Iain Dale: focal recall

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 26, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Friday, October 26th, 2007
12:20 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Garry has kept up the pressure on Iain Dale in an admirably polite manner and has been rewarded with this comment from Iain that – again – neatly sidesteps the question of his erasure of evidence (on his blog) and refusal to accept evidence (on mine) that clearly contradicts his claims:

Iain Dale said…

Gaerry, as you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t posted on the blog since this morning. This is because I have been in back to back meetings all day. I have just got home.

I withdraw nothing. I have the emails from Ireland. You do not. Unlike him, I do not publicise the contents of other people’s emails.

October 25, 2007 11:09 PM

So Iain is defending making false claims and refusing to allow people to link to the evidence that shows those claims to be false… with mystery emails that he’s not going to show us?


I can understand why Iain might want to discourage email disclosure today… he sent something yesterday that I suspect he regrets.

Here, we jump over to a new thread, where Scotch (another figment of my imagination reader of Bloggerheads) tries to pin Iain Dale down over his double standards and a shameful level of partisanship:

scotch said…

I’ll repeat then Iain – perhaps the last one didn’t get through.

Did you not ignore a story awfully like this some time ago featuring some local Conservatives allegedly smearing a Lib Dem prospective council candidate in just such a way?

And when you were pretty clearly alerted to what was happening, did you say you had no intention of blogging about it?

October 25, 2007 5:01 PM

It should be pretty clear what Scotch is talking about; Iain Dale once made it very clear to me that he had no intention of blogging an item about a Conservative calling their political opponent a paedophile, and yesterday actually had the audacity to rub my nose in it.

I have brought this matter up with Iain a number of times and have done so very clearly in recent days.

The matter of Guildford paedo-smears marks a key point in our relationship, and I have also made that crystal clear. Repeatedly.

But Iain’s memory appears to be failing him yet again:

Iain Dale said…

Scotch at 5.01, as I emailed you, I have no recollection of this at all. I’m not saying it didn;t happen but perhaps you;d like to tell me where and where I am supposed to have said this. No doubt Tim Ireland will happily furnish you with the information in his 94th post about me on his blog today.

October 25, 2007 11:23 PM

Note here that Iain has invited Scotch to show him evidence, when linking to that evidence would be in clear violation of Iain’s ever-changing comment moderation policy.

And, as you can see, he mentions an email exchange. Scotch was so impressed by that exchange that he shared it with me. Seeing as Iain is so fond of games, I thought we could make a little game out of this:

Scotch’s comment was taking a lonnnng time to go through moderation, while other less-challenging comments appeared to be sailing through with little difficulty. Suspecting that he may have violated Iain’s ever-changing comment moderation policy in some way, Scotch sent this email to Iain:

—–Original Message—–
From: [Scotch]
To: Iain Dale
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 17:18:03
Subject: comment policy

Iain, am I now banned from comments?



QUESTION: For ten points, can you guess which of these replies came from Iain?

a) 17:39:15 BDT – No. I haven’t been at my laptop all afternoon and despite trying to approve comments from my Blackberry it doesn’t seem to be working. I should be at my computer from 7.30 so I am afraid I can’t do anything until then.

b) 17:40:03 BDT – By the way, I have no recollection of what you describe.

c) 17:41:15 BDT – Actually, I think your comment and a few others have now gone through but for some reason others still remain stuck. All very odd.

d) 17:46:09 BDT – I assume you picked this up from Tim Ireland. Enough said.

ANSWER: All of them.

I can’t possibly improve on Scotch’s observation when he sent this in, so here it is verbatim;

“This lot came one after the other in response to one mail. Pleasantness to paranoia in six minutes. Phew.”

Of course, if Iain hadn’t been such a dick about his response, Scotch wouldn’t have sent this exchange in, so I think this can fairly be described as self-fulfilling paranoia.

To close (for now) I’d like to address:

1. Iain Dale’s repeated implication that if information comes from me it can safely be disregarded as the work of an obsessive stalker:

i) Check the tail end of this post for Iain being outraged at what he perceives as a suggestion that he is mentally ill (original).

ii) It’s a smear *and* a tool that allows him to refuse the submission of evidence during a debate. Iain’s close blog buddy Dominic Fisher played this same game over equally tricky questions about paedo-fear being used as a political weapon; he declared that my transcript of a podcast could not be trusted to avoid having to address the matter, and then refused delivery of a copy of the original podcast on the grounds that he already had a copy!

iii) What Iain conveniently fails to acknowledge here is that repeated posts about him on Bloggerheads are a direct result of him repeatedly dodging relevant and pertinent questions on his own website.

2. Iain’s equally convenient failure to recall certain details:

i) Iain has, in both exchanges, clearly shown that he’s looked at Bloggerheads recently, but he somehow appears to have missed repeated references to the matter he now claims he can’t recall, one of which was the lead item for most of the day (and night) yesterday.

ii) And this is not the first time that Iain’s memory has failed him. He once completely forgot suggesting I was a nihilist… and the very meaning of the word ‘nihilist itself!

iii) For a neat close, we pop back to Garry’s ongoing attempts to call Iain on his false claim that he deleted an exchange between us from his website on the grounds that my reply contained ‘vitriol’; later in the thread Iain claims that he can’t recall exactly which exchange he was referring to when he said this and tries to suggest that it relates not to the exchange that is central to the discussion, but to earlier deleted comments where I dared to prove that he was a liar. Which is, of course, vitriol in Iain’s eyes.

All very illustrative. In fact, that’s why I’m obsessive enough to blog it.


  1. Jherad says

    It is kind of interesting watching how Iain's blog (and attitude to blogging) has evolved. I mentioned a while ago that it has become more of a megaphone than a blog, and he does seem to be intent on using it more as a vehicle of propaganda (and information control) than discussion.Iain has a large audience now, and (imho) is intent on keeping the appearance of a blog going, whilst massaging the comments into 'canned applause' in order keep the sheep believing that most right-minded people think like he does.Now, I'm bright enough to know that many political blogs, both on the right and left, frame terms of debate carefully, via article content, in order to lead readers down the garden path to an 'obvious' conclusion or philosophy. What sets the likes of Dale and Guido apart though is their policy on comment. On other sites, off-message comments are simply ignored and left unanswered, whereas it appears Iain applies a form of negationism. It isn't hard to spot however, which makes me wonder just why readers still take him seriously. Echo chambers can be quite alluring.I understand why you're so vehemently against his 'blog'. Trouble is, I don't know if your approach does much more than draw an accusation of stalking from him, along with a cackle from his congregation. It's like pointing out flaws with the news of the screws – you'll either be preaching to the choir, or to people who don't care.

  2. Lobster Blogster says

    Ever heard the phrase:"Slowly, slowly, catchee monkey" ?I've just caught two over at Lobster Blogster :-)http://lobsterblogster.blogspot.com/2007/10/eveni

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