(*Why September? There be an Arrrrr! in the month.)
Omission of detail #1:
Septicisle on a few matters, including some case detail that the Daily Mail would rather not mention. The front page in question can be seen here.
Omission of detail #2:
Ian_QT fails to note or notice certain details regarding objections to wilful distortion. Helpful details can now be found in comments under that post.
Omission of detail #3:
I’m personally not prepared to comment publicly on the death of Jenny Grant at this time but, yes, I am aware of it. Thank you.
UPDATE – Oh, go on then… have another:
Omission of detail #4:
Check comment No. 4 over here for a litmus test or two and a minor detail that Iain Dale really should have mentioned in the printed version of his rigged poll of weblogs.
As off-putting as this not-very-appealing appeal was, the claim that someone had again silenced bloggers with the mere threat of legal action did get my attention, so I’d like to share the following with you:
August 8th onwards:
Evening Times – Councillor Kalashnikov: This is Glasgow councillor Jahangir Hanif caught on camera firing a deadly Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle at a military-style camp in Pakistan. The 46-year-old SNP councillor, who was last month reported to be a slum landlord, took five of his six children – including his five-year-old daughter – to learn how to fire the weapon in mountains in the Kashmir border.
Jahangir Hanif’s reported actions appear to have been within the law, but the SNP are big on gun control, and the death of two-year-old Andrew Morton is a major factor in the gun debate.
Even as a bystander it’s easy for me to see why Hanif should have been history the moment it emerged that he’d put an assault rifle in the hands of children, even if [rolls eyes] he had done so before becoming a councillor… but it’s also obvious that the SNP is not a party with a lot of ground to give. So on we go to the land of few surprises; Hanif gets a slap on the wrist, resulting in outrage (both feigned and genuine, depending on where you get your news from)…
August 31st onwards:
Sunday Herald – SNP refuse to kick out ‘Kalashnikov councillor’
Times – Anger as the SNP fails to sack assault rifle councillor
Evening Times – SNP accused of disgracing Glasgow over Councillor Kalashnikov
Scottish Unionist – Councillor Kalashnikov gets off lightly
It is sometime soon after this that a letter by Noor Hanif, the 17-year-old daughter of Jahangir Hanif, was sent to Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland… and (somehow) also released to the press/public:
Telegraph – Daughter calls for Alex Salmond to sack Kalashnikov-firing SNP councillor: The Scottish Nationalists decided this week not to expel Jahangir Hanif for showing his children how to use the gun during the trip into the mountains near the Kashmir border in 2005. But his outraged daughter, Noor, has pleaded with Mr Salmond, the SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, to throw her father out of the party. In a letter to Mr Salmond, the 17-year-old wrote: ‘I cannot believe he has been let off. My siblings and I were put in an environment where people were pointing loaded AK47 guns at each other. I think he should be fired to make an example, so that other people think twice before playing with guns and putting children in harm’s way. I don’t think you have taken this matter seriously enough. How can a man who can’t look after his children be allowed to represent the public?”
Evening Times – MSPs in fresh call to kick out gun councillor: Meanwhile, the row took a fresh twist today after councillor Hanif’s 17-year-old daughter Noor reportedly wrote to Alex Salmond calling on him to be thrown out of the party. She is claimed to have said: “I don’t think that you have taken this matter seriously enough I cannot believe he has been let off. My siblings and I were put in an environment where people were pointing loaded AK-47 guns at each other. He should be expelled he should be fired to make an example, so other people think twice about playing with guns and putting children in harm’s way.”
Daily Record – Daughter of SNP gun councillor tells Alex Salmond: Please fire my dad: Noor wrote: “If we had known he was taking us to somewhere like that, we’d never have gone. But my dad is a dominating man and we lived by his rule of law.” Noor was only 14 when she was taken on the trip in 2005. She said: “I still have nightmares about that day. The people were scary with their faces covered like in the movies. The gunshots were deafening – it really hurts your ears – and you never forget that sound. People were pointing the guns in each other’s directions. Anything could have happened. I was very nervous.”
The Daily Record goes on to use further extracts from the letter, but stops short of printing other allegations that are, quite frankly, tangential to the central issue here *and* a matter primarily for the authorities until the moment Noor Hanif turns 18.
If at that stage she still wishes to publish these allegations herself and is unfairly silenced, she will enjoy my complete support. I’ll even help her to build the website.
Until then, all I’m inclined to offer is this:
Jahangir Hanif is a total hypocrite for moaning about what his kids have may or may not have been dragged into, the more recent counter-claims of racism (1, 2, 3, 4) stink of the worst kind of political desperation, and Alex Salmond won’t be able to claim that he has yet to see, read or receive Noor’s letter for much longer without looking like an absolute dick.
I am not saying that it is right that a blogger can be conveniently silenced without any actual legal action. At all.
But subsequent warnings issued to newspapers suggest heavily that Jahangir Hanif’s threats are by no means idle, empty or even drunken… and in Usmanov’s case, his lawyers completely bypassed any need to go to court by avoiding authors and instead bullying their UK-based ISPs. Bloggers who then went on to defy Schillings by hosting their response(s) on US-hosted Blogger.com weblogs received nothing more than nuisance-level complaints to that provider. Two of the blogs that have published the Noor letter and removed it are Blogger.com-based and it would appear that they were at least contacted and challenged directly about their content.
This is, arguably, still a case of a man with money being able to silence someone without the means to defend themselves (see: Curly) but the wider matter is clearly far more complicated than that, obviously party-political in nature, and a lonnnng way from being such a clear case of abuse of UK libel law that the author(s) should expect an immediate avalanche of support.
But – as you can see – I have gone to the trouble of actually explaining the background so other bloggers might better be able to decide for themselves, and that’s a step up from badgering them about not taking immediate action over a complicated game of political football nobody bothered to even notify them about in the first place.
Press and Journal – SNP councillor threatens action over internet blog: A north-east woman has been forced to remove the full text of a letter written by the daughter of a suspended SNP councillor – who was filmed firing an AK47 assault rifle – from her internet blog after being threatened with legal action… In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Hanif said: “Editors are to be advised that a Labour Party blog containing defamatory statements concerning me has been withdrawn and an undertaking granted that it will not be re-posted following the initiation of interdict proceedings. Notice is given that in the event that newspapers or broadcasters publish extracts from the blog that legal proceedings will follow.”
The first full set of relevant image search results are in – and the surprise leader is Live Search!
I must admit to being just a bit impressed. The performance is surprisingly early (and relevant) for this particular search engine:
1st is an image of Julie herself (including her status as an idiot) that comes to us via Jim Barter, 2nd is a picture of the big, mean bully who started this (Live is not fooled by this image being hosted by another website) and the 3rd result is the contribution of the artist whose work the Daily mail ripped off!
Meanwhile, Yahoo offers nothing of relevance, and Google is still poking around b3ta.com, mainly because a quirk of design allows users of that site to change their sigs so they update for every entry ever made all the back to the dawn of Teh Internets (almost); the only relevant results to stray onto the front page at Google have been the original ’50ft Blears’ image by Beau Bo D’Or image (via this post at The Daily Quail) and a classic belm from TheSpoof.com
I realise that initially I promised “a prize… for the best relevant performance in Google Images” but I think this set deserves recognition as well, especially as it’s the first relevant one.
I’ll be posting a numbered list of all the goodies and doing a random draw later.
[Psst! It appears that Julie Moult hasn’t filed a single story since this post went live. And you’re welcome.]
As galling as it is to be included in a rigged game by a crooked referee – against my will and without my knowledge – only then to be labelled a bad sport for objecting, I’ll do my best to keep this on an even keel*, because what’s most important to me here is that you watch the tactics and think about motive.
[*MINI UPDATE – OK, you got me. The headline is a bit much. :o) ]
Let’s start with this extract from the conversation that QT_Ian started and then suddenly grew tired of, which is a response to Iain’s reply to a semi-anonymous web user using the handle ‘Cheesy Monkey’.
‘Cheesy Monkey’ wanted to see if Iain would subject his poll to a wee bit of scrutiny, but Iain wasn’t having any of it. Earlier, he had even refused to provide even a confirmed list of weblogs that sent readers to his poll (when all it would have taken at one stage was a mere nod of approval).
I don’t know about you, but I can’t see the harm in exposing a poll that’s ‘just for fun’ to a little scrutiny, and if I wanted it to be taken seriously I certainly don’t think that I could afford to refuse scrutiny. Unless the poll was rigged, of course… in which case a refusal to cooperate is the lesser of two evils.
(Everything in italics is a quote from Iain’s earlier comment(s).)
“So many questions! Are you TI in disguise? :). “
Is the smiley there so you can cast the seed of doubt and also poo-poo any suggestion that you’re paranoid?
“I drew up the poll and the rules. I also compiled the spreadsheet.”
All by yourself, with no oversight. Of course, you don’t see that I should have any cause to doubt your ability to handle this responsibility, because you still won’t admit that I have caught you cheating at the perceived popularity game before.
Or are you seriously going to tell me that the stats deception than ran for months-slash-years was all a ‘mistake’ and you had “absolutely no interest in skewing the result”?
So you drew up the poll and the rules and you also compiled the spreadsheet. Is it really so difficult to mention that you also conducted the vote in your own back yard (and only ruled out voting via anonymous comments on your website only after this action was challenged)?
You hosted the event, which received the most positive attention in your neighbourhood. This, after previous polls (also ‘just a bit of a larf’) where whole neighbourhoods of the UK blogosphere were excluded because you’re so far to the right that when you look to your left you can see maybe to agitators in the Labour Party and no further. FFS, even looking beyond left and right gives you a neck-ache.
Add to this that you, the host of this poll, have a lot of control over what does and does not get read in your neighbourhood. And you exercise that power most stringently.
Example: Typically, your readers will know little about the circumstances surrounding the closure of comments on Nadine Dorries’ site. Many of your readers are unaware that she behaved in a manner contrary to what most other bloggers would regard to be reasonable. This would go some way to explaining why she is rated 4th as a blogging MP when she doesn’t even belong on the list, as she is no blogger. And before you start, Miliband (who did not rate) is quite rightly regarded to be a joke as a blogger by everyone in your neighbourhood, mainly because his comments are a joke. Any time he likes he can shut down a good point about Conservative policy and say; “Sorry. No can do. Weblog paid for by taxpayers.” But David Miliband is not a close personal friend of yours, and enjoys no protection. It’s open season on Miliband at your place, while Dorries gets the softest ride you can give her.
I will accept your “I don’t badmouth my friends” mantra without complaint here, but even with that in place you still have to admit that devout readers of your weblog will have a far better impression of Dorries than most people, and a lot of that is your doing.
This situation is only made worse by your insistence that your readers should avoid reading anything that might upset them. So often you tell your readers to simply look away if they don’t like this blog or that (while complaining that the left are ‘insular’).
Are you seriously going to tell me – even if you deny every charge of control-freakery and censorship – that there is no ‘home team’ advantage to be had here?
“There will never be a perfect system for any poll…”
“I could have Mother Teresa herself overseeing it…”
“… no system is perfect…”
Iain, you embarrass yourself when you retreat to your game of extremes. Of course you’re not perfect and your poll’s not perfect, and of course you’re not the most evil man alive. But you are an unapologetic cheat. I know, because I caught you cheating and you were unapologetic about it.
“… and TI would still see a conspiracy, so I have to recognise that at times I just cannot win.”
Iain, there was a way that you could have ‘won’ in the scenario you present here. You could have honoured my request to be removed instead of sticking it to me in your poll and rubbing my nose in it, just to piss me off.
You don’t even mention by name the few weblogs that announced a boycott in your book or on your site, even though you’re a list-junkie from way back and you KNOW this to be a contributing factor to placement, especially with such a low turnout. Your poll is skewed in at least one respect, an act or failure of yours skewed it, and no mention is made of this on your blog or in your book.
[Take note, QT: it was *after* this happened that the requests stopped and demands started. I take this seriously, because Iain took it seriously enough to mess about with his ACPO-sponsored device just so he could mess with me. If this weren’t the case, Iain would have replied to my email requesting that I be left out (he could have said “no”) or responded similarly to the announcement on my blog (he could have pointed out that I was still included, but instead he clearly described the action as a “boycott”, and I will not allow him to wriggle out by pretending not to know what a word means again). Or… he could just have honoured my request for the same reason you left me out of last year’s Who’s Who. I wanted no part in this charade and he knew it. Iain responded with an even more pronounced charade.]
Speaking of boycotts and notes, it is worth looking again at what you went to print with, Iain, as you do mention the boycott… by making a point of misrepresenting it and downplaying it:
“Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott of the whole exercise as they felt that because it was being organized by someone on the right, right wing bloggers would be the only beneficiaries. The boycott was boycotted by most blogs on the left…” (source)
Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott, and you know there is a difference. You also know that other editors of Liberal Conspiracy promoted the poll, so please don’t bother waving their placement in my face again.
And Sunny did not say that right wing bloggers would be the only beneficiaries; he raised the same point I do above, that the poll would be skewed to favour the right (and your mates) because of who was hosting it. (Please try to understand that this applies before you even do anything that you would regard to be a deliberate action.)
This is you playing games of extremes again instead of admitting that where and how the vote was conducted would influence the vote.
This is the only mention of boycotts in the publication. It makes no note of who specifically told their readers that they were not taking part, and does not acknowledge the influence this action may have had on the number/nature of votes for that blog or from that neighbourhood. You have made no effort to be fair to any of the people you really need to be working to convince that you are least trying.
This applies even if you are sincere when you sigh and say that you should not bother in my case.
Of course this is about power. The whole machine is powered by big and little bloggers wishing to be more powerful.
Many bloggers took part only because they individually or as a group were afraid of missing out on influence in the future, and said so.
And we have this from the poll’s own Foreword:
“The power of the Internet and the impact of the blogosphere continue to change how
politics is done and seen to be done in the UK and internationally.” – Darren Murphy, Managing Director, APCO UK (source)
Bloggers placed highly on this list will use that placement to further their impact and increase their power. Of course they will. Only a fool would think otherwise.
This poll of yours is as reliable and representative as one hosted by FOX News or the Socialist Worker. And you cannot deny that you pretend otherwise the moment you put the ‘Total Politics’ label on it.
If I had tried this, there would (quite rightly) have been hell to pay, and I am nowhere near partisan as you are.
(Psst! To prove otherwise, you will need at least to establish a stupefying level of denial to match ‘1234’.)
Open your mind, Iain; imagine for a moment how a poll conducted via Bloggerheads might have worked out… and please don’t insult me by suggesting that I rush out and try it, as I’ve made it clear why I’m not interested. If you still don’t get it, read #10 over and over until it sinks in.
The answer isn’t for someone else from the left to make the same mistake, but for someone above/beyond these differences to conduct a poll like this.
Not just someone who is not you, but someone who is totally unlike you.
And, personally, I’d expect to see some oversight even if there weren’t a proven cheat at the helm.
You, a man whose core interest is politics, ran a poll in which you and your allies were candidates and (shock!) major beneficiaries.
Where are your principles?
Even if you contend that no gain is to be had, why would you set such a bad example?
This will be the first time that most of you have read this exchange because (watch out; repeated point coming) it was conducted in a neighbourhood that’s very different to the one you’re probably used to.
Have a chew on it and Iain’s complete failure to respond to any of it, unless it’s to have a go at me and misrepresent my position (again) on his website while offering no right of reply.
I’ll be back with more as time allows.
Sunday Times – Lord Ashcroft funds Tories from Belize tax haven: Lord Ashcroft, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, has channelled money into party funds from the Central American tax haven of Belize, despite a ban on overseas donations. (more) (see also)
Telegraph – Lord Ashcroft’s donations to Tories to be investigated* by watchdog: While there is no suggestion that the peer has broken the law, which requires political parties to take donations only from companies that are registered in Britain and “carrying on” business, critics said that at the very least the party was breaching the “spirit” of the rules. The Tories insisted the donations were legitimate.
(*Maybe. RTFA to get the full picture, rather than placing your trust in the headline.)
Too bad we can’t have an inquiry into money Ashcroft has splashed about among certain right-wing activists. I’m sure that’d turn up a few surprises.
Well, when I say ‘surprises’, I for one will make an effort to *appear* surprised, just to be polite….
[Psst! Speaking of money and manners, I just got off the phone with the good people at Total Politics about an unrelated matter. I was most polite, and called using the number provided on their website. My reward was to be accused of being “aggressive” and not going through ‘formal’ channels. Oh dear.]
UPDATE – Meanwhile…
Scoop (NZ) – Key fails to rule out funding from Lord Ashcroft: John Key needs to explain exactly what relationship the New Zealand National Party has with multi-million dollar political donor Lord Michael Ashcroft after failing to deny serious allegations in Parliament today, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said. Today during question time, the Prime Minister raised the possibility that Lord Ashcroft could be providing financial assistance to the National Party without donating directly to the Party. John Key did not make any attempt to deny the suggestion as an MP normally would if an inaccurate suggestion was made.
BBC – Warning sounded on web’s future: The internet needs a way to help people separate rumour from real science, says the creator of the World Wide Web. Talking to BBC News Sir Tim Berners-Lee said he was increasingly worried about the way the web has been used to spread disinformation… Sir Tim told BBC News that there needed to be new systems that would give websites a label for trustworthiness once they had been proved reliable sources.
Yes, a little ‘wilful distortion’ flag would be useful. But one problem here is that the same people who play these games also have no issues with multiple identities, multiple voting, etc. etc. etc.
People like this are sure to game the system in order to defend themselves and make baseless accusations of invention/bias/etc. against others.
[‘Obsessives’ only: Speaking of such things, you might want to take a look at all the ‘different’ people defending Donal Blaney’s original Wikipedia entry. Take a close look at that and/or the history of his latest entry (and those of Iain Dale, Paul Staines etc.) and sooner or later you will encounter this nest of sock puppets.]
Anyway, getting back to that ‘power of perception’ thing, today Nigel Morris makes Iain Dale just that little bit more influential by declaring him to be so, but he does so while thinking that Iain Dale has “350,000 readers every month”.
Iain Dale doesn’t have anywhere near 350,000 readers every month, but the fact that Iain Dale cheated in order to give everybody the impression that he does isn’t something you’re going to read in Iain Dale’s neighbourhood anytime soon.
Now, I should make it clear from the outset that bean-bags aren’t for everyone, and they can be temperamental and sometimes downright vindictive. I was thrown by one, once. Honest.
Five stitches to the chin, and I still bear the scars. It completely ruined an otherwise spectacular leap from the storage chest.
So this time I played it safe and let the kids face the danger.
Incidentally, they’re not too impressed with the colour (Pitch Black) because they’re still children. But I chose that colour (Pitch Black), for the very same reason.
(Don’t ask if we would have them eat from a trough. You wouldn’t like the answer.)
Right! Onto the testing floor we go:
“The beanbag is brilliant. It has plenty of room and is tough wearing. It would probably be better in some brighter colours, and be available in smaller sizes. If it was available for a cheaper price then I would buy it.”
Yes, I know that the chair comes in many colours that are much brighter than black. But don’t let on.
“The beanbag is soft, comfy but a bit on the large side and it gets in the way a lot. At times it is quite stiff, but overall it is a very nice and comfy bean bag and I would happily buy this beanbag from a shop.”
Putting young consumer aspirations aside…
Yes, it is big. You’d need to reserve an armchair-sized hole for one or have a place to store it if you didn’t want it complicating your every journey across the living room.
“I think the bean-bag is comfy. The size is great, it fits four people on it. The colour is too dark. I think it will look better in another colour.”
Tch. Kids. What do they know? Black goes with anything.
Yes, it fits four people on it. Four little people, some of whom will be spilling over the edges. Still plenty big, though.
The nylon cover is tough and, I would add, easy to clean.
It’s big and comfy, with plenty of room for most adults.
Here, it’s mostly used as a lounge station for morning or afternoon television, or as a flexible body platform during gameplay.
Please note that it *will* take up space. Because it is big. It’s not a weighty item, which makes it easy to move about, but if there isn’t a place where it can sit in standby mode, then you will need a place to store it, or you will forever be moving it about.
(And it hasn’t made its move against me yet, but I know that it’s only a matter of time.)
Happy Hadron Collider Day!