Andrew Gilligan: Ailing Standards

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 26, 2008

Category: Old Media

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
11:53 am and is filed
under Old Media.

Ailing StandardsAfter giving Andrew Gilligan puh-lenty of chances to either deny or defend the use of multiple false identities to praise/defend his own articles and/or undermine critics of Boris Johnson, I finally ran out of patience with the bloke and took the fight to his doorstep.

This morning I dropped by Northcliffe House, home of Associated Newspapers (publishers of the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail, as well as the freesheets Metro and London Lite) and handed out roughly 180 copies of my own A4 freesheet Ailing Standards… most of them to Mr Gilligan’s colleagues as they entered the building.

Thanks to D-Notice for handling the camera work, Matt Buck for this ‘gift to the world’, and to security at Associated Newspapers Ltd, who acted like true gentlemen (knowing, as they must have done, that I had every right to stand on the pavement and hand out free newspapers).

Until further notice, I urge all of my readers to:-

– Download their own copy of Ailing Standards, print out as many versions as they can afford, and distribute them via any legal means they regard to be fair and proper

– Link to this post, so I may hope to one day soon be a top search result for ‘andrew gilligan’

Text from the main article in Ailing Standards appears below, as does a video of my morning adventure. Apologies for the crudity of the cut and the traffic noise.

In separate instances months apart, bloggers have detected multiple visits to their sites originating from searches for ‘andrew gilligan’ and resulting in anonymous comments about Andrew Gilligan. It now appears that these comments may have come *from* Andrew Gilligan, but those seeking confirmation of their own suspicions should beware; Andrew bites!

When it emerged that suspicious comments had also appeared on the Guardian’s ‘Comment Is Free’ (some of them containing specific phrases & claims that later appeared in articles by Gilligan), the journalist responded to the accusations of using multiple false identities (or ‘sock-puppets’) to praise/defend his own work and undermine critics by launching an attack on his accusers in the Evening Standard… without mentioning the accusations! In fact, the only denials from Gilligan so far involve:

– A vague claim about a marketing arm of the newspaper conducting “automated” research. (The Evening Standard denies that any such arm of their operation exists.)

– An even hazier claim from Gilligan that one suspected account belongs to his ‘partner’. (Life partner? Business partner? Tennis partner? He won’t say.)

No-one appears to be safe from the attentions of the mystery commenter, whose visits have been reliably traced back to Associated Newspapers Ltd; so far bloggers, journalists and even a professor of journalism have enjoyed his (or her!) attention.

So here we are on your doorstep, print media people. We really don’t mind journalists leaving comments under articles by themselves, about themselves or involving themselves… we just really wish they wouldn’t do so while pretending to be somebody *other* than themselves.

Andrew Gilligan – Ailing Standards

(Psst! The latest thread on this subject, containing yet another attempt by Gilligan to pass off a distortion as a denial, can be found here.)

UPDATE – I took some pictures of Northcliffe House while I was there.


  1. Guy Gooberman says

    Excellent stuff, you should be an actor. Speaking of which, I hope you get a chance to see Zero, we're in our last week now.

  2. Manic says

    Damn. I should've slipped an ad in. my best to swing a free night, D.PS – Thanks. Did consider it at one stage, but I enjoy eating too much. And picking my nose at traffic lights. You can't pick your nose at traffic lights when you're famous.

  3. Jonathan McCalmont says

    I think you missed your calling as a carnival barker :-)

  4. Manic says

    And I could've retired each evening to the delicious comforting goodness of pizza in a cup:

  5. David Boothroyd says

    Talking of wikipedia, I wonder who this could be offering his "neutral point of view":

  6. Manic says

    Don't assume it's Gilligan. We have an unapologetic sock-puppeteer with a long history of anonymous edits to Wikipedia on the loose, and he appears determined to confuse the issue.

  7. Manic says

    a post about said sock-puppeteer:

  8. Britmex says

    The last time that I checked into this blog you were going to watch Paul Staines in court and now you are hanging around outside some bugger's place of work. Is this behaviour normal in your view?

  9. CPLOL says

    Iain Dale still had loads of uncorrected broken links on an article about being a blogging expert 20 hours after this problem was first pointed out:…He claimed there were only four mistakes that he had now corrected – out of 31, trivial! – but six were still left. How much to the British Journalism Review pay for utter crap like that? And were theye "only" ten broken links out of 31 when it was first posted?

  10. Manic says

    Britmex: Perfectly acceptable, if a little extraordinary. But then, the situation is a wee bit extraordinary. Perhaps it seems odd to you because you've wandered into this little drama after missing the entire first act.Chris: No more OT links, please… and there are far more interesting things in that post of Iain's than a few broken hyperlinks.

  11. AdamB says

    Britmex- I've seen a few other weirdos 'hanging around' in courts and outside people's places of work. They're called reporters and they *ask people questions*. The only difference is that they do it every day.

  12. Britmex says

    No, the difference is that they are paid to do that. Besides, if Guido gets nicked for piss-headery that really is a non-story – unless you happen to think that every bugger's personal life is up for grabs.

  13. Manic says

    Leaving Paul Staines (and the issue of payment miraculously legitimising actions) aside for one moment, how does chasing Gilligan back to his ivory tower count as invading his personal life? You do realise that the majority of anonymous attacks were traced back to that building, yes? And that he also used his position with the Evening Standard to launch an attack on his accusers? (This all happened in Act One, so you may have missed it.)

  14. Britmex says

    Payment doesn't legitimise actions, but it does explain them. It is not about spending hours at the computer campaigning over this or that, it really is about behaving in a way that comes over to the general reader as a bit wallyish.I think that it is this, rather than any allegation of harassment, that should be stressed. If you want to go to a court to watch an enemy fined, and then stand outside an office handing out leaflets, go ahead.It does mean that you come over as a bit obsessive, that's all. Most of us take up an issue, run with it, and then turn to other things when we either get bored or the punters stop reading. You don't seem to – you seem to take up issues that are obscure to say the least and then flog them to death.

  15. Manic says

    So now it's the amount of time spent (based on your assumptions about my level of boredom and the level of interest shown by my readers) and not the actual activity itself that's an issue? Obsessive behaviour without the actual stalking, yes? I'm glad we cleared that up, as your initial comment might have led to some confusion on that fron*…Oh, wait… it isn't about the amount of time spent at all, according to this:"It is not about spending hours at the computer campaigning over this or that."So… you understand my sticking to my guns, so long as I give up relatively easily (i.e. don't continue beyond the point where you think I should be bored and you think my readers might lose interest), *and* on the condition that I don't leave my desk?As for the obscurity of the issue, I would agree to a point, but don't get your hopes up. I think sock-puppeting is at present an obscure issue, but that it deserves to be a bigger issue. I'm therefore inclined to spend a little more time on it when something pops up that might teach others how serious it can be.I'm working on it right now actually; obsessively committing myself to the task of animation, as it happens.But I won't be leaving my desk, and I may even give up halfway through, so I assume you'll be OK with that.(Thanks, BTW, for offering me the clear choice of 'normal' or 'not'. This initially made me suspect the sincerity of your intervention, but now I see that you only wanted me to conform and happily eat out of the trough like everyone else.)

  16. AdamB says

    Pretty much anything can be spun as obsessive if it's something you're not personally interested in/ don't approve of. It's a handy catch-all to use when you're looking to smear someone or something. Musicians, scientists, politicians, investigative reporters – they can all be portrayed as obsessive if you want to.As for the obscurity/lack of interest in the story, the sock-puppeting posts have been the most read and linked to posts I have done so far and have even been covered by (paid) journos. I've even been paid to write about it myself. When my cheque clears, will that make me less obsessive or more do you think Britmex?

  17. Britmex says

    Don't twist things around. If you are going to hang around courts and hand out leaflets on the street then folk are going to think that you are a mongish type. Especially when the issue is not exactly all that important. How many people even understand what a sock puppet is?Some poof inflates his readership figures, which is something else that I see you have banged on about. Sorry, but if you let yourself get worked by that then folk really are going to conclude that you are a bit of a spaz.

  18. Manic says

    Britmex:1. Don’t twist things around? You’re contorting enough for the both of us.2. We appear to differ on the importance of putting your money where your mouth is and general honesty on that front. Given your inability to be consistent or even coherent on the ‘obsessive stalker’ front, I’m tempted to ask what’s really on your mind… but we’re done here:3. Mongish? Poof? Spaz? Banned.

  19. AdamB says

    'Mongish? Poof? Spaz?'This is the same Britmex who warned me not to get 'chippy' a while back before boasting about having studied at Oxford with Boris Johnson. Some education you got there Charlie.

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