Posted by Tim Ireland at July 7, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

“I’m not a ‘victim of injustice’ as far as I’m concerned this is just a flame war.” – Phil Hendren

Hendren doesn’t need an apology, Hendren doesn’t deserve an apology, and the only reason Hendren wants an apology is so he can misuse it.

So he’s not going to get one.

In fact, I won’t be apologising for the same reason I think Bob Piper shouldn’t have apologised over Praguetory’s nonsense and Tom Watson shouldn’t have apologised in response to the faux-outrage that followed Sion Simon’s Webcameron adventure.

Mistakes and errors have been admitted to, comments are still open, no-one is being bullied under comments by single web users with multiple personalities and no effort has been made to retro-moderate this site or any other in an effort to rewrite history.

Please keep this in mind if anyone tries to pass off this refusal to apologise as anything near their level of bad-faith bullshit.

Hendren is only kicking up an artificial stink over this because he desperately needs an ‘out’ after publishing my home phone number on his website and then calling me at home a minimum of six times. It’s not the sort of thing you can do and then pass off as a joke (which is Hendren’s usual escape route), and even the dimmest of web users (not counting the most ardent of his followers) know that ‘taking it offline’ like this is unacceptable, and that doing it and then calling your victim a stalker in the same fetid breath is the height of audacity.

And on the subject of strategically yelling ‘stalker’, here’s your bonus link from a few years back. You may spot a few old tricks that are now used by the new boys from Torytown.

Final wrap-up on the calls to my house later this week.

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 4, 2008

Category: UK Libel Law

I’ve had my differences* with some of the peeps over at Harry’s Place, too (over bullying and bullshit under comments if you can believe that) but I’ll stand with them over this:

Ministry of Truth – Harry’s Place threatened with legal action: Now, as I see it and on the basis of the material in these articles, especially the screenshot in the original post, then as long as the allegation is not that Harry’s Place mistranslated the contention passage then the BMI has no cause for genuine complaint against anyone but Al Jazeera. Not only that, but any dispute over exactly what was said could be readily cleared up if Al Jazeera were simply to give an explanation for why the article was retrospectively altered. Either it made a mistake, that David responded to in good faith, in which case [it] should say so, allowing him to amend his remarks accordingly, or it got the original report right only then to cave in and make changes under some sort of pressure. In neither scenario is litigation justified or warranted against HP as any issue that BMI might have over the text published by Al Jazeera is with Al Jazeera itself – or it should be and would be were it not for our berzerker libel laws.

Please be warned that linking to the original article at Harry’s Place makes you a potential target of legal threats.

UPDATE – Here’s a useful round-up of events from Melanie Philips.

(*I’ve just had a quick read-through of the relevant article from 2005 – i.e. long before Dale, Staines etc. declared themselves to be the fathers and rulers of the blogosphere – and I’ve noticed some startling parallels, but now’s not the time. I’ll link it later.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 3, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

1. It was a mistake not to consider John Hirst as a suspect in the Ironed Sardine matter, especially when there’s an obvious reason why he may not have been aware of many of the things that were so wrong about it. Phil Hendren (aka ‘Dizzy’) is well within his rights to give me a hard time about that… to a limited extent. (More in a bit.) Similarly, Iain Dale is pretty much beside himself, but he can’t be blamed for taking this rare chance to cast doubt on clear and established facts (such as the clear and established fact that he was taking the figure for ‘visits’ and presenting it as the number of ‘unique visitors’). Staines can’t be too far behind with a similar game plan.

(Right here is where an apology would normally go, but ‘Dizzy’ can whistle for it. He has a track record of sock-puppeting and so only has himself to blame if eyebrows are raised over sock-puppets that appear when he’s on the warpath. And on that note…)

2. I have no choice but to take John Hirst off my blogroll. If you’re going to fight this corner it is a mistake to think that sock-puppeting and/or creating anonymous attack websites is in any way acceptable, even if one only takes it from a practical point of view. At the time, Dorries was playing the victim, even though she had no visible or credible evidence to back her claims. The Ironed Sardine site was evidence on a platter. Even if it was the type she was unable to promote, it was such a fundamentally stupid and flawed idea, I honestly didn’t consider for more than a moment that anyone on our side of that dispute could be behind it, because it just didn’t make any sense. It’s also worth looking at the way that Iain Dale and even ‘Dizzy’ (a proven sock-puppeteer) are using this to their advantage any time you might be tempted to counter their use and abuse of sock-puppeting with a little sock-puppeting of your own. If you want to be anonymous, generally that’s fine. If you want to pretend to be someone else (or five different people) or attack someone’s reputation anonymously, don’t expect me to be at all happy about it.

3. I’ve blogged about Phil Hendren publishing my unlisted number on his website and calling me at home this March. There’s more to come, but I’ve also blogged about him calling me at home in June of this year, and in that most recent post I also mentioned “calls in recent months involving some anonymous sod who hangs up when my wife answers”. Hendren’s response to this is below:

Fuck all to do with me mate. I don’t expect you to believe that of course, and clearly I cannot prove a negative, but I suggest having your telco provider bar withheld number at their switch for a start. You have my landline number so feel free to have the records checked. I have called you on two occassions with six calls where we have both hung up on the other. That was one day in March and then one day in June. That’s it. You are free to publish this email as well.

Phil Hendren also claims to have erased my number from his mobile/computer/memory/etc., but late yesterday afternoon my wife took a call from a man who did not want to leave his name and instead said he would call me on my mobile. No call came through on the mobile, but even with recent events in mind I’m still feeling reckless enough to assume that this might be because ‘Dizzy’ didn’t find out what my mobile number was when he hacked a database called a friend on the off chance they would have it called around people/companies in “a very small industry” posing as who-knows-what seeking it out happened across my unlisted home phone number, which he now describes as “publicly accessible”.

The thrust of the above is that Hendren has left a trail of changed stories on this front, which is a mistake if he wants or needs me or anyone else to believe his story when he finally decides on one. And, as with his track-record for sock-puppeting, he only has himself to blame if eyebrows are raised over mystery calls that happen when he’s on the warpath.

[Despite recent distractions, you still need to get your story straight, ‘Dizzy’. How did you get that number? Was it six calls to my home or more? What’s your plan for when one of my kids answers the phone? Oh, and if I want advice on how to deal with nuisance calls, I’d just as soon not take it from a nuisance caller, no matter how experienced he might be.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 2, 2008

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

VIDEO: Vanity Fair – On the WaterboardHow does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantanamo and elsewhere. has the footage.

ARTICLE: Christopher Hitchens – Believe Me, It’s Torture: You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning – or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure.

Hooray for our side. Ain’t this war on terrism a magnificent, worthy and well-conducted affair? (via)

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 2, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Well, it looks like Phil Hendren isn’t the only retro-moderating right-wing blogger on the loose today; Nadine Dorries is busily rearranging her website to avoid the consequences of a complaint she was laughing off just a few short days ago.

Too bad for her that I have copies saved. This is something you eventually get into a habit of doing when you’re obsessive when you’re dealing with a whole tribe of pseudo-bloggers who have a history of changing their website(s)/profile(s), inventing back-stories and/or and claiming that this or that never happened.


Unity says it best right here:

Call it a ‘code of honour’ if you like, but the general gist is that reverse-engineering your way out of an embarrassing situation is a no-no and a major breach of ethics in a medium in which reputation and transparency of behaviour are part of the social glue that keeps the medium ticking over.

Speaking of deletions and reputations, I was reminded of a past event this morning by Nadine’s most recent nonsense and Phil Hendren’s outrage over a ‘set up’ and – after checking one the darker corners of the web and seeing that this too has been retro-moderated out of existence – I can finally file a full report without fear of inadvertently libelling Nadine Dorries in the process:

Way back when Nadine Dorries was levelling false accusations at Dr Ben Goldacre, Ellee Seymour was busily retro-moderating her website to keep pesky facts at bay, and Phil Hendren (aka ‘Dizzy’) was helpfully running interference by being a deliberate pain in the arse, ‘Dizzy’ managed to get not-at-all-outraged when someone laid a little honey-trap for me that was so OTT it was actually damaging to the woman he claimed to be defending at the time.

The events are best explained by publishing this email that I sent to Nadine Dorries in November last year (and no, she didn’t reply to it):

—– Original Message —–
From: Tim Ireland
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 2:51 PM
Subject: URGENT: actionable claims

Dear Nadine,

Just in case you’re not already aware, the following anonymous weblog was created by persons unknown in the early hours of Saturday morning:

An attempt was made to anonymously publish links to that URL at the following websites:

Buddhism – Base science and branches

Each of the webmasters of the above websites took swift action to remove the URL and/or references to it (example)…

… but you should be aware that the person behind this website will most likely continue in their attempts to – by implication – smear those who have been critical of you, while not giving a damn about the possible cost to yourself.

(In case it is not clear, I am aware of the rumour behind the most actionable claim made on this anonymous weblog, and I have expressed a view on it here [snip])

I have my suspicions about who is behind the anonymous weblog but, sadly, cannot share them with you.

I can, however, issue you with a warning that what appears to be a clear trail to the person behind it (the IP address that appears as if it were used to create the anonymous weblog and make a relevant edit to Wikipedia: see below) is almost certainly a FALSE one, laid out for my benefit.

Nevertheless, I have already issued an abuse report [*] to the relevant provider, as this could be an important first step to confirming – at least – if any IP shenanigans are afoot.

You may wish to issue a complaint to about the content, but you should also be aware that I’ve been involved in a similar case…

… and Blogger will in these cases either refuse to remove the material and/or ‘helpfully’ suggested that you get in touch with the site owner (who, obviously, is going to great lengths to mask their identity).

This anonymous weblog had a tracking package in place that was not only accessible to the public, but openly dangled. It provides the following data about the first tracked visits to the anonymous weblog that clearly show referrals from Blogger-based URLs indicating that this first tracked visitor is also the blog creator:

The same IP address was logged during this (since corrected) edit at Wikipedia:

I cannot stress enough that I think this is a false trail laid out for my benefit, but it might regardless pay to check the IP addresses used to submit to you – via comments and email – the ‘vicious and personal’ material you claim to have received and see if is among them.


Tim Ireland

PS – I do look forward to the day when you can allow comments on your site again, not least because it will save me a small amount of time and effort. I would heartily recommend the use of WordPress, which is far superior to your current platform in every respect, but will also say that you will have difficulty regardless of platform until you deliver the apology that Ben Goldacre deserves.

[*I got nothing back from that report, BTW.]

This was, in short, a joe-job and a honey trap:

The creator was attempting to pose as an opponent of Dorries under comments on several weblogs, thereby establishing those bloggers as co-bullies and publishers of links to clear libel. If it were left at that, it would be potentially damaging to all opponents of Dorries.

If I blogged about the joe-job and/or followed the trail that was so obviously dangled, there was clear risk of repeating the libel myself and making false claims about the person(s)/organisations using the relevant IP address.

Now, I wish to stress here that this was an effort to damage the opponents of Nadine Dorries with no thought for the damage it might cause her; the claims made about her sex life were quite specific and quite explicit.

(Obviously I’m not going to give any details, but the relevant Wikipedia edit should give you a good idea of how low this one person would go.)

And yet Phil Hendren, who was right there and part of the conversation when this site was created and promoted, has so far managed to contain his outrage about that attempted set-up.

Unless, of course, he somehow missed it or was simply trying to be as cautious/considerate as I was.

[Over to you, ‘Dizzy’. What are your thoughts on the unknown author of the ‘Ironed Sardine’ weblog? Got any moral outrage to spare, me old mucker? Just while we’re waiting for our mystery player to get back from their holiday…]

UPDATE – It was John Hirst’s idea of a joke, apparently. More here.

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 1, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Dizzy’s back, and it looks like he brought a bottle of angria home from his holiday. The short version is that he’s skipping the important bits and basing part of his (constantly changing) side of the story on a retro-moderated post.

While we wait for Mr Hendren to get his story straight (and for someone else to get back from their holiday), here’s a group of angry young men who really, really, really wish they were The Jam:

UPDATE (2 Jul) – 1. Gosh, did you see what I did there? Upon updating the post, I actually gave an indication that the post had been updated. I didn’t pretend that all of this was said yesterday like that retro-moderating dipstick Phil Hendren (who, regardless, is in no position to lecture anybody about failing to link to what they’re talking about).

2. This whole “Tell your mother that I’m not talking to her!” routine is a wee bit absurd and tiresome, but made necessary by a man so childish that he (still!) redirects inbound links from me and refuses all forms of direct communication… when he’s not calling me at home and telling me about his sex life.

3. Incidentally, we’re still not sure if he’s called on more than two occasions (a total of six times). There have been some calls in recent months involving some anonymous sod who hangs up when my wife answers. Phil may wish to declare something on that front before we go any further, but don’t get your hopes up for anything beyond him screaming ‘conjecture’.

4. He’s had a very long time to get his story straight, and he’s not doing very well. The best example of this is the ever-changing story about how he got my number, but more on that – and details of his latest call – a bit further on. I’d like to put this to bed, but I really am waiting for someone else to get back from holiday.

5. It’s your call, but others might wish to hang back a bit, too. No sense going off half-cocked on a total cock.

6. Contrary to what ‘Dizzy’ may think or say at the moment, I’m not making anonymous comments on his website. That’s more his kind of thing than mine. Oh, and the time previous to this when ‘Dizzy’ first called my home to yell at me (after publishing my phone number on his website)? It all started when that sock-puppeting fool (and his wannabe chum Praguetory) claimed that Tom Watson was sock-puppeting on his website… but comments that he claimed were from Tom Watson were made at the very moment we were watching Tom Watson in the House on live television! He didn’t appreciate me disturbing his version of reality at all, but at least he found an excellent excuse to later delete the exchange.

(Scenario #1: Tom smuggles a laptop into the Commons and makes anonymous comments on Phil Hendren’s website during the Budget because what ‘Dizzy’ thinks is *that* important. Scenario #2 – Tom gives a loyal underling access to his account so he/she may make comments in his place while, in the manner of a character in one of Jeffrey Archer’s shittiest short stories, he uses his appearance in the House as an alibi, because what ‘Dizzy’ thinks is *that* important. Scenario #3 – Tom’s account was hacked, because his password was ‘1234’.)

7. Any fool any fool bar one should be able to see that Nine Below Zero were not being praised yesterday, but here’s a clue for the slowpokes:

“… Dizzy only rated a mention because he cared enough to call me at home. Again.” – (Me @ CY)

And now, here’s a group of passionate young men (getting plenty of action) who really, really, really wish they were Duran Duran. Too bad they can’t even manage to get the boat out of the bloody harbour:

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 30, 2008

Category: Flash Music Video, Games and Objects

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

You will watch my new video. You will link to my new video. You will express your love and admiration for my new video. Once these tasks are complete, you will awake feeling alert and refreshed.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 27, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Civil action can be quite pricey and sometimes dicey, but for those with no time for critics and no taste for accountability, there is an alternative… call the cops and scream ‘harassment’:

Slugger O’Toole – Power of arrest used against Belfast blogger: I cannot and do not wish to speak to the veracity of Murray’s claims against the individuals named on his website. Free speech is rightly moderated by a civil code that gives both sides the opportunity to put their case before a court of law. There is certainly a case for the involvement of the police if a blogger, or one of their commenters implies physical threats against a specific individual. But I’ve been through Murray’s blog and have not been able to find any evidence of such; which might explain why no charges appear to have been preferred. If Malachi is right, the use of police power of arrest appears to have been used directly against a citizen for criticising several public figures on the Internet. That’s a development that should worry more than just the citizens of Belfast.

[Psst! On the subject of (ahem) strategic use of recent harassment law, do take the time to learn more about Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 27, 2008

Category: Gordon Brown, The Political Weblog Movement, The War on Stupid, Tories! Tories! Tories!

1. The reason there aren’t more results for the “Which right-wing ‘blogger’ are you?” quiz; the wannabes (who I’ll be kind enough not to list here) all copy the techniques used by Mummy blogger and Daddy blogger, so there’s very little difference between them. (Outsiders should take note that this quiz relates only to pseudo-bloggers from the right, not genuine bloggers from the right.)

2. The totally non-partisan and not at all right-wing magazine wad of junk mail Total Politics has a chart of the (alleged) “Greatest Speeches of All Time”. There were some red faces yesterday when it emerged that Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech was named one of the very greatest. Not *the* greatest, mind. Only third-greatest. The top two spots are taken by… Ronald Reagan.

(rolls eyes)

Iain’s problem (the same problem experienced with 18 Doughty Street) is going to be that he sees things like this… and doesn’t see a problem.

Another case in point; while lecturing Nelson Mandela on political/moral leadership, Iain has published an outright “Hang Mandela” comment in this discussion thread. Moderation is on (and has been on for months). This means that Iain has to read each comment before it’s cleared for publication. This comment – “Hang Nelson Mandela” – was seen and approved before publication, and not deleted, moderated or challenged by Iain Dale. I can’t wait to hear his excuse for this one. (via)

3. Onto a different but equally distorted world, I’d like to heartily endorse this item from Terence Blacker:

Terence Blacker: A teacher takes off his shirt. Cue panic: It is a simple of story of teacher-bullying, but with the unusual gloss that the child bullies were rewarded by the education authorities, who joined in the campaign of persecution. The victim became the villain. What has been more interesting has been the reaction of other teachers and from the media. While any sane adult or teenager could see that Mr Rouse had merely been a bit of chump, the response in the press has been to eroticise the incident. What the stripping teacher did, the implication has been, had some kind of murky, intimate motive…. A weird and not entirely healthy act of psychological transference seems to be taking place. By interpreting innocent acts, whether taking off a shirt or playing tennis, as erotic, the prudes and pervs of today are revealing their own sexual restiveness.

Well noted, and well said.

Ditto for the Heinz Deli Mayo ad nonsense. The only thing remotely offensive about it is that the (weak) joke relies on a common assumption that women make the sandwiches.

[For the record: (a) a woman makes most of the sandwiches in our house, (b) I have actually used this product, (c) on more than one sandwich that I made myself, and (d) the garlic variety is really quite tasty.]

Moving on…

4. The Times – Labour finish behind BNP in election humiliation: Labour came a humiliating fifth place behind the BNP and the Greens last night in the Henley by-election caused by Boris Johnson’s election as London Mayor. Gordon Brown’s first anniversary as Labour leader began with the party securing only 1,066 votes, losing its £500 deposit, and having its working majority in the House of Commons cut to 65, as John Howell, the Conservative candidate, succeeded Mr Johnson in the Oxfordshire seat.

Ouch. A terrible end to an awful first year for Gordon Brown (more).

(But don’t get me wrong… I’m still glad that this lying, torturing murdering bastard is gone.)

5. Meanwhile another disaster looms… but who will face eviction? That’s right folks, here comes the Big Brother by-election!

(Name/idea blatantly stolen from David Icke, but that’s OK… he still owes me for nicking my images.)

PA – Davis to face 25 rivals in election: David Davis will face 25 other candidates in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, the acting returning officer has confirmed. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have already said they will not take part in the contest. But a range of individuals and smaller parties had officially thrown their hats into the ring by the time nominations closed. These include the well-known conspiracy theorist David Icke, Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate Mad Cow-Girl and Miss Great Britain, Gemma Garrett. Among the other parties that will be on the ballot paper is the Church of Militant Elvis Party and a representative of Make Politicians History. Nominations for poll closed on Thursday afternoon and voting will be on July 10. (via)

26 housemates and one big eviction night, how can the punters possibly resiszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..snrk*.

Wha? Where? Oh, sorry, dropped off for a bit there.

6. To close, here are some links relating to the Blog Nation event:

Liberal Conspiracy – Pictures from Blog Nation <--- includes links to many more Charlie Beckett – The UK Left Blogosphere: staring defeat in the face
Dave Cole – Blog Nation part 2: qu’est-que c’est le blog?

Don’t expect much from me just yet. I’m a busy beaver for the next few days and I need a leisurely walk or two before I can really think things out.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 25, 2008

Category: Tories! Tories! Tories!

Telegraph – Conservative expenses row: David Cameron says MPs have to be ‘open and accountable’: David Cameron has pledged to get tough with MPs and MEPs who break the rules over their expenses following a series of Conservative sleaze allegations… “We have got to recognise as MPs it is not enough just to meet the letter of the rules we have to be happy that everything we put in place for funding our offices is something that reasonable and practical people would look at and say ‘That’s OK.'”

Cow cookies!

As usual, Cameron seems like a perfectly reasonable gent until you ask him to deliver something other than a sermon.

UPDATE – Progress on a related matter… well done, Sunny!

Pandora – Dorries in blogosphere battle: Having recently faced defeat over her controversial abortion bill, Nadine Dorries is embroiled in another row – over her website. The Tory member’s blog – which, of course, Pandora reads regularly – has attracted criticism for its personal attacks on opponents. One recent post included a picture of comely housing minister Caroline Flint alongside drawings of the considerably-less-comely Pinocchio. “Don’t call me a liar, minister,” reads the entry. “It will come back to bite you.” Sunny Hundal, editor of the Liberal Conspiracy blog, complained to the Parliamentary Standards Commission, voicing concerns that Dorries may fund the site with taxpayers’ money. “We noticed it a few weeks ago,” Hundal tells me. “We’ve got a letter saying the complaint is to be taken seriously.” Dorries denies using public money. The Commissioner has written urging Dorries to make her funding arrangements known.

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