Posted by Tim Ireland at November 16, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Matt Wardman – Usmanov lawyer Schillings take stand on Pakistan censorship

Independent media and journalists have been the target of sweeping press censorship and attack? How dreadfully, dreadfully shocking.

(Psst! I have an update on the UK libel law thing that I need to run with soon… when we’ve finished picking on girls.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 16, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

As noted yesterday, Rachel Joyce has thrown a ruddy great spanner in the works by unexpectedly standing up for herself without inventing, creating and/or hiding behind anonymous personal attacks.

I’m still getting over the shock of it. Who would have expected such a thing from a woman?

Of course she has no way of knowing why Sim-O is asking her these questions [rolls eyes] but I would guess that it might have something to do with her status as a supporter of Nadine Dorries and her stance on abortion.

That, or Sim-O’s dipping her pigtails in the inkwell because I dared him to because he secretly really, really likes her.

Meanwhile, Sim-O isn’t the only bully in the playground; Jherad is picking on this poor, unsuspecting woman, resulting in yet another shock refusal to invent, create and/or hide behind anonymous personal attacks.

Tch. These girls aren’t playing fair if they refuse to fight dirty.

I think it might be time to pick on someone more vulnerable, fellas. Watch for announcements on Monday.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 15, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

18 Doughty Street has plenty of money and is moving to new premises as part of a bold new expansion. At least, that’s what the official press release states, and who am I to question it?

Hell, if you need any further confirmation that this is all on the up-and-up-and-ever-upwards, just check out what Iain Dale has to say:

Iain Dale – 18 Doughty Street Set For 2008 Westminster Expansion

Look! See? He even uses the word ‘expansion’ in his headline. You can’t get firmer than that.

It is a pity, though, (as Iain notes in his post) that some people have taken to saying untrue things in the comments of other weblogs.

Tch. It’s just *awful* the way some people gossip, isn’t it?

Poor Iain.

And his pioneering attempts to have an open and honest dialogue with the electorate have been further frustrated by “smears, bile and libels” (you can see some of it here) over his now-confirmed status as a potential prospective Tory parliamentary candidate for Maidstone and the Weald.

Now Iain will have to be even *more* aware of the implications of people saying say untrue things on weblogs.

Heh. OK, enough teasing. Paul Linford is right in what he says here and here. If someone currently laying into Dale for being coy about his political intentions is themselves not mentioning their own intentions regarding parliamentary selection, that’s not on. They should own up or shut up.

[Psst! Um, hello? Tory candidate selection people? Hi. If you’re reading this, I’d like to be taken into account as a possible negative factor, please. I can’t imagine that even wild horses would drag me away from watching how Iain and his activists conduct themselves in a campaign for a seat. Especially after what happened in recent by-elections.]

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 15, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Congratulations to Sim-O, who has let the side down admirably by badgering poor Rachel Joyce into making this statement:

I have met Nadine and I know she is a woman of the utmost integrity. She believes very strongly in her stand on abortion – worth reading her blog on her views etc.
I am not going to get involved in the submissions to this committee and who said what etc.

Now this may seem, on the face of it, as a totally unreasonable refusal to acknowledge the matter at all, but you’d be wrong to think that for two reasons:

For starters, Sim-O’s request-for-comment contains Too Many Words and, as we all know, women are not capable of reading and retaining anything longer than your average baking recipe… and even then they have to take it one step at a time.

Also, women are (and have been since cavemen times) excellent judges of character. Rachel Joyce, having met Nadine Dorries and sized her up as “a woman of the utmost integrity” with a unique radar capability that only women possess, is again well within her rights to ignore any evidence to the contrary.

But we’re not here to be fair to these ‘people’, are we? We’re here to pick on right-wing representatives of the weaker sex.

So extra credit will be awarded to the first person who successfully (and quite unfairly) challenges Rachel Joyce on her refusal to comment on the issue at all.

(Please remember that Rachel has comment moderation enabled, so any attempt to get a comment past this barrier could be interpreted as a penetrative/invasive act. In other words; go for it!)

UPDATE (5:30pm) – OK, folks…. those who have been watching will already know how horribly this has backfired; Rachel Joyce has amazed everyone by proving that a woman can stand up for herself without resorting to personal attacks while claiming victim status. Sim-O has complicated matters further by stupidly denying a woman the last word. More on this unmitigated disaster tomorrow.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 14, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Today, I request that a few regular readers (if you’re thinking “Who, me?”, then “Yes, you.”) each choose one poor, vulnerable, politically-minded and right-leaning woman with a website or weblog (commentator, journalist, activist, etc.) and invade her space in the following manner:

a) By sending her a polite email


b) By making a polite comment on her blog (with any required apology for it being off-topic)

Basically, I want you to ask that woman what they make of the Nadine Dorries affair.

Make sure that you use the usual intimidating phrases (such as ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘would you mind awfully’) that are certain to send a chill up her spine when she logs on and is unexpectedly confronted with a polite request (possibly late at night, when it’s all dark and spooky outside).

And then report back with any responses and/or failures to reply.

Simple, yes?

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 13, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Just a quick note for everyone who is watching what’s going on with the developing spin and censorship storm that started with Nadine Dorries:

Praguetory has just turned up with this comment over at Ellee Seymour’s, and this comment over at Iain Dale’s.

Take a look at the narrative he’s building.

Observe how neatly it’s stitched into the Tory ‘rape conviction’ push and the ‘NuLab trolls’ conspiracy theory.

There’s only one way to deal with something like this:

Yes, starting tomorrow, it’s Let’s All Pick on Vulnerable Right-Wing Chicks Week.

I guarantee you fun, laughter, and some special surprises.

Who’s with me? Who’s bloody with me?

(calls Brown’s office)
(arranges funding)

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 12, 2007

Category: Teh Interwebs

If you ever encounter a profile in Facebook using the name ‘Tim Ireland’, it’s not mine.

In a measure that’s long overdue (and prompted by Justin’s decision) I’m parting company with Facebook today.

Originally, it was one of the most annoying things about Facebook that made me join it; referral links were coming in to the Anne Milton weblog from a Facebook-based group of local Tories, and the only way to view what had been said in this supposedly public discussion was to sign up.

And since signing up, I’ve been pestered, prodded and poked by some people who I do want to network with – and many more that I don’t.

I have email. I have a website with networking capabilities.

I do not need to be lumbered with this pester-tech.

I have no wish to be alerted by email that a text-based message (that they could have delivered in the first fucking place via email) is awaiting me at Facebook.

I certainly have no desire to put a begging button on my site in search of what they laughingly classify as ‘friendship’.

I no longer wish to use Facebook, or be associated with it in any way.

And, as a true show of friendship, as my last act on Facebook, I’ll be messaging all of those people whose invites I did accept (in moments of weakness) and warn them via a short message and a link to this post that they are victims of a particularly nasty social disease and invited to join me for the only cure.

I will then be deactivating my account.

Hello, friends.

Fuck off, Facebook.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 12, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

[Note – You may at some stage need to right-click on any links to Dizzy’s website and paste them in a new browser tab or window, as he has a track record of not only hampering open debate by refusing to use outbound links, but also by fouling inbound links. Clicking on links via rather than using the navigational information in those links could result in you being redirected to a NSFW website.]


Dizzy is a remarkably close associate of Iain Dale’s. Until recently (i.e. until I mentioned it as a relevant aspect in a recent exchange), Dizzy was listed as a contributor to Iain’s website. As noted above, Dizzy also helped Iain enact a code that deliberately fouled page/target-specific inbound links from this website. Iain has also been caught attempting to BCC Dizzy on our email conversations. Finally, in a vote hosted and conducted by Iain Dale, Dizzy has been ranked as the 3rd-best blogger in all of Britain, which is nice.

Dizzy also has a track record of issuing vague and/or veiled threats and – a point crucial to this particular post – engaging in dishonest and misleading attacks in order to misrepresent the argument given, undermine the evidence provided, undermine the reputation of the person making the argument or producing the evidence, and/or undertaking attacks on tangential matters in order to draw attention away from the core issue and related evidence.

Finally, Dizzy is a self-confessed and unapologetic user of sock-puppets.

Late on Friday night, Dizzy returned to the comment thread under this post (happily, using his main ID for once), spoiling for a fight. You can see him charging in on another tangent in the comments under this post.

He was not there to engage in honest debate. He certainly wasn’t there to address the core issue of what had happened on Ellee Seymour’s website.

No, he was there to waste my time (at a time when I had little time/capacity to spare) and even said so at the time.

As was noted when I slapped a well-earned 12-hour ban on him, he was clearly taking the piss in a thread about unfair use of comment moderation, because he thought that I wouldn’t dare to edit or ban him for fear of being called a hypocrite (and/or that he could goad me into a position that would allow him convincingly scream “Hypocrite!”).

Now Dizzy has decided that he is ready to discuss the Ellee Seymour issue, but on his own blog and on terms that are far from honest.

And that’s the only thing that has me blogging today, as what we have here is another common tactic used by dishonest bloggers (Paul Staines and Iain Dale have used it repeatedly), and this textbook example warrants documentation:

How To Misrepresent Your Opponent’s Position More Effectively via the Simple Omission of Hyperlinks

Dizzy Thinks – It’s all so trivial really!

Now, as you can see, I’ve started out by linking to the specific post I’m talking about.

Watch carefully as I do it again:

Dizzy Thinks – It’s all so trivial really!

However, in his post (the one that I link to above; here, watch as I link to it a third time), Dizzy provides two general links to the websites of the people involved, but has not linked to any of the specific posts or comments (at Ellee’s site or mine) that he’s talking about and/or basing his accusations on.

Why? Because much of what he says in that post is addressed, refuted or directly contradicted at both locations (I say “much of” because this new post of his includes some brand new nonsense, as well as the material that he has already tried and failed to gain ground with here under comments or via email).

Basically, specific hyperlinks would lead his readers to material that fatally undermines his argument and/or the claims that form the foundation of his argument, and we can’t have that, now can we?

Let me show you what I mean with a quick fisk of the guts of this post, which represents the core of his argument:

In recent days the female blogger Ellee Seymour has found herself the latest target of the ever so tenacious Tim Ireland. This attack has followed the now standard modus operandi of any of Tim’s targeted onslaughts. (source)

Anyone reading the relevant exchange (or even what’s left of it) should be able to see that even if my response could be classified as an attack, that it all kicked off with this anonymous comment, which is clearly an attack on my reputation and that of Ben Goldacre, that Ellee subsequently refused to address, challenge, moderate or investigate.

But Dizzy’s readers are not given ready access to this information, only his version of events.

However, putting aside the content of the comment which Tim considers a libelous smear, it’s worth noting what happened next. (source)

See here how Dizzy frames his narrative in a way that suggests that the comment (that he does not share with his readers) was not specifically designed to damage my reputation and that of Ben Goldacre. He even edits the Goldacre aspect out before neatly putting the whole matter to one side.

But Dizzy’s readers are not given ready access to this information, only his version of events.

He started to email Ellee demanding the IP address of the person that posted. (source)

This is not what happened at all. Every scrap of data emailed to Ellee was published in this post that Dizzy is talking about but not linking to, and at no time was I “demanding the IP address of the person that posted.”

But Dizzy’s readers are not given ready access to this information, only his version of events.

When Ellee refused, quite rightly, to disclose the data belonging to her users the attack took on a more aggressive edge with veiled legal threats relating, bizarrely, to EU laws and commercial astroturfing. (source)

As was made clear in this post, warnings of legal implications also took into account the (unknown) reaction Ben Goldacre might have to the smear. But Dizzy has already edited this bit out of the equation. And neatly put it to one side.

But Dizzy’s readers are not given ready access to this information, only his version of events.

Dizzy is also claiming, as part of my “veiled legal threats,” that I referred to “EU laws and commercial astroturfing.”

This clearly isn’t the case, as the relevant URL provided to Ellee via email can be seen in the post that Dizzy is talking about but not linking to.

Have a quick peek and see what the article is about for yourselves:

The Register – Judge orders football website to name ‘libellous’ posters: A UK judge has ordered a football fans’ website to hand over details of posters who made potentially defamatory remarks about directors of Sheffield Wednesday… Judge Parkes [also] said that some of the postings, although arguably defamatory, bordered on the trivial. The identity of posters who made remarks that were trivial or likely to be understood as jokes ought to remain under wraps. “The postings which I regard as more serious are those which may reasonably be understood to allege greed, selfishness, untrustworthiness and dishonest behaviour on the part of the claimants,” Judge Parkes said.

With access to that link and a link to the comment that Ellee published (and allowed to stand unmolested), a reader would be well-informed enough to make their own judgement as to whether or not that comment could be viewed as deliberately or “potentially defamatory” (i.e. injurious to reputation) and therefore likely to be subject to a legal outing or “trivial or likely to be understood as jokes” and not subject to a legal outing.

But Dizzy’s readers are not given ready access to this information, only his version of events.

Now watch this one, as it’s the almighty whopper, and it will appear in an upcoming test:

At this point a reference to a recent legal precedent on this very subject is required I think. A case has just closed about postings on Sheffield Wednesday message boards where the unfounded suggestion was made that the Wednesday CEO “blew money on hookers”. The judge, Richard Parkes QC, refused to force the bulletin board owners to disclose the IP address details of posters saying, “I do not think that it would be right to make an order for the disclosure of the identities of users who have posted messages which are barely defamatory or little more than abusive, or likely to be understood as jokes.” The judge also said that the messages “border on the trivial” and were “no more than saloon bar moanings”. (source)

[You there! At the back! Pick your jaw up off the floor and get back to your desk!]

Yes, Dizzy has used the *same* case to back his argument, but has failed to mention the part where the judge *did* order disclosure of details of posters who made comments that were somewhat less-than-trivial… which he can only do successfully for as long as his readers are kept away from this or any other reliable article about the case and the comment that he would have them think is trivial.

And, amazingly, he’s doing it while claiming that I had referenced an entirely different/meaningless case.

But Dizzy’s readers are not given ready access to this information, only his version of events.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Oh, no, sorry… my mistake. It’s clearly a personal attack that I’ve undertaken for strategic political purposes.

Upcoming Lessons

Speaking of which, Dizzy also took the time to send me the following via email when he was relentlessly venting this weekend:

“What will happen when I start to talk about the other aliases that you’ve used online in the past few years?”

I asked him to give me an example or two, and he replied:

“You don’t honestly think I’m going to tell you that yet do you?”… “I’ll put up at a time of my choosing.”

Now, do correct me if I’m wrong, but if it’s pertinent to the debate, he should have brought it up during that debate, yes?

Otherwise, it’s just (*audible gasp*) a threat; an attempt to intimidate me into silence over his sock-puppeting shenanigans that – unfortunately for him – clearly telegraphs the purpose of his actions should he ever – somehow – make good on his threat.

I bring this up only to alert you to the possibility of a further lesson in How Not To Blog that is most likely to involve:

a) the same as above; Dizzy providing his version of events minus any relevant context or pesky evidence


b) completely falsified evidence that will allow Dizzy to enjoy the benefit of undermining my reputation with an ‘accidental’ right-wing blog explosion (involving many sites that will refuse me the right of reply when they joyfully repeat his claims) *and* the escape-route of claiming that he falsified the evidence ‘merely’ to prove how easy it is to do so.


Read this post and try to determine for yourselves why it is an excellent example of when it IS acceptable (and advisable) to not include links to what you are discussing. Extra credit will be given to those students who can work out where Garry’s example and Dizzy’s efforts might intersect, why some people might be upset that I didn’t follow the clear trail of breadcrumbs they left for me, and why you should not bother wasting time with that trail yourself.

Homework without paperwork? I do spoil you sometimes.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 12, 2007

Category: Updates

Late on Thursday night (happily, before I had printed out everything required for my Friday meeting) my computer was struck down by swollen capacitors.

The best option for repair was an under-warranty visit from a technician on Monday (today) and….


… the operation was a complete success!

Everything is fine and dandy, I have access to all of my data (and email) again, and I am no longer forced to make do with the rickety loaner that struggled to keep up with the demands of tabbed browsing alone.

Next: Educational fun and games with Dizzy.

UPDATE (1:45pm) – Zip zip zippety-zip! Oh, I almost forgot how wonderful life could be! I missed you, baby!

[hugs computer]

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 9, 2007

Category: Updates

Until further notice, I’m on a foreign and quite rickety computer.

I will be using what limited time and capacity I have to address and moderate comments here at Bloggerheads.

If you wish to reach me via email, bloggerheads DOT com AT googlemail DOT com is your best bet until Tuesday at the earliest.

Cheers all.

Oh, and well said Garry and Justin.

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