we’ve come up with a way to safely attach ruddy great posters to the sides and rear of the vehicle, and we already have permission from three local property owners, one of whom promises (with a laugh) that we will indeed be able to see Nadine’s house* from our van.

(*Obviously we are referring to her spacious 12-bedroom constituency ‘second’ home, not her single-bedroom ‘main’ home.)

If it’s as close as he says it is, we’ve got a great internets connection and everything we need to install a mobile webcam; you’ll be able to watch Nadine’s front door live (and maybe even see who’s been parking in her driveway) and maybe even sometimes come with us on our Disco Rounds. Oh, didn’t I mention we’ll also have her rigged for sound? We’ll have a classic weatherproof public address speaker on that roof-rack within a couple of days, thanks to eBay. To request a song to be played on our Disco Rounds, use the hashtags #dumpdorries, #gonads, #discorounds and #trackrequest, then your song, then the artist.

Sim-O will be along shortly with a post about the NadMobile and its fittings, so hang tight for the specs!

MINI-UPDATE – As promised, here’s Sim-O with the details about The NadMobile.


But even that’s not all; the REALLY good news for you is that while we’re on the ground in Mid Bedfordshire we will be spending a LOT of time delivering pamphlets, but we don’t intend to deliver our message alone.

We also have a nearby base with a print lab that’s already taking shape; it will feature at least 4 laser printers (two with capacity for A3 sheets, and all built like tanks) and we have a BIG pile of toner and recycled paper to hand. While we’ve our own plans to use this stuff to take issue with Nadine Dorries about a whole bunch of stuff that’s been weighing on our minds, we have also pledged to deliver one extra pamphlet on behalf of all those who know Nadine Dorries best.

The People's PamphletThis is what we have dubbed The People’s Pamphlet.

Dave Cross will be along shortly to give more details about that and more.

MINI-UPDATE – As promised, here’s Dave with the details about The People’s Pamphlet.

The short version is that soon a wiki will go live that will allow people to contribute, develop and perfect the ideas/images/text that will go into a kick-ass pamphlet, which we will then happily print and distribute on your behalf throughout the constituency of Mid Bedfordshire (asking for nothing more but a minor donation toward costs).

What do YOU think the people of Mid Bedfordshire deserve to know about? The full story of Dorries’ expenses fits, fiddles and flip flops, perhaps. Foetuses that can punch their way out of a womb, maybe. There’s room for maybe half a dozen issues maximum and it will be up to you to create and compose the overall message, which we will then complete, print and deliver.

What say you, Britain? Will you help us in our quest to save the land of Mid Narnia from the forces of darkness?

[Psst! The tag to use in Twitter is #dumpdorries. The link to share is http://bit.ly/DumpDorries ]


No, we don’t plan to take 4 weeks away from work/families to hound Nadine Dorries, park a van outside her house and basically stalk her on the campaign trail. That would be just a little bit OTT.

The joke is this is all too close to the fantasy Nadine Dorries and others hold to.

The punchline is that while all the van/stalking crap is fake… The People’s Pamphlet is real.

Nadine Dorries: The People’s Pamphlet

See you on the flipside of a plain sheet of A4 paper. Cheers all.

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 1 Comment

In defence of Lua Cooper

What Lua Cooper did to JimmySparkle was totally unacceptable. It was also very human.

Though Lua Cooper is formally employed by an auto industry trade/lobbying group, she also works (or perhaps worked) as a significant figure in the campaign team for the Conservative Party. She even starred in this video showing people how to become an active off-site member of the campaign team for the Conservatives. Her boyfriend, Sam Coates, had just recently been appointed ‘co-ordinater’ of Tory online campaigning and until very recently she was up there in the lights, rubbing elbows with important Conservatives and sitting in the front row while David Cameron spoke inspiring words about ‘change’.

On Monday, both her boyfriend and a cause she believed in were under assault, and many people around her (including Sam) were speaking of the dark forces of Labour at work. Events also unfolded very quickly, and I think things should at least be considered from her point of view and in the context of the moment:

– I sincerely doubt she used a false name, and ‘Lua’ was probably just misheard as ‘Laura’. There appears to be very little point in changing her name so little to disguise it, especially when she was claiming to operate on behalf of CCHQ at the time.

– Any claim or implication Lua made in the heat of the moment that she was acting on behalf of CCHQ is completely understandable, and IMO easily fixed with an apology to both parties. Lua simply overstepped her bounds while overestimating her authority/importance, as campaign volunteers sometimes do.

– Any false claim that JimmySparkle had been involved in redirections to porn/shock sites can be attributable to the confusion of the moment and/or Lua’s judgment being influenced by those Conservatives around her, many of whom still cling to the delusion that his actions (and most everyone else’s) were part of a Labour conspiracy. Again, this can probably be addressed with a simple apology.

– The bullying of JimmySparkle by going through his employer and using spurious legal threats as leverage is a little harder to explain/apologise away, but sadly we’re robbed of the context of Lua Cooper’s testimony, I suspect for much the same reason we’re forced to go without any kind of apology from her;

A [Conservative] Party spokesman said:

“This person is not a member of staff and her actions were not authorised by the Party. She is a friend of a party worker and felt strongly about the way this website had been hijacked and took it upon herself to make comments on the issue. She did this without our knowledge and we do not condone her actions.”

There are several misleading elements to this statement, but there’s no question about CCHQ making visible attempts to distance themselves from Lua Cooper.

On Monday afternoon, the Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/etc. pages for Lua Cooper (i.e. the web pages showing just how close she was to key Conservatives and editors of certain ‘unbiased’ magazines funded by Lord Ashcroft) were all quietly disappeared. I doubt this was an entirely voluntary act of self-censorship. I further suspect that Lua Cooper was issued with strict instructions to keep her mouth shut.

CCHQ may be retaining her as an informal campaign contributor or some such nonsense and using that as leverage, but it’s pretty bloody obvious that her loyalty to the Party and her boyfriend (who is still employed by the Party) are the big levers here; even if the threat of severance went unspoken, it is there.

So while I sincerely hope and trust that Lua Cooper is a good person who wants to apologise, I doubt very much if she feels free/able to.

(Sure, the possibility remains that Lua Cooper is such a highly focused Conservative that she refuses to accept reality and therefore cannot discern right from wrong, but until I see evidence of that I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she would make amends immediately if the potential personal consequences weren’t so great.)

Sam Coates, on the other hand, does not get off quite so easily as far as I’m concerned:

Even if we put the cock-up of the #cashgordon campaign to one side and accept without question the notion that Lua Cooper acted without his knowledge/approval, Sam Coates was confronted publicly with the name ‘Laura Cooper’ after the fact, pretended not to recognise it, and – acting like a child in a playground – even had the temerity to throw the question back in JimmySparkle’s face, as if any deceit were his, and not the other way around:

JimmySparkle: Apparently the woman who phoned was a Laura Cooper, no idea if she was genuine. Claimed I hacked their site. Fail fail fail #cashgordon

Niall Paterson (SKY News): Cheers @chrismou. So @samuelcoates, anyone called Laura Cooper at CCHQ?

SamuelCoates: @niallpaterson @chrismou nope! Anything like that would have come through our team as it’s our thing – and I can guarantee that it hasn’t.

Niall Paterson (SKY News): @samuelcoates Just checking – there’s absolutely nothing in @jimmysparkle’s comments?

SamuelCoates: @niallpaterson no – why would we do that?!

JimmySparkle: so do you know Laura Cooper?

SamuelCoates: @jimmysparkle no, do you?

It was not only a deceit, it was a pathetic and stupid deceit… from the head of Tory online campaigning who then went into 24-hour tweet-silence (in the middle of one online campaign and at the start of another) and still refuses to discuss the matter, despite there being dozens of valid calls for an apology from a variety of interested players/observers.

That’s one hell of an embarrassment for a man who’s supposed to be leading the charge in online engagement, but still Sam forges on like the Black Knight of comedy legend… which brings us to the heart of the matter today:

Sam Coates may have been largely blameless (if a little clueless) right up until the point the name ‘Laura Cooper’ was mentioned, but it’s primarily his conduct from that moment on that’s the issue here. To remain silent and deny error is to deny reality, and if Sam manages to hold out any longer, his delusion/collusion in favour of his beloved Conservatives will be on par with that of the Iraqi Information Minister, and I really can’t see that working for him or any other propagandist* with a job to do.

(*For example; not only will he be unable to praise the success of any campaign with any credibility from this point on, but crucial denials will be mocked, and he’s going to look like a damn fool the next time he demands an apology from someone. All of this puts to one side the difficulty of Coates looking like a bit of a powerless cad by favouring the Party’s concerns ahead of his partner’s.)

[Psst! Sam & Lua, you can count yourselves lucky; if the boot were on the other foot, you know damn well that Lua would’ve been labelled a bullying bunny-boiler within minutes of her outburst and rabid, mostly anonymous Tory bloggers would be relentlessly reinforcing this notion for days if not weeks afterwards, purely for political gain.]

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

CashGordon: Lua Cooper [hearts] Sam Coates *this* much

A few days ago, a Conservative campaign site titled ‘Cash Gordon’ emerged. It was a continuation of their tellingly empty, negative and dishonest response to their difficulties with Lord Ashcroft (recent example of this titanic struggle with the truth here), and it was found to be even less impressive when it turned out to be a not-inexpensive but hastily carved ‘cookie cutter’ job done by designers in the US who mostly stick to issues/views the Conservatives are somewhat divided on and would rather not mention this side of an election.

Sam Coates (more), acting in his role as co-ordinater of Tory online campaigning, was busy countering this with some spin, while at the same time hailing any negative publicity as a win for his campaign; it mattered not that his campaign was being criticised and ridiculed, so long as his magical, mind-altering hashtag ‘#cashgordon’ was reaching eyeballs.

Coates continued to maintain this position beyond the point most of us would consider credible… or wise:

I can’t possibly improve on the remaining documentation by Meg Pickard, and I shan’t try.

Sam Coates found out very quickly that you can’t run an open channel on a faulty premise, but continued to miss the point by claiming victory while simultaneously blaming dark forces for any failures that were in fact further victories. Meanwhile, his site was being toyed with via the open door he was bragging about just minutes earlier; soon after it was discovered that images could be posted to the site in this way, text Coates was vacuuming into his site was suddenly successfully issuing JavaScript-based instructions to redirect people to another site… then another, then another, as more and more people discovered the game of banging Sam’s open door about.

It wasn’t long before someone cried ‘hacker’… and one of the people who did that was Lua Cooper.

Lua Cooper looked up the details of one of the people who had published one of these redirects (this one, to their own site) and called their employer, claiming to be acting on behalf of CCHQ, while falsely accusing this person of being associated with some of the redirects to more colourful locations (i.e. ‘shock sites’ which she described as “porn sites”) and threatening legal action.

You should read the following Twitter-based exchange knowing that Lua Cooper is Sam Coates’ girlfriend… it’s far more illuminating that way:

JimmySparkle: conservative party phoned my workplace claiming they may sue me for supposedly hacking their website… tweeting != hacking. lol #cashgordon

SamuelCoates: @jimmysparkle er, no we didn’t… #cashgordon

SamuelCoates: One of the guys behind the #CashGordon hacks (@jimmysparkle) is now falsely claiming that we’ve rang him about it. More evidence of malice?

Niall Paterson (SKY News): @jimmysparkle Any chance you could clear this up? Who called, when, what did they say? Cheers.

Chris Mou: @niallpaterson Girl called claiming to be from Tory party. Threatened to sue for “hacking” and redirecting to “horrific” pictures. (lie)

Chris Mou: Boss told her to call back tomorrow if she wanted to speak to him. Assume if it *was* real they won’t be calling back now.

Chris Mou: Incidently, she said her name was “Laura Cooper”.

JimmySparkle: Apparently the woman who phoned was a Laura Cooper, no idea if she was genuine. Claimed I hacked their site. Fail fail fail #cashgordon

Niall Paterson (SKY News): Cheers @chrismou. So @samuelcoates, anyone called Laura Cooper at CCHQ?

SamuelCoates: @niallpaterson @chrismou nope! Anything like that would have come through our team as it’s our thing – and I can guarantee that it hasn’t.

Niall Paterson (SKY News): @samuelcoates Just checking – there’s absolutely nothing in @jimmysparkle’s comments?

SamuelCoates: @niallpaterson no – why would we do that?!

JimmySparkle: so do you know Laura Cooper?

SamuelCoates: @jimmysparkle no, do you?

Note – it is at this stage that JimmySparkle is tipped off by an anonymous ‘single purpose’ account, and the jig is up.

yeppyfd: @jimmysparkle It may be conicidence but Sam Coates has a gf called LUA Cooper….. or it may not

JimmySparkle: wow @SamuelCoates did you get your girl friend to call up threatening legal action? #cashgordon

JimmySparkle: #cashgordon @SamuelCoates where did Lua Cooper’s twitter account go? http://bit.ly/bZG2j2

We’ll get to Lua Cooper’s hurriedly-removed Twitter account in a moment. First, this follow-up tweetage from Niall Paterson and the CCHQ Press release that followed:

Niall Paterson (SKY News): But even in the cab home, i’m working – Tories confirm tonight that Lua Cooper DID contact @jimmysparkle but is not a member of staff

Niall Paterson (SKY News): Ms Cooper is a “friend” of party worker, her actions were neither authorised nor condoned by CCHQ. She “felt strongly” abt hijacking of site

A [Conservative] Party spokesman said:

“This person is not a member of staff and her actions were not authorised by the Party. She is a friend of a party worker and felt strongly about the way this website had been hijacked and took it upon herself to make comments on the issue. She did this without our knowledge and we do not condone her actions.”

She did a little more than make comments on the issue; she attempted to bully someone through their employer with false accusations and baseless legal threats.

CCHQ also fails to claim anything about the call coming from outside their offices, but I guess we’ll find out more about that if/when the relevant call logs become available

In the meantime, feel free to browse for remnants of the Twitter/Facebook/etc. accounts for Lua Cooper that were cleaned out so suddenly late yesterday afternoon; this cache dating back to 5 March reveals that Lua Cooper is indeed very close to Samuel Coates, and worthy of (and excited about) front-row seats to David Cameron speeches.

As has been pointed out by Unity, she also appears in a CCHQ instruction/recruitment video. (That it’s for telephone canvassing is not only funny, but one good reason to suspect that when Lua Cooper made that call, she did so from a HQ-provided phone.)

There are also old tweets from Lua Cooper where she messages The Conservatives’ ‘Communities Editor’ Craig Elder about his concerns he may have packed too lightly for an away day; “if you need anything I can bring some of sam’s thing for you and drop it to cchq?”

In short, Lua Cooper appears to be very close not only to Samuel Coates, but to the campaign and the cause and many key people at CCHQ.

For CCHQ to pretend otherwise is to be expected. For Sam Coates to pretend that he doesn’t even know her or recognise her name is an insult to our intelligence, and he can’t pretend to have done it out of gallantry given the way he’s cowering under his desk today while his better half is left with her arse hanging out.

Many people are owed an apology here. Will none of these Conservatives step forward and take responsibility for their actions?

Perhaps Lua can start the ball rolling with a simple explanation/apology for her targeting a man through his employer in this extremely dishonest and unfair manner… assuming she’s her own person and not under any pressure from Sam/CCHQ to keep her mouth shut.

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 1 Comment

Tameside Council: the Wikipedia adventures

Tameside Eye – WHO Smeared Jonny Reynolds?: Labour are well underway in the process for selecting a new candidate to replace Stalybridge & Hyde MP, James Purnell who resigned in February. As with any selection, it wouldn’t be complete without a good old fashioned smear with candidates battling it out with each other for the £64k job…

When I see stuff like this, the first thing i usually do is run the relevant IP(s) through Wikipedia’s back-end, because usually the type of person who’ll attack others from behind a sock-puppet in email and/or on blogs will do the same there, usually with the same target. (I could name names, but I’m trying to discourage onanism this week, to see us through the recent hanky shortage.)

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the IP address referenced in the above post that resulted in a catch today ( is one that is likely to be used by many people working for Tameside Council. So I am not by any means suggesting that this is the same person, only that it’s an interesting place to look.

Two lightweight but amusing examples from a quick scratch of the surface:

1. This effort, lashing out blindly at James Purnell raised a smile:

He backstabbingly betrayed Gordon Brown and the Labour party in a effort to somehow further his career.

2. This is clearly ‘link spam’. Someone working for Tameside Council spam-linked the website gmpchelp.com and they can’t even spull pripper:

[http://www.gmpchelp.com Computer Reapir Company (Greater Manchester)]

Lots more to find by browsing through past anonymous edits of Wikipedia via the IP

There’s also a whole page here with nothing but people talking about the many questionable edits made to Wikipedia using this IP address, but I’m sure the locals will be able to make more sense of this spoor than I will, and anyone in a hurry need only look at this summary from one of the editors in the relevant Blog Logs: “Long-term vandal. has been using this address for a year. registered to a council but no evidence of good-faith users using this IP”

I’m sure any hunt through that lot will be a long and happy one. An unknown number of people have been blundering about for quite some time, and it looks like a gift that’ll keep on giving.

[Hello, Tameside peeps. Happy hunting. Here’s one or two we bagged down my neck of the woods. God help us when the bastards get smarter than this.]

Posted in Teh Interwebs | 2 Comments

David Cameron’s head on a stick

David Cameron’s head on a stick! Daaaavid Cameron’s head on a stick!


Hello, you.

If you’re new here and don’t know me from Adam, you may want to check out some of my past videos at ‘Backing Blair’, on YouTube, or on Vimeo.

In the past I’ve made my share of videos about Tony Blair (and this one is my very favourite). I’m quite busy at the moment, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from making a video or two in time for the next General Election.

Hopefully, you can chip in with some much-needed footage featuring you, some mates if you like, and David Cameron’s head on a stick.


Download your mask* here.

1. Make mask(s)
2. Film yourself using mask(s)
3. Send your clips to tim [at] bloggerheads [dot] com

– Only short clips, please (30 seconds, max.)
– No emails/files above 25 megabytes (MB) in size
– AVI, MPG, MP4, MOV, WMV files only

(*Yes, there may be more faces later, but I want to get David Cameron done first. I have to put his Big Giant Head to music, so the circle is complete.)


– Like most of my past projects, this is a music video project, but I’m keeping the soundtrack(s) to myself at the moment.

– Yes, I am serious about compulsory nudity, but ONLY if you film yourself using a webcam. Yes, you may get naked anyway if you don’t own a webcam. Yes, I do plan to use the nude clips, if there’s enough variety to warrant a separate video. No, this one probably won’t be hosted on YouTube.

– If you don’t use a webcam, you don’t have to ne naked, and how/where you film yourself using your mask(s) is entirely up to you.

– Yes, you can send in clips of more than one person using more than one mask. But no real faces if you can avoid it, please. real faces complicate matters and dilute the creepiness. I want to build a virtual world populated with Cameron clones, and set it to music.

– Certain parties are banned from participating on the grounds that they are sock-puppeting gits (and have therefore done more than their fair share of prancing about behind a mask). They know who they are, and 99.9999% of the population can safely ignore this message.

– Yes, you will retain copyright for your raw footage, but by submitting it you give me permission to use it as a component of a larger, transformative work, and once it’s installed/live, there’s no going back.

Updates to follow. Cheers all.

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories!, Video | Comments Off

Iain Dale is interviewing Nick Griffin for profit, not out of principle

Though Cowards Flinch – We’ll huff and we’ll puff and we’ll blow their house down: It has come to our attention that the magazine ‘Total Politics’ is planning to publish an interview with Nick Griffin, the racist leader of the British National Party. Before we forget, therefore, we thought we should announce that, in the event of the publication of this interview, TCF will withdraw from the annual voting process to rank the popularity of UK blogs, run by Total Politics magazine, which once we welcomed and which made itself relevant to the internet through the annual UK blogging guide (pictured)

Though Cowards Flinch – Boycott; the saga continues: But what really matters is not whether Griffin flounders on Dale’s questions or not. It’s about the long-run effect of having Griffin feature in a mainstream publication. Long after the specific questions that Dale asks are forgotten, people will remember that Griffin was interviewed by an (allegedly) respectable, mainstream publication. It will help to normalise Griffin and his party. It will encourage him to be seen as a legitimate politician with legitimate views to be considered a reasonable political option by reasonable people.

Iain Dale has a clearly stated (and quite notorious) policy of not linking to blogs/bloggers that are critical of him. He has stated quite clearly in the past that he refuses to do so because he does not wish to legitimise them.

But he will give a platform to Nick Griffin, a known racist and fascist, and now appears to be claiming that this doesn’t legitimise him or his party.

(Nick Griffin may hate people who are coloured/foreign/different, but at least he hasn’t criticised Iain; that would be beyond the pale!)

All we’re left with is the depressing situation of Iain Dale doing this for political reasons, or (far more likely in my honestly-held opinion) to sell more copies of Total Politics, because shoving it down the throats of elected representatives as junk mail and counting this as ‘circulation’ isn’t making enough money or shifting enough units to please advertisers.

UPDATE – I should point out that I already boycott the Total Politics poll of weblogs, because it is flawed from the ground up (the two main points being it is rigged in favour of Iain Dale and his mates to begin with, and the votes are counted by a known cheat).

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 5 Comments

Jeremy Hunt – archives and accountability

Last night I attended a Social Media Summit hosted by Lewis PR and Salesforce.com and run/moderated by Paul Evans.

A number of people spoke on the panel, including Jeremy Hunt.

Jeremy Hunt is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey (which will become my constituency after boundary changes) and, more importantly in light of the subject matter, he is Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. If the Tories scrape through at the next election, he will, in effect, become the Minister for Teh Internets.

Hunt also puts himself about as a bit of a blogger, and a believer in social media.

At last night’s event, Hunt declared that social media has led to MPs being more accountable.

There was a loud cough/splutter from the audience. That was me. Sorry.

In 2006, two Conservative activists closely associated with neighbouring Conservative MP Anne Milton anonymously smeared a political rival as a paedophile. I emailed Hunt about this at the time. The wannabe Minister for Teh Internets decided that this behaviour was not only a seedy and unseemly political tactic, but a wholly unacceptable use of the medium, and a general risk to the online community he wanted to represent.

Just kidding. In fact, Jeremy Hunt decided to say and do precisely nothing about it then, and he avoids any straightforward discussion of his decision to put party ahead of principle to this day.

We did have a discussion (of sorts*) about it on his ‘blog’ once, and I would link to that right now, but I can’t, for the same reason I’ve put the word ‘blog’ in scare-quotes; it’s gone.

Not only is that conversation gone, but the post above it is gone, too. In fact, everything Jeremy Hunt blogged about in 2008 and 2009 (along with every comment entrusted to him) has been disappeared into the ether.

The way Jeremy Hunt puts it; he only maintains a recent/immediate ‘archive’, which appears to amount to the last 30-odd posts. Everything else just… disappears. I’m not sure at this stage if a date-stamp kills them, or if they’re pushed into the void by each new post (like new facts in Homer Simpson’s brain) but either way, sooner or later, down the memory hole it goes. Bye-bye!

Even if you’re aware of the URL of an old entry (or work it out from the naming convention) you won’t be able to access it. Here’s entry 229; it’s the earliest live entry visible (from Jan 2010). Try entry 228 or anything earlier, and you’ll either get an error page or be bounced back to the front page.

Hunt gave me some waffle about “immediacy” to explain it, but this is not in keeping with his approach to his press release archive (which goes all the way back to 2004) and it completely dodges the issue of accountability.

Every other blogger on the scene understands the importance of maintaining an archive (with the possible exception of Iain Dale, who has a bad habit of editing/deleting old entries without notation)… but Jeremy Hunt regards it to be unimportant.

How does Jeremy Hunt’s ‘blog’ make him any more accountable, if he’s not willing to simply stand by his previous utterances?

What does this say about his attitude toward those who take the time to contribute comments and participate in conversations on his site? Do they know their contributions will soon be deleted as an irrelevance?

Also, Jeremy Hunt is an MP, familiar with a little thing called Hansard, and one hopes he’s not blind to the importance of (and the principles behind) that archive. Would he have that only go back 2-3 months as well? How about the LexisNexis and/or the British Newspaper Library? Will Jeremy Hunt be proposing we make those archives more ‘immediate’ if the Tories get in?

Finally, as I mentioned, this is the guy who wants to be Minister for Teh Internets… and he doesn’t appear to have the slightest appreciation of or respect for one of the core principles of online publishing.

(Oh, and – as I mentioned – he’ll also turn a blind eye when local sock-puppeting Conservative activists wish to smear an opponent as a paedophile. Which is nice.)

As he was racing off to something that was – I assume – far more important than my question about archives and accountability, I showed him a copy of a page he had ‘disappeared’ (I have trust issues with some of the local Tories, so I saved a copy of our paedo-smear conversation to my hard drive).

Hunt actually had the audacity to claim that he was accountable for material he had ‘blogged’ in the past, because someone else had bothered to archive a single page of content for their own records.

Unfortunately, this only begins to approach ‘near enough’ (if not ‘good enough’) if all of the past content is archived by a third party, and then published in a navigable/indexable form. So that’s what I’m going to do, starting with whatever I can gather from these scraps in the WayBack Machine. Obviously, I’m going to need to be a top search result for ‘Jeremy Hunt’ for this to be sufficiently visible, but this shouldn’t be a problem; it’s what I do best, and my version of his blog will offer a wealth of relevance (that he clearly regards to be irrelevant).

I doubt Jeremy will be happy that my version of his blog will allow additional comments that are beyond his control, but that’s the price you pay for outsourcing simple accountability.

[*Jeremy Hunt also cheats at comment moderation, but I’ll leave that for a later post.]

NOTE – The Bloggerheads archive goes all the way back to 2001, and there are NO changes to any of this without notation (example).

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

Google, Gmail, Blogger.com and YouTube: customer ‘service’

[NOTE – Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. Pyra Labs (Blogger.com) was acquired by Google in 2003, YouTube in 2006.]

Evening Standard – Google bosses convicted over abuse video of Down’s syndrome boy

Google today vowed to appeal, saying in a statement: “We are deeply troubled by this conviction, it attacks the very principles of freedom on which the internet is built.”

Two executives, David Drummond and Peter Fleischer, and former employee George Reyes were accused of negligence. Prosecutors said the video remained online for two months even though some web users had posted comments asking for it to be taken down.

Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation and acquitted a fourth defendant altogether.

Mr Drummond, who is Google’s chief legal officer, vowed to fight his conviction. He said: “I am outraged by the decision … If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our positions at Google every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability.”

The case stems from an incident in 2006 when four boys in Turin filmed and uploaded a 191-second clip of them bullying a schoolmate with Down’s syndrome. It shows the youths making fun of the boy, before punching and kicking him. One of the attackers then makes a mocking call to Viva Down, an advocacy group for people with Down’s syndrome. The complaint was brought by the charity and the boy’s father. “The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police,” Google said.

And there’s your weak spot, hiding in that sentence right there; it took the involvement of police to get the video removed, after months of people complaining about it. The core deceit here is that Google is talking about the things they are not responsible for under a flag of internets freedom, while neatly brushing over what they are responsible for.

Google failed in their duty to this individual and the public in general because their facilities for reporting abuse of their publishing/communications facilities are inadequate. Further, I am about to show you that they are aware of this but do not care.

Over the past year, I’ve been subjected to a planned campaign of harassment that has involved the repeated publication of my ex-directory home address, directed at people thought to be hostile towards me. The purpose of this is to cause me fear of violence if not actual harm.

The following is a claim from an executive who works for Google about their response time for things like this:

“Regarding the removal of confidential data: once it’s brought to our attention, we make every attempt to respond right away, and in no event longer than 48 hours.”

Now, let’s take a look at their actual response times:


My home address was submitted as a comment under a series of YouTube videos on 27 September, 2009. When these comments were deleted, the address was instead posted on the profile page for the relevant account (which was in turn promoted by the good people at Kooba Radio and Redwire Design). Despite immediate then repeated complaints to YouTube through their ‘support’ systems, then by email and fax, the account stayed live for days that stretched into weeks and then months. It wasn’t until I got in touch at an executive level (and believe me, these contact details are NOT easy to find) that anything was done about it. Even then, Google claimed the account was suspended immediately on January 15, 2009 when it was still live on the morning of January 21, 2010… even the delay after the delay was longer than 48 hours.

In total, I was left waiting 3 months and 26 days… just short of 4 months.

Further, the page ‘removed’ by Blogger.com/Google staff is still visible in Google’s search database today (25 February, 2010), which brings our total response time for Google as a whole to 4 months and 29 daysand counting. More on this point in a moment.


On 30 September, 2009 my home address was published on a Blogger.com-hosted account under the headline “Tim Ireland the internet stalker” with a claim that I had “smeared, picked fights with or stalked” a long list of people including Nadine Dorries, Iain Dale and Paul Staines. Again, immediate then repeated complaints were ignored for days that stretched into weeks and then months. Cleverly, Blogger.com refuse to tell me exactly when this account was suspended, suggesting it’s a matter of privacy (what?!), so I would be unable to give you a complete response time if it weren’t for the fact that this ‘removed’ page also remained live in Google’s search database until sometime after January 17, 2010

Total response time for Google: a minimum of 3 months, 21 days

In both cases, content was removed by one arm of Google while it remained live under the auspices of another. There does not appear to be any kind of synergy or alert system in place that ensures removal of inappropriate content from Google’s search database after it has been removed (by Google staff) from Blogger.com or YouTube; it’s like some bizarre parody of Communist Russia that forces me to join one queue for bread and another for butter. Why is there no standard channel of communication between abuse teams that addresses this issue?

(Incidentally, Blogger.com continue to host ~50 false claims that I’m a convicted paedophile and refuse to remove them, citing freedom of speech. They do not recognise the danger a public accusation of paedophilia represents in this nation of tabloid ‘justice’, and now refuse to discuss the matter.)


On 20 November, 2009 a threat was issued that someone planned to use a Gmail account to pass my personal data onto Nigerian/Russian scammers. The threat alone was a clear violation of their Terms of Service, so this was reported to Gmail immediately . No action was taken, even after December 26, 2009 when multiple emails began from this account clearly impersonating me while forwarding sensitive/confidential data such as my home address.

On January 15, 2010 this matter was raised with Rick Klau, Business Product Manager at Blogger (yes, the same person who refused to tell me when that Blogger account was disabled). Initially, Rick was kind enough to pass my concerns on to YouTube, but the Gmail matter took a little longer. In fact, it wasn’t addressed until February 10, 2010 (almost a month later) when Rick was busy giving me the brush-off. Instead of passing my concerns on to Gmail, he directed me to this generic support portal.

See what I mean about queues for bread and butter? He knew I had to wait months for a response from Blogger and YouTube and Gmail, it was within his power to move/pass things along to Gmail just as he did with YouTube, but instead he directed me to join the queue and start again!

The relevant account was still live on 20 February, 2010 (and is probably still live today).

Total response time for Google: a minimum of 3 monthsand counting. I’ve not heard a word back from Gmail about any of it.

(There is also an account that may have been used to impersonate me from 06 October, 2009 onwards. Verifying if this account exists myself involves engaging with the people harassing me, which the police have advised me not to do, so on Jan 15 I asked Rick Klau to ask Gmail about it. So far, I’ve heard nothing back about this, either.)


Rick Klau is not the only person at Google who is aware of this. The wider matter (including many specifics) has also been brought to the attention of Oliver Rickman, Manager of Google UK Communications and Public Affairs, and Rachel Whetstone, Vice President of Communications for Google (Europe).

I have tried to alert Google to an entirely insufficient approach to abuse of their facilities and have been given the brush-off at an executive level.

In other words, Google know that their response time for abuse is far from adequate, they have repeatedly turned a blind eye to this problem, and I can prove it.

To close, here is the last letter I sent to Rick Klau:

from Tim Ireland
to Rick Klau
date Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 4:28 PM
subject Re: Blogger and comments mentioning you

Rick, let me explain where your perspective may be letting you down:

You don’t think any people/police have had issues reaching you because 100% of the people who’ve made contact with you managed to … make contact with you. Do I actually have to point out that this isn’t an entirely representative sample? You appear to be turning a blind eye to the possibility that there are people who have failed to make contact with your department and you may not know about this because…. they haven’t made contact with your department.

I can tell you now for a fact that anyone submitting a police complaint involving anonymous online harassment has to do a lot of legwork themselves or risk letting their tormentor(s) off the hook. It was certainly the case in the investigation relevant to the attacks on me (many of which you inexplicably continue to host).

In fact, police would have been unaware of the role played by another man if I’d not pursued a number of providers personally. I found it was up to the victim to gather most of the evidence; mainly what the police brought to the table was the authority to reveal names behind IP/email addresses. I stand by my criticism of Google and their failure/refusal to cooperate with my efforts to halt this harassment and I reject your attempt to suggest that it all would’ve gone much smoother had the police simply contacted you through the usual channels, thought it important, etc. In fact, I take offence at this or any other attempt to belittle me or downplay what I have been through.

You assure me that Google’s response time for ‘sensitive data’ matters is measured in hours, when I have shown you that it has been – across the board, in my experience – more a matter of weeks and months. Well over 3 months in one example you are aware of.

(On this note, I’m disappointed you would assure me of the adequacy of your response time on Blogger.com but refuse to go on the record about the specific date you actually managed to get around to deleting the blog in question.)

Then, rather than take my concerns seriously, you seek to give me the brush off, pretend that it’s none of your concern, and direct me back to the automated channels that let me down so badly in the first place.

I am trying to tell you that that Google is failing to protect vulnerable people. I am trying to alert you to a widespread failure of your system to address harassment in a timely manner.

Are you seriously going to ignore those warnings and file it under ‘not my problem’?

If you genuinely don’t feel you are qualified/authorised to speak on the wider matter of Google failing victims of harassment, then please pass me on to someone who is.

Immediately, please. Google has kept me waiting long enough.

Tim Ireland

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that a week has passed since I sent this, and there’s been no response from anyone at Google.

UPDATE – Malcolm Coles – Why Italy was right to find Google guilty

Posted in Teh Interwebs | 4 Comments