Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 14, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement


Paul ‘Fangio’ Staines emerged from the weekend with booze on his breath and egg on his face after posting a poor item in poor taste, deleting it, and then compounding the error by defending himself anonymously. When commenting under his main ‘Guido Fawkes’ ID (i.e. when not pretending to be somebody else speaking for him), Paul also promised that the item would return “later as a longer piece”. (more)

We’re still waiting.

(taps foot)

The deleted post used to be here:


Then, after weeks of groundlessly accusing Derek Draper of attempting to manipulate the blogosphere via anonymous comments (more), both Dale and Staines happily allowed themselves to be spoon-fed this series of ‘boom and bust’ quotes via… erm, someone attempting to manipulate the blogosphere via anonymous comments.

Shortly after this, Staines published a post that appeared to suggest that an embarrassed government had ‘disappeared’ the information in question and cast it into the memory hole. Because they’re fascists that can’t be trusted, obviously.

But Paul Staines can be trusted. Because when he found out that he got his wires crossed somewhere, he… erm… ‘disappeared’ the information and cast it into the memory hole.

Perhaps we can look forward to its return… “later as a longer piece”.


The deleted post used to be here:

3. Still, some good came of it all. I was so inspired by the ‘list of quotes’ technique used by their mysterious comment contributor that I decided to have a got at it myself this lunchtime with the help of a selective search in Google.

I recently blogged about Staines’ use of the word ‘chinky’, and a defence put forward by a semi-anonymous comment contributor here made it necessary, believe it or not, to point out that Staines also happily published the word ‘chink’. And not for the first time.

Here, for the doubters, is proof that the man is perfectly happy with the use of this word on his website as an ethnic slur; a list of uses of the word ‘chink’ under comments that Staines has allowed on his site this year…

Saturday, March 15, 2008: “We don’t criticise the chink dictatorship here…”

Tuesday, March 25, 2008: “some visiting gang of ancient, chink communist fellow torturers…”, “anti-Chink protest…” and “So I was allowed a visa to visit places that the smell of deadly pollution alone would make you want to throw-up your breakfast. Problem is some of the poor Chinks are so desperately poor, you worry they might eat it. NO JOKE.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2007: “If your [sic] thinking of battling the establishment media take heed of that Sun Tzu guy. The Chink who wrote ‘The Art of War’.”

Sunday, April 6, 2008: “chink body guards yellow runners and a black outer rim followed by how many riot vans?”

Monday, April 7, 2008: “Chink thugs”, “Chink Clink”, “We should thank the Chinks for helping us out with our problem…” and “…Rudd was effectively telling the Chinks to fuck right off.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008: “…the sight of the prime minister of the United Kingdom kow-towing to chink thugs in his own Downing Street frontyard…”

Thursday, June 19, 2008: “Just look at Jock Newsnight interviews, any responsible, sensible job is done by an English person, a Pole, or a Chink. Jock is like the native Fijian. Idle whining bastard, anyone can do the work as long as its not him, good for fuck all. Just like you. Jock, England’s burden.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008: “Who gives a fuck if some c**t can run quicker than a Chink or a Yank.”

(Psst! Do keep in mind as you read all of this that it is very easy to lose control of a mob once you get one started.)

I have no doubt that Paul can somehow find a way to spin any or all this to his advantage; he excels at this craft that he claims to despise.


Posted by Tim Ireland at October 13, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Since an encounter with the BNP at the start of his political career was rediscovered, Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines has gone to great (and yet disappointing) lengths to assure us that he is not a racist.

Those of us who originally wrote about Staines’ 1986 adventure a couple of years back didn’t regard this to be the central issue at the time, but Staines did. He is, after all, the type of person who will take any scrap of evidence and misrepresent its significance without hesitation… so hopefully you can see how his name being connected to the BNP would make him hypersensitive to the dangers of a ‘racist’ tag.

So what the hell is this about?

Paul ‘Guido’ Staines – Mandy’s Chinky Drinky Kidney Linky: Peter Mandelson drank Chinese milk 9 days before his kidney problems surfaced. He flamboyantly drunk a glass in front of the Chinese media to “show his support for the Chinese dairy industry” which has been hit child poisoning contamination disasters.

*Chinky?!* In this day and age? Really?

Oh well. At least it gives me an excuse to wheel out this excerpt from a Captain Hurricane strip that I found in the boys-annual archives last night. This, apparently, was acceptable entertainment for young boys in 1973:

(Yes, I am aware that this strip is about Japs, and not chinks, slopes or gooks. Like it makes a difference to some people.)

(Psst! A mistake like “He flamboyantly *drunk* a glass in front of the Chinese media…” is an easy one to make. If you happen to be drank at the time.)

UPDATE – The homophobia in that thread is tipping the scales a bit, too. Here’s a highlight featuring both racism and a certain assumption favoured by many homophobes:

45govt said:

I hope the Chinks didn’t let Barren Mandelsboy near any of the children – he might be on a scouting trip for his new group Gay Gordo and the Paedos*

*For booking gigs, call Enver Hodge, sole agent.

October 13, 2008 1:17 PM


1. Justin McKeating – Say ‘no’ to 42 days.: The House of Lords debates 42 days today and is expected to vote against it, but with the Prime Minister still insisting that he will push through the 42-day proposals, [Amnesty International] will keep on campaigning until it’s defeated once and for all.

Sign the petition. Pass it on.

2. AlertNet – 12 New Stomach-Turning Revelations About Sarah Palin: Palin has taken to smearing Obama. But it’s her own record that continues to yield alarming information, undermining her skills and credibility.

3. Web user makes his views known on the fine body work done by Import Image / iDesign in Walnut, CA. (Ta to Lawrence for the link.)

4. Telegraph – Alisher Usmanov to drop interest in Arsenal takeover: Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has been advised not to go ahead with a takeover of the club and is reportedly ready to sell his shares.

(Psst! We were chatting at the table the other night when Usmanov’s name came up. The youngest griglet asked who he was, and a certain 10-year-old was heard to reply; “He’s Dad’s Russian arch-nemesis.” I was impressed by the correct and necessary use of a modifier more than anything.)

5. Birmingham: It’s Not Shit – Ten things we found out at the Tory Party Conference: …it became obvious that Nadine [Dorries] didn’t really like blogging (apart from the way that it got her comments straight to the diarists of newspapers), and didn’t really do it anyway – she emails the “blogs” that are part of her “online diary” to a guy who does her website…

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 13, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The Tory Troll claims to have caught Paul ‘Guido’ Staines making anonymous comments and pretending to be someone else speaking in his favour.

How Staines reacts to the charge could be revealing; this is the same guy who has for years published a seemingly endless series of claims that he’s the victim of a party-political and/or government-funded sock-puppet squad without producing a shred of evidence to back it up.

Will he actually have the temerity to scream ‘conspiracy theorist’, or (just as likely) will he instead never return to this thread and forbid all mention of it on his website?

(In recent weeks, on Staines’ ‘Guido Fawkes’ site and on the site of Iain ‘liar’ Dale, these authors and their contributors have been imagining the direct input of Derek Draper behind any/all anonymous comments not 100% in their favour. Their only evidence? An article stating that that one day in the future Draper might be developing a ‘rapid response’ unit for weblogs, which was interpreted/presented by the right-wing shouties as an announcement of the immediate launch of a sock-puppeting squad…. presumably because a team of sock-puppeting gits making personal attacks is what passes for the rapid response unit in the funny world where Dale and Staines live.)

[Psst! Paul has yet to clarify which variety of bankrupt he is; former, recently-discharged, or what. Kind of important when he’s claiming to play the market (by short-selling, no less) and telling judges that he earns his money from “advertising”. Meanwhile, the MessageSpace paperwork appears to distance him from the money and any position of responsibility in that advertising network, and the family car (and almost everything else) is filed under the name of his wife and/or somebody else with the last name of ‘Staines’.]

UPDATE – You’re going to love my choice of bonfire fodder this year, I’m sure… but it’s not a local bit player like Dorries, Staines or Dale. Regardless, I have been known to recycle and repurpose cheap Halloween costume materials when building guys in the past, so this £1.99 vampire wig in a local supermarket caught my eye…

This, according to Tesco, is what a bloodsucking servant of evil looks like:

(Note – For newcomers, I should point out that the resemblance is merely uncanny. You would have to ravage the face with years of drug and alcohol abuse, then add a few pounds and some ‘city boy’ clothes that have seen better days to make it downright spooky.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 30, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

At the fringe of the 2008 Conservative Party Conference, a ‘Freedom & the Internet’ panel was chaired by notorious control-freak and liar Iain Dale, and featured Guido Fawkes, Phil Hendren, Chris Mounsey, Nadine Dorries. Oh, and last-minute hanger-on Praguetory.

Quite a line-up.


The event went so well that not one of the bloggers who appeared on this panel has blogged about it yet, though it should be noted for the record that Mounsey can perhaps be excused on (ahem) compassionate grounds.

Some twitters from witnesses who are obviously enemies of freedom include:

Someone on the panel saying that ‘the internet’ needs to clean up its act. Personally, I’ve heard nothing but resistance to this idea from almost every member of this panel (and/or their sock puppets), and the chair (and/or his sock puppets). I’d be very interested to hear who actually said it.

No prizes for guessing who made this claim, though:

apparently guido fawkes ( is on the a-level syllabus (source)

Paul ‘Guido’ Staines has also claimed that he is responsible for the most popular political video in the UK, that he’s getting up to five times more traffic than he has actually tracked, and that his blog is worth “at least” a million pounds.

We probably should have known what we were in for when the thieving little sod turned up out of the blue in 2005 and immediately declared himself and two mates (including Alex Hilton) to be “three of Britain’s most popular political bloggers”.

Paul ‘Guido’ Staines is also oddly fond of claiming that he does a lot of work to keep the BNP at bay. And that’s all that gets deleted under comments on his site, obviously. Staines would never stoop to censoring comments and/or making anonymous comments on his own website (while screaming ‘astroturfer’ at others) when it’s his own fat arse on the line, oh no.

A most revealing comment from the floor twittered here; it was suggested that delegates “blur the lines between fact and fiction ‘with integrity’…”

OK, stop laughing at the back, there’s still a lot of Dorries to get through.


What did I just say?



OK, just hold your sides and we’ll soldier on as best we can:

Her Majesty enters the room, and all are amazed at this dazzling vision of truth and purity.

Almost a year after suddenly closing comments on her ‘blog’, Nadine Dorries still hasn’t come up with a plausible excuse: 1, 2, 3.

Nadine Dorries declares that she gets someone else to do the actual posting for her. Wow. She’s an even more pathetic blog-pretender than I previously gave her credit for.

Nadine Dorries claims that the chief whip has been telling her what she can and cannot blog. But she’s probably just big-noting herself.

Nadine Dorries effectively calls the Tory front bench a bunch of liars!

At a later event ‘Collaboration or Control? Politics and the Internet in the 21st Century’ featuring Robert Colvile (Telegraph), Iain Dale, Jeremy Hunt MP and Paul Morris (Microsoft), it was twittered that someone (probably Colvile) cited Nadine Dorries as the reason why most MPs don’t blog:

mp nadine has just been quoted as the reason most other mp’s don’t have blogs. but they’ll have to come round eventually (source)

Dale was up to speak immediately afterwards. What he said in response to that is not mentioned, but he’s unlikely to tell MPs that what Nadine is doing isn’t really blogging.

All hail Teh Grand Ambassadors of Political Blogging.

(Psst! Another highlight: Jeremy Hunt apparently claiming that Web 2.0 belongs to the right. In 2006, Hunt was confronted with evidence that two totally-2.0 Tory activists working under neighbouring MP Anne Milton had produced an anonymous weblog claiming that a political opponent was a paedophile. Like Dale, Hunt refused to condemn the action, or even mention it. What a nice guy.)

UPDATE – As I was writing this, Phil ‘nuisance caller’ Hendren finally managed to blog something about the event, but couldn’t squeeze out anything beyond more blurring of the lines between fact and fiction. With integrity, obviously.

(Re: Dorries’ apparent decision to stop pretending to blog… don’t get your hopes up.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 25, 2008

Category: Christ..., The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

FACT: Nadine Dorries was using facilities paid for by the taxpayer for campaigning purposes… – Nadine Dorries and the minor matter of misappropriation
Liberal Conspiracy – The case against Nadine Dorries MP (pt 1)

FACT: Nadine Dorries was found to be in the wrong…
Ministry of Truth – Dishonesty Dorries Rides [Yet] Again
Liberal Conspiracy – Our complaint against Nadine Dorries MP upheld

But if you were to believe Nadine Dorries (usually a mistake), she has been the victim of a party-political attack that has been a waste of taxpayer’s money! The projection is quite extraordinary…
Nadine Dorries – The Big Issues Of Our Time (And Wasting Parliamentary Time)

[WARNING – The above link only works in some browsers, because Nadine’s ‘blog’ is a joke. You will have to scroll down the page in search of the relevant entry.]

And you were to give Iain Dale the benefit of the doubt (again, usually a mistake), he was merely taking a friend at her word and not trying to reinforce her distortion or further her projection…
Iain ‘Liar’ Dale – Sunny Hundal & Nadine Owe Each Other An Apology

I initially waited to comment on this because I wanted to see more of the letter than what Dorries chose to disclose (the woman has a history of cherry-picking evidence in order to present a grand distortion of the truth).

Now I’m waiting patiently to see how Iain Dale addresses his earlier demand for an apology and his description of Sunny’s complaint as a ‘smear’.

But one aspect I can tackle immediately is Dorries’ quite sickening attempt to hide under a pile of dead bodies and despair:

Nadine Dorries – The Big Issues Of Our Time (And Wasting Parliamentary Time)

This whole matter has been a personal wake-up call for me.

There’s the threat of international terrorism; a rudderless government in decline; huge economic uncertainty; the war in Afghanistan; a global energy crisis; the re-emergence of Russian aggression; and the spread of HIV in Africa.

But what about the complainant? Does the content of my blog really warrant such attention?

I think this has been a most revealing episode as to his type of politics – it’s certainly not mine.

Putting aside the deceit that how we conduct political debates matters less than any given subject that may or may not be worthy of debate, lets take a look and see how Nadine Dorries addresses the issues she lists as more important than paying any (negative) attention to what she laughingly describes as a blog:

Apart from this particular mention, on that ‘blog’ of hers she has mentioned HIV once, and Africa once. And not in the same breath or even in the same year.

FFS, Abba got more mentions on her ‘blog’ than HIV or Africa or HIV in Africa.

She has mentioned Afghanistan three times, and Russia three times (once to describe her ‘blogging’ as a form of Russian roulette). Ditto for terrorism/terrorists. On the economy, I did searches for words like ‘economy’, ‘debt’ and ‘credit crunch’ and found a mere half-dozen entries.

Further, Iraq is only mentioned five times, and torture doesn’t rate a single mention.

Meanwhile, ‘abortion’, her personal campaign cow, brings up 51 entries. The bulk of these entries are from the period when the weblog was clearly an integrated part of a website paid for by taxpayers.

(If you would like to play this game yourself, simply click here and then add the word of your choice in the search box.)

Related bloggage:
Septicisle – Nadine Dorries just cannot stop lying
Mark Pack – What does “completely cleared” mean?
Sim-O – Nadine spins
Enemies of Reason – Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies
Back Toward The Locus – Sorry, Are You Into Politics?

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 19, 2008

Category: Old Media, Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

Iain Dale hahahaha frowns on hahahahaha fellow ‘blogger’ hahahahaha selling out hahahahahaha with unscientific poll!

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…. *breeeeeathe*… ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Can’t. Type. Or speak at normal. Rate.

[unexpected intermission]

Read more here.

Oh, and make a futile attempt to have Iain recognise his hypocrisy here if you feel like it, but do be prepared to (at least) be accused of being me or maybe some form of flying monkey-servant.

[His APCO-sponsored poll of blogs is just for fun, you see. That’s the difference. And no-one is being deceived about what it’s for. Did I mention that it’s just for fun?]

That’s twice this week (1, 2) that the Independent have fed us crap served as ice cream.

Meanwhile, over the pond, Sarah Palin’s email antics have led to a live internet kid-hackery whodunnit drama, complete with a ticking clock and a (so far) tenuous connection to the Democrats:

Christian Science Monitor – Palin’s hacked email account – what’s next?
The Register – Memo to US Secret Service: Net proxy may pinpoint Palin email hackers
Wired – Palin E-Mail Hacker Says It Was Easy

A free round on me if it turns out that Sarah Palin’s password was ‘1234’.

UPDATE (22 Sep, 1pm) – Phil ‘Dizzy’ Hendren charges me with wilful distortion here.

To avoid a lonnnng and complicated post, let’s skip past all examples of Hendren’s wilful distortion bar the most common/glaring one; his claim that I am responsible for “phone call making campaigns” (following email bombardment). I’ve made some rare calls to bloggers/publishers who have offered phone details as a contact option, when it was the only option left to me at the time. The only person in our little community who is guilty of ‘taking it offline’ and actually harassing someone by phone is Phil ‘Dizzy’ Hendren, who also went to the trouble of publishing my ex-directory number on his website in a clear effort to intimidate me. Hendren has sought to reduce his embarrassment over this by splitting hairs down to a subatomic level in some quarters and having others think me guilty of the same (or a similar) offence in others. He does this for the same reason that Iain Dale calls me a liar every chance he gets, and if this game keeps up, sooner or later we can probably expect Paul Staines to express ‘concern’ about the amount of alcohol I drink. How Hendren got his hands on my ex-directory number remains a mystery (the latest story has him calling Someone Who Is Certainly Not Iain Dale out of the blue and – surprise! – immediately chancing upon someone who had my home phone number and didn’t mind sharing this sensitive data), but he appears to be blissfully unaware that any uncertainty about the source of this personal data is a dangerous thing to have floating around when you work on maintaining data for an ISP that controls a great deal of personal data and doesn’t want their customers thinking that it might be used and abused by any old loser.


Now, it is Hendren’s position that I’ve engaged in wilful distortion because – in his view – Iain Dale did not actually ‘slam’ this unscientific poll.

Just for starters, there’s little-to-no question about it being an unscientific poll here, especially when Hendren (an unapologetic user of multiple/false identities) claims in this same post that he was willing and able to diddle it with ease…

“… I took the poll. In fact I took the poll on numerous occasions from numerous locations. I kind of figured that all I had to do was say I was a Labour member to make sure my answers would be included.” (source)

(Alex Hilton assures us that “Non Labour supporters who responded to the survey were stripped from the results”, which is just as reassuring as the ‘Gomer’ character from Good Morning Vietnam saying; “Well, we ask people, ‘Are you the enemy? And whoever says yes, we shoot them.”)

… so, if this is a notable instance of wilful distortion as Hendren claims, the only options left to us are:

– Iain Dale is mildly disapproving of the unscientific poll

– Iain Dale feels ambivalent about the unscientific poll

– Iain Dale does not care about the unscientific poll

– Iain Dale approves of the unscientific poll

With all of the above options, Iain would be blogging this quite deliberately as a feature (rather than a ‘Daley Dozen’ aside) not as a matter of principle, but instead to heighten/further Alex Hilton’s difficulty.

I’m happy to accept as a likely possibility any option that includes Dale being unprincipled, but it should be clear to any idiot not desperate for ammunition that Iain Dale does regard Hilton’s poll to be significantly flawed, and does regard these flaws to be a major aspect of the difficulty Hilton finds himself in (including, I would point out, the key problems that arose from his compromising his integrity/principles in pursuit of monetary gain).

But those with any doubts should take a look at how Iain responds to this anonymous ‘justification’ for the flawed nature of the poll, that he clearly misses as a joking reference to his own:

At September 19, 2008 4:59 PM , Anonymous said…

I think you’re being harsh here, Iain. As far as I can see, the poll was just a bit of fun and never claimed to be accurate.

At September 19, 2008 5:06 PM , Iain Dale said…

It was commissioned by a national newspaper!!

Iain Dale’s objection to this defence is immediate and clear; he obviously regards the poll to be flawed in some way, and – here comes the kicker – he regards the “(it was) just a bit of fun and never claimed to be accurate” defence to be meaningless because the poll was “commissioned by a national newspaper”.

Now, regrettably, we must leave Phil ‘Chick Magnet’ Hendren to his distortions/delusions, and focus on what the above reveals:

If it is seriously Iain Dale’s position that his unscientific poll is “just a bit of fun (that) never claimed to be accurate”, then he either regards this defence to be meaningless or doesn’t think much of APCO Worldwide and his own damn magazine:

“In early September TOTAL POLITICS, in association with APCO WORLDWIDE will publish the 2008-9 Guide to Political Blogging in the UK…” (source)


(Psst! Meanwhile, Iain ‘Blinkers’ Dale watched his mate confess to skewing a poll with front-page implications, and saw only evidence of my ‘mendacity’. What a guy. I’d totally trust him to understand what the words ‘politically neutral’ might mean.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 16, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

As galling as it is to be included in a rigged game by a crooked referee – against my will and without my knowledge – only then to be labelled a bad sport for objecting, I’ll do my best to keep this on an even keel*, because what’s most important to me here is that you watch the tactics and think about motive.

[*MINI UPDATE – OK, you got me. The headline is a bit much. :o) ]

Let’s start with this extract from the conversation that QT_Ian started and then suddenly grew tired of, which is a response to Iain’s reply to a semi-anonymous web user using the handle ‘Cheesy Monkey’.

‘Cheesy Monkey’ wanted to see if Iain would subject his poll to a wee bit of scrutiny, but Iain wasn’t having any of it. Earlier, he had even refused to provide even a confirmed list of weblogs that sent readers to his poll (when all it would have taken at one stage was a mere nod of approval).

I don’t know about you, but I can’t see the harm in exposing a poll that’s ‘just for fun’ to a little scrutiny, and if I wanted it to be taken seriously I certainly don’t think that I could afford to refuse scrutiny. Unless the poll was rigged, of course… in which case a refusal to cooperate is the lesser of two evils.

(Everything in italics is a quote from Iain’s earlier comment(s).)


“So many questions! Are you TI in disguise? :). “

Is the smiley there so you can cast the seed of doubt and also poo-poo any suggestion that you’re paranoid?


“I drew up the poll and the rules. I also compiled the spreadsheet.”

All by yourself, with no oversight. Of course, you don’t see that I should have any cause to doubt your ability to handle this responsibility, because you still won’t admit that I have caught you cheating at the perceived popularity game before.

Or are you seriously going to tell me that the stats deception than ran for months-slash-years was all a ‘mistake’ and you had “absolutely no interest in skewing the result”?


So you drew up the poll and the rules and you also compiled the spreadsheet. Is it really so difficult to mention that you also conducted the vote in your own back yard (and only ruled out voting via anonymous comments on your website only after this action was challenged)?

You hosted the event, which received the most positive attention in your neighbourhood. This, after previous polls (also ‘just a bit of a larf’) where whole neighbourhoods of the UK blogosphere were excluded because you’re so far to the right that when you look to your left you can see maybe to agitators in the Labour Party and no further. FFS, even looking beyond left and right gives you a neck-ache.

Add to this that you, the host of this poll, have a lot of control over what does and does not get read in your neighbourhood. And you exercise that power most stringently.

Example: Typically, your readers will know little about the circumstances surrounding the closure of comments on Nadine Dorries’ site. Many of your readers are unaware that she behaved in a manner contrary to what most other bloggers would regard to be reasonable. This would go some way to explaining why she is rated 4th as a blogging MP when she doesn’t even belong on the list, as she is no blogger. And before you start, Miliband (who did not rate) is quite rightly regarded to be a joke as a blogger by everyone in your neighbourhood, mainly because his comments are a joke. Any time he likes he can shut down a good point about Conservative policy and say; “Sorry. No can do. Weblog paid for by taxpayers.” But David Miliband is not a close personal friend of yours, and enjoys no protection. It’s open season on Miliband at your place, while Dorries gets the softest ride you can give her.

I will accept your “I don’t badmouth my friends” mantra without complaint here, but even with that in place you still have to admit that devout readers of your weblog will have a far better impression of Dorries than most people, and a lot of that is your doing.

This situation is only made worse by your insistence that your readers should avoid reading anything that might upset them. So often you tell your readers to simply look away if they don’t like this blog or that (while complaining that the left are ‘insular’).

Are you seriously going to tell me – even if you deny every charge of control-freakery and censorship – that there is no ‘home team’ advantage to be had here?


“There will never be a perfect system for any poll…”
“I could have Mother Teresa herself overseeing it…”
“… no system is perfect…”

Iain, you embarrass yourself when you retreat to your game of extremes. Of course you’re not perfect and your poll’s not perfect, and of course you’re not the most evil man alive. But you are an unapologetic cheat. I know, because I caught you cheating and you were unapologetic about it.


“… and TI would still see a conspiracy, so I have to recognise that at times I just cannot win.”

Iain, there was a way that you could have ‘won’ in the scenario you present here. You could have honoured my request to be removed instead of sticking it to me in your poll and rubbing my nose in it, just to piss me off.


You don’t even mention by name the few weblogs that announced a boycott in your book or on your site, even though you’re a list-junkie from way back and you KNOW this to be a contributing factor to placement, especially with such a low turnout. Your poll is skewed in at least one respect, an act or failure of yours skewed it, and no mention is made of this on your blog or in your book.

[Take note, QT: it was *after* this happened that the requests stopped and demands started. I take this seriously, because Iain took it seriously enough to mess about with his ACPO-sponsored device just so he could mess with me. If this weren’t the case, Iain would have replied to my email requesting that I be left out (he could have said “no”) or responded similarly to the announcement on my blog (he could have pointed out that I was still included, but instead he clearly described the action as a “boycott”, and I will not allow him to wriggle out by pretending not to know what a word means again). Or… he could just have honoured my request for the same reason you left me out of last year’s Who’s Who. I wanted no part in this charade and he knew it. Iain responded with an even more pronounced charade.]


Speaking of boycotts and notes, it is worth looking again at what you went to print with, Iain, as you do mention the boycott… by making a point of misrepresenting it and downplaying it:

“Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott of the whole exercise as they felt that because it was being organized by someone on the right, right wing bloggers would be the only beneficiaries. The boycott was boycotted by most blogs on the left…” (source)

Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott, and you know there is a difference. You also know that other editors of Liberal Conspiracy promoted the poll, so please don’t bother waving their placement in my face again.

And Sunny did not say that right wing bloggers would be the only beneficiaries; he raised the same point I do above, that the poll would be skewed to favour the right (and your mates) because of who was hosting it. (Please try to understand that this applies before you even do anything that you would regard to be a deliberate action.)

This is you playing games of extremes again instead of admitting that where and how the vote was conducted would influence the vote.

This is the only mention of boycotts in the publication. It makes no note of who specifically told their readers that they were not taking part, and does not acknowledge the influence this action may have had on the number/nature of votes for that blog or from that neighbourhood. You have made no effort to be fair to any of the people you really need to be working to convince that you are least trying.

This applies even if you are sincere when you sigh and say that you should not bother in my case.


Of course this is about power. The whole machine is powered by big and little bloggers wishing to be more powerful.

Many bloggers took part only because they individually or as a group were afraid of missing out on influence in the future, and said so.

And we have this from the poll’s own Foreword:

“The power of the Internet and the impact of the blogosphere continue to change how
politics is done and seen to be done in the UK and internationally.”
– Darren Murphy, Managing Director, APCO UK (source)

Bloggers placed highly on this list will use that placement to further their impact and increase their power. Of course they will. Only a fool would think otherwise.


This poll of yours is as reliable and representative as one hosted by FOX News or the Socialist Worker. And you cannot deny that you pretend otherwise the moment you put the ‘Total Politics’ label on it.

If I had tried this, there would (quite rightly) have been hell to pay, and I am nowhere near partisan as you are.

(Psst! To prove otherwise, you will need at least to establish a stupefying level of denial to match ‘1234’.)

Open your mind, Iain; imagine for a moment how a poll conducted via Bloggerheads might have worked out… and please don’t insult me by suggesting that I rush out and try it, as I’ve made it clear why I’m not interested. If you still don’t get it, read #10 over and over until it sinks in.

The answer isn’t for someone else from the left to make the same mistake, but for someone above/beyond these differences to conduct a poll like this.

Not just someone who is not you, but someone who is totally unlike you.

And, personally, I’d expect to see some oversight even if there weren’t a proven cheat at the helm.


You, a man whose core interest is politics, ran a poll in which you and your allies were candidates and (shock!) major beneficiaries.

Where are your principles?

Even if you contend that no gain is to be had, why would you set such a bad example?


This will be the first time that most of you have read this exchange because (watch out; repeated point coming) it was conducted in a neighbourhood that’s very different to the one you’re probably used to.

Have a chew on it and Iain’s complete failure to respond to any of it, unless it’s to have a go at me and misrepresent my position (again) on his website while offering no right of reply.

I’ll be back with more as time allows.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 15, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

BBC – Warning sounded on web’s future: The internet needs a way to help people separate rumour from real science, says the creator of the World Wide Web. Talking to BBC News Sir Tim Berners-Lee said he was increasingly worried about the way the web has been used to spread disinformation… Sir Tim told BBC News that there needed to be new systems that would give websites a label for trustworthiness once they had been proved reliable sources.

Yes, a little ‘wilful distortion’ flag would be useful. But one problem here is that the same people who play these games also have no issues with multiple identities, multiple voting, etc. etc. etc.

People like this are sure to game the system in order to defend themselves and make baseless accusations of invention/bias/etc. against others.

[‘Obsessives’ only: Speaking of such things, you might want to take a look at all the ‘different’ people defending Donal Blaney’s original Wikipedia entry. Take a close look at that and/or the history of his latest entry (and those of Iain Dale, Paul Staines etc.) and sooner or later you will encounter this nest of sock puppets.]

Anyway, getting back to that ‘power of perception’ thing, today Nigel Morris makes Iain Dale just that little bit more influential by declaring him to be so, but he does so while thinking that Iain Dale has “350,000 readers every month”.

Iain Dale doesn’t have anywhere near 350,000 readers every month, but the fact that Iain Dale cheated in order to give everybody the impression that he does isn’t something you’re going to read in Iain Dale’s neighbourhood anytime soon.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 5, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

*deep sigh*

I’m just going through some data and I’ve happened across a little something that I missed in an earlier conversation….

The other day, Jennie Rigg was giving me stick for pursuing Iain over his ongoing lies, instead of just ignoring* him.

(*Ignoring him and thereby – in theory – rendering his efforts inert. Once the trend is a little more universal, of course.)

Now, I do not want to pick on Jennie, I don’t want to make a big thing of this, and I can see and understand the temptations involved. I will also readily admit that I have it much easier than most other political bloggers, as I am a long way from having to struggle for an audience.

(Because of the way many people seeking to cloud this issue have been playing this, I need to waste a sentence here to point out that the latter observation is not a dig. At anyone.)

But c’mon… what is this?

“The best thing you can do – the best thing we ALL can do – is ignore [Iain Dale]. The more people talk about him, the more he becomes interesting. If we all stop talking about him (and yeah, I know, I’ve been guilty of that myself the past few days) then he ceases to be relevant.” – Jennie Rigg, Aug 31 (source)

What Jennie refers to in the above comment is a criticism of Dale over Facebook pokery, but what appears below is an extract from the post she refers to earlier in the conversation (i.e. the little something that I missed). In that post, it turns out that she completely fails to ignore Iain Dale and instead encourages her readers to play his reindeer games. This is not “talking about” Iain Dale but actively fuelling his main attention-seeking machine (which, ingeniously, runs on other peoples’ wishes for more attention):

“Iain Dale wants your votes for political blog of the year. I’d be very amused if nobody at all voted, but there’s little chance of that, and I’d probably be more amused if lots of liberal and leftie blogs made it into his charts. Vote Mortimer! Of course, for your vote to be eligible, it has to be for a blog that’s already on the TP blogroll. You can submit blogs to the blogroll here [link].” – Jennie Rigg, Jul 21 (source)

When Iain Dale is not passing his poll off as an unscientific bit of fun, he is bolstering it with claims that it is representative, and he would not be able to do this if enough people from the left refused to take part in it in any way. For a signal of the importance of this point is to Iain, note how Iain plays down the importance of any boycott in his final flourish.

Jennie may have a point when she says that my attempts to highlight the flaws behind the poll merely promote the poll itself (and it is a compelling point, as Iain Dale is a consummate bullshit artist, resilient even to evidence that he himself has published proving him to be a cheat), but her capacity to argue that point with any credibility goes up in a wee puff of smoke when she participates in the poll herself… right down to carrying a badge for the result on her blog:

So if any blogger who didn’t participate in Iain’s poll and isn’t carrying one of his little badges of approval on their website wants to have a go and pick up where Jennie left off, the floor is open.

Otherwise, I still say that Dale’s deeply flawed poll warrants scrutiny over weary acceptance.

UPDATE – Bugger. I note that I posted this at the same time that Jennie was announcing that that she was taking a pre-conference break. Still, it does nothing to change the fact that she’s left an opening, so do step forward if you think you can fill it. I’m sure we can stick to the point while leaving any comments on Jennie’s specific actions for later, when she’s around and able to have her say on it.

  • NEW! You can now support Bloggerheads by buying handmade firelighters for camping and utility or deluxe firelighters for your home fireplace. Visit 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