Monday, April 20, 2009

McBride Faces Eviction from Labour Party

Members of Damian McBride’s Finchley and Golders Green constituency Labour Party branch are to vote on whether to throw him out.  The local Labour MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Rudi Vis, says:

Damian McPoisonWhat he did was scandalous, totally scandalous.  Something like this is really important, especially when the Government is not doing very well. He has done the Labour party an enormous disservice. I don’t believe he is the sort of member we should have. I have never met him, never seen him at any meetings, never even heard of him before, so it won’t be any loss to us.”

Mr McBride’s future will be voted on at the next CLP executive meeting, on May 11. The group’s recommendations will then be accepted or rejected by the General Committee on May 27.  Local party executive member Robinson said:

“I can’t say absolutely yes or no as it is not my decision to make. But I will say that he has not done the Labour party any favours. Lots of people are saying that what he did was stupid, but it was much more than that – it was wrong.”

That will teach McBride for spilling Guido’s pint.

Hat Tip : Hendon & Finchley Times

Maude-y Money

Guido has not yet seen the Channel 4 Dispatches about the Westminster Gravy Train produced by the excellent Heather Brooke.   Will watch the 8pm repeat tonight. Francis Maude is exposed for abusing the expenses system to buy a second property yards away from the one he already owns.  Something that didn’t come out in the broadcast (Guido had it on his to-do list) was confirmation of a persistent rumour that the property was rented out to Tory researchers, who are  of course themselves paid out of parliamentary expenses.  Double dipping in the trough…

UPDATE : Am told it is on at 2.25 a.m.- will record it instead.

Rich & Marks Monday Morning View

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Do You Believe Your Own Eyes, or Kevin Maguire?

whelanWhile Guido does have a detailed picture of the discussions held at Labour HQ, the attendees at the two Red Rag meetings held at Unite HQ are less loquacious.  Look at the people at that meeting; Andrew Dodghson, Charlie Whelan, Damian McBride, Derek Draper were all copied in on the shocking  smear emails as proposed by McBride.  These are not people through whom the milk of human kindness runs.  Charlie Whelan is not a bleeding heart known for his charity towards Tories, Damian McBride is the  poisonous destroyer of Brown’s internal and external enemies.  Derek Draper thinks it “absolutely brilliant” to attack the wives and lovers of Tories.  Kevin Maguire is not merely a partisan journalist, he is an integral part of Brown’s spin and smear operation.  Even after the existence of the smear emails was revealed, Maguire was still peddling innuendo from them about “Cameron’s alleged embarrassing complaint of a highly personal nature”.

Maguire has been touring the broadcast studios claiming that at the Unite meetings they just watched a few YouTube videos and discussed Obama’s online campaign strategy – the email invitation however says it was a meeting to discuss the Red Rag attack site.  Do you believe Maguire or the written evidence?

Maguire’s claims are laughably implausible.  Here we have a gang of the most vicious  Labour propagandists with a visceral tribal hatred of their opponents, yet Maguire would have you believe they were merely singing “Kumbaya” around the Unite boardroom table.  The meeting took place some five weeks before the infamous emails were circulated to four of the six attendees at the meeting.  We know from Draper’s “absolutely brilliant” reply that they were almost ready to go live with the smear and spin  site.

red_rag1

No email has come to light cancelling the project.  We only have Derek’s word for it that they were going to abandon the idea for the site.  The fact that the site was still online when the existence of the emails came out strongly suggests the project was not cancelled.

The explanations don’t make sense, if they were going to do something legitimate, why keep it secret from all the Labour bloggers at those Draper organised breakfasts? If they really wanted to try out new video ideas, wouldn’t Maguire’s own Mirror blog be the perfect place to do it? The only explanation that makes sense is that they wanted to keep it away from the loose tongued Labour bloggers.

When you have people like Draper, McBride and Whelan plotting in secret it can only mean they were up to no good. Maguire is bullshitting.  He says it was innocent, the written evidence suggests otherwise.  There is nothing innocent about Whelan, Draper and McBride…

Red Rag : the Others Who Knew at Labour HQ

Ray CollinsThe Labour Party’s general secretary, Ray Collins, denies knowledge of the Red Rag attack site.  Yet the News of the World placed him at a planning meeting held on December 1, 2008 at Unite’s HQ.  He was there with the now disgraced spin and smear merchants Damian McBride and Derek Draper.  On the Unite side were Charlie Whelan and Andrew  Dodghson.  Kevin Maguire completed the dirty half-dozen. Guido believes that although Collins did not know of the specific intended smears outlined in the January email by McBride to Draper, he did however know of the intention to launch the anonymous attack site.  Nor was he the only person at Labour HQ who was aware of the intention to set-up the “plausibly deniable” site.

On Friday Guido spoke with Dan Thain, who was until recently the Labour Party’s eCampaigns Manager based in Labour’s HQ at 39 Victoria Street, he now works in the London office of Blue State Digital (famous for being Obama’s online people).  He admitted on the record that:

  • He knew in principle about the plan to set-up an anonymous Labour attack blog.
  • He denied knowing about specifics such as the smears or the name of the site.

He indicated that Sue Macmillan,  New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader at Labour HQ, was also in the know.  She worked closely with Derek Draper.  The obvious question for Collins, Thain and Macmillan to answer is:

Why if it was not the intention to use the Red Rag site for below the belt, spin and smears, was it set up with an anonymous and therefore plausibly deniable structure, outside the Labour Party?

The mere fact that they didn’t want it to have any link back to the party was because it was always intended for it to be used to smear opponents in a way that they would be too ashamed to do openly.  That was implicit in the setting up of the site.  Ray Collins can hardly claim to have no responsibility for the site  just because he didn’t know which particular smears were going to be used.  He still helped plan and facilitate the setting-up of the smear site.

red_rag1

Numerous “blogger’s breakfasts” were organised by Derek Draper at Labour HQ with invitations sent to dozens of bloggers [invitation list for the December 4, 2008 blogger's breakfast revealed by Guido here].  Attendees of the blogger’s breakfasts organised by Derek Draper held at Labour HQ confirm to Guido that the idea of setting up an attack blog was openly discussed.   In fact at all the meetings the discussions invariably came back to how to take on  and counter  the success of the ConservativeHome, Iain Dale and Guido blogs.  Guido has a detailed picture of discussions held at those breakfasts.

+++ Developing +++

Off for a Picnic

Guido is off for a picnic in the sunshine, when he gets back he will be shining a light into Labour HQ’s links to Red Rag. Will also try and jog the memory of Guido’s drinking buddy, Kevin Maguire.

Will however give co-conspirators something to pass the time. Some months ago on a Wednesday afternoon after PMQs, Guido found himself in the Westminster Arms ordering a pint of Guinness.  As you do.  He turned around to see Kevin Maguire and Damian McBride in the corner.  Maguire spotted Guido – yes those red pants are a bit of a giveaway – Kevin motioned to Damian in Guido’s direction.  Guido returned to his stout and checked his email at the bar.

lovelyA minute later someone jostled his left arm, spilling Guinness.  Guido turned to see a bloated Damian McBride, tenner in hand, looking straight ahead and studiously ignoring him in a definitely-not-apologising manner. So do you punch the Prime Minister’s spin doctor in the face there and then, or given you are a Guinness drinker, take your time over getting revenge?  “Good things come to those who wait.”

Saturday, April 18, 2009

+++ Smeargate II +++

More revelations on this blog tomorrow…

+++ Maguire Helped Plan Red Rag+++

Ray Collins

News of the World press release below, full story here:

THE VILE website at the centre of the vicious plot to smear top Tories was set up with the help of the boss of the Labour Party, the News of the World can sensationally reveal today.

A new email shows that Labour’s General Secretary Ray Collins chaired a secret meeting to create the Red Rag website now ensnared in the Smeargate scandal.

The email’s existence links the dirty tricks site to the very TOP of the Labour Party.

And it exposes the LIE, put out by Downing Street, and repeated by government ministers this week, that the smears project was just a minor aberration cooked up by a couple of renegades acting alone—and which would never have seen light of day.

The new email, written by Labour’s then internet campaign chief Derek Draper, PROVES that the meeting took place, reveals WHO was there, WHERE it was held and WHAT was on the agenda. It shows that Collins travelled across Westminster for a summit in the offices of trade union bigwig Charlie Whelan. Whelan, one of Gordon Brown’s closest friends and his former chief spin doctor, was described last night by a Labour insider as the Prime Minister’s “unofficial Mr Fix-It”.

Joining Collins and Whelan at the meeting were the two men whose leaked smear emails later brought the scandal to light: Damian McBride and Draper.

McBride, another of the Prime Minister’s closest aides, was forced to resign last week after it emerged that he and Draper conspired to spread false and sinister stories about Tory leader David Cameron, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and other Tories.

Draper has since been cold-shouldered by the party, too.

Also in the room was the man who was to be the public face of Red Rag, Unite press officer Andrew Dodgshon, as well as political journalist Kevin Maguire, who was there in a private capacity.

News of the meeting, and the presence at it of the Labour Party’s General Secretary, will horrify and appal senior party workers and Labour MPs who have already been disgusted by the smear campaign.

The email reveals the meeting took place on December 1 last year at Unite’s London HQ, on King’s Street, Westminster, seven weeks before McBride sent an explosive email to Draper outlining “stories” for the site.

Last week, after the News of the World’s revelations about the shocking extent of the smears, Collins slammed McBride and Draper, while he avoided mentioning his own role in the scandal.

Collins carefully followed a line taken by Derek Draper, husband of GMTV’s Kate Garraway, and McBride that they acted alone.

Draper claimed: “The idea that it was a big project orchestrated in Downing Street is ridiculous.”

However, our revelations show that Collins knew about the Red Rag site more than four months ago and did NOTHING to stop it—in fact he did the opposite.

Collins also tried to distance himself from Draper last week.

“I want to reiterate that Derek Draper does not hold a position or role with the Labour Party and this will remain the case,” he said.

Yet the General Secretary himself recruited Draper last year to try to set up a unit inside the Labour Party to attack the Tories using the internet.

We can reveal that despite internal opposition Collins granted Draper a pass to Labour Party HQ in Westminster, and even allowed him a Labour Party email account.

Both were quietly rescinded by Collins this week after furious protests from staff following our Smeargate revelations.

red_rag1

The Red Rag site was borne out out of those foundations, and was set up on November 4, 2008, weeks before the secret meeting.

A shocked Labour party insider told us: “It is devastating that Collins was there. It was a meeting called to set up, run and work out how to finance the Red Rag site.

“It’s no coincidence either that it wasn’t held at Labour Party HQ, or that it was at Charlie Whelan’s offices in Unite.

“Whelan is back as Gordon Brown’s unofficial Mr Fix-it, and he’s now so powerful that he’s effectively running the party.

“If anyone in the party was still daft enough to believe the Downing Street line about this being minor, this email finally exposes that lie.” Whelan was copied in to the vile emails between McBride and Draper and his role in the meeting at the Unite HQ raises further questions about how closely the union was involved in the dirty tricks campaign.

He is political director of Unite, which has two million members.

It is now one of the largest donor to the Labour Party, and it’s cash is effectively paying the near-bankrupt party’s wages as it struggles to manage debts topping £16million.

Last night Collins, himself a former assistant general secretary of Unite, admitted he attended the Red Rag website meeting but insisted he did not know about the McBride smears.

He told us: “I have had no knowledge whatsoever of any smears and found the stories and reports of the last week absolutely disgusting.

“I did attend a meeting at the Unite Head Office on December 1 to discuss online digital campaigning and how we could support and encourage left of centre websites and bloggers.

“This meeting was not about scurrilous rumour, personal attacks or smears as I would have been furious that such things could be seen as legitimate tools of political debate.”

Guido said it was strange that Maguire missed the scoop

+++ Steady Eddie Deadie

The former Bank of England governor Eddie George died at the age of 70 today following a long battle with cancer.  Wonder what he would have made of quantitative easing?

+++ LabourHome : Busted Ballot Box at Labour HQ +++

If this is correct it is stunning:

Labourhome has learned that the E&T Ballot Box with the broken seal was in fact being stored in a cupboard at Labour’s Victoria Street HQ at the time.

Furthermore, the ballot papers inside were torn up.

With both an active, high-level, Georgia Gould campaign and an active Unite campaign led by Charlie Whelan, operating against Gould, it will be almost impossible to nail down a likely culprit for this vandalism.

Hat-tip : LabourHome


Seen Elsewhere

Apple’s Tim Cook: iGay | Techno Guido
Insurgent Parties Plunge Labour Into Crisis | Alex Wickham
Mind-Bending Politics of Drugs | Mark Wallace
PC Worries Prevent Police Protecting Young Girls | Jill Kirby
Miliband Should Win Rochester | Martin Kettle
Thatcher Minister Sir John Nott ‘Voted for UKIP’ | Times
Time to Listen to Drugs Experts | Guardian
Drug Laws Don’t Work | Times
Our Moral Duty to Cut Taxes | David Cameron
Greens Ahead of LibDems | Guardian
Channel 4 to Spoof UKIP Election Win | Guardian


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



“Digger” Murdoch says:

Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


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