Some of the more eagle-eyed co-conspirators will have noticed a blue star haloed Guido has appeared on the menu bar, Euro-Guido will cover all the developments in the referendum campaign as well as Brussels goings on. The Euro-News list will be updated through out the day with links to European stories from around the web that you may have missed. Many co-conspirators will be terrifically disappointed to see the yellow news ticker has also disappeared….
Guido went to a system of registration for comment makers last December, above are the numbers for last month (August), comments are still averaging around some 50,000 a month. We’re slowly, when we have time, permanently banning the most boring obsessives. We have neither the time or inclination to pre-moderate comments. If readers see a comment they find particularly disagreeable, flag it.
Be warned, we plan to ratchet up the number of bores we plan to permanently block…
Internet loony Tim Ireland is facing a £150,000 legal bill after the High Court threw out his petition to have Nadine Dorries’ election in Mid-Bedfordshire voided.
According to the BBC: “Judges threw out case as Ireland was late filing his papers”.
Tim Ireland burst into tears after the ruling…
Nadine’s lawyers speak:
“This petition was part of Mr Ireland’s continued campaign of harassment against our client. Our client believes that the petition was maliciously brought and had no merit. We are pleased that the right outcome, namely dismissal of the petition, was achieved. Our client was elected with a very clear majority and, with this petition now dismissed (and with the petitioner not having sought to appeal) she can continue with her job of representing the people of Mid Bedfordshire.”
A somewhat unfortunate blogpost went up on the LibDemFuture site yesterday written by Gareth Epps, a former parliamentary candidate who sits on his party’s federal policy committee. Among Epps’ musings about the future direction of the LibDems, published by the site last night, is this suggestion:
“Our federal structure and the presence of several political heavyweights are advantages that should be used. Demonstrating the Scottish Party’s independence from London as well as high-profile roles for senior figures – Charles Kennedy, perhaps – would be a confident and positive way to face the future.”
It would be positively miraculous. Er… who’s going to tell them?
UPDATE: Gareth gets in touch to lay the blame at the door of LibDemFuture:
“I published [the original blog] on 27 May on my website www.garethepps.org.uk – at a time when Charlie Kennedy was very much alive.
Evidently some idiot – no way of checking who from here – has reposted it without reading the actual blog, or apparently linking to it.”
Despite many complaints that introducing comment moderation would be the end of the site, comment numbers are actually higher now than ever and traffic is as buoyant as ever. Unfortunately something like half the comments – no matter what the subject of the post – are about David Cameron’s sexuality, muslims, paedos and how this site is biased against UKIP or biased in favour of UKIP. So to give us all a break from the repetitive drivel Guido is requiring email-verified registration for comments on weekends.
We may roll it out to weekdays as well. If this affects you, think about trying to post comments related to the topic of the post…
Outgoing LabourList editor Mark Ferguson is off to spin for Liz Kendall’s leadership campaign:
“Earlier this week I left a job that I love to join the campaign of a candidate for Leader of the Labour Party. A party that instead of winning an election this year went backwards. A party that needs to learn from where we went wrong, and reconnect with the British people. A party in need of a big step-change in how we do our politics.
I believe that Liz Kendall is the best placed candidate to do that.
Liz can put the Labour Party back together again, not by wielding power from the centre but by rebuilding our party – and our country – from the ground up. By working alongside the communities that built and sustain the Labour Party. By being that very rare kind of politician – the kind that wants to give power away rather than hoard it for themselves.”
You read it here first…
LabourList editor Mark Ferguson is quitting after five years at the helm:
“Editing LabourList for the past five years has been a huge honour. And although it is time to go, I will miss LabourList – and its readers – a great deal. But I’ll still be reading the morning e-mail and dropping by LabourList each day to see what’s happening in the Labour Party. Just like everybody else.”
To work on whose campaign?
UPDATE: A source says to expect an announcement tomorrow, and more pointedly that Mark is on good terms with most of the Labour leadership contenders.
Business Green’s James Murray has solved the Med migrant crisis. Sorry Ed, it isn’t the PM who is to blame. No, apparently the capsising boats are a “climate crisis.”
“I was reminded of this climate communications debate while watching the news last night with its latest heart-breaking reports from the Mediterranean on the countless hundreds, perhaps thousands, who have died in the past few weeks. For this is what climate crisis looks like…
there are other macro-trends at play here that are driving thousands of people to risk their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean, of which climate change is undoubtedly one…
Without a rapid and successful global effort to tackle this existential threat the heart-breaking scenes of the past week and the sadness and rancour they unleash will only become more commonplace”
Of course! Forget looking for work or fleeing war-torn failed states, the migrants trying to cross the Med are escaping climate change. Are there no depths to which the scaremongers won’t stoop?
Natalie Bennett met her partner Jim Jepps after reading his blog, revealing to her local paper how “he blogged something about me which was wrong so I corrected him”. Yet on that very same blog, Jepps, a far-left activist, makes a series of disturbing comments about rape fantasies, kidnap and murder fanfiction, paedophillia, “childhood sexuality” and sex between teachers and pupils.
In a blog about rape fantasies, the partner of the Green leader, whose party claim in their manifesto that they want to “work to change attitudes towards rape“, argues:
“Some people have rape fantasies, they do, it’s a fact. It does not mean they actually want to rape or be raped they are simply drawing from the deep, dark well of sexuality and if you are one of them it does not make you a bad person and you shouldn’t spend even one second feeling guilty about those fantasies.”
In another blogpost, titled “Even monsters have feelings”, about Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian girl who was abducted aged 10, held captive and repeatedly raped, Jepps claims: “even in the horrors of Natascha Kampusch’s imprisonment mundanity, kindness and laughter were still present… These are two people who had a long term and human relationship”.
Jepps also ran a poll on his blog titled “Sex with pupils – good idea / bad idea?”, writing “Personally I’m ambivalent”. Parents and the law however are not…
Commenting on a news story about a 16 year old girl who was banned from wearing a chastity ring at school, Jepps writes: “It will also make it so much harder for her to get educated about the facts of life, or learn how to f**k properly”.
And in a bizarre blogpost headlined “Would you drink tea made by a paedophile?”, Jepps argues that we should still be able to enjoy the books of a man convicted of sexually abusing girls as young as four. He wrote:
“We can burn these books as a public statement against the author (who is in jail for his crimes) or try to understand that whatever monstrous acts individuals commit they are still complex human beings for all that. Good, evil, interesting and banal by turns – not devils who can taint everything they touch with evil.”
Jepps also blogged about fan fiction featuring the pop group Girls Aloud. He describes the content as “about the famous girl band members being kidnapped, raped and murdered”. He comments: “Personally I didn’t find it that shocking”.
In another blogpost headlined “Childhood Sexuality”, Jepps describes his “sexual” feelings towards a six year old girl when he was the same age. He writes:
“I remember inviting [girl’s name withheld] to my birthday party (around the sixth I think)… I’m absolutely certain there was an unseen sexual element to my invitation, although I would not have been thinking beyond a light snog or perhaps even a spot of hand holding… I think this example shows is that even at a young age I was not adverse to hand holding, kissing the bride and generally being seen to hang around with girls… and I’m fairly sure my motives were not always so innocent… Whilst it’s clear I had sexual feelings as a child these were not the terrible all consuming passions of later life – and although they contained neither the intensity, depth nor carnality of adult life they were very real and important to me at the time.”
Natalie Bennett has refused to comment, despite having full knowledge of the blog. A Green Party spokesman says: “The party does not endorse the views expressed and would not want to be associated with them. Jim Jepps has not been a member of the party since 2012”. An apologist for rape fantasists and paedophiles just lives with their leader Natalie Bennett…
Gigaom, for years one of the largest and most influential technology blogs, shuttered its operations abruptly last night after running out of cash. Its editorial staff only appeared to discover they were out of job at around the same time Gigaom published a short post admitting that they were unable to pay their creditors, with many tweeting their disbelief.
Gigaom, which launched in 2006 has taken on over $22 million in venture funding over its lifetime including $8 million last February. A burn rate of $8 million a year is impressive, even by Silicon Valley vanity project standards..
So a month has passed since Guido embarked on Disqus-software comment control and the results are in for last week, the first full week after the holidays. Despite dire predictions from some anonymongs in the comments – you know who you are – that the world would end, we’re still thriving and our comments section is doing business as normal. In fact keeping some of the more knuckle dragging morons at bay has kept the comments section vibrant.
There were 2,130 comments on Thursday, so much for those who claimed we were killing the blog…
Taxpayers’ money is being wasted sh*tting up bloggers.
As Neo-Guido told the BBC this afternoon:
“Free speech is back on the agenda in this election and it’s mind-boggling that taxpayers’ money is being spent on harassing bloggers with these letters and trying to put the heavies on us to sign up to some sort of Putin-esque code for bloggers to be regulated. Go away, it’s not going to happen and stop wasting your time trying to regulate something that is unregulatable. Look at the internet, we haven’t just dodged the Leveson inspired press regulation to sign up voluntarily to some Electoral Commission pen pusher.”
The Electoral Commission has written to Guido, ConservativeHome, LabourList and LibDemVoice to provide them with “guidance” to bring them into line with the Putinesque provisions of the new Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014.
Mark Ferguson at LabourList says
“It seems particularly bizarre (and that’s being generous) that there’s one law for “newspapers and periodicals” and another for “websites”. Perhaps the government are finding this new-fangled internet thing very confusing. We’re still working through what the most appropriate response is to this dreadful law – more worthy of a banana-Republic than a democracy – that clamps down on campaigning and free speech at a time when it’s needed most, election time. Whatever response we decide on though, we will not be submitting ourselves to any form of regulation that stops us from writing, reporting and commenting on the election campaign as we see fit.”
ConservativeHome’s editor Paul Goodman tells Guido whilst sorrowfully shaking his head, that he feels the site has no alternative, given the terms of the Lobbying Act, but to “run some pieces by senior Labour MPs during the election campaign”.
After ringing round it seems that other political blogs like the Spectator’s CoffeeHouse and PoliticalBetting.com have not being offered “guidance” by the Electoral Commission. Guido has written back to the Electoral Commission:
Dear Electoral Commission,
Thanks, but we’re not registering with you and
we’re not going to pay any attention to your rules.
Yours in freedom,
Editor Guido Fawkes’ Blog
Guido has no intention of registering with the Electoral Commission or reporting a penny of spending or anything else to them. This authoritarian law is a nonsense. If you read the guidance it should apply to newspapers. We haven’t just rejected statutory control of the printed press by one regulator for political control of digital media by another…
See: Electoral Commission letter in full [PDF]
The first line of this blog published by LibDemVoice today tells you all you need to know: “Let me start by saying that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was a despicable attack on freedom of expression. However…” Nope.
It’s loony author, George Potter, continues: “Charlie Hebdo was, and is, a racist, xenophobic and bigoted publication. Sometimes it attacked powerful targets like the Catholic Church but it was largely white men attacking powerless, marginalised and oppressed groups in France, especially Muslims who face horrific levels of discrimination. That’s not “satire”, it’s bullying.” It mocked Jews, Muslims, Christians, white people, black people and politicians.
He goes on to compare Charlie Hebdo to the KKK and EDL: “Imagine if a KKK organisation in the US had been bombed. Would people really be saying, without even thinking about who they’re endorsing, “I am the EDL””.
Except Charlie Hebdo were not the KKK or the EDL, were they George? They were just a satirical magazine.
A record smashing 10th anniversary year with over 30 million visits to this site in 2014. The top ten traffic posts published this year were:
- THE RESHUFFLE: All the Sackings as They Happen
- WATCH: Former Tory Whip Boasts About Paedo Cover Up
- LISTEN: Miliband’s Radio Wiltshire Clusterf**k
- Khan Crash: Sadiq’s Rush Hour Horror
- Islington MP’s Rochester Culture Shock
- EXC: Gordon Brown Office Has £10,000-a-Week “Expenses”
- Brown Office Gives Just 1 in 4 Pounds Raised to Charity
- WATCH: Penny Mordaunt’s Loyal Address in Full
- Roll Call of Shame: Every MP Who Voted Against Recall
- UKIP’s Poster Girl Quits Party Citing Racism
Here are our favourite stories of the last 12 months:
Ten hours after Guido added the word “snob” to Emily Thornberry’s now infamous “Image from Rochester“, Labour’s Islington MP had resigned from the Shadow Cabinet. ‘Snobberry’ had “never seen anything like it“, making Ed “more angry than he has ever been” and incurring the wrath of White Van Dan. According to the BBC, it was Guido wot won it. And don’t miss the tale of Lady Nugee’s walled garden…
In the absence of a Twitter storm it took slightly longer to secure the resignation of David Ruffley. Guido had reported on Ruffley’s anger management problems before, yet the Tories were silent when he accepted a caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Despite Ruffers telling Guido he was “cheerful“, the people of Bury St. Edmunds demanded their MP do the decent thing, domestic violence charities called for his head and, crucially, the Dean of the local cathedral told him “your position is untenable”. In June Ruffley finally announced he would be standing down, and parliament was rid of another nasty piece of work…
2014 was a year when several Tory MPs found themselves in Guido’s crosshairs, none more so than Tim Yeo. From leadership contender to loser in nine years, this blog has been exposing Yeo’s absenteeism and conflicts of interest for the best part of a decade. In January Guido went to find troubled Tim, not in his Suffolk constituency, but in Sandwich in Kent, where he had “gone golfing“. The following month Yeo was deselected by his local party. Victory at last…
Last but not least, who can forget Brooks No-marks, the Tory women’s champion who sent a paisley-clad dick pic to our very own Sophie Wittams. Despite the wailing from the less popular parts of the press, a public service was confirmed when Brooks was revealed to have used the exact same modus operandi. Yes, yes, yes Minister.
Despite our detractors’ weak claims of bias, we’ve had a direct hand in ending the careers of three Tory MPs who had absolutely no intention of quitting in 2015. That’s 1% of the parliamentary party. Happy New Year, roll on that election.
So after the first week of troll control, comment making is heading back to normal levels. Comments were down at the beginning of the week as people came to grips with the new system. The down kink on the right hand side was the normal Sunday drop off (traffic basically halves on weekends). On Monday the number of comments made was a healthy 1,209…
We still have a pretty liberal comments policy, you still don’t have to register, though if you don’t your accompanying avatar defaults to the handsome chap above. We have permanently banned only a handful of people this week who basically objected to not being allowed to be particularly abusive. The comments are about as rowdy as a saloon bar. The landlord reserves the right to throw people out…
Guido will soon be winding down for Christmas and the team will be faced with the tedious job of comment moderation over the holidays or to decide to just let anarchy prevail. For the last few months we have as an experiment adopted an even more laissez faire attitude to comments. Animated GIFs, YouTube videos, tweets, images and the like were allowed. The result was gay porn, racist videos and it generally getting worse. We have now after ten years tested the “no pre-moderation” model to destruction.
During the run up to the election this site’s readership will probably top-out at some quarter-of-a-million hits per day, comments will be in the thousands daily. The post-moderation system is just not viable, the team would have to spend all day reading the comments instead of doing the writing that provokes them.
This graph summarises the economics of blog comments:
Guido has over the last decade copped a lot of criticism for the generally laissez faire attitude towards the comments – remember Derek Draper calling the comments “a sewer” on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics? In some ways it was easier for Guido to take a laissez faire attitude, counter-intuitively it provides some degree of legal protection to not pre-moderate.
Comment moderation costs a lot, we occasionally have to spend time with lawyers and the police as a result of comments we have not written or often even read. It is expensive in time, every day the Guido team deletes a load of comments which have, in our rather arbitrary judgement, just gone too far. The software algorithm modbot blocked as much racist, scatological and gynecological nonsense as could be predictable. The truth is that we were happy to tolerate profanity and such like directed at the political class, we were not so keen on the repetitious and tedious stuff about minorities.
Picture credit : GQ
Some get very worked up about online comments because they are so often rude and abusive. We’ve taken a “sticks and stones” view to a large extent, particularly with regard to prominent public figures, it is actually pleasing that Ed Balls gets angry about the abuse dished out here, that self-important politicians hate it so much, that thin-skinned journalists don’t like a taste of their own medicine. The comments and the blog itself perform the role of a cyber-stocks, you can say almost whatever you like about leading political figures and it will go unchecked, however say something gynecological about a lowly intern, it is likely to get deleted (if it is noticed).
Originally when this blog started and had readers numbering only in the tens, rather than the tens of thousands, some of the regular comment makers were very witty and brought actual gossip. In the last decade millions of comments have been made, the signal to noise ratio and average quality of the comments has declined. That is an inevitable consequence of having among the tens of thousands of readers a fair number of moronic, window licking, certifiable loonies for whom this is their preferred outlet. Mostly it is people just venting about their bugbears and commenting on the character and parentage of politicians, with a few gems to be found. Guido has no problem with readers swearing at politicians. That has its place, and that place is for better or worse here.
Things are changing, you will still be able to say what you like (within somewhat arbitrary inconsistent limits) without pre-moderation or registering. That privilege will be removed from people who cross the line, they will be blocked from commenting. We’re not known for political correctness, we believe in freedom of speech, exercise it elsewhere if you want to post porn or abuse people witlessly. Will the obsessive who posts “Vote UKIP” all day be blocked? Maybe. Will we lose traffic? Not as much as those obsessive comment makers think. Will it work? That is up to you.
See also Get Your Own Blogs