Obi enters Africa

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


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

Total Politics: the Ashcroft connection

New Statesman – Total Politics or Total Ashcroft?: Watch out Rupert Murdoch, take note Lord Rothermere – there’s a new media mogul in town. Lord Ashcroft of Belize, Tory bogeyman, is secretly bankrolling the new monthly freebie Total Politics, to be launched by the Con blogger and master of self-publicity Iain Dale. Your correspondent discovered Dale squatting in Ashcroft’s 7 Cowley Street basement lair when I paid an uninvited call to the Westminster block. Dale insisted the company was his, with Ashcroft a wealthy investor who’ll play no editorial role. Yet I suspect the involvement of the moneybags right-winger, whose tax status remains an international mystery, will hinder Dale’s attempt to present Total Ashcroft as “politically neutral”. (via)

Given 18 Doughty Street’s difficulties with neutrality, I would have thought Dale’s involvement alone would hinder any attempt to present Total Politics as “politically neutral”, but there you go.

And like Tom, I can’t help but wonder where else money has been secretly splashed about.

(Poor Iain. People might have been more inclined to believe that this was no big deal had he been up front about it, but he made no mention of Ashcroft when promoting the upcoming magazine on his blog. No wonder he’s so quiet this morning.)

UPDATE (5pm) – Lots going on. A fresh email from Dale just in. But I may have to leave you with this while he makes up his mind…

1. Do the test. Seriously, before you read any further, do the test.


All done? With me now? Good.

2. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, yesterday, Iain Dale had cause to ask me to trust him. That had nothing to do with this Ashcroft matter and Iain knows that for reasons that will be made clear in due time (it will even me made clear in due time why due time is necessary). So the following (from one of my key emails to Iain on the subject of trust) is officially spooky (as opposed to a clear indication of a massive leftist conspiracy):

> Think about it; one day you’re going to *really* need the trust of myself or
> other members of the blogging community who have seen the way you willingly
> deceive people. Surely you can guess the rest.

3. Guardian – Ashcroft to bankroll new ‘politically neutral’ magazine: The Tory party deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft, is to bankroll a new “politically neutral” magazine, it emerged today. The Tory billionaire has agreed to invest in Total Politics, a political monthly magazine being launched in May by Tory blogger and publisher Iain Dale. The revelation, made by Kevin Maguire in his New Statesman column today, will raise doubts about Dale’s pledge to take an independent editorial line… Dale said: “The fact that someone like Michael Ashcroft is interested in investing in a business like this says a lot for our business plan. The magazine will be politically neutral. Just because somebody is investing in a magazine doesn’t mean they will influence the editorial line.”

4. Iain Dale responds to Tom Watson under comments:

Shouldn’t you, er, be running the country, something?

Mr Maguire was wrong. There is no bankrolling at all. The various investors in the magazine are investing on a fully commercial basis and will be expecting a return on that investment. It really is that simple. Seeing as though fewer than ten Labour MPs out of 350 have ever run a business I wouldn’t expect that to be understood, though

5. Iain Dale’s response to me was private (perhaps he has difficulty finding the ‘comment’ button here) but – needless to say – it did not address the issue and it wasn’t entirely grown up in its approach.

6. Iain is so unbothered by this piffling matter that he hasn’t even blogged anything about it. But when I popped over to check if Iain had anything to say to his readers (“Look! I’m in the newspapers again!” would have done) I saw something pass by in the background. I’ve highlighted it, just in case you happen to miss it:

MessageSpace ad for on Iain Dale's website

Obviously, Iain shouldn’t be automatically blamed for the ads served by MessageSpace, so just to clear things up:

To: Jag Singh

From: Tim Ireland

Subject: MessageSpace ads for Lord Ashcroft

Dear Jag,

For the sake of clarity and to avoid uncertainty:

Was the full going rate for MessageSpace banner ads paid for the banner campaign and, if so, by which individual or organisation?

Any details you can provide would be appreciated.


Tim Ireland

7. Oh, I’d love to… but let’s wait for the response from MessageSpace first. I want to be as fair as possible to these people.

[Jag? When you’re ready. I’d ask Paul, but he’s still not talking to me.]

UPDATE (5:39pm) – The official response from MessageSpace:

“We don’t divulge any commercially sensitive info.”

Oh, how sweet. Now they expect you to trust them.

UPDATE (6pm) – Opportunity knocks: Tonight, 11.30pm News 24 with Alex Hilton on Question Time Extra

I invite you to watch it, even if it’s only to watch an opportunity pass by.

UPDATE (12 midnight) – Alex Hilton never tires of being Iain’s bitch, does he? Oh, and David Cameron does knowingly whore his family out and I have proof; watch David Cameron ‘unscripted’ and caught ‘unawares’ in his home.

UPDATE (14 April) – That last sentence only makes sense if you can see the interview, which has since been taken offline, so I’ve scrubbed it. Oh, and here’s a special something for every elected official in the UK who does not want to receive a ‘politically neutral’ magazine from Dale/Ashcroft.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 9 Comments

Usmanov’s lawyer’s are still busy hoovering

Press Gazette – Mail on Sunday apologises to Russian billionaire over links to “rape and murder” allegations: Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the major shareholder in Arsenal FC, today accepted a formal apology at London’s High Court after The Mail on Sunday linked him to rape and murder allegations. (Usmanov) sued over the article on 2 December 2007 headlined “The corruption of football is no laughing matter Harry”

Nice to see Usmanov finally taking a case to court… but when will he challenge Craig Murray in the same manner?

Posted in UK Libel Law | Comments Off

Iain Dale: a poser

I’ll provide details later, but for now all you need to know is that Iain Dale needed me to trust him yesterday, and seemed quite put out when I pointed out that he had given me very little reason to do so in the past.

Some emails were exchanged and some points were (eventually) addressed, but during our discussion on the subject of trust, Iain had trouble answering this primary question… and is still refusing to answer it:

“Have I ever lied to you or about you?”

Iain often complains about the number of times that I blog about his antics, but I’m given very little choice when he bans me from comments, deletes comments when a conversation isn’t going his way, and refuses to correspond via email until he needs something from me.

So here we are again.

I’m busy for the rest of today and tomorrow, so that should give Iain plenty of time to formulate an answer.

[Over to you, Iain. Please remember that I also requested evidence, not just your say-so. We both know what your word is worth.]

UPDATE (17 Mar) – Iain has (eventually) answered by claiming that I’ve lied about him in this very post. Unfortunately, he won’t give me permission to publish his answer and the correspondence I refer to in this post. Hooray for secret evidence!

What I can tell you is that, initially, Iain responded by using the ‘bovvered’ catchphrase and by implying that I was some sort of stalker targeting feminine Tories (though why he regards himself to be part that group is anyone’s guess).

I’ll have more to say about the ‘stalking’ charge shortly. In the meantime, Iain forces me to repeat myself:

When Catherine Tate’s character Lauren Cooper insists that she ‘ain’t bovvered’, she actually reveals how bothered she really is (and/or, in some cases, presents a clear example of a rather reckless dismissal). Please try to use this catchphrase correctly in future.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

Shh! Don’t disturb the narrative!

A major reason why our government isn’t rushing to rescue former employees in Iraq: it would involve admitting that all is not well in that country.

But the mission to protect the world from WMDs bring democracy to Iraq must be seen as a success, otherwise (*gasp*) the political careers of dozens of people could die overnight.

And now we can add a further human cost to the maintenance of this narrative.

Time to start clapping for Tinkerbell again. Here’s something to put you in the mood.

UPDATE – How’s about that, then….

1. The government is to be credited for some limited action (at last) on the Iraqi employees front. More on this soon.

2. Anyway, getting back to that point about the precious, precious narrative….

Independent – Iraq: teachers told to rewrite history… MoD accused of sending propaganda to schools

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