Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 5, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Tom has kindly been keeping tabs on the Downing Street email situation, and he tells me that they’re a month away from a fix.

The emails I’ve gathered have been faxed to Downing Street, with the following message:

Hello, Downing Street Peeps.

The following are emails sent to to with the promise of hand-delivery to Downing Street.

I’ve just been informed that the email facility for the PM will (finally) be replaced within a month. This makes any kind of fuss over this surplus to requirements, so I’m faxing the data instead.

However, at some stage, if it’s not too much trouble, I would appreciate knowing just why it’s taken 6 months to fix or build a system that can process maybe 250 emails a day, especially when so many of them can be safely ignored, addressed with a ‘Gordon Brown thanks you for your letter’ reply, or passed on to the relevant authority.

Tim Ireland

PS – I don’t care if you’ve done away with the old system, you jokers still owe me £2000… or, in lieu of that, the simple courtesy of acknowledgement.

That “maybe 250 emails a day” figure is what I’ve calculated as the maximum everyday flow of emails based on the number of people searching for ways to email Gordon Brown, the PM, the Prime Minister, etc. (i.e. how many emails they would get if everybody looking for a way to do it actually wrote and sent something, which isn’t at all likely).

I didn’t collect anywhere near that many of course, but the small sample I did collect showed me that the types of email sent to the PM have not changed over the past few years. All that was missing from my checklist was some guy having a back-and-forth with his MP before dramatically CCing the PM on their conversation (“A-ha! You’re in for it now!”)

Initially, I wanted to use the opportunity to send an email myself (probing for a response about that lovely Mr Draper, who claims their blessing), but it can wait. For a bit. Maybe.

Draper’s way is widely recognised as manufactured and fraudulent, but the following PR parallels may be of interest;

1. Draper speaking of himself in third person in his comment-free updates column. Elements of Drudge and Staines.

2. People from his circle billing him as a ‘stalwart’ when he’s been online for two bloody weeks. Elements of Dale, Staines and Hilton.

These people bluffed their way through and bullshitted their way past pretty much everything that makes a blog a blog, and fast-tracked their way to influence by the simple measure of declaring themselves important.

The only difference between them and Draper is that they’ve had more time to perfect their technique.

Allowing Draper rope is a risk.

(Unless of course the plan is to match the current circle of self-promoting pseudo-bloggers like-for-like in pitched battles of rigged arguments and manufactured outrage, in which case development is well ahead of schedule and you should be celebrating with boat drinks before the year is out. We’ve already reached a stage where every conversation needs two threads, because neither party can trust the other to host it.)

Related Bloggage:
Turbulent Cleric – Thatcher was crass but Draper is the real villain!

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 30, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Read Richard Bartholomew and this comment thread on the subject of Lionheart’s serial retro-moderation and other sudden changes of heart.

Richard Bartholomew reports that Lionheart is back, and defending Glen Jenvey.

All of the comments presently under that latest Lionheart post about Jenvey are, in my view, most probably from Jenvey.

Most if not all are unmistakably written by the same person.

And reading them may amuse you, the readers of this obscure blog.

Data below the fold.

[———– fold ————–]


Posted by Tim Ireland at January 27, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Don’t run into big fights in a freshly-made mask. Ever. It’s a bad idea.

Turn up to a fight in a mask no-one recognises, and a lot of well-motivated and resourceful people will want to know who you are.

In a cape… well, you’re just asking for it.

Phil Hendren – Is the Labourist Editor a guy called Matthew Birks?

My answer (the short version): Yes

I looked in the same place Jag Singh looked a few days ago. I mention this only to point out that this connection was not visible until Matthew Birks registered (a response to in his own name and then hosted both sites on the same server.

So I’m thinking he either got overconfident and sloppy, or he wanted to out himself in a particularly awkward manner.

Unity – Labourist – The BNP Connection?

It’s via a (maybe) relative in the same area. So calm, blue ocean.

Unity – He’s not a Tory, he’s a very naughty boy…

Again; calm, blue ocean. A (maybe) relative (maybe) involved.

But just as likely not.

Anyway, now would probably be a good time for Matthew Birks to say something.

UPDATE – Do keep in mind that there are more than a few Birks running around.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 23, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Over the past 20+ hours, Derek Draper has been playing a fun little game of comment keepsies.

He’s been challenging folk, including me, to respond to this or that… while withholding any responses.

This is the link, but please keep in mind that this thread could change and there are a number of comments Draper could release at any time. A screengrab for reference is below:

Given his recent behaviour, I have every reason to expect that these responses – or simply the ones that put him at a disadvantage – will be deleted. Or maybe even released all at once into a confused mess a day after most readers will have moved on to another conversation.

He is using his position as moderator of the conversation to gain an unfair advantage in the conversation. This is a childish game, but it wouldn’t matter quite so much if he didn’t also tout himself as Labour’s ambassador to bloggers; a man who believes in the empowering wonders of engagement and debate.

I am trying to be patient with Draper and his people, but it appears that we have come to something of a crossroads:

Well, there it is. If I want Draper and his gang to take me seriously and treat me courteously, I’ve got to go through Downing Street.

An interesting week lies ahead.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 21, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Since mid-January, I have received a number of separate emails from the following address:

Labour Party New Media Team
info [at]

Initially, I thought nothing of it; I’d subscribed to email updates from the Labour Party a long time ago, and – given the sub-domain suggesting that this was under their control and that arrangement – I assumed that this was just their new way of saying ‘hello’.

But when I had cause to look closely at these more recent emails, it quickly became apparent that the emails were coming my way not because of any earlier subscription, but because I was a blogger.

Below is a typical plea from an early email of this type:

“… if you could blog about the discussion forum – even a short post with a link – we can make sure as many people know about it as possible…”

There was also another key difference; once I’d decided that I didn’t want to be on this different mailing list with its link-pestering agenda, I looked around for the ‘unsubscribe’ function… and there wasn’t one!

I replied to one of these emails (as one might with an ‘unsubscribe’ message/header)… and got a bounce message!

“… we will not have seen this email you sent us. You will need to re-send your email by clicking on the link below and completing the online form. Go to…”

But there was no ‘unsubscribe’ option there, either.

Now, the law is very clear on this matter. See the second of two highlights here:

Extract from The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003:

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes

22. – (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.

(2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.

(3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where –

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;

(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

(4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes where the identity or address of the sender is concealed

23. A person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, a communication for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail –

(a) where the identity of the person on whose behalf the communication has been sent has been disguised or concealed; or

(b) where a valid address to which the recipient of the communication may send a request that such communications cease has not been provided.

Translation #1: If I haven’t asked for it, they can’t send it. If they want to put me on any specific mailing list, I need to agree to it first.

Translation #2: There should be details of an email or web address within any email(s) sent out that allow me to unsubscribe if I decide to un-agree at any stage.

Now, initially I considered their position to be borderline on the first point, but completely in the wrong on the second, but it turns out they were totally out of line on both points.

Pig-ignorant carpet-bagger Derek Draper had CCed our conversation to a bunch of biggish-wigs the other day, so I sent an email to Derek and those same new media/Labour chums – Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller and Alex Smith – asking what was going on. It was Sue Macmillan ‘New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader’ (and warrior princess) for the Labour Party who answered.

She claimed that my name/email details were on the list because they; “made a list of bloggers we thought might be interested.”

1. Derek Draper had earlier made it obvious he had no idea who I was, and made it clear that he didn’t care. Now suddenly I find out that the Labour Party wanted my red hot linky-love all along?! Confusing. Especially so when this Sue person was CCed on the relevant conversation, and didn’t point out at any stage that I was exactly the kind of person they knew about and wanted to care about. It makes no sense to me… unless the Labour Party have been scooping up addresses of leftish bloggers without any real research, care or attention.

2. Tch. And here was me thinking that people from the party of government – i.e. those that introduced this anti-spam law – would understand that they’re not supposed to be emailing people until those people specifically say that they are interested.

Just because I’m interested in politics and I publish my email address on my site, it doesn’t mean that I want to be signed up to every political mailing list going. FFS, I’m into marketing, too; just imagine what my inbox would be like if the law really was that slack on this point.

And a mailing list is what this was; it wasn’t a one-off notice from someone asking if I might be interested in this or that, it was a mailing list that focused on the task of begging for links from weblogs and other forms of web-based networking.

If there was any doubt about that, Sue Macmillan removed it by saying the following;

“We made a list of bloggers we thought might be interested.”

(Psst! Here are the links you were after, you spamming fuckers; Wow, it’s a Shadow WebCabinet!, Wow, it’s your version of David Cameron’s Economic policy! ROFL!. Wow, it’s a discussion forum!, Wow, it’s a Facebook page! Wow, it’s a REMIX of the Shadow WebCabinet! (They must be really excited about their first passable viral mechanism in… well, ever.) Wow, anyone “can embed the widget onto your blog using the code here”! Wow, it’s a new site you’re launching at!)

I also asked about the lack of any kind of unsubscribe function – a requirement under law – and I was told by Sue Macmillan (New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader and warrior princess) that it was a one-off mistake:

“The oversight, I should be clear, was on this email alone.”

When I pointed out that I had at least 4 different emails in my inbox dating back to 13 Jan that all failed to meet this legal requirement, Sue went quiet on me.

It’s been hours now, and I’ve not heard a peep back.

So, here I am blogging about another example of the Labour Party jumping behind the wheel of their shiny new web strategy and driving it into the nearest bloody wall.

Well. Done. You. Tossers.

Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that I’m getting into any web vehicle with you behind the wheel.

(Not that you lot are getting anything out of me with the torture-happy toss-monkey Jack Straw still in the cabinet. Seriously, how hard can it be to shift that skid mark? “What’s that? Torture you say? Well, we’ll get right on with… destroying your life in order to shut you up! Mwahahahahaha!” What a grade-A first-class cu*)

[Psst! I apologise for the tone, readers – but on top of their spamming me, which pisses me off, they’ve fobbed me off with a bullshit claim, which really pisses me off, and then ignored me when I’ve got a valid beef, which royally pisses me off. The whole torture thing gets on my tits a bit, too. Actually, sometimes it gets right up my arse like a broken bottle.]

UPDATE (22 Jan) – Justin McKeating is a victim of this same spamming effort, as is Adam Bienkov of ‘Tory Troll’ who, hilariously, has been addressed in each spam as ‘Tory’ (as opposed to ‘Mr Troll’). Adam also states that, unlike myself, he hasn’t signed up for anything from the Labour Party, ever. In short, the list of known victims is already growing, and Sue Macmillan (Warrior Princess) is stuffed even if she changes her story about the origin(s) of this link-whoring list; someone in her team has clearly been trawling the leftish and/or Tory-sparring neighbourhoods of blogland and doing a not-very-good job of harvesting names and email addresses for the purposes of unsolicited email marketing; spam to you and me. Please speak up via email, comments or bloggage if you’re a victim. Together we can call these spammers to account.

The character is fiction, but the horror is real; Sick Days

D-Notice on The Sun v the Criminal Justice System.

Paulie has a different opinion to mine on MPs and their expenses. I readily accept that my opinion on this could be skewed by my MP being a right piece of work.

Unity and Septicisle on the ‘Al Qaeda has bio weapons’ claim from the tabloid you can trust.

Meanwhile, The Sun appear to be holding back on reports that Israel has been using white phosphorus as a weapon. For some reason.

(During the assault on Fallujah in Iraq, the Americans used white phosphorus as a weapon, and denied doing so. The Sun later dutifully reported when the cat was out of the bag that; “It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants, not against civilians” At around the same time, I talked to a British soldier who told me that Our Boys were officially trained in the handling and deployment of white phosphorus as an illumination device, but briefed “off the books, of course” in their use as a room-clearing or “bunker cleansing” device. Which is nice.)

Kevin Maguire driven home in expensive hire-car shock. It’s called a perk, and Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is acting like he’s never seen one before. You can hear Paul’s high-pitched nasal whine asking about mansions in Richmond and delivering a sarky “James, home!”… meanwhile, Maguire appears to be quite jovial, and taking it all in good humour. I doubt that I’d be quite so genial with a camera waved in my face, plus I know from experience that Staines hides from cameras, and is all-too-quick to scream ‘stalker’ if caught in any compromising situation. Staines, much like Derek Draper, is also censoring inconvenient comments under this video. If you must comment yourself, don’t do anything futile like mention that Staines has a personal beef with Maguire or that he himself has to pedal everywhere when not being chauffeured, on account of his driving while drunk (and without insurance). On that note, Maguire can count himself lucky that Staines didn’t make an issue of his drinking… after sobering up himself. What a tosser.

OMG! Homo milk! Watch out, Paul! Don’t let it near the children!

Speaking of such things, Jeremy Hunt is having a little difficulty answering questions about homophobic attacks by local Conservative activists (background). He’s trying the old ‘it’s off my patch’ dodge (not that this has ever stopped him from propping up fellow Tory Anne Milton), and using an old technique of Dale’s; allowing anonymous comment contributors to attack me as a form of defence (only gently, mind… but it’s still clear to see).

I would be a great pity if Jeremy Hunt decides to leave this matter hanging. Again.

He dodged the issue when he could have done something to stop the attacks; now he’s promoting himself as a blogger with standards, I would expect him to at least have an opinion on two grown men creating and promoting an anonymous website claiming that their political opponent is a paedophile.

By now, most of you have seen Ninja Cat.

Now check out how Ninja Cat would look with Derek Draper in charge of the project.

Also via /links a game that all the kids will be playing this time next week; Bush or Batman?

Via Carl Eve; Woodward and Bernstein on the Bush era and ‘moving on’ with Obama.

In my experience, trying to move on just encourages some people to further take the piss, but I guess we’ll see.

Finally, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Ian Hislop owes me a lunch.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 19, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Hello all.

A little landmark in British political blogging has just whooshed by, and I thought I might share the lesson in a way that outsiders can enjoy. (This includes our American cousins, but none of those filthy Canadanians, for reasons that will be explained at a later date.)

One of the main books you should read if you’re planning a venture into viral or community marketing is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

In it, Gladwell shares his theories on The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (and you can read an extract/review of the relevant chapter here).

Recognising that this is less an historical lesson and more a useful allegory, the way Gladwell tells it, on the eve of the American Revolutionary War, two men set out from Boston and took the “Midnight Ride” on which this famous poem is based; Paul Revere and a man named William Dawes.

British soldiers were on the move, arrests were about to be made and weapons seized; Revere and Dawes set out to warn their allies and raise a militia to chew some bubblegum and kick (our) ass.

Paul Revere was, according to Gladwell, better able to do this because he was intimate with many of the towns and settlements on his chosen route;

[Revere] was gregarious and intensely social. He was a fisherman and a hunter, a cardplayer and a theatre-lover, a frequenter of pubs and a successful businessman. He was active in the local Masonic Lodge and was a member of several select social clubs. He was also a doer, a man blessed — as David Hackett Fischer recounts in his brilliant book Paul Revere’s Ride — with “an uncanny genius for being at the center of events.”

Revere’s ability to know which door(s) to knock on and prompt immediate action resulted not only in success immediate to his own efforts, but also the dispatch of dozens of other well-connected riders with the same mission.

Dawes, by comparison, struggled at most if not all towns. The following totally imagined response to a late-night knock on the door might help to explain his predicament:

“Who are you and why should I trust you? Is this a trap? And how do you expect to raise a militia by waking the local seamstress?”

So Revere, having all the connections (and a better posthumous publicist), enjoyed greater success and most of Teh Glory, mainly because he was able to connect with those who could best help him to spread the message and prompt individual action.

Meanwhile, Dawes struggled, because he was not as well-connected as Revere; he was just Some Guy waking people up in the middle of the night.

So if you’ll pardon me for taking liberties (sorry), I’m going to add a further character to the mix; Derek Draper.

(Derek Draper has been in all the papers lately telling everyone that he’s preparing to mobilise a grassroots Labour network. Just in case you missed it.)

Draper arrives on the scene, like Dawes, with little knowledge of the key people he can and cannot rely on along his chosen route… but he has cleverly taken the added precaution of telling *everyone* to go fuck themselves:

“i am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers.” – Derek Draper (reported here)


“Boy, the British blogosphere! What an introduction I have had. Never have I experienced such a self-important, self-regarding, self-obsessed group in my life. No wonder the British Blogosphere is such a tiny, tiny, tiny ghetto. Don’t any of you realise that I don’t care what you think? Why would I? Why should I?” – Derek Draper (made here and fisked here)

Here endeth the lesson and all that.

[Psst! I’ve found what appears to be a quick master class in the art of projection… Justin McKeating referred to Derek Draper’s project as a “propaganda ghetto” not once but twice at roughly the same time as Draper’s “60 million people” outburst. It looks like it was only after this that Draper started throwing the word ‘ghetto’ around to describe every British blog except his, but do correct me if I’m wrong.]

UPDATE (2pm) – Gaze in wonder at what LabourList have just released on their YouTube channel. As with previous efforts, there’s zero indication of who made the track or the animation (though this smells stinks like another internal production, much like an earlier effort that was passed off as an external submission). Also note that Paul Staines (‘Guido’) rates a mention at 1:09, because every sensible (albeit high-pitched and off-key) debate about money should elevate the status of a bankrupt liar to worthy opponent.

Derek Draper really needs help on the video/animation front especially… but I don’t think he’ll be getting it from any of the towns and settlements that I frequent.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 16, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

During a previous conversation, founder and controller Derek Draper suggested that I share with the class our entire email conversation.

I’m happy to reveal all of that previous conversation at any stage, but for now I’m treating this as an open invitation and bringing you the entirety of our latest email conversation… after this quick statement from the latest self-proclaimed master(s) of bloggery:

“We encourage anyone who has had a comment denied to repost their thoughts on their own blog, and leave a trackback instead. Although we might think a comment is inappropriate for our conversation that does not preclude you making your point elsewhere. The Labour List editors intend to make a feature of our readers’ comments, and we reserve the right to repost interesting or pertinent comments in the main blog, for further discussion. You are welcome to write a complaint to the editor if you feel you have been treated unfairly.” – Labour List website statement on comment moderation

Now, on with the recent email exchange that tells a rather different story…

It begins with my directing Derek Draper to a website that has published my comment and question about his use of other people’s creative material without credit and the apparent pretence of spontaneous submission, because he deleted the version that I submitted to his website. Fool that I was, I thought he would at least calculate that maybe this was the wrong message to send during the opening stages of his appeal for genuinely talented people to genuinely send their stuff in, so he could feature exploit it on his website… but he’s not even smart enough to offset his corruption with a little bullshit and charm:

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

11:05 AM

Nothing to say for yourself, then (see comments)?

No comment on your use of other people’s creative material without credit?

Are you really pretending to receive submissions from the general public that are in fact the work of yourself or close associates?


From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland

11:07 AM

which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand

i’m trying to build a popular website here, not get stuck in a geeks ghetto

oooooh! i wonder how long it’ll take you to post that on your blog

[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

11:13 AM

“which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand”

You really don’t understand how weblogs/communities work, do you?

“i’m trying to build a popular website here”

You really don’t understand how networking works, do you?

So you refuse to answer any questions about your use of creative material without credit? I want to be absolutely clear on that, just in case you suddenly decide to backpedal later.


From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland

11:37 AM

which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand

[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

11:46 AM

which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand

The part where your website invites comment, thereby suggesting accountability.

Also the part where you campaign for debate and engagement, thereby suggesting that you are willing to have what you say or publish challenged and that you are willing to respond to those challenges with a valid response (not “nerney nery ner ner, I’m not playing”)

So you refuse to answer any questions about your use of creative material without credit? Again, I want to be absolutely clear on this point.


From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

12:14 PM

I’ve answered your question. Please answer mine.


From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland
CC: Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller, Alex Smith

12:33 PM

see below, in caps

The part where your website invites comment, thereby suggesting accountability.

Also the part where you campaign for debate and engagement, thereby suggesting that you are willing to have what you say or publish challenged and that you are willing to respond to those challenges with a valid response (not “nerney nery ner ner, I’m not playing”)




So you refuse to answer any questions about your use of creative material without credit? Again, I want to be absolutely clear on this point.


[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

3:05 PM

1. Please stop shouting.

2. I’m not sure why you’ve CCed Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller and Alex Smith on our conversation. Perhaps you meant to BCC them instead. Still, given your earlier invitation, I’ve taken it one step further and invited everyone in the whole, wide world. Hope you don’t mind:

3. If you do not have the capacity to deal with comments, then don’t invite them with too few moderators in place (see also: Daily Mail) and/or the site in its current state (you ask for an email address and a password, but don’t even attempt to verify authenticity – ditto for postcodes, not that asking for this level of detail is in any way called for in your situation).

4. I personally don’t have the time to deal with too many comments. I also like to know who* is attempting to publish what on my website. So I introduced TypeKey registration; it requires a pretty high standard of identification, and in conjunction with MT a clear indication when someone is trying to bypass that requirement. This greatly reduces the number of comments I would normally expect, but to do otherwise would be selfish and irresponsible in my view, especially as I have been so critical of other ‘leading’ bloggers who run their comments like an open sewer, and mainly delete comments that are damaging/awkward for them personally.

(*In my experience I have noticed many political ‘players’ who fool around with multiple/false identities. This is not tolerated or enabled on my site in any way. Also, if the law somehow becomes involved, I know the buck stops with me, but I have a fair shot at identifying the source of any troublesome content that I haven’t written myself.)

5. Don’t wave your traffic in my face. It’s unseemly.

6. It’s also a bit of a cheat if you’re relying on the number of comments/contributors to prove your popularity/importance, when (a) many of those comments are critical of you and your efforts after an artificial MSM PR push, and (b) your site allows people to easily pretend to be more than one person.

7. Let’s keep in mind that I’m not asking for special treatment. I would expect anyone arriving on your website to expect a fair go. One good thing about you clearly not having the first clue about who I am is that it allows me to be sure that you would treat any question you didn’t care for as an irrelevance. If my comments were marked as ‘trash’ or deleted in line with a fair and clearly stated comment moderation policy, or if a reasonable explanation were given at the time (or even following an email query), then I’d be left with little else to say. But what you have done is invite comment, but refuse accountability. That’s going to lead to some pretty short and essentially one-sided conversations when the sign above your shop door suggests otherwise. Bit of a fraud if you ask me. On that note, you also claim to be campaigning for engagement and debate, but you refuse to engage, never mind debate. I may wish to tell a few people about that, for the same reason I would tell them about any other fraud, cheat, swindler or rip-off artist that had just rolled into town with a truckload of bad fish and clever spiel.

8. You have not answered my question about your use of creative material without credit, and instead have asked me why you should care what I think. Well, even if you’re being terribly selfish about the situation, you should at least care because you are calling for submissions from writers and artists while showing that you have scant regard for their legal and moral rights. Dedicated, talented artists tend to notice when this happens and they take this kind of thing very seriously (not least because their stuff gets nicked more often than the work of careless, talentless people). They would sit up and take notice if a stranger pointed out what you’ve been up to and your attitude to date… and I’m no stranger to most of the independent producers in this country likely to create just the kind of anti-Tory propaganda you are obviously keen on (but unable to produce for this project, despite your claim here to have; “a roster of the very best freelance film and video creating talent in the UK”).

9. And finally, we arrive and just who the hell I think I am. Just for the fun of it, I will treat this as a serious question instead of a sign that you regard yourself to be far more important than me or anyone else in this community; my name is Tim Ireland, and I regard myself to be a blogger with standards designed to serve and protect the wider community, not just my own self-interest. And just in case I fail on that front, my site allows anyone willing to identify themselves to challenge me and/or call me to account. In other words, I’m the guy who actually does what you only claim to do, I’ve been at it for 7+ years, and I’m smart enough to know that I’m still learning.

10. I also regard myself to be a bit of a tattletale.


Hey, everyone! Derek Draper is a fraud and a cheat who has no idea about, and no respect for, the online community that he wishes to infiltrate. He should be treated as you would treat any carpetbagger or outsider with less-than-honourable tactics and intent.

And if you, like me, write, photoshop, animate, make videos or produce anything else to do with political campaigning or communication, I urge you not to submit your material to the website, as Derek Draper has made it clear that he is willing to use that material without credit, and likely to become quite shouty and hostile if confronted about it.

And now, to close, here is an extract from the guide to blogging offered at Perhaps Derek would care to read it sometime:

In short, a blog is an open diary, recorded as a web page. Typically a blog allows readers
to leave comments on items the blogger writes about. There is some consensus to the
effect that this is an essential dividing line between a blog and a general website…


As well as bearing in mind the tips above about content, it is also important that a few
conventions are obeyed. Just like anywhere else, the internet has unspoken rules and
conventions (‘netiquette’) which are almost always followed. Good table manners make
for satisfying meals. There are some widely recognised rules for bloggers:

1. Act in a courteous and civil fashion, especially in debate.

2. Avoid SHOUTING: keep capitals to a minimum. The same goes for bold type.

3. As above, make sure you attribute work and inspirations. It’s also a very good idea
to check that any materials you replicate are not copyright protected.

4. Keep to comments policies where they exist.

5. If you change a blog post, anyone interested will be able to tell by using Google’s
‘cache’ feature, or even more comprehensively, the Wayback Machine. If you
make an important change, it is important to be open, or you decision may be
represented as dishonesty.

6. Try to answer comments!

7. Stay away from nasty personal attacks. If you don’t like something, politely
disagree, or move on and find something you do.

8. If you have accidentally repeated comments, or made an obvious typographical
error, apologise.

(Hm. Perhaps now would be a good time for me to apologise for misspelling “nerny nerny ner ner” earlier. Sorry about that.)

UPDATE (3:45) – Derek Draper’s reply appears below. It seems he got as far as #1 and gave up. Well, it’s further than he got with the Labour List guide to blogging.

From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland
CC: [none]

3:37 PM

good grief, i wasn’t shouting it was in CAPs to differentiate it from your text

i don’t care what you put on your blog, haven’t you realised that?

i can’t even be bothered reading this email it is too long

[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Sometimes people miss key updates to previous posts (waves to BBD), so I’m putting a little alert here to draw your attention to breathtaking arrogance that rivals even Dale’s best efforts:

“i am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers” – Derek Draper

More here.

Draper treated my comment like dirt. Draper treated me like dirt.

He seems to think that this is unimportant in the face of his mission to convert the entire population to New Labour and draw them to his website, but we’ll see.

UPDATE – You may wish to keep an eye on the comments under this post, especially if you’re the creative type.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 13, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Bournemouth Echo – Website praise for Bournemouth councillor comes from… councillor!: ‘Omegaman’ is registered with an address containing Cllr Grower’s name, which does not appear to other readers. When contacted, Cllr Grower initially suggested several people had access to his computer and said: “It could be anybody. It could be me, it could be Santa Claus.” But he later said: “I have done nothing against the law. And probably next time I will just use a different pseudonym.” Cllr Grower said responsibility lies with the Daily Echo because people can post under assumed names, and that the comments were only fun that no-one took seriously. When asked if his approach was appropriate given his public role, he claimed members of other parties did the same.

So first he tries to bullshit his way out of it, and then he issues a haughty “So what?”

For some reason I’m reminded of nuisance caller and sock-puppeting loser Phil “I meant to do that!” Hendren.

Labour Councillor Ben Grower, like councillor-wannabe and chick-magnet ‘Dizzy’ Hendren, will no doubt from this day forward be *outraged* if/when anyone even suspects that anonymous sock-puppets defending his corner or launching an attack from it are in fact his own creation(s), but I’m sure he can continue to offset this with repeated claims that everyone else is at it.

(Thank you Toby for the heads-up.)

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