Hooray.

Iain Dale has introduced compulsory comment registration on his weblog.

It’s on a trial basis, he’s pledged to give it more of a chance than he did last time, he clearly recognises the way in which the all-comers system was open to abuse, and his stated aim is to make his comment threads “more welcoming and less intimidating.”

So hooray.

This measure will, at the very least, make it more difficult for users of sock-puppets (multiple/false identities) to switch between identities. It will also reduce the number of instances where regular users slip behind a new identity or anonymity in order to deliver a swift sucker punch here or there.

I am now much happier with Iain Dale positioning himself as an ambassador for political weblogs, as I can confidently state this issue to be 90% of my problem with that (and with him personally); I did not want MPs and Councillors watching the way Iain used to conduct himself and using that as a model. Take, for example, what Nadine Dorries regards to be acceptable on her not-a-blog.

Also, in a different but equally welcome step toward accountability, Iain Dale’s magazine Total Politics is now signed up to the PCC Code of Conduct.

That’s another ‘hooray’, right there.

I will continue to treat the issue of the use and abuse of anonymous comments and multiple/false identities as a priority, which will rate equally with developing print-watch projects.

Happily, these two issues will overlap from time to time, saving me a great deal of time.

And on that note:

Adam Bienkov – What’s wrong with Andrew Gilligan?

So far, the only defence of Gilligan has been in the form of a time-wasting troll, and the only person likely to defend the alleged actions (an unapologetic user of multiple/false identities) has turned up, but wasted their time attacking Gilligan’s accusers.

Tellingly, evasive comments and attacks on his accusers are all Gilligan himself has had to offer; there’s been no denial beyond his vague claim that one single identity suspected to be under his control is an account held by his ‘partner’.

There hasn’t been a single comment credibly calling the evidence into question or defending the alleged actions. Also, news has emerged of past evidence of sock-puppetry.

Speaking softly hasn’t produced any results; I think the time has finally come for me to start hitting Andrew Gilligan with a stick.

Related bloggage:
Tom Watson – Being Andrew Gilligan
Matt Buck – Being Andrew Gilligan – or not
Liberal Conspiracy – Andrew Gilligan is becoming a laughing stock
Justin McKeating – Andrew Gilligan: sockpuppet and sockpuppeting
Boris Watch – That’s Enough, Gilligan
Five Chinese Crackers – A lesson in how tabloid journalism works from Andrew Gilligan








Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement | 12 Comments

Awwww… poor George

I meant to blog this on Friday, but that silly Mr Gilligan got in the way.

Here’s a clear indication (if you need it) of Bush’s legacy. Do any of these world leaders see any need to play nice now that he’s not only on the way out, but also widely disgraced and discredited?

CNN: World Leaders Won’t Shake George Bush’s Hand

More here, at Huffington.

(Psst! If you start to feel sorry for him as this reminds you of the last guy getting picked for the team at school, remind yourself why this might be the case, and I’m sure you’ll recover.)








Posted in George W. Bush | Comments Off

All (suitable) hands on deck, please

1. Do you already have a CiF/Guardian account*?
2. Do you think the use of sock-puppetry is pathetic, dishonest and/or damaging?

Then please, if you have a moment, read this article and then check in under comments to let Andrew Gilligan know that it’s not just “anti-Boris forces” wanting an answer to this question:

Do you deny leaving comments underneath your own articles and articles about you, whilst pretending to be a third person?

You know I don’t do this kind of call-out often, so take the time and chip in if you can, please.

Ta.

(*I ask because newcomers arriving within a conversation like this run the risk of being dismissed as a sock-puppet by a total soft-cock who is trying to divert attention away from his own sock-puppetry.)

UPDATE – Oops… I swore! I am losing my patience. Please forgive the lapse, and try not to swear in the CiF thread; swear-words are a gift to people who wish to portray a serious allegation as mindless abuse.








Posted in Old Media | 4 Comments

Let us give thanks for Sarah Palin…

… the gift that keeps on giving:

(Psst! You may wish to move on to the next item if you’re vegetarian or in any way sensitive about the origin of your Thanksgiving/Christmas/Winterval turkey.)

Palin Enjoys The Levity Of A Turkey Slaughter (via)

Raw Story – Palin pardons turkey as bird bleeds out on camera: In 1963, President Kennedy decided to let the White House turkey live instead of making dinner of it. George Bush Sr. was the first president since to pardon a seasonal fowl, in the waning months of 1993, and his son followed suit through his presidency. Now Alaska Governor and failed Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has mimed presidential tradition, but her effort at winged mercy was ‘cut’ short. As she staged an impromptu press conference after pardoning one lucky bird, a worker at the Triple D Farm and Hatchery in Wasilla sliced a turkey’s neck, bled it out and twisted its head off behind the governor, directly in the camera’s line of fire. A reporter asked Palin if she was okay with the backdrop. The Alaskan Governor answered, “no worries.”








Posted in US Presidential Election 2008 | Comments Off

Gilligan begin again

Those keeping up with the Andrew Gilligan sock-puppet saga will want to keep tabs on the discussion thread under this article.








Posted in Old Media | Comments Off

BNP data grab bag

1. In-spired. Take a bow, Chris.

2. And to expand on the point raised in that picture, here’s Justin:

The crowning jewel of the story is that the BNP, who only this month called the Human Rights Act ‘surely one of the most pernicious pieces of legislation ever passed by the mother of Parliaments,’ and reiterated its promise to repeal it when the party – don’t laugh – becomes a ‘British Nationalist government’, have now asked the police to investigate breaches of the Human Rights Act.

3. I’ve highlighted this elsewhere; just a little something extra for those who don’t accept any of the main arguments for not sharing the BNP data. There are some people who will use any excuse to engage in a campaign of ‘data intimidation':

“Redwatch justifies its content as a tit-for-tat reaction to leftist-oriented websites and magazines displaying similar content… However, Redwatch have been unable to provide details of any such websites or magazines. One of their few attempts to justify these claims has been to repeatedly cite a single press release published in August 2001… ” – (source)

4. A picture for you (also posted to b3ta). Adolf clicks ‘send’ instead of ‘save':

5a. The above reminds me of the day Iain Dale accidentally CCed Phil Hendren on our private correspondence instead of BCCing him as he intended to. There’s no telling how often he does this or how long he’s been at it, but every time Iain has a question he’d rather avoid answering, Hendren will turn up to change the subject and/or have a go at me. Dale initially denied the whole BCC thing, BTW. Dale also (privately) denied providing Hendren with my unlisted home number, but he’s a shameless liar and Hendren keeps changing his vague story about where he got it, so I’m still not entirely sure if I’m buying Dale’s denial. And one day I’d like to see him deny it in public. Anyway, I mention all of this because Iain ‘ambulance chaser’ Dale has somehow managed to avoid blogging the biggest political story of the week, and I was looking forward to watching him denounce the use of personal data as a political weapon like he actually meant it.

5b. Top points to Phil Hendren for hiding this pathetic excuse in his post, though; “… if it was just a list of phone numbers (there) would be no means of identifying who the number belonged to from the number alone so it wouldn’t represent ‘personal data'”, apparently. Hendren says this because he likes to explain away his publication of my ex-directory number on his website as a scrap of harmless data blowing in the wind. That excuse may have worked on that P.O.S. ISP he manages servers and customer data for, but the fact is that Hendren threw my phone number in my face and published it on his site with the specific purpose of intimidating me into silence (just because he couldn’t admit that he was wr-wr-wr-wr-wr-wrong). Even if we accept his latest pathetic deceit, I doubt he’d be equally flexible if someone threatened him with a replica pistol.

5c. Paul Staines hasn’t mentioned the BNP data matter, either. Perhaps he’s worried about offending the far-right “window lickers” that populate his comments and eagerly eat up his anti-communist rants and casual racism. After all, one has to keep the traffic numbers up, and a visit is a visitor a visit is a visit. (MessageSpace can’t survive on affiliate links and similar performance-reliant ads alone, so from time to time they need to convince naive, weak-minded and/or desperate marketing bods that their two-bit advertising network can reach zillions of right wing window lickers discerning bloggers from across the political spectrum… mostly on blogs like Staines’ where until yesterday the whole design was held together by stealing bandwidth from Flickr.)

5d. Spy Blog notes how far behind the mainstream media are on this one. Could this perhaps have anything to do with their lazy reliance on the three self-publicising sell-outs listed above? (For example: Scotch noticed that Sky News yesterday heralded the response to PMQs from “all the blogs”, and then listed the reactions from… erm… Staines, Dale and Hendren.)

[/bunch of fives]

6. Alex Hilton, the left-leaning village gossip who happily chums it up with twats like Staines and Dale in return for scraps, turns out to be a bit of a twat himself. Who knew? Here he is attempting to goad MySociety folk into doing what he regards to be an obvious public service (via), and here is an admirably measured reply from a chap who has just essentially been called a coward because he won’t immediately rush to fill Hilton’s enormous skills gap:

“Alex – the moment you sacrifice the values and compromises that hold together liberal democracies (such as a presumption of innocence and a
right to privacy for people who’ve not actually been convicted of crimes) for the sake of humiliating your political opponents, you’re starting on a path far more likely to result in ruination for us all than a bunch of marginal wing nuts.” – Tom Steinberg

7. It’s just been brought up under comments on an earlier post that someone on the list who claims not to be a member has speculated that it is a marketing database and not a membership database which “might make it more problematic both for the BNP in terms of data protection and for those on the list,” but there’s also been some noise about names being added/removed from the list by those who released it. It’s a ‘wait and see’ on that one, I think.

8. I can mention this now that this version of the list has been removed from Google’s servers; Clive noticed that the Daily Fail blurred a name and address in their screen capture of the site that listed the BNP data, but left the URL of the site intact!!! Oh, *please* let the BNP sue the Daily Mail…..

UPDATE – Hahahahaha! The Daily Fail actually manage to be funny. Accidentally, of course.

UPDATE (21 Nov) – And now we have this inevitable yet precious jewel, also from Chris. The sequence starting 0:53 is bloody glorious, and I experienced a genuine ‘office LOL’ at the 3 minute mark. In fact, at times, it’s almost as if aaaalllll those ‘Downfall’ edits have been leading up to this moment. Enjoy:

(Oh, and when you’re done, do take the time to check out this little update from Bartholomew on the subject of right reverends.)








Posted in Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

The many puppets (or ‘partners’) of Andrew Gilligan

The Tory Troll brings us more on Andrew Gilligan the spontaneous outbreaks of text commonality that occur around him.

Here’s the question that Andrew Gilligan refuses to answer:

Do you deny leaving comments underneath your own articles and articles about you, whilst pretending to be a third person?

Instead, Gilligan appears to be operating from the Iain Dale playbook:

a) rubbish your accusers while neatly sidestepping the main accusation(s)

b) if there’s a minor accusation that you can refute, refute it *vehemently* (if you do this loudly enough, most people will mistake it for a response to the primary accusation and move on)

c) if they’re not satisfied with this response and pursue the matter further, scream “Stalker!”

It’s a c**t’s game and I grow thoroughly sick of it.








Posted in Old Media | 3 Comments

Specialist Speakers: can you trust their claims?

Specialist Speakers bill themselves as providers of “business, conference and celebrity speakers for all events” and claim their “enviable reputation” is due in part to a “vision of honesty and transparency” and a commitment to “high standards and ethics”.

They also make the following claim on the front page of their main website:

“Specialist Speakers will never fail you.” – (source)

Their main site is at specialistspeakers.com, but in an endearingly inept attempt at search engine optimisation, they’ve started an external half-a-blog at specialistspeakers.blogspot.com and filled it with carefully-keyworded bios of some of the speakers they represent.

One of the speakers they represent is Iain Dale.

Iain Dale likes to pose as an authority on the subject of blogging in some quarters, but when people note his total ignorance/rejection of almost every aspect of it (with the notable exception of the art of self-promotion) he will say that he never claimed to be an ‘expert’.

(What Iain does cannot be fairly described as blogging, but is instead a reworked form of broadcasting; no genuine, self-respecting blogger would refuse, censor and manipulate comments in the way that Iain does. Also, Iain has no technical expertise; even when using a beginner-friendly format such as Blogger.com – a format that Dale has yet to grow out of – Dale struggles to find/use even the simplest of functions.)

When confronted about this apparent contradiction, Iain Dale had the following to say:

“I do not portray myself as an expert on blogging. If others think I know a lot about it and invite me to speak to them, it’s hardly a crime is it.” (source)

(Incidentally, Specialist Speakers list Iain Dale as a speaker in the categories on ‘Blogging’ and ‘Politics’, but that’s hardly a crime is it? Well, I would argue that it might well be if money changes hands, but the last time that subject came up, Dale dealt with the problem by banning me from making comments on his blog ‘forever’. He has not spoken of it since.)

Iain Dale also likes to claim that he has close to half a million readers a month, when the only semi-verifiable figure he can produce to support this is far, far lower than this.

(This is an old, old trick of Iain’s; he will gain a larger audience by claiming to have an enormous audience.)

So I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that Iain Dale’s ‘Specialist Speakers’ bio makes the following claim:

“Iain is Britain’s best recognised and leading political blogger with more than 300,000 regular readers a month” (source)

Now, it may seem like a single insignificant claim to some, but I happen to know that it’s one of Iain Dale’s favourite lies that just happens to appear in articles about him, even though he was called on it a long time ago.

So I called Specialist Speakers on the telling phone and I talked to Daniel Rix, owner and Managing Director of Specialist Speakers (listed here at LinkedIn and here on Iain Dale’s contact page).

After I introduced myself, I asked where this claim of 300,000 readers a month had come from. Daniel replied “most probably from Iain” (on the basis that his clients submit their own bios) and offered to find out and get back to me.

To make sure we were on the same page, I made it very clear who I was, why I was raising the matter, and that Iain Dale and I had a long-standing dispute that focused in part on his repeated false claims about everything from traffic figures to expertise.

I made it ab-so-lute-ly clear to Daniel Rix that the traffic claim was highly questionable and that I had proof that Iain had misrepresented/inflated his traffic figures in the past.

Nevertheless, Daniel recognised that all I wanted to know was where the claim had come from, and repeated his promise to get back to me with an answer to my question.

I asked for Daniel to get back to me by email instead of phone and sent him a follow-up email immediately afterwards, with the link to the errant data, my question about where it came from, and my contact details.

That was almost a month ago (27 October)… and despite two further follow-ups, that was the last I heard from Daniel.

Here I should explain Iain Dale’s policy for dealing with my attempts to call him to account for one lie or/after another; Iain will ‘ignore’ me… while calling me a stalker behind my back and publishing insults and false claims about me on his weblog (sometimes under his own name).

So when someone earnestly promises to get back to me and then suddenly decides to ignore my every email, I smell Dale’s stinky fingers at work.

Of course, I could be wrong about that, but just in case any further reminders via email were (yet again) dishonestly portrayed by Dale as the work of a stalker, I’ve decided to publicly remind Daniel Rix of his promise.

And so, here we are:

1. Iain Dale appears to be continuing his lies about the size of his readership. It’s a f**king con, and it’s not f**king on.

2. Currently, a bio promoting the services of Specialist Speakers (and Iain Dale as a speaker) contains at least one false claim. Daniel Rix, MD of Specialist Speakers, has failed to fulfil his promise to tell me where the false claim came from, and has not corrected the errant entry.

Perhaps (now) Daniel Rix will finally have something to say about that.

Over to you, Daniel.

Oh, and remember, folks:

“Specialist Speakers will never fail you.” – (source)

(waits)

[Psst! On 24 Oct (more) and 27 Oct, an account in the name of Jeremy Jacobs was used to add a link to specialistspeakers.com to Iain Dale’s Wikipedia page. That link was removed by another editor, twice, and classified as ‘linkspam’ (more). On 30 Oct, an SPA (single-purpose account) was used to again add a link to specialistspeakers.com, and again this link was removed and classified as ‘linkspam’. On 02 Nov Iain Dale himself appeared and, ignoring the previous objections of an experienced editor again added a link to specialistspeakers.com, and refused to engage in any discussion about the link. (Can you detect the subtle pattern in Iain’s general tactics here?) These repeated attempts to spam Wikipedia would appear to be part of what I describe above as “an endearingly inept attempt at organic search engine optimisation”… so on top of everything else, Specialist Speakers look to be involved in search engine spamming. Nice.]

UPDATE – As I was writing this, Iain Dale kindly offered expertise he doesn’t have to every MP in the land.

UPDATE (21 Nov) – I have my answer; the short version is that the data came from one of Iain’s bios that pre-dated Spinal Stats. The longer version will be with you shortly.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

BNP membership list leaked and published online

Register – BNP membership list leaks online: The British National Party has lost its membership list – the whole thing has been published online. The list includes names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of all members up to September 2008.

Lancaster Unity – Entire BNP membership list goes online: As if this isn’t bad enough, the notes that are attached to many of the entries leave a lot of the members open to difficulties in their jobs, some of them being in the armed forces or the police and the BNP too – an illegal combination, and where not illegal, frequently frowned upon. Other members are noted as construction managers, receptionists, district nurses, lay preachers, police officers, company directors and teachers among many others. Like this wasn’t enough, the BNP has also listed hobbies or interests where for some reason they are deemed relevant. Thus we have short-wave radio hams, amateur historians, pagans, line-dancers and even a witch (male).

Of course I know where to find the full list, but I can’t and shan’t be sharing it with you.

(Oh Dog of private data, why do you mock me so?)

Interestingly, the only person I know who claims to be a BNP member… isn’t actually a fully paid-up member.

I’m appalled.

UPDATE – Tampon Teabag – BNP RIP: Publishing the personal details of your political opponents for the convenience any passing psycho is a Red Watch tactic, and utterly irresponsible and contemptible.

Oh, *well* said.

[Did you catch that bit, Phil? How about you, Iain? You refused to publicly condemn Phil Hendren’s actions, *and* the actions of the Guildford Tories who actually sought to bring their target to the attention of Red Watch’s ‘nonce-watch’ army at one stage.]

UPDATE – For those who feel conflicted and would appreciate some low-fat guilt-free schadenfreude, I offer this:

BNP – Labour: 5000 families at risk of being attacked (7 Sep) : Once again, the Labour government is putting peoples’ lives at risk with its obvious incompetence to manage confidential data.








Posted in Teh Interwebs | 18 Comments

Introducing the KFC ‘gourmet’ Panini

KFCI had one of those odd karmic moments this morning; it occurred to me for the nth time that in these glorious days of lost laptops and missing memory sticks, many items are left/discovered on trains, and perhaps when travelling to London on Waterloo-terminating trains, I shouldn’t be making a beeline straight for the Underground, but instead taking the time to have a quick stroll through the train, just to see if there’s anything interesting that’s been left behind.

After all, a habit* I picked up from my nightclub days has me seeing (and keeping!) more spare change than all of my kids combined; why not extend this into keeping a sharp eye out for lost and abandoned data on terminating trains?

[*Nightclubs are busy and dark, people are usually drunk, and they drop money everywhere. I don’t walk everywhere with my head down, but I do generally scan the area 5-6 steps ahead of me, and over time I’m become aware of typical ‘hot zones’ where people are more likely to shed cash. And I hate to brag, but the abilities I’ve inherited from my hunting and gathering ancestors include something approaching super-vision. Browsing through a mostly empty 10-12 carriage train should be a doddle, and I expect to meet the clean-up crew moving in the opposite direction about halfway through the job most days anyway.]

So this morning I tried it with a test scan through maybe half a dozen carriages and walked away with…. a free copy of The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Scum and The Times.

Oh well.

So, off to the Underground I went, a little disheartened and doubtful about my plan, until I saw what some twit had thrown on the litter pile at the top of the escalators; comprehensive (and current) product marketing documents for Yum!-owned fast food chain KFC (aka Kentucky Fried Chicken).

Hardly top-secret government data proving that David Icke was right about the Windsor Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Xikfagorrrr family being shape-shifting lizards after all, but the documents do contain the roll-out and marketing plans for several recent and current products/campaigns, including details such as sales forecasts, profit margins and marketing coverage.

(It probably won’t surprise you that KFC bases most of its TV expenditure on the ‘lifeboat’ principle; women and children first! Instead of wasting their breath on primitive ‘pester power’, children are now expected to express their ‘concern’ about poor old Mum and all that cooking and washing up she’s normally expected to do. The perfect solution is, of course, the Big Night In bucket of chicken. That’s not to say that KFC don’t have plans for the ‘sad loner eating at a trough’ market; the Boneless Banquet for One offers ample comfort to recently-divorced men living in bedsits, and the taste sensation of the Flavour Station offers a far safer type of variety than the one they were seeking when the now-former missus caught on to their ‘working late’ shenanigans.)

Now, before you get too excited, I need to point out that the documents do not contain details of the ‘famously’ ‘secret’ “multi-million dollar recipe” of 11 herbs and spices (which is, according to the book Big Secrets, a mix of “salt, pepper and MSG” and… erm, that’s about it).

But they do provide insight into the following new product, currently being tested in Scotland prior to its national launch in early 2009; KFC Paninis (or, as they are referred to throughout the main document; KFC Panini’s).

[MINI-UPDATE – I have just been informed that ‘panino’ is the name of this type of sandwich, and that and ‘panini’ is the plural of ‘panino'; therefore my mindless repeat of paninis is just as unforgivable as the sin of panini’s. I throw myself at the mercy of the International Court of Pedantry.]

-|-

KFC Paninis: their saucy secrets revealed!

As you can see from this b3ta chatter and this scan of KFC’s marketing material, the KFC Panini is branded as a “luxurious” item (a “gourmet sandwich” with a “classic Italian taste”) and there are two varieties; the Italian Chicken Panini and the Spicy Chicken Panini.

As you might expect from a chain with strict adherence to the formula of 11 herbs and spices salt, pepper and MSG for their chicken, the secret is in the sauce…. and here, exclusively on Bloggerheads, I am going to reveal the strict preparation guidelines for the sauces for both of these gourmet sandwiches:

Italian Chicken Panini

Below is a scan showing the preparation guidelines for the sauce in this “gourmet sandwich” with a “classic Italian taste”:

Secrets of the KFC Italian Panini revealed!

Spicy Chicken Panini

Below is a scan showing the preparation guidelines for the sauce in this “gourmet sandwich” with a “classic Italian taste”:

Secrets of the KFC Spicy Panini revealed!

(There is probably a reason why these details are secret, so don’t tell too many people, please.)








Posted in Consume! | 6 Comments