Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido


5:26 pm - April 11th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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Adam Bienkov / Tory Troll (on Twitter):

Manufactured outrage of the day: http://tinyurl.com/c39l75 A spin doctor trying to spin stories about his opponents? Shocking stuff.

Labour planning a smear campaign? Oh it’s terrible claims Staines. Absolutely shameful bleats Bright. “Absurd” claims Coulson.

Jamie Sport / Daily Quail (on Twitter)

It’s this kind of small-town gossiping and mock outrage that makes everyone think blogging about politics is stupid inconsequential shit.

@derekdraper attracts shit like an industrial electromagnet in a swimming pool of iron filings. http://is.gd/rVxW Time to go Dolly

Bob Piper:

Poor Iain. The man who likes to think of himself as the Westminster insider, is definitely feeling left out. Late last night Paul Staines published his story about the McBride smear website. A desperate Dale tries to say… it is all about me, me me.

Sadie’s Tavern:

“It’s an important breakthrough,” said Gudio commentator IShaggedYourMum. “Far bigger than Watergate – there were no blogs in Watergate.”

Another commentator, GBrownSucksTheFatOne, agrees but added darkly, “I really hope They don’t get him before the next election. Be careful out there Guido, especially near protests.”

Conservative blogger and inventor of the internet, Iain Dale said of the surprising developments, “I’m available to all television networks for comment.”

The Public:

Who the fuck is this Damian McBride twat and why is news so boring and shit?

News journalists:

ZOMG! We love fellating Guido Fawkes because he disses us day in and day out and this proves how independent and cool we are! This is completely front-page news!

Does that sum everything up?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


You have to admit it’s a hell of a thing to watch see Paul Staines – a man who called Mark Oaten a paedophile – scrabbling for the moral highground.

You mean like Staines’ claim that he’s all in favour of free speech?

It is indeed all terribly amusing. Watching both sides, here as well as over there.

Here and Sadie etc it’s all “nothing to see here, move along now” and Guido etc screaming that it’s the most important thing since sliced bread. The truth is somewhere in between in my ever so humble opinion.

That a civil servant will plan to, even if they don’t in the end, release rumouors about opposition politicians is in fact something of a deal. Maybe not as big as some are making out but not something to be dismissed out of hand as above.

Anyway, I think what’s really interesting about this is that these emails have been on offer to the papers for a few days now. Guido bit and got the news out, just as well as any paper would. That I think is the interesting lesson….those who want to leak can see now that they’ve got many more effective places to do so to.

That’s going to change things…..interesting, no?

Yep, I agree Tim. It’s been fun watching McBride getting lumps kicked off him. Guido will get his one day I’m very sure and I can’t wait.

‘…those who want to leak can see now that they’ve got many more effective places to do so to’ is an excellent point. The UK political blogging scene now has a number of blogs that can put a story in the top ten on Google within an hour. All it needs is those with something worthwhile to push to wake up to that.

Oh poor Sunny – that peerage is slipping away from you!

We pay McScum’s wages. If he was a pure party person that would be unattractive, but par for the course. He is notionally a civil servant.

Still, shows how desperate team Brown have become.

Oh – it’s the lead on radio 4 news.
Never mind.

No surprise there. The BBC added right-wing bloggers to the Daily Mail as their main source for news stories and determining what’s important in the news agenda a while back.

The whole episode’s hilarious; Draper’s been a wonderful piñata.

“We pay McScum’s wages. If he was a pure party person that would be unattractive, but par for the course. He is notionally a civil servant.”

McScum? That’s terrible – I prefer McBride Of Satan…

Why do I get the feeling that the tone of this post would be different if the Tories were in the s***?

Can’t we leave the partisan politics out of this for once?

10. Alisdair Cameron

Sunny, you may hate the Tories (God knows,I do) and deplore many of the right-wing bloggers but that shouldn’t blind you to the fact that even in pursuit of a noble cause (fighting for the survival of the new labour project certainly not being such in my view) nobody who is in the least bit decent, or worthy of authority should throw inaccurate aspersions around, let alone set out to lie about (and potentially libel) their opponents with very damaging, personal but also wrong taints about their character. Sure, politics is renowned for ‘rough and tumble’ but outright lies and dirty tricks are not exactly ‘progressive’ are they?
More pointedly, while some mud-slinging has always been conducted by renegades/outliers, this instance seems embedded firmly within this administration, and is being conducted from public office, which is untenable. If you wouldn’t put up with it from the tories, then you shouldn’t accept it from new labour either.
Oh and to add: one of the slurs floated concerns mental health problems;
a) That is off-limits and not in the least appropriate from anyone allied to govt, which has a duty to try and eradicate the stigma attached to mental health. Wonder what Laurie Penny thinks…
b) Such a slur will undo all of the £ millions invested in the Time to Change campaign, which many MH charities are behind, so this attempted smear is hitting them.
c) Mr Draper is a therapist, allegedly, though the precise nature of his qualification is shrouded in some mystery. were he to be found in any way to have accepted, condoned or assisted in such a slur, his suitability to practice as a therapist must be brought into question.

Yeah. McScum is appalling. I hope that’s just Cjcjc’s suggestion, and not the one the right are running with. I know they’re bereft of creativity, but still.

BTW. This really is much ado about nothing. It’s like the expenses debacle. They’re all at it. It’s what they do. They fiddle and they scheme, and one or two, might actually do some work once in a while.

Politicians like to claim they’re morally superior, or that they’re in the know, but in reality they’re like the rest of us: a mix of shirkers, workers, liars, pervs, twats and smart arses (have I missed anyone?).

Guido’s desperate to make this a big deal because it feeds his gargantuan ego. Is it really news that politicos scheme against one-another? No, don’t be so daft you silly gonad.

Next!

What exactly happened? I’m confused.

It sounds like the non-story of the week. I’m pretty sure there are more important things happening in the world other than a guy chatting shit about another guy (I think?!)

there is an issue here which I think is very central to Liberal Conspiracy

The very last thing we needed was a Red Guido

McBride-Draper and this episode capture everything that Labour risks getting wrong about the internet.
http://www.nextleft.org/2009/04/very-last-thing-we-needed-was-red-guido.html

It’s like a buffet of bastards, isn’t it?

I can’t believe I hate the whole thing!

The only difficult thing is working out who to hold in the greatest contempt – the right-wing blowhards on teh internets, the supposedly left-wing blowhards in government or the vast media circle-jerk. I suppose, since bullshit of this nature is the preserve of self-promoting right-wing blowhards and pointless hacks, we should expect it of them, so the government win by a nose.

That said, it’s true that my attitude would be different if it were the Tories who had been caught out in this kind of ridiculous scheme. After all, the Tories are the opposition and hold next to no power at all, so it would’ve been an even more pointless waste of everyone’s time and effort.

You can’t deny the fact that Number 10, a senior civil servant and Derek (I need a shower) Draper have been well and truly caught out by trying to lie their way out of a corner. Draper not 7 days ago denied that these e-mails existed and while we don’t yet know the content it is outrageous that a civil servant paid from the national purse should see fit to write anything political, especially while on the clock.

All it needs is those with something worthwhile to push to wake up to that.

What if a Tory introduced a private members bill to give every single public servant, contractor who worked for the government – in any capacity – immunity from prosecution?

Would that be news worthy?

Boombastic I totally disagree with you. Sunny is spot on. The government has a hard enough time as it is, trying to restore some order to the country after the mess left by Thatcherism. The important civil service work of releasing information about what Tories are really like should be properly funded and be given full departmental status. Guido Fawkes and his ilk are the pus in an abscess that badly needs lanced.

I’m not defending the Labour party here, in case that wasn’t obvious, because the party isn’t really implicated. The people implicated are McBride and Draper – both of whom deserve all the abuse they get.

Flying Rodent nails it – the point is that politics has become a self-referential circus, with little relevance to important issues. And our stupid dead-tree press runs after these stories because it’s easier than doing real journalism.

Shafiq, see this Guardian blog:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/blog/2009/apr/11/damian-mcbride-apology-leaked-emails-smear-campaign

I do agree with Iain Dale on one thing – Derek Draper has shown himself to be a twat beyond redemption.

Derek Draper has shown himself to be a twat beyond redemption.

Seconded.

20. Alisdair Cameron

Derek Draper has shown himself to be a twat beyond redemption

Thirded, and that is why New Labour is implicated: Sunder on his blog notes that despite the protestations, Draper is still too wedded to the bullying,command and control approach and too on-message. That anyone, let alone the upper echelons let him be associated with labour is proof enough that labour’s hands are dirty on this.
Put it another way, one of the reasons I hate the Tories isn’t because of their front-men, the shadow cabinet etc, but because of the bigots, shysters and bullies who lurk in the wings, playing dog-whistle politics and worse. As New Labour seem to have a terrible number of vile people like Draper and Mcbride, just out of the spotlight, but nevertheless on-message and on-stage as it were, then I despise them too.

Put it another way, one of the reasons I hate the Tories isn’t because of their front-men, the shadow cabinet etc, but because of the bigots, shysters and bullies who lurk in the wings, playing dog-whistle politics and worse. As New Labour seem to have a terrible number of vile people like Draper and Mcbride, just out of the spotlight, but nevertheless on-message and on-stage as it were, then I despise them too.

Seconded.

It sounds like you guys just discovered the Easter bunny isn’t real.

You think the shysters and the hacks aren’t the guys running the show. They aren’t ones on speed dial with the cabinet and the shadow cabinet. This is politics at its most real and empty!

23. Conor Foley

I agree with Sunder (both here and in his Fabian blog) but also with Tim.

The first issue – which is not Derek – (who I have known since student politics and quite like although I think he has self-destructive tendencies), is why was a senior civil servant behaving in this way. That does make it news in the same way that Jo Moore’s 9/11 ‘burying bad news’ email was news. The difference is that McBride holds a more prominent job than Jo did and Labour are much more unpopular now. This is going to hurt Labour.

The second issue – which is Derek – is that this was a crazy strategy. Hitting back at sleaze rumours by spreading sleaze rumours is never going to work if you are the government and there is a judgement question over Labour’s leadership in supporting Derek – given that this is exactly the sort of thing that could have been expected of him. You can just imagine Mandelson, et al, giggling away at it and saying ‘ah that boy Derek, he’s such a street fighter, ha ha, oh well just so long as it doesn’t get traced back to us’.

Politics has always been a bit of ‘a self-referential circus, with little relevance to important issues’ and most ‘political players’ are basically bar room bores and gossips. But it is rooted in the ‘grand narratives’ about the sort of society people want to live in. I think that it is because people don’t believe Labour’s grand narrative any more that the party is getting hit far harder by this sort of sleaze stuff – the comparison with the dog days of the Major administration seem apt.

It also shows that Labour cannot win by pitching itself as the ‘insurgency party’ (as the US Republicans tried to do and failed) or through ‘triangulation’. The only two times Brown has been anywhere in the polls is when he has pitched an alternative vision of the type of society he is in favour of and contrasted that with the Tory one. Copying their tactics is simply not an option.

Put it another way, one of the reasons I hate the Tories isn’t because of their front-men, the shadow cabinet etc, but because of the bigots, shysters and bullies who lurk in the wings, playing dog-whistle politics and worse. As New Labour seem to have a terrible number of vile people like Draper and Mcbride, just out of the spotlight, but nevertheless on-message and on-stage as it were, then I despise them too.

Seconded.

Thirded!

The hypocrisy of Guido Fawkes is priceless to watch. Daily he smears people who he does not like or agrees with, and allows a comments section that is an example of what blogging would have looked like in Nazi Germany. But if the boot’s on the other foot he feigns moral outrage and whines like a baby.

Classic Right wing Conservative behaviour. Fox should give him a show.

27. Mike Killingworth

Well, McBride has gone and unless someone can prove that other civil servants, or Ministers, were actively involved in this asininity I expect the story to die.

Yes, it does bring into question Brown’s judgment – along with a whole lot of other things. No one can be in office as Chancellor, then PM for nearly 12 years without suffering from information overload at best and burn-out at worst.

Some of the most interesting things I have read today are:

1) this has nothing to do with the Labour party—

Except for the fact that the man is Special Adviser to the Prime Minister who is the leader of the Labour Party and who has used people like Charlie Whelan, Ed Balls and other idiots to bring down a Labour Leader and PM. Only because he was not getting his rightful job. I would suspect some others like Balls were probably involved at some stage.

Whelan is involved in this and so are other labour party activities.

2) how the Fabian Society is fair minded (the vitriol it put against an elected labour leader was hardly fair minded) — Why did the labour party have to create IPPR – to get some ideas that actually win elections rather than alienate half the voters.

3) Sunder in the link talks about how much of a fan he is of the current Prime Minister — then why is so upset about the tactics. — This Prime Minister (while Chancellor) with his cabal leaked viciiously against their own leader and ED Balls was the Chair of the Fabian Society and he was the biggest culprit.

4) This seems like Pravda going on overdrive.

So please save me the self-righteous crap about being fair minded.

And, I am no closet Tory —

29. Shatterface

It’s shit like this that makes me less likely to vote at all, let alone vote Labour.

Of course when the Tory party wants to go on the attack, they are quite happy to get the Right wing sewer machine to go out and investigate a senior Police officer and smear him in the media. Even publishing his wife’s business details and placing pictures of his house in the press.

And all because he dared to arrested a pompous politician from a party who only a year before were cheering on the police to go into No 10 and arrest the Labour Prime Minister.

Shamit,

“how the Fabian Society is fair minded (the vitriol it put against an elected labour leader was hardly fair minded”

I don’t know where you get your information from, but I am sure it is nonsense. What vitriol did the Fabian Society put against an elected Labour leader? When? Where? By whom? Would you mind substantiating. Otherwise, if you can’t, you might kindly withdraw it.

You might have half a point if you mean Harold Wilson (many of the Fabians were Gaitskellites) and there was a lot of plotting going on, but it is rather before my time. Assuming you mean Tony Blair, he was a member of the Fabian Society from the early 1980s. He wrote a couple of pamphlets (though he had one turned down to in 1983). He gave the Society’s annual lecture in 2003. He gave an education lecture in 2005.

I have never written a word of vitriol against Tony Blair, nor have the Fabians published any. There has been plenty of constructive criticism of the Blair agenda – particularly on foreign policy and on inequality. There has been plenty of constructive criticism of the Brown agenda. That is our role.

What it is true to say is that we placed a lot of emphasis on bringing equality back into the debate between 2003 and now, and on multilateral foreign policy after Iraq. I certainly argue that Blair got the neo-cons wrong, but there is zero vitriol
http://www.fabians.org.uk/publications/extracts/what-next

The Fabians are pluralist. The members elect the Executive in an annual ballot. That has given us MPs including Ed Balls and Denis MacShane, Austin Mitchell and Fiona MacTaggart, John Denham and Anne Campbell, Stephen Twigg, Tony Wright and Eric Joyce. If you can tell me which faction of the Labour party that represents, I will be impressed. In the year before the leadership, I spoke on panels including Ed Balls and Charles Clarke; we platformed John McDonnell and Michael Meacher in a debate with Gordon Brown when nominations opened. I don’t think you can find any centre-left organisation which has been more open and plural in its approach to authors and speakers. (And certainly, Blair and the Blairites were rather happier than the Brownites with the post-2005 election paper “Why Labour Won” by Liam Byrne, as Matthew d’Ancona mentions here
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3622715/In-this-Lib-Dem-farce-Cameron-is-the-winner.html

Regardless of your views on Guido, is there anyone he has targeted that didn’t actually have it coming? Anyone who wasn’t using their power or influence for their own interests?

If I thought that sending nasty emails is the most sinister thing that goes on in Downing Street I’d sleep far easier tonight. However, one story* apparently suggested that…

“Shadow Chancellor George Osborne’s wife was “emotionally fragile” just because she appeared upset at parties…”

If true, McBride’s been more shitty than a singularly unpolished turd. Anyone spreading that sort of thing – down with that sort of thing! – at work should have a boot to their behind before you can say trivial westminster politicking.

[*] The source is so sexist it’d make Phyllis Schlafly look like Millicent Fawcett.

Justin:

“Yep, I agree Tim. It’s been fun watching McBride getting lumps kicked off him. Guido will get his one day I’m very sure and I can’t wait.

‘…those who want to leak can see now that they’ve got many more effective places to do so to’ is an excellent point. The UK political blogging scene now has a number of blogs that can put a story in the top ten on Google within an hour. All it needs is those with something worthwhile to push to wake up to that.”

As you know I think that your and my polical ideals are a lot closer than the supposed divide between us indicates.

Yes.

The mechanism has been proven to exist. Blogs, to be silly about it, have “won”.

Great, what’s the message? For myself it’s that the scumsuckers can no longer suck scum.

Yours?

Another way of putting it. Now that we have this voice, what do we want to say with it?

Sally.

Please tell me your not serious. You’re a Tory troll using heavy irony.

Right?

I am very serious.

>Does that sum everything up?

I don’t think it does.

There’s also stuff about media willing to be glovepuppets for briefings, blogs and spindoctors managing stories, political Civil Servants, and little lies to hide bigger lies.

On Mr D, I’m sticking with “PR 1.0 into Politics 2.0 will not go”. They could still fix LabList, though – and the LabourWomen blog which has come out of the same push seems to have a lot of good potential (but bit’s gone quiet).

I’m also playing with the idea that it’s actually a damn good thing to start blogging with no platform of your own at all (e.g., politician, known writer) etc and have to put in 1000 articles with no audience – because it takes that long to learn the ropes. People who start with a podium and can fall off it by self-inflicted wounds.

Is this actually any more than the importation of online American campaigning techniques that nearly everyone has been calling for?

Matt

The test will come when the Conservatives win the election and then we will se if 1, Tory bloggers will be so quick to publish stuff not good for the govt. And 2, if the Main stream media will run stuff that comes from the Liberal sites.

In America during the Clinton term the MSM was quite happy to run with any horse shit that was published on Right wing sites. When Bush got in they suddenly had a ‘on the Road to Damascus’ conversion, and published very little of the stuff that was being put on Liberal sites.

>The test will come when the Conservatives win the election and then we will se if 1, Tory bloggers will be so quick to publish stuff not good for the govt. And 2, if the Main stream media will run stuff that comes from the Liberal sites.

Yep – I’d agree with that, Sally.

Some encouraging news for you: the following link is 4th place in Google for ‘nadine dorries’ and – as happens most days when she gets her face on the telly or her voice on the radio or her name in print – every man and his dog drops by to read ’10 reasons not to trust Nadine Dorries’:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/05/10_reasons_not_to_trust_nadine_dorries.asp

Oh, and in case it hasn’t been mentioned, Derek Draper is a total twunt.

Brown is in danger of becoming like Major post 1993; surrounded by people of poor judgement for whom he is respopnsible for employing. Brown cannot claim to be in charge of the country and saving it from economic ruin and then say he is not reponsible for the actions of his subordinates.
A leader is always responsible for the actions of their subordinates because they have employed them . Brown is either a knave or a fool. The fact that McBride was paid by public funds demonstrates Brown’s stupidity. If Brown needed McBrides services he should have been paid for by the Labour Party and not been located inside No 10. Once again Cherie Blair is correct; Brown has demonstrated his cleverness and duplicity but not his wisdom.

“because the party isn’t really implicated”

No, it’s only the party leader’s chief spinner.
Nothing to see here.

Guido says that McBride cc’d several bloggers to encourage them to play down the story.
I do hope Sunny wasn’t one.

The party is implicated as I highlighted @29.

However, I don’t think its fair to question Sunny’s integrity as an activist or blogger. Both here and in Pickled Politics, Sunny has many times criticised this government when he felt a policy or even political tactics were questionable.

What I question is how can the Prime Minister absolve himself of any responsibility? To me it seems like someone falling on his sword to ensure deniability of other, probably more, senior individuals.

What would have happened if the Tory blogger did not get this? Would we have seen the implementation these tactics? I have a feeling it would have been run on some blogs and would have been circulated. When challenged the PM and his team would deny any involvement — and in this country No. 10 emails would be declared privileged by Jack Straw in a heartbeat. So, this would have been in the public domain and this story would have the made the rounds for several days and many more news cycles.

A pretty good political strategy especially the step by step plan. And it would have been pretty effective.

And it came from the Head of Political Strategy for the Prime Minister — and do we have to believe that no one else was involved? Its hard especially with Whelan involved . Its been the Prime Minister’s hatchet team spearhead along with Ed Balls for a long time. And their track record is pretty nasty.

Pretty incompetent buffoons too.

“Sally.

Please tell me your not serious. You’re a Tory troll using heavy irony.”

I have always suspected this, the tone of her posts are so bile-filled and partisan that they come across as a piss-take of the Socialist Worker.

Yeah, that partisan New Lab rag, er, the Socialist Worker.

No really, there is a reason to get pious about all this. And the reason is that the person getting all holier-than-thou about smearing is a blogger who is possibly a bigger twat than Derek Draper, and has been for a lot longer.

I think Hopi Sen nails it:

That said, what is really driving me up the wall is that it makes Guido Fawkes/Paul Staines into a campaigner for honesty and clean politics.

Arglebargle. Where to start with this madness?

This is the guy who has spent more time propogating political smears on the internet than anyone else. It’s the raison d’etre of his site. Paul Staines regularly smeared Gordon Brown in the foulest and ugliest possible ways, has regularly posted stories that were unsubtantiated and untrue (Journalists – If he says “name one” – there’s three on this page alone, and he did it live on Newsnight.).

I mean what can you say about a man who helped set up and fund “the Sunlight centre for open politics” but kept that quiet when he publicised its work (until other people exposed the links)?

The best you can say is that he has a fine sense of theatre. The worst is more libellous than anything in any email.

I just don’t see the equivalence here, Sunny. Guido is a muckraker, but at least he does the investigation on which to base his attacks. Unlike his targets in this case, who were intending just to make shit up and throw it around. Is there any group more richly deserving?

And while he may be partisan (lets see what he does when the Tories are next in power), he has done more to hurt the Tory frontbench (c.f. Caroline Spelman) than any left blogger I know of. Does that means he is balanced, or that investigative journalists on the left are just lazy?

“The BBC added right-wing bloggers to the Daily Mail as their main source for news stories and determining what’s important in the news agenda a while back…”

You never spoke a truer word Sunny. The BBC’s coverage of the Nigel Griffiths story is a perfect case in point. Anyone who hasn’t already been sickened by its bias can read their whole coverage here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7958996.stm

Firstly, why the need to make such a meal of the fact that the categorical denial that Nigel issued when the story first broke was a barefaced lie? What would people expect the guy to do – admit it?

Secondly, why all the unnecessary emphasis on the fact that his second explanation – that he was too drunk to remember anything about it – was rather undermined by the fact that he took dozens of photos over a period of several hours and then downloaded them onto his laptop? Is this really something the public need to know? What business is it of theirs?

Thirdly, and most sickening of all, the harping on about Nigel’s High Court injunction application to stop further discussion of the matter in the media, and the fact that a High Court Judge refused it point blank. I mean, how and why on earth is that ‘newsworthy’? MPs go to the High Court every day trying and failing to get injunctions to stop the newspapers talking about their sordid sex encounters. The prominence this fact is given in the BBC’s reporting smacks of petty victimisation to me.

Sunny, the sooner every single one of these Daily Mail reading types is booted out of the BBC the better, however huge their numbers. They need to be replaced with honest, objective people who know what real news is and are prepared to give it to the public. I would certainly be interested in the job.

Come to think of it, it would be even better if only people who have written for The Guardian were allowed to work at the BBC.

People like you, if you’ll pardon me saying so.

Nick,

Guido is a muckraker, but at least he does the investigation on which to base his attacks.

If only. The Mark Oaten paedo podcast was a classic Guido smear based on zero investigation. And then there was the Prescott affair with fellow MP which was simple regurgitation of Westminster gossip. The sheer volume of smears allowed through in comments devalues 99% of the posts of any worth.

Worst thing is, I don’t expect anything to change should the Conservatives win the next election. Paul has built his readership primarily on the basis of attacking a Labour government, his readers as a consequence being mainly Tory supporters. How likely is it that a stats whore like Paul will switch to attacking a Conservative government if it is going to impact his site traffic? And how many Labour supporters are going to start frequent the seething swamp of venom and bile that constitute his comment threads?

What the Left is going to have to do is develop an online strategy that can engage readers without resorting to the gutter. As has been said elsewhere, we don’t need a Red Guido and that was the fundamental mistake of Draper and McBride. But it is critical that any new approach be both informative and entertaining. One question we may very well have an answer to is whether the popularity of the Right-wing blogs is because it is easier to blog from opposition or not.

Equally important is the need to reclaim the next revision of the Labour party from those still wedded to the central command and control model. The requires active engagement locally, nationally and online. It’s not just the Tories we need to hold to account, but also the Labour party. We should never have another leader “annointed” in the manner of Brown and we need to prevent the disconnect between PLP and grassroots members.

All these are challenges for us to start addressing now.

I just don’t see the equivalence here, Sunny. Guido is a muckraker, but at least he does the investigation on which to base his attacks. Unlike his targets in this case, who were intending just to make shit up and throw it around. Is there any group more richly deserving?

Shorter brownshirt troll “I love Guido he is my hero”

52. Mike Killingworth

I thought Staines was going to tie Guido to a bonfire after the next election, but perhaps he’s changed his mind.

[51]

Equally important is the need to reclaim the next revision of the Labour party from those still wedded to the central command and control model. The requires active engagement locally, nationally and online. It’s not just the Tories we need to hold to account, but also the Labour party. We should never have another leader “annointed” in the manner of Brown and we need to prevent the disconnect between PLP and grassroots members.

Hopefully there’ll be something here onTuesday to set the ball rolling.

“How likely is it that a stats whore like Paul will switch to attacking a Conservative government if it is going to impact his site traffic? And how many Labour supporters are going to start frequent the seething swamp of venom and bile that constitute his comment threads?”

I think you would be surprised by 1) how many people hate all parties now and they might well be the ones reading Guido, 2) how many Labour supporters would enjoy pouring bile on the Tories once their heroes are safely on the opposition benches.

If the story is genuine (and no one seems to be denying it) then the fact that it was Guido who broke it was irrelevent and it should be judged on its merits. And on that basis Labour deserve the kicking they are getting and Brown can’t escape a share of the responsibility.

Andrew, no one here is trying to defend the indefensible. However, for Paul to take the “Some of it was obscene!” stance when a couple of years ago he was smearing Mark Oaten as a paedophile is a bit rich; not to mention the comment abuse directed at Gordon Brown, Sarah Brown, Derek Draper, Kate Garraway et al which Paul happily tolerates if not actively encourages.

And where was the hue and cry when George Osborne (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/article660304.ece) effectively accused Gordon Brown of being “faintly autistic”? A month later Brown’s son Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Don’t tell me that wasn’t a stressful time for Gordon and Sarah. But George was allowed to shrug that one off as a “little joke”.

Now two, three or four wrongs don’t make a right, but there’s a long history of this. Poor old Ramsay McDonald had to suffer repeated and continuous accusations of illegitimacy. This affair has attained its current profile through careful planning. Paul alluded to the email exchange a couple of weeks back, yet timed the release for this weekend
Admittedly Guido is no naive innocent. It was deliberate timing to launch this assault on Downing Street this weekend to fill the holiday news vacuum. (http://www.order-order.com/2009/04/mcpoisons-going-is-good-for-political-standards/).

My personal belief is that this was a naive, stupid, disgusting and pointless idea, and that those involved probably realised it as well. Thus the non-appearance of the Red Rag website. Look at the clique raising the storm (Staines, Dale, Dorries) and the sheer breadth of media appearances and tell me it hasn’t been cleverly stage managed for maximum effect. I’ll give them 10 out of 10 for their handling of the situation, and minus several million to Draper and McBride for their deviousness and rank stupidity.

But don’t for one minute believe that this is a attempt to clean up politics and move away from spin and smear. This is partisan shit slinging at its finest, and all credit to Paul for playing the game so well.

Which presents us with the real challenge; how to take online debate forward in a constructive manner. From the Left’s point of view, there’s no room for Draper, McBride and the old-style spin and smear. That must be left to Staines and others on the Right. We can and must be better than that.

Well said, Clive

I’m happy to condemn Draper and McBride’s schemes (at a half-baked status or otherwise) as completely unacceptable, but before I go into any depth on my blog I would first like to see the email(s) that Paul Staines promised to publish on live television:

Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) and Derek Draper on Daily Politics – Thursday, 26 March 2009: [Extract from 01:50 to 02:10]

Paul Staines: I’ve seen the briefing paper done by Downing Street; “How to get Dale”

Derek Draper: Well, publish it.

Paul Staines: I will publish it this afternoon

One reason I would like to see this:

Iain Dale has been grouping (a) this as-yet-unseen email, (b) the published emails, and (c) reports that Tom Watson may have seen the latter, and has been implying – without a lick of evidence to support it – that Tom Watson was/is personally involved in a conspiracy to smear him personally. (more here and more here, too)

This itself is a smear if the claim cannot be supported by evidence, and Iain must know that.

Iain, arch-hypocrite that he is, is also criticising Tom Watson for not doing anything about emails Iain can only assume Watson saw/read. He does so knowing that he has recently – for the second time – stood by and allowed a political opponent to be smeared as a paedophile, when he was in a unique position to prevent it. (more)

Regulars here may also recall Iain talking in circles when Nadine Dorries seemingly implied that Alex Hilton was a paedophile and refused to clarify or withdraw the remark. (more)

And, as you have mentioned, Paul Staines still maintains the position that by implying that a certain MP was a paedophile several times in his failed podcast venture ‘Guido and the Monkey’, he was in fact hinting that the MP was gay. (more)

All of these people are appearing all over the old media channels* and feigning outrage about Draper and McBride’s behaviour as if they have never seen such a thing in their lives… when in fact each and every one of them has played a significant/active role in the lowest smear possible; to falsely accuse someone of the kind of crime that prompts mob violence in some quarters.

No good can come of these people being heralded as moral campaigners.

Never mind wolves in sheep’s clothing; these rabid mongrels are now dressing as shepherds.

We have every right to express concern about that.

[*The media channels churning their nonsense out include most if not all of the same newspapers that refused to get back to me with a simple email when one of the people selling them terror stories started posing as a Daily Mail reporter smearing *me* as a paedophile! (]

Mr McBride..Pity your gone silly mistake. I think a Donegal relation of yours is A Judge in Cavan Monaghan. He was also prone to making some silly mistakes. However you were on the right side. Pity you are gone. Hope you learn from this…..


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    New post: Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  2. Adam Bienkov

    RT @libcon New post: Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  3. Justin McKeating

    RT @AdamBienkov: RT @libcon New post: Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  4. sunny hundal

    RT @libcon @AdamBienkov @JamieSport – Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  5. Liberal Conspiracy

    New post: Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  6. Adam Bienkov

    RT @libcon New post: Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  7. Justin McKeating

    RT @AdamBienkov: RT @libcon New post: Thoughts on Damian McBride and Guido http://tinyurl.com/ckqoqd

  8. The Hypoocrisy… it Burns… « A blog from the back room.

    […] what to say about the email furore that is currently raging across the 24h rolling news media.  Sunny Hundal has a pretty good stab at it, as does […]





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