Iain Dale plays the victim… again

This entry was posted on
Monday, February 12th, 2007
5:20 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Oh, so it’s suddenly time to ‘play nice’ again, is it? I wonder what brought that on?

Iain Dale has posted a ‘last word’ on some of the many accusations I’ve levelled against him. The main thing I note is that he has not linked to any of the evidence or background material in his piece… all he provides his readers with is his version of events as he sees them (and the comments on his site again show a series of astro-turfers and ditto-heads eating it up).

Iain Dale’s Diary: Let the Blog Wars Cease

Over the last few weeks a huge amount of damage has been done to the British blogosphere. Blogwars have broken out between various parties which have made us all appear like obsessive schoolschildren [sic] who have nothing better to do with our time than flame each other. It’s developed into a pitch battle between left and right and emerged out of the investigations into the Smith Institute. It’s time to call a halt to this before it all gets out of hand and writs are issued. The latest spat over the weekend where a group of bloggers accused another one of wanting in the past to aide the BNP was a spat too far.

I have made it clear from the very beginning that my concern is that the combined antics and reputations of Paul de Laire Staines and Iain Dale have already done great damage and threaten to do more:

Bloggerheads: This is not what blogging is supposed to be about. It’s not even within shouting distance. Even Iain Dale knows this… or pretends to. In his laughable guide to political blogging in the UK, he pushes Guido forward as his poster-child and states that; “The power of blogging flows from directly connecting with the readers, key to that direct connection is honesty.”

Iain Dale’s only defence for the latter (so far) is that Staines wrote that piece himself and Dale didn’t want to ‘censor’ him… in a publication with Iain’s name and face on the front!

That it has turned into “a pitched battle between left and right” only reflects badly on the Conservative Party:

Political Penguin: The state of play is a bit uneven at the moment, with all honesty I agree with Unity that the Tories are ahead of the game on this, but lets just qualify that statement. The Tories are ahead not because they are technically better, nor more organised, nor more intelligent, they are simply more unprincipled and happy to break long held netiquette valued by those of us who have a sense of fair play and honour.

The Smith Institute mention is merely a veiled ‘Tim Ireland is a Brownite’ smear. The BNP matter I will deal with as soon as I am able… all I can say now that the reaction of the ‘blogger’ involved alone proved many of the points that I have raised about him.

I have been repeatedly accused of lying. I have not responded to these accusations because I have felt that if I do it will merely exacerbate the situation and prolong the torture. At times over the past fortnight I have felt what it is like to be the victim of stalking. Believe me, it is not pleasant. Some will say that by sticking my head above the parapet on certain issues I have only myself to blame. Maybe they’re right, but what a sad situation we have got ourselves into. Others say that being attacked by left wing blogs on an issue where they feel vulnerable is an accolade. I do not share that view.

Iain’s silence has been part of a deliberate attempt to keep relevant revelations from his readers. Now he seeks to address the matter with carefully woven spin, by playing the victim and smearing me in the same damn paragraph.

Iain Dale has, on a number of occasions, failed to give an immediate and direct answers to fair and pertinent questions (read this and this for examples of key techniques).

Pressing the matter does not make me a stalker (until, perhaps, I break into his house and tattoo my unanswered questions on the arse of his Jack Russell).

It is also dishonest to suggest that this is primarily about issues or political differences… it is about integrity, conduct, fair play and respect for your readers.

Speaking of which, Iain has also recently taken to deleting fair comments from his website without publishing them. Below is an example (screen capture here), which – had be published it – would have been the first comment appearing after he asked; “Are there working relations between UKIP and Ashley Mote or not?”

The comment that he aborted read; “Is there a working relationship between you and Nick Boles or not? Don’t lie to me now…”

The British blogosphere has always been a community where people with different views and agendas have a common interest. I happily link to people on the left and they happily link to me – not just in sidebars but on real stories. Over the last few weeks this has changed. We’re now in a situation where people who I have always regarded as sensible people, even friends, have decided that certain bloggers on the Right are their mortal enemies who must be destroyed. This must stop. If bloggers turn on each other we merely give fuel to the arguments put forward by Yasmin Alibhai Brown yesterday.

Tch…. if Iain means ‘uncle’, he should just say ‘uncle’. I doubt he has any genuine concerns for the integrity of the blogosphere, especially as he owes some of his success to a spamming campaign.

Guido has this morning ‘outed’ himself for the first time and confirmed the identity which anyone with a remote knowledge of how to use Google could have done for themselves months ago.

Here Iain glosses over a juicy fact that he would have printed himself had it been about one of this political opponents; the *full* name of ‘Guido Fawkes’, which has only recently come to light…. and has the potential to lead his readers to all sorts of interesting information about the man.

In the spirit of reaching out to those who seem to have developed an unhealthy obsession with me I say this. I refuse to get dragged in to a war with you. You can keep sending over the missiles but I’m not firing back.

There he goes with the ‘obsessive stalker’ smear again… while claiming that he’s “not firing back”!

To Tim Ireland – and this is the first and last time I will be addressing him – I say this. You accuse me of calling you a ‘nihilist’. I emphatically did not. The tape shows that someone else called Guido Fawkes a ‘nihilist’ in a discussion about your spat with him and I asked the question ‘isn’t Tim Ireland one too’? Until I looked back at the tape I couldn’t even remember saying it. Now, I accept that you could draw the implication from that that I believed you to be one too but as I have said before, I actually had to look up what the word meant. If you really take offence at the question then I am happy to say sorry. But I am sure you have been called worse, as have I. I do not normally demand apologies or go to the lengths you have to get one.

Here, Iain Dale expects us to believe that he cut a guest off by throwing a word back in their face… when he did not know the meaning of that word. (Note also how he offers to apologise without actually doing so.)

Any blogger worth their salt would – at least – link to the relevant charge/exchange so people could judge for themselves what he did and did not do.

This is not the first time Iain has insulted me on his show, either. He once introduced an email from me in the following manner before chiding me for my ‘insulting’ tone; “This email is from Tim Ireland, who’s a very bitter young man…”

Why does he do this? Is it because we have ‘different views and agendas’… or is it because it is in his professional interest to continually undermine me? After all, we both claim to be experts in the field of political blogging.

(Something new for you… in this post, Caroline Hunt infers that I am a fascist and publishes the more overt comment ;”Tim Ireland is a fascist”. She also claims that she “got to rant at length about a certan [sic] blogspat” on Iain’s television show. I have made three requests for a copy of that exchange – which is not available online – and all three requests have been ignored.)

Tim Ireland has also accused me of lying about my Wikipedia entry. He says I have written that I was not aware of the page until last week and provide a screenshot of edits on the page. When I wrote “I was not aware of this page until today” I was referring to the DISCUSSION page, linked to from my entry on which I wrote those words. Of course I was aware of the main page. I am not demanding an apology from him. It’s an easy mistake to make. All I ask is that he accepts he was wrong. If he does indeed accept that, he will then presumably agree to remove the entry from his blog.

How very generous of Iain to allow me to retreat from my awful, awful mistake at my leisure. I will do so here without hesitation:

Of *course* Iain could have been referring to the discussion page (available via a link that’s right next to the link for ‘edit this page’):

But he also said that he was “new to editing Wikipedia”. This is not the case. Fine, he may not have used his login for 9 months, but the recent edit history of his article shows that Iain has also been making edits without using his login.

I have said all I have to say on this now. I won’t entering any dialogue about it.

How very convenient.

Either this is accepted at face value or it isn’t.

Anybody who takes anything Iain Dale says at face value is a fool.

If it is to be the latter. the feuding will continue to be very one sided, because I won’t be playing. The reaction of my accusers will go a long way to demonstrating whether the British blogosphere moves beyond its tendency to self-obsess or not. As Tim Ireland might put it. Iain has spoken. End communication!

Again with the faux-concern for the British blogosphere.

Let me make this absolutely clear and invite Iain Dale to enter into a dialogue on this basis (without hiding behind a series of anonymous trolls and smears):

I do not rate Iain Dale as an ‘expert’ in political blogging, as even the most cursory look at his set-up shows that he does not understand some of the basic fundamentals of publishing and empowerment. He also lacks the experience required to develop knowledge of long-term ramifications (and, I would argue, simple instinct).

I make no apologies for criticising his role as an ‘expert’, as he clearly doesn’t believe in many of the core values he insists bloggers should hold dear, and the way he and Paul de Laire Staines have been conducting themselves has given a false image of what blogging is (and should be), scared off many people seeking genuine engagement, and laid fertile ground for the ego-strokers and anonymous bullies of this world… a point I made very clear to him here.

Iain Dale still owes me an apology for the many smears and his outright lie about one of them.

Iain Dale will also want to honour my request for a copy of the rant Caroline Hunt refers to… pretty bloody sharpish.

And, finally, why did Iain leave comments open on this ‘final word’ post (when he makes clear that he not interesting in entering into any dialogue with the subject of that post)?

It is not fair to claim or complain that someone has been smearing/attacking you and then leave your comments open so others can smear/attack them on your behalf. Even from a purely practical perspective, it puts you in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ moderation predicament… especially if you have recently been accused of a less-than-honest approach to comment publication.

In this case, he should have disallowed comments on this single post. Surely an ‘expert’ would have known that?

Again, I’m left wondering if he knows or cares…

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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