Deborah Mattinson Says Guido Drove Gordon Mad

Deborah Mattinson was Gordon Brown’s personal pollster and part of the bunker / Smith Institute inner circle around Brown. In her new book Talking To A Brick Wall she has revealed something that gives Guido an immense amount of satisfaction. For over a year Guido ran a campaign against Gordon Brown’s Smith Institute, the charitable front for his political ambitions. The years of guerrilla warfare waged by this blog were not in vain, it drove him mad:

Guido Fawkes, launched a campaign attacking me personally for the public sector work that Opinion Leader did. He, and other Conservative bloggers picked up on the citizen engagement work that OLR had done. He accused Government Departments of hiring OLR solely because of my work with GB and implied that the work that I conducted for GB was a quid pro quo for the Government Citizen Engagement work.

As anyone who has bid for Civil Service contracts will verify, nowadays – quite rightly – everything is tendered to within an inch of its life. Knowing a Minister, let alone the Chancellor and PM heir apparent, would be a hindrance rather than a help and place the potential contract under closer scrutiny. It was true that much of the time that I put in for Labour was pro bono, as it had always been. Like most political activists, whether drafting leaflets or knocking on doors, I gave my time willingly out of support for the cause. Furthermore, many of the costs associated with my political work were paid by the Labour Party or by a sympathetic organisation such as the Fabian Society. Nonetheless, the story ran. This was a tense and difficult time and GB was impatient with anything that might adversely affect his forward march. On one occasion after a particularly nasty piece, claiming ludicrously that Opinion Leader had charged £153, 484.38 for a one day seminar, had run, GB burst into our weekly meeting and exploded, ‘You’re in the eye of the storm. What are you doing about it?’

I was hurt both, by the accusations themselves, and also by GB’s less than supportive response. I had seen him treat others harshly but, up till then, I had always been made to feel valued. After much agonising and, following discussions with Viki, my ever tolerant business partner I decided to step down from my role as CEO of Opinion Leader and stopped working on any public sector clients, to avoid making either GB or Opinion Leader Research vulnerable to further attack. Instead I focused on my corporate role as Joint Chair of Chime Research Division. Meanwhile, sadly, GB shelved the listening programme – it looked to be more trouble that it was worth. . . Citizens were not going to get their say after all.

It is good to know that Gordon was such an avid reader…

Gordon’s Pollster Deborah Mattinson Slammed for Dodgy Polling

Guido has banged on for a long time about Deborah Mattinson’s dodgy polling. Her firm’s “free” polling for Gordon Brown’s Smith Institute seemed to correlate with their ability to win 90% of government contracts. In September 2007 the Greens accused her of distorting evidence to support the government’s position on nuclear power. She of course raked in the fees for Citizen’s Juries, (motto “verdict first, evidence later”). Her firm famously charged taxpayers an incredible £153,484.38 for a one day seminar.

Guido wrote in February 2007 that “in times of need, Gordon’s pollster conducts polls with dubious methodologies which she then writes up in hagiographical pro-Gordon articles… Is Guido the only one who thinks there might, in the circumstances, be a serious conflict of interest in her not only sitting on the board of the Smith Institute but also having HM Treasury as a paying client?”

Following yet another complaint, this time from Greenpeace, the Market Research Standards Board has found that in the consultation conducted by Opinion Leader Research, “information was inaccurately or misleadingly presented, or was imbalanced, which gave rise to a material risk of respondents being led towards a particular answer.” OLR is now finished as a serious pollster.

See more on Deborah Mattinson

OLR Win 90% of Government Contracts

OLR has become the Halliburton of British politics. Whereas Dick Cheney’s old firm was suspiciously successful in winning war profiteering contracts, Gordon’s crony pollster Deborah Mattinson’s OLR wins focus group and citizen’s juries contracts. Guido explained how this works in September. In May Guido revealed the £153,484.38 focus group. Why does Gordon like OLR so much? Well could it be that they get (free of charge) research results that give Gordon 92% approval ratings? Teasy May has now written to Gus O’Donnell, the head of the civil service, demanding an inquiry. She says “Citizens’ juries are increasingly looking like a sham… Not only are these glorified focus groups wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money but he has the nerve to award the contracts to his personal polling crony.” It is corrupt, plain and simple.

Green Groups Accuse OLR of PR Stitch-Up

According to the front page of the Guardian Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the Green Alliance are claiming that the government is using Deborah Mattinson’s Opinion Leader Research to distort the evidence and get the required result on nuclear power from bogus public consultations.

Duh! Of course – that is why Gordon hires and re-hires his personal pollster’s firm to the tune of £3 million. She tells him what he wants to hear.

Greenpeace says that they along “with other NGOs, trade unions, renewable energy companies and representatives of the nuclear industry met with OLR and the government in July to discuss this stakeholder briefing pack. This document was full of pro-nuclear opinion masquerading as fact … This document is fundamentally flawed and cannot form the basis for a full public consultation.” So it is not just Guido who thinks OLR’s work is another form of push-polling.

Coincidence or Corruption?

Gordon’s pollster Deborah Mattinson sits on the board of Gordon’s think-tank, the Smith Institute. Her relationship with Gordon has been very profitable for her firm, OLR. According to today’s Sunday Telegraph, government contracts totalling some £3 milllion have come her way.

By coincidence OLR does a bit of polling for the Smith Institute for no charge. In February Guido queried who paid for their latest “92% favour Gordon” poll. OLR came back and said they had no paying client for the research. Nor did they have an identifiable paying client for their “What it means to be British” research in 2005. Shortly afterwards Gordon began loudly banging his Britishness drum. Opinion Leader Research has helped Gordon on “Britishness” issues before, their research was also used extensively in “New Britain” a 1999 publication produced by the Smith Institute. The pamphlet was itself singled out and explicitly criticised by the Charity Commission as being party political in the first 2001 investigation into the Sith.When the taxpayer is paying OLR £153,484.38 for one-day seminars it can’t be hard for OLR to do a bit of off-the-books work for the Smith Institute. The taxpayer is subsidising Gordon’s private polling, just as it subsidised the event hosting of Gordon’s Smith Institute at Downing Street.

Chris Grayling has written to the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell, asking him to investigate how OLR comes to win so many government contracts. Many market research industry competitors agree with Guido:- it is cronyism plain and simple.

How Much Does Gordon’s Pollster Charge for a 1-Day Seminar?

Guido has said it before and he’ll say it again, the way Gordon Brown’s pollster, Deborah Mattinson at Opinion Leader Research, gets contracts is not right.

Hidden away in an announcement made quietly on May 4, when all our attention was on the local election results, was the news that OLR had won another government contract to organise a one-day seminar.

£153,484.38 was the price the taxpayer paid OLR for a one-day seminar on the “The Skills Challenge: A Public Debate” in February. That should subsidise a hell of a lot of free polling for Gordon.

Sith Pollster Believed UnderProfessional Standards Investigation

As if Gordon’s Sith allies didn’t have enough problems with the Charity Commission investigation, it appears that the Market Research Standards Board is to investigate Opinion Leader Research, Gordon Brown’s pollster. Guido called the Standards Board to get confirmation, but they said they could not comment on individual cases. When Guido asked them to confirm they weren’t investigating OLR, they declined.

Guido has previously noted the cosy closeness of the relationship between OLR, HM Treasury, the Smith Institute, Deborah Mattinson and Gordon Brown. Whenever more objective polls are gloomy for Gordon, OLR can be relied on to produce “Gordon more popular than sliced bread” stories.Other pollsters are very sniffy about OLR’s methodology and the fact that despite not even having a field team they still manage to win juicy government contracts, most recently for the polling for the London Olympics. It obviously helps to have contacts at the highest levels of government when bidding for those contracts…

Hat-tip: Pendennis

Slippery as a Silverfish

Dizzy got a nice scoop* yesterday. Basically Silverfish TV have bought up gordonbrown4leader.com and similar sites. So what? Well Gordon doesn’t officially have a campaign and when he does he will be expected to list cash donations and donations in kind. The Electoral Commission is taking a tough line on this sort of stuff. Silverfish rushed out an explanation that they had bought the domain merely as a speculative punt to make money (something – as Dizzy points out this morning – is prohibited by the internet authorities). Guido frankly finds it unbelieveable that Silverfish really were going to try and make a quick profit out of Gordon Brown.

Silverfish.TV are Labour’s preferred new media / video producers, doing most recently Scottish and Welsh Labour’s Party Political Broadcasts. They also did the “Dave the Chameleon” video for Labour, for free. Obviously it costs quite a lot to do an expensive CGI animation, but they didn’t charge the Labour party a penny. They do however have a number of juicy contracts awarded by Labour cronies and paid for by the taxpayer.

Do you see a pattern here? The Smith Institute is paid thousands of pounds to organise seminars for HM Treasury at the taxpayers expense. The Smith Institute gets to use No. 11 Downing Street for seminars for free. Opinion Leader Research is paid huge amounts to do polling for HM Treasury. Opinion Leader Research does polling for the Smith Institute for free. Silverfish are paid by Downing Street at fat rates, subsidising them to do “Dave the Chameleon” attack videos and coincidentally buy campaign websites on Gordon’s behalf for free.

It is a corrupt practice, Gordon’s campaign bills are being picked up by the taxpayer indirectly. In a secretive, behind closed doors, third-world style, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours way”. He is running an undeclared campaign, it is funded, and no declarations are being made to the Electoral Commission because the funding is covert. Donors get tax relief from HM Treasury on donations to the Smith Institute, which is a charity of which Gordon is the only identifiable beneficiary. His pollster gets HM Treasury contracts and produces positive push polling for him. Labour’s friendly new media production outfit similarly wins Whitehall contracts and does work for Labour and Gordon for free. It has come to something when Nigerian newspapers are running stories about political corruption in Britain which feature the Smith Institute.

*Notice how despite Channel 4 News and the Times running with it, no credit was given to Dizzy. They say bloggers are parasitical leeches on the Dead-Tree-Press etc.

Smith Institute : Polly Advised Sith on the “Legend for the Left” Against Tories the Month Before 2005 General Election

MPs like Ed Balls, Douglas Alexander, Liam Byrne, Martin Salter discussing with Polly Toynbee anti-Tory political strategies is nothing new, discussing them at a non-partisan, non-political charity event would be very interesting. That is exactly what they did at a

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Paging Deborah Mattinson, Paging Deborah Mattinson

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Has Bright Joined the Dark Side?

Guido has long respected the New Statesman’s Martin Bright as an investigative journalist, but his extended and continuing proximity to the Smith Institute seems to be compromising his objectivity. He wrote a very prissy and disingenuous defence of his employer,

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Pollster’s Answers Lead to More Questions

Opinion Leader Research have got back to Guido and they say nobody paid for that research. They just asked questions slanted to favour Gordon for no particular reason. They also say they won their lucrative HM Treasury contract

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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