Slugger Blogburst on Smeargate…

Kicking off with Guido (of course), at his best, when he goes back to that Newsnight programme in which he was savaged by the Guardian’s Michael White (for his McBride-like work on Labour and the Lib Dems, rather the subject of the film). But this time he focuses on his rather more compelling thoughts on the Lobby’s iterative prisoner’s dilemma. Amd there is his rip-roaring account in today’s Spectator

– However this is a pretty solid response from one of said lobby journos:

“Undoubtedly in this job one is always weighing confidences, indiscretions and gossip and judging the merits of employing them (and potentially burning bridges with a source) or staying silent. None of us likes to err on the side of “cosiness” – much better to use as much material as possible. Surely that’s in the nature of any decent reporter…?”

– Brian Micklethwaite notes that the pack mentality of the press is now turning on Brown

– Brian Appleyard compares two ‘smart operators’ Damian McBride and Karl Rove and finds them both a bit thick:

Out of excessive regard for IQ tests, people have adopted a simple-minded value-free view of intelligence. So McBride or Rove could spend their lives in low trickery and be called intelligent. In fact, to anybody of any worth at all, such preoccupations are plainly very stupid, evidence of an inability to grasp life in its higher aspects.

– Dizzy has Draper banged to rights on Truth Telling and Being Your Own Worst Enemy

– Danny has his Top Ten Smear Campaigns (funny enough, all of them Right on Left actions)…

– But Don adds a few of his own from Labour’s own regional scrap book

– Less is more reckons Mr Euginedes who (I think) thinks libel should play no part in the ‘discourse’ amongst bloggers…

– Mr E again, this time with a definative post on where Draper and Labour List went wrong (of which more later): it’s about netroots not Astroturfing, Dolly

– On Labour’s response Daljit Bhurji’s advice: “don’t buy a dog [Draper?] and then bark yourself.”

– And Clive has an apposite response from a commenter on Liberal Democracy:

This weekend has presented the very worst side of the blogosphere with its pathetic bitching, tittle-tattling, irrelevant bullshit. I imagine an awful lot of Joe Publics just felt that it confirmed what they already suspected; that firstly, Labour is directionless, naive and associated with some real dumb-asses, and secondly, bloggers are f***ing losers.

Harry’s Place has its own. All parties should have officially ‘disconnected’ Smearmasters:

“…as making up untruths about your rivals is an integral part of politics, each party should, from now on, be forced to appoint an independent ‘Smearmaster’ to write libels about MPs on the opposite benches. With no real link to the party, the Smearmaster would therefore be free to lie at will without damaging the reputation of his or her paymasters.”

– Kezia has some useful thoughts on why, perhaps, this story got bigger and has lingered longer than the sum of its parts deserve:

“…the reason the media is so obsessed with the Damian McBride affair is because they themselves are trying to define the role of new media in politics.

– And on Guido’s actual politics (and therefore motivation) Labour MP Tom Harris reckons he just hates politics… Something I myself once subscribed to a few years back

– Stuart Sharpe reckons though that the Tories should be aware that what goes around will come around:

“…if David Cameron becomes Prime Minister he’ll be met with a whole new problem – he’ll find that the blogs who used to be on his side will suddenly turn on him like a pack of ravaging dogs.”

– Sunny makes a similar point:

“Guido Fawkes isn’t about to shine a benign light on smears and false-flag operations within Westminster – he is part of the culture that encourages and pushes it. And the more disreputable politics gets, the more his libertarianism wins out. I suspect the Conservative Party will find this out to their cost once they get into power. But by that time it will be too late.”

– It is true that the blogs and rising blog star politicians may well cause the Tories problems. My colleague Dan Hannan is already featuring in this Labour attack video on Tory party policy re the NHS

– Paulie on Never Trust a Hippie:

“The proposed ‘Red Rag’ site was a plain-and-simple plan to develop a Labour equivalent of Guido’s site. Nothing more, nothing less. Though Guido is now universally being labeled as ‘anti-politics’, it wouldn’t do to forget that he’s a Tory blogger. He sees his blog as being an instrument of Conservative Party attack politics, and I’m not the only one that he has told that he regards himself as ‘part of Project Cameron.” [Emphasis added]

  • kensei

    Mick

    Kicking off with Guido (of course), at his best, when goes back to that Newsnight programme in which he was savaged by the Guardian’s Michael White (for his McBride-like work on Labour and the Lib Dems, rather the subject of the film). But this time he focuses on his rather more compelling thoughts on the Lobby’s iterative prisoner’s dilemma. Amd there is his rip-roaring account in today’s Spectator…

    “When goes back”? Do you mean “which”? I still don’t understand it.

    And by the by, Guido came across as a petulant child when he was on Newsnight. Proper journalists need to build long term relationships and keep confidences.

  • Mick Fealty

    You’re right of course, both ways. I meant ‘when he’. Fixed now. If you scroll to the next story you’ll she that’s the argument made in the quote extract I’ve provided.

    And if you scroll further, you’ll see the point picked up from Clive Davis about us having witnessed “the very worst side of the blogosphere with its pathetic bitching, tittle-tattling, irrelevant bullshit.”

  • ArchiePurple

    It is a load of bull that Guido is a ‘Tory Blogger’……he has savaged various tories at when there was just reason to do so. He’s a Libertarian rather than a Tory, in my opinion.

  • Dave

    Spot on, Archie – according to Guido, anyway. Guido lifted a rock on British politics and political media hack-pack, showing the symbiotic relationship that everybody knew was really underneath it – two slugs doing 69. The Prime Minister now tries to distance himself from it, but merely exposes himself as a despicable liar in addition to being slime, since it is he who hired these smear merchants to do precisely what he now condemns them for doing. The man is an utter degenerate, and the media hacks are of the same debased ilk.

  • ArchiePurple

    With apologies to Don McLean and ‘American Pie’

    _____

    A long, long time ago,
    I can still remember
    That the PM used to trust McBride
    But we knew if he had the chance
    He’d lead us all a merry dance,
    And use the press for spreading spin and lies,

    But Easter Weekend saw him bitten,
    For all the emails that he’d written,
    Every single fake leak
    Has left New Labour up shit creek,

    I really hope that Draper cried,
    When he had to tell us all he’d lied,
    And Gordon’s hopes of winning died,
    The day he sacked McBride.

    CHORUS
    So bye, bye Mr Poison McBride
    We’ll be glad to see the back of all your venom and lies,
    And now the Press are gonna eat you alive,
    So it’s bye bye Mister Damian McBride,
    Bye bye Mister Damian McBride…

    Did you dirty Nadine’s name,
    And you thought George Osborne’s wife fair game,
    And did Gordon tell you so?
    And with Draper as your public troll,
    You dug New Labour in a hole,
    And now you’ll pay for all the mud you throw. . .

    We know Gordon’s in this to his chin,
    Though he’d promised us an end to spin
    Now the PM’s ego’s bruised,
    As he’s had to cut his ‘Mad Dog’ loose,

    You’re a cowardly, scheming, lying fuck
    And now you’re caught, and now you’re stuck,
    And Gordon was shit out of luck
    The day he sacked McBride.

    CHORUS
    The Tories singing,
    So bye, bye Mr Poison McBride
    We’ll be glad to see the back of all your venom and lies,
    And now the Press are gonna eat you alive,
    So it’s bye bye Mister Damian McBride,
    Bye bye Mister Damian McBride…

    Now for years you’ve handled Gordon’s press,
    And spun and lied at his behest,
    But thats not how it’s going to be.
    You took the bit between your teeth,
    You even smeared a dad in grief,
    Your actions were low beyond belief,

    Oh, though while your misdeeds have been found,
    The true blame lies with Gordon Brown
    With all the mud you’ve thrown,
    The PM must have known,
    So while Draper claims it was just a lark,
    And the PM swears he was in the dark,
    You were the dog he told to bark,
    And now, your’re sacked McBride,

    CHORUS
    With bloggers singing,
    So bye, bye Mr Poison McBride
    We’ll be glad to see the back of all your venom and lies,
    And now the Press are gonna eat you alive,
    So it’s bye bye Mister Damian McBride,
    Bye bye Mister Damian McBride…

    This morning I turned on the news,
    And saw something to lift the blues,
    That you’ve been sacked and gone away.
    And there’s bloggers writing posts galore,
    We know that you are gone for sure,
    And we hope your brand of spin has had its day,

    On Labourlist the lefties scream,
    The chance of a fourth term a dream,
    The lies McBride has spoken,
    have left New Labour broken,
    And the bit that I enjoy the most,
    Despite his spin and empty boasts,
    Is you and Draper are both toast,
    Because….you’re sacked, McBride.

    And we’re all singing,
    So bye, bye Mr Poison McBride
    We’ll be glad to see the back of all your venom and lies,
    And now the Press are gonna eat you alive,
    So it’s bye bye Mister Damian McBride,
    Bye bye Mister Damian McBride!

  • ArchiePurple

    And now that your singing, here’s another one:

    ___________

    To the tune of ‘I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General*

    I am the very model of a modern Labour Minister
    My words are often cynical, my motivation sinister
    I know the laws of England though, for me they don’t quite register
    From Habeus to Corpus, Magna Carta doesn’t matter here!

    I’m very well acquainted too with matters all political
    I understand elections, swing, and all the tricks to rig ’em all
    On Paliamentary theorem I am teeming with a lot o’news
    With many cheerful facts to use to baffle and befuddle you

    I know about the people struggling through in this economy
    Yet ‘coz I am a Minister it doesn’t really bother me
    As I make loads of cash from all my Interests on the Register
    I am the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    Chorus
    As he makes loads of cash from all his Interests on the Register
    He is the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    I know our country’s history from Thatcher to Jim Callaghan
    I’ve studied all our foreign wars from Falklands to Afghanistan
    And yet I signed the sales forms giving weapons to the Taliban
    Because I’m not like Churchill, I am rather more like Chamberlain

    Now I can speak to Parliament and People with authority
    On topics one and all, from income tax to foreign policy
    My speeches are a marvel of sonority not brevity
    And I can make it sound to them like I have genuine empathy

    And I can write a bill to take your Civil Rights away from you
    With DNA, ID Cards and a database to follow you
    In short with legislation that’s designed to chafe and monitor
    I am the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    Chorus
    In short with legislation that’s designed to chafe and monitor
    He is the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    In fact when I can understand just what is meant by ‘poverty’
    When I know more of life than does a novice in a nunnery
    And worked instead of reading PPE at University
    Then I could do my job with more compassion and propriety

    For all my time in Parliament, I’m niggardly and cowardly
    I simply feel the Laws of all the land do not apply to me
    In short, I am a Stalinist, with motivations sinister
    I am the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    Chorus
    In short, he is a Stalinist, with motivations sinister
    He is the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    “For all my time in Parliament, I’m niggarly and cowardly
    I simply feel the Laws of all the land do not apply to me
    In short, I am a Stalinist, with motivations sinister
    I am the very model of a modern Labour Minister

    Chorus
    In short, he is a Stalinist, with motivations sinister
    He is the very model of a modern Labour Minister”

    *With apologies to both Gilbert AND Sullivan

  • Dewi

    Brown in Scotland yesterday:

    “I take full responsibility for what happened. That’s why the person who was responsible went immediately”

    Begs the blindingly obvious….

  • Mick Fealty

    Archie,

    Just to remind you and anyone reading this, you are banned from commenting on this site because you’ve used it to lie (either deliberately or through sheer ignorance) about your political opponents.

    Now, to your point:

    ‘It is a load of bull that Guido is a ‘Tory Blogger’

    That was a feasible position to take three years ago when I wrote that piece in the Guardian (follow the links please!). It is not credible now. The only people pushing it now are the naive and unreconstructed party hacks.

    Paul has made no secret of the fact he supports the Tory party. Much of his animosity towards the Telegraph is because of its reluctance to wholeheartedly back the Cameron project.

    He can’t be stung for dirty tricks or cooking shitty personal stories about Labour, because, unlike McBride, he is an independent (and independently wealthy) player.

    Paul’s approach to blogging and mine are profoundly different. He and I have talked about it. He thinks personalities (and their destruction) is critical, and makes and breaks government(s). I think policy and the conduct of government is paramount.

    But he is acting absolutely in concert with the interests of the Cameron administration.

    The cross hairs he uses in his blog should tell you something about this. Guido is a Tory sniper….

    During the war they got 6d extra a day…. They spent days in no man’s land beyond the trenches slowly getting into place… each move imperceptable to the enemy scouring the landscape… Then firing just twice (a third shot allows the enemy to triangulate and find where you are firing from)then days moving back…

    Generally snipers were distrusted amongst the ranks, since it was one form of combat in which the ordinary soldier had no way of saving himself (except deserting the line)…

    If you are still sceptical, consider this. I put that letter from OFMDFM out as soon as I got it, which was Good Friday afternoon. The best day to bury bad news. It would have served me and Slugger better to have held it over until Tuesday when the holidays were over.

    Paul gets this stuff months ago (read the Spec article above) and sits on it until the G20 gives Brown a bounce and Labour is sitting 8pts behind, the Damian Green inquiry is about to report, and the budget is coming next week.

    This is trench warfare in representative democracy the like of which we rarely see in Northern Ireland. It ain’t pretty, but it’s real enough.

    And Guido very much knows which side he’s playing on. It just surprises me that a Labour MP like Harris thinks differently.

  • Richard Timney

    Takes attention away from Jacqui Smith not that people would be saying anything bad about her as she is absolutely brilliant!

  • Mick Fealty

    Rich, have you seen the front page of the Guardian and Telegraph today? They are speculating on her resignation, Damian Green is not. He’s just calling quietly for an election.

    That’s indicative of power shifting inexorably.