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16 February 2007updated 05 Oct 2023 8:45am

How time mellows us all … sort of

The wars in blogosphere and how one senior political editor rated Westminster's most fanciable

By Owen Walker

In the week of Valentine’s Day, a blogwar has broken out seeing some of the major political bloggers taking shots at each other and threatening legal action.

At its centre was – who else? – Guido Fawkes. On Monday, following an outing on a Radio 4 documentary over the weekend, Guido let on for the first time about his true identity: “The name of the person channelling the ghost of Guido Fawkes onto the internet has only been a secret to those who were lacking in the wit to Google ‘Who is Guido Fawkes?’”

On Sunday, a number of prominent bloggers published a 20-year-old Guardian article focusing on Guido’s alter-ego, Paul Staines, from his student days at Hull University. Shortly after, they all received emails from Guido issuing a legal notice to take the article off due to defamation. The original article, it was suggested, had been retracted.

Guido’s defensive position angered many who made accusations of hypocrisy. Clive from The UK Today said: “Here is a man who, when the going gets tough, reaches not for his Libertarian principles, but rather for his lawyer and his wallet. If this whole affair has shown one incontrovertible truth, it is that Paul can give it, but can’t take it.”

While Tim Ireland added: “I personally found the reaction to the content to be far more illuminating than the content itself.”

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Ministry of Truth, Chicken Yoghurt and Pickled Politics also took the opportunity to take their own shots at Guido. But a cry to peace came from another bloglord, Iain Dale: “Blogwars have broken out between various parties which have made us all appear like obsessive school children who have nothing better to do with our time than flame each other. It’s developed into a pitch battle between left and right and emerged out of the investigations into the Smith Institute. It’s time to call a halt to this before it all gets out of hand and writs are issued.”

In other news, it was confirmed on Conservative Home that Cameron and Co are preparing a new line of attack. As Mike Ion wrote: ”Yes, finally the Tories have begun the hard and difficult task of preparing for Government. The policy think tanks have been working over-time and the latest policy initiative has been announced. The Tories will – wait for it – do away with … Rosettes!”

Though ridiculed by opponents, the Tories’ new accessory was welcomed in some quarters. Iain Dale quoted Derek Conway MP about his feelings to the old rosettes: “I always feel a bit of prat when I’m wearing one. The only time I wore one at the last election was at the count and I was worried it gives an aiming point to the disgruntled.”

On Valentine’s Day, Adam Boulton produced his annual list of the top 10 most fanciable MPs. In at number seven was the Liberal Democrat’s Lynne Featherstone. Here is how she took the news: “When I was a just a young lass and burning my bra – a wolf-whistle from a workman was to be reviled, put down and spat back – let alone appearing in a ‘top totty’ poll. However, age has mellowed me. Now – I am just grateful!”

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