Total Politics: the Ashcroft connection

Posted by Tim Ireland at March 13, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Thursday, March 13th, 2008
at
1:45 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

New Statesman – Total Politics or Total Ashcroft?: Watch out Rupert Murdoch, take note Lord Rothermere – there’s a new media mogul in town. Lord Ashcroft of Belize, Tory bogeyman, is secretly bankrolling the new monthly freebie Total Politics, to be launched by the Con blogger and master of self-publicity Iain Dale. Your correspondent discovered Dale squatting in Ashcroft’s 7 Cowley Street basement lair when I paid an uninvited call to the Westminster block. Dale insisted the company was his, with Ashcroft a wealthy investor who’ll play no editorial role. Yet I suspect the involvement of the moneybags right-winger, whose tax status remains an international mystery, will hinder Dale’s attempt to present Total Ashcroft as “politically neutral”. (via)

Given 18 Doughty Street’s difficulties with neutrality, I would have thought Dale’s involvement alone would hinder any attempt to present Total Politics as “politically neutral”, but there you go.

And like Tom, I can’t help but wonder where else money has been secretly splashed about.

(Poor Iain. People might have been more inclined to believe that this was no big deal had he been up front about it, but he made no mention of Ashcroft when promoting the upcoming magazine on his blog. No wonder he’s so quiet this morning.)

UPDATE (5pm) – Lots going on. A fresh email from Dale just in. But I may have to leave you with this while he makes up his mind…

1. Do the test. Seriously, before you read any further, do the test.

(waits)

All done? With me now? Good.

2. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, yesterday, Iain Dale had cause to ask me to trust him. That had nothing to do with this Ashcroft matter and Iain knows that for reasons that will be made clear in due time (it will even me made clear in due time why due time is necessary). So the following (from one of my key emails to Iain on the subject of trust) is officially spooky (as opposed to a clear indication of a massive leftist conspiracy):

> Think about it; one day you’re going to *really* need the trust of myself or
> other members of the blogging community who have seen the way you willingly
> deceive people. Surely you can guess the rest.

3. Guardian – Ashcroft to bankroll new ‘politically neutral’ magazine: The Tory party deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft, is to bankroll a new “politically neutral” magazine, it emerged today. The Tory billionaire has agreed to invest in Total Politics, a political monthly magazine being launched in May by Tory blogger and publisher Iain Dale. The revelation, made by Kevin Maguire in his New Statesman column today, will raise doubts about Dale’s pledge to take an independent editorial line… Dale said: “The fact that someone like Michael Ashcroft is interested in investing in a business like this says a lot for our business plan. The magazine will be politically neutral. Just because somebody is investing in a magazine doesn’t mean they will influence the editorial line.”

4. Iain Dale responds to Tom Watson under comments:

Shouldn’t you, er, be running the country, something?

Mr Maguire was wrong. There is no bankrolling at all. The various investors in the magazine are investing on a fully commercial basis and will be expecting a return on that investment. It really is that simple. Seeing as though fewer than ten Labour MPs out of 350 have ever run a business I wouldn’t expect that to be understood, though

5. Iain Dale’s response to me was private (perhaps he has difficulty finding the ‘comment’ button here) but – needless to say – it did not address the issue and it wasn’t entirely grown up in its approach.

6. Iain is so unbothered by this piffling matter that he hasn’t even blogged anything about it. But when I popped over to check if Iain had anything to say to his readers (“Look! I’m in the newspapers again!” would have done) I saw something pass by in the background. I’ve highlighted it, just in case you happen to miss it:

MessageSpace ad for lordashcroft.com on Iain Dale's website

Obviously, Iain shouldn’t be automatically blamed for the ads served by MessageSpace, so just to clear things up:

To: Jag Singh

From: Tim Ireland

Subject: MessageSpace ads for Lord Ashcroft

Dear Jag,

For the sake of clarity and to avoid uncertainty:

Was the full going rate for MessageSpace banner ads paid for the lordashcroft.com banner campaign and, if so, by which individual or organisation?

Any details you can provide would be appreciated.

Cheers

Tim Ireland

7. Oh, I’d love to… but let’s wait for the response from MessageSpace first. I want to be as fair as possible to these people.

[Jag? When you’re ready. I’d ask Paul, but he’s still not talking to me.]

UPDATE (5:39pm) – The official response from MessageSpace:

“We don’t divulge any commercially sensitive info.”

Oh, how sweet. Now they expect you to trust them.

UPDATE (6pm) – Opportunity knocks: Tonight, 11.30pm News 24 with Alex Hilton on Question Time Extra

I invite you to watch it, even if it’s only to watch an opportunity pass by.

UPDATE (12 midnight) – Alex Hilton never tires of being Iain’s bitch, does he? Oh, and David Cameron does knowingly whore his family out and I have proof; watch David Cameron ‘unscripted’ and caught ‘unawares’ in his home.

UPDATE (14 April) – That last sentence only makes sense if you can see the interview, which has since been taken offline, so I’ve scrubbed it. Oh, and here’s a special something for every elected official in the UK who does not want to receive a ‘politically neutral’ magazine from Dale/Ashcroft.








9 Comments

  1. Justin says

    If truth be told, 18DS did make a stab at balance – they recruited lefty-bashing lefty Peter Tatchell and former co-producer of atrocity-denying Living Marxism, Claire Fox. It certainly made this liberal lefty want to watch, didn’t it you?

  2. QT says

    Did 18DS ever make any claim to political neutrality?

  3. Manic says

    Hello, QT, and welcome to Bloggerheads.Short answer: yesIf you want proof, I'll happily provide it.[MOD EDIT: Sorry, but this is not QT's first comment here. Welcome *back* to Bloggerheads, QT.]

  4. QT says

    Thanks. I'll happily take your word for it on 18DSIt was just that I'd thought it was quite clearly slanted towards the Conservatives, and as there is no reason why something like that would have to be politically balanced I wondered why they would make that claim anyway!

  5. Manic says

    There were a number of times when a clear effort to portray/achieve neutrality was apparent, but Iain and his chums (again) appear to have missed the core lessons regarding trust:http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/tv/2007/07/fair_and_b

  6. mikkimoose says

    I find it quite hard to miss cyclists.They are usually attempting to run me down at zebra crossings, going through red lights, waiting in the middle of pelican crossings, cycling the wrong way down one-way streets, making illegal turns, showing entire disregard for the rights of other road users, etc.

  7. jailhouselawyer says

    You will note that Iain Dale has a I told you so post about Yahoo! leaving Britain to go yodeling in the Swiss mountains because of Business Corporation Tax. This from a man who is being bankrolled by Lord Ashcroft who is famous for not paying tax in this country!

  8. mikkimoose says

    He also has a rather pointed post about stalkershttp://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/03/advice-from-

  9. Manic says

    mikkimoose: About time I wrote that book, then. These idiots are clearly running out of tricks:https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/03/look

  • NEW! You can now support Bloggerheads by buying handmade firelighters for camping and utility or deluxe firelighters for your home fireplace. Visit fireburngood.com to see my products.

    Fire Burn Good fire lighters

  • External Channels

  • Tim Ireland

  • Page 3 Politics

    Page 3: a short history

  • Main

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Cautionary Campfire Songbook

    The Cautionary Campfire Songbook

  • Badges + Buttons

    religion