Glorious front page on the Independent today. Here’s a round-up. How brave of Tony to appear on the hard-hitting show Richard and Judy. How pleasant that Bush tried to suppress the pre-9/11 report into al-Qaeda. Ooh, look… nukes!
Oh, did you miss that bit about the Bush administration opening a torture franchise? You did? Then you may also have missed the ID cards bill slipping through the Commons yesterday (for the record, Blair knew about the Charles/Camilla announcement at least 5 days in advance).
Y’see, it’s all about Teh War on Terrerer. We take it very seriously. And we don’t mismanage matters, lie about it and then manipulate the threat. That would be a very silly thing to do.
Oh, that chap who’s marrying a horse… I know you’re dying to know what the girl with the tits thinks about it.
Today, Danni (18, from Coventry) has been closely following news of Charles and Camilla’s wedding. She says: “They really seem to be in love and it’s great that they’ve made this decision. Camilla is certainly not a princess like Diana but I’m sure everyone will warm to her.”
I got home last night planning to have my first 8+ hours of sleep in a over a week. It didn’t happen. I have a new song in my head. Chicken Yoghurt gets credit for partially inspiring it. BTW, this is a mighty fine post about vague numbers of very dead people. We wouldn’t claim to be invading Iraq for humanitarian reasons and then fiddle/hide the number of civilian casualties. That wouldn’t be too clever at all.
Send me more money you cheap bastards! The major parties are booking up ad-space like there’s no tomorrow. If you want to see giant Backing Blair billboards then you should be sending me money today and telling other people to do the same.
Lots of linky goodness over at Washinton Monthly today. Go see.
PS – Don’t forget to send me money.
Only about 8 hours to go on B3ta’s landmark advertising auction and the bidding has just gone a nudge over 200 squid.
UPDATE – Winning bid 404.90. Pity. I thought they’d crack a grand at least.
I love that they chose today to launch this. And I have a special question or two that you may wish to ask him yourself.
We’re good to go:
Take a few moments to enjoy our first campaign ad and then come back here when you’re ready.
OK. Initially, I want 3 things from you. It’s up to you how much you give.
1. I want some prime real estate on your website. I want you to use the link tools to drive as much traffic our way as you can.
2. I want your money. I want you to donate money via Paypal today if you can (we’ll be accepting cheques from next week if all goes well). The money will be spent on things like these mobile billboards that have built-in PA systems that will allow us to spout wonderfully skewed ‘pro’-Blair propaganda like:
“A vote for Tony Blair protects you from the terrorist threat.”
“Eat more sausages. Sausages are an inexpensive source of protein.”
Fun fun fun fun fun.
3. I want you to get involved. I want you to join or form a group and do stuff. Then I want you to document it, photograph it, video it and publish/blog it.
I want you and your readers excited, I want you and your readers revved up, and I want you and your readers entertained.
And what you see at Backing Blair is just the start, BTW. We have some fanatasic material in reserve.
We’ve also identified 92 serving MPs with the title ‘mp’ in their domain name. All of these people will have to move house as soon as the election is called. The list includes Michael Howard, Charles Clarke, and many MPs who have played significant roles in information technology, so really should know better.
I repeat: fun fun fun fun fun.
Let’s go show the professionals how Teh Interwebs works. Let’s make this an election where grass-roots campaigning plays a major role. Let’s get some important issues on the agenda. Let’s get some intelligent debate started.
Let’s. Get. Tony.
Here’s a quick link-dump to keep you busy:
Washington Post – Rove Is Promoted To Deputy Staff Chief: During President Bush’s first term, outsiders often suspected that Karl Rove was really behind virtually everything. Now it’s official. Rove, the political mastermind behind two presidential elections, yesterday was named White House deputy chief of staff in charge of coordinating domestic policy, economic policy, national security and homeland security.
Good meeting. Nice peeps. Good ideas. Later today we’ll be giving the campaign site a final going over. Possible launch tonight. That is all.
PS – Ok, so maybe not all…
Telegraph – Alastair Campbell is back and this time it’s personal
BBC – Campbell: E-mail row ‘silly fuss’
First, a bit of good news.
Channel 4 – Political Impact Award: Boris Johnson has won the Channel 4 award for the person who made the biggest impression on the politics of 2004.
Now, a housekeeping report on Boris Johnson’s website.
OK, here’s how it works:
2-7% of web users have their own website or weblog. Due to the influence of link popularity, it is this 2-7% that largely determines what major search engines like Google present as their search results. (That may not sound very democratic, but there’s a level of community-led accountability built in and if you have a problem with the whole thing, perhaps you should start a weblog of your own.)
Not a lot of people know that there is also a historical aspect to Google’s ranking algorithm. Sites that take control of certain top search results for a long period of time are difficult to unseat quickly without some serious inbound link activity and/or a lack of updates on these dominating sites.
So, for the first 6 months of operation, Boris’s weblog climbed no higher than the 3rd search result in Google for ‘boris johnson’ – largely because the Boris Johnson Fan Club and Boris Watch had been in operation longer.
But no longer.
Boris is now the top search result for ‘boris johnson’ in Google and the new MSN database. Yahoo is still pending.
But wait… there’s more.
I have this little example I like to use in business meetings when trying to show clients or potential clients the difference between creating something of interest to the weblog community and integrating fully with it. That example is Tom Watson.
I begin by explaining that when Tom first came online, his site didn’t appear on the front page of any search engine for his name, because there was a golfer by the same name with a 20-year career under his belt. Profile, news and tribute pages for this individual dominated the search results.
So I then show them the weblog and how it works. I pop over to Technorati and show them the ‘buzz’ around his weblog. I show them the difference between static links (such as a blogroll link) and transient links (such as a individual posts) and make it very clear that the former is much harder to earn than the latter. I try to convey the community aspect as best I can.
Then we go to Google and search for ‘tom watson’… this is the point when most people get it. Because of his integration with the weblog community, Tom Watson the MP is seen to be the most relevant ‘tom watson’ there is. He is the Tom Watson that is more accessible and whose website is the most highly regarded.
Then we search for ‘labour mp’… this is the point when most people see the potential. Because of his integration with the weblog community, Tom Watson the MP is seen to be the most relevant ‘labour mp’ there is. He is the Labour MP that is more accessible and whose website is the most highly regarded.
I guess you know what’s coming…
Yes, while it may come and go in the first few days (as many fresh results do), yesterday Boris Johnson achieved the top search result in Google for ‘conservative mp’.
Boris Johnson – the first Tory MP with a weblog – has the more dynamic and most accessible site. His site is more highly regarded than the websites of other Conservative MPs. He is therefore the most relevant ‘conservative mp’ there is. At least, according to Google he is. MSN and Yahoo will take a while to catch up.
Guardian – Fraud and corruption: Forget the UN. The US occupation regime helped itself to $8.8 bn of mostly Iraqi money in just 14 months.
Of course, in the interests of world peace, it’s far more importnat that we undermine the UN. So feel free to ignore this (or, at your discretion, replace “but Clinton…” with “but the UN…”).
(Link via Bob Piper.)
I’ve suggested previously that bloggers and proxy-bloggers note/scan and publish any questionable campaign material. Now we have a big gun on the case, too.
BBC – Election 2005: Below the radar: In the run-up to this year’s General Election, Newsnight’s Michael Crick will examine each party’s campaign, but we want you to get involved too.
No need to change the plan, just make sure that when you publish, you also send it on to Michael Crick – and that you get a name-check for your blog in return.
Moving right along…
Guardian – Tories issue libel writ against Times: The Conservative Party last night raised the political temperature in the run-up to the expected general election in May by issuing a writ against the Times newspaper for defaming its campaign director, Lynton Crosby. The action follows two articles in the Murdoch-owned newspaper claiming that Mr Crosby had told Michael Howard that he was going to lose the next election before the campaign even officially started. The decision to sue, personally approved by Michael Howard and Guy Black, his director of communications, reflects concern among leading Conservatives that the Times, once the paper of the Tory establishment, is becoming a cheerleader for Tony Blair.
Becoming? As in only just now? Has David Hencke been paying attention these past 7 years?
Finally, some news from Bloggerheads:
The briefing/planning meeting for Backing Blair goes ahead as planned this evening. Barring the unexpected, the site should launch sometime tomorrow. Perhaps in the evening.
The London Underground Song is doing extremely good work in the pre-launch period. It was reaching upwards of 3,000 people a day last week and recently has been reaching over 10,000 people a day. Yesterday it reached 26,485 unique visitors. 1,974 of them were curious enough to check out the (currently empty) main page of Backing Blair, even though there’s no direct link to it from the Flash page.
So we’ve got a strong wind behind us, and we’re almost good to go.
Core materials for Backing Blair will be seen for the first time at our meeting this evening. I’d love to give you a sneak preview, but the squirrels insist that I keep my nuts close to my chest for now. I can, however, tell you what’s at the core of the campaign… we’re going to subvert/mock key Blair messages by cutting them down to their bare bones and raise issues such as Iraq and the ‘war’ on terror in an overly-positive fashion that borders on the Orwellian.
Along the way, we plan to:
- Raise awareness of the website/message via grass roots campaigning (posters, stickers, local groups)
- Raise funds via the website
- Use that money to raise awareness of the website/message via mainstream advertising
We start with nothing but elbow grease and goodwill, and can continue at this level throughout the campaigning season and still have an impact. But if we raise as little as 1,000 squid… ooh, boy are we going to have some serious fun.