Monday, January 5, 2009

Do You Want £20,000 to Work for Draper?

A co-conspirator points Guido towards this advert wondering if it is for Draper’s new initiative. Guido emailed Derek to ask him if this advert was in fact for his new hush, hush rapid rebuttal unit, to which he retorted “well, if you applied i guess you’d find out ;)”. Loving the emoticon Derek, so down with the kidz. So we will take that as a yes.
Based in central London this person will act as the administrator / organiser for a new independent Labour supporting campaigning organisation. They will have close contact with senior party figures and will assist with a brief that includes research, media management, writing and new media initiatives. The work will be rewarding and exciting and would be an excellent step to further work in Labour circles. It requires someone with good Labour party knowledge and contacts and will initially run for a three month trial period.

Guido suspects that this means legally it should be a regulated financial unit of the Labour Party under PPERA, with all details of donations available on the Electoral Commission website.

Guido is sure Derek said it was going to launch before Christmas. Can’t wait…

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Exclusive : Meanwhile Over at Labour HQ…

Tomorrow morning Derek Draper is convening a “New Media Breakfast” meeting with dozens of Labour bloggers and New Media types to hear from Blue State Digital how Labour can use the internet to win the next election. Blue State Digital are the people that did Obama’s online stuff – rather well. So far Draper’s online efforts haven’t really got anywhere, one of the issues that Labour has is that it does not know what it wants to achieve. Blue State Digital have brought over Thomas Gensemer and Joe Rospars, Barack Obama’s former new media campaign director to basically pitch their services and know-how to the Draper assembled collection of lobbyists, spin-merchants and public affairs leeches* that by and large constitute the Labour blogosphere. Blue State Digital have hired Matthew Macgregor to run a soon to be opened London office. Macgregor worked on Ken Livingstone’s 2008 Mayoral campaign, for War on Want, TULO and Jon Cruddas’ deputy leadership campaign. This is their big sales pitch.

Guido called Draper to wish him luck with the meeting, he cursed Guido’s foreknowledge. Draper denied point blank that he was looking for funding for an Iain Dale style, party-supportive blog with titbits of insider news and his spin on the party line. He has been reportedly moaning that he has been working voluntarily for free for the Party and that if they want to take the fight online they will need a full time paid blogger – what he doesn’t say openly is that it should be him. Sources say that the blog is to be known as the “Daily Draper”.

Hopefully Draper’s blog will be more prescient than his writing for the Guardian. In September 2007 he told us – “Get ready for a short, sharp campaign. Gordon Brown is not a ditherer, and I predict he will announce the election very soon. Today he says the opposite the Tories are doing what they can to promote the idea that there might be an early election, before rubbishing the idea. Does that mean there will be an early election?

“Go 4th” was one working title for a Labour supporting rival to ConservativeHome, LabourList is another name being knocked about. Draper claims he hasn’t finalised the plan and it is still at the talking shop stage. Rumour has it that Mandelson (an Iain Dale fan) is being supportive.

Guido has a suggestion for Derek and the embryonic Labour online-spin crew: find a charismatic, young new leader who can be the change that we need. It won’t matter how good the website is until you do…

*Invitation list to Labour’s digerati: Tom Watson (Guido passim), Colin Byrne (CEO, Weber Shandwick), Sadie Smith (ex-Westmonster), Mark Hanson (spinner), Simon Buckby (Popbitch’s spinner boyfriend), David Clark, Charlie Whelan (Unite, former Gordon bruiser), Chuka Umunna, Sue Macmillan, DJ Collins (Google spinner), Sarah Mulholland, Richard Angell, Ed Owen, Simon Alcock, Wee Dougie Alexander, Patrick Diamond, Sunder Katwala (Fabians), Gavin Hayes (Compass), Jessica Asato, Robert Philpot, Richard Huntington, Tristram Hunt, Ben Wegg-Prosser (Mandy’s protege), Damian McBride (Downing Street spinner for Gordon), Andrew Dodgshon, Theo Blackwell, Tom Miller, Tim Allan (Portland CEO), David Bradshaw, Stuart Bruce (Alan Johnson’s leadership spinner, Labour new media guru), Jag Singh (LabourHome and Hilary online campaign guru), Matt Strong, Paul Simpson, Spencer Livermore (ex Gordon spinner), Ed Owen, Chris McShane, Matthew Taylor (RSA boss, ex-Blair policy unit), Alex Finnegan, John Miles, Adam Dustagheer, Dan Thain (Labour HQ), Mark Lucas (Silverfish), Luke Pollard, James Crabtree, Tim Shand, Alex Hilton (LabourHome), Simon Redfern, William Davies, Howard Dawber, Nick Anstead, Richard Lane, Jon Steinberg, Pete Bowyer, Steve Cowan, Hopi Sen, Luke Bozier, Andy Regan, Toby Flux, David Taylor, Chris McShane, Matthew McGregor, Noel Hatch, Sunny Hundal (the supposedly independent Liberal Conspiracy), Greg Jackson, Dave Prescott (son of), Luke Akehurst (spinner Weber Shandwick), Phil Dilks, Jonathan Upton, Simon Fletcher, Tom Price, John Stolliday, Adrian McMenamin (CBI & HateMyTory.com), Paul Hilder, Paul Miller, Ben Brandzel, Anthony Painter, Ravi Gurumurthy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Enemy of State

The news that Derek Draper is organising a rapid rebuttal operation to combat bloggers does not exactly have Guido quaking in fear.

“PR Week can reveal that the Labour Party is exploring plans for an online rapid rebuttal unit, designed to kill off damaging stories circulating in the blogosphere. Former lobbyist Derek Draper will oversee the initiative, having recently been called in by Labour’s general secretary to advise on how the party can communicate its message. Labour strategists are keen to respond to the growing influence of right-wing blogs. The eventual system could resemble a modern-day version of Labour’s famous Excalibur unit, which was successfully used to kill negative stories by Tory-supporting newspapers in the run-up to the 1997 general election.”

It has long been Guido’s central proposition that unlike the Lobby and broadcast journalists in particular, Guido cannot be spun or manipulated by the promise of titbits from the party machines. Not needing access or talking heads to interview, the party machines have no sanction or lure with which to control Guido’s output. When Gordon became party leader there was a concerted effort to astro-turf the comments here, and on ConservativeHome and Politicalbetting.com with “I’m a lifelong Tory but Gordon is better than Cameron blah blah blah”. It was comically transparent that the comments were completely bogus. Guido simply pressed the delete button.

The reason most left-wing blogs are unsuccessful is because they are boring and crap. Draper is not going to change that fundamental truth.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gordon Gets a Psychotherapist

Hencke in the Guardian this morning reports the Labour Party is hiring Derek Draper, a psychotherapist “experienced at treating emotional and psychological issues including: self-esteem, personal development, depression, anxiety, addictions, self-harm, personality problems and family and relationship concerns” to advise on how the party should better communicate its message. Clearly the right man at the right time in the right place.
Draper was one of the original sleazy New Labour lobbyists that proliferated in the late 90s. He quit politics after a cash for access scandal engulfed him. That he has been re-appointed by Labour just shows that Gordon is really having to scrape the barrel.

When Cameron and Osborne won the leadership of the Tories, “Dolly” Draper was said to be boasting that he had socialised (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) with them back in the Notting Hill days. The understood implication being that none of them had kept their noses clean. No News of the Screws scandal exposé resulted. Some said it was because there was none, others mused that no newspaper editor thought Draper would be a credible witness for the defence in a defamation suit. Still, it will be handy to have his new skills available to Gordon…

UPDATE : 1 in 5 MPs has suffered mental illness according to a survey conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health. The report suggests that MPs cover-up their illnesses. LibDem MP Sandra Gidley chairs the group and says when “the former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik publicly disclosed his experience of depression, it did not affect his popularity”. The Palace of Westminster has a dispensary, the inventory supplies list would show a hefty monthly order for Prozac.

Without wishing to trivialise mental health issues, the PM’s mental health is being widely discussed if not publicly commented upon in the press. Given that Blair / Campbell back in the day described him as “psychologically flawed” it is not a new matter of concern. It is legitimate in these circumstances to consider the head of government’s mental well being when he clearly looks like someone at the end of his tether. A large proportion of the Westminster Village (across political lines) thinks that Gordon is unbalanced. The youthful wunderkind, blinded in one eye, the obsessive political nature, the brooding malevolence… some openly speculate that he suffers from high-functioning autism- a form of Aspergers. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem.


Seen Elsewhere

Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester
Lords Speaker Spends £350 on Two Mile Limo Ride | Sun
Shapps Slaps Down Barroso “Propaganda” | City AM
Bookies v Pollsters: What We Learned From IndyRef | Paddy Power
Guido’s Column | Sun
Elite’s Obsession With Climate Change Alarmism | David Keighley
Charities Should Not Demonise Freud | ConHome
Double Standards of Police Leaks to Guardian | Mail
My Year in Court | Charlie Brooks
Legalise Pot | NY Times


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