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January 16, 2007

Bloggerheads and Guido

No doubt you will already have seen Tim Ireland's stirring denunciation of Guido Fawkes and the damage he's doing to British political blogging. I've never met Tim and I have Guido so I've no idea which of them as individuals I would like more (I should also point out that I run Messagespace ads which Guido part owns so make your own assumptions about how much that income stream is going to influence my views).

But I'm afraid that I find Tim's analysis all a little collectivist to my taste:

Today, I am going to ask you to help me kick things off by doing something positive for the political blogging community:

I wasn't actually aware that there was such a thing. When I started broadcasting my prejudices to the universe I don't recall that I signed up to a code of conduct, was given a secret decoder ring nor  joined a "community".

It may well be that a community has been created (and my ego isn't large enough to think that I had anything to do with that) but I'm still not sure that is in fact so. A series of many communities I'd be happy to acknowledge. Which is really rather the point. Just as in the larger societies around us we're all members not of one, but of a series of possibly interlocking ones.

What does unite us as members of a free and liberal society is that we all have the right to act and speak as we damn well please (subject to the usual laws of incitement to violence and libel) and then to accept the consequences of our actions.

Tim is just as entitled to call for a boycott of Guido as Guido is to run his blog his way. As Justin points out:

Blogging isn’t a mass movement or hive mind.

Quite, it's individuals shouting their heads off in whatever manner they desire. It's Hayek in action, an uncontrolled, dispersed information processing system, Galton's Ox all over again. Galton's most important lesson being, as you will remember, that for such systems to work we need to include the extreme views, even the grossly uninformed ones.

I shan't be calling for any boycotts nor removing links etc, nor stop quoting whatever pieces of other people's writing that I find amusing or informative.

As for everyone else, well, make your own minds up. You're adults aren't you?

As to Tim's possibly greater worry:

To put it as simply as possible, Guido's all-arson approach makes honest politicians afraid to engage via weblogs, and the way in which he erodes our credibility allows dishonest politicians to dismiss any valid challenge to them that emerges via weblogs... and there's worse to come:

Given that a law that restricts all our freedoms was recently slipped through Parliament on the basis that it would shut one guy up, I don't think it's at all alarmist to predict that - one day soon - something will be tabled in Parliament that appears designed to address The Guido Problem but is really designed to cripple us all.

I'm afraid that the argument, we should restrict our freedoms so that no one comes to take away our freedoms, doesn't really work for me. They'll have to prise my blog out of my cold dead hands and until then I shall do exactly as I please, thank you very much.

January 16, 2007 in Weblogs | Permalink


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» Fight! from James Barbour
My Google Reader is on fire this morning thanks to the flaming Tim Ireland has unleashed on Paul Staines.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 16, 2007 11:44:39 AM

» Guido: fun and education, education, education from Bloggerheads
Guido's belated dance number comes to us a few days after the 'boycott' brand was first applied, rinsed and repeated - and the first thing you'll notice is the cool, unshakeable exterior. Too bad about the ultra-paranoid level of moderation... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 17, 2007 10:29:32 AM

» Face-time from Bloggerheads
I just received what I am sure is a spontaneous and independent request to remove the image of Paul Staines from this post (the owner took the photo at a party she went to, where Guido was also in attendance).... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 18, 2007 10:35:16 AM

» Comments closed on Bloggerheads v. Guido from A PR Guy's Musings - Stuart Bruce
The Bloggerheads lays into Guidopost has generated quite a comment storm. As a result of allegations and counter-allegations (none of which I'm able to comment on or verify) I've closedit to new comments. Comments on this blog are not moderated. [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 18, 2007 10:48:40 AM

» Guido's bluffs, toughs and fluffers from Bloggerheads
*sigh* Well, I can't say I'm surprised.... Guido Fawkes: Guido himself is basically simultaneously bored by, but amused that the blog boycott / de-link call has so spectacularly badly backfired, with hits up again to a new month and year... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 18, 2007 4:05:27 PM

» Jackie Danicki, I have a bone to pick with you... from Bloggerheads
[IMPORTANT NOTICE (18 June 2007) - This individual has been pardoned.] [Image via Samizdata. Published under Creative Commons. Image resized and enhanced.] A few days ago, Jackie Danicki sent me an email demanding that I remove a photo of Paul... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 18, 2007 1:07:17 PM


I've never looked at Guido's blog before but I doubt I'd have much trouble boycotting it.

Apparently countries (namely Poland and Hungary) do not have any obligation to live up to treaty obligations and only an idiot like Liam Fox would say they did. Liam Fox takes this reactionary approach to diplomacy because he is a neo-con, except, errr, he isn't.

Posted by: G | Jan 16, 2007 9:47:55 AM

Tim W,

Well said. Our right to free speech is something that must be protected at all costs, no matter whether you like what is written or not.

To speak of boycotts is in my mind the most stupid of thought processes.

We are losing freedoms and rights by the day, lets not throw away what we still have left by letting someone suggest boycotts.

To Tim Ireland,
If you dont like what Guido writes, then at this point in time you still have the freedom not to read it, but leave the rest of us alone to make our own minds up. Its a personal thing as to whether you enjoy any columnist or blogger, and I for one will read what I like.

Posted by: IanP | Jan 16, 2007 10:12:56 AM

I knew it was going to happen. People are taking blogging too seriously. I thought blogging was invented to stop grown men becoming train spotters.

Posted by: Kit | Jan 16, 2007 10:13:45 AM

Comment above made me laugh, Tim reckons Guido is a Neo-Con weapon. (edited for clarification at request-Tim)

Nothing like a good flame war to kick-start your moribund blog when you bring it out of mothballs is there?

I'll let the readers decide.

Posted by: Guido Fawkes | Jan 16, 2007 10:16:23 AM

Better moth, than some of the balls you trot out. God, you'd be ripped apart if you ever made it onto a real newspaper...

Posted by: Carl Eve | Jan 16, 2007 10:28:30 AM

Hello Guido.

How about being a big boy and popping by mine for something beyond 'no comment' and this tasty bit of spin you've cooked up?

[Tim W, I hope to drop by later and comment on the whole freedom thing, but should hang back until Guido and I finish this conversation elsewhere.]

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 16, 2007 10:40:45 AM

I don't think it's at all alarmist to predict that - one day soon - something will be tabled in Parliament that appears designed to address The Guido Problem but is really designed to cripple us all.

That forelock tugging, dead on their feet approach doesn't do it for me either. "Don't make a fuss" they said as they shuffled off into the cattle trucks.

Posted by: Mark Holland | Jan 16, 2007 10:53:15 AM

Mark and Tim: Let me just say this for now; weblogs, when abused or left open to abuse, can restrict free speech just as easily as they can enable it.

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 16, 2007 10:58:45 AM

UK legislation holds few fears for me. Tim I's outburst looks like the manifestation of a thinly-veiled personal grudge. The surprising thing is that anyone takes it seriously.

Posted by: Praguetory | Jan 16, 2007 11:33:28 AM

I think the rant smacks a bit of creating a blog flame-war to create hits. I don't understand why Tim I. doesn't let Guido do his thing and he does his thing. Its the way the internet works.

If they think any daft EU law is going to restrict blogs they have another think coming. Everybody will just host outside the EU and carrry on as normal.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge | Jan 16, 2007 12:00:23 PM

I used to like Chicken Yoghurt until I read his rant yesterday. He's just a thin-skinned leftard Geordie twat.

Posted by: Peter Spence | Jan 16, 2007 12:47:30 PM

It seems reasonable to me to try and indicate if another member of the blogging 'community' is behaving dishonestly, so that the readers can, indeed, decide. It certainly sounds like Guido has been behaving dishonestly, and is also suppressing the mechanisms available to reveal such dishonesty to the best of his ability.

Unless someone suspected him of something, no-one would go searching the web to ascertain the trustworthiness of his blog, because people tend to trust other people by default. By disabling (or not enabling) trackbacks and by deleting comments and so on, it seems that he is manipulating his media in order to both mislead people and mislead them about whether he's been misleading them.

Of course he has the 'right' to do this (telling lies is not, except under certain circumstances, illegal), and of course Mr. Ireland has the right to call for a boycott (which is not the same as censorship): he's not calling for people to restrict their freedom, surely, but to understand that Guido's blog is misleading, and we'd rather not have misleading blogs that people believe, and people who agree with that statement should therefore de-list and ignore Guido in the hope that fewer people are misled in future.

This all hinges on whether Guido is actually misleading people or if Tim Ireland has a bit of a beef with him. I'd love to see a published flamewar hammering things out.

Posted by: sanbikinoriaon | Jan 16, 2007 1:01:50 PM

Peter: That's a thin-skinned leftard *Blackpudlian* twat, you twat.

Posted by: Justin | Jan 16, 2007 3:44:31 PM


Guido can't enable trackbacks easily - he's using Blogger. I know there's third party solutions but they're a pain.

Posted by: Tristan | Jan 17, 2007 9:17:27 AM

Tristan: Blogger has backlinks - very similar to the trackback feature. All Guido has to do is turn them on.

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 17, 2007 9:56:56 AM

Tim W, I've met Tim Ireland, and he is an insufferably pompous blowhard. I've had more than one of his 'friends' admit to me - when I've asked how they can bear to associate with him - that they cannot stand the guy but figure he's a better ally than enemy. And yes, he's a collectivist through and through (he even stole one of my images for use in his anti-Guido campaign; he seems to believe that what's mine is his, too).

Posted by: Jackie Danicki | Jan 17, 2007 4:44:56 PM

I've met Tim Ireland - and he is an awfully nice bloke. I wouldn't say I'm a "friend" but I think acquaintences would be fair enough.
I couldn't give two fingers up a dead cats chuff whether he could be ally or enemy. I have balls of steel and would only fear him if he got a gun licence after I had savagely shagged his mum up her chocolate starfish against her will.
Guido - on the other hand - is someone I've not met. Slightly amusing. Strange commenters such as Peter Hitchens seem to get away with appalling comments without any moderation being used. And classic nose-in-trough conservatism screeching at the government, yet who can't see the present bunch of vacuous shysters are more conservative than the last bunch of vacuous conservatives who got in. Roll on Cameron and a repeat journey of lies, bullshit and blaming.
As for the "he nicked my photo"? Oh please. A middle-class cheese and whine party has low-res pics posted to the internetverse and one pic gets nicked? Hairs - split? There's petty and there's petty, but that's just petty in five mile high letters across the Isle of Man...

Posted by: Carl | Jan 17, 2007 7:55:03 PM

Jackie, this is the second time I've had to ask you to retract your claim regarding stolen images. Though I will admit that you appear to have posted both comments to seperate websites imediately after sending the rather curt email I mention here:

PS - Recently, I also encountered an insufferably pompous blowhard, so I feel your pain.

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 17, 2007 8:00:50 PM

(waves to Carl)
(makes belated corrections to spelling of 'separate' and 'immediately')

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 17, 2007 8:04:02 PM

Woo hoo, this is great! More, please!

Posted by: James | Jan 17, 2007 10:37:54 PM

Tim, there is nothing to retract. I've got the truth on my side, you've got...well, a lot of time on your hands, it seems.

You've been corrected more than once about the fact that I published the photo with all rights reserved, and you still persisted in using it. You finally ceased after I threatened to go legal on you (it would have been money very well spent). Quit while you're only several miles behind.

Posted by: Jackie Danicki | Jan 18, 2007 7:27:46 AM

Jackie, please stop wasting your time with personal jibes (and dishonestly-framed arguments that make me out to be dishonest) and try to stick to the facts:

On the page where Perry de Havilland published the image, do the words 'all rights reserved' appear?

No? OK, let's move on...

On the page where Perry de Havilland published the image, does the word 'copyright' appear?

No? Moving on again...

As these photos were published some months ago on a website that you yourself contribute to, do we have a reasonable expectation that if you wished to have the above details included and/or the photos removed from that page, that you would have made this happen by now?

Well, yes, we do.

So, given all of this, does your average web user have the right to use any or all of the images that appear on this page according to the clearly stated Creative Commons Licence that appears on the same page?

It reads:
"All content on this website (including text, photographs, audio files, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License."

A link to that licence is provided:

I was well within my rights to publish the image according to the terms of this licence - which is exactly what I did.

Then you came along claiming to be the owner (though you are not named as the photographer on the page in question, and you even appear in one of the photographs), demanding that I remove the photo from my website.

Now, you claim: "you still persisted in using it. You finally ceased after I threatened to go legal on you", which is a bloody joke, if you don't mind me saying so, as you didn't have a legal leg to stand on then and you don't have a legal leg to stand on now.

If you want me to publish the email exchange in full (and the two versions of the image I put forward as a solution to your problem) then I'm happy to do so.

Kindly retract the false claim that the image was stolen, or at the very least have the courage and courtesy to make this kind of claim on your website or mine.

(You're an expert on law; I'm sure you can work out why this is important.)

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 18, 2007 10:29:50 AM


Why do you think no one is discussing this on your own blog? Do you think it might be because your view of the world of blogging is far too pompous and self-important and at the end of the day, boring?

Guido provides a service as a right of centre, irreverent, humorous source of gossip. When one visits that site you know you are not going to be patronised with blog etiquette and registration etc.

You seem to think that you and Guido run blogs that are both in some kind of community. The truth is that Guidos is a funny interesting look at corruption in politics today where as yours appears to be some kind of long-winded way for you to perform autofellatio in public.

Tim adds: Err, I was sort of wondering which Tim was being talked about here. Hope it's not me anyway.

Posted by: RobD | Jan 18, 2007 11:07:35 AM

Tim: If we both chip in, there'll be no need for autofellatio, and RobD can go on his merry way.

Tim adds: Not quite my style but thanks for the offer :-)

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 18, 2007 11:40:50 AM

Tim: Pity.

RobD: This *is* being discussed at my site, but so far only one of Guido's regular contributors has dropped by... to say not a lot, really. This has a lot to do with my site requiring people to establish their identity (as far as is possible on the web) before commenting. Even a casual bystander should be able to work out the significance of this.

Posted by: Tim Ireland | Jan 18, 2007 11:53:50 AM