Click here to watch Blair's farewell video

Friday, March 30, 2007

'Guido Fawkes' (and his sock-puppets) on Newsnight

Paul Staines' gang of anonymous bullies have been trying ever-so-hard to put a positive spin on his epic 'crash and burn' on live television.

Perhaps some of them wish that they could have been on hand to help with the usual vicious pile-on of diversions, attacks, insults and smears.

Well, they need wish no more... for Manic is here to bring their dreams to life via the wonders of YouTube!!

[WARNING: Video contains NSFW audio.]

Manic is getting mighty sick of speaking in third-person. End communication.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Racial slur ahoy!

It would appear that 'Guido' deleted more than a few comments on his website yesterday, but here's one that he didn't delete, even after another contributor highlighted it.

How lovely.

Hey, isn't this the kind of thing that Paul Staine's anonymous-bully-in-chief Praguetory likes to get all faux-outraged about? No? Well how about this, then?

Manic has spoken. End communication.


'Guido Fawkes' (Paul Staines) on Newsnight: Video and Transcript

Paul 'Guido Fawkes' Staines on Newsnight (via Justin):

If you haven't seen it yet, the report filed by 'Guido' that preceded this interview is also now on YouTube (courtesy of Unity).

The following needs to be said before Manic provides a notated transcript:

1. Perhaps now 'Guido' knows how Sion Simon felt after his less-than-flattering appearance on Sky News.

2. 'Guido' is busy publishing (mostly anonymous) comments from an unknown number of acolytes, who are banging on about how aggressive/mean-spirited/unprofessional Michael White was... when the simple fact is that Paul Staines is an attack dog and all White did was hit him over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

3. 'Guido' is a twat, came across as a twat, and in doing so made all political bloggers look like twats. The twat.

Now, onto the transcript... all notation is in [brackets]:


Jeremy Paxman: Well, Mr Fawkes joins us now from Westminster, where he's insisted on being in darkness, and we're joined here in the studio by the Guardian journalist Michael White. Michael White, the accusation is that political journalists are too close to the people they report upon to act dispassionately in the interests of the citizen.

Michael White: It's an alright question to ask. It's true of course in all forms of journalism that you have a problem of how you deal with your sources. And some people are very aggressive, and some people are very friendly, and some people are complicit, but all the rules which our... friend Guido Fawkes has just asked [about] apply to sports journalism, to financial journalism, and notoriously so in entertainment journalism, so the issues...

Jeremy Paxman: It doesn't mean the accusation is not true.

Michael White: So the issues are there... but sometimes it's true. We all know people who are very cosy with their sources. You said in the programme that you can get frozen out. Well, you get frozen out, so life goes on. You seem to manage well enough, Jeremy. I'm not altogether convinced... the idea that you, Paxo, is... either a lackey of the establishment or so naive that you're manipulated by...

Jeremy Paxman: Well, this is going to get ludicrously self-regarding, so... but this isn't about... it's not only about the so-called 'Empty Chair'. It's also about the whole perspective from which political reporting comes.

Michael White: Yep, that's right.

Jeremy Paxman: Do you think that he has a point? Do you accept that he may?

Michael White: Sometimes, that happens. But I might say equally, with equal vigour of him... I've never appeared on television with anyone who has appeared anonymously before. I thought I was meant to be the hole-in-the-corner operator, hiding in the shadows, but... of course, sometimes you see it that way, but equally, you see a naive conspiratorial view of the political process and the politicians, which says - in effect - "they're all crooks, and they all ought to be in gaol"... and we will fearlessly expose them on the blogosphere. It isn't like that.

Jeremy Paxman: Mr Fawkes.. for so we must call you, I gather... why do you insist on this preposterous disguise?

'Guido Fawkes': Well, so I can go undercover. I can remember a year ago having a discussion with a senior Guardian journalist who didn't know who I was, having a drink with him a couple of months later, and probably if I bump into Michael next week in a pub, he won't know who I am then.

Michael White: Well, no, I saw you at a lunch once. Everyone else was wearing a tie, and you were wearing a rugby shirt, and somebody said "That's Paul Staines, he's Guido Fawkes"...

'Guido Fawkes': (laughter)

Michael White: ... and I said "Get away! Is it? He looks a bit of a prat" and I know you're not a prat...

Jeremy Paxman: (laughter)

Michael White: ... but you looked a bit of a prat on this occasion. So, next time I see you, unless you've really disguised yourself with a blonde wig, I will recognise you. (waves) Hi!

'Guido Fawkes': Hi, Michael. You're fantastic, but look how you reacted over John Prescott when he was in trouble. You were never off the screen defending him. You were out in the studios...

Michael White: He was being stitched up!

'Guido Fawkes': ... putting his case, making his [inaudible] for him all the time.

Michael White: He was being stitched up by people like you, and if he was such a villain, how come we've [the House of Lords] just voted...

'Guido Fawkes': I didn't stitch him up!

Michael White: ... against a casino being in Manchester. I thought the Prescott conspirators had this casino done and dusted down in Greenwich. Oh, Brown put the tax up on casino gambling again last week. Bit of a failure, your conspiracy theory there, wasn't it?

'Guido Fawkes': Well, I how come it was a showbiz reporter who exposed him for shagging his secretary, not you? You're his friend, you're off having, uh...

Michael White: I'm not...

'Guido Fawkes': ...going to his birthday party, 68th birthday party...

Michael White: I'm not his friend, look...

'Guido Fawkes': ...saying how he looks young for his age.

Michael White: I haven't been to his 68th birthday party, I didn't even know he was 68*. Carrying on like that at 68, eh? Pretty shocking. I don't know what you're talking about, Paul.

[*This claim is contradicted by this article by Michael White dated June 1, 2006, but casual observers should be wary of any claim or suggestion that this incorrect statement - or the article - equates to proof of White attending Prescott's 68th birthday party.]

'Guido Fawkes': Well, you were on [BBC] News24. You said you thought he looked good for his age and you'd been celebrating his 68th birthday party with him. That's when.

Michael White: Did I? I don't...

'Guido Fawkes': Yes.

Michael White: I don't think I did, Paul.

Jeremy Paxman: Do you understand, Mr Staines or Mr Fawkes... that it is slightly more difficult when newspapers, broadcasters have to operate within the constraints of the law... not a problem that applies as far as you're concerned.

'Guido Fawkes': Well that's... I don't know why you say that. I mean, I'm very careful.

Michael White: Well, because you're not worth suing, unlike Private Eye. You haven't got any money, I take it?

'Guido Fawkes': Er, that's for you to know... me to know, and you to wonder. And I am very careful, I mean, as we get close to Lord Levy's trial, I'm very careful of the contempt of court laws, you know... that's the problem that the BBC had.

Michael White: Lord Levy's trial? Who says?

'Guido Fawkes': Well, we'll see.

Michael White: Well, we will see, but you've just said as a statement of fact; "Lord Levy's trial"

'Guido Fawkes': Oh... it's a probability.

Michael White: Oh, you're backing off quite fast here...

Jeremy Paxman: That is the difficulty, isn't it? That... that facts are treated very, very loosely in the blogosphere, aren't they?

'Guido Fawkes': Well, you know, people make mistakes, but if I do make a mistake, my reputation's at risk, and my reputation's pretty good for not making mistakes.


Jeremy Paxman: Well...

Michael White: What...

Jeremy Paxman: Sorry, go on, Michael White.

Michael White: Well...

'Guido Fawkes': I mean the Guardian made me Political Commentator of the Year...

Michael White: Well, the...

'Guido Fawkes': ... 30,000** of their readers thought I was the best political commentator....

[**This is (dare one say it?) a mistake. As can be seen here, over 30,000 users of the Guardian website (not all of whom could be classified as Guardian readers) appear to have voted in this category, but only 33% of them appear to have voted for Staines (i.e. regarded him to be "the best political commentator" out of those nominated). Also, the word 'appear' appears because many nominees, including 'Guido' himself, expressed doubts about the reliability of the voting process. 'Guido' actually asked to be withdrawn from the competition, but didn't appear to have any complaints after winning. (Well, maybe he struggled a bit.) Regardless, 'Guido' has presented an inflated version of figures that he regards to be meaningless to support a somewhat tangential case.]

Michael White: Well, that's terrific...

'Guido Fawkes': Maybe Michael White has a difference of opinion.

Michael White: Well, I do. It's a free country. I'm delighted you got an award. Everybody likes to get an award... but you can be pretty cavalier with the facts sometime. Much of the blog, for people who don't know it, this week is devoted to whether or not Gordon Brown picked his nose during... was it the Budget or some other recent event? That's... should it have been the top item...

Jeremy Paxman: The point about the blogosphere is that it is comment unmediated by people like you [White] and me and Nick Robinson and Adam Boulton and the rest of it... and there's some merit in that, isn't there?

Michael White: Of course there is. The technology allows it. If I make a mistake in the blogosphere, I don't get a letter on green ink from a vicar in Norfolk four days later; somebody comes on and says "You idiot! You're wrong!"... usually in much more abusive terms than that. It's really interesting...

Jeremy Paxman: And very often they're right.

Michael White: Yes, of course they are. That's why I mention it. That's interesting... and the debate can be interesting. It can be violent and sterile and abusive, depends what the issue is. I don't know whether Paul agrees with me. It depends what the issue is under discussion. Sometimes, the blogosphere is a waste of space... just abuse. But sometimes it's brilliant.

Jeremy Paxman: But the distinct... the key thing here is the distinction between comment and reporting has been removed.

Michael White: Oh, it's all comment.

Jeremy Paxman: Yeah.

Michael White: Isn't it? can we agree on that?

Jeremy Paxman: You'd accept that, wouldn't you, Mr Fawkes?

'Guido Fawkes': Well, I break stories quite often... I mean, it's not more than once...

Michael White: Give us a couple.

'Guido Fawkes': ... that I've...

Michael White: Give us a couple.

'Guido Fawkes': Well, the... the whole question of the second email system. I had the lobby... was following me on that for two days.

Michael White: But that... it isn't true.


'Guido Fawkes': Well, it turned out there was... it wasn't an email system, there was a second system for doing documents called Lotus Notes. It was established, that.

Michael White: Well, no, I don't think we have, actually. But that illustrates the difficulty... I think you got that wrong.

'Guido Fawkes': Well, my source for that was Nick Robinson***, so maybe.

Jeremy Paxman: (laughter)

[***This claim has since been retracted by Staines. Robinson's response to the claim and retraction can be read here.]

Michael White: Well, maybe... I mean, Nick Robinson... we all make mistakes, we're agreed on that. Maybe Nick made one. I wonder where he got it from?


Jeremy Paxman: OK, chaps... we'll leave it there. Thank you both very much indeed. (laughter)


Please respond under comments or via email if you find any errors.

Manic has transcribed. End communication.

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Sock-puppets look a bit silly when they point the finger and shout "Sock-puppet!"

Manic takes it back... this thread over at Paul Staines' website *did* become more interesting after moderation kicked in, as did this one.

This thread is equally educational in terms of overall content, but the former links are where we see a magical change in comment content from the moment Paul takes control.

1. Moderation kicked in at 11:50pm last night after Staine's appearance on Newsnight. From this point on, 'Guido' had complete control over what did and did not get published under comments.

2. Watch both of these threads from 11:50pm onwards for a pronounced increase in (mostly anonymous) comments claiming that Staines was the victim of a personal vendetta, a Fourth Estate conspiracy, a 'NuLab' conspiracy, or all three:

'Guido Fawkes' - Nick Robinson Regrets...
'Guido Fawkes' - Should Guido Audition to Replace Crick

3. While you're there, do enjoy how many of these mostly anonymous comments push forward the idea that the mostly anonymous comments *not* in Staines' favour are the work of enemy astro-turfers (see: Fourth Estate conspiracy, 'NuLab' conspiracy, etc. etc.)

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hello, new visitors!

Welcome to the Guido 2.0 website!

Look around if you must, but if you are arriving just after Paul de Laire Staines' Newsnight performance, then the most interesting thing to look at right now is the comments under this post at the 'Guido Fawkes' weblog.

Manic's comment on this subject (which is sure to deleted soon along with all the others as soon as Paul gets home) read as follows:
Manic is struggling to find anything gracious or generous to say about Paul's performance... but he did enjoy Paxman's and White's breezy dismissal of his pointless 'anonymity' charade very much indeed.

Some excellent points from White, too. He nailed 'Guido' again and again and again.

Manic's only regret is that he couldn't watch Paul's face as it unfolded/unravelled (but he suspects this is a major reason for the silhouette nonsense).

Go for it, Mr Undercover!
Manic also enjoyed watching 'Guido' burn a source as he scrambled to save his own arse... he would not want to be a cat in the Staines household this evening!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE (11:50pm) - Oh dear... 'Guido' is clearly feeling the pressure. Comment moderation has been switched on and Manic's comments have been hastily deleted ('Guido' will no doubt claim at a later date that Manic was being sweary and abusive). Outright arse-saving censorship and the sudden introduction of pre-vetting makes that comments thread far less interesting, so Manic will provide some key items of interest here instead.

Taking it decade-by-decade seems to be the simplest thing to do:

'Guido' being a twat in the eighties
'Guido' being a twat in the nineties
'Guido' being a twat in the noughties

Have fun.

PS - Tch! Dig *up*, stupid!

Manic has spoken again. End communication again.

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Will Paul Staines masturbate live on Newsnight tonight?

Paul Staines and Iain Dale are busily tossing themselves stupid over a 'triumphant' appearance by Staines that is due to be broadcast this evening on BBC's Newsnight.

Manic urges you to watch the preview, and the broadcast (which may include a live interview if the self-important twat agrees to an appearance; no doubt in silhouette and with no use of his real name which Paul de Laire Staines claims is 'no big secret').

In the preview, 'Guido' repeats the big fib he told Newsnight last time he appeared:

If you have lunch with someone on a regular basis, you would feel inhibited going for the jugular," says Staines, who claims he has no ambition to be a journalist and that his only agenda is that he "hates" all politicians. - From Newsnight in July 2006

"On my blog, there's no holding back from going for the political jugular" - From Newsnight in March 2007

Oh, really? What about David Taylor? Policy Exchange?

In the first example, 'Guido' not only spiked a spicy story because it involved one of his informants... he also dished the dirt on that same informant quietly on the side... which makes him a hypocrite and a total bastard.

Manic needs to pull Paxman up on this, though:

"I'm sorry, but I just think that you're living in a pathetic conspiracy world." - Jeremy Paxman (to Paul Staines)

Paul Staines does not live in a pathetic conspiracy world; what he does is create the illusion of a conspiracy world to further his agenda and that of certain elements of the Conservative Party... while denouncing all those who catch him at it as 'conspiracy loons'.

PS - Paul, here's a free tip for you... you do not want to make the schoolboy error of going for the political jugular (when it suits you); instead, you want to go for the political carotid artery (when it suits you).

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Is 'Guido' a liar or a dimwit?

Today, Paul Staines describes a man posting under his own name as; "sock-puppetry of the highest order"

But it's not sock-puppetry in any way, shape or form!

The man did not hide his name or use a fake name; the man posted under a single identity... his own!

Manic would like to know... is Staines' post the result of confusion, delusion, or fabrication?

PS - Meanwhile, Manic has been watching 'Guido' busily deleting any comments under that post that mention his own role in an actual sock-puppet adventure. The man is a hypocrite. And a coward.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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A major victory for Guido 2.0! The 'war' is within measurable distance of its end!

Manic has been after Paul de Laire Staines (aka 'Guido Fawkes') to make one minor update to his website since waaaay back in January.

This update - the inclusion of time *and* date in comment timestamps - could have been done in minutes on the old version of Blogger that 'Guido' was on then, or the new version of Blogger that he switched to a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, 'Guido' had the builders in making a bit of a mess of his website. Major changes were made to the design template, but this simple 'switch it on' measure was still not taken... despite Paul Staines making a clear promise to do so in his Pickled Politics interview (see here and here).

So last night, Manic sent Paul an email:

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Ireland
To: Guy Fawkes
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 8:48 PM
Subject: When you're ready II

You promised 'time and date' timestamps during your recent interview (the one where you mistook 'irony' for hypocrisy').

Where are they?


PS - They take seconds to turn on and a few minutes to propagate site-wide. It is not a template issue, but a core Blogger feature that is easy to access and enact. What exactly are you afraid of?

A few short hours later, Paul Staines finally made good on his promise and introduced comment timestamps with time *and* date (well, initially he went with the rather more clunky format of date *then* time, but cheeky beggars can't be choosers).

Manic plans to make a similar update to Guido 2.0, as there is little point satirising a state of play that no longer exists. However... with this in mind, Manic does not plan to take this measure until Iain Dale, that other major breeder of sock-puppets and anonymous bullies, makes a similar update to his website.

Manic would also appreciate Iain making a correction to his design template that allows readers to link to individual comments. It is a simple fix, and an important one, as the threads at his website are often almost as long as his record-breaking blogroll.

In fact, Manic sent an email to Iain Dale last night, too... and requested all of the above (a couple of links have been added for the benefit of newcomers):

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Ireland
To: Iain Dale
Cc: Guy Fawkes
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:32 AM
Subject: Re: When you're ready II

Proper timestamps when you're ready, Iain. You jumped pretty quickly on that search function, and that was a much bigger ask than a simple 'turn it on' Blogger feature like this.


PS - And while you're tinkering, please have your webmonkey fix your comment permalinks. I'd like to be able to point to specific moments when you're a total hypocrite.

PPS - Goodbye! Forever! *gasp* *sigh*

Finally, in the interests of transparency, Manic would also like to publish the email he sent to both parties just before closing up shop for the night. For newcomers, it needs to be pointed out that this entire saga can be summed up as follows:

Manic expressed grave concern about the self-serving hypocrisy of Staines and Dale, and the impact that their reliance on anonymous bullies was having on the wider blogging community. Both responded by unwittingly confirming that they were selfish hypocrites on several fronts... but not before hiding behind their anonymous bullies, thereby pushing said bullies into the foreground for everyone to see... in action, no less!

This helped to prove Manic's point about the underhanded methods these anonymous bullies use to restrict free speech.

Dale and Staines also proved time and again that Manic was the only party central to the affair who could afford to say "Bring it on!" when push came to shove.

This helped to prove Manic's point about the importance of credibility to individual sustainability.

Here's the email:

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Ireland
To: Iain Dale ; Guy Fawkes
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 1:04 AM
Subject: PS

In case I haven't mentioned it before, it is a mistake to let your opponent know what a coward you are. Both of you have, over the last few months, shown exactly what you are made of.

Your team of bullies have - with minor individual variations - made exactly the same error.

It's not the only mistake you've made, but there's a limit to my generosity, so I shall say no more.

Good luck in the coming months. Oh, and fuck you both.



The shared cowardice Manic refers to is best displayed in the following manner:

Manic had this to say about Paul Staines. Did Staines have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Manic had this to say about Iain Dale. Did Dale have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Manic had this to say about 'Praguetory'. Did 'Praguetory' have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Manic had this to say about 'Dizzy'. Did 'Dizzy' have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Slam. Dunk. (x4)

PS - No, it is not good policy to interrupt your opponents when they are making a mistake... but it doesn't hurt to point the mistake out when (a) it proves educational to others (b) it is painfully obvious anyway and (c) the damage is irreversible.


Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Selective moderation

In Guido's post where he delivers a pissweak excuse for poor design, a sock-puppeteer turned up in comments with a cack-handed impersonation of blogger Chris Paul.

This sock-puppeteer used the loophole Blogger provides when users opt for unrestricted comments on their system.

Using an open system is acceptable for smaller weblogs, and/or weblogs run by responsible users, but 'bloggers' like Paul Staines and Iain Dale allow readers to abuse the system (and/or abuse the system themselves) when it suits their purpose.

Also, by making it easy for readers (or themselves) to post under multiple pseudonyms, they give the impression of a larger interactive audience than actually exists. (You can see this issue being discussed here, after Iain Dale called a halt to his 'week-long comment registration experiment' after a few short days without the sock-puppets he has come to rely on.)

Meanwhile, Iain's sock-puppeteers bitch and moan about Manic's antics, when it should be clear to any reader that Manic uses a single online identity when dealing with Dale and Staines, and makes no secret of his true identity.

Anyway, let's get back to Chris Paul, his habit of calling Paul 'Guido' Staines on his bullshit, and Staines' rather petty patronage of anonymous bullies who impersonate that blogger...

Below is a screen capture of two comments from an impersonator that - at the time of writing - are still live in this thread (here and here).

Not only are the comments allowed to remain in clear contravention of Blogger's Terms of Service (which clearly state that you are not permitted to use the service to "impersonate any person or entity") but another anonymous comment, probably from the same person, reinforces the impersonation and the aspect of it that is clearly designed to undermine the target.

Staines has not deleted the offending comments or even made an effort to correct the 'error' in the reinforcing comment:

You may also note that, in this exchange, there is a genuine response from Iain Dale. Not long after this comment appeared, someone arrived to impersonate Dale and play drunk... i.e. someone did to Iain Dale exactly what had been done to Chris Paul.

Manic is sure that it will come as no surprise to you that Staines deleted the single impersonation of Iain Dale... but not the repeated impersonations of Chris Paul:

The message is clear; Staines doesn't mind you violating Blogger's Terms of Service and/or breaching blog etiquette on his website... just so long as you don't do it to his mates.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'Guido' swings to the left

Manic is not sure, but he thinks that the crappy blurry thing under the title is the Houses of Parliament.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE - Tch. All Staines has to say for himself for a totally shit* design is: Consider the blog to be in Beta version...

Funny... that's just what Paul said when he equated homosexuality with paedophilia. Perhaps he's laying ground for a pending lawsuit over all the "Gordon Brown is [censored]" claims he's been publishing.

[*Dark blue text and dark purple text over a dark background? What the fuck were they thinking? Is this a 'smoked glass and black velvet' hangover from Paul's blacklight/blackshirt glory days, or what?]

Manic has spoken again. End communication again.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Big baby bloggers and blogroll revenge

'Guido Fawkes' - Miliblogger Sulking, De-linking: Miliband has, in an incredibly revealing fit of pique, now removed his link to this blog from his blog-roll, (he only added Guido to his blog-roll a month ago for some blogospheric street cred). This follows the New Statesman recently removing their blog link last month after Guido criticised them for not covering the Smith Institute scandal, despite them sharing an office with the Sith. Is Guido bovvered? This proves Guido's oft made point about politicians and their alleged desire for an interactive online conversation with the public, they only want agreement and consent, not dissent. How enjoyably childish of Miliband.

Manic is amused. Not only has 'Guido' stolen Manic's line, but he has lifted the observation from one of Manic's key posts that points out that Paul 'Guido' Staines is a dissent/debate-hating blog-cheat much like Miliband.

There's also this to consider:

screenshot of Staines' blogroll - before and after Jan 2007

Does one dare to say it? One does...

How enjoyably childish!

On that note, Manic would also like to observe that Gordon Brown picking his nose is the scoop of the year.

Well done, 'Guido'!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

'Guido' is busy outwitting the half-wit again

'Guido Fawkes' - MiliBlogger Breaks the Rules: When Miliband started his ministerial blog he got a lot of criticism that it was party politics at the taxpayers expense, he promised that "because this is a Government site I won't lapse into party ranting". It would be a breach of the Civil Service Code if he did. So why today is he defending the Labour party against allegations of a history of animosity to the countryside and invoking Bevin in defence of his party on the taxpayer funded blog? That is a clear breach of the non-partisan rules and his own promises.

'Guido Fawkes' - Guido 2, Miliblogger 0: Miliband has just deleted the blog post where he broke the civil service rules and used his ministerial office to further party political goals. Given he gets his civil servants to deal with his blog, taxpayers were harmed in the making of this, he should refund the cost out of Labour party funds.

Manic loves it when 'Guido' lays into Miliband and his taxpayer-funded 'weblog' for two reasons:

1. Paul Staines is a bigger blog-cheat and control-freak than Miliband could ever hope to be.

2. Paul Staines is a self-confessed tax-dodger.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Voluntary Code Free Zone killed by ardent believers

The latest abandoned right-wing blog to fall victim to blog-hijacking spammers is:

The same affiliate scheme used for the Out From Under hijack is being used to redirect visitors to a different destination URL, in a effort to get a bit of that red-hot 'finger wave' action:

Disillusioned & Bored used to be home to the Voluntary Code Free Zone (the genesis of which has been hastily preserved here).

Manic would love to pause and enjoy the subtle irony of that, but there is work to be done!

Recently-abandoned British political weblogs need to be checked for similar hijacks and a list of hijacked blogs needs to be tallied and published.

Why? Well, as a 'just for example' type thing, this recent series of hijacks presents Iain Dale with a small problem; there's no telling how many blogs in his 'definitive' list of British political weblogs now feature links to hardcore pornography (and unprincipled faux-outraging members of opposing parties could easily misrepresent this eventuality in order to cause him embarrassment further embarrassment).

Happily, Iain Dale also presents us with a possible solution... he has one of the longest blogrolls in the entire world!

Manic has some web-browsing to do, and he will check in shortly.

Manic has spoken. Further communication to follow.

UPDATE - These blogs have been abandoned and then hijacked by spammers, and you may want to remove them from your blogroll(s):

After trawling through Iain Dale's impossibly-long (but suddenly useful) blogroll, Manic also found the following:

The David Coleman blog has been spammed in a new and exciting way:

It is not advisable for newbies with unprotected PCs to visit the page hosted at the above location, or the URL it redirects to:

The Injured Cyclist has been hijacked by a Japanese spammer pushing 'Windows Vista' on the cheap, by the looks of things:

The Dave Mills and Pete Kelly blogs are dead, but not spammed:

That appears to be it for now. Complaints have been filed with Google for all spam that has been found... but if you find any more, please tell Manic!

Two side-bars:

1. It was interesting to note how many political bloggers are repeating Iain's mistake of putting all of their eggs into a single Blogger basket.

2. There are many other corrections that need to be made to Iain's record-breaking blogroll, but Manic was mainly chasing Blogger users... and he is not Iain's housemaid.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE (16 Mar) - Since this post went live, the spam/re-direct has been removed from and all past blog entries appear to be been reinstated in full (comments and all). No new posts, though. How odd.

Manic has spoken again. End communication again.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

One of our sock-puppets is missing!

The blog Coming Out From Under was abandoned a few weeks ago. If you visit the URL right now, you are redirected to a porn/search website using this hidden redirection technique (in fact, this same affiliate scheme).

If, like, you use this website for syndicated content, you will want to cut the feed and remove the single bait entry uploaded by the spammers:

screenshot from

If, like Iain Dale, you currently carry a link to Coming Out From Under on your blogroll, you will want to:

a) remove this link from your blogroll
b) send a spam complaint
c) beware of faux-outrage

If you feature this link on your website, right now, through no fault of your own, you will be promoting a website that is designed to earn high search results for 'barnsley england gay', and - lookie here - the technique works:

screenshot from Google

The page now hosted at redirects visitors to the following URL:

[Sidebar: 'Tax Free Porn for Adults' sounds like a great collaborative project for Paul Staines and Iain Dale, no?]

So, if you have this link on your blogroll, you are not only sending traffic to a gay porn website, you are promoting a gay porn website in search engines.

Manic thinks it is pretty clear how such a thing could be capitalised on with a little misdirection.

Remove. Report. Beware.

'Member it.

Irony: Out from Under's strapline was a quote from Honest Abe Lincoln: "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."

Background: The site formerly held at this URL is described here. Out From Under can also be seen piling on during the Piper/blackface attack here and here. If you're wondering why the mysterious 'Out From Under' abandoned his (or her) weblog to the mercy of hijackers, you can work it out for yourself by reading the last three posts (and associated comments), which are mirrored below:

Out From Under [archived]: If this isn't obsessive I don't know what is
Out From Under [archived]: This is what homophobia looks like Tim
Out From Under [archived]: Goodbye

Manic has spoken. End communication.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Guido Fawkes: The Early Years

Below are some extracts from a book that has just come into Manic's possession; Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House.

If you wish, you may also browse this book online via Amazon.

(Note - In a case such as this, Manic would normally provide some highlights and observations, but he is busy chasing serious organised criminals at the moment. For now, he simply advises you to read, enjoy and share... ASAP. Paul de Laire Staines - aka Guido Fawkes - is sure to have a printed retraction personal letter of apology that explains everything allows him to forbid any form of re-publication.)

Extract from Chapter 3 (Pages 99-102)

It was time to recruit some tough lieutenants, check your gun-powder and mass your forces. The battle was on now, for sure, and the only weapons that counted were technology, strategy and sheer weight of numbers. Colston-Hayter still believed he could turn the negative coverage around, or at least parry it, and called on an old video-gaming friend. Paul Staines, a former Harrow schoolboy with an extrovert demeanour and a caustic wit, had met Colston-Hayter at an Atari Asteroids championships; Staines came in first ahead of his new friend. At university he was drawn to the radical libertarian wing of the Federation of Conservative Students, and was soon working as a political aide to the right-wing maverick, wealthy property developer and adviser to Margaret Thatcher, David Hart. Hart's philosophy was complete freedom of the marketplace and rabid anti-communism. He had played a key role in the Conservatives' 1983 election victory, been a member of Thatcher's so-called "alternative cabinet" and during the Miners' Strike of 1984-85 had used his cash and forceful personality to build a clandestine network of disaffected and strike-breaking miners, which eventually contributed to the defeat of Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers.

A "conspiratorial... somewhat bizarre figure", Hart moved among the higher echelons of the security services, received substantial funding from Rupert Murdoch, and would go on to advise Michael Portillo, the darling of the Tory right in the nineties. Hart's organisation, Committee for a Free Britain, published two periodicals, the Cold War bulletin World Briefing, which was overseen by former CIA spook Herb Mayer, and British Briefing, a "monthly intelligence analysis of the activities of the extreme left". The latter's major impetus was to smear Labour MPs and left-leaning lawyers and writers. It had previously been run by MI6 veteran Brian Crozier and Paul Staines now helped to produce it. The twenty-one year old was having the time of his life.

"I was a fanatical, zealot anti-communist. I wasn't really a Tory, I was an anarcho-capitalist. I was lobbying at the Council of Europe and at Parliament; I was over in Washington, in Jo'burg, in South America. It was 'let's get guns for the Contras', that sort of stuff. I was enjoying it immensely, I got to go with these guys and fire off AK-47s. I always like to go where the action is, and for that period in the Reagan/Thatcher days, it was great fun, it was all expenses paid and I got to see the world. I used to think that World Briefing was a bit funny. The only scary thing about those publications was the mailing list - people like George Bush - and the fact that Hart would talk to the head of British Intelligence for an hour. I used to think it was us having a laugh, putting some loony right-wing sell in, and that somebody somewhere was taking it seriously. You've got to understand that we had a sense of humour about this."

He also had misgivings about his boss. "He's completely charming and can charm senior people like Thatcher and appear sane for a while. But any close proximity to him for a prolonged period of time, you know he's completely off his fucking head."

Between forays for Hart and work for the similarly right-wing Adam Smith Institute, Staines had begun to attend his friend Tony's parties. "The first E I took was at Apocalypse Now at Wembley Studios. I thought it was fantastic, I was down there, Smiley face T-shirt, shorts - never done acid, never done E, I'd never even heard of this MDMA. I had the E, it was pure MDMA, and I was so out of it, so in love with everybody, I had a little windowpane of acid, and that was it, I just tripped out. Wembley Studios has got those white walls with the curves, and I was lost, I was a wisp of smoke; it was a brilliant, fabulous experience."

Libertarian jet-setting was fun, for sure, but this was a better buzz altogether. After White Waltham, Staines became Sunrise's by publicity officer - at first running the operation out of Hart's premises. "My credibility was slowly going down in politics. One minute l would be on News at One saying 'there's no drugs at these parties' and the next minute I'm supposed to be talking about civil war in Angola. It wasn't working."

Extract from Chapter 3 (Pages 109-110)

In return, Staines poked fun at [Chief Superintendent Ken Tappenden] and his team by sending them joke faxes. Paul Staines claims that they were also being fed inside information from the Pay Party Unit's Gravesend headquarters. "One of the guys on the Sunrise team was bonking a secretary working down there," he laughs, "so we knew the score."

"They cut the lines on us; they were trying everything to nail us down," says Staines. "It was reasonably co-ordinated, there was a Home Office unit on the case. I remember being at something at the Home Office, I ended up in this blazing row [with a Home Office official]. He said 'look, I know who you are, we know all about you', became I had a Special Branch record from being in politics, working in extreme groups. They couldn't work it out: 'you're a right wing Tory why are you doing this? Because I'm doing loads of E and having a great time!"

Extract from Chapter 3 (Page 112)

Sunrise's parent company, the Transatlantic Corporation, was registered in the Virgin Islands tax haven. "The authorities could pursue it as much as they liked, it was an absolute dead end, " says Staines. "We couldn't get done of tax or anything. We were safe."

Extract from Chapter 3 (Page 117)

The Freedom to Party campaign rolled on without any hope of victory. They were just squeezing a few last pounds out of their premium-rate phone lines and merchandising. "We were making money out of the hats and T-shirts," says Staines. "That was the real reason at the back of my mind I was carrying on with it, because it was never going to be a successful campaign. All those demos cost us a fortune. It sounds money-grabbing, but we were there for the business as well."

Manic has leaked. End communication.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Is 'Guido' running out of friends?

Manic would love to take Paul Staines out to lunch... but has already had him for breakfast*!

(*This incredibly witty zinger has been recycled from a comment that 'Guido' swiftly deleted to preserve his Fonz-like status.)

Manic has spoken. End communication.


Spot the cheat

'Guido Fawkes' - Guido is Out to Catch SpAd Cheats
'Guido Fawkes' - Shop-a-SpAd : First Cheat Identified
'Guido Fawkes' - Shop-a-SpAd : Peter Hain's SpAd Has Resigned

Manic advises readers seeking an education in political blogging to observe the differences between this activity and what happened to Nick Boles and Iain Dale.

1. First-timers may need to be advised that Paul Staines studiously ignored the Policy Exchange matter... while his acolytes busied themselves trying to anonymously rubbish or downplay it (with many many 'ifs' and 'buts').

2. Long-timers will not need reminding that 'Guido' is stomping on thin ice by (again) playing the champion of the lowly taxpayer.

UPDATE - 'Guido Fawkes' - Phil Taylor Has Overnight Change of Plan

UPDATE - 'Guido Fawkes' - Oh What a Tangled SpAd

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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