Category Archives: labour
When I was a child, there was a class of academic errors known as “silly mistakes”. It was the tag given to adding two subtotals incorrectly at the end of a page of calculations, or misreading questions in the text-book. Getting angry about them is – appropriately – childish; they’re not substantive, and at best are a distraction from the substance.
While the nature of a silly mistake doesn’t really change, as we get older it gets a different name: clerical error. Given the relative lack of clerks in business today, the one place the term has some meaning is in the Civil Service – as Michael Gove is now only too well aware.
In some respects, the clerical errors in his list of Building Schools for the Future changes is quite opportune for the education secretary: like a child getting angry about a silly mistake, people complaining about the errors miss the substance. The clerical error draws fire that might instead be focused on the underlying cuts, and hampers Labour’s attempts to criticise them – it’s difficult to coherently froth at the mouth over two things at once, even if you’re
the Conservative Party’s choice for Labour Leader Ed Balls (although he tried his best).
Still, some really went for it, notably Tom Watson MP, who was apparently moved to near apoplexy by the mistake. “You’re a miserable pip-squeak of a man, Gove!” thundered Watson, a declamation lent additional comedy value by Watson’s less than svelte stature and by a look from Gove that was less abject terror than “Take Cover! He’s gonna blow!”
The full exchange is worth reproducing:
Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East) (Lab): Mr Speaker, I can assure you that there is nothing synthetic about the anger felt in Sandwell. The pupils in Sandwell have seen what the new politics is; they have seen the attempt to sneak out a half-spun, half-apology on the BBC; and they have seen the Secretary of State come here humiliated for the second time this week to apologise to them. He can embarrass himself; he can disgrace his party; but what is intolerable is that he has cynically raised the hopes of hundreds and thousands of families. You’re a miserable pipsqueak of a man, Gove. You have-
Mr Speaker: Order. Before we go any further, I must ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the term that I think he used. I think I heard the term, “pipsqueak”. The hon. Gentleman must withdraw that term. It is not appropriate- [ Interruption. ] Order. I know what I am doing. Members should leave this matter to me.
Mr Watson: Out of deference to you, Mr Speaker, I withdraw it.
Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman.
Michael Gove: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question; it gives me the opportunity once again to apologise to his constituents and to other parents and teachers in Sandwell for the confusion that was caused by the mistake that I made on Monday. I understand the passion that he brings to the issue, and I understand how hard he fights for his constituents. I shall be very happy to go to West Bromwich and apologise to those who have been misled by the mistake that has been made. I am more than happy to do so. As I said earlier, the mistake was mine and mine alone, and I am happy to acknowledge it.
This was a free shot for Watson, who in any other context would have been summarily gunned down on the basis of his close relationship with
Macavity the Mystery Cat Gordon Brown, and his exhibition was no doubt for local consumption – Sandwell, one of the areas worst “affected” by the mistakes, is in his West Bromwich East constituency.
At the same time, the whole display stank of the impotent rage at the ConDemNation that many in the Labour party seem to feel, the same impotent rage they initially turned on the Liberal Democrats when the LibDems unaccountably chose going into government and implementing their agenda over…er…not.
It does seem to have begun to sink in that Labour may not be coming back from this one. Between revised constituency boundaries gutting their inner city strongholds, and an AV electoral system, the Labour party could be looking at 1979 all over again.
All we need to seal the deal is Balls…
Although entirely expected, there was still something surreal about watching Alistair Darling’s attempts to prebut the Office of Budget Responsibility‘s findings on the state of the economy.
Labour’s best Chancellor since 1997 (small sample size) may be desperate to avoid the double whammy of being blamed for the dire state of public finances AND criticised for misleading the public over them, but it’s still cringeworthy to watch him tell the Guardian “We could have beaten the recession“, ahead of the OBR announcement.
In other news, England could have beaten the United States at football last week. But they didn’t.
For Darling come out at this point and say he’d have ditched ID cards, and to acknowledge the failing of previous Labour policies, sounds as self-serving and false as the statements by the four ex-minister candidates for Labour leader. In some ways, it’s worse – Darling isn’t seeking office, and it’s difficult to see any motive other than defence of his own reputation and record.
It was interesting to hear the ebb and flow of headlines yesterday on BBC radio; some bulletins gave Darling’s defence a mention, other merely highlighted the fact that the forecast for overall borrowing has fallen. And none really pointed up the two issues which should have shamed Darling into silence – the OBR’s forecast is deliberately less cautious than previous Treasury ones, and the structural deficit is larger than previously estimated (increased by more than the decrease in overall borrowing).
How much worse would it have been if the OBR had produced a forecast in the cautious mode of previous Treasury ones? Only the OBR committee and secretariat could answer that, but it’s worth remembering that the OBR’s (less cautious) forecast for GDP growth was 20% lower than the last one produced by the Treasury.
Meanwhile, Labour’s own personal Balls-up followed up his attack on Brown with an attack on Darling. No doubt Ed Balls is aware that if he’d managed to say these things before the election – and acted on them! – he might not now be seeking election as Leader of the Opposition, or sitting on a significantly reduced majority in his constituency.
On a side note, how long will it be before we first hear a Labour frontbencher criticising the ConDemNation for mentioning Labour’s track record on the economy? I hope it’s long enough for the whips to drill the backbenchers in the response: “Would you prefer to mention 18 years of Conservative Government?”
It’s been a little while…
The day after the General Election count, I drove to the other side of the country to look at flats. A few days later, I did the journey again to move in. Starting a new job a long way from home is not conducive to regular blogging, especially when it leaves you at the end of a GPRS connection.
To quickly fill in the blanks:
- Coalition: Good
- Raising Capital Gains on small investors: Bad
- Raising income tax personal allowance: Very Good
- David Laws resigning: Unnecessary
- Telegraph: Hacking at its own nose to spite its face
- Labour leadership frontrunners: Muppets
- Diane Abbott running for Labour leader: Wonderful
On that last, I am firmly a #ToryWantingALabourBallsUp. The best possible result of the leadership election – from the position of Conservative or LibDem supporters – is the election of that unpleasant Brownite as Labour leader. It would ensure that Labour cannot recover, let alone win, at the next election – and offers the added bonus of watching Labour’s leader lose his seat at GE2015.
Feuding Millibandies would be good too, albeit you have to think brothers are less likely to foster the kind of top quality internecine bitterness Labour has been riven with in the past decade, while Andy Burnham is a blank slate – and not in a good way. John McDonnell…well, anyway.
For Labour the best possible result has to be electing Diane Abbott. Leave aside the cynical political aspects – how could you better answer a coalition government you deride as dominated by white, upper class men than by electing a black single mother as your leader? – and it becomes clear that Labour has a once in a generation chance to rediscover what it stands for.
Unfortunately, Labour has a history of standing for unsuitable white males who are professional Labour insiders.
Reading the Guardian’s hustings articles today, it’s interesting to see every candidate focusing so much on engagement and reaching out to voters. You have to ask why Balls and the Millibandies took so long to realise this might be a good idea.
Abbott’s not exactly setting the world on fire from a policy point of view, but there’s no stink of hypocrisy around her. The declarations by Balls, 2 x Millibandie, and 1x Burnham that *now* they’ll listen – and while they’re at it, maybe they’ll try increasing the minimum wage – positively reak of it.
I’m realistic: Labour will end up with a leader called Ed, or who’s a Millibandie. Or both. But it might be nice to think that Labour supporters – who whinged so loudly about progressive qualities, commitments to civil liberties, and concern for people the last government abused and failed, when watching the formation of a coalition that actually does have the last two, and knows the first to be a lie – might actual choose a leader who can claim to have demonstrate any of those.
Meanwhile, if – like me – you are proud to be a member of the ConDemNation, take a peak at Polly Toynbee’s latest witterings.
I’d say she was bat shit insane, but we’d need a bigger bat.
Are people in politics allowed to change? Are their views allowed to develop and progress?
No, says Labour’s LGBT campaign, citing the fact that eight years ago David Cameron vote against the omission of “married” from a list of criteria to be used when deciding adoption applications.
No, says the Daily Telegraph, citing the fact that two years ago, an 18 year old Ellie Gellard vented her feelings about Gordon Brown’s conduct during the 2008 Glasgow East by-election in a blog post.
Politics is supposed to be about debate, about making arguments and testing beliefs. We accept – indeed, pin our beliefs about elections – on the idea that people will change how they vote. So why do we expect our politicians to be different?
I think LP Hartley was right – the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Look at your own beliefs, political or otherwise. Are they static or unchanging?
Mine certainly aren’t. I wasn’t yet old enough to vote in 1997, but my immature impulse was to favour the programme Tony Blair offered the country. If I was anything, I guess I was a social democrat, but early contact with committed Labourites at University stopped that, and somewhere between then and now, I became an anarchist. Do I now have to stand on the beliefs of my teenaged self?
There must be scope to learn and develop – and to continue to do so. Will I look back in ten years time at a younger self who thought abolishing government was desirable, and smile wryly? I hope not, but I don’t discount the possibility.
It’s perfectly reasonable for David Cameron and Ellie Gellard to be challenged to explain how they came by their change in views, but expecting them to stand or fall, today, on what they believed and said then is wrong – and moreover is poisonous to our politics.
But this is not the same as absolving them of responsibility for those beliefs and statements, not the same as arguing that they must not take responsibility for them.
Stuart McLennan, Labour’s ex-PPC for Moray, wouldn’t have walked down the street insulting his prospective constituents – but he was happy to announce his views to the world. Personally, I could care less that he used obscenities about other Labour politicians: it’s his behaviour towards the people he claimed to want to represent that was the problem.
If McLennan wants to, he should have the opportunity to explain to a subsequent electorate why he’s changed, why he should be given another chance. And it’ll be for them to decide.
Just as its for Cameron to explain his change of position on LGBT rights, or Gellard to explain how she came to view Brown as she does.
Personally, I’d rather hear from someone who’s views have developed and been tested.
Underneath this all, I think there’s a problem with our approach to information. McLennan’s tweets weren’t secret, anymore than Gellard’s blog or Cameron’s vote. But our society has previously relied on aggregators – or as they prefer to be called, journalists – to conveniently package information and present it to us.
The likes of Daily Telegraph, splashing Gellard across the front page, still want to believe that if they cover it, it’s news – even if what they’re covering is two years old. The Sun, reprinting McLennan’s tweets, are just as bad.
[On a side note: I wholeheartedly agree with Juliet Samuels (aka
The Laughing Hyena Emily Nomates), who argued that the Telegraph and the Mail behaved the way they did at least in part for sexist reasons.]
But political parties are as bad. How could Labour select McLennan as a PPC without bothering to check his past public statements? Gellard’s blog was on a Labour party system, for pity’s sake. Did they think nobody would use Google?
One change the growth in the internet has wrought is a persistence of what would previously have been transient, and a dissemination of what would previously have been private. A young woman holding forth across a pub table about Gordon Brown is unlikely to be held to account for her views two years later, any more than a young man texting a friend about the person seated opposite him.
There’s a choice here: either we censor ourselves, withhold our views, and accept the blandness that follows, or we accept that people change their beliefs, develop their views, and sometimes say things they shouldn’t.
While it’s not clear whether they actually targeted their anti-tory “Cancer” mailing to cancer sufferers – and Andy Burnham denies they did – it is clear they targeted it.
Targeting is after all the purpose of direct mail, and the reported use of a specific digital printing house (Tangent Communications’ Ravensworth) adds further weight to this.
What has been interesting about the response from Labour is the failure to take the most straight forward option for ending speculation – explaining the selection criteria. Andy Burnham has said:
It is categorically incorrect to imply that we targeted cancer sufferers and we regret if any offence or anxiety was given to people who have suffered cancer.
This denies the allegation, but doesn’t answer the question – how did Labour target this mailing?
I’m not interested in conspiracy theories or Kremlinology, but I don’t think it’s acceptable to simply brush this aside as Labour would like to. The examples cited by the Times make clear that the targeting was not simply “women”, nor even postcode or age.
Burnham’s approach is also the approach taken by Labour’s supporters, along with attempts to turn the story around, and demand that people who question Labour’s conduct provide evidence of wrong doing.
Unity, who writes for Liberal Conspiracy, typifies this. He would like to rest on the fact that any large scale mailing would include a proportion – he estimates c.10% – who had suffered from cancer. This, again, fails to address the question of what targeting Labour undertook – something I’ve pointed out in comments on his post:
Labour sends mailings to 250k specific people, selected from a database covering the majority of people in the UK. Are you seriously suggesting that they just picked 250k random people to receive the mailing?
I keep having to say this to people defending Labour on this issue, but go back and read the specific examples the Times gave in their original article. These mailings were clearly targeted. At best Labour picked specific Mosaic codes; at worst, they used other data from National Canvasse to select recipients. If the latter, there is a valid question about how they were selected.
If a business had done this – think of Virgin Media’s “Bullet Hole” direct mailing from 2008 – there would be demands for a proper explanation. The media would not allow that business to blithely say “Oh, statistically some of the recipients would have been victims of gun crime”, and leave it at that.
In the meantime, another leaflet story came up – Zoe Margolis, author of Girl With A One Track Mind, posted photographs of a leaflet issued by Andrew Charalambous, the Conservative PPC for Edmonton. This differed from fundamentally the Labour cancer mailshot in not being targeted at specific individuals, but also because it used a striking – arguably graphic – illustration of a bloodied machete to grab attention.
It was picked up by
Sunder Katwala on Next Left Left Outside in a stinging post which tied back to the earlier controversy over crime statistics. (Liberal Conspiracy republished the post here. There’s also a later and rather similar – if not nearly as well put together – post from George Eaton at the New Statesman in exactly the same vein).
I share the distaste for the imagery used on the front of leaflet but it bears saying that Left Outside
Sunder only picks up on that side, and on its claim of a 44% rise in violent crime under Labour. He doesn’t take issue with the statistics that Andrew Charalambous put on the back of his leaflet:
- 160 children are convicted of crime every day, official figures show
- 2 violent crimes are committed every single minute
- Only 1 crime in 100 ends with a punishment in court
- 1 in 5 criminals caught with a gun or a knife, only get cautioned
- 80,000 criminals let out of jail early. Including 15,000 violent offendors. Those released went on to commit 1,500 crimes, including rapes and murders.
I look forward to seeing one of the left-wing bloggers show me that all of the above is made up.
Yesterday I was arguing that political advertising should be regulated by the ASA. Guess what – I think the concerns about Andrew Charalambous’ leaflet strengthens that argument. He should have to defend his claims, and his artwork, against the same standards we apply to any other advertisers.
Perhaps, instead of trying to downplay Labour’s cancer mailing, we could some cross party consensus going here on the need to remove the exemption of electoral publicity from ASA regulation?
I realise some may find this a bit difficult to grasp, but arguing that everyone does it doesn’t make it right – just as arguing that, statistically, shit happens, doesn’t excuse it.
Both the Times and the Telegraph carry a story today that is by turns bizarre and wearily inevitable.
LABOUR has become embroiled in a row about the use of personal data after sending cancer patients alarmist mailshots saying their lives could be at risk under a Conservative government.
Labour hit by cancer leaflet row
It’s not clear whether Labour actually targeted people who’d had cancer or cancer scares, but The Times sets out some anecdotal evidence which strongly suggests there was some targeting involved. Despite this, the Telegraph reports:
A Labour spokesman insisted that the leaflets – which were addressed to recipients by name and bore the words: “are the Tories a change you can afford?” – were not targeted at cancer patients and came from socio-demographic research that is commercially and publicly available.
The “socio-demographic research” in question appears to be Experian’s Mosaic database, used by both Labour and Conservatives to target particular voters. Having been an in-house lawyer for two organisations that made extensive use of direct mail, I’m familiar with Mosaic, but I’d never realised it had this kind of classification in it:
The data management company Experian confirmed that both Labour and the Conservatives use its Mosaic database, which divides voters into 67 groups and identifies likely cancer patients using anonymised hospital statistics, including postcodes and the diagnoses of patients.
As to the campaign itself, I hope the
idiot marketing genius who thought this was a good strategy works for Labour rather than the Tangent Communications group.
That said, I suppose this was only a matter of time. Electoral print advertising in the UK – including direct mail – is relatively unregulated. In fact, political advertising associated with elections is exempt from complying with the CAP Code – which means the ASA can’t rule on it.
Eventually, some bright spark was going to say “Hey, I know! Let’s frighten cancer sufferers into voting for us!”. I expect shortly we’ll see the families of road traffic accident victims being asked to back policies on speed cameras, and the families of murder victims targeted to support the DNA database.
(Actually, that last one has kind of already happened. Leave it to Gordon Brown…)
This shouldn’t be a party political issue (and frankly it wouldn’t be if the Labour party, strapped for cash and needing more bang for its buck, hadn’t gotten here before anyone else). Why on earth should our politicians enjoy such an exemption? Why shouldn’t leaflets pushed through your door, or mailed to your house, be honest, decent, and truthful?
And why should political parties have license to abuse direct marketing – in a way Government ministers would cravenly queue to condemn were it done by a business – without fear of sanction?
Time for some amendments to the CAP code, I think.
Labour ex-ministers are having a bad week of it. After Stephen Byers, Geoff Hoon, and Patricia Hewitt did their best to upstage the budget, it now turns out that Adam Ingram and Richard Caborn, respectively former Armed Services and former Sports minister, were also secretly taped by the Sunday Times/Dispatches team. If you’ve not already read it, John Humphrey’s comment following the first round of allegations is well worth a look.
Although various Conservative MPs were approached, only Sir John Butterfill actually took the bait. With five Labour ex-ministers and one MP (Margaret Moran) weighed against him, this makes the lobbying issue a party political one – any call for an investigation into claims by Stephen Byers that he had influenced policy, for example, becomes a call for an inquiry which could politically damage the Labour party.
Let’s be clear, an inquiry is needed into what Byers et al may have done in the past, not their behaviour when talking to the undercover journalists. If these people have influenced government policy in the way they claimed, this is a serious issue. It is even more serious if, as Richard Caborn is quoted in the Observer suggesting, civil servants’ decisions have been effectively suborned.
An inquiry is needed, and I struggle to understand the logic of Brown’s blanket refusal. Any properly conducted inquiry couldn’t hope to report before May 6, so any fall out from its findings would occur after the election. Moreover, having an inquiry will prevent Cameron and Clegg from making further mileage from the issue – since they’d be pre-judging the results, prejudicing the outcome, preventing a proper investigation, etc., etc. The refusal feels like a mistake, and will start to look like a serious error if further revelations drip out over the next week or so.
My immediate response to this story last week was that Brown’s position within the Labour had actually been strengthened by this story, given it was prominent Blairites who were being exposed. I still think that’s true, but that will change if his refusal to hold an inquiry develops from mistake to serious error.
On a side note, there’s a real irony in Sir John Butterfill being the only Tory on the list, given the Labour movement probably has more reason to respect him than any of the Blairite ex-ministers exposed by the undercover investigation. Last year, Sir John was responsible for the Building Societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Act, which he introduced as a private member’s bill (the Financial Mutuals Arrangements Bill). The Act makes it possible for mutual societies to merge – something which improves the prospects of survival for co-operatives and mutuals – and made the Britannia Building Society’s merge with Co-operative Financial Services possible. It’s a real shame that he may now be remembered for a tawdry lobbying scandal, rather his private members bill.
Earlier I was writing about the relative liberalism – or lack thereof – of Liverpool’s Labour MPs.
Given their pretty woeful track record on standing up for their constituents’ civil liberties, would anyone care to guess how they might to vote on proposals to expand HMRC’s ability to conduct warrant-less searches?
Henry Porter wrote an excellent piece this morning about the Government’s plans, comparing them to the powers of the Stasi in the GDR.
Ahead of a General Election is one of the few times that a parliamentary democracy is particularly democratic. It’s time to start asking our MPs – and those people vying to be our MPs after May 6 – how they’ll vote on these proposals.
For Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, opposing these plans is wholly in keeping with our platforms. The Conservatives have already committed to rolling back the “surveillance state” and reforming RIPA so as to prevent the widespread use – and frankly, abuse – for petty issues. I see opposing these latest plans are a logical development. If HMRC have evidence, they should be able to go before a judge and get a warrant. If they haven’t, then why are they wanting to open post in the first place?
But what about Labour? The party that brought you a DNA database that breaches your human rights, the party that wanted to lock people up for 42 days without trial, the party that says it’s proud of having done these things and built a surveillance state besides?
Try asking your local MPs. If you’re in Liverpool Riverside, you can contact Louise Ellman here. If you’re in Garston and Halewood, you can’t contact Maria Eagle here – as her website seems to be down, so try this instead.
Anywhere else, try writetothem.com, which makes finding and contacting your local representatives simple and straight forward.
Ask your PPCs when they come to hustings, or turn up on your doorsteps. Don’t let them avoid the question, either – make them tell you what they’d do.
Once every five years we live in a democracy. It’s time we started behaving like it.
Liberal Democrat Voice – a yellow tinged version of ConHome – has a tool which lets you check out how authoritarian or libertarian MPs are.
Let’s be clear: it’s not the final word, just a rule of thumb, and it relies on the way MPs voted on the following issues:
- Freedom of Speech
- ID Cards
- 90 days detention
- Abolition of Parliament Bill
- Trial without a Jury
- MPs’ Expenses (FOI exemption)
- Control Orders
- Extradition Act 2003
- Government intervention in collection of evidence
- DNA database
It’s also – as you’d expect with the LibDems, heavily slanted towards social liberalism, rather than economic liberalism.
With these limitations noted, the results are interesting:
|Party Leader||Authoritarian %||Missed Votes|
Even allowing for the slight difference in the number of missed votes, the result is telling. That big clunking fist is significantly more authoritarian than either Cameron or Clegg.
Now, let’s have a little look at Liverpool’s MPs. They’re all Labour (yes, even Bob Wareing – he’s only an independent since he was deselected in 2007), so you might expect them to be much of a muchness.
You’d be wrong.
|Constituency||MP||Authoritarian %||Missed votes|
|Garston and Halewood||Maria Eagle||100%||None|
|Liverpool Riverside||Louise Ellman||90%||One|
|Liverpool Walton||Peter Kilfoyle||56%||Three|
|Liverpool Wavertree||Jane Kennedy||83%||Two|
|Liverpool West Derby||Bob Wareing||13%||Two|
It makes pretty depressing reading. Eagle, Ellman, and Kennedy are particularly bad – loyalist to the core, they’ve consistently put their party’s dictates ahead of their constituents rights, voting with the government to infringe the civil liberties. Both Ellman and Kennedy missed votes, so their scores would be even worse if they’d gone through the lobbies on those issue.
Frankly, they should be ashamed of the fact that ‘Serbian’ Bob Wareing is more liberal than them. Realistically, I doubt they care – and I suspect they’re the kind who view it as a badge of pride that they’re more “loyal” than him.
In democracies, even the kind of titular democracy represented by parliamentary systems, the real problem is not authoritarian leaders, but the “useful idiots” who give them legitimacy and support.
In Liverpool, we have three useful idiots as sitting MPs, and one more (Peter Kilfoyle) who’s not far behind. Eagle and Ellman are both up for re-election, and it would be nice to think that people might actually consider their voting records when they go to the polls. If you vote for these people, you compromise the right to complain about the infringements of your civil liberties, because you have enabled them.
Dizzy has done a quick post on the security issues with Cash-Gordon.com, and the *ahem* interesting redirects it was providing.
I was going to blog about Nestle today, and their amusing attempt to develop a presence on Facebook. That’s a substantive story, which offers real world lessons about brand protection and the need for professionalism in public relations even on social media platforms. However, I’ve other things to do, and I’m off to see Salvage at the cinema this afternoon.
The #CashGordon story, on the other hand…
On Saturday, the Conservative Party launched a new front in their attacks on Labour’s
owner trade union backer, UNITE the union. Cash-Gordon.com combined political campaigning and Facebook Connect to create something that should appeal to the people who play Farmville.
Basically, you could accumulate points for completing various tasks, ranging from reading Michael Gove’s speech about “Charlie Whelan’s new militant tendency” (25 points) to donating £5 to the campaign against Jack Dromey’s candidacy for Parliament (50 points). As I say, it should appeal to the kind of people who play Farmville. I’m not one of those, but I am aware their name is Legion, for they are many.
Labour’s fightback took a little while to assemble, but it came this morning, courtesy of Political Scrapbook. Relying on information in the public domain (You will marvel at our journalism!), they exclusively revealed…that the platform Cash-Gordon.com uses is an off the shelf one. In a stunning additional revelation, we were told…it has also been used by US conservatives campaigning against healthcare reform.
Be still my beating heart.
In other news, Labour uses Facebook. This is also used by the BNP.
Possibly my highlight of the morning was this tweet:
It’s not a good situation if you have to all but beg your opponent to engage with your story.
When I commented on the Political Scrapbook story, I referred to Labour’s favourite digital agency, Tangent Labs, who have been responsible for monstrosities such as this (which is vastly improved from its state at launch) and this. If such sites were free, that would be one thing – but Labour paid handsomely for them. ToryBear took a different line on TL, pointing out that Tangent Labs’ owner isn’t just a Conservative donor, he’s a donor to David Cameron personally. That’s an angle Will Straw chose to duck when he rode to Political Scrapbook’s defence, instead repeating Political Scrapbook’s own weak response.
Dizzy then proceeded to hit the debate out of the park, pointing out that Political Scrapbook shares hosting with some pretty odd bedfellows.
Ultimately, this was a non-story, the Twitter echo chamber getting excised about a process issue that nobody outside cares about. Guido Fawkes rather summed up the situation with this:
One political side says that Cash-Gordon.com was a success, the other a disaster. What you believe, probably reflects your preferences.
And then it all went a bit odd: ‘cos it turned out that the Cash-Gordon.com site hadn’t been properly secured. And it promptly fell victim to one or two attacks. At time of writing (1415) the site is down, and I’m not sure it’s coming back.
Maybe after all, #CashGordon and Nestle have more in common that might have been thought!