Two screengrabs for your reference and mine

Over the past 20+ hours, Derek Draper has been playing a fun little game of comment keepsies.

He’s been challenging folk, including me, to respond to this or that… while withholding any responses.

This is the link, but please keep in mind that this thread could change and there are a number of comments Draper could release at any time. A screengrab for reference is below:

Given his recent behaviour, I have every reason to expect that these responses – or simply the ones that put him at a disadvantage – will be deleted. Or maybe even released all at once into a confused mess a day after most readers will have moved on to another conversation.

He is using his position as moderator of the conversation to gain an unfair advantage in the conversation. This is a childish game, but it wouldn’t matter quite so much if he didn’t also tout himself as Labour’s ambassador to bloggers; a man who believes in the empowering wonders of engagement and debate.

I am trying to be patient with Draper and his people, but it appears that we have come to something of a crossroads:

Well, there it is. If I want Draper and his gang to take me seriously and treat me courteously, I’ve got to go through Downing Street.

An interesting week lies ahead.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 6 Comments

Obama is freeing all of his terrorist buddies

CNN – Guantanamo judge suspends 9/11 case prosecutions: The presiding judge in the 9/11 terrorism case at the Guantanamo detention facility granted a delay in the case on Wednesday, according to a military official close to the proceedings. The continuance comes a day after President Obama directed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ask prosecutors to seek stays in prosecutions for 120 days so that the cases of suspected terrorists at the facility can be reviewed.

That’s a hell of a first day. Colour me impressed.

(Headline nicked from Farker yosluggo… and possibly a certain not-very-good-lawyer’s ‘radio’ show.)

Posted in Barack Obama | Comments Off

Why is the Labour Party spamming bloggers?

Since mid-January, I have received a number of separate emails from the following address:

Labour Party New Media Team
info [at]

Initially, I thought nothing of it; I’d subscribed to email updates from the Labour Party a long time ago, and – given the sub-domain suggesting that this was under their control and that arrangement – I assumed that this was just their new way of saying ‘hello’.

But when I had cause to look closely at these more recent emails, it quickly became apparent that the emails were coming my way not because of any earlier subscription, but because I was a blogger.

Below is a typical plea from an early email of this type:

“… if you could blog about the discussion forum – even a short post with a link – we can make sure as many people know about it as possible…”

There was also another key difference; once I’d decided that I didn’t want to be on this different mailing list with its link-pestering agenda, I looked around for the ‘unsubscribe’ function… and there wasn’t one!

I replied to one of these emails (as one might with an ‘unsubscribe’ message/header)… and got a bounce message!

“… we will not have seen this email you sent us. You will need to re-send your email by clicking on the link below and completing the online form. Go to…”

But there was no ‘unsubscribe’ option there, either.

Now, the law is very clear on this matter. See the second of two highlights here:

Extract from The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003:

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes

22. – (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.

(2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.

(3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where –

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;

(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

(4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes where the identity or address of the sender is concealed

23. A person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, a communication for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail –

(a) where the identity of the person on whose behalf the communication has been sent has been disguised or concealed; or

(b) where a valid address to which the recipient of the communication may send a request that such communications cease has not been provided.

Translation #1: If I haven’t asked for it, they can’t send it. If they want to put me on any specific mailing list, I need to agree to it first.

Translation #2: There should be details of an email or web address within any email(s) sent out that allow me to unsubscribe if I decide to un-agree at any stage.

Now, initially I considered their position to be borderline on the first point, but completely in the wrong on the second, but it turns out they were totally out of line on both points.

Pig-ignorant carpet-bagger Derek Draper had CCed our conversation to a bunch of biggish-wigs the other day, so I sent an email to Derek and those same new media/Labour chums – Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller and Alex Smith – asking what was going on. It was Sue Macmillan ‘New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader’ (and warrior princess) for the Labour Party who answered.

She claimed that my name/email details were on the list because they; “made a list of bloggers we thought might be interested.”

1. Derek Draper had earlier made it obvious he had no idea who I was, and made it clear that he didn’t care. Now suddenly I find out that the Labour Party wanted my red hot linky-love all along?! Confusing. Especially so when this Sue person was CCed on the relevant conversation, and didn’t point out at any stage that I was exactly the kind of person they knew about and wanted to care about. It makes no sense to me… unless the Labour Party have been scooping up addresses of leftish bloggers without any real research, care or attention.

2. Tch. And here was me thinking that people from the party of government – i.e. those that introduced this anti-spam law – would understand that they’re not supposed to be emailing people until those people specifically say that they are interested.

Just because I’m interested in politics and I publish my email address on my site, it doesn’t mean that I want to be signed up to every political mailing list going. FFS, I’m into marketing, too; just imagine what my inbox would be like if the law really was that slack on this point.

And a mailing list is what this was; it wasn’t a one-off notice from someone asking if I might be interested in this or that, it was a mailing list that focused on the task of begging for links from weblogs and other forms of web-based networking.

If there was any doubt about that, Sue Macmillan removed it by saying the following;

“We made a list of bloggers we thought might be interested.”

(Psst! Here are the links you were after, you spamming fuckers; Wow, it’s a Shadow WebCabinet!, Wow, it’s your version of David Cameron’s Economic policy! ROFL!. Wow, it’s a discussion forum!, Wow, it’s a Facebook page! Wow, it’s a REMIX of the Shadow WebCabinet! (They must be really excited about their first passable viral mechanism in… well, ever.) Wow, anyone “can embed the widget onto your blog using the code here”! Wow, it’s a new site you’re launching at!)

I also asked about the lack of any kind of unsubscribe function – a requirement under law – and I was told by Sue Macmillan (New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader and warrior princess) that it was a one-off mistake:

“The oversight, I should be clear, was on this email alone.”

When I pointed out that I had at least 4 different emails in my inbox dating back to 13 Jan that all failed to meet this legal requirement, Sue went quiet on me.

It’s been hours now, and I’ve not heard a peep back.

So, here I am blogging about another example of the Labour Party jumping behind the wheel of their shiny new web strategy and driving it into the nearest bloody wall.

Well. Done. You. Tossers.

Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that I’m getting into any web vehicle with you behind the wheel.

(Not that you lot are getting anything out of me with the torture-happy toss-monkey Jack Straw still in the cabinet. Seriously, how hard can it be to shift that skid mark? “What’s that? Torture you say? Well, we’ll get right on with… destroying your life in order to shut you up! Mwahahahahaha!” What a grade-A first-class cu*)

[Psst! I apologise for the tone, readers – but on top of their spamming me, which pisses me off, they’ve fobbed me off with a bullshit claim, which really pisses me off, and then ignored me when I’ve got a valid beef, which royally pisses me off. The whole torture thing gets on my tits a bit, too. Actually, sometimes it gets right up my arse like a broken bottle.]

UPDATE (22 Jan) – Justin McKeating is a victim of this same spamming effort, as is Adam Bienkov of ‘Tory Troll’ who, hilariously, has been addressed in each spam as ‘Tory’ (as opposed to ‘Mr Troll’). Adam also states that, unlike myself, he hasn’t signed up for anything from the Labour Party, ever. In short, the list of known victims is already growing, and Sue Macmillan (Warrior Princess) is stuffed even if she changes her story about the origin(s) of this link-whoring list; someone in her team has clearly been trawling the leftish and/or Tory-sparring neighbourhoods of blogland and doing a not-very-good job of harvesting names and email addresses for the purposes of unsolicited email marketing; spam to you and me. Please speak up via email, comments or bloggage if you’re a victim. Together we can call these spammers to account.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments

Lotsa links for lunchtime

The character is fiction, but the horror is real; Sick Days

D-Notice on The Sun v the Criminal Justice System.

Paulie has a different opinion to mine on MPs and their expenses. I readily accept that my opinion on this could be skewed by my MP being a right piece of work.

Unity and Septicisle on the ‘Al Qaeda has bio weapons’ claim from the tabloid you can trust.

Meanwhile, The Sun appear to be holding back on reports that Israel has been using white phosphorus as a weapon. For some reason.

(During the assault on Fallujah in Iraq, the Americans used white phosphorus as a weapon, and denied doing so. The Sun later dutifully reported when the cat was out of the bag that; “It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants, not against civilians” At around the same time, I talked to a British soldier who told me that Our Boys were officially trained in the handling and deployment of white phosphorus as an illumination device, but briefed “off the books, of course” in their use as a room-clearing or “bunker cleansing” device. Which is nice.)

Kevin Maguire driven home in expensive hire-car shock. It’s called a perk, and Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is acting like he’s never seen one before. You can hear Paul’s high-pitched nasal whine asking about mansions in Richmond and delivering a sarky “James, home!”… meanwhile, Maguire appears to be quite jovial, and taking it all in good humour. I doubt that I’d be quite so genial with a camera waved in my face, plus I know from experience that Staines hides from cameras, and is all-too-quick to scream ‘stalker’ if caught in any compromising situation. Staines, much like Derek Draper, is also censoring inconvenient comments under this video. If you must comment yourself, don’t do anything futile like mention that Staines has a personal beef with Maguire or that he himself has to pedal everywhere when not being chauffeured, on account of his driving while drunk (and without insurance). On that note, Maguire can count himself lucky that Staines didn’t make an issue of his drinking… after sobering up himself. What a tosser.

OMG! Homo milk! Watch out, Paul! Don’t let it near the children!

Speaking of such things, Jeremy Hunt is having a little difficulty answering questions about homophobic attacks by local Conservative activists (background). He’s trying the old ‘it’s off my patch’ dodge (not that this has ever stopped him from propping up fellow Tory Anne Milton), and using an old technique of Dale’s; allowing anonymous comment contributors to attack me as a form of defence (only gently, mind… but it’s still clear to see).

I would be a great pity if Jeremy Hunt decides to leave this matter hanging. Again.

He dodged the issue when he could have done something to stop the attacks; now he’s promoting himself as a blogger with standards, I would expect him to at least have an opinion on two grown men creating and promoting an anonymous website claiming that their political opponent is a paedophile.

By now, most of you have seen Ninja Cat.

Now check out how Ninja Cat would look with Derek Draper in charge of the project.

Also via /links a game that all the kids will be playing this time next week; Bush or Batman?

Via Carl Eve; Woodward and Bernstein on the Bush era and ‘moving on’ with Obama.

In my experience, trying to move on just encourages some people to further take the piss, but I guess we’ll see.

Finally, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Ian Hislop owes me a lunch.

Posted in Anne Milton, George W. Bush, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments

And here’s another tune by John Williams

Posted in Barack Obama, George W. Bush | 2 Comments

Out with Teh Bush, in with Teh Obama

Today (thanks to some great work done by Sim-O), most of the action will be over at The Sun: Tabloid Lies as we finally delve into The Echo Chamber

(dramatic sting)
(evil laugh)

However, I do have a special treat for long-time readers of Bloggerheads and/or veterans of The Battle of Bush

Today, I’ll be publishing a series of ‘shops that bid farewell to Bush and tell the world what I expect of Barack Obama.

Like Amnesty, I do not expect moonbeams, unicorns and free lollipops.

I do, however, expect better than this:

The hero of 911 does his best not to scare the children

Link to initial B3ta post appears below. A list will grow as the day progresses, and it will all end with a little party in our living room at 5pm GMT (with cake and ice-cream and balloons and streamers).

What I expect of Barack Obama #1
What I expect of Barack Obama #2
What I expect of Barack Obama #3
What I expect of Barack Obama #4
What I expect of Barack Obama #5
What I expect of Barack Obama #6
What I expect of Barack Obama #7
What I expect of Barack Obama #8

Posted in Barack Obama, Photoshopping, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | Comments Off

MPs and expenses

You may have slightly better prospects up or down your way, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that writing my MP about this issue will be a waste of time. I’m pretty sure her mind is already made up, if it hasn’t been made up for her already by her Tory bosses.

Do you know how long it took her to produce the results of the pricey little survey* described in this post?

Six. Months.

Anne Milton has so far only paid lip service to transparency.

That, and my experience with the woman has taught me that she’s not above a little fraud.

(*Follow-up post is on the way; the one-page document only just arrived.)

UPDATE (21 Jan) – Tom Steinberg brings us the exciting news that the vote on concealing MPs’ expenses has been cancelled by the government.

But now Anne Milton has been robbed of an opportunity to prove me wrong.


Posted in Anne Milton | 2 Comments


Two videos for you from The Daily Show (on the last 8 days) and Olbermann (on the last 8 years).

Plus, a Wikipedia page to watch: List of people pardoned by George W. Bush (it currently reads “In contrast to some of his predecessors, President Bush has been one of the most cautious presidents in modern U.S. history when granting pardons or commutations” but that could change).

UPDATE (9pm) – Some people predicted some audacious/high-profile pardons from Bush at the 11th hour. I was one of them. But so far, Bush has only issued two relatively low-key pardons and The Guardian reports that; “Bush advisers cautioned no more would be coming”.

There are still 20 hours to go, though…

Posted in George W. Bush | Comments Off

The British are coming

Hello all.

A little landmark in British political blogging has just whooshed by, and I thought I might share the lesson in a way that outsiders can enjoy. (This includes our American cousins, but none of those filthy Canadanians, for reasons that will be explained at a later date.)

One of the main books you should read if you’re planning a venture into viral or community marketing is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

In it, Gladwell shares his theories on The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (and you can read an extract/review of the relevant chapter here).

Recognising that this is less an historical lesson and more a useful allegory, the way Gladwell tells it, on the eve of the American Revolutionary War, two men set out from Boston and took the “Midnight Ride” on which this famous poem is based; Paul Revere and a man named William Dawes.

British soldiers were on the move, arrests were about to be made and weapons seized; Revere and Dawes set out to warn their allies and raise a militia to chew some bubblegum and kick (our) ass.

Paul Revere was, according to Gladwell, better able to do this because he was intimate with many of the towns and settlements on his chosen route;

[Revere] was gregarious and intensely social. He was a fisherman and a hunter, a cardplayer and a theatre-lover, a frequenter of pubs and a successful businessman. He was active in the local Masonic Lodge and was a member of several select social clubs. He was also a doer, a man blessed — as David Hackett Fischer recounts in his brilliant book Paul Revere’s Ride — with “an uncanny genius for being at the center of events.”

Revere’s ability to know which door(s) to knock on and prompt immediate action resulted not only in success immediate to his own efforts, but also the dispatch of dozens of other well-connected riders with the same mission.

Dawes, by comparison, struggled at most if not all towns. The following totally imagined response to a late-night knock on the door might help to explain his predicament:

“Who are you and why should I trust you? Is this a trap? And how do you expect to raise a militia by waking the local seamstress?”

So Revere, having all the connections (and a better posthumous publicist), enjoyed greater success and most of Teh Glory, mainly because he was able to connect with those who could best help him to spread the message and prompt individual action.

Meanwhile, Dawes struggled, because he was not as well-connected as Revere; he was just Some Guy waking people up in the middle of the night.

So if you’ll pardon me for taking liberties (sorry), I’m going to add a further character to the mix; Derek Draper.

(Derek Draper has been in all the papers lately telling everyone that he’s preparing to mobilise a grassroots Labour network. Just in case you missed it.)

Draper arrives on the scene, like Dawes, with little knowledge of the key people he can and cannot rely on along his chosen route… but he has cleverly taken the added precaution of telling *everyone* to go fuck themselves:

“i am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers.” – Derek Draper (reported here)


“Boy, the British blogosphere! What an introduction I have had. Never have I experienced such a self-important, self-regarding, self-obsessed group in my life. No wonder the British Blogosphere is such a tiny, tiny, tiny ghetto. Don’t any of you realise that I don’t care what you think? Why would I? Why should I?” – Derek Draper (made here and fisked here)

Here endeth the lesson and all that.

[Psst! I’ve found what appears to be a quick master class in the art of projection… Justin McKeating referred to Derek Draper’s project as a “propaganda ghetto” not once but twice at roughly the same time as Draper’s “60 million people” outburst. It looks like it was only after this that Draper started throwing the word ‘ghetto’ around to describe every British blog except his, but do correct me if I’m wrong.]

UPDATE (2pm) – Gaze in wonder at what LabourList have just released on their YouTube channel. As with previous efforts, there’s zero indication of who made the track or the animation (though this smells stinks like another internal production, much like an earlier effort that was passed off as an external submission). Also note that Paul Staines (‘Guido’) rates a mention at 1:09, because every sensible (albeit high-pitched and off-key) debate about money should elevate the status of a bankrupt liar to worthy opponent.

Derek Draper really needs help on the video/animation front especially… but I don’t think he’ll be getting it from any of the towns and settlements that I frequent.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

Gaza: party bags and cake for afters!

And so this tragedy draws to a neat sudden close just as the stars converge on Hollywood Washington.

Gets you right *there*, don’t it?

(Psst! Look out for the bit at the end where their batteriesssh runnn dowwwwwn….)

Two items of interest from Craig Murray. I wonder if a personal ‘ethical shopping’ scanner (like those Sainsbury’s handheld ‘mark of the beast’ dealies) would be legal in the U.S.? If they included all countries, not just one.

UPDATE – Meanwhile, here’s something a little more serious than a made-up story about missing W keys.

UPDATE – More on the ceasefire, plus a links round-up, from Septicisle. Oh, and here’s a picture that has nothing at all to do with Israel.

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