You’ve Been Blogged!

Yesterday’s news that Nadine Dorries is going to take legal action against Derek Draper and Damian McBride came as no great surprise to anyone, seeing as it was all announced in April.

(The whole Smeargate scandal, as the affair has come to be called, is concisely summed up here for those who wish to refresh their addled memories.)

On the surface, it’s all a bit ‘ho-hum’ as far as I’m concerned.

All it seems to me to be is a couple of blokes with too much autonomy and a certain incompetent knack for rumour-mongering, who got caught out due to their own stupidity, although time will tell if anyone else higher up the food chain at Number 10 was involved – the organ grinders, as it were, rather than their dancing monkeys.

However, dig just a little deeper into the recent developments and it all becomes a little more interesting…

Yesterday, when the news first broke, you couldn’t read about it without hearing that two bloggers had served summonses on Draper and McBride.

Try and find exact quotes about events as reported yesterday and it’s not easy.

Mainly because yesterday’s reporting was so innaccurate and I’m guessing that the various editors pulled or fettled the original stories.

Even I, with my very limited legal knowledge, thought that it was strange that Guido and Tory Bear had suddenly branched out into some sort of quasi-legal sideline.

Times can’t be getting that hard, surely?

The truth of the matter, however, is that the two cheeky chappies had simply delivered letters before action or letters of claim – first steps before an actual summons.

In the case of Tory Bear, he could have delivered whatever the fuck he wanted – a Steinway Grand with the summons chiselled on the lid, or an elephant that shat out the summons in morse-coded dollops of crap – but it would have had no legal basis as it was Kate Garraway – Mrs Derek Draper – who accepted the letter and not Draper himself.

In the case of Tory Bear, you can see that this self-proclaimed ‘right wing blogger’ might indeed help Mrs Dorries who – in spite of everything that has been said about her, not to mention the expenses scandal – is still a Tory MP.

Fair enough, maybe help out a fellow Tory, but to film the letter being delivered and then to put that footage on his blog?

What a stunt…

In the case of Guido, it’s a little less clear.

Guido waits outside the school McBride is working at and then gives him his letter.

No video this time, but instead, on Guido’s blog, a rather strange picture of McBride in a rather bizarre outfit of white jacket and baseball cap (a bad sartorial combination, it has to be said).

Labels are pernicious, but they’re sometimes the only thing we’ve got, so when it’s widely understood that Guido is a right wing Libertarian then his actions yesterday are a little less comprehensible than Tory Bear’s.

OK, Guido was the blogger who broke the Smeargate story.

Well done.

He really stuck it to Draper and McBride.

I approve.

He showed us that life inside Number 10 was really rather squalid – nay, corrupt.

Great.

I’m not even going to try and take anything away from Guido – I admire the guy and wish him all the best in what has become big business and career success.

What I do object to is what he and Tory Bear may be doing to blogging through stunts such as yesterday’s.

Many people, myself included, think that the MSM is dead on its arse, biased, directly and knowingly instrumental in carrying out government policies, devious and corrupt.

Blogging seems to offer an alternative with its ability, in the hands of certain bloggers, to be used in a manner which is without the usual amount of self and vested interest found in the MSM.

Yes, of course many blogs are also full of opinion, but the better ones will also tolerate criticism and debate to temper and balance it.

No, blogging isn’t a direct replacement for a newspaper or a news bulletin but it certainly allows much freer discussion of what makes the headlines – and sometimes matters ‘they’ don’t even want to make the headlines.

Fair enough…

Knife someone in the back if they deserve it.

Give the blade a twist.

Tell people about it.

Boast about it.

Gloat over it.

I fucking would…

But tying a metaphorical blue ribbon to the metaphorical knife hilt and then attaching a little metaphorical calling card to it – after metaphorically absailing in from a metaphorical helicopter wearing a metaphorical black outfit like the fucking Milk Tray guy – is maybe going a little too far and pushes blogging into some of the areas we’ve come to despise in the MSM.

Of course, anyone can blog about anything they like in whatever manner they like, but then if their readers start to take their blogging less seriously than they used to and start to see more self-interest than content, they have only themselves to blame.

Nah…the whole Smeargate thing is starting to get a little bit too ‘You’ve Been Framed’ for me…

An open letter to bloggers

To whom it may concern –

I’ve read a lot of blogs critical of this present government which seem to be obsessed with the personal appearance of Labour politicians and revel in the comments made about it.
Quite why it’s a phenomenon that’s peculiar to a certain blog demographic, I don’t know, but it’s extremely annoying, mindnumbingly petty and adds nothing to anything that seeks to call itself mature debate.

Politics isn’t about personal appearance.

If it was, then people like Edward Heath, Alec Douglas Home, Harold McMillan and Winston Churchill would never have got as far in politics as they did.
What would you rather have? MPs and government ministers handsome and beautiful enough to be pin ups who haven’t got a clue how to do their job? Or a line up that looks like the offspring of some unholy three-way between the Elephant Man, Quasimodo and Medusa but secures prosperity, peace and liberty for its people?

Of course, in the real world you’re going to get something in between, but what’s the main thing any of us want from our politicians?
Good looks and a perfect physique or sound judgement and effective policies?

I know this entry goes over some of the same ground as an earlier one I wrote, but it’s beginning to really concern me that having exposed people as clearly dishonest and/or disastrously ineffective it’s then necessary to have a bitch fest about how ugly they are.

Of course, the victims of this are clearly at a disadvantage being in the public eye and pretty heavily photographed. The bloggers and people who comment on blogs are rather more anonymous and whilst we might have a very good idea of what someone like Damian McBride looks like, most bloggers’ physical appearance is a total mystery. Consequently, the people who comment on McBride’s lack of good looks may look far more hideous than they judge him to be.

Let’s take the most famous UK blogger of all – Guido.

We know what Guido looks like because he’s famous and has a high profile.
Now, I’m not dissing the guy at all; he’s done a great job and many people, myself included, are very grateful for the way he’s exposed Labour for the sham that they are, and whilst, he’s not going to win any ‘Most Handsome Guy of the Year’ award, he’s not ugly.

But, what if he looked like the result of some nightmare cocaine-fuelled one night stand between Anne Widdecombe and Neil Kinnock? Would that make what he’s done any less effective?
Would his blog attract fewer views?
Of course not, because it’s what he does and writes that’s important.
Not what he looks like.

Guido never gets personal – he says something and backs it up with solid evidence. He showed Damian McBride up for what he is – a devious, machinating bully – but he didn’t then add ‘Oh, and he’s fat and ugly, too.’ He might think that, but he doesn’t write it because he knows it’s not relevant and, indeed, it might weaken the thrust of any point he’s trying to make.
So, maybe we should take a leaf out of Guido’s book and criticise people based on what they do, rather than what they look like.

It seems to work OK for him.

When blogs go too far…

I enjoy writing this blog.

I’ve done some freelance stuff for magazines and although it was great to get paid, I also enjoyed the whole process from research through to publication. Blogging to me is really no different – it just doesn’t pay.

I find the process of blogging helps me to focus on my own views on a variety of subjects – politics in particular. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’ll be a floating voter come the next General Election and I’d like to be able to make my mind up who gets my vote before I stand in a booth with a little black crayon in my hand.

The interactive nature of blogging is a big attraction too – I like the fact that people can comment on what I write and I can comment back and it’s all pretty rapid in nature.

I’m also appreciative of the fact that I can say more or less what I want and not have to pull any punches. I know that might mean that I sometimes express myself in ways some people might find offensive but that’s the way I’ve chosen to express myself.

I’d guess that very, very few bloggers don’t read other blogs. The blogosphere would probably resemble a DNA molecule if you could devise some sort of diagram of it. The proverb ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is just as true in blogging as it is in ‘real life’, although it’s sometimes not always the case.

As a blog reader I tend to find very little that upsets me – if I don’t like what I read I just go elsewhere.

However, what I do find hard to stomach is some of the very personal and spiteful remarks I read on what purport to be serious blogs.

Abuse is one thing – I’ve called people ‘greedy cunts’ on here, meant what I said and stand by such comments.

So, let’s look at abuse – how far it goes and how far it should go before it becomes counter-productive.

Geoff Hoon – claiming for three homes, transferred some property to his wife so she could be paid rent by him and denied originally owning that property.

My opinion of Hoon – a greedy, lying cunt.

Greedy – because he’s milking the system of MPs’ allowances for every last taxpayer penny.

Lying  – because he denied owning some property when he did own it.

Cunt – because what he’s done is what makes a cunt a cunt. I’m using the Australian definition here – ‘a despicable man’.

I think that’s fair comment – not to everyone’s tastes, maybe, but justifiable on many people’s terms.

If I then went on to say, ‘Hoon is a lanky bastard with a stupid-looking expression on his ugly face all the time’, that’s starting to venture into the personal. I can think of plenty of people like that who aren’t cunts in any way and, in my view, such remarks add nothing to a discussion or opinion apart from maybe relieving the tension of the person who made them.

To take it a stage further – and this is where I tend to recoil slightly when I read certain blogs and the comments on them – I could say, ‘Hoon is a greedy, lying, lanky, bastard cunt with a stupid-looking expression on his ugly face all the time and I’d like to get some piano wire, string him up from the nearest lamp post and stick redhot needles in his scrotum’ then I think that’s going a bit too far.

It introduces a vindictiveness that reduces a reasoned, admittedly abusive, comment to a level that demeans the commentator and debases the main points of his opinion.

I’m assuming, of course, that such malicious intentions aren’t meant to be taken seriously and that the writer is just venting but I’ve seen an awful lot of it recently concerning the recent McBride/Draper Smeargate business.

Yes, these people and those they acted for and even those who denied all knowledge of it behaved like cunts – I hope the cunts get everything that’s coming to them – they’re despicable people who have probably fucked up any chances of Labour getting in at the next General Election – Labour have fucked up the present and future prosperity of this country – our civil liberties have been crippled by their policies – there has to be a better way – they’re all greedy fucking pigs with their snouts in a seemingly bottomless trough of taxpayers’ money – etc – etc – etc.

I’m not arguing here about any of this.

But what I really don’t like is the sheer bile that’s spewing out all over the Blogosphere. It’s not going to achieve anything and it just makes the person who spews it look hysterical.

Yes, I can do what I suggest to people who don’t like something and I can just ignore it and go elsewhere, but then I ignore the venting blogger’s opinions which is not, I suspect, what the  blogger ultimately intends.

In short – Brown, Smith, Hoon, Darling, etc, et-fucking-cetera are all a shower of cunts who should be out on their ears before next year is through. They’re devious, conniving, greedy, power-mad fuckers who aren’t fit to shovel shit, but if they’re gone, that’ll do me.

That’s what matters – not some masochistic wet-dream rant involving a level of physical torture that makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a Buck House garden party…

Don’t have your say

OK, it’s infested with cockends of all types and it’s moderated to buggery, but the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the BBC News site usually covers news stories ‘du jour’.

However, it seems that the powers that be don’t seem to think the McBride/Draper smear campaign story is worth covering there.

What are they afraid of?

Our politicians should be scared of us

Now that the initial euphoria regarding the McBride/Draper smear campaign seems to be evaporating, it’s perhaps time to look at the main protagonists, what state they’re in and what should happen next.

Well, Damian McBride has gone – not sacked but forced to resign. That’s a mistake right there and a good example of poor damage limitation on behalf of whoever is running things at No 10 – and you have to wonder about that. In business if I wanted to get a clear message across to the public – as well as my employees – that someone working for me had fucked up big time, then, whether my motivations were sincere or not, I’d sack them, tell them to clear their desk and not bother asking for another job with me. Obviously this wasn’t done and shows weakness.

Derek ‘Dolly’ Draper has gone ‘on holiday’ – I’d guess after booking with LastMinute.com – and seems to be facing an uncertain future. He’s come out of this looking a right twat and I can’t see that the Nu Labour leadership or apparatchiks are going to want him back. It’s not as if he was ever anything but a liability and champagne socialists aren’t exactly good purveyors of PR in these difficult economic times.

I think it’s too early to speculate about anyone else who was directly involved in the smear campaign. Yes, emails seem to have been copied to various people but there’s a wall of denial and silence there. Perhaps Guido has something else up his sleeve? We’ll have to wait and see. It may be that Gordon Brown will yet seek to take punitive measures further up the food chain but now is not the time for action it would seem.

That brings us very nicely to Gordon Brown. He’s in a bit of a cleft stick in all of this – damned if he apologises and damned if he doesn’t. At the moment the official line is that duty has been done with the ‘firing’ of McBride and that as no-one else is responsible then no-one part from McBride needs to apologise. Health Secretary Alan Johnson has been wheeled out in an attempt to take some of the heat off Brown to state that

“Gordon Brown had nothing to do with this. You apologise for the things you are responsible for.”

I’m not sure this does Brown any favours at all. Not accepting direct responsibility makes you appear as if you exerted no control over your staff, whilst accepting responsibility makes you sound as if you were complicit in the smear campaign.

Those words will come back and haunt our PM for months to come.

So, that’s the cleft stick that Brown is in.

Johnson also says that he personally feels “some shame” over the smear tactics that McBride and Draper were going to use, which sounds unapologetic to say the least.

David Cameron has demanded an apology and provided the cleft stick that Brown is in and seems to be on a winner with the public watching fascinated as people in high places wriggle and writhe and just look more ineffectual and evasive as time goes by. He can afford to wait and savour this gift that fell into his lap.

The part of Paul Staines aka Guido in all of this cannot be undervalued or underplayed. Personally, whether he did it for pleasure or profit I don’t care. Whether he’s right-wing or left-wing, I don’t care. Whatever his politics or motivation he’s exposed a depth of corruption within the walls of No 10 that has little precedent and has no place in a fair and just political system that is part of a modern democracy. I hope he keeps digging and that all the ‘guilty’ are named and shamed.

As I’ve gone to some pains to make clear, this blog is neither right nor left-wing.

All I know is that, under Labour, this country has become a place where civil liberties, personal freedom and choice and respect for those who earn the money that this government recklessly spends and the politicians of all parties grab for themselves are being eroded rapidly, stealthily and cynically.

I’m also not so naive as to believe that this is just about the dangers of the Left. I believe that we should be cautious of the actions and words of all politicians of any party and that they should bear in mind that they are elected to serve us – not the other way round.

If any lesson is to be learned from all this is that unless we’re careful with how much power we allow our goverment to have, then any government will seek to seize more power and use it to control its people.

In short, I want our politicians to be scared of us.

Morecambe and Wise cloned!

Those people who scoffed at the ‘science’ in the Jurassic Park films may now be forced to consume humble pie because the cloning procedure has now been refined to such an extent that scientists working in a top secret facility in Penge have produced the clones of famous comedians Morecambe and Wise!

New Scientist has just published this brief summary of the procedure:

Professor Mike Hunt told us, “A breakthrough in the study of mitotic cellular integrity by Herr Pizz in the University of Stuttgart has enabled us to extract mitochondrial DNA from household debris which, as everyone knows, contains particles of human skin. Using Radon fluorescence and protein synthesis we arrived at a procedure  whereby CGI models of the subjects were used to ‘gene sculpt’ replicas of the original genes until whole DNA strands were produced and then the resulting protoplasmic mass was grown on in vitro. The whole process takes about 6 months and is almost 100% faithful to the original subject although our first attempt was less successful than we’d have wished.”

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(L – Ernie Wise,  R – Eric Morecambe)

Mike continued, “As you can see, the outward appearance of the first clones is pretty accurate – with Ernie being suitably short and fat and Eric with his trademark glasses and slightly crazed look – but I’m afraid they’re not very amusing, with almost zero sense of humour. The IQ of the pair is well off the scale too, in a downwards direction I’m sorry to say, with a joint score of about 80 which means that they can function on about the level of something like a slug – but that’s on a good day”

“One trait which they seem to share – that didn’t affect the original pair – is that they seem to like slinging excrement around. Even when they haven’t got the real thing they just go through the motions, as it were, and throw imaginary faeces. Quite bizarre…”

“To be honest, I don’t really know what we can do with them – release into the wild seems a bit unfair on the public, whilst a trip to the vet to put them out of their misery seems a bit harsh. We’ve even had a call from the Beaufort Hunt but I couldn’t really understand why they mentioned fox costumes. However, we understand that there’ll soon be a home for these poor unfortunates set up by someone who’s a bit of a comedian himself and soon to retire. He’s called Gordon Brown and he used to be a fan of these two, although – speaking personally – I can’t really see the attraction.”

“Our next project is going to be Russ Abbot.  A bit of a challenge as Russ was never that funny to start with. We’ll have to see if we can splice a humour gene in somehow. Accommodating this one in the lab might be a problem, however, as we reckon he might need three cages.”

Russ Abbot

So, exciting times in genetic research!


Alistair Campbell makes a joke

Ageing pitbull Alistair Campbell is an unlikely source of intentional humour but this had me chuckling…

I barely know Mr McBride. I was vaguely aware of him being around the Treasury when I was in Number 10, and vaguely aware that he was closer to the Charlie Whelan school of strategic communications than my own. (I’m aware we tend to get lumped together in some sections, but I know the differences, even if they don’t.)

Learn some humility…

you bastard.

If we dont hear from this total wanker for 50 years, it’ll be 50 years too soon.

McSnide resigns

‘Hello? Is that the Job Centre?’

One less twat to worry about.

Draper and McBride spotted!

Photo taken in Dubai a couple of hours ago:

burqa