Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 31, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Right here.

(And now, yet another musical number.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 31, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Richard Bartholomew comments on the BBC point I skipped over, and much more besides. You’ll love the closer.

Richard, this one’s for you:

Supergroove: You Gotta Know

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 31, 2008

Category: Australian Music, The Political Weblog Movement

1. If you scroll down to a previous entry, you will note that it has been updated with the latest email sent to Donal Blaney.

2. I didn’t want to spark anything uncontrolled under that, but the subject of Donal Blaney has popped up in this alternative thread. This will be permitted, so long as everyone remains sensible.

3. Yes, I have noticed that – while his lawyer is passing top-secret threats in red crayon – Paul Staines is remaining awfully quiet about this on his ‘Guido Fawkes’ blog. He can’t let his readers know that someone has managed to dent his cool, Fonz-like exterior.

4. Another song* for Paul, it’s called “Greg! The Stop Sign!!”:

TISM: Greg! The Stop Sign!!

(*Sorry, but I couldn’t find a decent version of “You’re Not Singing Anymore!”)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 31, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I am now permanently banned from leaving comments on Iain Dale’s website

Clearly thinking that Paul Staines had me over a barrel (wrong!), Iain Dale took a few liberties yesterday and allowed a stream of anonymous abuse directed at me to go live on his website.

(But, to his credit, nothing quite like yesterday’s multi-puppet attack had been allowed to appear on his site for quite some time.)

I should point out here for those who came in late that Iain Dale’s clearly stated and often repeated comment moderation policy is as follows; “anonymous abuse will be deleted”

And yet he didn’t follow his own rules yesterday. I emailed him to remind of that and promised that he would become a very high priority for me if he went back to his old ways, and this was his response:

Overnight Tim Ireland has sent two emails making non specific threats. Either I obey his rules and dikats or I should face the consequences. As a result he is now banned from making further comments on this blog if he persists in his campaign of vilification I shall be placing the matter of m’learned friend. Ask Anne Milton or Nadine Dorries what it is liked to be stalked by this idiot. I was so stupid to reverse the previous ban. It won’t be happening again. This time it’s permanent.

Another pack of lies from Iain Dale, ladies and gentlemen.

1. My threats were actually quite specific. (OK, so I didn’t give him the whole playbook, but what fun is life without a few surprises?)

2. I asked that he follow his own damn rules, not mine.

3. I demanded that he remove at least one comment that was in direct violation of his clearly stated comment moderation policy.

4. And now (again for the first time in a long time) he’s reverted to misrepresenting my position regarding other bloggers/MPs and calling me a stalker.

5. M’learned friend? Bring it on. Liar.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been raising quite simple and relevant questions on Iain’s weblog (highlights for the hardcore can be found here and here).

I don’t think the last straw was my pointing out his total hypocrisy yesterday (over criticising Gordon Brown for refusing to answer a simple question), but instead – after *he* brought it up – my asking pertinent questions about his speaking engagements.

I’m going to repeat the question he sought to avoid here:

1: I’ve been meaning to ask about this for a while now. If someone calls you up, assuming you’re an expert (remembering that you have often said that you never claimed to be [an] expert) and they invite you to speak or consult, do you charge them money for this service… even though you’re not an expert, and they only think you are?

2: I did not ask for your complete financial background. I asked if, in circumstances like the one you describe here

“I do not portray myself as an expert on blogging. If others think I know a lot about it and invite me to speak to them, it’s hardly a crime is it.”

… if you then charge money for your services as a speaker.

But Iain refused to answer this question, and instead sat back and allowed a bunch of sock-puppeting losers to fight his battles for him… in clear violation of his own damn comment policy.

He then banned me – ‘forever’ (What? Again?) – for daring to complain about it.

This is exactly the kind of abuse of trust that Iain has been guilty of in the past, and I fail to see how his return to a mind-boggling level of reader betrayal is in any way helpful.

So, to close, let’s get back to the headline:

If you are thinking of hiring Iain Dale as a speaker on the subject of blogging:

a) He has said himself many times that he is no expert and has never claimed to be one

b) He may not mention this to you when you call

c) He’s a shameless liar with no respect for the medium he claims to champion

[Psst! Iain Dale is banning me from his website for complaining about the repeated use of sock-puppets. But the ban is only effective because – unlike the majority of his supporters – I refuse to comment anonymously or under a variety of identities. Iain Dale has, in effect, handed power to users of sock-puppets instead of seeking to discourage the practice. Which is nice.]

[Psst! My wife rarely gets involved in such things, but after seeing Iain duck and hide behind a bunch of sock-puppets last night, she would like my readers (and his) to know that she thinks he is a big girl’s blouse.]

UPDATE – Have a nice time, Iain!

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 30, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Below is a copy of the letter I sent to Paul Staines’ lawyer. I haven’t heard a damn thing since sending it over 3 hours ago, so I’m publishing it here in full to kick things along:

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:31 PM

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

1. Please immediately provide all original emails referred to in the supplied PDF. These can (and should) be forwarded as attachments. Currently all I have is a screen capture of an email from ‘Guy Fawkes’ to ‘Guy Fawkes’, and I do not regard this to be sufficient proof of verbatim correspondence between Paul Staines and Channel 4 News. But let’s address the contents regardless…

2. The letter and legal threat you sent refers only to a cartoon produced by the artist Matt Buck, but the correspondence you provide refers to an ‘informal arrangement’ referring quite specifically to the images produced by the artist Beau Bo D’Or. It does NOT contain any reference to any material produced by Matt Buck or even stray into a neighbourhood where such permission might be implied. Please reply with proof of correspondence (see: #1) that specifically grants permission for use of [any] cartoon(s) produced by Matt Buck.

3. In the correspondence provided (dated 14 Dec), Paul Staines promises to cease using the bandwidth of Beau Bo D’Or in the manner described in my article, but he clearly did not do so at the time. If he had ‘copied and uploaded’ a replacement as promised, Beau Bo D’Or would not have been able to enact the redirection code (on 28 Jan; over a month later) that prompted the relevant series of articles on my website:

4. In the correspondence provided, Paul Staines states that he does not understand Beau Bo D’Or’s bandwidth issues, bases his judgement of Beau Bo D’Or’s bandwidth issues on his relationship with an entirely different service provider, and even acknowledges the impact he has had on Beau Bo D’Or’s bandwidth, but seeks to dismiss it as inconsequential. With respect, ignorance is no defence, we are discussing server load and possible service/website suspension, not just bandwidth issues (as your client may or may not understand them) *AND* Paul Staines admits culpability in this exchange.

5. Channel 4 News has never advised Beau Bo D’Or that there is a transfer of copyright as part of their arrangement, therefore the copyright for any images (or animations) created by Beau Bo D’Or resides with that artist.

6. Regardless, as your client was advised yesterday by that artist, Beau Bo D’Or has an email from Channel 4 News stating emphatically that there is “no arrangement” regarding images/permission between Channel 4 News and Paul Staines.

7. Just as your client has been in direct contact with Beau Bo D’Or, so have I (since well before my 29 Jan article was published). Beau Bo D’Or assures me that he is willing to testify in court about any of the relevant evidence, and told your client so yesterday. Has your client informed you of this?

8. You do know that your client was on a “liquid lunch” yesterday, yes?

9. As things stand, I am well within my rights to describe the relevant images/animations as stolen, and refer to your client as a thief of images and of bandwidth. I am even well within my rights to describe your client as a serial offender. Below is a charming example involving an image stolen from Justin McKeating that also includes many false and vicious comments published by Paul Staines regarding my sexuality and state of mind. In short, your client is a thief and a scoundrel who publishes lies about me on his website, and I have archived and documented proof of multiple instances of such behaviour:

10. I will not be apologising to Paul Staines as you request and scoff at any ‘kind’ offer not to pursue damages if I roll over and do so immediately.

Tim Ireland

PS – I reserve the right to publish this correspondence in full, and even though I have every intention of doing so, a timely and satisfactory reply will be taken into account.

UPDATE (31 Jan, 12:15pm) – I eventually received a reply. As usual, it was marked PRIVATE/CONFIDENTIAL in big scary letters, but there’s nothing stopping me from showing you my correspondence. Below is my reply to Donal’s reply in full, sent at roughly 7:30 this morning:

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 7:36 AM

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

Sorry that your previous email did not get through; my server-side spam filter is getting smarter by the day. I’m willing to bet that it is seeing the legal content, comparing it with the personal/home (i.e. not professional) email address it is arriving from, and assuming that it’s some form of Nigerian 419 scam. I did receive this latest late-night email, though (you work such late hours, you poor lamb), and here is my reply:

I will not be retaining the services of a lawyer until I need one, and I am unwilling to share my home address with anyone who has a close relationship with Staines unless I absolutely have to.

So I must reject your request that I provide an address for service or the name and address of my solicitors just yet, because so far your case appears to be a total waste of my time… in fact, some might say a deliberate waste of my time.

Especially as Beau Bo D’Or said it, Matt Buck published it, and yet Staines is harassing *me* about it.

I think it’s pretty bloody obvious what’s going on here.

However, I am perfectly happy to continue communicating via email as you attempt to rebuild your case (or perhaps kick off with a new one). If you have trouble reaching me via this address, there is a well-publicised alternative address –

Tim Ireland

PS – I reserve the right to publish this correspondence in full, and even though I have every intention of doing so, a timely and satisfactory reply will be taken into account. (Hint: Your last reply, had it come through, would not have been deemed satisfactory, and it has now been proved that even a machine knows that.)

UPDATE (31 Jan, 5:00pm) – Another outgoing email for you. I didn’t wait around to publish this one, as my time is precious and too much of it has been wasted on this.

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: 31 January 2008 17:00

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

I really wish that you would read emails (and articles) in full before acting on them.

I do not intend to evade service of proceedings as you claim.

What I said was;

“I am unwilling to share my home address with anyone who has a close relationship with Staines unless I absolutely have to.”

And, right now, I don’t have to.

Up until now, you have only spoken of various possible potential proceedings in the abstract.

You have not stated that you wish to commence proceedings; you have merely threatened to commence proceedings. Even when you speak of ‘evading service’, you speak of intentions, not actions.

So tell me this… if there are no proceedings (as yet), how the hell can I evade them?

If I give you my address and you don’t intend to start proceedings, then you will be guilty of ‘phishing’; mining data that’s none of your damn business.

If you DO intend to start proceedings, then you’d best get on with it and show me that this is something more than a nuisance complaint.

All you’ve shown me so far is threats and questionable evidence for a deeply flawed claim. You can go fly a kite until you bring me something more substantial than this.

Tim Ireland

PS – I’m publishing this one immediately.

UPDATE (1 Feb, 8:40am) – Here’s the latest. It’s pretty straightforward:

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 8:38 AM

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

1. Thank you for advising me after my last email that you were, in response, awaiting your client’s instructions. This confirms for me that, at time of receipt, you had no standing instruction to start proceedings, despite your attempts to badger me into revealing my home address or retain the services of a lawyer. Clearly neither action was necessary or required by law.

2. Please CC all correspondence to – just in case my primary spam filter decides that anything else you send me is a complete waste of time.

Tim Ireland

PS – This reply is also being published immediately.

[Comments are closed on this post and trackback disabled for reasons that I think would be obvious.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 30, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Paul Staines isn’t suing me about this, specifically… but it’s the reason why he had to do *something* as I’m sure you’ll appreciate:

I’ve just responded to a letter from Paul Staines’ lawyer that arrived late last night, and I sincerely hope to be able to share* it with you.

(*That’s pretty much up to Paul and how sensible he’s willing to be.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 30, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I can’t possibly improve on this comment about Iain Dale delivering yet another free ride for one of his Tory chums and predicting the kind of semi-anonymous beating he normally tolerates the hell out of when he’s not on the receiving end of it, so I invite you to read it in full.

Take a bow, ‘ahs benton’:

Call Iain Dale a hypocrite and he squeals like a pig impaled upon a very sharp stick. His normal defence, trotted out again this time, is that his detractors are “cowards” for posting anonymously.

That they can post anonymously because his blog allows anonymous comments is just one measure of the man’s stupidity.

A measure of his hypocrisy is that he never accuses anonymous posters of cowardice if they are attacking one of his opponents.

Another is that he attacks Labour and the Lib Dems with obvious glee for the most minor of errors, whilst remaining silent for as long as possible when it is the Tories who are at fault.

He fails to see that you must at least acknowledge when your side gets it wrong, or risk being exposed as a hypocrite.

That such a mediocrity should be accepted by the MSM as Britain’s Leading Blogger has long been a mystery to me when it is obvious he is little more than a gaudy Tory Pom Pom boy.

[Psst! More on Staines soon. I have to dot a few Is and cross a few Ts first (but I’m used to that, because I write my name a lot).]

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 29, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I was unaware that MessageSpace was Paul Staines’ own personal plaything. Somehow, I got the impression that it was a group effort and he was merely an advisor of sorts.

Oh well. Live and learn…

You may recall that Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’), before releasing a Friday-afternoon press release (embargoed until midnight, no less), responded to the Telegraph’s discovery of his use of the Conservatives’ email system with a totally unrelated complaint that they had ‘stolen’ a cartoon (that he himself had unwittingly offered as a freebie by feeding it to one and all via an earlier press release).

But let’s take a look at Paul Staines’ past form when it comes to consistency on copyright…

PolDraw – Copy Right, Mr Dale…: Tribune cartoonist Matt “Hack” Buck informs me that Andy Davey was involved in a similar incident with Guido last year. However, unlike Dale, Guido immediately removed the cartoon when notified about it.

[Iain Dale being difficult about images that he’s nicked? Never!]

‘Guido’ followed up with this comment: As a capitalist I am a believer in property rights. I do rip off images ftom the BBC website because I regard them as public property. I do get sent a lot of images by people using photoshop and/or claiming original work. Beau Bo d’Or forinstance used Iain Dale, Recess Monkey and myself to advertise his briliance before he got picked up by the Guardian. I would not knowingly try to profit from someone else’s work unjustly. If you see an unfairly used image on my blog, email and it will be removed.

I’ll leave the juicy BBC quote and Staines taking credit for the talents of others finally being rewarded in a formal and monetary sense to others, as I want to keep this short…

Knowingly or not (I’m trying not to underestimate his ignorance) Paul Staines *does* profit from the work of others unjustly:

Here’s cartoonist and animator Matt Buck noticing Paul Staines leeching material from Channel 4’s servers**.

Here’s photoshopper and animator Beau Bo D’Or complaining about (ahem) an un-named party leeching material from his server. (Hint: It’s Paul Staines.)

Leeching: In computing and specifically on the Internet, being a leech or leecher refers to the practice of benefiting, usually deliberately, from others’ information or effort but not offering anything in return, or only token offerings in an attempt to avoid being called a leech… Direct linking is a form of bandwidth leeching that occurs when placing an unauthorized linked object, often an image, from one site in a web page belonging to a second site (the leech).

[Beginners: A commonly-known form of direct linking (also known as hotlinking) is video embedding, as when you see a video hosted on YouTube appearing on another website; it’s called up from YouTube’s servers by a bit of code and the rest of the page from the external website site loads around it. But in a situation like this, the creator of that video has the option to decide for themselves if they would prefer the traffic to go to another website or directly to their YouTube channel.]

Essentially, what Paul Staines is doing is borrowing other people’s work without permission, dropping in a credit to cover his arse, and calling this work up from the creator’s/owner’s server:

1. Credit links mean naff-all if Staines has not sought permission.

2. Credit links mean naff-all if visitors to his website do not need to visit the website of the creator to view the image or animation in full.

3. Paul Staines is benefitting from the resultant traffic while the creator/owner of the work foots the bill for the bandwidth that he’s responsible for.

I must admit that I was surprised by this. Staines is relatively street-smart, and must know that many dimwits have come a cropper after hotlinking material from a server under the control of the creator… as what usually follows is a change of that material designed to embarrass the hotlinker thief*.

[*Let’s not sugar-coat it.]

And yes, Beau Bo D’Or justifiably got a little miffed about Staines’ repeated hotlinking, and so – over the weekend – changed the code of an .swf (Flash animation) file that Staines was leeching so it redirected anyone visiting a page on where it appeared to

(I haven’t asked, but his photoshopping shows that Beau Bo D’Or is a clever guy with a sharp eye for overlapping absurdities, so I would guesstimate that he chose to redirect to the because of the very same Telegraph incident that kicks off this article. Staines should count himself lucky that he was dealing with a gentleman like Beau Bo D’Or… otherwise he might have found the redirection going to a copy of a certain Guardian article from May 31st 1986… while the hotlinked file was on the front page rather than in the December 2007 archives.)

After I blogged about this yesterday, it took a few hours for Staines to track down the redirection and address it… now take a look at his solution:

Did he withdraw the animation and apologise? No.

Did he simply withdraw the animation? No.

Even though he must know by now that he does not have permission to use it and the creator is unhappy about the way in which it was used.

If you take a look at the relevant post on Staines’ website, you will see that the animation is still there.

If you look at the code of that page, you will see where Staines is now hosting an uncoded copy of this stolen animation (lifted from Channel 4 or Beau Bo D’Or):

Yes, Paul Staines decided to host the stolen material in the primary directory of the MessageSpace website so he could continue to feature it – without permission – at his ‘Guido Fawkes’ website.

Paul Staines has been walking a fine line with MessageSpace for quite some time now… and he just tripped over it.

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer parasite.

[Now we wait for Paul to explain this embarrassing little liberty to his business partners and then pretend in public that nothing of consequence has happened. I predict much spin and bluster, and perhaps even some sock-puppets and/or lackeys falsely claiming that I’m guilty of the same offence.]

UPDATE – **The famed libertarian suggests in another legal threat (under comments) that he had permission to leech from Channel 4. I am happy to correct anything in this post that suggests otherwise (I’m even now adding this voluntarily), but would like to note for the record how neatly this sidesteps the primary animation/issue in this post.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 29, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Judging by past efforts of right-wing bloggers thugs, over the next day or two there are bound to be a few anonymous comments appearing here and there that seek to cast me as a New Labour stooge or even a paid-up member of a Hain-headed hit squad.

I seek to assure you that I have met Peter Hain, we had a long conversation about Blair and Iraq in 2004, and I can tell you now without qualification that I think he’s a heartless two-faced self-serving bastard.

OK, now that’s out of the way, Paul Staines gets a well-deserved black eye in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 28, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Note #1: This probably won’t last for long, as Staines is lurking nearby (even though he’d never admit it).

Note #2: I am *not* including a hyperlink, because this has nothing to do with the redirection code that proves how sensitive Paul Staines is to scrutiny.

Here is a URL:

It is the URL for the Guido Fawkes archive (December 2007).

If you copy and past that URL into your browser’s address bar, and try to visit/view the December 2007 archives… well, there’s no need to ruin the surprise just yet.

OK, now you’ve seen that, here’s today’s blogging exercise for beginners…

Without getting ‘revved up’ or making assumptions, see if you can ask the right questions and find those answers that will explain fully what is going on here and why it’s so damn amusing to those in the know.

UPDATE (9pm) – Just a quick note to let you know that ‘Guido’ has finally worked it out *and* managed a fix. More details tomorrow.

UPDATE (29 Jan) – All is explained in this follow-up post that ‘Guido’ is not going to like at all.

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