Guido’s Westminster Arms drinking buddy, Kevin Maguire, is kind enough to shower praise on “an old-fashioned scoop for the newish media. So hat’s off to my old mate Guided Fawkes. And I admire his ability to spin himself as well as his story.”
Guided? Only one of us has been guided by Damian McBride’s spin. Funny thing is, Maguire could have had the front page scoop himself. After all – despite today’s disingenuous spin from Liam Byrne* that this was a private matter between only Damian and Derek – Maguire was very much in the know. He could have had the scoop about “Red Rag” himself, months ago. Guido has been calling Maguire all evening to ask him why he didn’t run the scoop himself, or why didn’t he advise his mate Damian against the whole idea? What a scoop Kevin could have there, eh?
Strangely Kev isn’t taking calls from Guido or any of his Lobby friends. When Guido texted our Kev a few questions, someone else called back claiming that he had a missed call from Guido. James Lyons, Kevin’s Mirror mate was the caller. Odd.
Still, no doubt some of Kevin’s fellow Lobby journalists, ruthless investigators that they are, will get the facts from Maguire. When did he know? What did he know? Isn’t that what proper journalists are supposed to ask?
*Liam Byrne is not very polite is he? We already know he is a shit to work for, however when Guido said a cheery “hello Liam” to him in the Sky studio yesterday he just stood there and stared at yours truly, silently, (a bit weirdly to be honest). Maybe his morning soup was cold.
You can just imagine the panic in Downing Street on Friday with Tom Watson having conversations exactly like those in this clip, telling Damian and Derek to undo what he doesn’t know about and wouldn’t even remember if he did. The excuse lines used by Damian and Derek come straight from episode 6 of The Thick of It - including “this email was never intended to be seen by anyone but the recipient”.
Draper of course added to the real comedy with his defining Channel 4 News soundbite yesterday – “I wasn’t lying on purpose”. Armando Iannucci’s fictional version was “I unintentionally lied. Unknowingly might have told an untruth”.
Guido particularly likes the line “Malcolm Tucker has left the building”. Damian McBride has left the building.
Questioned repeatedly he disowned Dolly, he denied Dolly headed up Labour’s online operation. Byrne denied he had any official role in Labour.
So why did they launch LabourList in Labour HQ with Peter Mandelson and Dougie Alexander in attendance? Why did Gordon Brown invite Derek Draper to Chequers? What did they discuss – Strictly Come Dancing?
UPDATE : Alastair Campbell has just disowned McBride and Draper, with a nothing to do with me guv dismissal: “I barely know Mr McBride. I was vaguely aware of him being around the Treasury when I was in Number 10, and vaguely aware that he was closer to the Charlie Whelan school of strategic communications than my own. (I’m aware we tend to get lumped together in some sections, but I know the differences, even if they don’t.)”
UPDATE II : Clarke has just called for Draper and Whelan to consider their position. His was the voice that put the final nail in the coffin for McBride. He obviously hasn’t finished with that hammer…
The News of the World reveals the smears – full story here.
Draper has lied from the beginning about this whole affair. His candid honest response to receiving these smears – which he wanted to publish as soon as possible – was to tell their poisonous author that they were “brilliant”. Surely decent Labour-minded people have had enough of him? He is an electoral liability who should be cast adrift. In the words of Gordon Brown, there is absolutely no place in politics for Derek.
Tomorrow you will get a glimpse of how Brown’s henchmen really work. Guido has done the rounds of all the broadcasters and Draper has been on some of them. He even now just continues lying, it is not even very good lying. His story changes all the time. Remember how he lied to Guido and Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics? How can he have any credibility? Why don’t decent Labour supporters get rid of him as their online champion? Why on earth was he brought back?
McBride’s resignation statement is bordering on deranged in anger (Guido’s text messaged taunts to McPoison might have been cruel, but hey, this was payback for his contrived smears aimed at Dale and Guido). Guido revealed the truth about how McBride operates, he lies about how Guido operates.
The idea that Damian’s poisonous smears were just a few juvenile jokes between old pals is the joke, this was a discussion as to the sequencing of politcally motivated smears by experienced spin doctors. In the know people include not only McBride and Draper but, for example, Charlie Whelan. Whelan is no juvenile.
Stephen Pound says Guido is laughing all the way to the bank – actually Guido gave the story to the News of the World and the Sunday Times for pleasure not profit. McBride claims in his resignation statement that stories he came up with he didn’t want in the public domain. Lies. He had already put some of those stories in the public domain – as a very angry Nadine Dorries will testify.
McPoison accuses Guido of having Tory backers – it just shows that they just don’t get it – this blog was started for free, with no committee behind it, no plan, on a whim. It is Guido’s plaything. The Tories are rightly wary of Guido and incidentally they have a PR problem tomorrow – the last thing they want are half truths mixed with smears getting out into the open uncontrollably. Coulson is apparently having kittens according to sources at his old newspaper.
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. Nobody so far has commented on the irony that it was also this week that it became legal for the government to read all our emails. Like Guido always says, people should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people. Now where is that ’99 Premier Cru Grande Classe Margaux?
Maybe he can start a blog?
Warning, this is as yet unconfirmed.
Grassroots comments on LabourHome suggest that Labour activists would be happy to see the back of Damian McBride.
Charles Clarke calls for McBride to be sacked.
Derek Draper has admitted that Mcbride told him what to write in order to contrive a smear of Iain Dale and Guido on his “independent” website – something he lied about to Iain and live on the Daily Politics when we debated. Fancy that, Derek Draper is a self-confessed liar.
Downing Street is trying to downplay this as a “blog story” knowing that journalists and the public won’t be so interested in another online spat.
That attempt to spin the story away has failed, because everyone realises that it is in reality a story from the heart of Downing Street.
Downing Street’s press office has been trying to get prominent Labour supporting bloggers into the studios to do rebuttal. So far they have been unable to find someone credible to defend the indefensible. It is also Downing Street that is quite deliberately hyping the Derek Draper angle – clearly he is disposable – but it cannot be emphasised enough that he is not the only recipent of these smears ideas. Other well known spin doctors from the Brown camp are involved.
They have two objectives – to keep Gordon out of the story and save Tom Watson MP. It is probably already too late for Damian. Where is the Minister for Digital Engagement today? What was his exact role in the smear operation? He is referred to in Damian McBride’s emails, he sits next to McPoison in Downing Street, and he of course is notorious for his use of the dark arts. He also was involved with Sion Simon in a previous cringe making online attack video on Cameron that backfired badly – he has previous.
The smears are not of the usual rough and tumble of politics – they are obscene and sexually explicit – Guido spoke to Nadine Dorries MP last night, she told Guido that she will be consulting lawyers on Tuesday. Can the Prime Minister’s official Political and Press Adviser, a civil servant, survive losing a case for defamation to an opposition MP?
If Gordon Brown keeps Damian McPoison in place, he is condoning his behaviour, again. Where have they hidden Gordon’s moral compass? It certainly isn’t anywhere to be seen in Downing Street.
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Mandy Rice-Davies (R.I.P.) on Lord Astor’s denial of their affair….
“Well he would, wouldn’t he?”