Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 6, 2007

Category: Consume!, The Political Weblog Movement

Via Toby

The Register – EU cracks down on fake blogger astroturfing: Nothing beats word of mouth for getting people to put their hand in their pockets. So it didn’t take long for cheeky marketing departments to cotton on to the power of blogs and pose as consumers praising their own particular widget to the skies to help lift their top line. Sneaky, perhaps, but usually legal. Not for much longer, however, as covert commercial blogging – or flogging – will soon be banned by Brussels. Under laws due to come into force at the beginning of next year, but likely to be delayed until April for the UK, companies posing as consumers on fake blogs, providing fake testimonies on consumer rating websites such as TripAdvisor, or writing fake book reviews on Amazon risk criminal or civil liability.. Those that break the new rules risk both civil proceedings and criminal prosecution. When it comes to catching the guilty in flagrante, the authorities will be allowed to make test purchases and enter premises without a warrant, if necessary. But the crucial word here is “risk” – the government has already indicated that only serious infringements will be prosecuted, although it is probably best to assume that it will prod into action the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards, the chief enforcement agencies, should an illegal commercial blog gain a high media profile.

I would dare say that the same law will apply to repeated false-face endorsements of certain political websites that also involve significant commercial interests.

There are some doubts about the effectiveness of the new law when “only serious infringements will be prosecuted”, but the risk of prosecution is sure to, at least, keep mainstream agencies and clients on the straight and narrow.

OK, so I’m an optimist…

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 5, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Liberal Conspiracy – We want to be the hub: There is no denying that Liberal Conspiracy is partly born out of the frustration that many organisations who champion liberal-left ideals do not cooperate much with each other. It isn’t just the sectarianism that has traditionally been the preserve of hard-left socialists. As our politics splits up into single-issue groups concerned about the environment, civil liberties, feminism, anti-racism, social justice, alleviating poverty etc – there isn’t much dialogue taking place between them and there is certainly a lack of broad coalition-building to push for political aims together. We want to be the network hub where other organisations sharing our ideals are promoted and their campaigns highlighted.

I’ll be watching with interest.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 5, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Independent – My Life in Media: Guido Fawkes Paul Staines

What is the best thing about your job?

The stalkers I’ve had. Some of them take it all a bit seriously…

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire:

I’d like to destroy a minister’s career…

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 5, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The first post on Nadine Dorries: Feedback is now live.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 1, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Nadine Dorries: Feedback

No doubt her name will now be added to the rather selective list some people use to convince others that I’m a Tory-basher, but that’s life.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 1, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

[Note – Garry has also blogged about this, because we have similar views on how bloggers should conduct themselves we’re both part of the same vast left-wing conspiracy.]

Yesterday, Nadine Dorries was all-drama as she released her ‘Minority Report’. In it, she made this claim:

We were greatly concerned to read in the Guardian on 27 October an article clearly aimed at undermining the credibility of Professor John Wyatt, which contained detailed information about Wyatt’s evidence, which was passed by him to the committee after his oral evidence session, and which could only have been passed on to the journalist concerned by a member of the Select Committee. There should be an enquiry about how this information got into the public domain and as to whether such a personal attack represents a serious breach of parliamentary procedure given that witnesses were told by the committee that any disclosure of personal interests would not prejudice the hearing of their evidence.

Just quickly, here’s a simple courtesy that Nadine couldn’t manage herself; a hyperlink to said article. There’s a mirror of it on the author’s weblog. (You may note distinct differences between the two versions… yes, the blog version contains more of those pesky hyperlinks.)

But like many people who blog in the style of Iain Dale, Nadine Dorries has learned the value of not actually linking to the item/person she’s attacking. This is a most-useful technique to use when you are launching an ad hominem attack on someone by falsely claiming that they have launched an ad hominem attack on yourself or one of your associates.

[It is here, class, that I must refer you to a related chapter showing you how to further perfect this technique by also refusing, redirecting and/or fouling *inbound* hyperlinks.]

Here’s the reaction from the author, Dr Ben Goldacre:

My article did indeed contain detailed information about Prof Wyatt’s evidence, but I suspect any enquiry set up to examine how I managed to obtain that information would finish its work well before the first set of tea and biscuits arrived, since all the facts came from the written evidence published openly and in full during the select committee hearing. There’s nothing clever about what I do, let me promise you.

Some readers of Iain Dale’s weblog refused to mindlessly accept/endorse Nadine’s nonsense and complete ignorance of parliamentary procedure as readily as Iain did. In fact one them posted this:

Chris Rodger said…

I have posted this on Nadine Dorries blog:
You make a serious allegation against the Guardian and by implication the journalist (Ben Goldacre) that wrote the piece. Yet as he explains here (, he based his article on published information.
You should either justify why you have de facto accused him of “a breach of parliamentary procedure” or apologise and withdraw the comment.

October 31, 2007 10:09 AM

That comment was not published by Nadine Dorries. Needless to say, she didn’t withdraw her false claim or apologise for making it, either.

This distinct lack of accountability didn’t escape the attention of comment-contributors to Ben Goldacre’s weblog. One of them posted this:

BarryNL said,
(October 31, 2007 at 2:39 pm)

“It’s open for comment …”

Hmm, strange that all the comments seems to be positive. Let’s have a go and see if anyone can get her to approve a critical comment on that page…

[It should be noted for the record that another graduate of the Iain Dale School of Blogging classifies this kind of behaviour as a Denial of Service Attack.]

But the only challenging comments Nadine (eventually) published were so gently obscure in nature or so completely lacking in detail that they did nothing to actually challenge what she had to say (example: “I think you’re wrong here Nadine”). There was certainly no published reference to her false claims about Ben Goldacre.

Nadine Dorries then sought to address this little problem by refusing to publish *any* comments until further notice because she’s ‘too busy’:

No More Comments
Posted Thursday, 1 November 2007 at 00:00

I am no longer going to post comments on my blog.

Please don’t send any more comments – It’s a time thing, I don’t have any.

I have to rely on the patience of others to read and post the comments for me. I am never in front of a computer for more than a couple of minutes at a time and this has now made reading the comments before they are posted impossible.

Knowing that there are comments on my site which I may not even have had time to see, makes me uncomfortable.

If any one wants to contact me you can still do so via the email facility on the home page.

I will continue to blog each day as I can do that on the run!!

Like yet *another* graduate of the Iain Dale School of Blogging, she has cleverly made a false claim and run away when it has been challenged.

[Psst! It is at this point, Nadine, that the Iain Dale Guide to Blogging Like a Complete Twat recommends that you scream “Personal attack!” and/or “Vitriol!” in a way that allows you to refuse all references to Ben Goldacre, instead of refusing comments altogether. Even if these claims are completely without basis, you need not be concerned because… you will be refusing all references to Ben Goldacre! A case study of the master at work is published here.]

Ben Goldacre and his readers have reacted in a suitably ‘obsessive’ fashion by ‘secretly conspiring’ in the following manner:

NickConnolly said,
(October 31, 2007 at 10:45 pm)

“There should be an enquiry about how this information got into the public domain and as to whether such a personal attack represents a serious breach of parliamentary procedure..”
I think we should start a petition for that inquiry right now! Presumably we can then all submit written evidence on ‘how to download stuff’ and ‘how to read stuff’.

Ben Goldacre said,
(October 31, 2007 at 11:14 pm)

ok seriously. that’s what I want for xmas. only you can give it to me. nothing could make me as happy as a response from the number10 petiton people on this petition. can anybody be bothered to start one? I reckon if you worded it right it would get through.

NickConnolly said,
(November 1, 2007 at 9:03 am)

Regarding Ben’s Xmas present:
The petition should be unsarcastic – phrased correctly you could probably even get a anti-abortionists to sign it.

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to support the call by MP Dr Bob Spink and MP Nadine Dorries for an enquiry into a recent article in the Guardian newspaper. The said article discussed the evidence of John Wyatt to the recent select committee discussing abortion law reform and was clearly aimed at undermining the credibility of his evidence. We ask the Prime Minister to ensure that concerns raised by Dr Spink are fully investigated, specifically:
* How did the journalist (Ben Goldacre) gain detailed evidence of Prof Wyatt’s oral submission
* How did the journalist gain access to evidence Prof Wyatt submitted after his oral submission
* Did a member of the committee act as a ‘mole’ for Ben Goldacre and pass on this information by some clandestine means
* Whether this constituted a personal attack and a breach of parliamentary procedure”

OK – who is up for actually starting the petition?

NickConnolly said,
(November 1, 2007 at 9:23 am)

OK changed the wording a little – removed names (apparently not OK to name people). If they accept it it should be:
[mod: I’ve snipped this URL, as it’s unlikely to be functional/useful at this stage, as the next comment makes clear]

Ben Goldacre said,
(November 1, 2007 at 9:31 am)

far be it from me tt involved in my own xmas present but I think it should simply demand an enquiry into how I obtained the oral and writtwn evidence to the committee as suggested by spink and dorries. and mention me by name. to be really christmassy.

I’m sorry, but I’m laughing too hard to write up a coherent conclusion. This lesson is over. Class dismissed.

[Homework assignment: Follow the exchange from here and keep a general eye on Ben Goldacre’s blog for further developments.]

UPDATE – Ah, I see that’s she’s learned consistency from Iain Dale, too. Despite claiming that she’s not publishing any more comments, Nadine is now publishing comments of support. For extra credit in this course, see if you can sneak a comment that is dripping with sarcasm past moderation.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 30, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Some chap called Peter has announced on the Nadine Dorries weblog (semi-functional permalink here) that; “Nadine will be blogging at one minute past midnight, there is a reason why!”

If you don’t know why this might (stress might) be of interest, then you may as well move along now.

UPDATE (12:10) – Tut. It’s about politics. I was expecting something interesting, like her warranty running out or something. I wanted to see a woman living on the *edge*…

UPDATE – Here’s what has Nadine’s frilly white knickers in a twist. If you like, you can enjoy some background from Rhetorically Speaking or Ministry of Truth. Or, you can meekly accept Iain Dale’s softballing of her views to the public, where the only challenges to this associate of his are the words ‘controversial’ and a recently-revised policy on deployment of quotation marks when using the words ‘abortion industry’.

Speaking of which…

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 29, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I think from here on in it’s pretty safe to say that if Iain Dale claims to be outraged by someone’s behaviour, there’s a very good chance that he’s not genuinely outraged about the behaviour itself, but instead is merely upset that a member/supporter of an opposing party is gettsing away with it.

Further, he likes to suggest or claim that anyone who points this out is guilty of… partisanship.

Iain Dale is leading bloggers in the wrong direction, and when he engages in purely partisan attacks and screams ‘partisan attack’ every time he gets caught at it, he undermines the credibility of all political bloggers.

For those who came in late, here’s a report on Garry and Scotch pressing Iain Dale for answers to some pretty valid and straightforward questions. What followed was Iain making a final attempt to fob off both questions and close the debate.

Garry has his final report here, and this report deals with Iain’s response to Scotch’s question.

As was reported here, Scotch had asked Iain why he had featured one story about council-election-level claims of paedophilia and not another, and Iain initially attempted to skip over the question by claiming to have no recollection (and questioning Scotch’s independence and motives).

What follows is a pretty remarkable faggot of fiction from Dale, which I’m going to break one twig at a time.

Iain’s comment appears in full here, and is fisked below:

Scotch, having now just had the extremely unpleasant task of trawling through Ireland’s archives I now know what you refer to.

Iain did not have to trawl through my archives; the relevant matter has been linked to prominently and repeatedly in recent days. All Iain had to do (if he truly was unable to remember a pretty definitive exchange from just over a year ago that he has been reminded of publicly and privately on a number of occasions since) was follow a readily-available hyperlink. Note also one of Iain’s favourite tones on his dog-whistle; “You should not bother reading [site which is critical of me] because it is boring, unpleasant, and/or a waste of your time.”

He emailed Guido Fawkes and I about an allegation he was making against a Guildford councillor.

Of course, I also presented some pretty compelling evidence at the time, but Iain chooses not to mention that.

At the time I was on the Prescott case.

Here, Iain gives the impression that he was busy pursuing a serial liar and sex pest at the time. Not so. The relevant email exchange (which you can see here) took place between 1:43pm and 3:45pm on August 22, 2006.

The *only* post that Iain made on the day was this one at 3:54pm, where he declares that he is taking the day off. Amusingly, he signs off with the words; “No rest for the obsessed.”

The next day? Brown and Blunkett. No Prescott. Of course, there’s a grain of truth to Iain’s bullshit, and you can review his archives for August 2006 to determine for yourself how likely it is that it was The Prescott Priority that kept Iain from reporting that a Conservative activist had falsely published a claim that his Lib Dem opponent was a paedophile.

According to his records I replied…

“Think I’ll keep concentrating on Prescott if you don’t mind…!”

He then replied: “*sigh*

You both know that if this were a Lib Dem or Labour campaigner, you would be all over it.


I then replied
“Yes, but we like to leave some room for you too! Anyway, the first I had ever heard of it was when you emailed it to me…”

“According to his records…?” Another dog-whistle alert. Surely it’s not too much trouble for Iain to check and confirm that my records are 100% correct. After all, he himself made claims about our email exchanges (that he refused to show anyone) just the other day. He obviously keeps records. But instead, he’d rather run with a subtle suggestion that my version of events can’t be trusted. Been there, done that.

I am a Conservative blogger, I do not pretend to be impartial and never have. I was told that an allegation was being made. I don’t remember the exact details and I have no intention of trawling his archives even further to find them. My recollection (and I am sure you or Ireland will tell me if I am wrong) is that this is something which Ireland was alleging and it never went to court.

A staggering admission in that first sentence; Iain is clearly stating that – as a Conservative – he is less likely to report the wrong-doings of a fellow Conservative… no matter how wrong those wrong-doings are.

And he *does* pretend to be impartial… every time he bills himself as a commentator and not a campaigner and/or proclaims certain behaviour to be unacceptable when it’s pretty clear that he regards them to be totally acceptable when his fellow Tories engage in the same or similar behaviour.

He then goes on with repeated blasts from his dog-whistle and another claim of poor recollection.

Here comes a whopper…

Sadly for Iain, a hyperlink to the information he had so much trouble finding appeared in the very same email exchange he quotes from in this exchange… before he removed it.

Iain is claiming that he cannot recall the relevant information, and can’t be bothered to go looking for it. But it’s pretty bloody clear that he’s already seen it, and would rather discuss the matter without certain details coming to light in front of his readers.

The evidence presented to Iain is comprehensive and damning. And despite what he may suggest here, Iain is not in the habit of waiting until judgement has been passed in the courts before passing judgement himself.

Seeing as at the time he was obsessed by Anne Milton and took every opportunity to have a go at her – all because she refused to have a blog – you will forgive me if I had my doubts about his version of events.

There’s that dog-whistle again… but it’s not me experiencing selective memory loss and censoring comments that link to evidence. And it’s not me with a track record of partisan hackery:

Anne Milton’s status as a non-blogger was never the core issue. Ever. And one does not have to “trawl thought the archives” to know it; there is an obvious link at the top of every page of the Anne Milton weblog that explains why I started the blog; Anne Milton lied to me and then tried to fob me off with more bullshit and/or shut me out when I found out about it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I hit a rich seam of paydirt in two of my earliest posts; the outing of one activist (posing as an independent supporter) and the antics of another (publishing and distributing dangerously misleading literature). After this, many of Milton’s questionable tactics as a candidate were highlighted (pretty much every ‘independent supporter’ shown in her pamphlets was a ringer, and she even flaunted electoral guidelines by posing as a local through the use of a single-bedroom flat). Since she squeaked past the post with a 347-strong margin, I’ve published evidence that clearly shows her to be a shiftless, witless and deceitful MP.

In response, she and her activists used many of the tricks that Iain Dale excels at in an effort to avoid accountability and/or undermine the person calling for it.

First, I was asked by one of her flunkies why I didn’t have anything better to do. When the matter became impossible to ignore, Milton herself feigned disinterest and sought to cast me as ‘an angry young man’. Soon after, her activists went to work; primarily in an anonymous capacity, on my site and others. When it became clear to them that they would usually lose in a fair debate (and/or dump themselves in it in the process), they reverted to spending most of their time briefing against me via a series of anonymous comments and websites; their two main weapons were repeated suggestions about my sexuality and state of mind, and repeated attempts to pass off the Anne Milton weblog as a personal attack and/or a party-political one.

This eventually led to their publishing and promoting the paedo-smear that is so central to this issue.

One can understand why Iain Dale might be less-than-comfortable about bringing that up, but he can’t claim to be unaware of it or how it so closely parallels my relationship with him.

After all, I took the time to explain it very clearly to Iain only a few short months ago, and he must remember that exchange… because it was during that exchange (right after I pointed this out) that he banned me from leaving comments on his weblog. A decision he has yet to justify beyond repeated false claims of ‘vitriol’ that he refuses to back up with evidence.

My initial reply to him was not a reply which indicated “F off and dont darken my doors again”. At that point he hadn’t launched his Jihad againt me. It was a good humoured reply, which, as you will see from the tone and the exclamation mark did not imply and ill feeling towards him at all. That’s because at the time there was none.

Oh, yes. I clearly should have accepted that Iain thought it was OK for gay men to be targeted in this way if they were members of an opposing party, purely on the basis that he was polite about it. (And for ‘Jihad’, see: ‘dog-whistle’.)

Now, let me say something. It is now clear to me that ireland has got his friends to do his dirty work for him, with you and Garry continually plugging away. He is using you in the same way that he accuses me of orchestrating comments on my site – something which, incidentally, I have never, ever done.

I’m sorry, but that’s an outright lie. Iain regularly orchestrates comments on his own site and his recent censorship of an exchange where he came off second-best (followed by repeated attempts to hide that censorship from his readers) proves that.

The primary communication that took place between Garry, Scotch and myself took place right here in full view of everybody who cared to follow the exchange; they acted, and I reacted. NOT the other way around, as Iain would have you think.

And why did they act? Not because I told them to, but because they recognised that Iain was using his arbitrary and inconsistent ‘ban’ to avoid dealing with key issues. Someone else had to step up to the plate, and I’m grateful that two very patient people took the time to do so.

Compare this with the actions of Iain Dale; recently, I openly copied Iain on an exceedingly polite email to Paul Staines about the matter of his publishing and hosting false, misleading and/or libellous statements about me on his website. Iain was copied on the email because the same people often make comments (including this kind of comment) on his website. He took it upon himself to secretly copy Dizzy on that exchange but – oops! – Iain suffered a Grant Shapps moment and clicked ‘CC’ instead of ‘BCC’.

It is Iain, not me, with a track record for behind-the-scenes conspiracies. I have evidence and admissions from the parties involved that back that up. Iain also has a track record of dismissing evidence of conspiracy as ‘paranoia’ while himself claiming – without evidence – that he’s a victim of a conspiracy.

I have been more than open with the both of you, but when I see your comments and questions immediately appearing on Ireland’s site please don’t think I am stupid enough not to realise what is going on.

No, he *hasn’t* been open. Far from it. He’s been evasive and deceptive. Repeatedly. I’m also quite surprised that this is the first time that Iain has seen someone read comments that have been published on one weblog and raise them on another.

So I am drawing this debate to a close now, whether you like it or not.

Hm. You might want to remember this statement the next time Iain carries on about Gordon Brown’s great big clunking fist.

A nice comment from Chris Paul over at Garry’s leads us to the conclusion of this post; [Iain Dale] puts himself at the centre of the solar system and is continuously up himself and then he complains that we planets and moons don’t orbit his greatness in silence and/or awe, or with fulsome praise.

Contrary to what that propagandist would have you believe, I do not obsess over Iain Dale.

I do, however, worry a great deal about the potential that’s being pissed away by Dale and others like him who declare themselves the masters of the blogosphere while rejecting everything that makes blogging valuable to the electorate.

I often heard Dale claim that the UK is/was “4-5 years behind the Americans” with regards to political blogging, when this simply wasn’t the case at the time. Unlike the Americans, a couple of short years ago we enjoyed cross-party dialogue that actually involved elected officials. Take-up was slow because of the challenges involved (tricky things like transparency and accountability) but we had something valuable that the Americans did not, and it was growing.

Then a whole bunch of carpet-baggers came charging in with Iain Dale and Paul Staines at the head of the pack. They mimicked the counter-productive shouty and tribal approach used in the US and declared themselves pioneers.

Suddenly, certain elected officials, activists and media controllers felt free to run faux-weblogs because accountability no longer appeared to be a defining or requisite factor. This turn of events also allowed certain other elected officials, activists and media controllers to refuse to engage on the basis that the blogging community had nothing valid to offer.

It was in this environment that David Miliband launched the very first major political weblog that didn’t allow party-political discussion.

It was in this environment that the Dail Mail started allowing comments under their articles… but not displaying any that were critical of them.

It was in this environment that the Sun and the Express only allowed feedback from faithful members of their tribe.

It was in this environment that the then-head of campaigning for the Tories thought he would get away with sock-puppeting… and was rewarded with a ‘get out of jail free’ card from Iain.

Those currently in control of (or benefiting from) mainstream media have a vested interest in rejecting much of what this community has to say while they busily try to catch up and take control of as much of that community as possible… on Iain Dale’s terms.

Political bloggers should be transparent about their origins and affiliations, unafraid to have their claims subject to scrutiny, and committed to this and similar principles of accountability. At the very least, they should have some small level of concern about the impact their behaviour has on the other bloggers in the community.

Iain Dale cares not a jot about any of the above.

And yet somehow, the poll he conducted on his own website led to him being voted the very best political blogger in Britain.

Fuck him, his selfish ways, and his path of least resistance.

UPDATE (Sep 2010) – I’ve linked to archived versions of the post originally hosted at so people can still read the relevant conversation if they wish

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 28, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

BSSC – In Conversation with Iain Dale: I think it’s unlikely that I’ll attempt any further conversations with Iain on his blog. In my experience, the suggestion that Iain can be held to account for what he writes in the comments to his blog is a fiction.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 26, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Garry has kept up the pressure on Iain Dale in an admirably polite manner and has been rewarded with this comment from Iain that – again – neatly sidesteps the question of his erasure of evidence (on his blog) and refusal to accept evidence (on mine) that clearly contradicts his claims:

Iain Dale said…

Gaerry, as you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t posted on the blog since this morning. This is because I have been in back to back meetings all day. I have just got home.

I withdraw nothing. I have the emails from Ireland. You do not. Unlike him, I do not publicise the contents of other people’s emails.

October 25, 2007 11:09 PM

So Iain is defending making false claims and refusing to allow people to link to the evidence that shows those claims to be false… with mystery emails that he’s not going to show us?


I can understand why Iain might want to discourage email disclosure today… he sent something yesterday that I suspect he regrets.

Here, we jump over to a new thread, where Scotch (another figment of my imagination reader of Bloggerheads) tries to pin Iain Dale down over his double standards and a shameful level of partisanship:

scotch said…

I’ll repeat then Iain – perhaps the last one didn’t get through.

Did you not ignore a story awfully like this some time ago featuring some local Conservatives allegedly smearing a Lib Dem prospective council candidate in just such a way?

And when you were pretty clearly alerted to what was happening, did you say you had no intention of blogging about it?

October 25, 2007 5:01 PM

It should be pretty clear what Scotch is talking about; Iain Dale once made it very clear to me that he had no intention of blogging an item about a Conservative calling their political opponent a paedophile, and yesterday actually had the audacity to rub my nose in it.

I have brought this matter up with Iain a number of times and have done so very clearly in recent days.

The matter of Guildford paedo-smears marks a key point in our relationship, and I have also made that crystal clear. Repeatedly.

But Iain’s memory appears to be failing him yet again:

Iain Dale said…

Scotch at 5.01, as I emailed you, I have no recollection of this at all. I’m not saying it didn;t happen but perhaps you;d like to tell me where and where I am supposed to have said this. No doubt Tim Ireland will happily furnish you with the information in his 94th post about me on his blog today.

October 25, 2007 11:23 PM

Note here that Iain has invited Scotch to show him evidence, when linking to that evidence would be in clear violation of Iain’s ever-changing comment moderation policy.

And, as you can see, he mentions an email exchange. Scotch was so impressed by that exchange that he shared it with me. Seeing as Iain is so fond of games, I thought we could make a little game out of this:

Scotch’s comment was taking a lonnnng time to go through moderation, while other less-challenging comments appeared to be sailing through with little difficulty. Suspecting that he may have violated Iain’s ever-changing comment moderation policy in some way, Scotch sent this email to Iain:

—–Original Message—–
From: [Scotch]
To: Iain Dale
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 17:18:03
Subject: comment policy

Iain, am I now banned from comments?



QUESTION: For ten points, can you guess which of these replies came from Iain?

a) 17:39:15 BDT – No. I haven’t been at my laptop all afternoon and despite trying to approve comments from my Blackberry it doesn’t seem to be working. I should be at my computer from 7.30 so I am afraid I can’t do anything until then.

b) 17:40:03 BDT – By the way, I have no recollection of what you describe.

c) 17:41:15 BDT – Actually, I think your comment and a few others have now gone through but for some reason others still remain stuck. All very odd.

d) 17:46:09 BDT – I assume you picked this up from Tim Ireland. Enough said.

ANSWER: All of them.

I can’t possibly improve on Scotch’s observation when he sent this in, so here it is verbatim;

“This lot came one after the other in response to one mail. Pleasantness to paranoia in six minutes. Phew.”

Of course, if Iain hadn’t been such a dick about his response, Scotch wouldn’t have sent this exchange in, so I think this can fairly be described as self-fulfilling paranoia.

To close (for now) I’d like to address:

1. Iain Dale’s repeated implication that if information comes from me it can safely be disregarded as the work of an obsessive stalker:

i) Check the tail end of this post for Iain being outraged at what he perceives as a suggestion that he is mentally ill (original).

ii) It’s a smear *and* a tool that allows him to refuse the submission of evidence during a debate. Iain’s close blog buddy Dominic Fisher played this same game over equally tricky questions about paedo-fear being used as a political weapon; he declared that my transcript of a podcast could not be trusted to avoid having to address the matter, and then refused delivery of a copy of the original podcast on the grounds that he already had a copy!

iii) What Iain conveniently fails to acknowledge here is that repeated posts about him on Bloggerheads are a direct result of him repeatedly dodging relevant and pertinent questions on his own website.

2. Iain’s equally convenient failure to recall certain details:

i) Iain has, in both exchanges, clearly shown that he’s looked at Bloggerheads recently, but he somehow appears to have missed repeated references to the matter he now claims he can’t recall, one of which was the lead item for most of the day (and night) yesterday.

ii) And this is not the first time that Iain’s memory has failed him. He once completely forgot suggesting I was a nihilist… and the very meaning of the word ‘nihilist itself!

iii) For a neat close, we pop back to Garry’s ongoing attempts to call Iain on his false claim that he deleted an exchange between us from his website on the grounds that my reply contained ‘vitriol’; later in the thread Iain claims that he can’t recall exactly which exchange he was referring to when he said this and tries to suggest that it relates not to the exchange that is central to the discussion, but to earlier deleted comments where I dared to prove that he was a liar. Which is, of course, vitriol in Iain’s eyes.

All very illustrative. In fact, that’s why I’m obsessive enough to blog it.

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