Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blog Wars: What is it all about?

Politaholic’s head is reeling. Trying to make sense of it all is not easy. What is it all about? And who cares?

So far as I can gather (and I’m sure there is stuff I’ve left out):

1: Guido and Iain Dale have been running a campaign against The Smith Institute (a Brownite think-tank) which they argue should lose its charitable status because it is not independent. Tim Ireland (aka Manic) points out that Dale is a trustee for Policy Exchange which is a Conservative think-tank (also enjoying charitable status) and clearly also not independent. Dale and Guido are, to say the least, rather reticent about this.

2. Guido’ real name is Paul Staines. He is a pretty right-wing fogeyish Conservative and a(wholly unconvinving) "anti-establishment" poseur (the "establishment" posing as "anti-establishment"). Anyone who reads the blog can easily ascertain how right-wing Guido is, although most of those who post comments are – incredibly - even more right-wing). Years ago Guido was a Young Conservative. Those were the days when young Tories sported “Hang Mandela” badges. Guido says he didn’t wear one but hung around with people who did (the “I didn’t inhale” defence). Pickled Politics claims that as a student Guido/Staines proposed a link between the Federation of Conservative Students (FCC) and the British National Party (BNP). The story was also posted by Tim Ireland. Staines is saying the story is untrue and is based on a 1986 article in the Guardian which was retracted. He is threatening legal action. Guido and his supporters are arguing that back then Guido was a right-wing “libertarian” Conservative and not a right-wing (and racist) “authoritarian” Conservative. The FCC seems to have been an alliance of both groups: “libertarians” and “Monday Clubbers”. However, in truth Politaholic has no idea whatsoever what Guido’s views were back then. On the evidence of his blog he does seem now to be of the (very) right-wing “libertarian” persuasion, although many of (rather obviously) public school and City types who post comments on his blog (and Ireland claims these are screened) are Tories of a different shade.

3. Iain Dale called – or certainly implied - that Tim Ireland is a “nihilist”, then said he didn’t, then admitted he did (but had forgotten), and claimed he didn’t know what the word “nihilist” meant until he looked it up (oddly ignorant for a political commentator), then apologised (simultaneously making a bid for the moral high ground). Tim Ireland has called Dale a liar – repeatedly - and seems unimpressed with the apology. Dale has donned the mantle of the persecuted victim – a lone voice, crying in the wilderness, pleading for moderation. He is, those who support him argue, a victim of a Brownite conspiracy. Ireland thinks this disingenuous. There is also some dispute about whether Dale has accurately recalled his editing of his own Wikipedia entry. But this is a little too complicated, technical, and parochial for poor Politaholic.

Until today most of this passed me by. I’m far too small a sprat, I think.

I suspect a lot of these guys know each other. They all work, so to speak, “within the beltway”.

What a small world.


Blogger dreadnought said...

Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale! Who cares what these two 'professional bloggers' say anyway??? They should both get a life.

3:34 pm  
Blogger Politaholic said...

I take your point, Dreadnought. As for "professional"; well, Guido and Doughty Street certainly seem to have oodles of cash behind them.

10:19 am  

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