Category Archives: musings

Quaequam Blog! Liveblog (Listen on LBC 97.3)

7:16:15 PM: I’ll be one of the bloggers on LBC’s election coverage tonight: http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/05/join-me-for-lbcs-election-night.html

7:19:25 PM: Hard to tell from @glinner’s tweets if his Tory tellers were breaking the rules or not.

7:21:38 PM: If they insisted on having his poll number, an offence was made. If they politely asked it’s a fine practice we should support (@glinner)

7:28:36 PM: 251 people now attending the Demo for Democracy (Sat, Traf Sq, 2pm). Another 361 maybes: http://bit.ly/9eBApD

7:29:42 PM: Other rallies taking place in Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford and, MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, Middlesbrough: http://bit.ly/9eBApD

7:30:34 PM: (not gonna retweet the seperate links again – just follow the ones found on the Trafalgar Square event page)

7:32:01 PM: RT: @alexfoster: Cor, there’s a queue outside the polling station. Longer queue in chippy thobut.

7:33:14 PM: Seeing reports of queues everywhere outside polling stations. Brits usually queue in Post Offices, not to vote. Most un-British.

7:33:52 PM: I mean, seriously, queuing to vote? That’s what foreigners do. Usually outside mudhuts in Africa. Tsk.

7:34:18 PM: We’ll be putting purple ink on our index fingers next.

7:35:32 PM: RT: @paulwaugh: Lord Ashcroft’s ominous question. http://bit.ly/aRnsLK

9:39:12 PM: Just noticed my blog is still set on UTC (Azabaijan to be precise). Have hopefully solved it now.

9:39:53 PM: If it looks like I’ve been tweeting exit polls an hour before close of poll, it’s because of the time code. Don’t arrest me please.

9:41:27 PM: Must. Eat.

9:43:55 PM: Hmmm… blog now seems to think I am an hour into the future. #fail.

10:03:52 PM: RT @AIannucci: #ge2010. Labs, Lib Dems, Others: Charge! There’s 1 more hour to stop Pudge-Face and his Moon-eyed Loons.

10:04:48 PM: RT @Gilesyb: Dow cratering. FTSE due to open v down. On the + side, cheaper all the time to holiday in Europe. Hold off on the Greek villa

10:05:39 PM: RT @guardiantech: General election turnouts since 1945 http://bit.ly/9VGodA

10:10:10 PM: WTF is @icmresearch doing tweeting ‘rumours’ about its own exit poll? Pollsters have misbehaved a lot in this election.

10:11:10 PM: RT @Glinner: RT @mat: I just bought Greece ยป you woz robbed.

10:13:07 PM: RT @alexwilcock: Jimmy Carr on #alternativeelection just recommended porn, but he’s already the biggest wanker on TV (Farage being injured).

10:18:50 PM: RT @paulwaugh: Hearing lots of queues to vote. My gut says that’s a Lib surge that cd do for Labr. But hey, what do I know?

10:40:31 PM: RT: @caitlinmoran: #C4altelection Rod LIddle is the God Particle of cuntdom. His twottery fills the universe.

11:06:40 PM: RT @chickyog: BBC Exit Poll: CON 307, LAB 255, LD 59, OTH 29 << would mean Hung Parliament, Lib Dems boned.

11:08:25 PM: RT @qwghlm: If the Lib Dems lose total MPs despite the rise in the popular vote, oh my word… #ge2010

11:14:27 PM: WHERE ARE THE PERCENTAGES?! What is this? Amateur hour? Why are they sitting on them?

11:16:21 PM: RT @iaindale: Blogpost: Iain Dale’s Diary Readers’ Exit Poll http://tinyurl.com/3x476o4

11:17:12 PM: RT @qwghlm: Worth keeping in mind 2005’s exit poll predicted the Lib Dems to gain just 2 seats, they gained 11 http://bit.ly/cz0HOe #ge2010

11:18:48 PM: @BBCElection Fuck your uniform national swing bullshit and give me the percentages. Now.

11:19:49 PM: RT @alixmortimer: RT @rob_knight Is this the BBC exit poll? #ge2010 http://twitpic.com/1llhsr

11:27:43 PM: RT @lordbonkers: This exit poll is wrong. I know because all my tenants show me their votes before they go in the box

11:29:49 PM: RT @TiggerTherese: Blimey! What is this crazy sudden turn towards PR from Harman, Mandy, et al?

11:34:39 PM: RT @BBCElection: Scots voters going to polls http://bit.ly/aM64FE ยป er, still? Are you quite sure?

11:50:15 PM: RT @politicshomeuk: Channel 4 exit poll split: Con 38, Lab 28, Lib Dems 23 http://polurl.com/61756

11:52:28 PM: RT @lewis_baston: Mandelson and Harman both all-out for electoral reform.

11:53:02 PM: Can’t believe the Sheffield RO blaming students for not bringing their polling cards with them. Does he not know the law?

12:27:42 AM: Don’t go to bed mad at #ge2010 results – go to bed knowing you’re taking back parliament. http://bit.ly/Takeitback #ukelections #takeitback

12:50:15 AM: RT @politicshomeuk: Channel 4 exit poll split: Con 38, Lab 28, Lib Dems 23 http://polurl.com/61756

12:53:02 AM: Can’t believe the Sheffield RO blaming students for not bringing their polling cards with them. Does he not know the law?

12:55:06 AM: Surely they could have predicted high turnouts from the opinion polls?

1:01:14 AM: Has Bob Marshall-Andrews predicted he will lose yet? A fine election night tradition. ๐Ÿ™‚

1:01:48 AM: I’m on LBC from 1am-1.30am apparently.

1:12:23 AM: @AngryFromMCR @apptme2theboard I know. I was joking.

1:15:38 AM: My old school chum Chris Philp is on LBC at the moment. Nothing personal Chris, but I hope you lose.

1:16:36 AM: Philp doesn’t sound too optimistic about his chances. If he thought he had a chance, I wouldn’t expect him to be giving interviews.

1:17:32 AM: Hope @joswinson’s team remember to tell her her own result this year (we, um, sort of forgot in 2005).

1:18:54 AM: .@markpack has predicted a LD gain in Hampstead and Kilburn on LBC.

1:27:13 AM: 699 signatories now on http://bit.ly/bbjvrH #takeitback

1:50:20 AM: The Alliance?! FTW! Well done in Belfast East!

1:51:17 AM: Well done @stevewebb!

1:54:51 AM: Sorry but not surprised to see Martin Linton lose Battersea. One of the better Labour MPs.

2:29:01 AM: Have been informed by an insider that Glasgow North is ‘kess i’. This is either some clever code or a mistype.

2:50:50 AM: It has to be said, we aren’t seeing any evidence of #cleggmania in the Lab-Con marginals.

2:55:04 AM: 1,243 now calling to #takeitback: http://www.takebackparliament.com/

2:55:52 AM: Bloke on LBC calling from Chippenham. Sounds close.

2:57:57 AM: Sad to hear about the Tories holding Newbury.

3:00:08 AM: Kirsty Allsop is completely shitfaced on the BBC at the moment.

3:01:26 AM: Shappi Khorsandi has been at the ales as well.

3:18:30 AM: Unconfirmed rumour that Lembit has lost Montgomeryshire.

3:20:11 AM: This really is the weirdest election night ever.

3:22:04 AM: Montgomeryshire count coming now

3:22:43 AM: Lembit rumour was true. The LDs have lost Lloyd George’s seat!!!

3:25:13 AM: @lewis_baston Wasn’t Montgomeryshire so safe in 2001 that it was the only LD const you didn’t profile in your guide? What a waste!

3:37:35 AM: There is one very clear loser from this election: the pollsters. Utter, utter fail.

3:38:58 AM: I’m still hopeful of a slight increase in the LD vote share and some net gains. But talking 1s and 2s not 10s now.

3:42:13 AM: David Heath did phenomenally well. Just goes to show what you can do with a platoon of Hawkmen at your disposal.

3:42:27 AM: (yes I know that was obscure)

3:43:44 AM: Well done Chris Huhne. Given the results tonight, I’m very relieved.

3:58:09 AM: RT @jenyockney: i think the portillo equivalent line this time is — were you up for “what the fuck is going on!?”

4:01:30 AM: A 17% swing in Merthyr but not a gain. Don’t know whether to celebrate the swing or commisserate the loss.

4:03:07 AM: The boargamer’s MP Nick Palmer has apparently lost.

4:08:06 AM: RT @bigdaddymerk: Dorries is back. another 5 years of comedy gold.

4:08:53 AM: RT @markpack: Sky News auto-subtitles screaming: “Tories have taken dope. Tories have taken dope.” Err… Dover?

4:10:41 AM: Nice to see the LD national share is slowly creeping up now.

4:25:09 AM: RT @libdemvoice: Jo Swinson HOLDS East Dunbartonshire >> congrats Jo!

4:48:24 AM: @drevanharris Good luck – and hang in there!

4:49:04 AM: Sad to see the LDs lose Rochdale but on a personal note like Simon Danczuk.

4:52:32 AM: Fundamentally, this result is so random. Not only does this look hung, it is hard to see how another GE will unhang it.

4:53:24 AM: We need a voting system in which the nation can make an actual decision. #takeitback http://www.takebackparliament.com/

4:55:49 AM: How can we be doing so badly while getting such humungous swings like in Merthyr and Redcar?!

4:56:55 AM: Remember folks: Canada went NOC in 2004. After three GEs it is still NOC. FPTP eventually breaks with multi-party politics.

5:04:55 AM: Richard Taylor has lost. So much for the independents vote then.

5:09:21 AM: Not surprised about losing Hereford South to be honest.

5:10:03 AM: RT @MrsBYork: this is why we need #electoralreform – libdems have 22% of vote but only 23 out of 330 seats #ge2010 #electionpowerzone2010

5:20:26 AM: RT @nickjbarlow: Colchester – Lib Dem hold, Bob Russell majority 6982 >> so much for the rumours

5:21:03 AM: RT @guidofawkes: Morley + Outwood recount! >> pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease

5:24:11 AM: Anybody with a belief in rationality and science will be chilled by @drevanharris’ defeat. Big gain for the woowoo right.

5:25:07 AM: @drevanharris Really sorry. We needed you!

5:36:52 AM: RT @mudlarklives: #philippastroud loses in Sutton & Cheam – take that, God-bothering bigots. #ge2010

5:42:02 AM: Chippenham hold (gain)? Yes? Please?

5:45:57 AM: Well done @duncanhames – friend and ally for 15 years.

5:52:45 AM: Delighted to hear about Simon Wright winning Norwich South. Is this night about to get more interesting?

5:53:21 AM: (Interesting wrong word. It’s been interesting all morning. Horribly so.)

5:54:21 AM: Really like Simon Wright. He always looks like an earnest Sunday school teacher. In a good way, not a Philippa Stroud way.

5:55:19 AM: Zac Goldsmith’s mate (brother?) standing next to him looks a right twat.

6:21:08 AM: RT @dalekcat: RT @GPforhire: RT @SmallCasserole: Labour – 1.2 times the votes of LibDems, 4.7 times the seats – Democracy my arse.

6:28:52 AM: RT @lordbonkers: Conservatives gain Winchester >> NOOOO!

6:30:17 AM: Will there be ANY BME MPs left this afternoon?

6:40:58 AM: @bridgetfox Really sorry.

6:41:15 AM: @mpntod Really sorry.

8:49:30 AM: //ELB

9:49:30 AM: //ELB

10:31:15 AM: Ah, the CiF trolls are enjoying their moment. One of the clear winners of this election: http://bit.ly/aSEDVR

11:21:28 AM: Important poll: How are you feeling about the election result? http://twtpoll.com/g3ypmz #twtpoll #ge2010

11:22:16 AM: Please can you vote in my poll: http://twtpoll.com/g3ypmz – desperately trying to gauge the mood at the moment. #ge2010

11:23:49 AM: You might also want to have your say here: http://labs.38degrees.org.uk/content/election-what-next #ge2010

11:28:12 AM: Thanks for your feedback. Working on something and this is really valuable: http://twtpoll.com/r/g3ypmz Please RT!

12:15:42 PM: Teather is teh campaign geenius.

12:16:53 PM: The question is: can anyone beat Sarah Teather? Does anyone else notice a resemblance between her and Hit Girl from Kick-Ass?

12:22:07 PM: Seriously. This should have been Teather’s election posters. http://twitpic.com/1lqa0k

This is a liveblog test (thanks to @chickyog for suggestion).

7:02:43 PM: RT: @libdemvoice: http://ldv.org.uk/19345 >> If this IS the result tomorrow, there’ll be riots in the streets.

7:07:48 PM: On the other hand, that result would mean I get to eat TWO chocolate bars #mydiabeticpledge

7:09:41 PM: RT: @votematch: Official: we’ve had 1,002,000 users and counting. Will we hit 2 million before close of poll? ๐Ÿ™‚ http://votematch.org.uk

7:10:57 PM: Oh goody. Looks like the liveblog plugin works then.

Bullying

Am I a bully? Over the past month I’ve been accused of bullying twice. Once for suggesting that calling one’s political opponents “national socialists” is over the top and yesterday on twitter for suggesting that there is something ironic for the director of a subsidiary of an organisation called Progressive Vision to criticise people for using the word progressive. I will happily admit that both of these jokes were not especially funny and might well be frustrating for their intended targets, but they don’t immediately spring to my mind as acts of bullying. I could laugh these accusations off. I could, as I’ve been advised this evening, note the triviality of the objections, the relationship of the objectors and consider the fact that I might be being played. But for various reasons, “bully” is one of the few things you can call me that actually hurts.

I’ve had an emotionally draining six months and while I’ve been doing a fairly good job at keeping my head above water, it hasn’t been easy. It’s worth considering therefore whether this has lead to me taking things out on people online. Such things are not exactly unheard of and it frequently does result in things going too far.

I’m also aware that at at least one point in my life, at school, I was a bully. I had an epiphany then and rowed it back. If I had the ability to do that then, I certainly should have the maturity to do it now.

With that said however, I think we have to be clear about what is and isn’t bullying. I would never deny that this blog is frequently belligerant, sarcastic, mischevious, obtuse and angry. I don’t suffer fools gladly and have no patience for nonsense. I don’t like beating around the bush or couching my criticisms in platitudinous nonsense. And if you push me, I have an tremendous weakness for pushing back. This blog has a pretty justified reputation to that effect.

I have to confess however, I don’t actually see this blog as always being that. I can write what I consider to be quite thoughtful, diplomatic posts and yet have people praising its trenchant criticism. As the saying goes, if you have a reputation for being an early bird, you can afford to occasionally sleep in until noon. People come here expecting knockabout stuff and that’s what they see; I can’t really complain.

There’s also the Alex Wilcock Factor. That is to say that on two seperate occasions Alex Wilcock has come up with a description of my writing style that is so hilariously over the top that I’ve put it up on as a subheading for my blog (โ€œcrass, boorish and more a bruiser than bloggerโ€ฆ a tactical nuclear bastardโ€). Why have I done this? Fundamentally because they’re funny; partly because I don’t entirely recognise myself in them and enjoy the cognitive dissonance; and partly because of who they’re from. I have to confess that Alex and I have always had an odd relationship. I’ve known him for 14 years and before the wireless interweb was ubiquitous in the way it is now I read all his pamphlets and articles obsessively. He’s been a big influence on my politics. Yet we’ve never, frankly, really got on; we just don’t get each other. So what do you do when someone you know and respect but are not friends with starts referring to you in quite vicious terms that are almost certainly in jest but seem to have a slight edge to them? You take ownership of them, obviously. To do anything else would drive you insane.

With all that said, I wonder sometimes if there is a personal cost to this “killer rep” of mine. A work colleague once reported to me that he had met someone who read my blog and had commented “that James Graham is such an angry man.” My colleague, having sat next to me for 18 months found this to be hilarious.

It gets further complicated by two other things. First of all, I am 6’4″ and half again as wide. As such I tend to intimidate people who don’t know me. It is a prejudice that people seem to think is acceptable in a way that they would agree wouldn’t be if their intimidation was due to the colour of my skin or my sexual preferences, but I don’t let it get to me; if people can’t get over it they aren’t worth bothering with. Nevertheless it is something I’ve been conscious of my entire life.

Secondly, there is my past. Eight years ago, I was not in a good place psychologically; frankly I was a mental wreck and it took me a long time to recover. If I come across as belligerant now, I was much worse then. I took my frustrations out on people in a way that I should not have done. I take some consolation in the fact that a number of those people I took my frustrations out on remain very good friends of mine, and that many of the rest turned out to be real snakes, but it isn’t a period I’m particularly proud of.

Both these factors mean that I have a reputation that preceeds this blog in the real world and that this in turn gets fed back into the commentary in the blogosphere. It is possibly something I should be more careful about and could manage better, but that just isn’t my style.

Moving back to the present I have to ask myself if I’m slipping back into bad habits. Yet I honestly don’t think I am. Indeed, during a period when people have been trying to start a feud with me and my colleagues, I’ve been quite careful to not respond in kind (which is not to say I haven’t responded at all). I have to say that from this end of the telescope I do feel more sinned against than sinned.

Secondly, cyber-bullying by almost any definition I’ve been able to find involves stalking, attacks on people’s appearance and other personal characteristics, and threats. Typically what starts off as an attack on a web forum can take on a dimension in the real world. I’m confident I haven’t crossed the line in respect of any of these but it does feel as if that’s the implication whenever an allegation of bullying is made.

But while I don’t feel particularly responsible for starting this feuding I do feel I need to finish it. It is also timely to review exactly what I am achieving by giving racists and trolls a platform on this blog. For a long time I’ve tended to consider this to be a basic freedom of speech thing; I’ve only censored comments on this blog in extreme circumstances and in clear cases of defamation. But anyone can start a blog – I don’t need to give them a platform – and rolling in the mud with these jerks doesn’t actually make me feel any better.

What this all amounts to is two things: I need to develop a commenting moderation policy designerd to reduce the level of yah-boo nonsense – perhaps a three two strikes system – meanwhile I need to do more to avoid getting into feuds with specific individuals. The latter is slightly more complicated as feuds can be in the eye of the beholder. But generally if one side thinks it’s a feud it is one regardless of how the other side feels.

What I hope this doesn’t mean is that this blog becomes any less brutal in its relentless crusade against idiocy. Ultimately however, for me to keep blogging I have to be enjoying myself. Exposing myself to accusations of bullying, however unjustified, is the very definition of not having fun and something I need to take steps to avoid.

That is all.