These are dark days and the storm clouds gather around us…

… but never fear! I pledge that I, your leader, will see you safely through to a better world!


And now, A Walk in the Black Forest.

No… wait… I’m sure we have another record here somewhere. Ah, yes… here ’tis:

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No Smoking Day

I’d love to take the No Smoking Day challenge, but it’s too late for me… I quit 2 weeks ago and I’m feeling fine and dandy.

I’ve tried to quit before, but this time I did it with the help of the NHS, and I heartily recommend that service to anyone in the UK who’s serious about giving up.

It hasn’t been easy… but it’s been the easiest it’s ever been.

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I’m turned on, now

Perversion for Profit: a 1965 anti-pornography film (NSFW) (via)

(Loving the Obi-tastic caption for the ‘outstanding news reporter’)

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Knickers to the anonymongrel knockers

Tom Watson offers his thoughts on blogging as a civil servant. The basics are; blog as yourself and act responsibly.

The result: an added point of open engagement with politics.

Dizzy Phil Hendren, by comparison, thinks you should sneak around and exaggerate reality.

The result: further disillusionment with politics… via the use of illusion, no less.

(Dizzy seems to know an awful lot about the ins and outs of sneaking around making anonymous contributions and not getting caught, doesn’t he? Pardon the paranoid conjecture speculating prattiness.)

What Phil and all his pseudo-blogging attack-dog mates want is power without accountability… for now. I’m wagering their position would change if the Tories ever clawed their way back into Downing Street.

A ‘shoe on the other foot’ example to help reinforce my point, courtesy of Garry Smith:

“The baying mob is something I hope not to see again for a very long time.” – Iain Dale making excuses for his friend Derek Conway.

“Bay! BAY! Join in everyone! Bay! BAY!” – Iain Dale doesn’t know why he gets called a hypocrite.

You’ll want to watch this bunch of sneaky lying exaggerating bastards. They can’t be trusted.

UPDATE – Hahahahaha! Following another dig at Tom Watson, Dizzy Phil Hendren gets caught feeding his readers propaganda from the economic advisor to the Shadow Chancellor. Delicious.

And here, for your added amusement, is yet another example of Tory bloggers presenting Tory propaganda as their own independent work. This example, like the one above, also shows the Tories pushing the bullshit line that they’re totally 2.0

See? They can’t be trusted.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

Budgets, boobies and The Big Lie

Page 3 editorial10 Downing Street – PM marks International Women’s Day: The Prime Minister has marked International Women’s Day 2008 by asking women’s business leaders for advice on how to support the “next generation” of successful women. The PM and his wife were joined for a lunch reception at Number 10 by a range of guests including Oxfam CEO Barbara Stocking, Sun editor Rebekah Wade an*WAIT! WHAT? WTF!? Rebekah Wade???

If I read this article right, Gordon Brown is asking Rebekah Wade of all people to “adopt and mentor” British teenagers and young girls in order to empower them.

And yet in today’s super soaraway Sun, there’s yet another perfect example of Wade’s ongoing efforts to exploit young women by using their semi-naked bodies to feed her readers either (a) right-wing propaganda (b) Downing Street propaganda, or (c) a clever mix of both.

(If you’re new to Bloggerheads, plenty of examples can be found here and here.)

Putting Rebekah Wade in charge of a young women with aspirations is like putting Fagin in charge of a child-entrepreneur scheme; the majority of ‘graduates’ will be victims used to victimise people, with one lucky pup (maybe) getting lessons on how to form and control their own gang.

I’m guessing *that* lesson starts with a special contract for nudie shots, that states in complicated legalese that the editor has the right to assign opinions to any/all models in a clear attempt to exploit them and everyone who likes staring at their boobies.

Yet another Big Lie, courtesy of the ‘new and improved’ Downing Street, ladies and gentlemen.

(Oh, and speaking of big lies, there’s a right-wing editor on the loose in Wikipedia who likes to censor his own Talk page, and one of the many favours he’s done for the British gang of right-wing pseudo-bloggers is the big lie – first entered here – that Paul Staines ended up independently wealthy after his years in the field of finance. Two trails for you to follow if have the time and inclination to join me.)

Posted in Gordon Brown, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Fred and Sharon’s movies (make your life go better)

Fred and Sharon Spencer are a delightful couple from Kelowna, Canada.

In January of this year, they invested in the domain name, uploaded a shedload of brilliant videos to their YouTube channel, and waited for the world to come knocking on their door, seeking the services of ‘Fred and Sharon’s Movie Productions’ (and/or ‘Fred Spencer Productions Unlimited’).

Sadly, nothing happened.

A month later, Fred Spencer uploaded what is quite possibly the most brilliant promotional video ever to be released on YouTube.

But again, nothing happened… until a few days ago, when people finally started to sit up and take notice in a BIG way.

Fred and Sharon are now one of the hottest tickets on Teh Internets, but – and here comes the really odd bit – they have suddenly decided that they no longer want to promote their services as filmmakers (and animators); the bulk of their site has been removed* and replaced with the message “temporarily offline”!

I can’t for the life of me work out why. Perhaps you’d care to take a look at their YouTube channel and the promotional video that made all the difference and enlighten me:

Fred and Sharon Spencer: Who Needs a Movie?

(Link via b3ta.)

[*Psst! Scraps of the original site can be seen for a limited time in Google’s cache.]

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You better run, you better take cover

(Queensland) Courier Mail – Repeat sex offender to be deported: A serial child sex offender with a 43-year criminal history will be kicked out of the country as soon as he is released from a Brisbane jail this month. Raymond Kenneth Horne, 61, has been declared an unlawful citizen in Australia after spending more than 14 years behind bars for sexual offences against boys as young as 13.

(Australian) Daily Telegraph – Anger over plan to deport pedophile: Raymond Kenneth Horne migrated to Australia with his family as a five year old in 1952 but will be sent to London next week when he is released from jail after 14 years behind bars for sexual offences against boys.

1. Spare a thought for any poor sod by the name of Raymond Thorne: the peeps at the Mirror have mistakenly used this name not once but twice.

2. There are a number of points and concerns worth discussing here, so congratulations to the good people at the Sun, who have run with the story and actively promoted the following as their main online discussion today (the title speaks for itself):


Is it just me, or is this likely to become the most informed, balanced and constructive debate of its kind?

UPDATE – Dave Cole – The right answer, the wrong reason

Posted in Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 8 Comments


Bloggerheads – “Answer my questions, or the puppy gets it.”: I’m as appalled as Justin is… but not quite as shocked. The death of an innocent puppy doesn’t involve any tricky politics, so it’s an easy win.

Short version

Number of MPs who stood up for the notion that “the bearskin hats worn by the five guards regiments have no military significance and involve unnecessary cruelty”: 207

Number of MPs who stood up for the notion that “the Prime Minister [should] meet the UK’s moral obligations by offering resettlement to all Iraqis who are threatened with death for the “crime” of helping British troops and diplomats”: 79

Long version

Iain Dale:

Iain has gone in to bat for his old chum Ann Widdecombe and plugged her campaign “to persuade the MoD to stop buying black bearskins from Canada.”

You may recall that this is the same Iain Dale who, rather than join the campaign to protect/rescue Iraqi employees, instead decided to deliver this patronising lecture (as part of his ongoing mission to rewrite blogging history with himself at the forefront).

[Psst! The issue here for the government appears to be the lack of viable alternatives to bearskin. Perhaps Iain will be bold enough to suggest the use of fox skins instead. I’m sure they’d stitch together real nice, and the red will go well with the uniforms.]

Ann Widdecombe:

Ann is leading the charge on saving big cuddly bears, but has somehow failed to find the time to say or do anything about the human beings we have chewed up, spat out, and left to the mercy of roaming death squads in Iraq.

(Yes, I’m sure it’s terrible to be shot and then skinned while your corpse is subjected to “crude sexist comments”… but it’s equally unpleasant to be tortured with a power drill or simply gunned down in the street when the death squads are too short on time for such pleasantries.)

And while this campaign of Ann’s makes much of the “more than 200 MPs [who] signed a recent Early Day Motion calling on the government to switch to a modern and humane synthetic fabric,” here, she describes EDMs as a huge waste of time;

“I shall not miss the late nights and above all I shall not miss the EDMs. For the uninitiated that stands for early day motions which number thousands in the course of a parliament and have no more impact than a feather landing on a mattress, but which constituents take seriously and wish me to sign. Most of them call for open-ended funding for everything from varicose veins to hedgehog refuges.” – Ann Widdecombe

What a grizzled and bitter old hypocrite she is; no wonder she and Dale get on like a house on fire.

[Psst! That said, Iain Dale might want to consider Ann’s voting record on equal rights for homosexuals before committing to a post-opportunity friendship with ‘Widdy’.]

Anne Milton:

Milton signed the EDM to do away with bearskin hats. In fact, her Wikipedia entry once bragged that she was the first Conservative MP to sign this motion.

But Milton stalled on signing an earlier EDM in support of Iraqi employees until it was too late to sign (she actually had the cheek to claim the expiry of that EDM as her reason for not signing it) and – despite many reassuring noises – *still* hasn’t found the time to sign the latest EDM in support of Iraqi employees.

Again, I’m not shocked… just appalled.

UPDATE – Justin informs us that we can add Celia Barlow to the list, and offers this insight into Ann Widdecombe’s pick ‘n’ mix approach to humanity…

Chicken Yoghurt – Number crunching: And if you’re an ickle baby foetus, Ann’s got your back. If you’re an ickle baby foetus who grows up to be drilled to death by an Iraqi death squad or executed for being an Iranian homosexual, well, sorry but Ann’s got bears to worry about.

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Answers from Tom (plus a few extras)

You may recall that last week Paul Staines lifted this item from the Sunday Mercury without crediting that local newspaper as the source (presumably because it simply wouldn’t do to undermine his reputation as the King of Mole Hill).

Point of Hypocrisy #1 – Paul Staines is forever harping on about how MSM ‘steals’ his material without credit, when more often than not it’s simply a case of a number of people getting on to the same story at the same time when Staines has the advantage of instant publication without such mundane concerns as verification, production, litigation, etc.

The Daily Express also lifted the Sunday Mercury item without credit, even using many of the quotes (i.e. as if they had sourced them themselves)… but the Daily Express also made a subtle reference to Derek Conway in their article, when there was no indication of any impropriety regarding any of the employees/income involved.

Later that Monday, the Sunday Mercury article was still in place, but the Daily Express article had been removed. The most likely reason why should have been obvious to anyone who has the slightest clue about libel; after all, the two items were identical in nature right up until the point where the Conway reference was made.

But the reason for this removal appears to be a mystery to Staines and his readers. There are even some comments (anonymous, natch) suggesting that it was removed because of the vast (and quite possibly Stalinist) MSM conspiracy to keep the public in the dark… oh, and did I mention that the Sunday Mercury article was still in place?

Points of Hypocrisy #2, #3 and #4 – Amusing behaviour on the blog of a man who (a) dismisses or deletes anonymous comments when contributors aren’t singing from his song sheet (b) labels those who mention this and other forms of selective moderation as ‘conspiracy theorists’, and (c) is quite fond of ‘disappearing’ information himself.

While all of this was going on, Paul Staines was outdoing the Daily Express by an extraordinary degree, by making an overt comparison to Derek Conway. This is what I blogged at the time:

Bloggerheads – Let’s probe some padded expenses!: The comparison to Derek Conway is totally out of order unless one *only* addresses the money Tom Watson paid to his wife Siobhan and *if* there appears to be some irregularity and/or difficulty proving that she has done this work. (Lister in the Express also works Conway into his article, but is far more careful about it.) The crux of the Conway matter was that Derek Conway had paid his son Freddie Conway £40,000 (over a three year period) and no record was found of any work done by this ‘researcher’. If a fair comparison were to be made, it would involve an estimated £60,000 paid to Siobhan Watson (i.e. over the same period) and there would have to be some indication that she didn’t actually do any work during this period. But instead, Staines (followed by Lister) has grouped the money paid by Tom Watson to his wife with Tom’s own pay and expenses, *and* tacked on money paid to members of his extended family by people and organisations that have *SFA* to do with that MP.

The Conway comparison was totally unfounded and totally uncalled for – and it should be clear why.

But not to Staines.

In a follow-up post, he plays to the conspiracy theorists, delivers a playground-level taunt, fails to link to the challenger(s) he claims to have bested, congratulates himself for being “ahead of the dead-tree-press” (over an item that he lifted from the dead-tree press) and hits us with his usual straw-man bullshit:

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes) – Pigs to Westminster, Home of the Pork: The unpopular parts of the blogosphere are complaining about Guido’s comparison of the monies received by Tom Watson’s family and the amount received by Derek Conway’s family. None of them dispute that the Watsons suck on the teat of the taxpayer to a far greater extent than the Conways ever did.

Derek Conway is notorious not for his overall level of expenditure, but for his failure to properly account for work done that would justify part of that expenditure.

Paul Staines lifted the guts of an article involving overall expenditure figures – and expenditure that has nothing to do with Tom Watson’s office – and then described the resulting sum as; “far more than the disgraced Derek Conway fiddled…”

Here I remind you that the Daily Express article was largely identical to the Sunday Mercury article, with the primary difference being a very subtle reference to Conway (it was presented as ‘background’). Oh, and that the Daily Express article was withdrawn.

But Staines made a direct comparison to Conway, and also implied that some or all of the expenditure involved was fiddled.

But I wouldn’t look forward to Staines’ article being removed anytime soon, as this ‘libertarian’ has taken a number of measures to ensure that he is (or at least appears to be) immune to litigation.

Point of Hypocrisy #5 – And yet if Paul Staines regards himself to be unfairly treated/represented, he will threaten to sue.

Meanwhile, Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines continues to play the bold, straight-talking warrior for personal freedom… but you should never forget that it’s those lying, two-faced MPs that we have to watch out for.


My MP (Anne Milton, Con) *is* a lying two-faced so-and-so, and recently it emerged that her husband was paid a few grand here and thereonce during a year when he was supposed to be working full-time as an executive for the NHS.

Paul Staines didn’t think this was worth chasing. At all.

Paul Staines also didn’t think it was a good idea to pursue the single portion of Watson-related expenditure that might allow him to make a justified comparison to Conway. So I’ve done the bulk of the work for him… but have left a bonus treat for Paul and his fellow right-wing propagandists and conspiracy theorists. I hope they enjoy it…

Below are the questions I put to Tom Watson, and two answers. Feel free to compare these to the single answer response from Anne Milton.

Q1. Where did Siobhan Watson carry out this work you describe? In your parliamentary office, your constituency office, from home…?

Tom’s Answer: She works in my constituency office, though often comes to sort out stuff in London.

Having visited Tom’s office once or twice when stuff was being sorted out, I can verify the latter.

Q2. What evidence can you show your constituents of the work you claim was done by Siobhan Watson?

Tom’s Answer: Most lobby journalists know her as the person who turns down lunch invitations. The rest of the world know her as my long suffering PA.

Heh. I like this answer; it has witnesses. I do look forward to Paul’s assertion/suggestion that all lobby journalists are involved in a vast cover-up.

Q5. Have any other members of your family been employed in this or any other way by your office?

Tom’s Answer: [see below]

Tom has reminded me that I already know the answer to this question. And do you know what? I’m going to drop it. If anyone has an issue with that, you know the address.

As Gary pointed out recently, there are no grounds for comparing any of the reported income with the Conway matter and – in my view – no grounds for further investigation.

There may, however, be grounds* for investigating the income of one Paul De L’Aire Staines…

[*Not intended or presented as a reference to Derek Conway. So there.]

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

Tom’s busy

That’s the short version… and I’m happy to cut him a little slack because, unlike some people, he doesn’t have a track record of dicking me around.

I’m a tad busy myself, but I did have time to knock this out for B3ta’s ‘Make Newspaper Comics Funny’ image challenge.

See you soon. Try not to harm any puppies or human beings while I’m away.

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