Tank full of gas = keep driving

Independent – Georgia bows to might of Russia: Georgia’s appeal for a ceasefire seemed to have fallen on deaf ears last night as Russian jets expanded their bombardment, targeting the capital, Tbilisi, for the first time. As the world’s diplomats hurried to contain the violence and prevent the conflict engulfing the wider Caucasus region, Russia made clear it no longer considered Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili a partner, prompting accusations from his main ally, the United States, that Moscow was resisting peace and wanted regime change.

Reuters – Britons advised to leave Georgia immediately: “If you or your family have no urgent need to remain in Georgia you should leave as soon as possible. It is wise to do so while some air services are still available and the border remains open,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. It continued to advise against all travel to the separatist regions of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and also the upper Kodori Valley, also known as upper Abkhazia.

And, courtesy of David Orchard, a report from another (and nearby) part of the world that you’ve probably never heard of…

Your blog records Bush and Putin discussing Georgia in Beijing; one can probably guess who won the argument. (Whether Bush realised which Georgia he was talking about is a moot point. I’m sure Putin did.)

The situation in Georgia is terrible. But what is even worse is the prospect of similar conflicts arising in other troubled areas where the Russian bear has a sore paw. Such as TransNistria (or Trans-Dnistria, depending on whether you have a Romanian or Russian-language source) in Moldova.

Moldova is a peaceful non-aligned country, Europe’s poorest in terms of GDP, with an awkward and highly-armed Russian minority in a sliver of land / enclave (just like South Ossetia) between the river Dniester and the Ukraine, around the city of Tiraspol. There was heavy bloodshed there in 1991/92, but an uneasy calm has prevailed since. Until possibly now…the TransNistrian Russians are hawkish even by Moscow standards, and don’t need much of an excuse to cause trouble (even the Russians failed to persuade them to disarm in 2001). Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, is less than 100 km from Tiraspol.

My interest in all this is that I spent 90 days last year working in Chisinau on the “peace process” as an EU consultant, and hope to go back there in the autumn. It is a pleasant place filled with unwarlike people, although one has to be accustomed to a post-Soviet infrastructure on streets and pavements, and it definitely has Europe’s worst public lavatory (just by the President’s Palace!) Anyway, I made many friends there and the thought of Russian bombers demolishing their homes and killing the civilian population is more than abhorrent.

I heard personal – and vivid – testimony of a similar occurrence from a friend in Zagreb, when Serbian fighters strafed the housewives’ food market there in 1992, with heavy loss of civilian life. And to think all this is happening in yours and my lifetime…….


Ever get the feeling that we’ve just wasted five years… along with a shedload of credibility and military strength? In mean, can we really expect to get away with lecturing Russia over what one might (rather kindly) describe as ‘mission creep’?

UPDATE – Septicisle offers many links.

UPDATE – Meanwhile, George W. Bush is keeping an eye on things. Related article here.

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

The difference between ‘special’ and ‘retarded’

This is not a special offer. It is retarded.


Let’s face it folks; the recession’s here.

Posted in Consume! | Comments Off

Right-wing bloggers react to the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony

They’re such an unprincipled lot that they’ll happily stay allies regardless of most differences, and they do have their differences. Friday afternoon, for example:

(Please keep in mind that I am paraphrasing here…)

Phil Hendren: “F**k you Chinese control-freaks.”

Iain Dale: “Ooh, look! Pretty lights!”

Paul Staines: “Penis! Penis penis penis!”

Donal Blaney: “Me! Me me me!”

UPDATE – Tch. I really wish that Iain would stop broadcasting claims/comments about me while I’m denied any right of reply*. I mean, if he wants to be taken seriously as a publisher…

(*He then bitches and moans if I blog about it on my own site, the tosser.)

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | Comments Off

Bye, Chef

This opportunity to strut has been brought to you by the following very sad news.

(Sorry, but this song just isn’t the same without a bunch of white guys getting down. Also, children need to be warned about the dangers of ketamine.)

UPDATE – OK, OK, OK… is this better? No? OK, how about this?

UPDATE – I suppose sooner or later some of us will need to ask the question; “What’s the dark private cult that’s a cash machine for a bunch of dicks?”

Posted in Video | Comments Off

You have to laugh. No, really… that’s an order.

The Russians roll tanks into South Ossetia while everyone is watching the pretty light show in China.

Picture of the month is right here.

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 2 Comments

A quick collection of Lego-related links

- This is very nice, but I got there first.

Needs more stormtroopers.

– Ah, that’s better. More history (and art) here.

– Speaking of stormtroopers

– Speaking of the entire original Star Wars trilogy

– Been to a boot sale lately? Have you noticed as I have the number of people shedding their CD collections as they ‘go digital’? Good albums are going dirt cheap, and there’s more CD racks than you can poke a stick at. Anyway, my point is that if you want to sell your CD collection, you’re not going to get much for it and you may as well give your CDs away to passers-by … at high velocity*, from the top of a tall building.

[*Legal gubbins: If any unbalanced individuals with abandonment and anger-management issues are reading this, please don’t try this at home. Or at work.]

Posted in Geekage | Comments Off

And you thought the new Bond theme would sound silly…

Quantum of Solace – Proposed Theme Song (via)

Posted in Video | 2 Comments

Iain Dale’s refusal to combat homophobic harassment

Those of you who contribute regularly under comments will be aware of Scotch.

Scotch lives in my constituency. We first encountered each other when Scotch was looking for more information on Anne Milton. We became friends, and one of the reasons we became friends is that we share similar values.

For example, if we ever discuss a comment thread privately, Scotch will feel that he is unable to contribute to the thread from that point on unless he can reveal the relevant details of our private conversation.

Unlike members* of Iain Dale’s Flying Monkey Squadron, Scotch is not a man to be coerced, instructed, nudge-winked or otherwise manipulated into speaking on my behalf. Ever.

[*A quick ‘hello’ to Flight Lieutenant Phil Hendren, who Iain accidentally CCed on one of our private conversations when he meant to issue a BCC instead. Sometimes, when it suits him – Phil insists that it is irrelevant where information comes from if it is pertinent.]

And that’s just one reason why I found Iain’s response to a fair question from Scotch yesterday afternoon to be nothing short of appalling.

The comments appear here, under Iain Dale’s widely-publicised position on Ian Oakley’s actions in Watford.

The problem with Iain’s position is best summed up in this extract from a comment of mine that The Spectator refused to publish under this entry: “Iain Dale is a hypocrite who has in the past turned a blind eye to some appalling harassment by Tory supporters, candidates and activists (some of it on his own website).”

Scotch was equally unimpressed, and decided to bring up the most jarring example of Iain turning a blind eye when it suits him:

scotch said…

Iain, hi. Where is your disapproval of a homophobic hate site against a local government candidate, of which you are well aware? I can’t seem to find it.

August 06, 2008 1:10 PM

What Scotch is referring to is the incident in Guildford where Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul, two Conservative activists/candidates and close associates of Conservative MP Anne Milton, took it upon themselves to create, build upon and promote an anonymous website that claimed one of their political opponents was a paedophile (summary)… and put alongside this claim the man’s name, a photo and details of his whereabouts.

I produced evidence clearly linking Mike Chambers directly to authorship of that anonymous website, but both Iain Dale and Paul Staines refused to blog the item or even condemn the action.

At this stage, the entire affair could and would have been nipped in the bud had a few Tory bloggers stood up and said that this was unacceptable behaviour, but Iain Dale and Paul Staines shut the gate on that one.

Even at that early stage Dennis Paul was bragging that he was a contributor to Paul Staines’ site, and since then at least one anonymous commenter keeps popping up every time Iain Dale thinks I deserve a kicking to say how mean and awful I was to poor Anne Milton. Iain Dale has recently taken to repeating this line himself. Repeatedly.

I mention all of this to point out the hole that Iain has dug for himself; he now cannot afford to condemn the actions taken by Anne Milton’s activists without blowing a dirty great hole in his claims that I stalk and harass Tories for no good reason.

Now onto Iain’s response to this tricky question…

Iain Dale said…

Scotch, or should I more correctly address you in your usual capacity as Tim Ireland’s bitch?

I condemn homophobic attacks on anyone, whereever they occur. Funny that, isn’t it?

What I don’t do, unlike you, is jump to the tune of Tim Ireland.

August 06, 2008 3:02 PM

Appalling, isn’t it?

Also, note Iain’s claims to condemn homophobic attacks “on anyone, whereever [sic] they occur”.

This is a lie… and Iain actually goes on to provide his justification for NOT doing so over the Guildford incident.

And even the justification is a lie. If Iain truly condemns homophobic attacks “on anyone, whereever [sic] they occur”, then it’s not my tune he was asked to jump to over the Guildford matter, but his own.

Is Iain seriously telling us that he will abandon his stance against homophobia if I ask him to stand by it?

As for the insulting way that Iain dismissed Scotch’s input, this runs counter to Iain’s own rules. Will Iain be banning** himself from his own website now?

[**Which leads to yet another lie. Anyone reading this prominent page might somehow get the impression that I was banned from Iain’s website for being sweary and abusive. I was not. Iain himself says here that I was banned for insisting that he “obey [my] rules and dikats”… but even this is a lie. I actually requested and suggested that he follow his own damn rules, not mine.]

[Psst! For those who missed it; video evidence of Mike Chambers’ homophobia.]

UPDATE (3pm) – Iain is being less-than-honest about this issue. Again.

“Am I supposed to blog about every single thing in British politics? …. I condemn ALL hompohobic [sic] attacks. The word ALL is important here.” – Iain Dale (source)

[Psst! If you feel so strongly about it, Iain… learn how to spell it.]

More than once the ‘Jonesy’ blog created by Tory activists/candidates in Guildford equated homosexuality with paedophilia… e.g. “Mr X admits to being gay, therefore (the claim that he is a paedophile) must be true!”

Now I ask you to cast your mind back to a different incident involving different players…

Most bloggers who were around at the time recall Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines (and to a slightly lesser extent Alex Hilton) equating homosexuality with paedophilia when claiming to have outed Mark Oaten ahead of the tabloids. It caused quite a stir at the time.

Here’s a timeline of events for those who missed the action.

And here are some bloggers from across the political spectrum, united in their position that one cannot equate homosexuality with paedophilia. I’ll stick with bloggers who are still with us, just to keep it neat:

I condemned it. Twice.

It was condemned at Blood & Treasure.

Devil’s Kitchen pulls up short of condemnation here, but only just.

Nosemonkey condemned it.

Justin condemned it.

Iain Dale did NOT condemn it.

Well, if he did, he was very, very quiet about it. He certainly didn’t mention it and blog the controversy around it on his website.

And yet he found the time to blog about Mark Oaten quite a lot during that month, and even had time for a positive link to the podcast a few days after it had been so widely criticised.

Now, why do you think that is?

And now, apropos of nothing, here’s a photo of Iain Dale and Paul Staines enjoying a friendly drink the week before the Oaten incident.

“I condemn ALL hompohobic [sic] attacks. The word ALL is important here.” – Iain Dale


Posted in Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories! | 6 Comments

Ian Oakley pleads guilty

BBC – Ex-Tory admits harassment charges: A former Tory candidate has pleaded guilty to a campaign of harassment against his Liberal Democrat rivals. Ian Oakley, who stood down as the Tory candidate in Watford last month, admitted five charges of criminal damage and two of harassment. Oakley, of Ryeland Close, West Drayton, Middlesex, asked for 68 other offences to be taken into account… He slashed tyres and wrecked shutters at the Liberal Democrat headquarters in the town. He made silent phone calls to Ms Brinton between August 2006 and March this year, and sent her gay and lesbian magazines, the court was told. Letters addressed to “Sal Bitchton” were also sent to her workplace. Oakley’s campaign against Mr Willson was mounted from February to May this year and included painting graffiti on his home, calling him a “perv”. He also sent letters to him and his backers wrongly accusing Mr Willson of being a “child abuser”. Donna Rayner, prosecuting, said Oakley had been driven by a “desire to change the political landscape in Watford”.

I’ve personally witnessed and experienced parallels to all of the above, minus the property damage, from a range of Tories. Most of them will show some extraordinary front when denying what they’ve been up to… and then claim that what they did was somehow right/justified when they get caught red-handed. The pattern is depressingly predictable.

Is there a Tory textbook somewhere that teaches them how to do all of this… and to constantly claim (without a shred of evidence to back it up) that Labour/Lib-Dem activists are up to the same or worse?

UPDATE – More details are available via Lib Dem Voice and The Times.

UPDATE – Iain Dale is doing a pretty convincing show of hand-wringing considering some of the behaviour he tolerates from fellow Tories *not* being slammed in the national press, his close mates, and just about anyone who wants to anonymously slag off or threaten people he doesn’t like.

UPDATE (6 Aug) – Liberal Democrats – Cameron must investigate vile campaign of criminal damage: Following the arrest of Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Watford, Ian Oakley, and his guilty plea today on five charges of criminal damage and two charges of harassment, Liberal Democrat Chair of Campaigns and Communications, Edward Davey has written to David Cameron demanding that he holds an urgent inquiry into the procedures and activities of Watford Conservative Party.

Too bloody right. Hands up anyone who seriously thinks that all of this went on without a single warning signal reaching CCHQ:

The Times – Slashed tyres and poison pen letters: how Ian Oakley bullied rivals: By the time he was arrested last month he had committed 75 offences of criminal damage, harassment and malicious communication against his Liberal Democrat opponents in Watford… Watford Lib Dems said that the anonymous vandalism and intimidation began in the months before the 2005 general election, when Oakley was the Conservatives’ campaign manager in the constituency.

UPDATE – Meanwhile, Ian Oakley appears to think that people like him should be kept off the streets.

UPDATE – And here’s a picture, boys and girls….

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 10 Comments

‘Get Your War On’ now a few frames longer

Justin is quite busy at the moment doing marvellous work for Greenpeace, but I’m sure he’ll have time for a brief jump for joy over this:

Wired Blogs – ‘Get Your War On’ Gets Its Video On
Raw Story – ‘Get Your War On’ gets its cartoon on

++++ alert ++++ alert ++++ preparing for “‘get your war on‘ gets its ___ on” trifecta ++++

Comedy Central – Get Your War On: Watch List



Oh well. Enjoy the first episode anyway. It’s only better than you might dare to imagine:

Posted in The War on Stupid | Comments Off