Spinning out of control

Damian McBride, the Downing Street apparatchik at the heart of the scurrilous e-mails scandal, has just resigned.  He was seen by many as Gordon Brown’s Alistair Campbell.  Close friend, trusted advisor.  Spin-master in Chief.  And by all accounts, spectacularly unpopular with many of his colleagues.  But our Prime Minister’s attempts to distance himself from McBride’s e-mails look increasingly incredible.  McBride may have been “juvenile and inappropriate”, as he has admitted, but in that case how had he wormed his way so deeply into Brown’s confidence, and into the heart of the Labour machine?  The organ-grinder can only go so far in distancing himself from the antics of the monkey.
The e-mails were sent to Derek Draper, another former Labour spin doctor who now runs a web-site called Red Rag, set up apparently as an attempted counter to Conservative Home (it is worth noting that the left has signally failed to match the diverse and vibrant sector of the blogosphere which exists on the right).  Somehow they were leaked to Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines, the well-known blogger.
Yesterday I heard Derek Draper, on the television, giving the most tortuous and unbelievable justification for his position.  First of all, while admitting that the e-mails were damaging, he dismissed them as simply light-hearted banter never intended for publication, forgetting the first rule of politics, which is that you should say nothing in an e-mail unless you are prepared to have it published in the News of the World.  And then he sought to turn the blame game on its head, by blaming Guido Fawkes for publishing material that he, Draper, had never published and never intended to publish.  Look, said Draper.  We could have published this stuff but we didn’t.  It’s not our fault, Guv.  It was those evil bloggers on the right who published it, and they should carry the can.
Come on Derek.  You must think we were born yesterday.  It is clear that McBride and Draper were making plans in the light of the General Election, which must occur by June 2010 (and while Gordon Brown may not have seen the content of the e-mails, it is easy to believe that he approved in principle of preparations for a mud-slinging campaign).  They were assembling ammunition ahead of time to use during the campaign.  They would have timed it for maximum damage, which may have been April or May 2010, but certainly would not have been April 2009.  The idea that their hands are clean because they chose not to publish immediately is simply preposterous, and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who knows the first thing about politics.
Draper and McBride are guilty as charged, and the whole Downing Street machine, including the Prime Minister, are clearly implicated.

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1 Response to Spinning out of control

  1. Pingback: Easter Weekend: Rights And Wrongs, Professional Standards - View From Planet Jamie

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