Posted by Tim Ireland at October 21, 2008

Category: Photoshopping, US Presidential Election 2008

Here’s a lovely background for Republican voters. Enjoy!

In other news (aren’t you glad that you looked down here?), now there are two items that Iain Dale would like to avoid discussing on his website, and all of a sudden up go the ramparts.

You’ll notice that he doesn’t consider for one moment the simple measure of comment registration; this would allow people to comment anonymously, but greatly reduce his capacity to hide behind anonymous abuse (that he may or may not be posting himself).

(Note – It’s not all about me; there’s another debate that Iain would rather avoid having, which could very well be the main reason why he is declaring the introduction of pre-publication comment vetting in order to ‘enable’ debate. Well, one side of it, anyway.)

[UPDATE (22 Oct) – Unity – Abortion Rights: A delay not a setback: Iain Dale seems to think that the government’s backsliding, this week, amounts to a victory for Frank Field and Nadine Dorries – its actually nothing of the sort and, as I see it, only delays the day of reckoning that’s to come. (more)]

(Note #2 – Iain also appeared to be getting some flak for publishing this ‘let him have it’ shot at Mandelson yesterday while failing to mention the not-at-all-connected Osborne story, even though most days he’ll chase any ambulance within a 5 mile radius. Bit of a perfect storm going on, then. And it makes his subsequent moan about anonymous ‘abuse’ – see: criticism – even funnier given that he went begging for actual abuse when it suited him.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 21, 2008

Category: Christ...

1. Via Daniel, I learn of a campaign to pay for atheist ads on buses. They’re currently at £5,094.66 with a target of £5,500, and Richard Dawkins pledging to match that amount:

2. Meanwhile for as little as £25, you could appear in the much-needed Chris Morris film turned down by C4 and the BBC. If you have less, feel free to pledge less.

3. Now, even though money has been proved to be an illusion of late, I can only afford one donation, and it’s going to be a small one. Perhaps a prayer to Jesus the Vampire Slayer will help me to decide between the two…

UPDATE – As I was writing this, the progress bar for the omnibus atheists jumped from £5,094.66 to £5,681.82. Thank you, Jesus the Vampire Slayer!

UPDATE (3:30pm) – Holy cow! It’s up to £22,855.81!

And, meanwhile and all that… prepare yourself for a bloody good laugh.

UPDATE – More at Media Watch Watch. “Gosh, what a lovely bus ad. It’d be a shame if something *happened* to it,” says the man who, on top of everything else, must be postively green with envy after his failure to beg his way out of the large hole he dug for himself. He was £90K in the hole a few months ago, and I don’t know exactly where he is with it at the moment, but I doubt he’d refuse the ability to raise (looks) £25,577.00!! in a day and a bit.

For another belly laugh or three, check out Stephen Green’s attempt to spin this campaign as a failure (“Richard Dawkins is so concerned that the atheist message is dying on its feet that he is to fund a humanist evangelistic campaign…”) and that ‘graffiti’ hint/threat in full:

‘I should be surprised if a quasi-religious advertising campaign like this did not attract graffiti. People don’t like being preached at. Sometimes it does them good, but they still don’t like it. The advertising space on a bendy-bus is just the right height as well. But the graffiti artists, and indeed the atheist advertisers will have to be quick or the bendy-buses will be off the road in Boris’s purge, taking the anti-God message with them. Bendy-buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large.

‘It occurs to me that the addition of just a few words from Psalm 14 would make the entire message Biblical: “The fool hath said in his heart …” ‘

[Ahahahahahahaha! Are you sure the ‘graffiti artists’ got all that, Stephen? Would you like to tell them where they can buy the spray paint as well?]

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 20, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Short version:

Scroll down to the picture.

Long version:

Hey, do you remember when I wrote a rather complicated (and greatly estimated) post about Iain Dale vastly overstating his popularity and Iain responded by (oops) accidentally making it very easy for me to prove and explain how he had been cheating?

Well, pretty much the same thing has just happened, only without me having write a rather complicated (and greatly estimated) post.


After weeks of Iain’s ducking, diving over his dodgy poll of weblogs I was left with some data that might have done the job. Not only did I have to research 70+ blogs from a list that Iain could reject as definitive at any time, but there was also a lot of wriggle-room for Iain to claim that this blog wasn’t formally Conservative and that right-wing community was owned by a leftie and so on and so forth. Big headache.

Then Iain, bless him, dumped sterling silver and solid gold right in my lap.

(A link to the precise moment of discovery. For completists only.)

It is and always has been my position that the Total Politics poll of political weblogs was skewed way, way waaaaay over to the right (and heavily in favour of Iain and his mates way, way waaaaay over to the right).

And here’s the proof:

Compare the top 10 ‘most popular’ blogs from that poll (1,140 participants) to the top ten that resulted from Iain’s recent reader survey (“more than 1,100*” participants).

They are almost identical.

Further, Iain asked those taking his survey specifically about their voting habits; 70% of them are Conservative voters.

Here is a nifty image that explains it all. Feel free to borrow it.

The Total Politics poll is a sham

(Psst! I should have spotted this before I wrote the fine print for my picture, but Iain did ask who reads him daily in a different queston, and even though he neglected to include himself, he officially tops his survey chart, with 83% of his readers reading him at least once a day.)

Now, lately the Tories are doing well in general polls conducted by reputable professionals, and the departure of Prime Methadone Tony Blair did bring a lot of them out of the woodwork and into the blogosphere, but there’s no way in hell that Iain is going to find a poll showing that 70% of blog readers are Conservative voters, unless he conducts that poll in his own backyard.

And in his backyard is exactly where his Total Politics poll was conducted, attracting maybe a dozen or so more participants than his reader survey, and producing almost exactly the same ‘top ten’ result.

Iain can carry on saying the poll “wasn’t meant to be scientific and never pretended to be” if it makes him feel better and perhaps he can even mockingly feign surprise that the majority of his readers are Conservative voters if it brings him joy, but such disingenuous nonsense falls apart the moment he involves a major sponsor (for the third scam running) and slaps a ‘Total Politics’ label on this latest round of self-promoting, Tory-serving bullshit.

Total Politics brands itself as ‘politically neutral’, and this poll of blogs is anything but.

This poll is, essentially, a poll of Conservative voters.

My thanks to Iain for finally confirming that, even if (oops) he didn’t mean to.

(Note – All of this leaves aside Dale’s childish refusal to honour my boycott of the poll, the stupidity of a wannabe politician being the sole counter and auditor of votes in a poll where he is in the running, and the absurdity of a man play-acting as a champion of bloggers when he is in fact an old-fashioned broadcaster with no taste or regard for accountability.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 20, 2008

Category: Old Media, Photoshopping

For those who came in late:
Bloggerheads – Julie Moult is an idiot
Bloggerheads – The Daily Mail: let’s kick arse and take names

1. Finally!

2. It’s too early to start awarding prizes, as these fresh results are still in flux.

3. But, for the record…

a) The folks from have, since the earliest stages, nipped in and out of the front-page results with the classic belm from this article. There is no questioning their status as the first relevant front-page result.

b) Justin was the first relevant *top* Google Images search result (17th Oct), then he slipped into second place behind Check My Inevitables (19th Oct), and this morning he is back in first place (20th Oct).

c) Special mentions go to The Daily Quail for nicking my image (Oi!) then taking a top-row spot that’s rightfully mine (Oi!!), and to Chicken Madras for putting some thought into thumbnail appearance and using BIG werds.

Meanwhile, check this out…

Both the Daily Mail and The Sun have sought to make their readers laugh about the credit crunch by STEALING FROM ARTISTS!

B3ta thread about The Mail nicking images.
B3ta thread about The Sun nicking images.

Something something handbasket, something something couldn’t make it up.

The Daily Mail in particular outdid themselves by responding to this thread by stealing even more images and adding them to their online article. This was after they initially took credit for inspiring the artists (!!!) and slapped a meaningless and misleading copyright notice on all of the images, giving the impression that copyright rests with the owners of the site (it doesn’t) and they had done a deal with those owners (they haven’t).

In other words, they know who they’re stealing from, they know that those artists are unhappy, and They. Just. Don’t. Care.

The new incarnation of Daily Mail Watch will appear shortly. Then you’ll see some serious bloodletting on both fronts.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 17, 2008

Category: US Presidential Election 2008

The Age – McCain goes for jugular, but misses

(The jugular? What an amateur. The pros go for a carotid artery and let the heart do the rest of the work.)

Getting away from this picture (heh) and back to the substance (almost*); during the debate itself, and even for almost a day afterwards, bloggers and other users of Teh Internets knew more about the reality behind the invention ‘Joe’ the ‘plumber’ than those relying on Old Media. Why? Here’s a clue.

(*’Joe’ the ‘plumber’ was mentioned dozens of times during the debate… while Iraq was mentioned once.)
(h/t #1) (h/t #2)

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 16, 2008

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

[Note – Yes, I still have what ‘blog poll’ data I could gather at the time saved, and I plan to crunch it when I have the time. Of course, Iain Dale himself could sort the whole matter out in maybe two minutes with some simple referral stats for his polling page(s) for the month of the poll, but that’s not going to happen, is it? I would also like it noted for the record that Iain Dale has clear views on the need for outside auditing. For others. Not for himself. Iain is far too perfect for that. Now let’s crack on…]

Total PoliticsThe Publisher

Following some childish shenanigans where Iain Dale used his ‘professional’ magazine to settle a personal score (more), I made several futile attempts to contact that publisher via email.

Instead of responding to that email, Iain thought it would be fun to play a little game…

Because the whole fuss began with Iain failing to receive an email (or merely claiming that he had failed to receive it) I went looking for acknowledgement of receipt of a relevant email that was directed and addressed to him as Publisher of Total Politics. Iain then replied via personal email only to confirm receipt of almost every email bar the one that counted. Repeated and quite explicit requests to confirm receipt of the original email led only to confirmation of receipt of the emails requesting confirmation. And so on and so forth.

Cute. And a pretty good indication of bad faith, I would venture.

The Editor

When I tried to contact Total Politics Editor Sarah MacKinlay through the contact details provided on their website, I was at first ignored, and then blindsided during a polite phone call with some bizarre histrionics (I was accused of being “aggressive” and not going through ‘formal’ channels, then cut off).

So much for discussing the matter sensibly with the Editor.

The only senior contact option left to me at Total Politics was…

The Executive Editor

Shane Greer is the Executive Editor of Total Politics. During a particularly unpleasant exchange with Paul ‘Guido Fawkes’ Staines this year when every right-wing blogger and his dog was having a go at me, Greer chose to ignore the central issue and take sides in a very personal way by declaring me to be “obviously unbalanced”, grouping me with a convicted stalker, and refusing/deleting any meaningful response to this.

I did not see any point in attempting to contact Shane Greer about this matter, and I’m sure any reasonable person can understand why.

The PCC (Press Complaints Commission)

So… raising my hands and admitting (*gasp*) that there might even be fault on both sides here, what we’re left with is two parties in dispute, communications in a state of total breakdown from the off, and a need for mediation.

And in the UK magazine industry, that is normally where the Press Complaints Commission comes into the picture.

Or not.

Because I found out while making my initial enquiries that the political magazine Total Politics is not answerable to the Press Complaints Commission!

In fact the PCC had never even heard of the magazine until I called them. At all.

I don’t need a long paragraph here explaining that politics is a particularly sensitive, volatile, and high stakes media field, do I?

No? Good. Let’s move on, then…

Here is the later confirmation of this disgraceful state of affairs from the PCC:

I can confirm that the current position is that Total Politics does not formally subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC.

Over 98% of titles do subscribe to the PCC and the Code. We also handle complaints informally against titles that do not subscribe.

But, really, what’s the point when Iain Dale has already placed his magazine outside of its influence and refused to conform to a standard of quality and responsibility accepted by 98% of magazines?

Oh, do excuse me; I just assumed bad faith. Perhaps Iain Dale has merely overlooked this ‘minor’ matter… for about six months.

Perhaps this is something I should discuss with the editorial board dedicated to “keeping Total Politics on track”… but not before offering Iain Dale something he refuses me on his website and now, apparently, in his magazine; a right of reply.

Over to you, Iain.


[Psst! This follows Iain Dale playing a major role in a political television station not subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code and his repeated refusal to address or correct minor ‘errors’ (like this push for an apology from Sunny Hundal) on his ‘blog’. A pattern emerges, and it doesn’t take a genius to spot it; Iain Dale is a man who seeks power without accountability. He’s also a man who’s willing to be the sole counter and auditor of votes in a political poll where he himself is in the running but, as I’ve said; that’s for another time.]

UPDATE (11am 17 Oct) – Iain Dale actually confirmed receipt for the relevant email this time around (in a personal not professional capacity, I noticed), but he has not responded beyond this, or issued any statement about his failure/refusal to subscribe to the system of regulation overseen by the PCC. You would think this would be an issue for the publisher of a political magazine, but it appears not. I have just emailed all of the members of the Total Politics editorial board that I could find contact details for. Perhaps this will lead to progress. Let’s see.

Oh, and Sim-O notes here that Iain Dale’s policy on his magazine appears to be the same as that for his blog; if he publishes something about you that you’re unhappy with, he’ll kindly think about changing it, but if he refuses, you’re welcome to… erm… walk away and leave him to it. Oh well. At least that beats being called a “bitch” and told to “piss off”.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 15, 2008

Category: Inneresting

Death and why you may have difficulty imagining the experience that follows it.

No, asking a zombie doesn’t count; they haven’t been to the void, emptiness, oblivion *or* the sweet trolley. The best they can imagine is a dull tearing sensation as your shovel separates their head from their neck. Or perhaps some form of zombie heaven for afters, where you get your pick of brains.

Incidentally, I’ve just recently:

a) read and enjoyed Marvel Zombies , quite possibly the most awesome story arc in the history of Marvel comics

b) watched and enjoyed Fido, a heartwarming movie about a boy and his zombie…

(Essentially, it’s Pleasantville meets Night of the Living Dead with a dash of corporate monsterism a’la Robocop, plus deliciously muted amusements from Billy Connolly. If you are now thinking of seeing Fido, go and do. If not, I ask you to at least give the opening 3 minutes a chance.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 15, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!

Nice to see Iain Dale being so open about the influence of Policy Exchange for a change; most days he’s busy denying their influence.

On one notable occasion when Iain Dale was a Trustee of Policy Exchange and denying their influence, I tripped over Nick Boles.

Nick Boles was at the time the Director of Policy Exchange (which is, for those who don’t know, a large right-wing think tank with charity status) and also wanted to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.

In fact, he wanted this so much that he was willing to use Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a personal website with that party-political aim (more), which is a bit naughty and just the kind of concept that friends of Iain Dale struggle to understand.

So…. the Founder Director of Policy Exchange wants to be Mayor of London, and now (*gasp*) he works for the Mayor of London, along with a whole lot of other people from Policy Exchange who now work for the Mayor of London as advisers* and what have you.

(*Perhaps one of the i-dotting or t-crossing bloggers would care to make a full job list for the record.)

It has not escaped notice that Boris Johnson has been on a leash, pretty much since he was convinced to become a candidate.

That leash is held by Policy Exchange people, and I’ve been watching it get tighter.

I’m sorry if I seem to sell Boris short on this, but no matter how much he might think he is in control, when the bulk of his data and advice comes from Policy Exchange drones, the fix is in from the very beginning.

The initial rush of Policy Exchange people into staffed positions from the moment of his election should have been signal klaxon enough for me, but it wasn’t until Boris innocently enquired about my “disagreement” with Anne Milton that I began to get truly worried.

(That matter involved a website produced by her activists that made groundless claims of paedophilia and stopped about a micron short of inciting violence. Boris, who knew this, was treating it like a disagreement over a croquet shot. You know those letters you write and then throw away before they get near a stamp or your outbox? I’ve got one of those. It’s a one-word letter to Boris that I didn’t send a few months ago. It reads; “Disagreement?!”)

And now Boris is showering former Policy Exchange trustee Iain Dale with – let’s be frank, here – a quite absurd level of purposeful praise… well, let’s just say that there’s very little room for doubt any more.

Boris is at the moment so far gone that he may as well be living in a foreign land, and in a way he is.

The Policy Exchange gang wishes to control Boris Johnson, right down to what he says and who he says it to, and so far they’ve quite successful

I look forward to them popping up and denying it… when they’re not quite so busy congratulating themselves over it.


Posted by Tim Ireland at October 15, 2008

Category: George W. Bush

Justin has featured the trailer for Oliver Stone’s biopic, and over at Pickled Politics, noises are being made about the fine choice of soundtrack…

… but me, I’m reminded of this for some strange reason:

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 14, 2008

Category: US Presidential Election 2008

John Cleese on Sarah Palin

No dead parrot jokes, please. Too easy.

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