Posted by Tim Ireland at January 15, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

[Important Postscript (19 Jan) – Guido and his followers have been moaning since the publication of this post that it is too long-winded and ‘boring’. A repeated suggestion was made that I try to be ‘funny’ and more succinct. I have taken this advice and created the following purpose-built weblog.]

[Note – When first posted, this article was already about a week old, but it was very important that I had a comments/trackback glitch corrected before publishing. I’m sure you’ll understand why when you read it. Oh, and be warned, folks… this is such a big post that it goes up to ’11’….]

If you’ve ever been trolled, you’ll know of the moment when you realise that someone is playing you for a fool, and you should know what I mean when I say this;

Dear Guido,




This year, there are going to be quite a few changes at Bloggerheads; not necessarily in terms of direction, but in terms of focus and determination. There will be a lot of building, a lot of fixing, and a lot of doing. And, hopefully, quite a bit of fun along the way.

Today, I am going to ask you to help me kick things off by doing something positive for the political blogging community:

– If you currently link to Guido on your blog; I am going to ask you to consider removing him from your blogroll.

– If you’re one of those who are addicted to the gossip and rumours he spreads, then I’m going to ask you to attempt to quit the habit.

– If you’re one of his sources, please read on; there’s a little surprise for you at the end… and you’re not going to like it.

Below I’m going to outline the primary reasons why I think Guido Fawkes (aka Paul Staines) should be sent to Coventry, and why I’ve arrived at the opinion that he is lower than your typical journalist, less trustworthy than your typical politician, and a disgrace and a danger to bloggers everywhere.

Throughout, you’re going to see what a bloody great hypocrite this ‘blogger’ is on almost every front:

1. Guido Fawkes is a dishonest blogger

Weblogs, because of their networking and conversation capability, can empower anybody with an interwebs connection. But there’s a price to pay; any blogger worth their salt knows that everything you publish should be open to challenge, question or context via comments and trackback. However, Guido has made a mockery of the honour system that is designed to keep us honest and set us apart from mainstream publishers:

First, the outright deletion of comments…

Make any comment not in keeping with Guido’s views (or likely to compromise his version of events) and you’re sure to get deleted… pretty much immediately. The only exceptions are moments when anonymous contributors rubbish your input (see below) and/or when Guido feels he can shut you down with a snappy retort.

After all, if he deleted all of the negative comments, people might think that something was up…

No, better to give the impression that there’s a zero-tolerance policy against people who wish to be ‘boring’ and/or have anonymous users (see below) repeatedly telling us that most negative comments are the work of conspiracy nutters or those in the employ of the government. (Psst! Can you spot the paradox here?)

That’s Cheat No. 1… but we’re only getting started:

Guido has stated time and again that if you wish to challenge and/or provide context to an individual item that he publishes (or rather, in his words, be ‘boring’), then you should do it on your own weblog. This is a handy little deception that he uses to justify many comment deletions but, unfortunately, it puts him in the same ‘blogging’ class as David Miliband (who Guido himself likes to mock as a pretend blogger).

Guido uses, and even the old version of this has a rudimentary trackback feature; all you have to do is switch it on. But Guido will not switch his on, presumably because he does not want his readers to be exposed to challenges/context published on other weblogs. also has a variety of timestamp options, including many options that can tell you not only at which time a comment was made, but on which date. Again, all you have to do is switch it on. Guido refuses to switch it on, most likely because doing so would stop him from playing some of his favourite games with comments.

Guido makes anonymous comments on his own website, and I’ve caught him at it: does not allow you to edit published comments; you can only delete them. What Guido likes to do is swiftly delete the offending comment and replace it with an edited version. So far, no harm, no foul… but when he reposts the comment it’s under the original name or pseudonym, and there is no indication that the comment has been edited. Every blogger knows that this is a step over the line, and I suspect that it’s only a glimpse of what Guido’s been up to.

Guido has his Blogger comments set at the most unregulated setting, which allows anyone to comment anonymously and (a big problem that Blogger needs to work on) even allows you to pose as another Blogger user. Guido could fix this, too… all he needs to do is set the setting to ‘Only Registered Users’. This would still allow for anonymous comments (any fool can create an ’empty’ account) and it would bring a halt to the majority of the abuse, but Guido is unlikely to do this because…

Typically, when you challenge Guido via a comment (on the rare occasions when that comment is not deleted), you are first shouted down by anonymous users and/or false-face users. A few comments later, Guido will pop in with his own breezy/snappy dismissal. (He has no need to abuse you, as this has already been covered by anonymongrels.)

How often do you think Guido makes anonymous/false-face comments that allow him to step out of his persona to defend himself, let loose with personal abuse, feed the flames or scream ‘conspiracy theorist’ and/or ‘government intervention’? Or perhaps just kick things off or set himself up for a really ‘witty’ joke when things go quiet?

Only Guido knows for sure, but if you’ve watched any live threads recently (I’ve been probing, I have), you will have noticed many odd occurrences and deletions. Nothing too obvious, obviously. If you play these sorts of games when people are constantly refreshing the page, you run the risk of giving yourself away… but dead threads are another matter entirely:

If you wait as little as 24-48 hours, all eyes are on a different thread. If timestamps are set to show time and not date (as Guido’s are) and you’re careful about the time of day you do it, you can submit a comment that appears to have been made during the original debate, but is allowed to pass unchallenged by everyone but the blog owner. And if you’re the blog owner, you could even go so far as to re-play the end of a thread (or even an entire thread) by deleting offending comments and replacing them with your own version of events.

How often do you think Guido does this?

The temptation must be great for this hero of the people, because when it comes to comments he’s a bigger control-freak than Blair – and he has the capacity to close this truck-sized loophole within a minute, but he has refused to do it. (And yes, I’ve challenged him directly on this.)

Of course, apart from the sneaky-fix I caught him at, Guido can deny all of this… but he won’t be able to do it with any credibility until he introduces comment registration, timestamps and trackback. Your move, Guido.

2. Guido Fawkes is a danger to political blogging

Guido likes to big-note himself as the leading political blogger in the country. I plan on expanding on this later, but for the moment let’s just accept that this is the general impression and it is widely accepted.

The result? People are given the impression that bloggers are not credible sources of information, and that political blogs are not about engagement and debate, but rather about an ongoing series of anonymous attacks and snipes.

Take Dennis Paul for example. Guido is such a hero to him that he has published this shining endorsement (and please note how Guido’s blog is falsely classified as a place of ‘discussion and debate’ in this endorsement). Dennis Paul uses strict full-time moderation (which Guido only turns on when he’s feeling cornered), but has his blog set almost identically to Guido’s standards; no trackback, deliberately-deficient timestamps, and a bloody big comments loophole that allows the blog owner to pose as ordinary members of the public that support him 100%.

Also, thanks to the example people like Guido have set, figures of authority can now get away with dismissing all political discourse in weblogs as ‘recycled Westminster gossip’. To put it as simply as possible, Guido’s all-arson approach makes honest politicians afraid to engage via weblogs, and the way in which he erodes our credibility allows dishonest politicians to dismiss any valid challenge to them that emerges via weblogs… and there’s worse to come:

Given that a law that restricts all our freedoms was recently slipped through Parliament on the basis that it would shut one guy up, I don’t think it’s at all alarmist to predict that – one day soon – something will be tabled in Parliament that appears designed to address The Guido Problem but is really designed to cripple us all.

You could argue that his is a worthy fight for freedom blah blah blah… but I’m afraid it’s not. At least, not if we take Guido at his word. (Guido has often claimed that his only mission is to cause trouble for his own amusement.)

3. They call him ‘Mr. Scoop’

I’m sure you’ve all seen this before; it’s happened a number of times.

Guido will stamp his little feet and even ‘jokingly’ insist on payment when information that was leaked to him first (or, more often than not, was leaked everywhere and published by him first) appears in the mainstream media without crediting him as the source.

[Quick tip for Guido; maybe they don’t credit you because they’re afraid that the story will lack credibility as a result. Or maybe – just maybe – they have their own sources.]

But Guido constantly lifts ‘scoops’ from the mainstream media without assigning credit.

Here’s a recent example of this that also includes Guido’s favourite explanation; that it was emailed in (implying that it was the naughty person who emailed it that failed to name the source… funnily enough, this is the same explanation given by baby-boy wank-mags when they steal content without credit/payment).

4. Guido is a turd-magnet and an opportunist

Guido popped up at just the ‘right’ time and did what anyone with a few contacts and fewer scruples could have done; a lot of what gets published (that isn’t lifted from ‘old media’) is the result of leaks by disgruntled grunts in Westminster.

Doesn’t it rankle you that anonymous wonks with no credibility, no accountability and an unclear agenda demand transparency, credibility, accountability and a clearly stated agenda from others? It bugs the hell out of me.

Finally, what Guido and his unknown number of supporters ride upon is a wave of dissatisfaction and distrust that can be summed up in one word; Iraq… but Guido lacks a pedigree going back to March 2003 or before, as do most of his supporters. They’ve simply descended on Blair like a pack of hyenas. I’m also willing to bet that the majority of Guido’s informants – while being unhappy about the status-quo – managed to keep their heads down at this vital time, too.

I think the Iraq/WMD bullshit would have been much harder to slip through Parliament if more people were willing to put their reputation on the line at the time, but do correct me if I’m wrong.

Still, I can understand the motivation of many of his informants and/or comment contributors (I used to be one of the latter) who do have some credibility and to them I can only say this; you are being used.

Read on…

5. Guido’s blog rides lower than a red-top

As much as your typical tabloid owner/editor would like to keep their identity a secret, we have the right to know who these people are (and, to an extent, what they’re political allegiances are) so we may determine for ourselves how much we should trust the information that they print… and not just if we should question the meat of what they print, but the purpose of its release at any given time.

Guido maintains his anonymity as best he can, but will – at the drop of a hat – ridicule you for revealing the ‘open secret’ of his ‘alleged alter-ego’.

But the real killer?

Guido himself has stated quite clearly on his weblog that he offers no right of reply (and, as the first very lonnnng part of this post reveals, he does his best to disable any ‘right of reply’ facilities that are inherent to the blogging format).

He is also largely shielded from many avenues of legal recourse because of the way his blog is hosted. He is often heard to say; “What are you going to do? Call the blog police?” (For an answer to this question, see section #2. They’ll be here soon enough… and Guido will have opened the door for them.)

Finally on this point, Guido manages to distance himself from consequences by allowing the continued drip-drip-drip of carefully-worded/placed rumours on his weblog via anonymous comments (that may or may not come from him) and he often likes to dangle hints and items in front of his readership in the hope that they’ll take the risk for him.

I’ve fallen for this myself… and because the echo-chamber is a primary weapon neo-cons, I really should have known better.

Still, perhaps this admission will mean that I carry a little extra weight when I repeat this warning to his informants and/or comment contributors; you are being used.

And onward we go…

6. Beware the proto-Drudge

One of Guido’s few clearly stated ambitions is to become the British version of Matt Drudge.

Here’s a short, sharp warning for you; Drudge was anti-establishment for as long as it took him to help undermine one administration and become an undercover operative for the new administration. Currently, his role is to dish dirt in a manner that benefits those in power and undermines those who oppose them.

And this is what Guido aspires to? A startling admission. Take heed.

7. Look at my stats! You love me! You really, really love me!

Have a look at one of the rare occasions when Guido recognises the difference between ‘page loads’ and ‘unique visitors’. Here’s another. But Guido will mostly bang on about hits or page loads, because the numbers are bigger. And it’s very important that he keeps stroking his ego and pushing MessageSpace revenue.

Here’s an excellent example of this (that is also is an excellent example of Guido acting just like the politicians he despises whenever he’s put on the spot).

Guido is also fond of using Alexa data to ‘prove’ his case, but for sites that deal with information/opinion/politics, having a higher rank on Alexa than your competitor isn’t necessarily something to brag about. For starters, Alexa data is easily manipulated. Also, because Alexa collects information from users who have installed an Alexa Toolbar and only morons use the Alexa Toolbar, all you’re proving is that you attract more morons than the other guy.

Guido will no doubt say that I’m only pointing this out because I’m jealous, but he’s terribly fond of misrepresenting any opponent’s position as part of his response… just like a politician. As usual, the devil is in the detail (perhaps this is why Guido is so fond of dismissing detailed posts and comments as ‘boring’).

For starters, here are two things to keep in mind whenever Guido gets his stats-wang out:

a. Two of the biggest-selling newspapers in the country are The Sun and News of the World… I would not regard either to be particularly credible or worthy.

b. Imagine yourself standing next to an arsonist who is watching his latest work burn away merrily. He brags about how big the fire is, because he knows his next customer is in the crowd. He also knows that I’m in the crowd, and that I helped to build what he’s burning.

So it is possible for me to be alarmed about the actual size of the fire while questioning the claimed size of the fire… and not be at all jealous.

For the record; If it comes down to a pissing competition, I’m not quite sure how high up the wall I’d go, as my new stats count visits, but not unique visitors… but, if you count Bloggerheads traffic alone, I currently run at somewhere between 60-150K visits per month (a lot depends if I’m away/active) with between 100-340K page loads.

Anyway, now we’ve covered this, there are some other numbers that just don’t add up…

8. Where does the money come from?

As Guido himself has said: An honest democracy can’t have political parties funded by shadowy hidden manipulators. Voters are entitled to know who is financing the party they are considering voting for, they can then judge for themselves their motives and their influence on the party.

I think the same could be said of publishers, don’t you?

Here, my name’s on the door and what I do for a living is pretty bloody obvious. In Guido’s case, he is very keen to hide his name (Paul Staines) and/or mask its importance – and he also uses two primary deceptions to shut down any questions about money:

a. “Blogger is free. Duh.”
b. “There are ads on the blog. Duh.”

I’m sorry, but even if we take Guido’s current claimed stats at face value, the numbers don’t add up. No way is it paying a mortgage, unless he has a record-breaking click-through rate.

And while Blogger may be free, they generally stop short of doing your ‘research’, writing and comment-control-freakery for you.

Time is money, after all… so the question stands (and expands):

Where does the money come from? Who pulls the strings?

Actually, let me rephrase that (in a terribly sexist fashion) that grants Guido the assumption that he is allowed to do as he likes… within limits:

Where does the money come from? Who wears the trousers?

9. Burn them! Burn them all!

Guido Fawkes and the possible source of the voices(Image via Samizdata. Published under Creative Commons. Digitally altered to include Guido’s lovely little leprechaun.)

If we’re to believe Guido’s stated mission, it’s to fuck about with all politicians (because he hates them all) and burn the current system to the ground. To what purpose? Does he have a plan for what comes next?

Even if you trust Guido 100% on his stated intentions, the bet that can be said of him is that he’s a committed political arsonist. In fact, he sounds like he went ‘Ralph Wiggum’ on us a long time ago and only does what his little leprechaun tells him to do.

10. Those filthy, filthy homosexuals

Read this and it becomes pretty clear that Guido hears the word ‘homosexual’ and thinks the word ‘paedo’.

What a nice guy. No wonder his site is full of anonymous comments (that may or may not be from Guido) repeatedly suggesting that one politician or another is a dirty bummer.

And perhaps this goes some way to explaining why Guido loves to stick the knife into all sorts of MPs, councillors and their activists, but has decided to completely ignore this little affair.

Or maybe… just perhaps… one of his informants works closely with Anne Milton.

Mock that last suggestion all you like, because it brings us to the grand whopper…

11. Guido: compromised in the extreme

Press Gazette – Fawkes plots to blow up ‘cosy’ political reporting: “The news is no longer defined by big media.” So claimed political blogger “Guido Fawkes” last week, triumphing in the role bloggers had played in turning up the heat on Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. “The ‘news’ is no longer what Paxman says it is,” continued Guido, under which name Paul Staines writes, the blog of plots, rumours and conspiracies. “Failing to hold our political class to account is the failing of big media in Britain.” By naming an MP alleged to have had an affair with Prescott on his blog, Staines claims to have not only “lit the fuse” in Westminster, but also to have shot across the bows of the elite club of lobby correspondents that he believes has become too cosy with the politicians to be effective. “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. “A journalist once said to me: ‘It’s very easy for you, because you don’t have to get access to them next week. That’s the way that politicians work, they cut you out.'”

So Guido’s raison d’être (apart from arson, obviously) is to bravely provide an alternative channel for information that would otherwise be compromised by these cosy relationships; to cut through the bull and fearlessly hold our political class to account.

Sorry, but he’s a total hypocrite.

Do you remember the David Taylor affair? While the majority of the media was screaming ‘Brown coup attempt!’ and faithfully parroting Downing Street’s calls for unity, the final figures and connections clearly established that before there was an alleged plot by Brownites to depose Blair, there was an actual plot by Blairites to undermine the Chancellor and push Alan Johnson as the next PM.

Right up Guido’s street, right? Cuts through all the bullshit and lets you know what’s really going on in Westminster. Hell, even one of his regulars was chasing the same story.

But no mention from Guido. Not even a ‘by the way’ link.


Because David Taylor is (or perhaps was) one of Guido’s informants. Guido could not so much as mention the story without upsetting him.

So those who rely on Guido for their ‘unfiltered’ scuttlebutt only got the Brown-bashing half of the story because of the kind of cosy relationship he spits on.

And there’s more:

Guido couldn’t mention the story… but that didn’t stop him from dishing a little dirt and/or providing a few leads.

Guido was careful to conduct most of this affair by telephone, but he did leave the following email trail that I publish now in full for the benefit of David and any of Guido’s other trusting informants:

—– Original Message —–

From: “Guy Fawkes”

To: “Tim Ireland”

Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 4:31 PM

Subject: Re: boom


> Have you done fourth term net?
> Are you going to point the finger at Benji Wegg Prosser No. 10’s
> Director of Strategic Communications?
> Not vis-a-vis Taylor – he is McM’s gofer. – and paid to dig dirt on
> LibDems. But McM is plausibly deniable by BWP.
> BWP is very keen on the Online War. He is frustrated with what he
> sees as right-wing ascendancy online.
> Check the Google cache for the hastily pulled Gordon is a Moron blog.
> On 9/11/06, Tim Ireland wrote:
>> Of course, you’ll have to report this when it goes mainstream
>> —– Original Message —–
>> From: “Guy Fawkes”
>> To: “Tim Ireland”
>> Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 5:14 PM
>> Subject: Re: boom
>> > All yours, am laughing.
>> >
>> > As I said before, he is a source. That buys him some protection.
>> > Doesn’t mean I don’t wish you well…. ;)
>> >
>> > On 9/11/06, Tim Ireland wrote:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>

Bottom line: Guido betrayed his readers and one of his informants, and did so without hesitation.

Here comes the round-up… and the pitch!

Because this is long, it is ‘boring’, so here’s the executive summary:

1. Guido, through a number of deceits, renders any meaningful interaction with his weblog inert… above all, he’s a comment cheat and a disgrace to blogging.
2. Guido is practically inviting politicians to avoid blogging or work to restrict the activity. It is honest bloggers who will pay the price.
3. Most of Guido’s ‘scoops’ are nothing of the sort
4. Guido is a shameless opportunist and he’s using your own frustration(s) against you.
5. Guido is lower than tabloid scum… and that’s saying something.
6. Watch out for the switch, when Guido secretly starts (or continues) batting for those in power that he favours.
7. Guido is a stat-whore.. and a figure-fiddling one at that.
8. Guido insists on knowing where the funds come from for politicians/interest-groups, but he’s awfully secretive about what funds his activities.
9. Guido is nothing but a smart-arse arsonist… and that’s only if we take his word for it.
10. Guido may not realise it, but he’s a bit of a homophobe… and (surprise, surprise) like attracts like.
11. Guido betrays his readers and his informants.

This is not what blogging is supposed to be about. It’s not even within shouting distance.

Even Iain Dale knows this… or pretends to. In his laughable guide to political blogging in the UK, he pushes Guido forward as his poster-child and states that; “The power of blogging flows from directly connecting with the readers, key to that direct connection is honesty.”

[Psst! Iain! When exactly will you disown Guido? Or are you all mouth and no trousers?]

Guido is an arsonist… at best.

If you have any interest at all in maintaining the integrity of the British political blogosphere, I ask you to join me as I piss on his fire:

– If you currently link to Guido on your blog; remove him from your blogroll.

– If you are addicted to the gossip and rumours he spreads, try to quit.

– If you’re one of his sources, refuse to be used (or at least be ready to count your fingers).

Thanks for your time. If you have anything to add (apart from meaningless abuse and mudslinging), the floor is open.

Cheers all.

[UPDATE: Guido’s finely-honed paranoia serves him well. I’ve been running teasers for this week-old post for… erm… about a week now. Last night Guido laid in with an adorable pre-emptive kidney-punch that opens the way for his supporters (real and otherwise) to lay in with ‘tit for tat’ accusations… and allows him to deny all knowledge – (Just a bit of a clean-up folks. Nothing personal. ) – but if you take a close look at the comments that start at 3:36pm, you’ll see a couple of Guido’s useful idiots making the personal nature of this message clear – by saying what Guido could not say without compromising his Fonz-like demeanour. Cute, huh?]

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 15, 2007

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Tony 'King Blair

Huzzah! We’re up and running and ready to roll! Here’s a round-up to get us all started, before the long-promised big’un…

First, there’s some quality reading regarding Blair’s self-serving, blame-seeking speech:

Independent – Shoot the messenger: PM blames media for anti-war mood
Independent – Adrian Hamilton: Blair is up to his tired old tricks again
Obsolete – The continuing last gasps of our very own messiah
BSSC – Repeat until Believable
Blair Watch – Tony’s Defence: Nice of Blair to notice us at last

(Speaking of Blair, Liam Bailey has a few words to say about Tony and his ‘legacy’, and BSSC has a couple of corruption nuggets. More on the latter here.)

Then there’s Bush going it alone:

CNN – Bush: Congress can’t stop troop increase: “I really am not the kind of guy that sits here and says, ‘Oh, gosh, I’m worried about my legacy.’ I’m more worried about making the right decisions to protect the United States of America. See, we’re in a war. People want to come and attack you and attack our country. I understand criticism. But I’ve got a pretty thick hide.”

‘Skull’…. he meant to say ‘skull’. He must have misspoke, because Bush is one of the most thin-skinned leaders alive (FFS, everywhere he goes, he makes sure that everyone who disagrees with him is locked up in a pen a mile down the road) and there’s no way he would lie, right?


The use of the word ‘legacy’ in this context seems very deliberate, though; I think Bush fears that Blair is going a little soft on him.

Moving right along, Ministry of Truth has a warm welcome for a new Tory blogger:

Ministry of Truth – Mystic Nadine: Not to put to fine a point on it, you are talking out of your arse here, Nadine. You really haven’t got a fucking clue what you’re talking about at all, you’re just parroting some made up ‘statistics’ that have been released by your party to promote one of their policies – and all without a single shred of tangible or reliable evidence to back up any one of your claims… Just because the morons in the media will report any old crap you politicos put out doesn’t mean that us people out here in the real worth will believe it, fail to check it or refrain from ripping you a new arsehole when it turns out that your old one, that you’ve been talking out of for years, is obviously completely and utterly clogged with bullshit.


Finally, there are bound to be a few words this morning about The BBD (Bloody Big Database), but for now all I have for you is Nosemonkey’s response and the glorious oddness of the front page of the Independent being in synch with Page 3 of The Sun:

Johann Hari continues this strange pattern here as he dumbs down his own personal opinion for the benefit of viewers of a certain reality show.

UPDATE – Some nice mince-meating of Johann’s arguments here.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 12, 2007

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Independent – Matthew Norman: While Blair burns, Brown plays his fiddle: It has been in Gordon’s power for years to dispose of this deluded apology for a British Prime Minister. Had he shown the same degree of principle over Iraq as his old enemy Robin Cook, and resigned before the invasion in March 2003, Mr Blair could not have survived the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. Since then, Gordon has had him on the ropes, legs wobbling and brains scrambled, several times. Each time he has stood back, seemingly unable to believe how close to the title he was, and gifted Mr Blair time to recover his wits.

Well said, that man…. and it’s not just Brown who’s looking increasingly piss-weak, it’s every Labour MP, councillor and activist on the books.

Those of us who pay attention to such things will have noticed that political pundits and activists (primarily from the Conservatives) are busily branding anyone from Labour as ‘Nu Labour’ and/or a ‘Blairite’ – and they’re getting away with it on a regular basis, even with accusations that are well wide of the mark. As each day goes by, it gets easier and easier for them… and not just because mud sticks.

This charade has gone on for far too long, and before you start pointing fingers I will remind you that Blair has an excuse; he’s fucking mental.

I’m not sure at what level I’ll be participating in the 2007 local government elections (all I’m certain of is that it’s my public duty to warn the locals about two Tory activists* who have a track record of wasting taxpayers’ money in pursuit of personal and political vendettas), but I do know that the Tories hope to make significant gains on the back of distrust fostered by the debacle in Iraq while downplaying their ‘all for it’ role in that same debacle.

[*Psst! Locals and regulars may be entertained to learn that Dennis Paul (The Man Incapable Of Honest Debate) is planning his own vidcast feature in the mould of Webcameron (the ‘new’ media jaunt that was eventually forced to publicise itself with a misleading and decidedly old-fashioned personal attack masked with multiple layers of faux-outrage). He plans to call it… wait for it… ‘Den-Paul-Vision’. No, I’m not kidding.]

And yet Blair still plans to hang on for dear life all the way up to these elections (and probably one day past them) just so he can stagger past a meaningless milestone. It’s a bloody gift for Cameron and, as I’ve already mentioned, his activists are busy ho-ho-hoeing the ground right now.

Labour peeps, you have been warned… just as you were warned of the lies about WMD:

People don’t vote for leaders on the basis of their ability to play the victim, and if you’re counting on the voters having short memories, I should point out that the Conservatives are counting on this, too… and this time around, they may end up with the propaganda advantage (especially if Blair’s funding fiddle costs you your war chest).

[Psst! Another sidebar for regulars… those of you who remember who Adrian McMenamin may be interested in a quick peek at yet another lonely ‘legacy’ site.]

[Housekeeping: I’ve been promising some blazing guns, but some technical issues have to be addressed first… I don’t want to go off half-cocked like some people I could mention.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 11, 2007

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

Heads down!

BBC – US forces storm Iranian consulate: US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six members of staff. The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

AP – Iraqi Officials: 6 Iranian Workers Held: Iraqi officials said Thursday that multinational forces detained as many as six Iranians in an overnight raid on Tehran’s diplomatic mission in the northern city of Irbil, just hours after President Bush gave details about his new military plan for Iraq.

I believe was saying something about timing this morning…?

UPDATE – More from BSSC

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 11, 2007

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

I hope you’ll pardon me for saying this, but this administration has serious past-form when it comes to timing:

The U.S. tried to delay Saddam’s hanging. Of course, this was to ensure that the execution (like the trial process) was an above-board and dignified affair, with an added awareness of certain religious sensitivities (which is widespread on both sides of the pond).

It was not – repeat NOT – designed to ensure that the execution took place on the eve of Bush’s 3-year ‘surge’ announcement.


Meanwhile: Somalia

Meanwhile: Guantanamo (and all the little baby-Guantanamos)

Meanwhile: Whoops, sorry folks… we have to pull up short here for a few words from The Scum:

The Scum – Suicide girls will target troops: Fifteen women suicide bombers have been sent to murder British troops in Afghanistan. Taliban chiefs have ordered them to dress as beggars or teachers and hide devices under burkas, a secret intelligence report has warned.

Scroll down for comments and gaze in wonder at the high-caps numb-nuts who responds with; NOW TELL ME ,WHY THERE IS A DEBATE ABOUT WEARING THESE VEILS IN THIS COUNTRY…


I’m tempted to see what does get moderated in the MyScum threads, but I already have a bad taste in my mouth from probing Guido these past few weeks (more on that later).

[Related late addition: Obsolete – Scum-watch: Bring on the suicide girls!]

Anyway, let’s get back to that ‘surge’:

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that what George W. Bush has cherry-picked out of the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group basically involves more troops and more money?

That’s a big, steaming pile of cash for more hardware and military infrastructure (that will end up in the usual pockets) and construction, reconstruction and re-reconstruction (ditto).

Bush isn’t going to have many friends at the end of his presidency, but fuck me, the ones he’ll be left with will be rolling in it.

See also:
Related thread (the core of which was posted in ‘real time’)
Blair Watch – Iraq Strategy: More Yanks, Fewer Brits
TruthOut – Soldiers Doubt an Influx of American Troops Will Benefit Iraqi Army
The Independent – Robert Fisk: Bush’s new strategy – the march of folly
The Guardian – Defiance and delusion
Newsweek – Fineman on Bush’s Speech: A Crisis of Confidence

And finally:
New York Times – The Real Disaster: President Bush told Americans last night that failure in Iraq would be a disaster. The disaster is Mr. Bush’s war, and he has already failed. Last night was his chance to stop offering more fog and be honest with the nation, and he did not take it. Americans needed to hear a clear plan to extricate United States troops from the disaster that Mr. Bush created. What they got was more gauzy talk of victory in the war on terrorism and of creating a “young democracy” in Iraq. In other words, a way for this president to run out the clock and leave his mess for the next one. Mr. Bush did acknowledge that some of his previous tactics had failed. But even then, the president sounded as if he were an accidental tourist in Iraq. He described the failure of last year’s effort to pacify Baghdad as if the White House and the Pentagon bore no responsibility. In any case, Mr. Bush’s excuses were tragically inadequate. The nation needs an eyes-wide-open recognition that the only goal left is to get the U.S. military out of this civil war in a way that could minimize the slaughter of Iraqis and reduce the chances that the chaos Mr. Bush unleashed will engulf Iraq’s neighbors. What it certainly did not need were more of Mr. Bush’s open-ended threats to Iran and Syria.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 11, 2007

Category: Updates

A couple of well-overdue URL-updates have been made to the navbar under ‘associates’. Also well-overdue is the addition of Obsolete.

An excellent post from that blog on the subject of The War on Human Rights can be read here.

(Oh, and ladies & gents? Someday soon we’re all going to have a serious chat about the compromising nature of anonymity; the more blogs that remain anonymous, the more likely it is that the many-and-varied astroturfers will get away with their bullshit.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 10, 2007

Category: Updates

OK, I think I’m just about done here.

And tomorrow, for a change of pace, I’m going to clean up some bile.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 8, 2007

Category: Updates

Oh dear… here come the winter viruses, regular as clockwork.

The new anti-spam plug-ins are playing up a bit, too… and I’ll want fully-functional comments for the first big post. You’re just going to have to wait 24-36 hours, folks. (Longer if the virus takes me down, too.)

Hang in there.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 7, 2007

Category: Tony 'King Blair

The Independent – Does Tony’s new best friend know something we don’t?: Socialite Martha Greene has fixed parties for Tony and speeches for Cherie. So what’s she up to registering ‘Blair Foundation’ on the web? On 4 November the website domain was registered – by one Martha Greene. It is the clearest sign yet that the Prime Minister plans to set up a body similar to that established by the former US President Bill Clinton.

Here’s what the papers missed, folks;

Martha Greene registered and a month earlier… on 30 September 2006

It wasn’t until 4 November that she registered then – a few days later – and (for some reason, the ‘Tony’ was dropped… I’m guessing for statesman-like branding purposes).

So, what was happening in late September? The Times practically trips over it right at the end of their article…

The Times – Blair starts work on building fortune: At the last Labour party conference, speaking briefly about the foundation, Clinton declared: “I found there was life after politics.” All eyes immediately swivelled across the platform to examine Blair’s expression for any sign of recognition or enthusiasm.

Gah! So close!

Clinton airs the idea publicly on Tuesday the 26th. By the end of the week, a plan is in motion. Enthusiasm? I’ll say!

(Psst! It’s called research, guys. Try it sometime.)

UPDATE – And the first cab off the rank is…! I think it’s time for another meeting about names, Martha.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 7, 2007

Category: Anne Milton

Evenin’ all.

I hope to be back on deck in a big way tomorrow afternoon.

I must say, before we begin, that all I appear to have missed (especially on the subject of Iraq) is about a dozen opportunities to say ‘I told you so’.

That said, here’s something that tempted me out of the Batcave a mite earlier than planned…

Do you recall me telling you for the last 1 year, 9 months and 24 days that Anne Milton is a dipstick?

Well, guess what…

Yep! I told you so!

More on this earth-shattering discovery here at the Anne Milton weblog.

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