Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Childish timewasting

In an idle moment I fed "Euston Manifesto" into Google's news search today. Only four hits! Of these, three were from the Guardian's CiF site, so don't really count. Then there was the surprise one, from some Australian site called Crikey. An excerpt:

...for the past few months I’ve been signing up fictional people to the Manifesto’s list of signatories, and so far no-one’s even bothered to check the affiliation, if any, of these members swelling its 2,000+ counter (it used to be 3,000+, but then they removed the automated spam – so "Cathy wants an-l 2" no longer supports UN occupation of Darfur).

I began before Christmas with someone I was sure the moderators would recognise – Ern Malley. OK, it was an Australian hoax, but it went worldwide and snared TS Eliot in its grasp, and surely someone there would twig? Apparently not – the author of The Darkening Ecliptic is still there.

After a few more names with more recent cultural references stayed up without inquiry – even when they listed the same email address – I thought I’d give them a lay-down misere and signed up Daffyd Mallard and "Buzz" Lappin within fifteen minutes of each other.

Now, the Eustonites pride themselves on being the best and brightest – so why did no-one in the bunker have the wit or high school French to see that Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny had signed up to their vision for the 21st century?

14 Comments:

Anonymous dd said...

oh dear ... in fairness, they are vetting it by hand at the moment apparently, and Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck have both been removed. At the time of posting, though, Ern Malley is still there, as is "Buzz" Lappin and Julie Burchill.

5/22/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

This touches on a comment I made earlierr this week about the EM, which is that if it really is the last hope of the left and mankind, then you would think the founding members - most of whom must be reasonably wealthy, and some of whom are very wealthy - would invest a little bit of money in it. To migrate to Wordpress, which apparently is causing a lot of the sign-up problems, would surely only require a paying someone with IT knowledge £500-1000 or so?

5/22/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea, waste time signing up as a fictional person - don't engage with the ideas.

Mmmmm.... Yes, "Childish timewasting" indeed.

Euston Manifesto members really aren't rich being mostly academics.

5/22/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Anthony Julius and Nick Cohen are founding members, and I don't think they're short of a bob.

5/22/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Oliver Kamm is also a signatory (although to be fair not a founding one).

The thing is that a thousand quid is obviously a lot of money to spend on a fairly trivial hobby - Christ knows I wouldn't spend more than a few tenners on blogging - but the Euston Manifesto is one of the most important political movements in the world, representing nothing less than the only hope for survival of the Left. It would cost like twenty quid a head for the drafting committee to sort it all out; less if the original signers could be talking into coughing up £2 each. And the thing is not only is this embarrassing in and of itself, it's actually hurting them as a political movement, because they can't collect more signatures while registration is closed.

5/22/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Yes, I don't think you can count just signatories, as no-one signs up to an online petition thinking it will cost them money (and if EM had charged 50p to sign up I doubt they would have got more than 100). But founding members presumably have something to do with the running of the organisation.

I don't want to pick solely on Euston, but I think it will be an interesting piece to find out what financial checks are in place in various of these new online think tanks/pressure groups (Euston, Taxpayer's Alliance, no2ID etc) who solicit donations.

5/22/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Reverend Lovejoy said...

To Mr Anonymous :

Euston Manifesto members really aren't rich being mostly academics.

If the manifesto was produced by academics then the education system is in an even worse state than I feared.

5/22/2007 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

There's rather worse about.

5/22/2007 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

"NO2ID is currently an unincorporated Association with a Constitution adopted at its first Annual General Meeting on 9th October, 2004. The present members of the Advisory Board were elected at the second AGM on 11th February, 2006, and re-elected at the third meeting of the Association on 12th May, 2007:"

how did I know it would be that one which had organised itself properly, had a Constitution, etc?

5/22/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Taxpayers' Alliance

I believe this organisation has a chair, Andrew Allum, who was previously a Conservative councillor on Westminster City Council. This took me about three minutes to find out but curiously it seems to have eluded all the news organisations (including those not necessarily supportive of the Conservative Party) who happily print their press releases as if they were news items.

Though to be fair, the Private Eye journalist to whom I mentioned this was already aware of it.

5/22/2007 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

"Good idea, waste time signing up as a fictional person - don't engage with the ideas."

Well if it doesn't matter if the signatures are real, why bother soliciting them (or boasting about the number you do have)?

Still congrats on being more marginal than the SWP. You're really make inroads into the mainstream, there.

5/23/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Wordpress is open-source software, and there must be at least one sql speaker among the massed ranks of Waterboarding for International Solidarity..

5/23/2007 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Damian Counsell is almost certainly capable of doing the job, but AFAICS lacks the time as he is a small businessman. But surely it would not be beyond the bounds of possibility to chuck one of Shalom Lappin's students a couple of beer vouchers to move it all across? Or (I'm blatantly guessing here) it might be that Wordpress transition is not actually on the critical path, because the signature list needs to be pruned of spam and fiction first - that's a task that would be quite difficult to partition and probably couldn't be delegated - it would have to be done by one of the Euston principals themselves.

5/23/2007 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Maybe they consider it to be helpful to look like it's run on a shoestring? Compare and contrast the slightly slicker Henry 'Scoop' Jackson Society's website, which was run by students, but presumably is funded by Boeing.

5/24/2007 02:23:00 PM  

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