William Hague and Flying Lion Limited

Ministry of Truth – Hague’s Air Miles: The serious point is that due to the lack of clarity in regards to the correct method of putting an in-kind value on these flights, which, if strict rules on market value were applied could come it at anything from three to thirty two times the reported value depending on distance travelled, a conservative (no pun intended) estimate of the unreported value to the Conservative Party of having Ashcroft’s air taxi service on tap could easily be anything upwards of £1.5 million since 2002 and who can guess how much since Flying Lion first cropped up on the public radar in 1997 – and never mind the questions about the Conservative Parties ‘carbon footprint’ to go with this now that they’ve allegedly embraced a green agenda.








Posted in Inneresting | Comments Off

Look out! Stalker!

“Ken is Obsessed by Boris” say the man who (by his standards) is clearly ‘obsessed’ with Ken Livingstone.

(Been living in London long, Iain? Or do you just have a thing for Cuddly Ken?)

BTW, I went looking for 18 Tory Street’s video attack on Ken Livingstone and tripped over this gem, which I’ve not seen before:

Check out this video produced for Iain Dale’s 2005 North Norfolk campaign.

Look! Iain’s in the newspaper! Look! Iain’s on telly! Look! Iain’s… standing right next to Anne Milton?!

Iain Dale and Anne Milton

Well, that might partly explain why Iain was so hesitant to blog anything about her activists anonymously claiming a Lib Dem candidate was a paedophile. You would think that them publishing that poor bloke’s name, photo and whereabouts next to this claim would at least earn a ‘stalker’ label from Iain, but no.

(Is there anything that you’d like to declare, Iain? Do you only meet with Ms Milton during conference season, or is there more to it than that?)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 6 Comments

Hey Ma – Its Now 5 Years In Iraq

Just caught a great video from HelpForHeroes on b3ta.com/links. Worth sharing:

Hey Ma – Its Now 5 Years In Iraq
WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC SCENES

When you’re done with that, check out Justin’s exellent blogswarm post.

UPDATE – A great post on the invasion vote from Septicisle, and a shedload of Iraq-related links from Liberal Conspiracy.

UPDATE – Poons (who is also swarming today) thinks an old video/slide-show of mine Drawing The Line (which is similar in content/approach to ‘Hey Ma’) is worth a mention here, and I agree. I may as well plug Unbelievable and The Roses of Success while I’m about it, too.

UPDATE – This, from Clive. Lots.








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Video | 4 Comments

The Iraq War (according to Page 3)

The Sun newspaper, in case you’re not aware, is the British Murdoch-owned tabloid that helped Blair’s government push the 45-minute WMD lie (even suggesting at one stage that they could have been deployed in 30 minutes), dedicated more column inches to a Labrador puppy thrown off an overpass than they did to the Abu Ghraib scandal, and endorsed Tony Blair on the eve of the post-Iraq general election by declaring that he had quite an enormous penis.

One thing not a lot of people have noticed about the Sun newspaper is how editor Rebekah Wade has, since mid-2003, integrated editorial content into the topless-model feature on Page 3.

An article I wrote about this a few years ago provides some background, and there are many, many recent examples listed here in this category at Bloggerheads, but the short version is as follows:

For many years before 2003, there used to be a short bio alongside each model; just enough information to allow the reader potential masturbator to become (ahem) familiar with the model. Now, there is an editorial on most days that comes from the editor of the newspaper but is presented as the model’s own opinion; the upshot of this is that the reader potential masturbator – on a conscious or subconscious level – needs to align himself with a political view before he can imagine shagging the model (unless of course he opts for the masturbatory version of a grudge-fuck).

My entry for the 5-years-on Iraq War blogstorm is a run-down of the most audacious war-related editorials to be fed to the public via these topless models in the 18 months following the invasion of Iraq.

The post would be too top-heavy if I included scans for all of these examples, but rest assured that they are all entirely genuine and unaltered. All of the text below in red has been quoted verbatim, and each example was published/presented as the opinion of a topless model:

- | -

Date: Friday, August 15, 2003

Circumstances: The opening hearings of The Hutton Inquiry have just taken place.

Nicola T has been following the Hutton Inquiry into the death of government scientist David Kelly. She says: “The only clear thing about the inquiry is that someone is lying. Whether it’s politicians or the BBC, it is very worrying. I just hope we get to the bottom of it soon and find out the truth.”

- | -

Date: Friday, October 24, 2003

Circumstances: George Galloway has just been expelled from the Labour Party following his criticism of the Iraq war.

Joanne reckons George Galloway deserved to get the boot from Labour yesterday. She said: “He’s a disgrace. I couldn’t believe how he betrayed Our Boys during the war. They were laying down their lives and he was urging the Iraqis to rise up and kill them. He’s a traitor. I’d boot him out of the country, too.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Circumstances: George W Bush makes his controversial visit to the UK. The only British newspaper to get an interview is the Sun. The Washington Post reports that this was done “on the recommendation of Tony Blair” and that “officials at the White House acknowledge that it was a reward to the Sun for its unstinting support of the United States regarding the war in Iraq.” The interview appears on Monday the 17th, in a rare edition that does not include a topless model on Page 3. The next day, Page 3 is back… and backing Bush.

Page 3 Idol Krystle says President Bush’s visit is a boost for Britain. She adds: “He is the most powerful man in the world and it’s nice to welcome him to this country. I think his first state visit will symbolise America’s special relationship with us. I hope he enjoys Britain.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Circumstances: It is the week after Bush’s visit and the fallout continues after Blair’s use of a US-style ‘free speech zone’ in Sedgefield. On Monday (24th) Tony Blair hosts an Anglo-French summit. As part of his visit, French President Jacques Chirac inspects a guard of honour by the first Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. The Sun is notably “appalled”.

Anna, 22, saw footage of Jacques Chirac inspecting the Grenadier Guards yesterday and took this pop at the French President: “It was about time he was introduced to Our Boys – real soldiers. He shied away from Iraq. Maybe he took notes yesterday to pass on to French troops.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Circumstances: Following Operation Red Dawn, the US announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Krystle says of the capture of Saddam Hussein: “It was the news we have all waited for. That terrible man tried to crush the Iraqi people. Now they can celebrate their freedom and rebuild their country. I really hope this is the beginning of the end of the troubles in Iraq.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Circumstances: It is the peak of the aftermath of the leak (to the Sun) then release of The Hutton Report. Later this same day, the government announces The Butler Review, an inquiry into the intelligence relating to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Zoe is certain Tony Blair was right to take Britain into the war with Iraq. She said: “You don’t need to be an international diplomat to realise the world is better off without Saddam. We should be proud of what has been achieved.”

Zoe on Iraq

- | -

You may need a few minutes to get over that one. I still do. Take your time.

(calm blue ocean)
(calm blue ocean)
(calm blue ocean)

OK, all done? Let’s carry on…

- | -

Date: Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Circumstances: The insurgency in Iraq is expanding. It is one week since Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors and a mob set their bodies ablaze and dragged their bodies through the streets. It is 3 days since the resulting First Battle of Fallujah began. The message from the White House is; “Our resolve is firm… and we will prevail.”

Natasha believes it’s vital that our troops remain in Iraq. She said: “Our boys are doing a fantastic job peacekeeping. To give in to a minority of extremists would be an insult to the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting to free Iraq from its evil regime.”

- | -

Date: Friday, July 2, 2004

Circumstances: Saddam Hussein appears in court for the first time and describes Bush as “the real criminal”

Ruth hailed yesterday’s court appearance by Saddam Hussein as a triumph for Iraqis. She said: “This was a great moment for the people of Iraq. Yet many will feel a proper trial seems too good for a man who denied the same right to millions of victims.”

- | -

Date: Friday, December 10, 2004

Circumstances: It is one month since Bush secured a second term as US president. The conduct of the Bush administration in/over Iraq has been a hot topic on both sides of the Atlantic for months now following that election campaign and the Abu Ghraib scandal. In the US, it has just been declared that evidence gained through use of torture would be used against the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. In the UK, there are calls for an inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq following the release of the first Lancet survey of Iraq War casualties. In Iraq, Rumsfeld has just faced a grilling from his own troops over equipment shortages and responded with the now-infamous “You go to war with the army you have” remark. In short, it is a week where you will struggle to find an editorial in favour of the Bush administration in any newspaper bar one…

Nicola T thinks people are too keen to forget the help given to Britain by the US. She says: “People are too quick to condemn America. We’re indebted to them for the help they gave us in the war. Imagine if they had decided not to support us.”

- | -

Gosh, can you just imagine it? Without the Americans we might have been up to our necks in war-mongering fascists and their xenophobic propaganda.

(ahem)

Well, we’ve skirted far too close to fulfilment of Godwin’s Law for my liking, so I think we’ll pull up *right* there, thank you very much.

- | -

Epilogue:

Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Circumstances: It is the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Most newspapers are running features on what has come to pass and what has come to light (and have been for days now). But the Sun does not mention Iraq today. At all. I’ve checked today’s edition from cover to cover, and cannot find a single article about it. No praise for Our Boys, no mention of how jolly good it is that we took out a brutal dictator. Nothing. The nearest we get is a headline in a puff piece for chocolatier Paul A Young; “Choc and awe”. The good people at the Sun do, however, dedicate eight pages to telling us what a nasty liar Heather Mills is. Yes, Page 3 gets in on the act, too… and today’s tit-tastic editorial seems as good a note as any to go out on:

Peta on Heather Mills








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 1 Comment

Obi enters Africa

LayScience – Dr. Joseph Obi cons the President of Gambia. Seriously.

O.M.G.

I’m with LayScience… Obi is ceasing to amuse me.








Posted in UK Libel Law | 3 Comments

The master opportunists are finally on deck

Independent – Opposition push for immediate Iraq inquiry faces defeat: MPs will vote next week on whether there should be a full-scale inquiry into the Iraq war to ensure that lessons are learnt from the mistakes made. The Tories will stage a Commons debate on Iraq a week today in an attempt to force Gordon Brown to honour his pledge to hold an investigation. The Prime Minister committed himself to calling an inquiry in a letter to the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society. But he insisted the time is not yet right because the situation in Iraq remains “fragile”. The Liberal Democrats and some Labour MPs who opposed the war will join the Tories in voting for an inquiry into the “origins and conduct” to be set up now. But the Government is likely to defeat the Opposition’s proposal. Many Labour MPs privately want an investigation, but are reluctant to support a Tory motion.

1. Funny how things can be hunky-dory one minute and “fragile” the next, isn’t it?

2. The solution is simple; the inquiry should – amongst other things – look into how, when and why Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition failed us before, during and after the invasion.








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 3 Comments

Lords of the Blog

Clive Soley is back, and he’s brought a few mates with him. Top stuff.

See also: Clive Soley – Nine lords a’blogging

(Clive is an elder statesman of blogging. He is also a Labour Peer. Just two possible reasons why Iain ‘Carpetbagger’ Dale is willing to publish anonymous comments like this without challenge.)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Everybody loves George Osborne

George Osborne: Hypnotoad

(Dedicated to all those Tory bloggers who take emails from Osborne’s office and repeat them without question. Hat-tip to Hopi Sen for the inspiration.)








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Blair: the job hunt

1. How many jobs does an ex-PM need?

2. I don’t mind so much myself; whatever keeps him out of trouble.

3. But I like this lots.

4. And LOL-BLAIR rocks!








Posted in Tony 'King Blair | Comments Off

Look who’s stalking

1. Watch Iain Dale cry ‘stalker’.

2. Hey, do you remember during the recent MessageSpace affair when ‘Dizzy’ (Phil Hendren) sent these emails suggesting he might call me at home on my ex-directory number?

3. Well, he’s gone one better;

Last week, Dizzy published my ex-directory phone number on his website in a clear attempt to intimidate me.

Yes, you read that last bit right; Dizzy objected to a point I raised so much that he published one half of my home phone number under comments on his website and told me to “fuck off”. When I attempted a reply, he deleted it and published the other half of my ex-directory number (and told me to “fuck off” again).

Dizzy also called me four times on that number that same afternoon (from a withheld number, natch).

To be fair to Dizzy (who himself has a bad habit of grouping/presenting data in a way that could easily be misinterpreted) I will present that in context, rather than imply that all four calls involved or amounted to harassment:

Call #1:

Dizzy called in a highly agitated state, and was quite literally screaming down the phone at me. This is not an exaggeration. He was screaming, he was yelling, he was not a man in control. He seemed quite annoyed that I would blog about what he had blogged because “it’s only text on a web page”. My pointing out that what I had blogged was also ‘only’ text on a web page did not go down at all well. He told me that I picked a very bad day to tangle with him, because he was in “the foulest of moods and having a really shit day at work”. I was also informed that I was wasting my time with “mad conspiracy theories” and that I should “get a grip”.

Call #2:

Dizzy thought it important to call again (in a somewhat calmer state) to say that he had not received my number from Iain Dale.

Call #3:

Dizzy called later that afternoon with the following:

“OK, write your post. Claim your moral victory. Whatever. Comments are deleted. Having a bad day. [details of claims of a personal crisis censored] And whatever. Bye.”

Call #4:

Dizzy called for the fourth and final time to say that other earlier references to my phone number on his website (that I had not seen until that day) could not be removed until later that evening.

There are only two bloggers hostile to me that have been provided with my home phone number; Iain Dale (background) and Ellee Seymour (background).

Ellee isn’t saying a damn thing.

Iain denies providing ‘Dizzy’ or anyone else with my number (yes, this is what I was talking about when I said that Iain needed me to trust him) but – regardless of who revealed what to Dizzy – I think Iain’s got a damn nerve implying in his email response that I might be guilty of harassment and then following that up with this ‘stalker’ post…. don’t you?

Epilogue: Dizzy announced on Saturday that he was taking a bit of a holiday.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments