Feel Paul’s pain

Paul Staines isn’t suing me about this, specifically… but it’s the reason why he had to do *something* as I’m sure you’ll appreciate:

I’ve just responded to a letter from Paul Staines’ lawyer that arrived late last night, and I sincerely hope to be able to share* it with you.

(*That’s pretty much up to Paul and how sensible he’s willing to be.)

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 11 Comments

Another song for Paul

Ths one’s a ripper, and a personal favourite. I reckon Charlotte Church could pull off a whopper of a cover if she had a mind to.


Electric Pandas – Big Girls

Posted in Australian Music | Comments Off on Another song for Paul

That’s Iain Dale all over

I can’t possibly improve on this comment about Iain Dale delivering yet another free ride for one of his Tory chums and predicting the kind of semi-anonymous beating he normally tolerates the hell out of when he’s not on the receiving end of it, so I invite you to read it in full.

Take a bow, ‘ahs benton’:

Call Iain Dale a hypocrite and he squeals like a pig impaled upon a very sharp stick. His normal defence, trotted out again this time, is that his detractors are “cowards” for posting anonymously.

That they can post anonymously because his blog allows anonymous comments is just one measure of the man’s stupidity.

A measure of his hypocrisy is that he never accuses anonymous posters of cowardice if they are attacking one of his opponents.

Another is that he attacks Labour and the Lib Dems with obvious glee for the most minor of errors, whilst remaining silent for as long as possible when it is the Tories who are at fault.

He fails to see that you must at least acknowledge when your side gets it wrong, or risk being exposed as a hypocrite.

That such a mediocrity should be accepted by the MSM as Britain’s Leading Blogger has long been a mystery to me when it is obvious he is little more than a gaudy Tory Pom Pom boy.

[Psst! More on Staines soon. I have to dot a few Is and cross a few Ts first (but I’m used to that, because I write my name a lot).]

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

The Magic Mirror

“Romper, bomper, stomper, boo.
Tell me, tell me, tell me do.
Magic mirror, tell me today.
Did all my friends have fun at play?”

Well, I can see Justin, and I can see Paul

Posted in Normal People | 4 Comments

An interesting day

1. The latest contact list just arrived, and I am now officially a local flood warden.

2. I have just received notice that my submission to the public consultation on SOCPA has been read/viewed.

3. Oh, and Paul Staines is waving his lawyers at me. Again.

Posted in Updates | 2 Comments

MessageSpace is distributing copyrighted material without permission

I was unaware that MessageSpace was Paul Staines’ own personal plaything. Somehow, I got the impression that it was a group effort and he was merely an advisor of sorts.

Oh well. Live and learn…

You may recall that Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’), before releasing a Friday-afternoon press release (embargoed until midnight, no less), responded to the Telegraph’s discovery of his use of the Conservatives’ email system with a totally unrelated complaint that they had ‘stolen’ a cartoon (that he himself had unwittingly offered as a freebie by feeding it to one and all via an earlier press release).

But let’s take a look at Paul Staines’ past form when it comes to consistency on copyright…

PolDraw – Copy Right, Mr Dale…: Tribune cartoonist Matt “Hack” Buck informs me that Andy Davey was involved in a similar incident with Guido last year. However, unlike Dale, Guido immediately removed the cartoon when notified about it.

[Iain Dale being difficult about images that he’s nicked? Never!]

‘Guido’ followed up with this comment: As a capitalist I am a believer in property rights. I do rip off images ftom the BBC website because I regard them as public property. I do get sent a lot of images by people using photoshop and/or claiming original work. Beau Bo d’Or forinstance used Iain Dale, Recess Monkey and myself to advertise his briliance before he got picked up by the Guardian. I would not knowingly try to profit from someone else’s work unjustly. If you see an unfairly used image on my blog, email and it will be removed.

I’ll leave the juicy BBC quote and Staines taking credit for the talents of others finally being rewarded in a formal and monetary sense to others, as I want to keep this short…

Knowingly or not (I’m trying not to underestimate his ignorance) Paul Staines *does* profit from the work of others unjustly:

Here’s cartoonist and animator Matt Buck noticing Paul Staines leeching material from Channel 4’s servers**.

Here’s photoshopper and animator Beau Bo D’Or complaining about (ahem) an un-named party leeching material from his server. (Hint: It’s Paul Staines.)

Leeching: In computing and specifically on the Internet, being a leech or leecher refers to the practice of benefiting, usually deliberately, from others’ information or effort but not offering anything in return, or only token offerings in an attempt to avoid being called a leech… Direct linking is a form of bandwidth leeching that occurs when placing an unauthorized linked object, often an image, from one site in a web page belonging to a second site (the leech).

[Beginners: A commonly-known form of direct linking (also known as hotlinking) is video embedding, as when you see a video hosted on YouTube appearing on another website; it’s called up from YouTube’s servers by a bit of code and the rest of the page from the external website site loads around it. But in a situation like this, the creator of that video has the option to decide for themselves if they would prefer the traffic to go to another website or directly to their YouTube channel.]

Essentially, what Paul Staines is doing is borrowing other people’s work without permission, dropping in a credit to cover his arse, and calling this work up from the creator’s/owner’s server:

1. Credit links mean naff-all if Staines has not sought permission.

2. Credit links mean naff-all if visitors to his website do not need to visit the website of the creator to view the image or animation in full.

3. Paul Staines is benefitting from the resultant traffic while the creator/owner of the work foots the bill for the bandwidth that he’s responsible for.

I must admit that I was surprised by this. Staines is relatively street-smart, and must know that many dimwits have come a cropper after hotlinking material from a server under the control of the creator… as what usually follows is a change of that material designed to embarrass the hotlinker thief*.

[*Let’s not sugar-coat it.]

And yes, Beau Bo D’Or justifiably got a little miffed about Staines’ repeated hotlinking, and so – over the weekend – changed the code of an .swf (Flash animation) file that Staines was leeching so it redirected anyone visiting a page on order-order.com where it appeared to Conservatives.com

(I haven’t asked, but his photoshopping shows that Beau Bo D’Or is a clever guy with a sharp eye for overlapping absurdities, so I would guesstimate that he chose to redirect to the Conservatives.com because of the very same Telegraph incident that kicks off this article. Staines should count himself lucky that he was dealing with a gentleman like Beau Bo D’Or… otherwise he might have found the redirection going to a copy of a certain Guardian article from May 31st 1986… while the hotlinked file was on the front page rather than in the December 2007 archives.)

After I blogged about this yesterday, it took a few hours for Staines to track down the redirection and address it… now take a look at his solution:

Did he withdraw the animation and apologise? No.

Did he simply withdraw the animation? No.

Even though he must know by now that he does not have permission to use it and the creator is unhappy about the way in which it was used.

If you take a look at the relevant post on Staines’ website, you will see that the animation is still there.

If you look at the code of that page, you will see where Staines is now hosting an uncoded copy of this stolen animation (lifted from Channel 4 or Beau Bo D’Or):


Yes, Paul Staines decided to host the stolen material in the primary directory of the MessageSpace website so he could continue to feature it – without permission – at his ‘Guido Fawkes’ website.

Paul Staines has been walking a fine line with MessageSpace for quite some time now… and he just tripped over it.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer parasite.

[Now we wait for Paul to explain this embarrassing little liberty to his business partners and then pretend in public that nothing of consequence has happened. I predict much spin and bluster, and perhaps even some sock-puppets and/or lackeys falsely claiming that I’m guilty of the same offence.]

UPDATE – **The famed libertarian suggests in another legal threat (under comments) that he had permission to leech from Channel 4. I am happy to correct anything in this post that suggests otherwise (I’m even now adding this voluntarily), but would like to note for the record how neatly this sidesteps the primary animation/issue in this post.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 8 Comments

Peter Hain

Judging by past efforts of right-wing bloggers thugs, over the next day or two there are bound to be a few anonymous comments appearing here and there that seek to cast me as a New Labour stooge or even a paid-up member of a Hain-headed hit squad.

I seek to assure you that I have met Peter Hain, we had a long conversation about Blair and Iraq in 2004, and I can tell you now without qualification that I think he’s a heartless two-faced self-serving bastard.

OK, now that’s out of the way, Paul Staines gets a well-deserved black eye in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 2 Comments

So what’s going on here, then? (Part Two)

Note #1: This probably won’t last for long, as Staines is lurking nearby (even though he’d never admit it).

Note #2: I am *not* including a hyperlink, because this has nothing to do with the redirection code that proves how sensitive Paul Staines is to scrutiny.

Here is a URL:


It is the URL for the Guido Fawkes archive (December 2007).

If you copy and past that URL into your browser’s address bar, and try to visit/view the December 2007 archives… well, there’s no need to ruin the surprise just yet.

OK, now you’ve seen that, here’s today’s blogging exercise for beginners…

Without getting ‘revved up’ or making assumptions, see if you can ask the right questions and find those answers that will explain fully what is going on here and why it’s so damn amusing to those in the know.

UPDATE (9pm) – Just a quick note to let you know that ‘Guido’ has finally worked it out *and* managed a fix. More details tomorrow.

UPDATE (29 Jan) – All is explained in this follow-up post that ‘Guido’ is not going to like at all.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 6 Comments

A few straight questions for the Conservatives

The following is the list of questions that I would loved to have issued to CCHQ days ago, had Paul Staines not released his semi-embargoed explanation for this turn of events at 6pm on a Friday evening (in much the same manner as the spin-doctors he claims to loathe):

How long has the Daily Lobby distribution list server been in place?

Who is it designed for? (i.e. who uses it with your permission?)

Who knows about it?

Were you aware before Friday [25/01/07] that anyone who knew the distribution address [DailyLobby@conservatives.com] could send emails through your system that appear to come from the Conservative Party?

When will this loophole be fixed?

Has Paul Staines (‘Guido Fawkes’) used this facility before?

Does Paul Staines have your permission to use this facility?

For how long have emails sent through this system had the signature ending “Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP” attached prior to forwarding?

What signature, if any, was attached to emails sent through this facility before this?

How many recipients are there for your Daily Lobby distribution list server?

How does one opt in and out of the service?

Who is your most senior Data Protection Officer and are they aware of this list, the loophole and the way it has been hacked exploited?

I’ll let you know if I get any answers.

UPDATE (1pm) – Still no reply from CCHQ, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that Iain Dale is equally uninterested. Iain has also called me a liar without proof (again) and declared our conversation closed at that point. And people wonder how he can operate a weblog and avoid scrutiny at the same time…

(Of course, if CCHQ comes back with a series of answers, each more plausible than the next… then I’m sure Iain will become interested in the issue all over again.)

UPDATE (4:30pm) – *Still* no reply from CCHQ. Meanwhile, I learn that the rather telling past of one of the two ‘bloggers’ most fond of screaming “Personal vendetta!” when the spotlight is turned on them has not escaped everyone’s notice..

Yorkshire Ranter – How difficult can it be?: In other random poo-flinging, why the hell has nobody, Newsnight included, picked up on the fact that Paul De L’Aire Staines spent the late 1980s in various ventures supportive of the Afrikaans Nationalist government of South Africa, and therefore has personal reasons to despise Peter Hain? Ignorance is no longer excusable.

UPDATE (29 Jan) – Still no answers, but at least the nice people at CCHQ are talking to *somebody*…

Computing.co.uk – Commons Lobby in Tory security fiasco: It appears that the blogger “Guido Fawkes” discovered how to route emails through the Tory Press Office gateway that is used to file press releases to political journalists. He (she or it) used the route to claim responsibility for Peter Hain’s downfall and explained how he had done it to a political reporter on the Daily Telegraph – who then went on to publish a further email containing material demonstrating what could be done, and how, to the entire world. The results has been a deluge of unsolicited emails from unclear sources, using the same method to hack into the Conservative email gateway. Some, in the spirit of inquiry, have been trying to discover if the security breach is real. Other have used the channel to explore their feelings towards Parliament’s press lobby. A CCO spokeswoman said: “Our IT department is on to it and is changing the settings so nothing more can get through. I am really, really sorry.”

Wow. A Tory used the s-word. This *is* serious.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 4 Comments

So what’s going on here, then?

A message finds its way to the Telegraph that bigs-up Paul Staines’ role in Hain’s downfall…. and at the end of that email is a bog-standard disclaimer you would normally expect when receiving an email from a representative of the Conservative party:

This email and any attachments to it (the “Email”) are intended for a specific recipient(s) and its contents may be confidential, privileged and/or otherwise protected by law. If you are not the intended recipient or have received this Email in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email, and delete it from your records. You must not disclose, distribute, copy or otherwise use this Email. Please note that email is not a secure form of communication and that the Conservative Party (“the Party”) is not responsible for loss arising from viruses contained in this Email nor any loss arising from its receipt or use. Any opinion expressed in this Email is not necessarily that of the Party and may be personal to the sender.

Join the Party and help us to win – https://www.conservatives.com/join/

Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP

But was it directly from ‘Guido’? It’s hard to tell by contents alone, as Paul Staines tends to speak of himself his carefree take-’em-all-down character in third-person.

It’s also likely that someone representing the Conservative Party saw it as a victory for their side and forwarded the contents of this post (which is – apart from the signature – the contents of that email word-for-word) and/or a press release.

The Telegraph simply telling us who was in the ‘From’ field would be of enormous help. How about it, fellas?

(As for Paul, he’ll probably want to come up with a better response to the issue than “You nicked my picture!” pretty sharpish or people might think he has something to hide. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I caught the footage of Paul’s bold gun-shy return to Newsnight last night.)

UPDATE – Kevin Maguire @ the Mirror (who also makes a promise of what I think could be the first MSM blogroll-drop) says; “I bet the fat lad’s face is as crimson as those out-sized red trousers he sometimes knocks about in, his laughable eagerness to modestly claim Peter Hain’s scalp backfiring wonderfully. A mutual acquaintance says the boy’s “livid”, complaining the Cons stitched him up. Tee-hee.”

UPDATE (3:20pm) – Also needs to be noted via the Telegraph comments; “What is surprising is that Guido hasn’t referred to this at all on his blog, and no comments have appeared in any of the relevant threads. Guido does have comment moderation on at the moment, mind you. Apart from his monosyllabic non-denial above, he’s been remarkably silent, and he’s normally fairly swift in rebuttals. One wonders whether he is considering his position or genuinely trying to work out how this situation has arisen.”

UPDATE (3:30pm) – The good folks at the Telegraph have answered my question in response to an email I sent them. The header shows the email coming from an address that Guido has used as a ‘contact me’ address on his website, but the label on this address is ‘On Behalf Of Guy Fawkes’. OK, that’s their side of the story filled out to sensible requirements… where’s Paul’s?

UPDATE – OK, here’s Justin… where’s Paul? Still no word of this on his blog… even under comments.

UPDATE (6:15pm) – Paul Staines has, finally (and rather oddly) released a press release to the general public, but ‘hidden’ the text in a graphic and placed an embargo on it. You can read it here.

UPDATE (6:45pm) – Turns out that Paul has called the Telegraph, who have posted the following update (ignoring his odd call for a pseudo-embargo); His story: he “hacked” the Conservative Party press office’s email distribution list in order to email lobby journalists. Nothing more sinister than that, Paul says, sending the email below to demonstrate how the trick works. Paul insists that he’s enjoyed the recent and widespread comment on his antics tremendously (see Kevin, Sam, Bloggerheads et al) , but then asks ever so sweetly if we would please “close the story down for now.” Well Paul, just to prove that the vast, moribund mainstream media conspiracy can be magnanimous sometimes, we’ll leave it there, “for now.” And don’t worry, that comment about your BNP membership card is strictly between you, me and the tape recorder.

UPDATE (7:00pm) – I’ve checked the method for myself, and it works. The (failed) embargo is probably designed to allow the Tories a chance to plug the hole before everybody else starts playing with it.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments