Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 2, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Iain Dale has ignored my specific request not to be involved in his inherently biased weblog poll, and has just deleted this comment of mine from under this post on his ‘weblog’:

I don’t believe you, Dale.

I blogged about this, and I even emailed you about it weeks ago.

I did not want to be part of this charade, and I said so very clearly and quite specifically.

I regard it to be damaging to my reputation to have anyone in this field think that I would endorse your poll or participate in your poll in any way. That includes allowing myself to be included in it and ranked by it…. even if you do pass it off as a bit of fun when it suits you.

We even went over this A YEAR AGO when you got in touch and were forced to drop me from your Who’s Who for this same reason.

And yet you’ve gone ahead and done it anyway.


Have you seriously gone to print including my name and weblog in your charts when I have refused to take part in the past and have clearly expressed my wish to NOT take part this year?

I seriously do not want to appear in his book of charts, and I told him so. Apparently, it’s already gone to print and today I find out that – despite my wishes – Iain has me listed as a participant in the poll.

What are my options?

UPDATE (03 Sep) – May I begin by pointing out that Iain Dale is a big, fat liar?

“Yes, you emailed me privately. And I do what I always do with all of the hundreds of other emails which you hassle me with. I put it straight in the Junk box. And then I did the same with the next one. And the next.” – Iain Dale (Aug 29)

I keep all the emails I get from Ireland. You never know when they might come in useful. I can find no email from him saying he didn’t wish to be included in the poll. Normally when he goes off on one he barrages me with copies of various emails has sent. Some of his emails go straight into my Spam folder anway, so it’s perfectly possible that this one did.” – Iain Dale (Sep 02)

(Note – He wasn’t talking about the ‘poll’ email specifically on Aug 29, but one of the hundreds dozens I’ve sent him earlier this year. These number in the dozens only because Iain keeps ignoring them or pretending not to have seen them. It is also possible that Iain will inisist that there is no lie or contradiction here because he used the word ‘junk’ and not ‘delete’.)

Not that his not seeing the email matters, as Iain himself described my actions as a ‘boycott’, and unless he’s going to claim that he doesn’t know what the word means, my post alone should have been enough for him.

But it’s nice of him to acknowledge – in his own special way – that he would have acted differently had he seen my email.

Then again…

“But either way, I don’t really care if he wished to be included in the poll or not.” – Iain Dale (02 Sep)

Ah. My bad. So what Iain is saying here is that – even if he had known for sure that I didn’t want to be involved in or associated with this poll in any way – he would have included me anyway.

The following point has already been raised (and ignored), but it’s similar to the point I raised with Total Politics yesterday (gosh, I hope they get my email) and it applies now more than ever:

Instead of honouring this request, Iain Dale went ahead and included me anyway, the upshot being that the poll is now – through no fault of mine, because I DID NOT WISH TO BE INCLUDED – actually specifically biased against my weblog because I was included in the poll (against my wishes) as I urged my readers not to vote.

Dale knows this. He’s not a complete idiot, and he must know how voting works because he lost an election once.

UPDATE (04 Sep) – Well, there you have it. I sent several emails seeking a reasonable and peaceful solution to this yesterday, and Iain ignored them all.

Iain Dale, who goes on and on and on about how he gets picked on for no reason, has decided to go ahead and be difficult about it by including me in this chart and peppering this post, which includes the following highlights:

“Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott of the whole exercise…”

No. They didn’t. Sunny Hundal did. Iain knows this and was reminded of it several times. But it’s in his interest to make something more of it than there is, so he just lies about it. Speaking of which…

“Absolute Unique Visitors (is now) the yardstick by which blogs are judged…”

Pfft! As if Iain doesn’t recall why this is the case for him especially. And he’s lecturing newspapers for their misleading use of meaningless use of metrics?

Well, he’s clearly taking the piss.

Remember this any time Iain tries to get anyone to take this poll of his seriously (trust me, he will) or asks you to trust him with any position of power; he diddled this result just to have one over on me.

He’s a vagina.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 1, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Closing this thread was not, in my view, an evil conspiratorial act of net censorship.

I wish to make that ab-so-lute-ly clear.

Cheers all.

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 29, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I just popped into Google on my way to scan Paul Staines’ Wikipedia entry (it’s often educational* to watch who is changing, vandalising or fixing it, just in case you’re wondering) but made a bit of a typo.

This was the result:


(A little link for those who came in late.)

[*Psst! Here’s a freebie for you, Paul: one of your most persistent trolls, who appears to have been sock-puppeting on your site and many others, has left fingerprints all over the Wikipedia history for your entry. All you have to do is cross-check a few comment-specific IP addresses. Not that your kiddy-blogging platform will let you do this, but maybe you know someone who uses better technology who has also been trolled by this person. Oh, and I’d go after this twit myself, but I need to settle the Sunlight COPs matter before I do. Latest update on that is here, just in case you missed it. While I have your attention, can you please have a word with these recipients of your hard-earned money and ask when they might get around to processing my membership application? I want to crack on with promoting transparency in politics. Ta.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 28, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

If you’ve arrived at this page via Google, you are most probably searching for an image that does not exist.

If so, then you are wasting time chasing a vicious rumour that has been peddled and published endlessly by a drink-driving (hopefully former) bankrupt by the name of Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’).

Sorry to disappoint.

Here, instead, is a picture of a fat nappy-wearing bastard who is so drunk that he has fallen off his rocking horse and sh*t himself:

Guido Fawkes: drunk again

In other news, the question that every insider in Westminster is asking is; “Does Margaret Thatcher have syphilis? “

(I kid, I kid… the question that every insider in Westminster is really asking is; “Is it true that Paul’s drinking problem has become worse since he’s been locked up at home and unable to drive anywhere?”)

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 28, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Recently, Iain Dale has begun to claim that he refuses to answer questions from me because I blog about him so much, when the truth is that a great deal of the bloggage about Iain on this site results from his earlier refusal to answer questions (and if just reading that sentence gives you a headache, try living through the experience sometime).

For example, when Iain Dale tagged me as a nihilist on 18DoughtyStreet, he denied doing so (and even denied even knowing the meaning of the word ‘nihilist’), then frustrated every effort to confront him over my recording of him doing so. He then complained about the ‘ill-tempered’ manner in which I responded to his evasiveness, claiming that I insulted him by calling him a liar… after he lied about insulting me. The whole thing took over a month to sort out and involved many posts that were published at this weblog purely because Iain was censoring any mention of it under comments on his so-called ‘weblog’.

And he does this sort of thing All. The. Time.

He’s doing it now, in fact.

Recently (example), Iain has claimed that his latest poll of blogs is the result of votes from; “the readers of more than 60 UK political blogs and the readers of TOTAL POLITICS Magazine”.

Leaving aside that the number of voters originating from his magazine warrants an ‘et al’ position, I would like to know which 60+ UK political blogs Iain is talking about here, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask, especially if his guide ranks or even excludes Bloggerheads from its listings.

If Iain knows there are 60+ weblogs sending him voters, then surely he knows which 60+ weblogs are sending him voters… unless he’s playing games with numbers again.

I emailed Iain and asked if he would provide a list of participating weblogs. Politely.

He ignored me.

I left a comment under a relevant post and asked again if he would provide a list of participating weblogs. Even more politely.

He deleted that, and both follow-ups.

So… and I really can’t believe he’s forcing me to play this childish game, but… *sigh*….

Can someone please ask your mother Iain Dale to provide a list of the “more than 60 UK political blogs” whose readers participated in that blog poll? Because she’s not talking to me.

(Please be warned that if you do so, Iain may refuse to answer on the grounds that you are my ‘bitch’. No, seriously.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 27, 2008

Category: Consume!, The Political Weblog Movement, Updates

A new post from Justin. I invite you to admire it.

My brand new Prize Shelf. Ditto.

Yay, prizes!

Grave: cause of concern

1. I stumbled through a few graveyards during my holiday break (a very long story) and happened across this final resting place. If you’re wondering what the solar panel is for, it’s powering the fairy lights. Seriously.

2. On my return I was disappointed (but not at all surprised) to find that the government had published a totally inadequate response to the Iraqi-employees petition (more).

3. I was equally disappointed (and again not at all surprised) that right wing pseudo-bloggers instead wasted their anger on this surprisingly adequate response to the ‘Jeremy Clarkson for PM’ petition (more).

The Scum are either struggling with the concept of sarcasm or trying to diddle their readers when they declare that; (the video) even admits (the petitioners) made a “compelling case”… and later this week I need to do some chasing and find out who specifically issued the pathetic, desperate and hopelessly humourless statement that appeared in the Telegraph:

A Conservative party spokesman said: “While the British public is having to tighten its belts the Government is spending taxpayers’ money on a completely frivolous project. This shows how detached the Labour party has become from the concerns of the British people.”

4. Iain Dale is publishing results from his inherently-biased blog poll with the following claim:

“These blogs were voted for by the readers of more than 60 UK political blogs and the readers of TOTAL POLITICS Magazine.”

60+ weblogs, eh? Perhaps Iain would care to list them. That’s not asking too much, is it?

5. Wait… before you answer that question, consider that the (allegedly) pro-transparency outfit that turned out to be secretly funded by Iain’s fellow pseudo-blogger Paul Staines ceased all activity on their website on 22 July… the day I applied to join them as a member. They had no grounds to reject me as a member, and they couldn’t publish or process anything while I patiently waited in the wings for my application to be processed. However, in the middle of my holiday break, they cleverly published 4 blog items and then promptly shut up shop again… without doing anything about my pending membership application. No doubt this is all part of the beta-testing process.

6. Speaking of beta-testing processes, I would love to comment on the new Downing Street website and what may or may not have nicked, but I can’t possibly do so without mentioning a certain thief and all the right-wing dipsticks who backed him over his drunken legal threats by laying into me personally instead of addressing the issue, and that gang of thugs has already enjoyed enough free airtime today. Besides, Downing Street and/or their contractors lifting stuff for the No 10 website without payment or acknowledgement isn’t news.

7. Meet some people who clearly don’t believe in freedom of speech. (via)

8. Beau Bo d’Or reports that the Daily Mail peeps are guilty of theft and complete ignorance.

9. The Scum are crying “Wolf!” “Shark!” again.

10. Thanks to Charlie Brooker, everything I wanted to say about this Olympics (and the next) has already been said. (via)

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 7, 2008

Category: Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Those of you who contribute regularly under comments will be aware of Scotch.

Scotch lives in my constituency. We first encountered each other when Scotch was looking for more information on Anne Milton. We became friends, and one of the reasons we became friends is that we share similar values.

For example, if we ever discuss a comment thread privately, Scotch will feel that he is unable to contribute to the thread from that point on unless he can reveal the relevant details of our private conversation.

Unlike members* of Iain Dale’s Flying Monkey Squadron, Scotch is not a man to be coerced, instructed, nudge-winked or otherwise manipulated into speaking on my behalf. Ever.

[*A quick ‘hello’ to Flight Lieutenant Phil Hendren, who Iain accidentally CCed on one of our private conversations when he meant to issue a BCC instead. Sometimes, when it suits him – Phil insists that it is irrelevant where information comes from if it is pertinent.]

And that’s just one reason why I found Iain’s response to a fair question from Scotch yesterday afternoon to be nothing short of appalling.

The comments appear here, under Iain Dale’s widely-publicised position on Ian Oakley’s actions in Watford.

The problem with Iain’s position is best summed up in this extract from a comment of mine that The Spectator refused to publish under this entry: “Iain Dale is a hypocrite who has in the past turned a blind eye to some appalling harassment by Tory supporters, candidates and activists (some of it on his own website).”

Scotch was equally unimpressed, and decided to bring up the most jarring example of Iain turning a blind eye when it suits him:

scotch said…

Iain, hi. Where is your disapproval of a homophobic hate site against a local government candidate, of which you are well aware? I can’t seem to find it.

August 06, 2008 1:10 PM

What Scotch is referring to is the incident in Guildford where Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul, two Conservative activists/candidates and close associates of Conservative MP Anne Milton, took it upon themselves to create, build upon and promote an anonymous website that claimed one of their political opponents was a paedophile (summary)… and put alongside this claim the man’s name, a photo and details of his whereabouts.

I produced evidence clearly linking Mike Chambers directly to authorship of that anonymous website, but both Iain Dale and Paul Staines refused to blog the item or even condemn the action.

At this stage, the entire affair could and would have been nipped in the bud had a few Tory bloggers stood up and said that this was unacceptable behaviour, but Iain Dale and Paul Staines shut the gate on that one.

Even at that early stage Dennis Paul was bragging that he was a contributor to Paul Staines’ site, and since then at least one anonymous commenter keeps popping up every time Iain Dale thinks I deserve a kicking to say how mean and awful I was to poor Anne Milton. Iain Dale has recently taken to repeating this line himself. Repeatedly.

I mention all of this to point out the hole that Iain has dug for himself; he now cannot afford to condemn the actions taken by Anne Milton’s activists without blowing a dirty great hole in his claims that I stalk and harass Tories for no good reason.

Now onto Iain’s response to this tricky question…

Iain Dale said…

Scotch, or should I more correctly address you in your usual capacity as Tim Ireland’s bitch?

I condemn homophobic attacks on anyone, whereever they occur. Funny that, isn’t it?

What I don’t do, unlike you, is jump to the tune of Tim Ireland.

August 06, 2008 3:02 PM

Appalling, isn’t it?

Also, note Iain’s claims to condemn homophobic attacks “on anyone, whereever [sic] they occur”.

This is a lie… and Iain actually goes on to provide his justification for NOT doing so over the Guildford incident.

And even the justification is a lie. If Iain truly condemns homophobic attacks “on anyone, whereever [sic] they occur”, then it’s not my tune he was asked to jump to over the Guildford matter, but his own.

Is Iain seriously telling us that he will abandon his stance against homophobia if I ask him to stand by it?

As for the insulting way that Iain dismissed Scotch’s input, this runs counter to Iain’s own rules. Will Iain be banning** himself from his own website now?

[**Which leads to yet another lie. Anyone reading this prominent page might somehow get the impression that I was banned from Iain’s website for being sweary and abusive. I was not. Iain himself says here that I was banned for insisting that he “obey [my] rules and dikats”… but even this is a lie. I actually requested and suggested that he follow his own damn rules, not mine.]

[Psst! For those who missed it; video evidence of Mike Chambers’ homophobia.]

UPDATE (3pm) – Iain is being less-than-honest about this issue. Again.

“Am I supposed to blog about every single thing in British politics? …. I condemn ALL hompohobic [sic] attacks. The word ALL is important here.” – Iain Dale (source)

[Psst! If you feel so strongly about it, Iain… learn how to spell it.]

More than once the ‘Jonesy’ blog created by Tory activists/candidates in Guildford equated homosexuality with paedophilia… e.g. “Mr X admits to being gay, therefore (the claim that he is a paedophile) must be true!”

Now I ask you to cast your mind back to a different incident involving different players…

Most bloggers who were around at the time recall Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines (and to a slightly lesser extent Alex Hilton) equating homosexuality with paedophilia when claiming to have outed Mark Oaten ahead of the tabloids. It caused quite a stir at the time.

Here’s a timeline of events for those who missed the action.

And here are some bloggers from across the political spectrum, united in their position that one cannot equate homosexuality with paedophilia. I’ll stick with bloggers who are still with us, just to keep it neat:

I condemned it. Twice.

It was condemned at Blood & Treasure.

Devil’s Kitchen pulls up short of condemnation here, but only just.

Nosemonkey condemned it.

Justin condemned it.

Iain Dale did NOT condemn it.

Well, if he did, he was very, very quiet about it. He certainly didn’t mention it and blog the controversy around it on his website.

And yet he found the time to blog about Mark Oaten quite a lot during that month, and even had time for a positive link to the podcast a few days after it had been so widely criticised.

Now, why do you think that is?

And now, apropos of nothing, here’s a photo of Iain Dale and Paul Staines enjoying a friendly drink the week before the Oaten incident.

“I condemn ALL hompohobic [sic] attacks. The word ALL is important here.” – Iain Dale


1. Supporting Dave Walker:

Unity – J Mark Brewer revisited (updated): It seems that while Brewer’s up for bullying Christian cartoonists and members of the clergy, when it comes to taking on a big bad atheist blogger with a penchant for digging into the detail, like yours truly, he seems to be altogether lacking in intestinal fortitude.

Well, there’s a shock.

If you’d like to learn more and maybe blog something yourself, start here.

2. ‘Sun Watch’ Project:

Catching up with more of our editors today and tomorrow. In the meantime, here are two Sun-related items for you:

Mark Pack – A case of media bias? The Sun, MySpace and Facebook: So, that would be 14 positive stories about MySpace compared to 1 negative. A bit different from the 2 positive against 13 negative stories about Facebook…

Septicisle – Weekend links: The Scum, despite the complete lack of evidence is continuing to keep up the pretence that Barry George is guilty of the Jill Dando murder…

3. New Google gadgetry:

Google has started offering their site-specific search feature under the main search result for some newspapers. Nifty.

4. Long waits:

Still no word regarding my membership application for the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics. Can’t imagine what’s keeping them.

5. Fascinating and a bit scary:

Britain from Above looks awesome. Guess where I’ll be Sunday 10 August at 9pm. (No, don’t check the spy satellite… I said guess where I’ll be Sunday 10 August at 9pm.)

6. Optical illusions:

Best car park signage ever. (via)

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 31, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Independent – Pandora: Tory press office in a spin over poll fix: To coincide with Cameron’s holiday in Padstow, the Western Morning News ran an online poll this week to find out whether locals thought Cameron would make a good Prime Minister. With the poll going heavily against him, a zealous staffer decided to try and shore up some support… To spare his blushes, I shan’t reveal the press officer’s name, but his colleagues aren’t best pleased with him. “It was an over-enthusiastic response from a member of staff,” says a party spokesperson when I call. “It is not something that the party would condone at all.”

The Pandora peeps are going needlessly easy on this nitwit; he was outed by another newspaper two days ago:

The Times – Tories rig local newspaper poll?

—–Original Message—–
From: Sandes, Duncan []
Sent: 29 July 2008 13:59
To: [76 Tory constituency and councillor e-mail addresses across the South West];

Subject: WMN poll – please vote

dear all,
the Western Morning News is running an online poll to coincide with
David Cameroin’s visit to Cornwall, asking if he would make a good
the bad news is that, as it stands, 76 per cent have said “no”.
the good news is only 230-odd people have voted.
so, if you can spare 2 minutes can you please go on and register your
vote for “yes” – it shouldnt take too long to change the percentage
if you follow this link:
and look for the large blue box to the centre right of the screen.
can you also please pass this on to all helpers, campaigner,s members
you can think of so we can push the percentage the right way.

many thanks,


Duncan Sandes

Conservative regional press officer – South West

1. Pay particular attention to his desire to ‘correct’ the poll so that it goes the ‘right’ way. He’s not doing anything wrong; he’s merely ‘righting’ a wrong!

2. Take a look at the comments under that story (and perhaps over at Bob Piper’s) and look for someone called ‘Simon’ (or ‘Richard’ or ‘Jim’ or ‘Laura’ or ‘Betty’ or ‘Archie’ or ‘ Veronica’ or…) who thinks it’s very important that he/she tell as many people as possible (as often as possible) how dull this story is and that everybopdy else is at it, too.

3. Note also under comments that only Justin (here, over at Bob’s) provides an example of someone other than the Tories doing anything like this. I’ve noticed many Tory bloggers and comment contributors making similar noises and playing this same game; they claim that the opposition is up to no good or guilty of equal/greater sins than the one they’ve just been caught at, but they never seem to come up with any evidence. Here, once more, I’ll happily show them how it’s done:

Other examples of Tory diddles and fixes include the sad tale of Grant Shapps, who, as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party “with responsibility for campaigning”, unsuccessfully posed as a disheartened Liberal Democrat during the Ealing Southall by-election. Iain Dale, the only blogger who appeared to believe Grant Shapps’ story (that ‘someone’ accessed his YouTube account after guessing his password; ‘1234’), is himself no stranger to poll-rigging, and was recently caught red-handed inflating/misrepresenting his traffic figures (to this day he refuses to admit that he got caught cheating despite clear evidence to the contrary). It’s also definitely worth mentioning this similar example in Guildford; where some of the massive diddling of an online poll about the local council’s actions was traced back to a Tory member of the local council*. That senior councillor’s position was that he merely (and quite reasonably, in his view) “registered two votes to what I thought was a flawed poll”.

Now pop back up to #1 quickly, before we move on…

[*Psst! The since-censored list of recipients of Sandes’ email includes many Tory councillors.]

4. That local newspaper has reported this matter, but the report (an afterthought chucked in at the bottom of an unrelated article) is missing one vital detail:

Western Morning News – EXCLUSIVE: Cameron pledge on water bills: The Tories were last night accused of trying to influence an opinion poll on the WMN website. For two weeks, the online vote showed just a quarter of people who had taken part thought a Cameron government would be good for the Westcountry. But yesterday, Duncan Sandes, the Tories’ South West press officer, sent an e-mail to activists telling them to vote to “push the percentage the right way”. Last night, the result had turned around with just a quarter of voters saying a Cameron government would be bad for the region. Lib-Dem MP Nick Harvey said: “The change in ratings is not a reflection of a sudden change in the South West’s political colours but another example of political spin.” A Tory Party spokesman said: “It was a very over-enthusiastic response by a junior member of staff and we would not condone it.” Mr Sandes declined to comment.

The vital detail that’s missing?

Duncan Sandes, South West Regional Press Officer for the Conservatives, used to work as a reporter at the Western Morning News until about a year ago.

I would’ve thought that this warranted a passing mention at least. Sandes is messing about with a poll conducted by his former employer and suddenly he doesn’t have time to speak to his former workmates? There is, at the very least, an element of human drama that’s going to waste here… which I think is a pity.

5. Western Morning News is a daily tabloid newspaper based in Plymouth. It’s published by Westcountry Publications Ltd, which is owned by Northcliffe Media Limited, which is a subsidiary of Daily Mail & General Trust plc. A tabloid ultimately owned by the Daily Mail group that’s currently bragging; “(we) brought David Cameron to the West Country” and running a series of exclusives about David Cameron might seem to the uninformed outsider to be listing ever so slightly to the right, but I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that I have received assurances that the newspaper does not in any way favour the Conservatives:

Seeking a copy of some of Duncan Sandes’ past articles for the Western Morning News, I was initially refused, and so I asked if they’d like to go on record with that refusal.

I was quickly put onto News Editor Steve Grant, who wanted to know who I was and why I wanted to see them.

Keeping in mind that I was talking to the man most likely to have cleared the above article the above incomplete afterthought chucked in at the bottom of an unrelated article, I found his insistence that I share my name and background to be most amusing. I was even more amused when he declared the conversation at an end and hung up on me when I gave him my name (which I had already offered) and suggested that he use a search engine for anything else that he might need (if indeed this kind of thing mattered all of a sudden).


No matter. I called back and somewhere between the two calls we got down to it:

I explained that Duncan Sandes’ willingness to diddle a poll run by his former employer on behalf of the leader of the Conservative Party might make a curious person want to scan his past work for that employer… just case it revealed a teeny hint of pro-Conservative bias. I then asked again if WMN would share some of his past articles with me.

Grant replied; “That won’t be possible,” and then stated, “And it never happened. Not once did I see a single bit of bias from (Sandes). If I did then he wouldn’t have been working for me.”

Well, OK, then.

Given that things were that straightforward and confidence was high, and these articles were available via the British Newspaper Library etc. anyway, I asked one final time if I might see some of Duncan Sandes’ articles written for the Western Morning News.

Grant’s final response was firm and simple; “No!”


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