Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 12, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I’m disappearing from view for a time and leaving you only with this message.

With the exception of the beta release of the Labour campaign return, some general housekeeping and an extra video release or two, I’m unlikely to post anything at Bloggerheads from now until 2007.

The British political blogosphere is in a downward spiral at the moment, freshly-‘captained’ as it is by a range of (mostly Tory) newcomers gleefully yelling “Dive!”

Additionally, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have shown nothing but contempt for the blogging community in their many recent attempts to exploit it, infiltrate it and/or undermine it.

Meanwhile, there are complete dickheads like these local Tories, who see weblogs as a way to spread anonymous smears and/or pass off positive comments that they’ve written about themselves as genuine contributions.

There’s a self-correction aspect involved, but the blogosphere is largely shaped by its population. That population is shaped by perception. If the generally-held perception is that the blogosphere is a place of unregulated dishonesty, obfuscation and party-political attacks, then that is what it will become.

I have a project in mind that’s designed to address this growing problem in a number of ways… and it’s long-overdue.

So I’m going to pop off for a bit and make it happen.

Until then, I leave you in the capable hands of Justin McKeating, Curious Hamster, and the good people at Blair Watch.

If you want to help with the build, nothing could be easier… just send me an email or send me money:

Cheers all.

UPDATE (2nd Nov 2006) – I appear to be in good company:

BBC – Web inventor fears for the future: The British inventor of the internet (Sir Tim Berners-Lee) says he is worried about the way it could be used to spread “misinformation and undemocratic forces”.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 10, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 3, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Tom’s done made himself a vidcast! I can’t say that I agree with all of it (particularly the bit about politics “getting more decent the more local it gets”… *cough*), but at least he has a video… and that means he’s now officially ‘weblogging’ at last.

(That is right, isn’t it? It gets a little bit confusing with so many experts about.)

Also, Will Howells has issued a 2nd edition of Webcameraon. (Warning: the closing statement may upset some vegetarians.)

Oh, and I’ve been busy on the video front myself…

I suspect that the video embedded below is the one that will give you the biggest laugh (shame on you), but I urge you to also check out this humble offering:

Webcameron: unscripted and in stereo – this is a straight mix of the opening segments in this video where David Cameron is ‘caught unawares’ at the kitchen table and this video where David Cameron is ‘caught unawares’ doing the washing up. All totally unscripted, of course.

(One can only wonder how many takes this ‘natural’ exchange took… and if the unseen contributor was a driver who should have been paying more attention to the road than his script.)

There’s no editing to speak of; it’s simply a matter of one video being laid over the other. Very educational.

Anyway, lecture’s over. I promised you the possibility of a laugh, and here it comes… enjoy:

PS – Two messages for regulars of a certain age:


2. Whore my link, you bastards!

UPDATE – Psst! Got a spare £20?

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 2, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

What is blogging? Sam Roake explains...Sam Roake, who has been regularly name-checked for 3 months now as the head of the Conservatives’ web strategy, used to work for Google…. but what he actually did for Google is addressed almost universally as a throwaway line (in fact, here it is again).

Myself, I think it deserves a little bit of focus:

As a Google ‘maximiser’, Sam Roake wrote the copy for users of AdWords who did not feel that they were able to string a dozen words together.

He. Wrote. Ads.

Fair enough, this does require some skill, but it has sweet bugger all to do with Google’s central database – and knowing what you’re doing in this particular game requires knowledge not only of this database, but how its users interact with it (and each other).

When you’re about to go to the coal face and mine those rich seams, you want to make sure you have someone at the helm who knows what they’re doing; someone who has actually worked at the face and knows the potential risks and rewards inside-out.

Instead, the Conservatives have hired the chap from the tea-room who sold the biscuits (i.e. he was not considered responsible enough to make the tea).

The results so far speak for themselves:

1. In what universe do you have to live where you don’t realise that an “Oh, hello… you’ve caught me doing the washing up (with eco-liquid, no less)!” video is going to – quite rightly – get mocked again and again?

2. Comments? Until a few minutes ago, the only comments going live that related specifically to individual videos were going live under an unofficial mirror of the launch video on YouTube. The comments that were going live on the official site failed to raise a single response from David Cameron and/or his chosen ambassador(s). This. Is. Not. A. Conversation.

3. The response? A video interview with Sam Roake, who explains that it’s a ‘work in progress’ and proposes a brilliant solution; he wants to ask the users how they think the comments ‘problem’ can be addressed. Presumably because he has no ideas himself aside from a brilliant wheeze involving carefully ghost-written 12-word responses on behalf of David Cameron (that also double as ads for generic Viagra).

[UPDATE (1:30pm) – The video interview with Sam Roake has now been removed. How odd.]

4. And here’s the bit that really gets up my nose… David Cameron ‘caught in the middle of dinner’ and explaining away his lack of policies by stating that he has to clean up politics first. I sought to clean up politics in my local area (1, 2, 3, 4) and was recently rewarded with a very personal smear campaign run by local Tories. When I brought this to the attention of Conservative Central Office, they referred it back to this same group of Tories (1, 2) for ‘action’. (I also emailed David Cameron’s office about it, but have yet to receive a reply. Perhaps the evidence was ‘a bit technical’.)

So far, I’ve watched a number of Conservatives (and Blairites) have a go at this incredibly new ‘conversation’ idea, but – with very few exceptions – their approaches have been marked by desperation, dishonesty, arrogance, ignorance… or a mind-bending combination of all four.

I’m not seeing anything new here… and Sam Roake can’t prove me wrong without first delivering Anne Milton’s head on a stick.

UPDATE – And here’s a picture, boys and girls…

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 19, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

People inside Thailand are chatting, reporting, debating and collating right now. Go see.

A brand new purpose-built weblog (via) reports that a popular local political discussion site has closed down due to ‘over crowded news and argument’, so – on this basis alone – it’s probably worth saving a page or two, just in case mirrors are required (i.e. even if the tubes aren’t cut, they’re going to get very clogged very soon).

UPDATE – Global Voices has more (including reports of activity on Flickr & YouTube) and confirms that local… interwebs….. connections…… are……. getting…….. very…………. slwoaffhdcvbcbx*

UPDATE – True geeks may wish to watch the relevant Wikipedia entry expand.

UPDATE – If this happens in your neck of the woods, who’s your overseas blog-buddy? Who do you direct people to if your website is down and/or who can you call if your corner of Teh Interwebs web goes down and you want something published?

This would be more of a standard/movement than a service, as a simple full-time-basic-button-that-links-to-options should do it. This data would be preserved in a variety of caches, and therefore accessible even if a major search engine took a tumble.

One for the back-burner (unless someone wants to beat me to it).

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 19, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tony 'King Blair

Oh, FFS…

Gareth Davies: I had an email from Tim Ireland the other day, suggesting I’ve been slow to publish some comments about torture. I have. No conspiracy Tim, I’ve been busy.

[Um… Gareth? I don’t think there’s a conspiracy; I just think that you’re a dick.]

Take a look at Gareth’s post where he attempts to have the ‘final word’ on torture. Witness how many twists and turns he takes to avoid giving a straight answer to this question; “Do you support detention without trial based on intelligence gained through torture?”

He’s also posted a reply to this post at Bloggerheads that completely fails to address the central point (perhaps he feels he has ‘no need’ to do so) and instead presents the following in his defence:

Tim Ireland: “Gareth Davies… took a ‘moral’ standpoint against the Backing Blair website without declaring that he was employed by the Labour Party in a regional party call-centre.”

Gareth Davies: “Tim keeps saying I worked in one of the Labour Party’s regional call centres. I didn’t. I worked in the communications unit at Labour Party Head Office.”


It was Gareth himself who said that he “worked in call centres for banks and telephone companies and universities” and during the election worked “in a call centre environment for the Party.”

Oh, and the office he worked for was of the regional variety (unless he was based at Labour HQ in London, which would make his position even harder to defend, because that would put him even closer to the core camapign team).

But now for the whopper (if you have a drink in your hand, I advise you to put it down now)…

Gareth Davies: “…it’s hilarious to read one of Blogggerhead’s anonymous ccommenters [sic] demanding that David put his name on the websites he publishes, when Bloggerheads went to town on me as a Labour stooge for suggesting much the same thing about the Backing Blair website.”

Tim Ireland: “There wasn’t a single anonymous comment on Bloggerheads demanding that David Taylor put his name on the websites he publishes… Gareth made it up to support his ‘point’.”

Gareth Davies: “Tim keeps claiming that there wasn’t an anonymous comment on his site demanding David Taylor identify himself on sites he authored. Read this.

[Here Gareth links to one of my comments as evidence and continues…]

Gareth Davies: I’m happy to accept that I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t know that Manic is Tim Ireland. And to withdraw the suggestion that, as such the comment is anonymous. But I didn’t invent it Tim (or is it Manic I’m talking to now?)”


Gosh, it’s all so confusing, isn’t it? Not only is it declared in the Page Title on the front page, but every post on the website of Tim Ireland – marked ‘© Tim Ireland’ – is entered under the nickname ‘Manic’… in much the same way that every entry at Gareth Davies’ weblog is entered under the ID ‘Cramlington Village Councillor’.

Similarly, every comment on the website of Tim Ireland that’s made by Tim Ireland is entered under the nickname ‘Manic’… in much the same way that every comment at Gareth Davies’ weblog that’s made by Gareth Davies is entered under the ID ‘Cramlington Village Councillor’.

Having failed to pass off invented evidence, Gareth is now attempting to invent confusion! Well, at least we can hope this is the case…

Normally, a dishonest/witless blogger like Gareth Davies wouldn’t be worth spitting on, but this serves as an excellent example of the self-deception and/or ignorance that’s required to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a lying, torturing, murdering psychopath like Tony Blair and still fool yourself into thinking that you’re a decent human being.

UPDATE – No. Sorry. I take that back. He is worth spitting on.


Posted by Tim Ireland at September 18, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

It has just come to my attention that the Conservatives invented blogging… and quite possibly the helicopter. Rachel has more.

UPDATE – Well said:

“Harry’s Place – the blog meeting place for lefties all over Britian”


I’m afraid your very creditable 19th place is rather diminished by the fact that Dale doesn’t know what the hell he’s on about.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 13, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Remember to never ever stand up for what you believe in, kids. The costs are too great! The blows are too crippling!


Dennis Paul

Just under a month after ‘quitting’ his weblog, Dennis Paul has deleted the entry about his decision to quit and brought his weblog back to life (but not before deleting the link to it from his main website). He began quietly enough by doing his bit for local law enforcement officers before swiftly returning to form with this post where – under a number of hilarious pseudonyms, he carries on yet another lively conversation with himself that includes this subtle jibe: Pinnochio said… Wow! If I drink in the bar at 16, do I become a real boy? Or maybe even a man, like Chris!!

I don’t see what this can be other than an ‘innocent’ reference to the smears about Chris Ward published by Mike Chambers and propagated with the help of Dennis Paul.

He then follows with an entry that’s clearly designed to get up my nose. My ire isn’t raised, but my curiosity is… as this flurry of activity just happens to coincide with:

1. A renewed attempt to ‘bring balance’ to Anne Milton’s Wikipedia entry, the highlight of which is this edit.

2. Renewed publication of comments at the weblog that smears Chris Ward, including yet another attempt to pass off a comment about it being OK to have sex with kids as one of mine.

Charming… to the last.

Gareth Davies

What is it with this guy? Is he totally unable to conduct a straight debate? I’m going to pester you to take a fresh look at this:

“I have no need to defend David’s online activities. I don’t intend to. But Bloggerheads don’t seem to comprehend that if activists talk to each other, or get involved in activities they might regret, it’s not evidence of a conspiracy. It’s evidence of a passion for politics, for the business of ensuring that the party that represents your views wins. Sometimes supporters go too far. I think David has in this case. But it’s hilarious to read one of Blogggerhead’s anonymous ccommenters demanding that David put his name on the websites he publishes, when Bloggerheads went to town on me as a Labour stooge for suggesting much the same thing about the Backing Blair website.”

There wasn’t a single anonymous comment on Bloggerheads demanding that David Taylor put his name on the websites he publishes… Gareth made it up to support his ‘point’.

He’s also made a misleading suggestion about my being ‘anonymous’… something he does with baffling regularity (his most recent effort; referring to me here as “the anonymous Manic of Bloggerheads”).

The Backing Blair site was launched publicly, here at Bloggerheads and prominent links to myself (and others responsible for Backing Blair) appeared on every main page of the site.

While Gareth Davies, on the other hand, took a ‘moral’ standpoint against the Backing Blair website without declaring that he was employed by the Labour Party in a regional party call-centre.

I initially gave Gareth a few days to realise what he had linked to, but now I think he’s known all along and doesn’t care. During his purely moral objection to Backing Blair, he said this:

“The odd mix of ultra lefties, half baked trots and dilettantes behind the BackingBlair campaign seem to have got their underwear in an uproar over the faintest of suggestions that people who campaign for a particular electoral outcome on the Internet should be forced to play by the same rules as political parties. It’s not about censorship, or totalitarianism. It’s about having open accountable elections. That means knowing who’s placing adverts and running campaigns, and who’s paying for them. All I ask is that if a site wants to campaign for a particular vote at an election, or against a political vote,it should have a declaration of who publishes it, on whose behalf, who pays the bills, and that it should be a criminal offence to make false statements about who the publisher is, and about the source of the money to pay the bills. Now, that’s not complicated is it?

Well, yes, it *can* get complicated sometimes… especially when councillors who don’t declare their formal role with the Labour Party campaign team continually make false allegations about independent campaigners in an effort to undermine them.

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 9, 2006

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The Political Weblog Movement, Tony 'King Blair

For Queen and Country: Tonight’s example of New Labour Delusion comes from the website Keeping the Faith. This is a pro-Blair website set up to support the beleaguered Tony Blair. It has a list of 50 achievements during his time in office… Anyway, the one that has really offended me, is this gem, according to the site, one of Blair’s top achievements is – 16. Banned anti-personnel mines – If just one of those Blair supporting goons can tell me what sweet fuck all good that does when Cluster Bombs are being dropped like confetti in Iraq, Afghanistan and by the Israelis in Lebanon (thanks to our government for letting them pass through our airports), then I’ll personally vote New Labour at the next election.

And napalm, Daz. You forgot to mention napalm.

PS – Remember Gareth Davies? He’s chipped in with this little effort to help David Taylor achieve the status of hapless victim and – 18 months after our original exchange – he *still* hasn’t managed/bothered to answer this question: “Do you support detention without trial based on intelligence gained through torture?”

UPDATE (11 Sep) – Sounds like a ‘yes’ to me.

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 8, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Ick! Ick! Ick-ick-ick-ick-ick!

(Eurgh. I feel all dirty now.)

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