Iain Dale and the Nick Boles question

This entry was posted on
Monday, February 5th, 2007
11:57 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

The 18ToryStreet plan to produce “a gloves-off attack ad” on London Mayor Ken Livingston raises many serious questions, but right now what I’d like to focus on is the polite and straighforward questions that CuriousHamster tried to put to Iain Dale this evening.

(Psst! There are surprises later. And cake…. maybe. Hang in there.)

If you’re not yet aware of the clever techniques Iain Dale uses to avoid pointed questions submitted to his weblog, you can see a recent example here and a full study of techniques here.

First, Iain’s post:

Iain Dale – (Don’t) Vote for Ken: The next campaign advert which 18 Doughty Street is making concerns Ken Livingstone. If you’d like to vote for one of the three idea click HERE.

Now, onto the exchange. I’d like to look purely at the discussion between Iain Dale and CuriousHamster, but I also need to include the handy distractions, as Iain insists on making them central to his ‘answer’…

CuriousHamster said…

Interesting stuff. Any ideas as to why people have started calling that TV channel 18 Tory Street?

Iain, as a trustee of Policy Exchange and a director of the TV channel, I have a question on this attack ad against the current Labour incumbent of the office of Mayor of London.

Is Nicholas Boles, the director of Policy Exchange, still the front runner to be the Conservative candidate for Major of London in 2008? Is he still in the running?

I can’t imagine that he is because you would have surely declared such an interest in an open and transparent manner. Can you confirm that he has withdrawn from the selection process?
8:06 PM

What CuriousHamster is referring to oh-so-politely here is Iain Dale’s recent failure refusal to declare an interest when filing a report for 18ToryStreet on the left-of-centre think-tank The Smith Institute… and I’m detecting some sarcasm here, but he is quite generous in his assumption that Iain would not be so bold as to pull the same stunt twice in one week.

But he has… and that’s not the only repeated stunt this week:

Iain Dale said…

Curious Hamster, go and play with your friend Richard Gere.
8:15 PM

Please excuse my French, but how fucking rude can you get?

I must admit that – upon reading this – I felt the need to check that this was a genuine comment from Iain dale. It was.

And did he answer any of CuriousHamster’s questions? No.

CuriousHamster said…

Touche Iain. I see my wits are no match etc etc…

It’s a simple enough question. Is Mr Boles still in the running? That’s all I want to know.

You can call me Garry Smith (my actual name) if that’ll help you concentrate on the question. Yes or no would do it.
8:22 PM

CuriousHamster responds with admirable restraint, repeats the core question, and gives Iain the opportunity to give a simple answer and move on. Bravo.

Iain Dale said…

You know Gary, bizarrely I don’t speak to Nicholas every day, In fact I don’t think I have spoken to him since before Christmas. I assume he is still intending to run as I have heard nothing to the contrary. If you are soooo desperate to know why don’t you email him? I’ll even be helpful and give you the email address info@policyexchange.org.uk
8:27 PM

One of Iain’s more annoying habits; an attempt to ridicule the question and/or the person posing it while delivering a guarded response (i.e. to impress us with a ‘hit’ in the hope that we don’t notice that his answer isn’t much of an answer).

For the record, I find it very hard to believe that Iain Dale, a trustee for Policy Exchange, was not in touch with Nicholas ‘Nick’ Boyles, the Director of Policy Exchange, either immediately before or after this report and its aftermath.

I could also bang on about Iain and ‘Nick’ both being gay here and ‘innocently’/jokingly assume that they both attend the regular meetings us breeders suspect they always have in our absence, but I’m not a query-undermining distraction-seeking motherfucker like Dale.

Speaking of distractions, here comes one now!

Anonymous said…

Note the severe limits to posting here – the “Dale democracy” is actually just another spin factory. I think we can all see what’s coming in the election – the CIA-controlled Dale running lies and smears from Doughty St, appealing to the lowest-common-denominator of what they perceive to be Moron Britain – hit the gays, call Livingstone a terrorist, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
8:40 PM

I’ll reserve comment on this until after CuriousHamster’s response… and Iain’s:

CuriousHamster said…

Now there’s a politician’s answer if ever I heard one. Not like that last one. It was just rude.

Just to clarify, you’re saying you’re not sure so you didn’t feel the need to declare an interest?

I’m not comfortable using that general email address for an independent charity to find out whether Mr Boles is still in the running to be Conservative candidate for major. That seems like more of a party political issue and not the sort of enquiry he should be dealing with during his time working for charity.

But that’s just my opinion.

Is there any other way I can find out? I must say, I’m slightly surprised that you don’t know. I heard that you were generally very well informed.
8:50 PM

CuriousHamster said…

Strange how the anonygoons have come out again. The allegations made by the anonymous idiot above, for example, are very easy to ridicule and very distracting.
8:54 PM

Given the rather vague response Iain gave and the extremely discourteous way in which he gave it, CuriousHamster cannot be blamed for further pressing the point and wanting to (finally) get to the guts of the matter. Also, his identification of a rather useful troll is worth noting.

Finally, CuriousHamster is right to point out that ‘Nick’ Boles should not be using Policy Exchange facilities to pursue a party-political objective, but I’ll expand on that and provide some other extras later*.

For now, it needs to be noted that this was the last we heard from Iain Dale for a while. Not that he was unavailable for comment. You can see him here after 10pm batting down handily-flawed accusations from anonymous web users in another thread and, as CuriousHamster notes, interventions such as this are “very easy to ridicule and very distracting”.

And here comes a whopper right after an arse-related detour…

PJ said…

On a point of order, Mr Dale I believe the Gere preference is for gerbils.
By all accounts hamsters may be the new newt………….
10:21 PM

Anonymous said…

Anon 8:40 you are right – Dale is playing the role that the Monday Club and CIA-funded arms dealers did to get Thatcher elected and to illegally run the national police forces during the minders strike, from a suite in the Ritz. Dale is financed from abroad, but from where exactly? Who is behind the Tory dirty war to come? I expect the aim is to make Cameron look clean whilst Dale and his neocon pals roll in the gutter. It was a technique perfected in the first Bush/Gore election and so I suspect it comes in from the US. We should therefore look to the connections between Dale and the Neocon-faschists in the New American Century movement, etc. The next General Election will be fought with knives and pistols.
11:00 PM

Note how this troll builds on the material provided by the earlier troll. Note also how Iain Dale responds:

Iain Dale said…

ROFL. 1. I am not a NeoCon. 2. I receive no income apart from my earnings from 18DS and my writing and political punditry. 3. 18DS receives no money from anyone apart from Stephan Shakespeare.
11:04 PM

Yep. He leaves CuriousHamster’s highly relevant question hanging and instead responds to the troll.

I’ve watched Iain Dale do this before… and the trolls that allow him to do this seem to turn up like magic. Even if Iain isn’t writing/submitting such comments himself, it’s one hell of a cheat.

And do you know what? I’m sick of watching him get away with it.

*Now, onto some of those promised extras:

1. 18ToryStret promised “a gloves-off attack ad on London’s Mayor and his record” (my emphasis)…. but the script that was chosen begins with bendy-buses and council tax (only part of London council tax is set by the mayor, BTW) and then goes on to associate Ken Livingston with various communists, terrorists, onanists, etc. etc. etc. Nice one.

2. Nick Boles appears to have learned his spamming generic email techniques from a master. Note also the ‘public consultation’ aspect of this email; like many candidates preparing to parachute into action, ‘Nick’ seems keen to find out what locals are concerned about before deciding that he too is concerned about exactly the same things.

3. Also note that the first of these went out on 18 Jan and the second on 22 Jan. No, Iain may not have spoken to ‘Nick’ Boles since before Christmas, but how likely do you think it is that he’s unaware of these emails… or the associated website… or the obvious implications?

4. CuriousHamster wanted to know if Nick Boles is still in the running to be the Conservative candidate for Major of London in 2008. One look at his website tells you that he obviously is, as it’s very London-focused and the only content of any note is the continuation of the aforementioned ‘public consultation’ exercise. And, while we’re on the subject of the website…

5. CuriousHamster is right to point out that ‘Nick’ Boles should not be using Policy Exchange time/facilities to pursue a party-political objective… so what are we humble mortals to make of ‘Nick’ Boles registering the domain names for his political prep-site (nickboles.com, nickboles.net, nickboles.org and nickboles.co.uk) using his Policy Exchange email address *and* the Policy Exchange mailing address *and* the main phone number for Policy Exchange?

(Direct link to screengrab composite here, if you need it.)

SPECIAL UPDATE – There is now a post over at Guido 2.0 focusing entirely on this discoveryand the possible implications. You may wish to include a link to that if this is the meat you find tastiest of all.)

Nick Boles: whammo

6. Who’s a naughty boy, then? There’s also the not-entirely unrelated matter of the panel discussion described here, where ‘Nick’ Boles potential London mayoral hopeful and Director of Policy Exchange (at an event part-sponsored by Policy Exchange); “was keen to draw a distinction between the approach of a Conservative London mayor and Ken Livingstone’s micro-management of many London issues.”

Any more for any more?

[Note to Iain – I probably wouldn’t have been up late writing this post and doing the relevant poking around if you had simply seen fit to give CuriousHamster a direct answer to a pertinent question. Just something to keep in mind.]

UPDATE (21 Feb) – Bloggerheads – Nick Boles steps down! (Nothin’ to do with me, Guv’nor…)

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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