Four more years

The Age – McCain goes for jugular, but misses

(The jugular? What an amateur. The pros go for a carotid artery and let the heart do the rest of the work.)

Getting away from this picture (heh) and back to the substance (almost*); during the debate itself, and even for almost a day afterwards, bloggers and other users of Teh Internets knew more about the reality behind the invention ‘Joe’ the ‘plumber’ than those relying on Old Media. Why? Here’s a clue.

(*’Joe’ the ‘plumber’ was mentioned dozens of times during the debate… while Iraq was mentioned once.)
(h/t #1) (h/t #2)

Posted in US Presidential Election 2008 | 3 Comments

Total Politics magazine is not answerable to the Press Complaints Commission!

[Note – Yes, I still have what ‘blog poll’ data I could gather at the time saved, and I plan to crunch it when I have the time. Of course, Iain Dale himself could sort the whole matter out in maybe two minutes with some simple referral stats for his polling page(s) for the month of the poll, but that’s not going to happen, is it? I would also like it noted for the record that Iain Dale has clear views on the need for outside auditing. For others. Not for himself. Iain is far too perfect for that. Now let’s crack on…]

Total PoliticsThe Publisher

Following some childish shenanigans where Iain Dale used his ‘professional’ magazine to settle a personal score (more), I made several futile attempts to contact that publisher via email.

Instead of responding to that email, Iain thought it would be fun to play a little game…

Because the whole fuss began with Iain failing to receive an email (or merely claiming that he had failed to receive it) I went looking for acknowledgement of receipt of a relevant email that was directed and addressed to him as Publisher of Total Politics. Iain then replied via personal email only to confirm receipt of almost every email bar the one that counted. Repeated and quite explicit requests to confirm receipt of the original email led only to confirmation of receipt of the emails requesting confirmation. And so on and so forth.

Cute. And a pretty good indication of bad faith, I would venture.

The Editor

When I tried to contact Total Politics Editor Sarah MacKinlay through the contact details provided on their website, I was at first ignored, and then blindsided during a polite phone call with some bizarre histrionics (I was accused of being “aggressive” and not going through ‘formal’ channels, then cut off).

So much for discussing the matter sensibly with the Editor.

The only senior contact option left to me at Total Politics was…

The Executive Editor

Shane Greer is the Executive Editor of Total Politics. During a particularly unpleasant exchange with Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines this year when every right-wing blogger and his dog was having a go at me, Greer chose to ignore the central issue and take sides in a very personal way by declaring me to be “obviously unbalanced”, grouping me with a convicted stalker, and refusing/deleting any meaningful response to this.

I did not see any point in attempting to contact Shane Greer about this matter, and I’m sure any reasonable person can understand why.

The PCC (Press Complaints Commission)

So… raising my hands and admitting (*gasp*) that there might even be fault on both sides here, what we’re left with is two parties in dispute, communications in a state of total breakdown from the off, and a need for mediation.

And in the UK magazine industry, that is normally where the Press Complaints Commission comes into the picture.

Or not.

Because I found out while making my initial enquiries that the political magazine Total Politics is not answerable to the Press Complaints Commission!

In fact the PCC had never even heard of the magazine until I called them. At all.

I don’t need a long paragraph here explaining that politics is a particularly sensitive, volatile, and high stakes media field, do I?

No? Good. Let’s move on, then…

Here is the later confirmation of this disgraceful state of affairs from the PCC:

I can confirm that the current position is that Total Politics does not formally subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC.

Over 98% of titles do subscribe to the PCC and the Code. We also handle complaints informally against titles that do not subscribe.

But, really, what’s the point when Iain Dale has already placed his magazine outside of its influence and refused to conform to a standard of quality and responsibility accepted by 98% of magazines?

Oh, do excuse me; I just assumed bad faith. Perhaps Iain Dale has merely overlooked this ‘minor’ matter… for about six months.

Perhaps this is something I should discuss with the editorial board dedicated to “keeping Total Politics on track”… but not before offering Iain Dale something he refuses me on his website and now, apparently, in his magazine; a right of reply.

Over to you, Iain.


[Psst! This follows Iain Dale playing a major role in a political television station not subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code and his repeated refusal to address or correct minor ‘errors’ (like this push for an apology from Sunny Hundal) on his ‘blog’. A pattern emerges, and it doesn’t take a genius to spot it; Iain Dale is a man who seeks power without accountability. He’s also a man who’s willing to be the sole counter and auditor of votes in a political poll where he himself is in the running but, as I’ve said; that’s for another time.]

UPDATE (11am 17 Oct) – Iain Dale actually confirmed receipt for the relevant email this time around (in a personal not professional capacity, I noticed), but he has not responded beyond this, or issued any statement about his failure/refusal to subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC. You would think this would be an issue for the publisher of a political magazine, but it appears not. I have just emailed all of the members of the Total Politics editorial board that I could find contact details for. Perhaps this will lead to progress. Let’s see.

Oh, and Sim-O notes here that Iain Dale’s policy on his magazine appears to be the same as that for his blog; if he publishes something about you that you’re unhappy with, he’ll kindly think about changing it, but if he refuses, you’re welcome to… erm… walk away and leave him to it. Oh well. At least that beats being called a “bitch” and told to “piss off”.

Posted in Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 2 Comments

Don’t mind me… I’m just keeping death anxiety at bay.

Death and why you may have difficulty imagining the experience that follows it.

No, asking a zombie doesn’t count; they haven’t been to the void, emptiness, oblivion *or* the sweet trolley. The best they can imagine is a dull tearing sensation as your shovel separates their head from their neck. Or perhaps some form of zombie heaven for afters, where you get your pick of brains.

Incidentally, I’ve just recently:

a) read and enjoyed Marvel Zombies , quite possibly the most awesome story arc in the history of Marvel comics

b) watched and enjoyed Fido, a heartwarming movie about a boy and his zombie…

(Essentially, it’s Pleasantville meets Night of the Living Dead with a dash of corporate monsterism a’la Robocop, plus deliciously muted amusements from Billy Connolly. If you are now thinking of seeing Fido, go and do. If not, I ask you to at least give the opening 3 minutes a chance.)

Posted in Inneresting | Comments Off on Don’t mind me… I’m just keeping death anxiety at bay.

Policy Exchange runs London

Nice to see Iain Dale being so open about the influence of Policy Exchange for a change; most days he’s busy denying their influence.

On one notable occasion when Iain Dale was a Trustee of Policy Exchange and denying their influence, I tripped over Nick Boles.

Nick Boles was at the time the Director of Policy Exchange (which is, for those who don’t know, a large right-wing think tank with charity status) and also wanted to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

In fact, he wanted this so much that he was willing to use Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a personal website with that party-political aim (more), which is a bit naughty and just the kind of concept that friends of Iain Dale struggle to understand.

So…. the Founder Director of Policy Exchange wants to be Mayor of London, and now (*gasp*) he works for the Mayor of London, along with a whole lot of other people from Policy Exchange who now work for the Mayor of London as advisers* and what have you.

(*Perhaps one of the i-dotting or t-crossing bloggers would care to make a full job list for the record.)

It has not escaped notice that Boris Johnson has been on a leash, pretty much since he was convinced to become a candidate.

That leash is held by Policy Exchange people, and I’ve been watching it get tighter.

I’m sorry if I seem to sell Boris short on this, but no matter how much he might think he is in control, when the bulk of his data and advice comes from Policy Exchange drones, the fix is in from the very beginning.

The initial rush of Policy Exchange people into staffed positions from the moment of his election should have been signal klaxon enough for me, but it wasn’t until Boris innocently enquired about my “disagreement” with Anne Milton that I began to get truly worried.

(That matter involved a website produced by her activists that made groundless claims of paedophilia and stopped about a micron short of inciting violence. Boris, who knew this, was treating it like a disagreement over a croquet shot. You know those letters you write and then throw away before they get near a stamp or your outbox? I’ve got one of those. It’s a one-word letter to Boris that I didn’t send a few months ago. It reads; “Disagreement?!”)

And now Boris is showering former Policy Exchange trustee Iain Dale with – let’s be frank, here – a quite absurd level of purposeful praise… well, let’s just say that there’s very little room for doubt any more.

Boris is at the moment so far gone that he may as well be living in a foreign land, and in a way he is.

The Policy Exchange gang wishes to control Boris Johnson, right down to what he says and who he says it to, and so far they’ve quite successful

I look forward to them popping up and denying it… when they’re not quite so busy congratulating themselves over it.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments


Justin has featured the trailer for Oliver Stone’s biopic, and over at Pickled Politics, noises are being made about the fine choice of soundtrack…

… but me, I’m reminded of this for some strange reason:

Posted in George W. Bush | Comments Off on W

John Cleese on the parrot-like skills of Sarah Palin

John Cleese on Sarah Palin

No dead parrot jokes, please. Too easy.

Posted in US Presidential Election 2008 | 1 Comment

Paul Staines: victim of the demon drink deletes two links but leaves the ‘chinks’


Paul ‘Fangio’ Staines emerged from the weekend with booze on his breath and egg on his face after posting a poor item in poor taste, deleting it, and then compounding the error by defending himself anonymously. When commenting under his main ‘Guido Fawkes’ ID (i.e. when not pretending to be somebody else speaking for him), Paul also promised that the item would return “later as a longer piece”. (more)

We’re still waiting.

(taps foot)

The deleted post used to be here:


Then, after weeks of groundlessly accusing Derek Draper of attempting to manipulate the blogosphere via anonymous comments (more), both Dale and Staines happily allowed themselves to be spoon-fed this series of ‘boom and bust’ quotes via… erm, someone attempting to manipulate the blogosphere via anonymous comments.

Shortly after this, Staines published a post that appeared to suggest that an embarrassed government had ‘disappeared’ the information in question and cast it into the memory hole. Because they’re fascists that can’t be trusted, obviously.

But Paul Staines can be trusted. Because when he found out that he got his wires crossed somewhere, he… erm… ‘disappeared’ the information and cast it into the memory hole.

Perhaps we can look forward to its return… “later as a longer piece”.


The deleted post used to be here:

3. Still, some good came of it all. I was so inspired by the ‘list of quotes’ technique used by their mysterious comment contributor that I decided to have a got at it myself this lunchtime with the help of a selective search in Google.

I recently blogged about Staines’ use of the word ‘chinky’, and a defence put forward by a semi-anonymous comment contributor here made it necessary, believe it or not, to point out that Staines also happily published the word ‘chink’. And not for the first time.

Here, for the doubters, is proof that the man is perfectly happy with the use of this word on his website as an ethnic slur; a list of uses of the word ‘chink’ under comments that Staines has allowed on his site this year…

Saturday, March 15, 2008: “We don’t criticise the chink dictatorship here…”

Tuesday, March 25, 2008: “some visiting gang of ancient, chink communist fellow torturers…”, “anti-Chink protest…” and “So I was allowed a visa to visit places that the smell of deadly pollution alone would make you want to throw-up your breakfast. Problem is some of the poor Chinks are so desperately poor, you worry they might eat it. NO JOKE.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2007: “If your [sic] thinking of battling the establishment media take heed of that Sun Tzu guy. The Chink who wrote ‘The Art of War’.”

Sunday, April 6, 2008: “chink body guards yellow runners and a black outer rim followed by how many riot vans?”

Monday, April 7, 2008: “Chink thugs”, “Chink Clink”, “We should thank the Chinks for helping us out with our problem…” and “…Rudd was effectively telling the Chinks to fuck right off.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008: “…the sight of the prime minister of the United Kingdom kow-towing to chink thugs in his own Downing Street frontyard…”

Thursday, June 19, 2008: “Just look at Jock Newsnight interviews, any responsible, sensible job is done by an English person, a Pole, or a Chink. Jock is like the native Fijian. Idle whining bastard, anyone can do the work as long as its not him, good for fuck all. Just like you. Jock, England’s burden.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008: “Who gives a fuck if some c**t can run quicker than a Chink or a Yank.”

(Psst! Do keep in mind as you read all of this that it is very easy to lose control of a mob once you get one started.)

I have no doubt that Paul can somehow find a way to spin any or all this to his advantage; he excels at this craft that he claims to despise.


Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on Paul Staines: victim of the demon drink deletes two links but leaves the ‘chinks’

McCain and Palin lose control of the mob

Guardian – Desperate McCain gives beat to the dark heart of conservatism: It built up over the course of the week, as supporters at the rallies of John McCain and Sarah Palin started randomly screaming “terrorist!” and “off with his head!” and “treason!” and even “kill him!” at the mention of Barack Obama’s name…

AP – Angry anti-Obama taunts grip McCain, Palin events: Some of the anger is getting raw at Republican rallies and John McCain is mostly letting it flare… When a visibly angry McCain supporter in Waukesha, Wis., on Thursday told the candidate “I’m really mad” because of “socialists taking over the country,” McCain stoked the sentiment.

McCain And Palin Incite Mob Mentality

“What could very well be the sleaziest 4 days in modern political history” – Keith Olbermann

And then suddenly – in a manner that surprised at least one person – inflaming hatred led to a mob as dangerous and as unpredictable as fire:

CBS News – McCain Booed For Telling Audience To Be Respectful of Obama: In stark contrast to his last town hall meeting yesterday, John McCain dramatically toned down his attacks on Barack Obama, even after many in the audience were asking him to go on the offensive. McCain was even booed when he told the audience to be respectful and that “you don’t have to be scared” of Obama

The most unsettling aspect of this is that it wasn’t just online activists and mainstream media that prompted the gentle tap on the brakes that was so poorly received in Minnesota, but the intervention of the secret service!

That’s a campaign out of control, right there; I don’t care which side you’re on.

(Erm… unless you’re so far to the right that you think that the reporting of these comments to the secret service is part of a conspiracy involving the Democrats, the media and “…the liberal elite (who) want you to believe this race is over,” in which case you may as well stay right where you are. In your box.)

OK, so now I think would be a good time for Sarah Palin to ignore any wishy-washy objections from McCain or his people, and start sending ‘the right signals’ to the End Timers in her electoral base.

Just so we can get *them* revved up and feeling so downright biblical that little things like the law no longer seem to matter.

After all, what harm could it do?

UPDATE (15 Oct) – Great work from The Daily Show, as usual.

Posted in Christ..., US Presidential Election 2008 | 2 Comments

Happy Posters: SOAS Student Union Common Room / Bar, London WC1H

Infiltration was relatively straightforward, and there’s no need to burden you with details.

Upstairs and down; every speck of spare wall space is a noticeboard in the Student Union Common Room / Bar at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), but I tried not to overdo it; that would make other people wishing to use some of this space unhappy.

I’m using Flickr for the first time in a long time, and you can see the SOAS photos starting here.

Next: Posters in the workplace, I guess. I already have one picture on file. Would you care to add one? Put a poster up at work and send it in!

Posted in Photoshopping, Teh Interwebs | Comments Off on Happy Posters: SOAS Student Union Common Room / Bar, London WC1H

’42 days’ is dead

There’s no coming back from this.

42 days has been chucked out by the Lords for being, in the words of Baroness Mallalieu; “dangerous, wrong and completely and wholly unnecessary in practice”

Brown doesn’t have the time or support required to push back, so it’s over.


There may still be an entertaining hissy-fit from Rebekah Wade and she may even drag the Page 3 girl into it.

UPDATE – BBC – Ministers drop 42-day detention: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said that plans to extend terror detention to 42 days will be dropped from the Counter-Terrorism Bill. It follows a heavy defeat for the government in the House of Lords, which threw out the plan by 309 votes to 118. Ms Smith said instead the measure would be in a separate piece of legislation to be brought to Parliament if needed.

UPDATE – Dave Cross reports on the predicted (if somewhat muted) hissy fit.

Posted in The War on Stupid | 1 Comment