Archive for the ‘UK General Election 2005’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 16, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

“One more chance” says wife-beater Blair. Heh. I suspect this may be an ugly metaphor. There is no suggestion that Tony actually beats Cherie. Making such a claim would be more than a little bit silly.

I’ve yet to process the full BB logs (we may not have the resources for this until next week) but when I take a close look at the Bloggerheads stats for this month, I spy the IP address (70 pages accessed, last page accessed 15 Feb 2005 at 10:48am). Here’s why this matters.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 15, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005 – the new and improved version of FaxYourMP – is now in beta release. Go and enjoy.

You may also be interested in the release of ‘From Weird to Wired’: MPs, the Internet and Representative Politics in the UK.

Here’s my favourite bit so far:

First, the survey asked about the visibility of MPs websites. 22 % of all respondents claim to know whether their local MP has an Internet website. In absolute terms, there are still four in five Britons who do not know about MPs websites. The result is however surprisingly high when one considers the overall low recognition rating of MPs (43 %, see above), internet access levels (around 55 %) and the lack of effort most MPs put into pursuing and publicising an online presence.7 Citizens’ predictions tend to be relatively accurate, as 69 % of respondents gives a correct answer with respect to the actual existence of a site for their MP. If anything, citizens underestimate the extent to which MPs are online: 14 % generously credit their MPs with a site when they don’t have one, but 78 % of those who think that their MP is not online are in fact wrong, suggesting that MPs still need to do considerable work on the marketing of their websites.

Cheers to Wainer for some lovely work and a solid credit for Bloggerheads in the footnotes.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

The Backing Blair site has been down for the last 30 minutes following a complaint to our providers. We’re just now trying to find out more about the nature of the complaint, but it’s unlikely to be legitimate.

Here’s a legal titbit for you while you wait (from this PDF): 4.18 It is important to make clear the distinction between cyber-squatting and spoof websites in the political context. Cyber-squatting might be defined as the malicious registration of internet domain names for financial or, in some cases, political gain. Spoof websites, on the other hand, generally make no pretence to deceive electors and typically include humorous or more general critical analysis and comment. Given the importance of freedom of speech within a fair campaign environment, we do not consider that spoof websites, where clearly identified as such, are intrinsically damaging to the campaign environment.

UPDATE – This is a genuine stroke of genius and this kind of noise from Milburn does not surprise me one jot.

UPDATE – The complaint was made with regards to the London Underground song and refers to “excessive use of possibly copyrighted material.” Excessive use? It’s either in violation of copyright or it’s not, surely? Backing Blair should be back with you shortly. We will try to identify where the complaint originated.

Incidentally, before this (ahem) landmark moment, the Flash video for the London Underground song reached over a quarter of a million individual web users. In two weeks.

UPDATE – The most recent update has been posted to the Backing Blair site.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

OK, we’re officially in campaign season.

The starting gun won’t be fired until early April, but Labour’s launch of their vacuous pledges and Blair’s helicopter dash make it clear that the race has already begun.

There have been a number of concerns raised about the Backing Blair campaign. Well, three to be exact…

1. Our aims need to be clearer from the main page onwards.

That’s true. A change to the intro text is being made today.

2. Can’t we work instead to improve the system that has let us down so badly?

In the next 8 weeks? Unlikely. Let me put it this way: we’d just love to make some improvements to our home, but we thought we might extinguish the fire in the kitchen first.

3. You want me to vote Tory? F**k off!

Good to see that people are so angry and disturbed by Blair’s leadership that they’re willing to give him a jolly good slap. Well, perhaps not a slap. Maybe a bit of a ticking off. Or perhaps a polite letter. Perhaps we’d best not mention it and carry on as if nothing is happening. Maybe if we give him one more chance…

We’ve added a major post to the blog and incorporated a link to it into the aforementioned intro text. You can read that post here…

Tories and terrorism.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 11, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, The War on Stupid, UK General Election 2005

Glorious front page on the Independent today. Here’s a round-up. How brave of Tony to appear on the hard-hitting show Richard and Judy. How pleasant that Bush tried to suppress the pre-9/11 report into al-Qaeda. Ooh, look… nukes!

Oh, did you miss that bit about the Bush administration opening a torture franchise? You did? Then you may also have missed the ID cards bill slipping through the Commons yesterday (for the record, Blair knew about the Charles/Camilla announcement at least 5 days in advance).

Y’see, it’s all about Teh War on Terrerer. We take it very seriously. And we don’t mismanage matters, lie about it and then manipulate the threat. That would be a very silly thing to do.

Oh, that chap who’s marrying a horse… I know you’re dying to know what the girl with the tits thinks about it.

Today, Danni (18, from Coventry) has been closely following news of Charles and Camilla’s wedding. She says: “They really seem to be in love and it’s great that they’ve made this decision. Camilla is certainly not a princess like Diana but I’m sure everyone will warm to her.”

Yes. Quite.

I got home last night planning to have my first 8+ hours of sleep in a over a week. It didn’t happen. I have a new song in my head. Chicken Yoghurt gets credit for partially inspiring it. BTW, this is a mighty fine post about vague numbers of very dead people. We wouldn’t claim to be invading Iraq for humanitarian reasons and then fiddle/hide the number of civilian casualties. That wouldn’t be too clever at all.

Send me more money you cheap bastards! The major parties are booking up ad-space like there’s no tomorrow. If you want to see giant Backing Blair billboards then you should be sending me money today and telling other people to do the same.

Lots of linky goodness over at Washinton Monthly today. Go see.

PS – Don’t forget to send me money.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 10, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

We’re good to go:

Backing Blair

Take a few moments to enjoy our first campaign ad and then come back here when you’re ready.


OK. Initially, I want 3 things from you. It’s up to you how much you give.

1. I want some prime real estate on your website. I want you to use the link tools to drive as much traffic our way as you can.

London Underground: The Song2. I want your money. I want you to donate money via Paypal today if you can (we’ll be accepting cheques from next week if all goes well). The money will be spent on things like these mobile billboards that have built-in PA systems that will allow us to spout wonderfully skewed ‘pro’-Blair propaganda like:

“A vote for Tony Blair protects you from the terrorist threat.”
“Eat more sausages. Sausages are an inexpensive source of protein.”

Fun fun fun fun fun.


3. I want you to get involved. I want you to join or form a group and do stuff. Then I want you to document it, photograph it, video it and publish/blog it.

I want you and your readers excited, I want you and your readers revved up, and I want you and your readers entertained.

And what you see at Backing Blair is just the start, BTW. We have some fanatasic material in reserve.

Regulars of Bloggerheads may enjoy the opening shots on the Backing Blair weblog. We’ve begun with an email to Tony Blair for reasons that I think should be obvious.

We’ve also identified 92 serving MPs with the title ‘mp’ in their domain name. All of these people will have to move house as soon as the election is called. The list includes Michael Howard, Charles Clarke, and many MPs who have played significant roles in information technology, so really should know better.

I repeat: fun fun fun fun fun.

Let’s go show the professionals how Teh Interwebs works. Let’s make this an election where grass-roots campaigning plays a major role. Let’s get some important issues on the agenda. Let’s get some intelligent debate started.

Let’s. Get. Tony.

Launch post at The UK Today
Reactions to the launch at
A stand-out post of support at Chicken Yoghurt
A bit of discussion going on here

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 9, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

Here’s a quick link-dump to keep you busy:,9061,1408779,00.html,3605,1408622,00.html

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 9, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

Good meeting. Nice peeps. Good ideas. Later today we’ll be giving the campaign site a final going over. Possible launch tonight. That is all.

PS – Ok, so maybe not all
Telegraph – Alastair Campbell is back and this time it’s personal
BBC – Campbell: E-mail row ‘silly fuss’

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 8, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

I’ve suggested previously that bloggers and proxy-bloggers note/scan and publish any questionable campaign material. Now we have a big gun on the case, too.

BBC – Election 2005: Below the radar: In the run-up to this year’s General Election, Newsnight’s Michael Crick will examine each party’s campaign, but we want you to get involved too.

No need to change the plan, just make sure that when you publish, you also send it on to Michael Crick – and that you get a name-check for your blog in return.

Moving right along…

Guardian – Tories issue libel writ against Times: The Conservative Party last night raised the political temperature in the run-up to the expected general election in May by issuing a writ against the Times newspaper for defaming its campaign director, Lynton Crosby. The action follows two articles in the Murdoch-owned newspaper claiming that Mr Crosby had told Michael Howard that he was going to lose the next election before the campaign even officially started. The decision to sue, personally approved by Michael Howard and Guy Black, his director of communications, reflects concern among leading Conservatives that the Times, once the paper of the Tory establishment, is becoming a cheerleader for Tony Blair.

Becoming? As in only just now? Has David Hencke been paying attention these past 7 years?

Finally, some news from Bloggerheads:

The briefing/planning meeting for Backing Blair goes ahead as planned this evening. Barring the unexpected, the site should launch sometime tomorrow. Perhaps in the evening.

The London Underground Song is doing extremely good work in the pre-launch period. It was reaching upwards of 3,000 people a day last week and recently has been reaching over 10,000 people a day. Yesterday it reached 26,485 unique visitors. 1,974 of them were curious enough to check out the (currently empty) main page of Backing Blair, even though there’s no direct link to it from the Flash page.

So we’ve got a strong wind behind us, and we’re almost good to go.

Core materials for Backing Blair will be seen for the first time at our meeting this evening. I’d love to give you a sneak preview, but the squirrels insist that I keep my nuts close to my chest for now. I can, however, tell you what’s at the core of the campaign… we’re going to subvert/mock key Blair messages by cutting them down to their bare bones and raise issues such as Iraq and the ‘war’ on terror in an overly-positive fashion that borders on the Orwellian.

Along the way, we plan to:
– Raise awareness of the website/message via grass roots campaigning (posters, stickers, local groups)
– Raise funds via the website
– Use that money to raise awareness of the website/message via mainstream advertising

We start with nothing but elbow grease and goodwill, and can continue at this level throughout the campaigning season and still have an impact. But if we raise as little as 1,000 squid… ooh, boy are we going to have some serious fun.

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 7, 2005

Category: UK General Election 2005

Independent – Official: Campbell back on party payroll to head Blair’s ‘dirty tricks’ unit: Although Labour has admitted previously that Mr Campbell was acting as a “consultant”, his appointment to a full-time titled position is revealed for the first time today.

There’s also this juicy snippet: His reappearance could also upset relations between Mr Blair and Gordon Brown, further damaged last week by renewed speculation that the Chancellor is to be moved to the Foreign Office if Labour wins a third term. Jack Straw, the current occupant, has told friends that he blames “people in No 10” for briefing The Times and The Sun about the story. “He feels that it risked undermining him, especially as it appeared just as Condoleezza Rice was about to arrive,” one said. “It was a competition as to who was more furious, Brown or Straw,” another said.

Ooh, and a very quick response from Mr Milburn on the Labour website: “For the record, people should know that Alastair Campbell, who I am delighted to see back in the Labour team for the election campaign, had nothing whatever to do with the Freedom of Information requests that have become the subject of a good deal of media comment.”

But what sticks with me is how cocky Blair seems. Campbell was Head Bullshit Artist when Blair was making false/dubious claims about WMD… his return to the spotlight (he was never really out of action) is a bold move that suggests that Blair thinks (or his pollsters confirm) that the Iraqi elections make that little problem go away.

UPDATE – An unrelated extra… Europhobia – BNP in favour of Veritas?

UPDATE – A related extra… Chicken Yoghurt – Race for the bottom

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