Posted by Tim Ireland at January 19, 2009

Category: Anne Milton

You may have slightly better prospects up or down your way, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that writing my MP about this issue will be a waste of time. I’m pretty sure her mind is already made up, if it hasn’t been made up for her already by her Tory bosses.

Do you know how long it took her to produce the results of the pricey little survey* described in this post?

Six. Months.

Anne Milton has so far only paid lip service to transparency.

That, and my experience with the woman has taught me that she’s not above a little fraud.

(*Follow-up post is on the way; the one-page document only just arrived.)

UPDATE (21 Jan) – Tom Steinberg brings us the exciting news that the vote on concealing MPs’ expenses has been cancelled by the government.

But now Anne Milton has been robbed of an opportunity to prove me wrong.


Posted by Tim Ireland at January 19, 2009

Category: George W. Bush

Two videos for you from The Daily Show (on the last 8 days) and Olbermann (on the last 8 years).

Plus, a Wikipedia page to watch: List of people pardoned by George W. Bush (it currently reads “In contrast to some of his predecessors, President Bush has been one of the most cautious presidents in modern U.S. history when granting pardons or commutations” but that could change).

UPDATE (9pm) – Some people predicted some audacious/high-profile pardons from Bush at the 11th hour. I was one of them. But so far, Bush has only issued two relatively low-key pardons and The Guardian reports that; “Bush advisers cautioned no more would be coming”.

There are still 20 hours to go, though…

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 19, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Hello all.

A little landmark in British political blogging has just whooshed by, and I thought I might share the lesson in a way that outsiders can enjoy. (This includes our American cousins, but none of those filthy Canadanians, for reasons that will be explained at a later date.)

One of the main books you should read if you’re planning a venture into viral or community marketing is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

In it, Gladwell shares his theories on The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (and you can read an extract/review of the relevant chapter here).

Recognising that this is less an historical lesson and more a useful allegory, the way Gladwell tells it, on the eve of the American Revolutionary War, two men set out from Boston and took the “Midnight Ride” on which this famous poem is based; Paul Revere and a man named William Dawes.

British soldiers were on the move, arrests were about to be made and weapons seized; Revere and Dawes set out to warn their allies and raise a militia to chew some bubblegum and kick (our) ass.

Paul Revere was, according to Gladwell, better able to do this because he was intimate with many of the towns and settlements on his chosen route;

[Revere] was gregarious and intensely social. He was a fisherman and a hunter, a cardplayer and a theatre-lover, a frequenter of pubs and a successful businessman. He was active in the local Masonic Lodge and was a member of several select social clubs. He was also a doer, a man blessed — as David Hackett Fischer recounts in his brilliant book Paul Revere’s Ride — with “an uncanny genius for being at the center of events.”

Revere’s ability to know which door(s) to knock on and prompt immediate action resulted not only in success immediate to his own efforts, but also the dispatch of dozens of other well-connected riders with the same mission.

Dawes, by comparison, struggled at most if not all towns. The following totally imagined response to a late-night knock on the door might help to explain his predicament:

“Who are you and why should I trust you? Is this a trap? And how do you expect to raise a militia by waking the local seamstress?”

So Revere, having all the connections (and a better posthumous publicist), enjoyed greater success and most of Teh Glory, mainly because he was able to connect with those who could best help him to spread the message and prompt individual action.

Meanwhile, Dawes struggled, because he was not as well-connected as Revere; he was just Some Guy waking people up in the middle of the night.

So if you’ll pardon me for taking liberties (sorry), I’m going to add a further character to the mix; Derek Draper.

(Derek Draper has been in all the papers lately telling everyone that he’s preparing to mobilise a grassroots Labour network. Just in case you missed it.)

Draper arrives on the scene, like Dawes, with little knowledge of the key people he can and cannot rely on along his chosen route… but he has cleverly taken the added precaution of telling *everyone* to go fuck themselves:

“i am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers.” – Derek Draper (reported here)


“Boy, the British blogosphere! What an introduction I have had. Never have I experienced such a self-important, self-regarding, self-obsessed group in my life. No wonder the British Blogosphere is such a tiny, tiny, tiny ghetto. Don’t any of you realise that I don’t care what you think? Why would I? Why should I?” – Derek Draper (made here and fisked here)

Here endeth the lesson and all that.

[Psst! I’ve found what appears to be a quick master class in the art of projection… Justin McKeating referred to Derek Draper’s project as a “propaganda ghetto” not once but twice at roughly the same time as Draper’s “60 million people” outburst. It looks like it was only after this that Draper started throwing the word ‘ghetto’ around to describe every British blog except his, but do correct me if I’m wrong.]

UPDATE (2pm) – Gaze in wonder at what LabourList have just released on their YouTube channel. As with previous efforts, there’s zero indication of who made the track or the animation (though this smells stinks like another internal production, much like an earlier effort that was passed off as an external submission). Also note that Paul Staines (‘Guido’) rates a mention at 1:09, because every sensible (albeit high-pitched and off-key) debate about money should elevate the status of a bankrupt liar to worthy opponent.

Derek Draper really needs help on the video/animation front especially… but I don’t think he’ll be getting it from any of the towns and settlements that I frequent.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 17, 2009

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

And so this tragedy draws to a neat sudden close just as the stars converge on Hollywood Washington.

Gets you right *there*, don’t it?

(Psst! Look out for the bit at the end where their batteriesssh runnn dowwwwwn….)

Two items of interest from Craig Murray. I wonder if a personal ‘ethical shopping’ scanner (like those Sainsbury’s handheld ‘mark of the beast’ dealies) would be legal in the U.S.? If they included all countries, not just one.

UPDATE – Meanwhile, here’s something a little more serious than a made-up story about missing W keys.

UPDATE – More on the ceasefire, plus a links round-up, from Septicisle. Oh, and here’s a picture that has nothing at all to do with Israel.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 16, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

During a previous conversation, founder and controller Derek Draper suggested that I share with the class our entire email conversation.

I’m happy to reveal all of that previous conversation at any stage, but for now I’m treating this as an open invitation and bringing you the entirety of our latest email conversation… after this quick statement from the latest self-proclaimed master(s) of bloggery:

“We encourage anyone who has had a comment denied to repost their thoughts on their own blog, and leave a trackback instead. Although we might think a comment is inappropriate for our conversation that does not preclude you making your point elsewhere. The Labour List editors intend to make a feature of our readers’ comments, and we reserve the right to repost interesting or pertinent comments in the main blog, for further discussion. You are welcome to write a complaint to the editor if you feel you have been treated unfairly.” – Labour List website statement on comment moderation

Now, on with the recent email exchange that tells a rather different story…

It begins with my directing Derek Draper to a website that has published my comment and question about his use of other people’s creative material without credit and the apparent pretence of spontaneous submission, because he deleted the version that I submitted to his website. Fool that I was, I thought he would at least calculate that maybe this was the wrong message to send during the opening stages of his appeal for genuinely talented people to genuinely send their stuff in, so he could feature exploit it on his website… but he’s not even smart enough to offset his corruption with a little bullshit and charm:

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

11:05 AM

Nothing to say for yourself, then (see comments)?

No comment on your use of other people’s creative material without credit?

Are you really pretending to receive submissions from the general public that are in fact the work of yourself or close associates?


From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland

11:07 AM

which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand

i’m trying to build a popular website here, not get stuck in a geeks ghetto

oooooh! i wonder how long it’ll take you to post that on your blog

[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

11:13 AM

“which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand”

You really don’t understand how weblogs/communities work, do you?

“i’m trying to build a popular website here”

You really don’t understand how networking works, do you?

So you refuse to answer any questions about your use of creative material without credit? I want to be absolutely clear on that, just in case you suddenly decide to backpedal later.


From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland

11:37 AM

which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand

[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

11:46 AM

which bit of “i am not accountable to you” don’t you understand

The part where your website invites comment, thereby suggesting accountability.

Also the part where you campaign for debate and engagement, thereby suggesting that you are willing to have what you say or publish challenged and that you are willing to respond to those challenges with a valid response (not “nerney nery ner ner, I’m not playing”)

So you refuse to answer any questions about your use of creative material without credit? Again, I want to be absolutely clear on this point.


From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

12:14 PM

I’ve answered your question. Please answer mine.


From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland
CC: Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller, Alex Smith

12:33 PM

see below, in caps

The part where your website invites comment, thereby suggesting accountability.

Also the part where you campaign for debate and engagement, thereby suggesting that you are willing to have what you say or publish challenged and that you are willing to respond to those challenges with a valid response (not “nerney nery ner ner, I’m not playing”)




So you refuse to answer any questions about your use of creative material without credit? Again, I want to be absolutely clear on this point.


[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

From: Tim Ireland
To: Derek Draper

3:05 PM

1. Please stop shouting.

2. I’m not sure why you’ve CCed Greg Jackson, Sue Macmillan, Tom Miller and Alex Smith on our conversation. Perhaps you meant to BCC them instead. Still, given your earlier invitation, I’ve taken it one step further and invited everyone in the whole, wide world. Hope you don’t mind:

3. If you do not have the capacity to deal with comments, then don’t invite them with too few moderators in place (see also: Daily Mail) and/or the site in its current state (you ask for an email address and a password, but don’t even attempt to verify authenticity – ditto for postcodes, not that asking for this level of detail is in any way called for in your situation).

4. I personally don’t have the time to deal with too many comments. I also like to know who* is attempting to publish what on my website. So I introduced TypeKey registration; it requires a pretty high standard of identification, and in conjunction with MT a clear indication when someone is trying to bypass that requirement. This greatly reduces the number of comments I would normally expect, but to do otherwise would be selfish and irresponsible in my view, especially as I have been so critical of other ‘leading’ bloggers who run their comments like an open sewer, and mainly delete comments that are damaging/awkward for them personally.

(*In my experience I have noticed many political ‘players’ who fool around with multiple/false identities. This is not tolerated or enabled on my site in any way. Also, if the law somehow becomes involved, I know the buck stops with me, but I have a fair shot at identifying the source of any troublesome content that I haven’t written myself.)

5. Don’t wave your traffic in my face. It’s unseemly.

6. It’s also a bit of a cheat if you’re relying on the number of comments/contributors to prove your popularity/importance, when (a) many of those comments are critical of you and your efforts after an artificial MSM PR push, and (b) your site allows people to easily pretend to be more than one person.

7. Let’s keep in mind that I’m not asking for special treatment. I would expect anyone arriving on your website to expect a fair go. One good thing about you clearly not having the first clue about who I am is that it allows me to be sure that you would treat any question you didn’t care for as an irrelevance. If my comments were marked as ‘trash’ or deleted in line with a fair and clearly stated comment moderation policy, or if a reasonable explanation were given at the time (or even following an email query), then I’d be left with little else to say. But what you have done is invite comment, but refuse accountability. That’s going to lead to some pretty short and essentially one-sided conversations when the sign above your shop door suggests otherwise. Bit of a fraud if you ask me. On that note, you also claim to be campaigning for engagement and debate, but you refuse to engage, never mind debate. I may wish to tell a few people about that, for the same reason I would tell them about any other fraud, cheat, swindler or rip-off artist that had just rolled into town with a truckload of bad fish and clever spiel.

8. You have not answered my question about your use of creative material without credit, and instead have asked me why you should care what I think. Well, even if you’re being terribly selfish about the situation, you should at least care because you are calling for submissions from writers and artists while showing that you have scant regard for their legal and moral rights. Dedicated, talented artists tend to notice when this happens and they take this kind of thing very seriously (not least because their stuff gets nicked more often than the work of careless, talentless people). They would sit up and take notice if a stranger pointed out what you’ve been up to and your attitude to date… and I’m no stranger to most of the independent producers in this country likely to create just the kind of anti-Tory propaganda you are obviously keen on (but unable to produce for this project, despite your claim here to have; “a roster of the very best freelance film and video creating talent in the UK”).

9. And finally, we arrive and just who the hell I think I am. Just for the fun of it, I will treat this as a serious question instead of a sign that you regard yourself to be far more important than me or anyone else in this community; my name is Tim Ireland, and I regard myself to be a blogger with standards designed to serve and protect the wider community, not just my own self-interest. And just in case I fail on that front, my site allows anyone willing to identify themselves to challenge me and/or call me to account. In other words, I’m the guy who actually does what you only claim to do, I’ve been at it for 7+ years, and I’m smart enough to know that I’m still learning.

10. I also regard myself to be a bit of a tattletale.


Hey, everyone! Derek Draper is a fraud and a cheat who has no idea about, and no respect for, the online community that he wishes to infiltrate. He should be treated as you would treat any carpetbagger or outsider with less-than-honourable tactics and intent.

And if you, like me, write, photoshop, animate, make videos or produce anything else to do with political campaigning or communication, I urge you not to submit your material to the website, as Derek Draper has made it clear that he is willing to use that material without credit, and likely to become quite shouty and hostile if confronted about it.

And now, to close, here is an extract from the guide to blogging offered at Perhaps Derek would care to read it sometime:

In short, a blog is an open diary, recorded as a web page. Typically a blog allows readers
to leave comments on items the blogger writes about. There is some consensus to the
effect that this is an essential dividing line between a blog and a general website…


As well as bearing in mind the tips above about content, it is also important that a few
conventions are obeyed. Just like anywhere else, the internet has unspoken rules and
conventions (‘netiquette’) which are almost always followed. Good table manners make
for satisfying meals. There are some widely recognised rules for bloggers:

1. Act in a courteous and civil fashion, especially in debate.

2. Avoid SHOUTING: keep capitals to a minimum. The same goes for bold type.

3. As above, make sure you attribute work and inspirations. It’s also a very good idea
to check that any materials you replicate are not copyright protected.

4. Keep to comments policies where they exist.

5. If you change a blog post, anyone interested will be able to tell by using Google’s
‘cache’ feature, or even more comprehensively, the Wayback Machine. If you
make an important change, it is important to be open, or you decision may be
represented as dishonesty.

6. Try to answer comments!

7. Stay away from nasty personal attacks. If you don’t like something, politely
disagree, or move on and find something you do.

8. If you have accidentally repeated comments, or made an obvious typographical
error, apologise.

(Hm. Perhaps now would be a good time for me to apologise for misspelling “nerny nerny ner ner” earlier. Sorry about that.)

UPDATE (3:45) – Derek Draper’s reply appears below. It seems he got as far as #1 and gave up. Well, it’s further than he got with the Labour List guide to blogging.

From: Derek Draper
To: Tim Ireland
CC: [none]

3:37 PM

good grief, i wasn’t shouting it was in CAPs to differentiate it from your text

i don’t care what you put on your blog, haven’t you realised that?

i can’t even be bothered reading this email it is too long

[Derek Draper]
020 7486 2400
MIND Journalist of the Year

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 15, 2009

Category: Video

Guardian – Labour MP suspended from Commons over Heathrow protest: A Labour MP was suspended from the Commons for five days today after grabbing the Speaker’s mace in protest at the government’s decision to allow a third runway at Heathrow.

BBC – MP suspended after mace protest: John McDonnell was sanctioned after he picked up the mace, the ornamental club which represents the royal authority of Parliament, in a breach of protocol… Anyone manhandling the mace is considered in contempt of Parliament… During a statement by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon on Heathrow Mr McDonnell left his seat, grabbed the mace – which dates from the reign of Charles II – and put it down on an empty bench on the Labour side of the House. While doing so, he shouted: “It’s a disgrace to the democracy of this country.”

John McDonnell suspended from house of commons

1. I bet more people will see this YouTube video before the end of the day than this P.O.S., or this one.

2. Tch. I had Geoff Hoon figured all wrong. I thought in a situation like that he would theatrically scream “Look out! He’s got a weapon!” while moving to shield nearby infants with his body. Perhaps none were available at the time. Maybe he will wake up at 3am and realise that he should have at least taken a dive or something. Oh well.

3. The BBC footage clearly shows the mace-wielding component of proceedings and, as you can see, it was not waved or brandished in a threatening manner, merely handled in a deliberately disrespectful manner and dumped on a bench… but look out for spin that suggests otherwise. There’s more than one way to shift a troublesome MP.

(Heads-up via Carl and the slightly over-excited folk over at OH.)

UPDATE – You can tell John what you thought of his gesture on his blog. Many people have already done so under this post.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2009

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

I’ll be reading labels and researching brand ownership where possible to make sure I stick to it, too.

Septicisle – Time to boycott Israel: If however the government is unwilling to act… then individually we should be prepared to either boycott Israeli produce or repeatedly demonstrate against what is being done by a supposed democratic state against a people as a whole. We need to be clear that Israel is not an apartheid state, although it is certainly approaching it, that it is not yet instituting a genocide on Gaza, and that comparing Israel to the Nazis is both ahistorical and deeply insulting, even if understandable in the circumstances. We should however be equally clear that as a country its treatment of the Palestinians is now so unbearable that it has placed itself outside the boundaries of civilised nations, and that until it changes its behaviour, we will impose personal sanctions upon it. Israel needs to know that even if other governments are not turning away from it as a result of such murderous cynicism, individuals and their businesses will.

Oh, and check your fruit and veg if you don’t already; it typically comes from all sorts of happy and interesting places, and lots of the stuff lining shelves in supermarkets comes from Israel. You may even wish to consider (ahem) a polite letter-writing campaign.

UPDATE – Attention-seeking not-very-good-lawyer Donal Blaney just Godwinned the thread.

[Psst! Incidentally, as he finally rates a mention here for the first time in months, Blaney’s site carries a quote from ‘Bloggerheads’ that is in fact based on a comment contribution by a since-retired blogger (‘kris’), and nothing that I’ve written. For some reason, Donal finds himself unable to quote from this, the only entry on my site that involves him to any significant degree.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Sometimes people miss key updates to previous posts (waves to BBD), so I’m putting a little alert here to draw your attention to breathtaking arrogance that rivals even Dale’s best efforts:

“i am building a site for 60 million people, not 60 bloggers” – Derek Draper

More here.

Draper treated my comment like dirt. Draper treated me like dirt.

He seems to think that this is unimportant in the face of his mission to convert the entire population to New Labour and draw them to his website, but we’ll see.

UPDATE – You may wish to keep an eye on the comments under this post, especially if you’re the creative type.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 14, 2009

Category: Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

I’ve just wasted well over a day chasing The Sun in an attempt to get them to explain exactly why their Glen Jenvey article was removed.

Ideally, I would have liked to have gone from this starting point to a suggestion that they clean up their own mess and chase the many repeats and echoes of their article, but with the relevant information or some form of statement alone, I could have done this myself.

Now I’m forced to do so without even the aid of specifics or a statement.

I suspected the exercise would be a massive waste of time, but I wanted to give The Sun the opportunity for a number of reasons, the primary one being my wish to show you how readily they will abandon a false claim and yet do little or nothing to correct or arrest the wider impact it might have.

(This follows my proving that The Sun’s website comments are there purely for show, and provide no opportunity for engagement and no channel for accountability.)

Simply withdrawing the article from their website protects no-one but themselves.

Also, the withdrawal of the article from the website does not amount to a retraction, and one is clearly due in this case, as they have smeared a small community and a wider one with their nonsense.

But before I chase that retraction, it is now time for us to clean up The Sun’s mess while everyone watches them hiding in a corner (desperately hoping that not too many people notice that they based a front-page article on the lies of a man who is either a fraud or a fantasist).

Septicisle has already made a great start with input from a Telegraph journalist, published here on the Sun Lies’ blog.

Would anyone else like to help?

The clean-up project may be coordinated here or at The Sun: Tabloid Lies blog, but let’s get started with a show of hands. Via email is fine if you’re shy.

[Note #1 – mikkimoose has already done LOTS, so if he insists on taking on a task, I’m going to insist that it’s a fun one.]

[Note #2 – I’m sure The Sun will make some attempt(s) to correct their error once the pressure is on; in fact, I suspect they’ll go for Glen Jenvey in much the same way that they went for Karen Matthews, in the dim hope that their presently shouting in one direction will drown out their past shouting in an entirely opposite direction. But until that happens, it’s up to me… and you.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 13, 2009

Category: George W. Bush

‘Goodbye George’ music videos have been appearing since late last year, and here’s one of them (the video borrows left, right and centre, but I do like the song):

UPDATE – are running a video competition, but if that’s not your bag, try instead this great timeline… or this one.

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