Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at March 3, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes) – Sunday Sleaze Special : Tom Watson: Last year Watson pocketed his £60,000 salary and his parliamentary expenses amounted to £150,000-plus – bringing his total package to £211,000 – making him the 73rd highest claiming MP out of 646 MPs. Quite an achievement for an MP not claiming for travel to and from Scotland. He of course employs his wife Siobhan at the public’s expense, his brother, Dan, is constituency director to Euro MP Michael Cashman, Dan Watson’s wife, Joanna, has no fewer than three jobs. Like her husband, she also works for Mr Cashman and for Wolverhampton Labour MP Pat McFadden, yet still finds time to be a Labour councillor in Sandwell. Amy Watson, cousin of Tom and Dan, works for Birmingham Northfield Labour MP Richard Burden. The West Midlands constituency Labour Party offices are packed with Watsons… The total annual cost to the taxpayer of the Watson family’s five not-so-little piggies is in excess of £300,000. Far more than the disgraced Derek Conway fiddled…

1. The way Paul Staines carries on about British taxpayers’ money, you would think it was *his* money being spent. But if Staines pays any tax, surely it’s in Ireland.

2. That story appeared on Staines’ pseudo-blog just before 10:30pm last night. The only link to any source was to this irrelevant article in the Sunday Times. Just after midnight, this very similar article by Mark Lister appeared on the Daily Express website. So did Lister lift from Staines? Or did Lister or someone else leak to Staines? Or is there a mystery article that we’re unaware of that Staines is using as his (uncredited) source?

3. So much for bread and sources… here’s the meat;

The comparison to Derek Conway is totally out of order unless one *only* addresses the money Tom Watson paid to his wife Siobhan and *if* there appears to be some irregularity and/or difficulty proving that she has done this work. (Lister in the Express also works Conway into his article, but is far more careful about it.)

The crux of the Conway matter was that Derek Conway had paid his son Freddie Conway £40,000 (over a three year period) and no record was found of any work done by this ‘researcher’.

If a fair comparison were to be made, it would involve an estimated £60,000 paid to Siobhan Watson (i.e. over the same period) and there would have to be some indication that she didn’t actually do any work during this period.

But instead, Staines (followed by Lister) has grouped the money paid by Tom Watson to his wife with Tom’s own pay and expenses, *and* tacked on money paid to members of his extended family by people and organisations that have *SFA* to do with that MP.

[All of the other members of Tom Watson’s family work for other people and Tom’s responsibilities to the taxpayer start and finish at his offices. There might be cause for investigation or comparison if, for example, Tom was funnelling his own money through family members for some reason (*cough*)… but he isn’t.]

So when Staines describes that figure of £300,000 as “Far more than the disgraced Derek Conway fiddled…” he is implying:

a) That Siobhan Watson did no work for her salary.

b) That Tom Watson did no work for his salary – and that none of his expenses can be properly accounted for.

c) That Tom Watson is directly responsible for the employment of these other members of his extended family.

It’s almost as if Paul Staines is baiting Tom Watson and waiting for a letter from Tom’s lawyer so he make yet another comparison of chalk to cheese in order to overcome or overshadow his recent PR difficulties.

No doubt there will also be accusations of personal/political favouritism if certain blogs don’t repeat this non-story, when Staines himself is guilty of ignoring many genuine Tory stories (including this item about Anne Milton).

But, even though Tom is not my MP, I recognise that there are political realities to deal with here (mostly involving a gang of right wing bloggers who delight in misrepresenting my position and even falsely suggesting that *I’m* employed by Tom Watson) so I’m going to ask Tom 3 of the 5 questions put to Anne Milton (i.e. the 3 questions that are relevant to this situation):

Q1. Where did Siobhan Watson carry out this work you describe? In your parliamentary office, your constituency office, from home…?

Q2. What evidence can you show your constituents of the work you claim was done by Siobhan Watson?

Q5. Have any other members of your family been employed in this or any other way by your office?

[Please note that Tom Watson does not have advance notice of these questions and that they’ve been presented to him in exactly the same manner as they were presented to Milton; bloggage first, followed by an immediate heads-up via email. To better Milton’s response time, Tom only has to come up with a single and totally unsatisfactory answer within two weeks… but I’m willing to bet that he can do a little bit better than that.]

UPDATE (1:10pm) – The article on the Daily Express website appears to have been removed.

UPDATE (2:10pm) – This appears to be the original article (Sunday Mercury – March 2, 2008), and the source for both Staines and Lister. It’s a curious item full of friendly smiles and wild stabs, but – crucially – it makes no mention of Derek Conway.

UPDATE (5:20pm) – Garry Smith expands on the maths.








Posted by Tim Ireland at March 1, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Via Richard Bartholomew (<---- worth a read): Oliver Kamm – Not a parody: Yesterday morning I got a telephone call from a bewildered gentleman at Abingdon Police Station saying he had received a complaint from a Mr Neil Clark… I learned from my interlocutor at Abingdon Police Station that Mr Clark was upset about disobliging references to him on the World Wide Web…

Blessings upon the cotton socks of the hardworking copper who seeks to keep the peace… and a hearty ‘good luck’ to Oliver in his mission to “abstain from interest in Clark’s pronouncements” in order to “make life easier for the Abingdon constabulary than it has been in the very recent past.”








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 29, 2008

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

By now you’re all aware that Prince Harry has been fighting in Afghanistan (gunning down other human beings in much the same way that most normal people do) and that there was an agreement for it not be reported by the media. You are probably also aware that the carrot that was dangled to ensure the integrity of the embargo was an appeal to media owners and editors not to complicate military operations by needlessly endangering Harry’s life and those of his fellow soldiers a steady feed of photos and interviews that they would be allowed to use at a later date.

This morning, there is an undignified rush to use that material in almost every newspaper. Classy.

The Independent, by contrast, uses a single image on page 3 alongside this article:

Independent – Prince’s cover in Afghanistan blown by Drudge Report: An American website, the Drudge Report, broke a news blackout yesterday by revealing that Prince Harry has been serving in Afghanistan for more than two months. To the fury of the Ministry of Defence and condemnation from the head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the website announced a “world exclusive” and proclaimed: “They’re calling him ‘Harry the Hero!”… It is thought the source for the Drudge Report article was a story printed last month in an Australian women’s magazine, New Idea.

Back-pats to the Indy for this, and for not falsely describing Drudge as a ‘blogger’.

Brick-bats to New Idea and Matt Drudge… oh, and well-known Drudge-wannabe Paul Staines*.

What Drudge did was take something that had been previously reported by regional ragsters who claimed to be unaware of the embargo, and used that to knowingly break the embargo… while screaming ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

And now the eyes of the world are upon him, Matt Drudge is getting greedy. Below is the article published by Drudge yesterday. The text in bold is the paragraph that he has since deleted:

PRINCE HARRY FIGHTS ON FRONTLINES IN AFGHANISTAN; 3 MONTH TOUR
Thu Feb 28 2008 11:37:52 ET

They’re calling him “Harry the Hero!”

British Royal Prince Harry has been fighting in Afghanistan since late December–and has been directly involved in battle.

Australian magazine NEW IDEA and the German daily BILD have broken world embargoes on the development. CNN has debated internally on the merits of reporting Harry at war.

The prince, a junior officer in the Blues and Royals, and third in line to the throne, has been a “magnificent soldier” and an “inspiration to all of Briton.”

Prince Harry is talking part in a new offensive against the Taliban.

Ministry of Defense and Clarence House refuse all comment. Army chiefs have managed to keep the prince away from media and have encourage fellow soldiers in his squadron to stay quiet.

Developing…

Not that the people at New Idea have any complaints; they themselves are busy rewriting history today…. and here’s why:

The Australian – New Idea, no idea of Harry embargo: New Idea had no idea it was breaking an embargo when it revealed on its website that Prince Harry was fighting in Afghanistan. The weekly magazine has been criticised by a British army chief for leaking the news of the young royal’s frontline deployment, which was subject to a strict media blackout. A German newspaper and then US website the Drudge report picked up the story this week. With the ban broken, the story has received intensive coverage in Britain and around the world. The story was published on New Idea’s website on January 7, said editor-in-chief Robyn Foyster.

SMH – No idea: New Idea in the dark about Harry blackout: An Australian women’s magazine has denied deliberately breaching a media news blackout about Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan. New Idea is at the centre of a storm in Britain, accused of leaking the news the 23-year-old prince is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and potentially putting his life in danger. The magazine published a story about Harry’s secret tour of duty on its website in January in an apparent breach of a strict media blackout on the story. It appears few noticed the story. It was only after US website the Drudge Report picked up the story and broadcast it around the world, after a German newspaper ran a piece yesterday, that the storm blew up.

[Psst! “Woman’s magazine” is putting it kindly; New Idea (nicknamed ‘No Idea’ long before this debacle) is a trashy supermarket tabloid.]

Now, while everyone else is revelling in their ability to use material that was previously embargoed until April, New Idea has decided to ‘disappear’ the items in question. If you visit either of these URLs, the original teaser and article will not appear; instead, on both pages, you’ll get a bog-standard bio of Prince Harry (that’s been put together so hurriedly that the picture fails to load)…
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/8771/prince-harry-goes-to-war-in-afghanistan/
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/9210/prince-harry-war-lord/

So now, +++ EXCLUSIVELY +++ at Bloggerheads (via the cached pages stored by Google and Live Search), I present the two original items in full:

NEW IDEA: Prince Harry Goes to War in Afghanistan
Originally published by New Idea on Jan 07 at 04:33pm EDT at:
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/8771/prince-harry-goes-to-war-in-afghanistan/

Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.

Not seen in public since the middle of December, New Idea can exclusively reveal that despite opposition from senior members of the British government and the royal family itself, Harry now joins his uncle Prince Andrew as a royal who has been to war.

‘At first there was a lot of resistance’ said a friend ‘but Harry threatened to resign his commission and serve as a private if he was kept from the battlefield – and that proved to be the final straw’.

Full details on this breaking story in this week’s New Idea

No idea there was an embargo? What does the word ‘covert’ mean to these people?

Here’s the article that followed that teaser a week later:

NEW IDEA: Prince Harry: War Lord
Originally published by New Idea on Jan 15 at 12:07pm EDT at:
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/8771/prince-harry-goes-to-war-in-afghanistan/

Maverick Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.

New Idea can exclusively reveal that despite opposition from senior members of the British government and the royal family itself, Harry flew out with his regiment and joined the troops on the front line. He spent Christmas with his men at the sharp end of the action.

‘Harry found members of his unit were to be posted in Afghanistan for a four-month tour of duty over Christmas and the New Year,’ a close friend tells New Idea.

‘He had already begrudgingly accepted the decision to keep him off the front line in Iraq, but when he heard about the mission in Afghanistan he was insistent he would not stay at home eating Christmas dinner and living it up at the palace while his men were on the front line.

‘At first there was a lot of resistance, but Harry even threatened to resign his commission and serve as a private if he was kept from the battlefield – and that proved to be the final straw,’ the friend says.

‘He wants to be a real soldier who gets the same treatment as any other officer of his rank – and that means going to war just like everybody else.’

Prince Charles was said to be against the idea of Harry seeing active service, but sources say that with the support of his elder brother William, and uncle Prince Andrew, who flew helicopters during the Falklands war, Harry convinced Charles not to take action to prevent him from going.

The Queen is said to have sent Harry a card with her best wishes and a gift with sentimental value that he has kept private.

Before he left, Harry invited William and some of his close friends to a secret ‘godspeed’ party at Boujis nightclub in London.

Guests were under strict instruction that there was to be no mention of the real reason for the party and no toasts or public discussion of Harry’s imminent departure.

The British government is said to strongly oppose Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan. Their official reason is that his presence may put his fellow soldiers at risk, but defence commentators have been quick to suggest it may be more to do with their fear that Harry could be killed or injured fighting George Bush’s ‘war on terror’. This would doom Gordon Brown’s Labour government in the next election.

But Harry has always been insistent that he wanted to see active duty and he hated the idea of being wrapped in cotton wool while his men put their lives on the line.

He famously said: ‘There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my a*** back home while my boys are out fighting for their country.’

For more Royal Watch, check out the latest issue of New Idea – on sale now!

Again, reading what has been published (and since ‘disappeared’), one might get the impression that – even if New Idea didn’t know of the embargo – they certainly should have noticed the alarm bells in their own damn article!

Which might be why that article and the teaser have been removed; New Idea’s statement on the matter reads as follows:

“New Idea was not issued with a press embargo and was unaware of the existence of one… The story was published on Monday, January 7. Since then New Idea has received no comment from the British Ministry of Defence. We take these matters very seriously and would never knowingly break an embargo. We regret any issues the revelation of this story in America has caused today.”

Scroll up and read the article again. Try to work out how it was planned for at least a week, researched, penned and published without anyone involved becoming aware of the merest possibility of a hint of an embargo.

And, if you’re of the opinion that New Idea knowingly breached the embargo and find yourself wondering why, there’s a subtle hint in the closing line of each item…

Full details on this breaking story in this week’s New Idea

For more Royal Watch, check out the latest issue of New Idea – on sale now!

So now it’s New Idea with a secret they’d rather the media didn’t report.

Share at will.

[*Paul Staines happily ran with the outing and there are suggestions from anonymous readers (or from Staines himself; sometimes it’s hard to tell) that Staines knew all about it, and even dropped hints. What a guy. He inspires me to drop hints myself from time to time because, as Staines notes here, if you dish it out…]

UPDATE – Hahahahahaha! Great input from Anorak.

UPDATE – Many comments under this ABC article. New Idea gets a repeated kicking.

UPDATE – Staines nearly trips over himself trying to get in on the action.

UPDATE – PM on Radio 4 this afternoon (from 5pm); “Tonight on the programme, we’ll trace the origins of the story. “ Top stuff.

UPDATE – That programme tracked the earliest press mention back to the ever-reliable News Of The World (on June 3, 2007 IIRC). Indigo Red has documented some of the reports that followed that, and it would appear that The Observer also carried an item on that same day. I don’t have confirmation on this, but my gut is telling me that this early coverage (published long before Harry went to Afghanistan) is pre-embargo, and may even have triggered the embargo.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 28, 2008

Category: Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, UK Libel Law

Yesterday (27 Feb), Joseph Chikelue Obi uploaded these nude(!) photos of himself on Flickr [sfw], presenting them as a slide show via one of his many, many domain names.

One can only assume that this is part of the PR push for… his new Hollywood movie!

Abolish the GMC – General Medical Council Goes To Hollywood

We are exceedingly pleased to announce that previous pages of particular blog have just been sold to a Budding Hollywood Movie Producer .

Please kindly visit us during the latter part of the year 2012 to view the Film Trailer.

In the interim , all future pages will be solely used for the Public Awareness Purposes ; for serious matters relating to Institutional Racism at the General Medical Council.

Thank You for all your wonderful support.

Best Wishes,

Joseph Chikelue Obi
General Medical Council Opposition Leader

Every other entry from the ‘Abolish the GMC’ blog has been deleted (but I did what I could to preserve some of the wonderful hat-standery via Google’s cache and you can do the same if you’re quick).

Meanwhile, LayScience has an excellent post about one of Grand Master Obi’s many, many products and publications.

He’s like a gift from heaven, this man; a perfect example of shameless blogging fraud in action, and much more fun than Iain Dale.

Speaking of that neck of the woods, Garry has been discussing a few things with our chum Donal Blaney and Iain has popped by to have a word under this post. A great follow-up post can be found here.

You may also care to spend a cuppa pondering on this post by Richard Bartholomew on the subject of the UK Libertarian Right.

[Psst! Sorry I haven’t been around lately. I’m off the fags, and for good this time. My body’s not sure what to do with all the extra oxygen it’s getting, so for most of the last couple of days my brain has been a bit… thingy. Email backlog will be dealt with tomorrow.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 26, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Via Poons and Justin:

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) will be speaking at the Manifesto Club tonight as ‘a supporter of free speech’.

I had a question about an outgoing fella with a colourful past who lived and worked in Britain, but based his business in Ireland; I wanted to ask if this person undermining his critics with sock-puppetry and/or intimidating them with baseless legal threats amounted to an attack on free speech…

… but I’m not entirely sure how Paul would take such a question, so I think I’ll leave it alone.

[If you attend, please consider recording the event. I’d love to hear Paul’s side of this story.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 20, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

It’s 4pm. And we’re done.

[This post will get bigger in a bit.]

UPDATE (4:30pm)

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) was told to put up or shut up… and he chose the latter option.

Didn’t stop Dizzy from trying to pick a fight, though. Iain Dale had a bit of a go, too… but it was so pathetic an effort it’s barely worth mentioning.

Tch. No self control, these people. Everybody saw the role misleading and personal attacks from right-wing blogs played in this and how Iain Dale completely stalled matters last week with this ‘axe killer’ comment*. For Staines’ sake, they only had to keep their heads down for ONE day.

Oh well.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was:

1. Thank you.

I’ll make the time to include a linky-list of support posts from during the dispute here later (not a smart idea right now with a shaky database on a busy afternoon):

[OK, here you go. Do let me know if I’ve missed anyone.]

Matt Buck, Justin McKeating, Garry Smith, Jim Bliss, Dave Cole, D-Notice, Septicisle, Political Hack, John Hirst, Sim-O, Tom Watson, Bob Piper, Blairwatch, Back off, man; I’m a scientist, Never Trust a Hippy, Richard Bartholomew, Drink Soaked Popinjays for War, Henry North London, The Yorkshire Ranter, Zinzine, SF Diplomat, Larry Teabag, Francis Sedgemore, Chris Paul, Mike Ion, Freeborn John, Media Watch Watch, Anorak, Bananas in the Falklands, Blood & Treasure, Unity, Our Man in Newcastle, Curly, RickB, Peter Gasston, Hopi Sen, Sunny Hundal, tyger, sbalb, Quinn, Poons.

2. Please bear witness.

You all saw what happened; MessageSpace played nicey-nice and/or ‘no comment’ after Staines set his lawyer onto me. Staines made no mention of this on his website, but when I refused to roll over, I was subjected to a series of increasingly vicious personal attacks from his mates (and a great many of those personal attacks attempted to portray my side of it as a personal attack).

We wouldn’t stand for this kind of bullying and disinformation in old media, so why the hell should we put up with it in new media?

This kind of crap does not work if more than a few bloggers stand up, say they’re not going to stand for it… and bloody well mean it. And that’s the only way to stop this kind of behaviour from spreading so far and fast that it overwhelms us before the next general election.

We have to individually lead by example… and not be afraid to challenge bloggers who present themselves as the leaders of blogging when they set a very poor example.

Otherwise no-one will take any of us seriously, and old media will continue to get away with dismissing personal contributions to the blogosphere while they themselves try to muscle in on the action while following the poorer example themselves. (Take, just for example, the rather self-serving comment moderation policies of most major newspapers.)

Sorry, I’ll get off the mount now.

(ahem)

When the time came to thinking about how cats should be released from bags if such an act were necessary, I thought some drama was called for… and perhaps a bit of music. A script was written for a video. That video won’t be made now, and I can’t share the script with you, but you can enjoy the bitchin’ soundtrack (if it helps, close your eyes and picture a bit of background in two main chapters, each ending with a series of increasingly alarming screengrabs and document scans, with a few soundgrabs to take us through the guitar solo):

Sherbet – Howzat

Cheers all.

[*I’m now sure it was Iain, even though he still refuses to be grown-up enough to confirm or deny it himself: Shane Greer once guested on Iain’s blog. Shane Greer hosts this comment. Case closed. This comment and all the others submitted by ‘Iain Dale’ under it are from our Iain. I look forward to discussing the use of bad language and abuse that he says that he won’t stand for on his own site (while appearing to suggest that I was banned for being sweary/abusive).]








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 19, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

OK, here we are for the second half. Please keep in mind that it may be much shorter than the first….

1. Paul Staines used the servers of MessageSpace to host copyrighted material that he had no legal right to. I wrote an article about that.

2. Paul Staines then threatened me with litigation under comments on my website. I traced the IP address he used to leave these comments back to the same serviced-office building where MessageSpace was based at the time.

3. Instead of hiring an experienced libel lawyer, Staines used the services of Donal Blaney, a tax lawyer and – co-incidentally – a right-wing blogger with numerous personal, political and/or personal connections to many of the people referenced under #5

4. The correspondence from Blaney threatening litigation and big-heartedly promising not to chase me for damages (just ‘costs’) if I capitulated immediately was challenged, and the last I heard, Blaney was awaiting instructions from his client. That was almost 3 weeks ago (on the 31st of January).

5. I haven’t heard a thing back from either Paul Staines or Donal Blaney since. I have, however, been the subject of several personal attacks at the hands of other right-wing bloggers. Lowlife highlights can be seen here and here, with a full run-down here.

6. The only right-wing blogger who sought to take on the issue itself (while engaging in personal attacks, natch) was Praguetory, who failed to make his case.

7. More recently, I’ve been in touch with Jag Singh, the Chief Information Officer of MessageSpace, who limited his official response to: “We do not comment on rumours or speculation.”

8. As you no doubt already suspect, there was also some unofficial communication (from a number of parties tied to MessageSpace). It appealed to my better nature, making mention of those employees and bloggers who rely on MessageSpace for income.

9. On the 8th of February – almost 2 weeks ago – I sent an email to Jag Singh and Paul Staines, inviting them to review – prior to publication – an article written in response to Staines hiding behind MessageSpace and its employees/users whilst trying to keep this issue as far away from MessageSpace as possible. On paper, Staines appears to be an orbital figure at MessageSpace, but I have paperwork myself that would suggest otherwise. However, to make my case and reveal the illusion of Staines’ distance from that organisation, I would have to release a cat that would never again be allowed to return to the bag. Paul Staines did not even bother to acknowledge receipt of that email.

10. I don’t want to mess with MessageSpace any more than I have to, but I feel they are forcing my hand, especially with the threat of litigation still hanging in the air.

Paul Staines has – via the public threat of litigation – accused me of lying… and I doubt very much if he is going to withdraw the threat as publicly as he made it.

I’m not going to stand for that, but there is a way to resolve the issue without undue damage to MessageSpace and those who rely on it (in whole or in part) for income.

Paul Staines has 24 hours to either pursue litigation in earnest or forfeit.

If he says sweet bugger-all in the next 24 hours, then we’ll all know that it’s over.

Paul won’t be compelled to publish the same kind of apology on his weblog that his lawyer demanded of me, and will be able to continue – in some quarters – to keep playing Mr Tough Guy.

[If you’re at all concerned that Paul Staines won’t see this message (he claims not to read my website) then feel free to forward a copy to guido.fawkes@order-order.com and/or paul.staines@messagespace.co.uk]








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 19, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Half-time is over and we’re about to enter the second half… here’s your warm-up exercise:

Via Poons; Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 18, 2008

Category: Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

As I noted on Thursday, yes, there was some hostility in the many, many responses to the first and only entry in Max Gogerty’s short-lived travel blog for the Guardian… but reading Andy Pietrasik’s response and this editorial follow-up from Caroline Davies in the sisterly Observer, one might get the impression that there was only hostility aimed only at Max… and with no good reason.

This is a shoddy and pathetic tactic; what you’re seeing here is a bunch of adults putting the spotlight on a teenage boy because they daren’t accept responsibility for their own poor judgement… by pretending that those who are criticising their poor judgement are instead picking on that same teenage boy!

And take a look at this…

Caroline Davies – Hate mail hell of a gap-year blogger (Cyber-bullies who attacked young author are accused of class hatred): Max… was last night alone in India at the beginning of his trip, while his father accused his detractors of class hatred and envy… Some contributors were uneasy over the tone of many comments. One wrote: ‘The amount of hate, envy and hypocrisy that’s been on display here is shocking.’

Let’s take a look at the contributors Caroline uses to justify her ‘accusations of class hatred’ sub-header:

1. Max’s Dad.

2. Some guy called ‘Eleutherios’ who, to date, has only made a single comment on the Guardian website (and just happens to agree 100% with ‘Maxdad’).

I smell a sock-puppet… and I think it stinks that Caroline Davies uses one to support her dishonest argument.

Oh… wait… I think some blind hatred might have sneaked in there. Let me tone it down for you so no-one thinks I’m picking on poor Max Caroline without good reason:

I think it’s a pity that Caroline couldn’t find the time to consider or include this direct response to ‘Eleutherios’ from ‘Fulmerford’ (who, BTW, has contributed to over 40 threads on the Guardian website) in her opinion piece:

Eleutherios, let’s see if you can ‘liberate’ some sense out of this: responding to someone’s comments not with a counter-argument but just by decrying their presumed motivation is a, well, a really shoddy way to debate.

I mean come on! It’s like going: “Smack is bad.” “No it’s not.” “No it is, here’s the reasons.” “Oh you’re just saying that because [you’re] bitter that you don’t take smack.”

Is ‘ad hominem’ just Latin to you?

If you recall, Nadine Dorries played a similar game, by portraying all negative responses to a personal attack of her own as a series of personal attacks.

What ‘Eleutherios’, Andy Pietrasik, Caroline Davies and Paul Gogarty are guilty of is playing the man by pretending that everyone else is playing the man in an effort to stop anyone from looking sideways at the ball.

And in doing so, they put more weight on the shoulders of Max – the boy they’ve strategically cast as a victim and claim to be defending.

Yes, there was a fair degree of trolling and abuse in the original thread. Though the thread was totally out of control by the time I got there, I didn’t regard that abuse to be helpful… but I also think it’s less than helpful when certain parties seek to exploit the abuse that was there, and use it to draw attention away from valid questions and objections.

This defensive play is not designed to protect a teenager… it is designed to protect the reputations of adults who should know better.

Personally, I think it sucks. But I’m obviously a hate-filled lynch-mobbing cyber-bully, so please feel free to ignore me.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2008

Category: Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement

Max, 19, hits the road. Web users, of varied age, hit Max. (via)

Check the comments. It’s his first day out and it’s all over.

UPDATE (18 Feb) – Get your Monday-morning update, people.








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