Posted by Tim Ireland at January 27, 2009

Category: Humanity

Like Justin, I suspect that the word ‘impartiality’ does not mean what Mark Thompson thinks it means.

Donate online to the DEC’s Gaza Crisis now

(I know you probably do so at risk of being called a Nazi by not-very-good-lawyer trying to pass himself off as a professional commentator, but count your blessings; it’s hardly white-hot fire raining from the sky, is it?)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 27, 2009

Category: Old Media, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

Guardian – Only quality journalism can save us, says Sun editor Rebekah Wade: Sun editor Rebekah Wade used her first public speech to warn that only journalism could save the newspaper industry from the recession. After six years as editor of the red-top she delivered a passionate defence of tabloids while railing against industry doomsayers at the Cudlipp Lecture at the London College of Communications.

Can this be the same editor who so readily published the lies of Glen Jenvey? The same editor who still refuses to clean up the mess she left behind after dumping the story?

UPDATE – A more detailed response and rebuttal from Septicisle.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 26, 2009

Category: Gordon Brown

There’s a post on my site that’s one of the top results in Google for most search queries relating to Gordon Brown’s email.

The relevant service has been down for months, I’m left wondering what the big deal is with a few emails, and I want to at least see for myself some indication of how big the daily pile can be.

So for the next 24 hours, I will be using that post to (again) accept emails on the PM’s behalf:

Bloggerheads (UK) – How to email Gordon Brown

Emails will be hand-delivered tomorrow evening, along with an executive summary.

If you’d like to send an email to Gordon Brown, this may be the only opportunity you get for a while.

UPDATE (27 Jan) – What… is that it? I could collate and summarise the emails I have so far with a stapler and a pencil. Surely Gordon Brown can’t be that much of an irrelevance already.

Offer now extended to one full week. I doubt very much if I’ll fill a foolscap folder in that time.

Meanwhile, an official statement from Downing Street about when we might expect the service to return would be more welcome than the odd anonymous word in their defence. I recognise that it’s more complicated than simply accepting email, but the last time I went into any detail about that, Downing Street rewarded my efforts in a most unusual way.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 23, 2009

Category: Barack Obama, Geekage, Inneresting

I am shocked that this is possible. It is awesome. – President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address by David Bergman

Check out the four guys on the far-right of the roof of the white building in the background. Seriously.

(via b3ta, with best comment: “All those people, and no-one came as Wally.”)

UPDATE – Cheney. Awesome.

UPDATE – Professional image. Not yours. Hahahaha! Awesome.

UPDATE – Oh, bloody hell. Hahahahahaha! Am I allowed to say it again?

“2 stagehands walk into a bar… the second one had Gaff tape.”

One for the ages, now. Kilroy 2.0 and all that.

UPDATE – You can congratulate the creator here, if you fancy.

UPDATE – Huge 21.3Mb aerial photograph of the same event (via)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 23, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Over the past 20+ hours, Derek Draper has been playing a fun little game of comment keepsies.

He’s been challenging folk, including me, to respond to this or that… while withholding any responses.

This is the link, but please keep in mind that this thread could change and there are a number of comments Draper could release at any time. A screengrab for reference is below:

Given his recent behaviour, I have every reason to expect that these responses – or simply the ones that put him at a disadvantage – will be deleted. Or maybe even released all at once into a confused mess a day after most readers will have moved on to another conversation.

He is using his position as moderator of the conversation to gain an unfair advantage in the conversation. This is a childish game, but it wouldn’t matter quite so much if he didn’t also tout himself as Labour’s ambassador to bloggers; a man who believes in the empowering wonders of engagement and debate.

I am trying to be patient with Draper and his people, but it appears that we have come to something of a crossroads:

Well, there it is. If I want Draper and his gang to take me seriously and treat me courteously, I’ve got to go through Downing Street.

An interesting week lies ahead.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 21, 2009

Category: Barack Obama

CNN – Guantanamo judge suspends 9/11 case prosecutions: The presiding judge in the 9/11 terrorism case at the Guantanamo detention facility granted a delay in the case on Wednesday, according to a military official close to the proceedings. The continuance comes a day after President Obama directed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ask prosecutors to seek stays in prosecutions for 120 days so that the cases of suspected terrorists at the facility can be reviewed.

That’s a hell of a first day. Colour me impressed.

(Headline nicked from Farker yosluggo… and possibly a certain not-very-good-lawyer’s ‘radio’ show.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 21, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Since mid-January, I have received a number of separate emails from the following address:

Labour Party New Media Team
info [at]

Initially, I thought nothing of it; I’d subscribed to email updates from the Labour Party a long time ago, and – given the sub-domain suggesting that this was under their control and that arrangement – I assumed that this was just their new way of saying ‘hello’.

But when I had cause to look closely at these more recent emails, it quickly became apparent that the emails were coming my way not because of any earlier subscription, but because I was a blogger.

Below is a typical plea from an early email of this type:

“… if you could blog about the discussion forum – even a short post with a link – we can make sure as many people know about it as possible…”

There was also another key difference; once I’d decided that I didn’t want to be on this different mailing list with its link-pestering agenda, I looked around for the ‘unsubscribe’ function… and there wasn’t one!

I replied to one of these emails (as one might with an ‘unsubscribe’ message/header)… and got a bounce message!

“… we will not have seen this email you sent us. You will need to re-send your email by clicking on the link below and completing the online form. Go to…”

But there was no ‘unsubscribe’ option there, either.

Now, the law is very clear on this matter. See the second of two highlights here:

Extract from The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003:

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes

22. – (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.

(2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.

(3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where –

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;

(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.

(4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).

Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes where the identity or address of the sender is concealed

23. A person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, a communication for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail –

(a) where the identity of the person on whose behalf the communication has been sent has been disguised or concealed; or

(b) where a valid address to which the recipient of the communication may send a request that such communications cease has not been provided.

Translation #1: If I haven’t asked for it, they can’t send it. If they want to put me on any specific mailing list, I need to agree to it first.

Translation #2: There should be details of an email or web address within any email(s) sent out that allow me to unsubscribe if I decide to un-agree at any stage.

Now, initially I considered their position to be borderline on the first point, but completely in the wrong on the second, but it turns out they were totally out of line on both points.

Pig-ignorant carpet-bagger Derek Draper had CCed our conversation to a bunch of biggish-wigs the other day, so I sent an email to Derek and those same new media/Labour chums – Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller and Alex Smith – asking what was going on. It was Sue Macmillan ‘New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader’ (and warrior princess) for the Labour Party who answered.

She claimed that my name/email details were on the list because they; “made a list of bloggers we thought might be interested.”

1. Derek Draper had earlier made it obvious he had no idea who I was, and made it clear that he didn’t care. Now suddenly I find out that the Labour Party wanted my red hot linky-love all along?! Confusing. Especially so when this Sue person was CCed on the relevant conversation, and didn’t point out at any stage that I was exactly the kind of person they knew about and wanted to care about. It makes no sense to me… unless the Labour Party have been scooping up addresses of leftish bloggers without any real research, care or attention.

2. Tch. And here was me thinking that people from the party of government – i.e. those that introduced this anti-spam law – would understand that they’re not supposed to be emailing people until those people specifically say that they are interested.

Just because I’m interested in politics and I publish my email address on my site, it doesn’t mean that I want to be signed up to every political mailing list going. FFS, I’m into marketing, too; just imagine what my inbox would be like if the law really was that slack on this point.

And a mailing list is what this was; it wasn’t a one-off notice from someone asking if I might be interested in this or that, it was a mailing list that focused on the task of begging for links from weblogs and other forms of web-based networking.

If there was any doubt about that, Sue Macmillan removed it by saying the following;

“We made a list of bloggers we thought might be interested.”

(Psst! Here are the links you were after, you spamming fuckers; Wow, it’s a Shadow WebCabinet!, Wow, it’s your version of David Cameron’s Economic policy! ROFL!. Wow, it’s a discussion forum!, Wow, it’s a Facebook page! Wow, it’s a REMIX of the Shadow WebCabinet! (They must be really excited about their first passable viral mechanism in… well, ever.) Wow, anyone “can embed the widget onto your blog using the code here”! Wow, it’s a new site you’re launching at!)

I also asked about the lack of any kind of unsubscribe function – a requirement under law – and I was told by Sue Macmillan (New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader and warrior princess) that it was a one-off mistake:

“The oversight, I should be clear, was on this email alone.”

When I pointed out that I had at least 4 different emails in my inbox dating back to 13 Jan that all failed to meet this legal requirement, Sue went quiet on me.

It’s been hours now, and I’ve not heard a peep back.

So, here I am blogging about another example of the Labour Party jumping behind the wheel of their shiny new web strategy and driving it into the nearest bloody wall.

Well. Done. You. Tossers.

Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that I’m getting into any web vehicle with you behind the wheel.

(Not that you lot are getting anything out of me with the torture-happy toss-monkey Jack Straw still in the cabinet. Seriously, how hard can it be to shift that skid mark? “What’s that? Torture you say? Well, we’ll get right on with… destroying your life in order to shut you up! Mwahahahahaha!” What a grade-A first-class cu*)

[Psst! I apologise for the tone, readers – but on top of their spamming me, which pisses me off, they’ve fobbed me off with a bullshit claim, which really pisses me off, and then ignored me when I’ve got a valid beef, which royally pisses me off. The whole torture thing gets on my tits a bit, too. Actually, sometimes it gets right up my arse like a broken bottle.]

UPDATE (22 Jan) – Justin McKeating is a victim of this same spamming effort, as is Adam Bienkov of ‘Tory Troll’ who, hilariously, has been addressed in each spam as ‘Tory’ (as opposed to ‘Mr Troll’). Adam also states that, unlike myself, he hasn’t signed up for anything from the Labour Party, ever. In short, the list of known victims is already growing, and Sue Macmillan (Warrior Princess) is stuffed even if she changes her story about the origin(s) of this link-whoring list; someone in her team has clearly been trawling the leftish and/or Tory-sparring neighbourhoods of blogland and doing a not-very-good job of harvesting names and email addresses for the purposes of unsolicited email marketing; spam to you and me. Please speak up via email, comments or bloggage if you’re a victim. Together we can call these spammers to account.

The character is fiction, but the horror is real; Sick Days

D-Notice on The Sun v the Criminal Justice System.

Paulie has a different opinion to mine on MPs and their expenses. I readily accept that my opinion on this could be skewed by my MP being a right piece of work.

Unity and Septicisle on the ‘Al Qaeda has bio weapons’ claim from the tabloid you can trust.

Meanwhile, The Sun appear to be holding back on reports that Israel has been using white phosphorus as a weapon. For some reason.

(During the assault on Fallujah in Iraq, the Americans used white phosphorus as a weapon, and denied doing so. The Sun later dutifully reported when the cat was out of the bag that; “It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants, not against civilians” At around the same time, I talked to a British soldier who told me that Our Boys were officially trained in the handling and deployment of white phosphorus as an illumination device, but briefed “off the books, of course” in their use as a room-clearing or “bunker cleansing” device. Which is nice.)

Kevin Maguire driven home in expensive hire-car shock. It’s called a perk, and Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) is acting like he’s never seen one before. You can hear Paul’s high-pitched nasal whine asking about mansions in Richmond and delivering a sarky “James, home!”… meanwhile, Maguire appears to be quite jovial, and taking it all in good humour. I doubt that I’d be quite so genial with a camera waved in my face, plus I know from experience that Staines hides from cameras, and is all-too-quick to scream ‘stalker’ if caught in any compromising situation. Staines, much like Derek Draper, is also censoring inconvenient comments under this video. If you must comment yourself, don’t do anything futile like mention that Staines has a personal beef with Maguire or that he himself has to pedal everywhere when not being chauffeured, on account of his driving while drunk (and without insurance). On that note, Maguire can count himself lucky that Staines didn’t make an issue of his drinking… after sobering up himself. What a tosser.

OMG! Homo milk! Watch out, Paul! Don’t let it near the children!

Speaking of such things, Jeremy Hunt is having a little difficulty answering questions about homophobic attacks by local Conservative activists (background). He’s trying the old ‘it’s off my patch’ dodge (not that this has ever stopped him from propping up fellow Tory Anne Milton), and using an old technique of Dale’s; allowing anonymous comment contributors to attack me as a form of defence (only gently, mind… but it’s still clear to see).

I would be a great pity if Jeremy Hunt decides to leave this matter hanging. Again.

He dodged the issue when he could have done something to stop the attacks; now he’s promoting himself as a blogger with standards, I would expect him to at least have an opinion on two grown men creating and promoting an anonymous website claiming that their political opponent is a paedophile.

By now, most of you have seen Ninja Cat.

Now check out how Ninja Cat would look with Derek Draper in charge of the project.

Also via /links a game that all the kids will be playing this time next week; Bush or Batman?

Via Carl Eve; Woodward and Bernstein on the Bush era and ‘moving on’ with Obama.

In my experience, trying to move on just encourages some people to further take the piss, but I guess we’ll see.

Finally, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Ian Hislop owes me a lunch.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 20, 2009

Category: Barack Obama, George W. Bush

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 20, 2009

Category: Barack Obama, Photoshopping, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

Today (thanks to some great work done by Sim-O), most of the action will be over at The Sun: Tabloid Lies as we finally delve into The Echo Chamber

(dramatic sting)
(evil laugh)

However, I do have a special treat for long-time readers of Bloggerheads and/or veterans of The Battle of Bush

Today, I’ll be publishing a series of ‘shops that bid farewell to Bush and tell the world what I expect of Barack Obama.

Like Amnesty, I do not expect moonbeams, unicorns and free lollipops.

I do, however, expect better than this:

The hero of 911 does his best not to scare the children

Link to initial B3ta post appears below. A list will grow as the day progresses, and it will all end with a little party in our living room at 5pm GMT (with cake and ice-cream and balloons and streamers).

What I expect of Barack Obama #1
What I expect of Barack Obama #2
What I expect of Barack Obama #3
What I expect of Barack Obama #4
What I expect of Barack Obama #5
What I expect of Barack Obama #6
What I expect of Barack Obama #7
What I expect of Barack Obama #8

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