Fwd: [WikiEN-l] Matthew Taylor entry mentioned in Daily Telegraph feature

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Fwd: [WikiEN-l] Matthew Taylor entry mentioned in Daily Telegraph feature

Gary Kirk
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jem Stone <[hidden email]>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 10:08:41 +0000
Subject: [WikiEN-l] Matthew Taylor entry mentioned in Daily Telegraph feature
To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>


from the magazine yesterday...

"One little charge he has found hard to shrug off is that of writing
his own entry on Wikipedia, the online encylopaedia to which anyone
can contribute. The accusation is even appended to the entry, in the
form of a quote from Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily

'The Downing Street thinking,' Maguire writes, 'is that this item is
so congratulatory, presenting Taylor as a master of the universe
famous for amusing anecdotes and witty one-liners, that no one else
could be responsible.'

The problem is that, by the time I visit Wikipedia, the entry is
rather subdued. It records youthful stroppiness, possibly a response
to lack of paternal nurturing: he was expelled from school in south
London, and 'failed to get his O-levels first time around because he
had eloped (to exotic Maida Vale) with a girl called Pandora'. Later,
there was a fight with the Southampton University Labour Group which
led to his setting up his own Socialist Society. But there's nothing
about witty one-liners.

Has Taylor deleted his own boasting? As a Labour spin-doctor during
the 1990s, he was, after all, responsible for developing the party's
rapid-rebuttal unit. Absolutely not, he insists. When I produce a
printout of the Wikipedia page, he says he's never seen it before, and
chuckles at the quote from Maguire. ('I like Kevin, but he really
doesn't like me.') Then he blinks in surprise at a blurred snapshot of
him with his arms around two girls in a snow-covered Southampton
street in 1982.

'That's my old girlfriend. I haven't seen her for 20 years. God, how
weird. I wonder how she feels about being on that website. Isn't it
amazing that we live in a world where this sort of stuff…' and he
pauses. 'I mean, what will it do to us?'

Clearly, Taylor has already spent a lot of time worrying about the
explosion of consumer choice, the deluge of information bearing down
on us, the menace and promise of new technology. But that Wikipedia
photo has touched a raw nerve.

'I'm gobsmacked,' he says. 'What will this do to relationships – the
knowledge that dumping a girlfriend, throwing up at a party, anything
at all can be on our internet profile for ever? We'll either end up
being more tolerant of the fact that we're all flawed, or we'll have
to be led by people who have kept their noses clean since the age of

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Gary Kirk

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