Sunday, April 12, 2009

Telegraph Column: The Dastardly & Mutley of British Politics

Tomorrow, I make my debut on the much sought after first page of the Daily Telegraph's Comment Section. It will be my third column for them in four days. So much for my demise on their pages. It's a comeback worthy of Peter Mandelson!

My remit was to write 1,500 words about my own experience at the hands of Draper and McBride. It's a very personal account. Here's a taster...
Thanks to Damian McBride and Derek Draper, whom I like to think of as the Dick Dastardly and Mutley of British politics, I have had to abort my Easter plans... Over the past two days, it has been said that McBride should have had better things to do than indulge in political assassination. There's an economy to save, after all. But political assassination is exactly what he does. He is not a foreign affairs or economy adviser. He is a political boot-boy whose function was to work on the PM's behalf, which is why it is a bit rich for Brown now to pretend he is shocked to discover what McBride got up to. Brown wrote McBride's job description and left him to get on with it. As ye sow, so ye shall reap...

Some may see this as a schoolboy spat between two bloggers with egos the size of a mountain. Maybe. But my experience is important as it demonstrates how the Number Ten lie machine will target anyone whose reputation it wishes to damage. I'm in a position to fight back, but what about the dozens of journalists who have to accept the bullying for fear of being ostracised and never getting another story; or the dozens of MPs and ministers who know that to speak out is to invite career disaster?

Perhaps this sort of affair is symptomatic of something more deep-rooted at the heart of government. All administrations flag after a while. They become gaffe- prone. People go off-message more frequently. A sense of malaise is almost palpable. It's what happens when empires crumble. A bunker mentality sets in and the leader encourages the wagons to circle. It took 11 years for it to happen to Margaret Thatcher, but with Gordon Brown it has taken less than two...

If Gordon Brown really wants to bring about a new era at Downing Street, he can do several things – take away Alastair Campbell's pass which gives him free access to the building; reshuffle Tom Watson out of Number Ten; but most significantly of all, tell Derek Draper his services as editor of LabourList are no longer required.

The trouble is, our Prime Minister is wedded to the notion that seeking political conflict and dividing lines is the be all and end all. And he's incapable of changing.

Read the full article HERE, or be really old fashioned and wait for the print edition tomorrow.

52 comments:

Clive said...

Iain, perhaps you should complain to Paul for messing up your Easter plans. Not excusing Draper or McBride for one minute, but it would appear that the timing was all down to Paul.

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/

Wrinkled Weasel said...

A very controlled, damning piece of top class writing.

Malcolm said...

This Mcbride affair will no doubt increase our Dear Leader and his cohorts determination to bring about censorship of blogs, so look out Mr Dale, Mcbride may well have been in Guido's sights, but I am sure that your excellent blog, and many others, are in the cross-hairs of out totalitarian Government.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Ok here's a prediction. What the hell?

Brown will not last beyond the summer recess.

Any takers? I will back it up with cash!

Daily Referendum said...

Great story Iain. What goes around, really does come around.

Old Holborn said...

You owe Guido a crate of Margaux

Clive said...

Wrinkled Weasel,

Ok here's a prediction. What the hell?

Brown will not last beyond the summer recess.

Any takers? I will back it up with cash!


Barring some totally left-field (sic) unforeseen event, Brown will still be at the helm come June 2010. None of the big hitters in Labour Party remain untarnished enough to do better than Brown, and who'd want to take over from him just to lead the Party to defeat.

subrosa said...

You can have your Easter break later Iain, the roads will be quieter then. Splendid subtle article, thanks.

AD627 said...

Who the hell's going to buy a print edition of the Telegraph after the disgraceful way they tried to spike this story at the government's behest?

John said...

Still no comment on Dolly's apology to you?

I would have thought that you'd be all over that? Particularly as it not only doesn't go far enough, but it has a less than honourable intent given the nature of his attacks on you.

Malcolm said...

Is Mcbride a civil servant or does he work for the Labour Party ?

Martin Day said...

Yes the No.10 Spin Machine is vile:

I think Brown is upto his Neck in this - I have just blogged on it and I believe my theory fits with the smear campaign:

http://delivernothinglabourparty.blogspot.com/2009/04/brown-getting-on-with-job.html

Dick the Prick said...

Who is the pissed harpy interviewing Dale?

Dick the Prick said...

Amateur hour. Does Charles Clarke really go home & rerun his own speeches?

tory boys never grow up said...

The first paragraph made me laugh - should have said something about Christmas coming early as you were given the opportunity to indulge in your favouriet sport of political assassination - and if you pretend otherwise we all know that it isn't true!

Andrew Allison said...

Excellent writing, Iain. In 1500 words you have summed up Brown's modus operandi. You should be writing for the Telegraph on a regular basis.

Twig said...

AD627 said...
"Who the hell's going to buy a print edition of the Telegraph after the disgraceful way they tried to spike this story at the government's behest?"



And who would buy the Mirror?

wolfie said...

I have avidly followed this story, I've watched the TV news, heard the radio interviews and read the blogs both left and right.

What I want to know is why McBride a civil servant paid for by the tax payer who has been caught and admitted to making up and diseminating political slurs has not appeared to my knowledge on one single program. If the MSM are so upset about being usurped by the blogosphere where are all the "journalists" pursueing an exclusive with this odious piece of filth?

Meanwhile we get endless sessions with Derek Draper...the Baldrick to No. 10's Blackadder whose function in life is to be punched in the face and poked in the eye on behalf of his masters.

Jimmy said...

21 straight posts including the grimly inevitable 94th downfall youtube. Have you considered what you would blog about if Draper actually did go?

thecopydude said...

Iain wrote:

I'm in a position to fight back, but what about the dozens of journalists who have to accept the bullying for fear of being ostracised and never getting another story; or the dozens of MPs and ministers who know that to speak out is to invite career disaster?

This is why you should have got the Orwell prize, Iain. 'Left' and 'Right' is irrelevant, as Orwell discovered. The real threat to society - or as Orwell described it, the 'basic evil' - is Totalitarianism. The arrogance and autocracy of this administration is really scary.

Very well written, BTW.

Iain Dale said...

But Jimmy, you keep coming back for more, darling.

Seriously, it's the only story in town. I shall be looking for alternative diversions tomorrow though.

Mike Rouse said...

Good piece. Sums up the affair nicely. This should be the first port of call for people coming to the blog after hearing about the affair on the news.

mutleythedog said...

I am a bit pissed off at your choice of comparisons - couldn't you have thought of someone else? Like Laurel and hardey or Tom and jerry ... or something.... *sniffs*
Life is hard enough as it is...

Chris Paul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
canvas said...

I think the Tories are in danger of overplaying their hand with this one...the story is becoming tiresome now.

You say "As ye sow, so ye shall reap..." Well, careful what you wish for...I can just see the headlines now.. THE SHEER TORY HYPOCRISY...

I think your column is good - but also pretty childish.

The public could decide to simply NOT vote at all during next general election if this rubbish carries on much longer.

Can we get back to MPs expenses now? The problem hasn't gone away.

Bond007 said...

Canvas - this story is only "tiresome" for Labourites, who are desperately wishing it to go away

Admin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Admin said...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_yc-Lk62n49w/SeEY_piBt0I/AAAAAAAAA7E/fMEMl2OW0so/s1600/Smear%2BTwats%2BDot%2BCom.jpg

Mike Rouse said...

Bond007 @12:53 - Took the words right out of my mouth.

Jabba the Cat said...

Fortunately Canvas's view point is shared by few.

Drudge is now running with the story on his page. Should have the McTwat cyclops and his band of goons well spread across the US news in their stupidity by the end of Monday.

Who knows what further revelations Tuesday will bring.

Jimmy said...

"Drudge is now running with the story on his page."

That's worrying. This could cost Labour Alabama.

Admin said...

http://the-red-rag.blogspot.com/

Jimmy said...

"http://the-red-rag.blogspot.com/"

Not as easy as it looks is it? Have you considered making a Downfall video?

Cinnamon Marine said...

I realised that I haven't completely my political anorak side this weekend. The amount of time I have spent reading blogs and newspaper sites on this story was higher than it has been in a long time. I even spent an inordinate amount of time writing a post on it - and I don't usually comment on politics on my blog. This story is several orders of magnitude beyond what you usually find in the gossip of politics. The activities of McBride and Draper are appalling and the near universal condemnation has been very interesting to read.

So I'm sorry you lost your Easter Sunday Iain, but thanks for the work you have put in over the weekend. It is much appreciated.

Cynic said...

Guido now claims that Draper was dining at Chequers with Brown around the time Red Rag was registered. But Brown didn't know anything about what was going on. I am sure he is such a sparkling dinner party conversationalist that the subject of what Draper was doing online for the Party never came up over drinks or at dinner.

Patrat said...

The
photograph
of Gordon Brown walking next to — and in conversation with — Damian Mcbride brings to mind the proverb:

‘You may know a man by the company he keeps.’

Very apt.

joezybolsiano said...

Let's hope that this is the last we see of the ghastly Tom Watson. Here's a a comment I left at the awful man's blog. It won't be published, of course. http://tinyurl.com/snouttroughwatson

strapworld said...

Iain, Agree with Wrinkled Weasel, excellently written. Although I also support Twig about the Daily Telegraph, perhaps you will include their initial stance in your article?

But Canvas, saying the tories have overplayed their hand! That is so ridiculous. It takes almost three days before William Hague is rolled out demanding an apology.

To make such a demand, knowing that Brown will not is good politics.

But I am intruiged by Guido's post this morning about the timing of Drapers/McBride new web site and a meeting for lunch at Chequers with the PM and Draper! Now that would not have been about horticulture, would it!

It is a developing story

Kate said...

I'm intrigued as to how the emails got out in the first place. I'm starting to wonder whether McBride was sold out by someone at no.10, someone he had perhaps smeared beforehand. If so, I think they may have just shot themselves in the foot. I'm not sure I believe the 'hacked into' theory.

Unsworth said...

@ Clive

Had it not been for the activitites of McBride this would never have happened. Yet you seek to blame Guido? Why?

Predictable and very selective vision.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

It's clear that you don't like reading about this topic. Why are you so cretinous as to continue to do so? Or is it, possibly, that you would wish to stifle discussion by others? Why?

As I said before, if you don't like it just bugger off. And stop trying to dictate what others may read and/or post.

Unsworth said...

@ Canvas

It's clear that you, too, don't like reading about this topic. Why are you so cretinous as to continue to do so? Or is it, possibly, that you would wish to stifle discussion by others? Why?

As I said before, if you don't like it just bugger off and stop trying to dictate what others may read and/or post.

You could always start a blog of your own, of course.

Grumpy said...

... "But my experience is important as it demonstrates how the Number Ten lie machine will target anyone whose reputation it wishes to damage."

And where that strategy fails, it's wise for the target not to go for walks in the country...

canvas said...

@ Unsworth...
It's ridiculous for you to make personal attacks on commenters just because you disagree with their viewpoint...it's also hypocritical. Surely, you can agree to disagree without being nasty?

I do think the Tories are in danger of overplaying their hand on this story. By the way, I am not a member of the Labour party.

Clive said...

Unsworth,

@ Clive

Had it not been for the activitites of McBride this would never have happened. Yet you seek to blame Guido? Why?

Predictable and very selective vision.

For the love of all that's holy, you really are an ignorant oaf, aren't you? I mean an A1, top-of-the-class prize winning onanist.

I made a humourous comment in response to Iain's complaint that the McBride affair had messed up his Easter plans. I pointed out that Paul had deliberately timed the release for this weekend, and had been "in the know" for at least a couple of weeks.

Christ, I even wrote Not excusing Draper or McBride for one minute, but it would appear that the timing was all down to Paul.

Now you have made it blatantly obvious that comprehension is one of your weak points (one of many I suspect), so why don't you go back to basics and start reading Janet and John books, because your grasp of the meaning of words appears to be Key Stage 1 at best.

Once again, reply if you like, I've got better things to do than continually respond to your ignorant misrepresentations.

Clive said...

Iain, apologies for that outburst, but Unsworth's continual misrepresentations are bang out of order. Anyway, sanitised version reposted so feel free to delete the sweary one, and thanks for the opportunity to repost.

Jonathan Cook said...

Iain,

This is the most telling line:

"I'm in a position to fight back, but what about the dozens of journalists who have to accept the bullying for fear of being ostracised and never getting another story

P.S. Great article.

Jimmy said...

Unsworth,

I respect your right to post whatever cretinous gibberish you choose. Please respect my right to point at you and laugh.

Unsworth said...

@ Clive

And your point is? That I should find your 'humour' recognisable as that, or entertaining, or even vaguely amusing?

Still, nice to see an extended expose of your good self.

Help me a little, what is Key Stage 1? Is it something to do with 'education'?

Unsworth said...

@ Canvas

"the story is becoming tiresome now."
So what? Are you speaking on behalf of anyone apart from yourself?

"I think your column is good - but also pretty childish."
Oh, so it's 'childish', eh?

"It's ridiculous for you to make personal attacks on commenters just because you disagree with their viewpoint...it's also hypocritical"
What attack? You complained, I indicated that in that case you shouldn't bother reading the blog.

"Can we get back to MPs expenses now? The problem hasn't gone away"
Why? That's nothing to do with this post.

"By the way, I am not a member of the Labour party."
Did I say you were?

Mark Brentano said...

Excellent, but I'll sub your next piece. It's Muttley, not Mutley.

mutleythedog said...

I am afraid thats probably my fault - but Great Grandmama spelt it Mutleigh - as in the Farquhar-Mutleighs...