Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2008

Category: Anne Milton

Please check this post for a short but important update.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2008

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

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Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2008

Category: Consume!

Read this, please.

Sign here, please.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 14, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement, The War on Stupid

LOLCAT: SOCPA[Note: If you do not know what LOLCAT is, click here to find out.]
[Note: If you do not know what SOCPA is, click here to find out.]

About a week ago, I submitted a big pile of forms applying for permission under SOCPA to stage a series of events in Parliament Square.

The purpose and details of each event were described as follows:

Reason for event:

I HAS MESSAGE TO SHARE WITH PEOPLES

Additional information:

OH, HAI. THIS IS MY MESSAGE. I WILL CARRY AS BANNER OR WEAR MESSAGE IN BIG LETTERS ON T-SHIRT:

Then, on each form, I provided the message that I wanted to display prominently within the designated area. Each form specified a 15-minute window during which each individual message would be displayed.

The police took their sweet time granting approval (I had to request that the document be faxed this morning, and this was managed a mere 10 minutes before the first demonstration was due to start) but the important thing to remember is that permission was granted.

Here… look for yourself:

If the police receive an application that does not require police permission because the police do not regard your intended action to be a demonstration, they tell you so. Here’s an example of this kind of response:

OK, so by now you should be up to speed; here it is in a nutshell (and I really can’t stress enough how absurd this is)…

The police have, in their wisdom, decided that police permission is required before displaying *any* of the following messages within a designated area:

– I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?

– I MADE YOU A COOKIE… BUT I EATED IT

– DONT CRY PLEEZ GORDON… YOU CAN HAS COOKIE

– HABEUS CORPUS. NOT URS.

– I CAN HAS FREED SPEECH? KTHNXBYE

– FLOOR IS LAVA… SO I’S CLIMBIN UR FURNITUR

LOLCAT: hat do we want? – DO NOT WANT!

– ORLY?

– WMD? ORLY?

– IM IN UR DESIGNATED AREA… SUBVERTN UR LAWS

– IM IN UR DESIGNATED AREA… BEIN A LOUD SPKR

– OH, HAI!

– OH, HAI… IM DEMONSTRATIN!

– RANDOM CAT IS NOT AMUSED

– TAXPAYER CAT IS NOT AMUSED

– FEED TEH HUNGREES!

– GRARRGH! SURPRIZE GOATSE!

– A DREEM… I HAS ONE

– IM IN UR BEACHES… FIGHTN UR NAZIS

– I HAS THE TORTUR EVIDENZ… LET ME SHOW YOU DEMZ

– ZOMG!

– ZOMG! TERRIST! OH NOES!

– UR BEIN SILLY… SRSLY

– BUT I WUVS YOU

– KTHNXBYE!

I know… bizarre, isn’t it? I can understand some of the messages being interpreted as political in nature, but what has the world come to when you need police permission to ask if you can has a bloody cheeseburger within 1km of Parliament?!

LOLCAT T-Shirt*sigh*

WIN A ‘SOCPA: LOLCAT’ T-SHIRT!

Anyway, from today, I’m launching a brand new series of t-shirts that are illegal within a designated area without police permission.

All you have to do to win one (with the slogan of your choice) is break the law!

Simply pop down to Westminster, have your photo taken in front of Parliament while holding a sign that reads ‘I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?’ and send your photo to this email address:

manic AT bloggerheads DOT com

The first authentic photo in my inbox takes the prize.

:o)

Have fun, and have a happy Valentines Day.

(I love you Internets!)

[Psst! Police peeps! Some of us aren’t as tricky as you lot, and we’d appreciate permission being granted before the demonstration is actually due to take place. Lift your bloody game. Also, it’s generally a good idea to put your hand over the phone before saying something indiscreet (such as; “He’s obviously one of these people playing a game!”) to one of your colleagues.]

[Ta to Cornelli and AZAdam for their kitty images, altered and offered here under an attribution-share alike licence.]

UPDATE (16 Feb) – Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! D-Notice will be receiving an illegal t-shirt with his slogan of choice in the coming days. Shirts* should also be in the Bloggerheads shop soon, so hang in there.

(*Yes, every slogan used will first have to pass the ‘Do police regard it to be a demonstration?’ test first. I’m quite looking forward to the paperwork on some future non-LOLCAT slogans.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 13, 2008

Category: Flash Music Video, Games and Objects, The Political Weblog Movement, Video

You may recall Nick and Elroy appearing to defend Mr Secret Agent Man on an alternative and rather NSFW version of this Newsnight appearance. These chaps found their way out of a box during an attic-clearing process last year, and they now have a cosy little home (i.e. a brand new box) in my freshly-tidied office.

Nick and Elroy were built by me (along with another puppet that looks a lot like Michael Jackson when you take his sunglasses off) for the first music video I directed/produced for broadcast all the way back in 1995.

That video is now available online. I hope you enjoy it.

:o)

White Lines (D & S Remix) – Melle Mel and The Furious Five

Trivia: That’s about 20 Australian dollars worth of icing sugar, just in case you’re wondering. The puppets were built using an old stuffed polar bear and the arms from an atrocious cardigan. The location was decided by a total failure of a battery unit; we were forced to string a series of extension cords together and shoot the external footage in the alley behind the studio.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 13, 2008

Category: Christ...

With regards to the Christian religion, I keep myself a (mostly) respectful arm’s length from the fold.

I think this position is best encapsulated in the relevant category on my website; it’s titled “Christ…”

What you’ll find when you explore that category is (a) that I have a shocking level of intolerance for bigotry and those who exploit it and (b) that I’m likely to get especially riled up if people like that deliberately misrepresent someone else’s position in order to diddle fair debates and start false ones.

Key examples of this can be found here and here. In the latter, you’ll also see a fine example of sock-puppeting at work and – even though we’re all still enjoying half-time here – it would be remiss of me not to point out where some parallels between the skills of misinterpretation and sock-puppeting may exist.

(ahem)

I’m with Sunny.

And if you have any doubts about your own position*, I urge you to read Sunny’s article. And Garry’s. And Justin’s. And Septicisle’s.

[*Hint: The best place to start is by finding out what Rowan Williams actually said.]








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 13, 2008

Category: Gordon Brown, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

David Miliband: “There’s absolutely no question about the UK Government’s commitments in respect of torture, which is illegal, and our definition of what torture is.”

Liar.
Liar.
Pants on fire.

Even if we take his statement as the position of a new administration, one has to consider that Jack Straw is a senior member of Brown’s cabinet (unless of course they ask him to leave the room whenever torture policy is discussed) and the best we’ve seen out of them so far is this pissweak effort.

UPDATE – And now, a musical number especially for Jack Straw:








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 12, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Garry Smith encounters some difficulty when submitting a comment to the Sun website.

The Mail website is just as bad, if not worse. One can only wonder how these jokers got the idea that comment manipulation and censorship was in any way acceptable.

UPDATE – Oh, and I know that it’s half-time, but I really must link to Iain’s reaction to the same story that kicked off Garry’s post, even if only for reference purposes.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 12, 2008

Category: The War on Stupid

Julian Todd, bless him, put in a FOI request “for all the protest/arrest information which the Public Order Unit of the Home Office couldn’t be bothered to include in their Managing Protest Around Parliament consultation document.”

The relevant post is here.

The released documents can be accessed via this page.

Happy digging. Oh, and watch out for more SOCPA fun here at Bloggerheads soon. Really soon.








Posted by Tim Ireland at February 12, 2008

Category: Anne Milton, The Political Weblog Movement

First of all, let’s have a look at the sentiments expressed by our main performers on the subject of MP’s expenses:

“I believe the public are right to demand more transparency and openness when it comes to MPs staff, pay, allowances and expenses…” – David Cameron

“I believed it was vital to answer all media enquiries because clarity and openness is crucial to trust and confidence in the democratic process.” – Anne Milton

Now, let’s take a moment to see if they actually meant any of that….

I’m a poor, lowly constituent – and, arguably, a modest representative of the media – who’s having trouble getting answers to some pretty fair and straightforward questions about my MP’s expenses:

Bloggerheads – Anne Milton: possibly only a quarter as naughty as Derek Conway

So let’s see how far I get going over her head and having a quiet word with her boss:

To: David Cameron

CC: Anne Milton

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 4:30 PM

Subject: Anne Milton’s expenses

Dear David,

I’m having a little difficulty getting some answers out of my MP, Anne Milton, on the subject of her expenses.

She seems pretty quick off the mark (if less than forthright) when the local newspaper calls, but when a constituent with a more modest level of access to the media gets in touch, it seems to take days/weeks to get a response (on those occasions when I’m not being deliberately ignored).

Below are the questions that I put to Anne Milton a few days ago. They relate to this article on my website and roughly 13K in expenses paid to her husband, Dr Graham Henderson:
https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/02/anne_milton.asp

1. Where did Dr Graham Henderson carry out this work you describe? In your parliamentary office, your constituency office, from home…?

2. What evidence can you show your constituents of the work you claim was done by Dr Graham Henderson?

3. Was the work you claim was done by Dr Graham Henderson directly connected to the Save the Royal Surrey campaign, and – if so – what proof can you show of this?

4. You have said that your husband has done some work in the past year for which he has not been paid. What reassurance can you provide that he won’t be paid retrospectively?

5. Have any other members of your family been employed in this or any other way by your office?

Pretty fair questions given the circumstances, and I’d like to think that:

a) I’m well within my rights to expect timely answers

b) Timely answers shouldn’t present Anne with any difficulty if everything is above board

c) Timely answers are the least one should expect from a member of the shadow cabinet, given your clearly stated position that they should lead by example on this issue

If you’re not too busy, would you mind awfully giving Anne Milton a quiet nudge or hitting her over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper or something?

I mean, I’ve written an article about it and – just now – have published these questions…
https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/02/half-time_2.asp

… and it simply wouldn’t do to have the answers arrive so very late that they appear to be (to put it delicately) carefully formulated.

Cheers

Tim Ireland
www.bloggerheads.com

UPDATE (14 Feb) – Finally some answers from Anne Milton. Well, *one* anyway. Anne seems to think that the following is a satisfactory response to the questions listed above:

“I would like to assure you that all the staff I employ work extremely hard to ensure that I give my constituents the best service possible.” – Anne Milton

So much for clarity, transparency and openness.








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