Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Diversion to the Left

You co-conspirators are all mental for saying the Prime Mentalist is bonkers say the whining lefties. Actually, to be fair, some of them agree that Brown is bonkers as well. Worth visiting for the sport.

Have just got back from the spa and am now off for cocktails. Baby and Ms Fawkes with their grandparents…

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Microsoft Shifting Party Allegiance?

Iain Dale, who is bravely going to all the party conferences, asks what facilities are being offered to bloggers by the U.K. parties this conference season? In the U.S. they are being feted by the parties to some degree. Guido believes that Microsoft is providing free internet connections at both the Labour and Tory conferences – which is a sign that they must see power moving since they have usually kept close to New Labour and the Tories had more of an affinity with Google. (Obviously both corporation’s public affairs teams will deny it, pointing out the diverse backgrounds of different individuals.)

Not sure what special facilities bloggers really require. You can blog from your laptop with a 3G card, or at a push your Blackberry* or iPhone. Is it worth the parties making any effort to offer special access or have briefings for bloggers? Maybe if they want to shape the reporting. To be honest briefings tend to be worth very little, bloggers would be best advised going and getting their own stories rather than just regurgitating the spin handed out. That is what the lobby is for…

Guido is going to hit the bright lights of Birmingham for the Tory conference but is frankly unable to face going to all the conferences, even declining one corporate titan’s invitation to join his table at the Labour gala dinner – unarmed.

*Sony Ericsson press office please note: after years of loyalty Guido is switching back to Blackberry when the new Bold comes out next week. It has a 3G connection that can be piggybacked via a laptop, Qwerty keyboard, MP3, camera and GPS – a pretty hard to beat package. Of course you could still send over an ultra portable…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Could We See Boulton & Co in Boxers and Bikinis?

Dale has done his annual list and the results are in for the “media” section:

Top 10 Media Blogs
1. Spectator Coffee House
2. Ben Brogan
3. Three Line Whip
4. Boulton & Co
5. Nick Robinson
6. Comment Central
7. Paul Linford
8. David Cornock
9. Peter Hitchens
10. Melanie Phillips

Guido draws your attention to the promise made on the Sky News website:

Any votes for Boulton & Co. would be greatly appreciated and we promise, if we get into the top 10, that there will be semi-naked photos of all our political correspondents made available on the blog.

Well?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trouble and Strife, Holiday Plans

Mrs Fawkes has put up with Guido for five years today, so you will have to cope without me for a couple of days during a romantic intermission. She not unreasonably feels that a little disconnection from the internet would be a good idea.

Guido will be back later next week for a few days, than he is off to the West of Ireland for a week. Not sure what to do that week – shall we have a blog holiday or shall we try having guest bloggers? Should the inmates be allowed to take over the asylum? Can you entertain yourselves? Do you feel you can entertain 10,000 to 20,000+ political junkies every day for a week?

Guido will be back full of vim for September and is planning on making it to the Conservative Party conference at the end of the month, where he is due to be speaking on the fringe, subverting the conference media centre* and drinking the bar dry. No reasonable invitation refused.

*The Tory press office ASBO’d Guido for that hacking of the press list lark. Guido had to promise to behave (in writing) before they would only now allow him back on the Lobby list (no haven’t actually joined the Lobby, am better than that). So fear and loathing in Birmingham it is…

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Terror Attack in the Fawkes Household

After grappling with nappies and watching Teletubbies since 6.30 in the morning, Guido wandered bleary-eyed towards the kitchen in search of a coffee for breakfast, failing to spot the clear and present danger arranged by Ms Fawkes.

As a result of an improvised booby trap of which Al Qaeda would have been pleased, Guido executed a Chaplinesque aerial manoeuvre, kicking the wall barefoot and audibly crunching his toes before landing bum-first. Ouch. Ms Fawkes cackled hysterically and Baby Fawkes clapped gleefully in her high chair exclaiming “Dadda!” in an impressed “do it again” tone. Even the nanny giggled before regaining her composure and clearing away the booby trap toys.

The joys of fatherhood. Blogging may be light.

Friday, August 1, 2008

July Stat-Porn : 695,791 Page Hits from 524,618 Visitors

Those figures were generated by 113,118 absolute unique visitors last month. The top ten referrers were:

#1 Iain Dale
#2 Coffee House Blog
#3 ConservativeHome
#4 PoliticsHome
#5 PoliticalBetting.com
#6 B3ta.com
#7 Times Blogs (Red Box and Comment Central)
#8 Dizzy Thinks
#9 Devil’s Kitchen
#10 Biased BBC

Hardcore stat-porn fans can click the image below for a snapshot of the last year’s traffic. The trend is your friend. Read ‘em and weep tree slaughterers…

…. traffic has doubled year-on-year.

Isaby Joins ConservativeHome

What does it say about the decline of the Daily Labourgraph and the rise of the blogosphere that a journalist would move across to ConservativeHome?

Congratulations to Jonathan Isaby, will he be doing the 6 a.m. news links shift? Isaby is rarely missing from a politico-social event, it won’t be easy to combine late nights with early starts…

ConservativeHome is an example of how the news market will become fragmented in the future. High quality, focused niche news boutiques will displace traditional generalist news sources. Nobody watches the BBC for business reporting when we have CNBC, nobody reads Bloomberg for sports reporting. You wouldn’t expect the Guardian to have a clue about the intricacies of the Conservative Party’s internal affairs. Best of breed online news sources can rapidly replace the dead tree press – however well established. The Telegraph has certainly been replaced as the house journal of the Tory Party by ConservativeHome…

Previous Isaby stories here and here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Snobby Guardianista Blogger Thrown Out After Calling Glasgow East Cafe "Greasy Spoon"

Guardianista Helene Mulholland is live blogging Glasgow East today (yawn), there is one good entry in the otherwise tedious reportage:
12.45pm I’m in a greasy spoon in Shettleston Road. The woman serving chides one of the customers who fesses up to not having voted.

2pm An important note Apologies to Daddyo’s (the cafe I mentioned earlier). The owner is very upset to hear that I referred to it as a “greasy spoon” – so much so that he kicked me out!

Wireless connections mean that one can blog and make yourself unwelcome anywhere. Well done Daddyo…

Westmonster R.I.P.

Westmonster is no more and has gone the way of the now forgotten Honourable Fiend. It won’t be missed.

Traffic was small and they were losing money despite the low costs of blog publishing. The owners couldn’t make it work and honestly admit that they just couldn’t find the talent. Once Sadie Smith* left they did it themselves and then had young, cheap writers – the last of which was dire. They also made the classic mistake of commenting on comment too much and just rounding up other peoples stories instead of getting original news stories. It was a car crash.

*She has her own blog here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Statesman Owner Buys LabourHome

Guido has been hearing rumours that LabourHome was “in play” and that two bidders were after the site. Tom Miller’s Newer Labour has the exclusive confirming that LabourHome has been bought by Mike Danson, the new owner of the New Statesman.
Newer Labour reports that it went for a “high five figure sum… with some of the existing editors, like Alex Hilton, one of the foremost Labour bloggers and co-founder, Jag Singh, staying on board.” PoliticsHome had also shown an interest in bringing the site into the “home” network – Freddie Sayers had been in negotiations with the site but got gazumped.

Guido called Alex Hilton, LabourHome’s chief commissar, to commiserate with him for not getting a six-figure valuation. (Guardian Media Group just bought PaidContent for $30 million, the Gawker group of blogs is valued at over $100 million.) Alex would only say “We are very pleased to have the support of the New Statesman” from his yacht in the Caribbean.

Guido reckons that if the valuations being achieved in the U.S. were reflected here, the leading blogs would be worth seven figure sums. Mrs Fawkes has become noticeably less intolerant of Guido’s blogging of late…


Seen Elsewhere

100 Tories to Rebel on Plain Packs | Telegraph
May 2015 and the Art of Political Betting | MAY2015
Fate of Eurozone Rests in Hands of Videogame Expert | TechnoGuido
UKIP After Farage | Asa Bennett
Eichmann Called on Arabs to Continue War on Jews | Speccie
Mirror Hacking: 50 Legal Action Claims | Press Gazette
Mandy’s £400,000 Tax-Free Loan From Own Company | Guardian
Why We Must Remember the Holocaust | Hugo Rifkind
“Adjustments” Not Cuts | Gary Gibbon
The New Puritans | Alex Wickham
British Minister in Watch Gaffe | Straits Times


Rising Stars
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George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…

“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”


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