Back the Bishop

With regards to the Christian religion, I keep myself a (mostly) respectful arm’s length from the fold.

I think this position is best encapsulated in the relevant category on my website; it’s titled “Christ…”

What you’ll find when you explore that category is (a) that I have a shocking level of intolerance for bigotry and those who exploit it and (b) that I’m likely to get especially riled up if people like that deliberately misrepresent someone else’s position in order to diddle fair debates and start false ones.

Key examples of this can be found here and here. In the latter, you’ll also see a fine example of sock-puppeting at work and – even though we’re all still enjoying half-time here – it would be remiss of me not to point out where some parallels between the skills of misinterpretation and sock-puppeting may exist.


I’m with Sunny.

And if you have any doubts about your own position*, I urge you to read Sunny’s article. And Garry’s. And Justin’s. And Septicisle’s.

[*Hint: The best place to start is by finding out what Rowan Williams actually said.]

Posted in Christ... | 2 Comments

Torture: Brown and the boy Miliband each need to grow a pair

David Miliband: “There’s absolutely no question about the UK Government’s commitments in respect of torture, which is illegal, and our definition of what torture is.”

Pants on fire.

Even if we take his statement as the position of a new administration, one has to consider that Jack Straw is a senior member of Brown’s cabinet (unless of course they ask him to leave the room whenever torture policy is discussed) and the best we’ve seen out of them so far is this pissweak effort.

UPDATE – And now, a musical number especially for Jack Straw:

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

Some comments are more equal than others

Garry Smith encounters some difficulty when submitting a comment to the Sun website.

The Mail website is just as bad, if not worse. One can only wonder how these jokers got the idea that comment manipulation and censorship was in any way acceptable.

UPDATE – Oh, and I know that it’s half-time, but I really must link to Iain’s reaction to the same story that kicked off Garry’s post, even if only for reference purposes.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

SOCPA documents released

Julian Todd, bless him, put in a FOI request “for all the protest/arrest information which the Public Order Unit of the Home Office couldn’t be bothered to include in their Managing Protest Around Parliament consultation document.”

The relevant post is here.

The released documents can be accessed via this page.

Happy digging. Oh, and watch out for more SOCPA fun here at Bloggerheads soon. Really soon.

Posted in The War on Stupid | 5 Comments

Half-Time Special: Act II (Anne Milton and David Cameron performing a jig and shuffle for your amusement)

First of all, let’s have a look at the sentiments expressed by our main performers on the subject of MP’s expenses:

“I believe the public are right to demand more transparency and openness when it comes to MPs staff, pay, allowances and expenses…” – David Cameron

“I believed it was vital to answer all media enquiries because clarity and openness is crucial to trust and confidence in the democratic process.” – Anne Milton

Now, let’s take a moment to see if they actually meant any of that….

I’m a poor, lowly constituent – and, arguably, a modest representative of the media – who’s having trouble getting answers to some pretty fair and straightforward questions about my MP’s expenses:

Bloggerheads – Anne Milton: possibly only a quarter as naughty as Derek Conway

So let’s see how far I get going over her head and having a quiet word with her boss:

To: David Cameron

CC: Anne Milton

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 4:30 PM

Subject: Anne Milton’s expenses

Dear David,

I’m having a little difficulty getting some answers out of my MP, Anne Milton, on the subject of her expenses.

She seems pretty quick off the mark (if less than forthright) when the local newspaper calls, but when a constituent with a more modest level of access to the media gets in touch, it seems to take days/weeks to get a response (on those occasions when I’m not being deliberately ignored).

Below are the questions that I put to Anne Milton a few days ago. They relate to this article on my website and roughly 13K in expenses paid to her husband, Dr Graham Henderson:

1. Where did Dr Graham Henderson carry out this work you describe? In your parliamentary office, your constituency office, from home…?

2. What evidence can you show your constituents of the work you claim was done by Dr Graham Henderson?

3. Was the work you claim was done by Dr Graham Henderson directly connected to the Save the Royal Surrey campaign, and – if so – what proof can you show of this?

4. You have said that your husband has done some work in the past year for which he has not been paid. What reassurance can you provide that he won’t be paid retrospectively?

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

Pretty fair questions given the circumstances, and I’d like to think that:

a) I’m well within my rights to expect timely answers

b) Timely answers shouldn’t present Anne with any difficulty if everything is above board

c) Timely answers are the least one should expect from a member of the shadow cabinet, given your clearly stated position that they should lead by example on this issue

If you’re not too busy, would you mind awfully giving Anne Milton a quiet nudge or hitting her over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper or something?

I mean, I’ve written an article about it and – just now – have published these questions…

… and it simply wouldn’t do to have the answers arrive so very late that they appear to be (to put it delicately) carefully formulated.


Tim Ireland

UPDATE (14 Feb) – Finally some answers from Anne Milton. Well, *one* anyway. Anne seems to think that the following is a satisfactory response to the questions listed above:

“I would like to assure you that all the staff I employ work extremely hard to ensure that I give my constituents the best service possible.” – Anne Milton

So much for clarity, transparency and openness.

Posted in Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

Look, it really is very simple….

A gem via Mr. Show: The Pre-Taped Call-In Show

Posted in Video | 1 Comment

Half-Time Special: Act I (a belly dancer speaks about human rights)

Most of you know Craig Murray by now, but you might not know too much about his lovely missus, Nadira.

It would be a pity if this state of affairs were allowed to continue, so without further delay allow me to present Nadira in The British Ambassador’s Belly Dancer (this official micro-site is proudly hosted by Bloggerheads).

I’ve heard some of Nadira’s story first-hand (minus the belly-dancing) but you, you lucky sods… you now have the opportunity to experience both.

If you’d be so kind as to blog about this show (and I sincerely hope that you will) then one thing you may wish to point out is the Newsnight reporter Madeleine Holt getting it all arse-backwards (pardon the pun) and then completely missing the point about spanking:

If Nadira enjoys being spanked and Craig enjoys spanking her, then this does not in any way conflict with their shared position on human rights.

If Nadira didn’t enjoy being spanked and/or Craig didn’t enjoy spanking her, well, then you might have a case.

See? A quality point, fairly made… with an added bums-on-seats factor.

(Again with the puns. I deserve to be spanked, I do.)

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement, The War on Stupid, Uzbekistan | 2 Comments

The half-time match report (with Nick and Elroy)

Well, there it is, Elroy. The half-time whistle has just blown, and the players are clearing the field for what promises to be a spectacular half-time show. The official line-up is largely under wraps, but I’ve heard that we can expect to see a belly-dancer speaking about human rights, an exclusive performance by David Cameron and Anne Milton, the comedy stylings of the London Metropolitan Police… and there’s even a rumour going about that you and I will be doing a musical number.


I couldn’t possibly comment on that, Nick… but I will say that, like Paul Staines, we may be experiencing the sweet, sweet pain of a regrettable incident from our past coming back to haunt us… and I’m not talking Newsnight here.


Ouch! Speaking of Paul Staines, we’ve not seen much from that player this first half, apart from a sneaky code change early in the match, a completely irrelevant tackle on Tom Watson, and a soul-searching sideline performance explaining the careful thinking that goes into his repeated references to nose-picking and some nonsense about a rocking horse.


Yes, but do keep in mind that young Paul has a long track record of not actually engaging on the playing field himself unless it’s during a time-out or long after the final whistle has blown, so keep an eye out, because the lad could move at any moment now that it’s half-time and everyone else is chugging Gatorade in the locker rooms.


Quite so, Elroy. And one question the people at home will certainly be asking is; “Will Tim Ireland reveal the unseen comment that was refused or deleted by Donal Blaney’s team-mate Shane Greer just before that player decided it might be safer to run with a ban?”


All signs point to ‘yes’, Nick. In fact, we’ve just had submitted to the desk a series of previously unseen emails that show another of Greer’s team-mates Phil Hendren attempting to prompt a ‘stalker’ claim during the first half, with little success.


A futile tactic from Phil Hendren there, Elroy… but at least it’s a new one, and at least he’s trying to stay in the game. He went out injured after a rough but fair tackle on Iain Dale’s site during this early exchange and it’s heartening to see him and Dominic Fisher keeping their hand in as they spit dummies and throw kidney-punches from the sidelines. If they can get on the field during the second half, perhaps we’ll finally see some good old-fashioned sock-puppeting and trolling out there.


Amen to that, Nick. Speaking of Iain Dale and the fine art of sock-puppeting howzabout that shocking but sadly incomplete ‘axe killer’ tackle of his?


I have to pull you up there sorry, Elroy. The tackle was incomplete because Iain Dale still flatly refuses to confirm or deny if he was behind it. Without confirmation, we can’t award the tackle at all.


Ah, yes. Quite so. Still, a glorious example of playing the man and not the ball, and worth a mention despite Iain Dale’s current state of semi-plausible deniability. Perhaps he’ll come out with one of his classic less-than-gracious admissions in the second half.


One can only hope so, Elroy. And what of that final spectacular Friday afternoon catch from MessageSpace?


I must have missed that one, Nick. MessageSpace was there for the kick-off, but I haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since then. Unless you count Paul Staines, the advisor to their major shareholder.


That’s because it was a *secret* play, Elroy. Perhaps more details will come out during the second half, but for now all we have is their official response to this question, which we’ll share with the viewers now:

“We do not comment on rumours or speculation.” – Jag Singh, Chief Information Officer, MessageSpace


Wow, that’s quite a twist, Nick. Especially considering how the advisor to their major shareholder conducts himself on his website. Last time I looked, that website was chock full of rumours and speculation.


You bet it is, Elroy. And MessageSpace can’t hope to keep passing the ball in the hope that no-one will tackle them, because it’s been a rough game so far and one really can’t expect Tim Ireland to keep taking cheap shots without at least playing a little hardball.


Right with you there, Nick. In fact, if his past is any indication, Tim will most probably step past that ‘advisor to their major shareholder’ dodge and follow the money… and I can’t see that leading to anywhere pleasant.


My *God*, Elroy! That’s a hell of a link to drop on people… especially during half-time. Are you sure you’re not one of Tim Ireland’s sock-puppets?


What? How *dare* you?! This is an outrage! I’ll sue! Just you wait and see; I’ll sue you for every penny you’ve got and then some! Maybe.


Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 5 Comments

It’s a bit early to start rewriting history, isn’t it?

Read and share:
Duncan Borrowman: Derek Conway is already rewriting history – has the man no shame?

UPDATE – Oh, and I’ve offered a few possible solutions for MPs here.

Posted in Inneresting | Comments Off

These right-wing pseudo-bloggers don’t know what they’re on about

B3ta asks the question: “Have you been stalked? Or have you done the stalking?” The best answer is right here.

Meanwhile (just in case you missed the update) Greer has graciously decided to completely fail to answer my question. Again.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off