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Thursday, March 29, 2007

'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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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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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Shocking left-wing bias of BBC revealed!

Manic thinks heads should roll over this.

Manic is speechless. End communication.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Iain Dale is a liar!

Look kids... proof!

UPDATE - Here you go, boys and girls... have a nifty button for your website. All you need do is copy and paste the code below into your sidebar. Even Iain could manage that... with a little help.

Iain Dale is a liar!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Nerved touched. Knee jerked. Foot firmly lodged in mouth.

Cheeky Tyger thinks he has scooped Manic, but he is wrong.

We already know that Paul 'Guido' Staines is an idiot.

Still, the dishonest right-wing bully-boy 'bloggers' that continue to shame the Conservatives have done us a huge favour by allowing their alpha-male to run off at the mouth about this, and the details are worth a look-see:

Paul Staines: That Godfather and Fairy Godmother Conspiracy

1. This is the first post from 'Guido' that even hints at an awareness of Manic since 'Guido' embarrassed himself almost two weeks ago (by equating his dumbfounding level of comment censorship with Manic's deletion of duplicate comments) . Such a pity. Manic misses the 'Blog Brother' reports, where Staines acted tough by dismissing Manic's initial charges as an irrelevance on his own weblog... while spending close to a month moaning about them on other people's weblogs.

Manic also misses the thrill of turning up in those threads and watching 'Guido' run away.

2. Note that, from the off, 'Guido' lays in with the conspiracy-loon spin cooked up by Iain Dale (which is based on contributions to Iain's website that he probably made himself).

Funny... Manic was under the impression that Guido hated spin!

3. 'Guido' also seeks to add flesh to the spin by delivering some context.

How odd.... Manic also recalls 'Guido' dismissing/deleting many comments by readers wishing to add context to his assertions about this or that... on the basis that details are 'boring'.

4. 'Guido' loftily assures us that there can be no question of impropriety over the planned Livingstone attack ad, as Tim Montgomerie is charge of the project. He then goes on to tell us what Tim Montgomerie thinks; "If there is one thing Tim Montgomerie wants almost as much as he wants to get rid of the current Mayor of London, it is to make sure that the next Mayor of London is not Nick Boles, the Cameroonie ultra." Too bad for 'Guido' that a (yes, genuine) comment by Tim Montgomerie followed... because in it, Tim M points out that he thinks no such thing. (And who better than he would know?)

Manic laughed out loud at this show of expert punditry!

5. An amazing feat here; Staines falls flat on his face with a poor understanding of "the internal dynamics of Conservative politics", yet he still manages to show himself up as a closet Tory with his detailed knowledge of individual contributors to the mix (i.e. while he often claims is "Not a Tory", Paul seems to 'know' an awful lot about them). It may pay to illustrate this difficult-to-master point with an example; there are a number of individuals who contribute to the ongoing protest outside Parliament, but most people will only be aware of the name 'Brian Haw'. Manic is aware of some of the other players and has even met some of them... but to even begin to understand how they interact and differ on certain issues, Manic would have to spend many nights on a cold pavement. Even then he could misread the relationships between these people, but that would not change the fact that he had spent a lot of time in their company.

Manic knows that Paul Staines is a Tory groupie.... and he also wishes to point out that only far-right-wing nutjobs use words like 'moonbat' in earnest.

6. To show his expertise, 'Guido' introduces us to the Cornerstone Group... but instead of linking to their website, he links to the website of Cornerstone Community Care (a charity devoted to the care of adults and children with learning disabilities).

Manic acknowledges that this may be a joke and not an error... Paul Staines likes to make 'mong'-related jokes because he is emotionally retarded.

7. Note how - through his reliance on Iain Dale's spin - 'Guido' has managed skip right over every pertinent question raised and every fact revealed... including the 'minor' fact that Nick Boles has used Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a personal website with a clear party-political purpose.... when Policy Exchange is forbidden from participating in any party-political activity!

Normally 'Guido' lives for this kind of thing. He has been on about similar shenanigans at the Smith Institute for weeks now, *and* he claims to hate all politicians... so why a sudden lack of interest in juicy details?

8. If you made a total arse of yourself on your weblog, and you were an honest blogger, you have to spend a rather awkward day or two wearing some well-deserved flak. Happily, 'Guido' can delete such comments at will because they are 'boring'. Also, Manic is forbidden to pose difficult questions himself... as 'Guido' banned him for asking one too many difficult questions.

A common technique Paul Staines uses is the instant deletion of difficult questions; especially those that risk showing him up as a total hypocrite. When faced with this kind of deletion, most normal contributors will persevere and repeat their question(s). If they are lucky, Staines will finally let the question(s) go live and stay live... but not before he bans that contributor for 'spamming' him. You can see a recent example of this here (see comments as well as the post).

Below is an even more recent example of the type of thing Staines likes to delete before claiming that it was 'spam', 'mindless abuse' and/or 'pointless frothing by conspiracy-moonbats'.

If 'Guido' is so sure of his ground, why is he afraid of such questions?

Paul 'Guido' Staines has, in a single post, not only shown that he is an idiot, but also reinforced Manic's contention that he is a disgrace to blogging... and a duplicitous spin-happy control-freak on par with Tony Blair for cheek and the avoidance of the realities not in keeping with his world-view.

In fact, Manic suspects that the bunker mentality has already taken hold.

Please continue to drink the Kool-Aid, mighty righties... but do make sure that you use a fresh batch of potassium cyanide this time. Your current 'walking dead' situation is freaking out the latest inductees... and Manic doesn't want you scaring them off before they don their white robes and line up at the vats!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Iain Dale and the non-existent neo-cons

Iain Dale was in his element on his little television show last night.

At approximately 11:10pm he mumbled through a declaration of interest that should have formed part of the introduction to this report and followed with heavy emphasis on a fresh delivery of his latest bit of spin; that any accusation of impropriety could easily be dismissed as the work of 'conspiracy loons' who claim he is backed by far-right Christian neo-con nutbags.

Speaking of far-right Christian neo-con nutbags... discussion later turned to Iran developing Teh Bomb. This, apparently, is a danger because there are influential elements in Iran that seek to bring about the end of the world... but Iain ignored Manic's email pointing out that there are influential elements in the U.S. that seek to bring about the end of the world.

(strokes beard)

[Note for the record: Iain also ignored Manic's email saying he wanted to swap his Connect 4 set for a Buckaroo.]

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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