Archive for the ‘Tories! Tories! Tories!’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 20, 2008

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

Short version:

Scroll down to the picture.

Long version:

Hey, do you remember when I wrote a rather complicated (and greatly estimated) post about Iain Dale vastly overstating his popularity and Iain responded by (oops) accidentally making it very easy for me to prove and explain how he had been cheating?

Well, pretty much the same thing has just happened, only without me having write a rather complicated (and greatly estimated) post.

Joy!

After weeks of Iain’s ducking, diving over his dodgy poll of weblogs I was left with some data that might have done the job. Not only did I have to research 70+ blogs from a list that Iain could reject as definitive at any time, but there was also a lot of wriggle-room for Iain to claim that this blog wasn’t formally Conservative and that right-wing community was owned by a leftie and so on and so forth. Big headache.

Then Iain, bless him, dumped sterling silver and solid gold right in my lap.

(A link to the precise moment of discovery. For completists only.)

It is and always has been my position that the Total Politics poll of political weblogs was skewed way, way waaaaay over to the right (and heavily in favour of Iain and his mates way, way waaaaay over to the right).

And here’s the proof:

Compare the top 10 ‘most popular’ blogs from that poll (1,140 participants) to the top ten that resulted from Iain’s recent reader survey (“more than 1,100*” participants).

They are almost identical.

Further, Iain asked those taking his survey specifically about their voting habits; 70% of them are Conservative voters.

Here is a nifty image that explains it all. Feel free to borrow it.

The Total Politics poll is a sham

(Psst! I should have spotted this before I wrote the fine print for my picture, but Iain did ask who reads him daily in a different queston, and even though he neglected to include himself, he officially tops his survey chart, with 83% of his readers reading him at least once a day.)

Now, lately the Tories are doing well in general polls conducted by reputable professionals, and the departure of Prime Methadone Tony Blair did bring a lot of them out of the woodwork and into the blogosphere, but there’s no way in hell that Iain is going to find a poll showing that 70% of blog readers are Conservative voters, unless he conducts that poll in his own backyard.

And in his backyard is exactly where his Total Politics poll was conducted, attracting maybe a dozen or so more participants than his reader survey, and producing almost exactly the same ‘top ten’ result.

Iain can carry on saying the poll “wasn’t meant to be scientific and never pretended to be” if it makes him feel better and perhaps he can even mockingly feign surprise that the majority of his readers are Conservative voters if it brings him joy, but such disingenuous nonsense falls apart the moment he involves a major sponsor (for the third scam running) and slaps a ‘Total Politics’ label on this latest round of self-promoting, Tory-serving bullshit.

Total Politics brands itself as ‘politically neutral’, and this poll of blogs is anything but.

This poll is, essentially, a poll of Conservative voters.

My thanks to Iain for finally confirming that, even if (oops) he didn’t mean to.

(Note – All of this leaves aside Dale’s childish refusal to honour my boycott of the poll, the stupidity of a wannabe politician being the sole counter and auditor of votes in a poll where he is in the running, and the absurdity of a man play-acting as a champion of bloggers when he is in fact an old-fashioned broadcaster with no taste or regard for accountability.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 16, 2008

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

[Note – Yes, I still have what ‘blog poll’ data I could gather at the time saved, and I plan to crunch it when I have the time. Of course, Iain Dale himself could sort the whole matter out in maybe two minutes with some simple referral stats for his polling page(s) for the month of the poll, but that’s not going to happen, is it? I would also like it noted for the record that Iain Dale has clear views on the need for outside auditing. For others. Not for himself. Iain is far too perfect for that. Now let’s crack on…]

Total PoliticsThe Publisher

Following some childish shenanigans where Iain Dale used his ‘professional’ magazine to settle a personal score (more), I made several futile attempts to contact that publisher via email.

Instead of responding to that email, Iain thought it would be fun to play a little game…

Because the whole fuss began with Iain failing to receive an email (or merely claiming that he had failed to receive it) I went looking for acknowledgement of receipt of a relevant email that was directed and addressed to him as Publisher of Total Politics. Iain then replied via personal email only to confirm receipt of almost every email bar the one that counted. Repeated and quite explicit requests to confirm receipt of the original email led only to confirmation of receipt of the emails requesting confirmation. And so on and so forth.

Cute. And a pretty good indication of bad faith, I would venture.

The Editor

When I tried to contact Total Politics Editor Sarah MacKinlay through the contact details provided on their website, I was at first ignored, and then blindsided during a polite phone call with some bizarre histrionics (I was accused of being “aggressive” and not going through ‘formal’ channels, then cut off).

So much for discussing the matter sensibly with the Editor.

The only senior contact option left to me at Total Politics was…

The Executive Editor

Shane Greer is the Executive Editor of Total Politics. During a particularly unpleasant exchange with Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines this year when every right-wing blogger and his dog was having a go at me, Greer chose to ignore the central issue and take sides in a very personal way by declaring me to be “obviously unbalanced”, grouping me with a convicted stalker, and refusing/deleting any meaningful response to this.

I did not see any point in attempting to contact Shane Greer about this matter, and I’m sure any reasonable person can understand why.

The PCC (Press Complaints Commission)

So… raising my hands and admitting (*gasp*) that there might even be fault on both sides here, what we’re left with is two parties in dispute, communications in a state of total breakdown from the off, and a need for mediation.

And in the UK magazine industry, that is normally where the Press Complaints Commission comes into the picture.

Or not.

Because I found out while making my initial enquiries that the political magazine Total Politics is not answerable to the Press Complaints Commission!

In fact the PCC had never even heard of the magazine until I called them. At all.

I don’t need a long paragraph here explaining that politics is a particularly sensitive, volatile, and high stakes media field, do I?

No? Good. Let’s move on, then…

Here is the later confirmation of this disgraceful state of affairs from the PCC:

I can confirm that the current position is that Total Politics does not formally subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC.

Over 98% of titles do subscribe to the PCC and the Code. We also handle complaints informally against titles that do not subscribe.

But, really, what’s the point when Iain Dale has already placed his magazine outside of its influence and refused to conform to a standard of quality and responsibility accepted by 98% of magazines?

Oh, do excuse me; I just assumed bad faith. Perhaps Iain Dale has merely overlooked this ‘minor’ matter… for about six months.

Perhaps this is something I should discuss with the editorial board dedicated to “keeping Total Politics on track”… but not before offering Iain Dale something he refuses me on his website and now, apparently, in his magazine; a right of reply.

Over to you, Iain.

(waits)

[Psst! This follows Iain Dale playing a major role in a political television station not subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code and his repeated refusal to address or correct minor ‘errors’ (like this push for an apology from Sunny Hundal) on his ‘blog’. A pattern emerges, and it doesn’t take a genius to spot it; Iain Dale is a man who seeks power without accountability. He’s also a man who’s willing to be the sole counter and auditor of votes in a political poll where he himself is in the running but, as I’ve said; that’s for another time.]

UPDATE (11am 17 Oct) – Iain Dale actually confirmed receipt for the relevant email this time around (in a personal not professional capacity, I noticed), but he has not responded beyond this, or issued any statement about his failure/refusal to subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC. You would think this would be an issue for the publisher of a political magazine, but it appears not. I have just emailed all of the members of the Total Politics editorial board that I could find contact details for. Perhaps this will lead to progress. Let’s see.

Oh, and Sim-O notes here that Iain Dale’s policy on his magazine appears to be the same as that for his blog; if he publishes something about you that you’re unhappy with, he’ll kindly think about changing it, but if he refuses, you’re welcome to… erm… walk away and leave him to it. Oh well. At least that beats being called a “bitch” and told to “piss off”.








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 15, 2008

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

Nice to see Iain Dale being so open about the influence of Policy Exchange for a change; most days he’s busy denying their influence.

On one notable occasion when Iain Dale was a Trustee of Policy Exchange and denying their influence, I tripped over Nick Boles.

Nick Boles was at the time the Director of Policy Exchange (which is, for those who don’t know, a large right-wing think tank with charity status) and also wanted to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

In fact, he wanted this so much that he was willing to use Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a personal website with that party-political aim (more), which is a bit naughty and just the kind of concept that friends of Iain Dale struggle to understand.

So…. the Founder Director of Policy Exchange wants to be Mayor of London, and now (*gasp*) he works for the Mayor of London, along with a whole lot of other people from Policy Exchange who now work for the Mayor of London as advisers* and what have you.

(*Perhaps one of the i-dotting or t-crossing bloggers would care to make a full job list for the record.)

It has not escaped notice that Boris Johnson has been on a leash, pretty much since he was convinced to become a candidate.

That leash is held by Policy Exchange people, and I’ve been watching it get tighter.

I’m sorry if I seem to sell Boris short on this, but no matter how much he might think he is in control, when the bulk of his data and advice comes from Policy Exchange drones, the fix is in from the very beginning.

The initial rush of Policy Exchange people into staffed positions from the moment of his election should have been signal klaxon enough for me, but it wasn’t until Boris innocently enquired about my “disagreement” with Anne Milton that I began to get truly worried.

(That matter involved a website produced by her activists that made groundless claims of paedophilia and stopped about a micron short of inciting violence. Boris, who knew this, was treating it like a disagreement over a croquet shot. You know those letters you write and then throw away before they get near a stamp or your outbox? I’ve got one of those. It’s a one-word letter to Boris that I didn’t send a few months ago. It reads; “Disagreement?!”)

And now Boris is showering former Policy Exchange trustee Iain Dale with – let’s be frank, here – a quite absurd level of purposeful praise… well, let’s just say that there’s very little room for doubt any more.

Boris is at the moment so far gone that he may as well be living in a foreign land, and in a way he is.

The Policy Exchange gang wishes to control Boris Johnson, right down to what he says and who he says it to, and so far they’ve quite successful

I look forward to them popping up and denying it… when they’re not quite so busy congratulating themselves over it.








1. Justin McKeating – Say ‘no’ to 42 days.: The House of Lords debates 42 days today and is expected to vote against it, but with the Prime Minister still insisting that he will push through the 42-day proposals, [Amnesty International] will keep on campaigning until it’s defeated once and for all.

Sign the petition. Pass it on.

2. AlertNet – 12 New Stomach-Turning Revelations About Sarah Palin: Palin has taken to smearing Obama. But it’s her own record that continues to yield alarming information, undermining her skills and credibility.

3. Web user makes his views known on the fine body work done by Import Image / iDesign in Walnut, CA. (Ta to Lawrence for the link.)

4. Telegraph – Alisher Usmanov to drop interest in Arsenal takeover: Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has been advised not to go ahead with a takeover of the club and is reportedly ready to sell his shares.

(Psst! We were chatting at the table the other night when Usmanov’s name came up. The youngest griglet asked who he was, and a certain 10-year-old was heard to reply; “He’s Dad’s Russian arch-nemesis.” I was impressed by the correct and necessary use of a modifier more than anything.)

5. Birmingham: It’s Not Shit – Ten things we found out at the Tory Party Conference: …it became obvious that Nadine [Dorries] didn’t really like blogging (apart from the way that it got her comments straight to the diarists of newspapers), and didn’t really do it anyway – she emails the “blogs” that are part of her “online diary” to a guy who does her website…








Posted by Tim Ireland at October 7, 2008

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

Finally someone from the ‘Freedom & the Internet’ panel has blogged about the event! DK reports the following revealing outburst from Nadine Dorries:

“I’m not talking to you. You called me a liar.” – Nadine Dorries (source)

Pfft! Well, there’s my relationship with Iain Dale in a nutshell.

Liars do not like being called liars, and they especially hate it when you prove that they’re lying. (This tends to limit the effectiveness of their lies… in some neighbourhoods.)

Ditto for cheating.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 25, 2008

Category: Christ..., The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

FACT: Nadine Dorries was using facilities paid for by the taxpayer for campaigning purposes…
Bloggerheads.com – Nadine Dorries and the minor matter of misappropriation
Liberal Conspiracy – The case against Nadine Dorries MP (pt 1)

FACT: Nadine Dorries was found to be in the wrong…
Ministry of Truth – Dishonesty Dorries Rides [Yet] Again
Liberal Conspiracy – Our complaint against Nadine Dorries MP upheld

But if you were to believe Nadine Dorries (usually a mistake), she has been the victim of a party-political attack that has been a waste of taxpayer’s money! The projection is quite extraordinary…
Nadine Dorries – The Big Issues Of Our Time (And Wasting Parliamentary Time)

[WARNING – The above link only works in some browsers, because Nadine’s ‘blog’ is a joke. You will have to scroll down the page in search of the relevant entry.]

And you were to give Iain Dale the benefit of the doubt (again, usually a mistake), he was merely taking a friend at her word and not trying to reinforce her distortion or further her projection…
Iain ‘Liar’ Dale – Sunny Hundal & Nadine Owe Each Other An Apology

I initially waited to comment on this because I wanted to see more of the letter than what Dorries chose to disclose (the woman has a history of cherry-picking evidence in order to present a grand distortion of the truth).

Now I’m waiting patiently to see how Iain Dale addresses his earlier demand for an apology and his description of Sunny’s complaint as a ‘smear’.

But one aspect I can tackle immediately is Dorries’ quite sickening attempt to hide under a pile of dead bodies and despair:

Nadine Dorries – The Big Issues Of Our Time (And Wasting Parliamentary Time)

This whole matter has been a personal wake-up call for me.

There’s the threat of international terrorism; a rudderless government in decline; huge economic uncertainty; the war in Afghanistan; a global energy crisis; the re-emergence of Russian aggression; and the spread of HIV in Africa.

But what about the complainant? Does the content of my blog really warrant such attention?

I think this has been a most revealing episode as to his type of politics – it’s certainly not mine.

Putting aside the deceit that how we conduct political debates matters less than any given subject that may or may not be worthy of debate, lets take a look and see how Nadine Dorries addresses the issues she lists as more important than paying any (negative) attention to what she laughingly describes as a blog:

Apart from this particular mention, on that ‘blog’ of hers she has mentioned HIV once, and Africa once. And not in the same breath or even in the same year.

FFS, Abba got more mentions on her ‘blog’ than HIV or Africa or HIV in Africa.

She has mentioned Afghanistan three times, and Russia three times (once to describe her ‘blogging’ as a form of Russian roulette). Ditto for terrorism/terrorists. On the economy, I did searches for words like ‘economy’, ‘debt’ and ‘credit crunch’ and found a mere half-dozen entries.

Further, Iraq is only mentioned five times, and torture doesn’t rate a single mention.

Meanwhile, ‘abortion’, her personal campaign cow, brings up 51 entries. The bulk of these entries are from the period when the weblog was clearly an integrated part of a website paid for by taxpayers.

(If you would like to play this game yourself, simply click here and then add the word of your choice in the search box.)

Related bloggage:
Septicisle – Nadine Dorries just cannot stop lying
Mark Pack – What does “completely cleared” mean?
Sim-O – Nadine spins
Enemies of Reason – Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies
Back Toward The Locus – Sorry, Are You Into Politics?








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 15, 2008

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

Sunday Times – Lord Ashcroft funds Tories from Belize tax haven: Lord Ashcroft, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, has channelled money into party funds from the Central American tax haven of Belize, despite a ban on overseas donations. (more) (see also)

Telegraph – Lord Ashcroft’s donations to Tories to be investigated* by watchdog: While there is no suggestion that the peer has broken the law, which requires political parties to take donations only from companies that are registered in Britain and “carrying on” business, critics said that at the very least the party was breaching the “spirit” of the rules. The Tories insisted the donations were legitimate.

(*Maybe. RTFA to get the full picture, rather than placing your trust in the headline.)

Too bad we can’t have an inquiry into money Ashcroft has splashed about among certain right-wing activists. I’m sure that’d turn up a few surprises.

Well, when I say ‘surprises’, I for one will make an effort to *appear* surprised, just to be polite….

[Psst! Speaking of money and manners, I just got off the phone with the good people at Total Politics about an unrelated matter. I was most polite, and called using the number provided on their website. My reward was to be accused of being “aggressive” and not going through ‘formal’ channels. Oh dear.]

UPDATE – Meanwhile…

Scoop (NZ) – Key fails to rule out funding from Lord Ashcroft: John Key needs to explain exactly what relationship the New Zealand National Party has with multi-million dollar political donor Lord Michael Ashcroft after failing to deny serious allegations in Parliament today, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said. Today during question time, the Prime Minister raised the possibility that Lord Ashcroft could be providing financial assistance to the National Party without donating directly to the Party. John Key did not make any attempt to deny the suggestion as an MP normally would if an inaccurate suggestion was made.








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 11, 2008

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

The world is a better place now that we have Anton Vowl’s A-Z of right-wing online commenting.








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 11, 2008

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

They’re such an unprincipled lot that they’ll happily stay allies regardless of most differences, and they do have their differences. Friday afternoon, for example:

(Please keep in mind that I am paraphrasing here…)

Phil Hendren: “F**k you Chinese control-freaks.”

Iain Dale: “Ooh, look! Pretty lights!”

Paul Staines: “Penis! Penis penis penis!”

Donal Blaney: “Me! Me me me!”

UPDATE – Tch. I really wish that Iain would stop broadcasting claims/comments about me while I’m denied any right of reply*. I mean, if he wants to be taken seriously as a publisher…

(*He then bitches and moans if I blog about it on my own site, the tosser.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 7, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

scotch said…

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

August 06, 2008 1:10 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Now onto Iain’s response to this tricky question…

Iain Dale said…

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

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

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

August 06, 2008 3:02 PM

Appalling, isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I condemned it. Twice.

It was condemned at Blood & Treasure.

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

Nosemonkey condemned it.

Justin condemned it.

Iain Dale did NOT condemn it.

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

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

Now, why do you think that is?

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

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

Liar.








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