These blog awards are getting very competitive, allegations of skullduggery abound and the finger is pointing at Kent Labour Students. Some suspect that their fingers might be suffering from RSI…
Its a funny old world where Tories are embarrassed to be called Tories, and Labour MPs are embarrassed to be called Blairites. Chat-show Charlie, “come on down”, at least his party plaster his face all over their poster and propaganda. Mind you, maybe thats because Kennedy’s more used to being plastered…
Guido has money riding on the LibDems, based on the scientific evidence that apart from committed political hacks, everyone he knows under 30 is going to vote for them. Guido is of course busy stirring up apathy with the slogan “Don’t Vote! It Only Encourages the Bastards.”
According to a well placed source the LibDem’s campaign is structured as follows;
Ground war: Paul Rainger (40-ish, bit of a hippy, quietly spoken, tall, gangly, greying long hair, looks like someone who you might find at a folk music festival) is indeed campaigns director in that he commands the campaigns department eyrie on the top floor at Cowley Street, but in reality, is effectively number two to the maestro, Lord Chris Rennard, who is the party’s chief executive (and former campaigns director) and who retains a significant hands-on role in terms of the “ground war” campaign.
Between these two and their underlings, who include Hilary Stephenson (mumsy, rosy cheeked, about 50, Rainger’s deputy), and Richard Pinnock (early 30’s, tubby, owlish glasses, runs campaigns in the North), Duncan Borrowman (south), and Mark Pack (e-campaigns, afro-haired), there is very little this lot don’t know about campaigning and constituencies, and are amongst the most formidable political organisers in the country.
Air-war: Lib Dem air-war type stuff including media & presentation is largely the domain of Lord (Tim) Razzall, chair of the Campaigns Committee. Sandy Walkington (ex head of communications, BT) has recently been appointed as head of media replacing David Walter who is standing to replace John Burnett in Devon West.
A number of Cowley Street policy officers and press officers staff the “war-room” which is in charge of rebuttal and briefings, this comes under the stewardship of George Crozier, head of the party’s parliamentary office.
Tomorrow will see the first LibDem chart posted on the blog – since that’s the organisation that no one outside Cowley Street knows about. Still not too late to let me know who sits where and does what. Guido wants to know more about who really does the work rather than who claims the credit…
HELP: Could someone tell me who is in charge of the Tory online effort? Guido knows who is in charge of Labour and the LibDem efforts, but not who is to blame for the Tory effort. So much for Guido being a “Tory insider”…
Interesting that unlike other Labour MPs in marginal seats he gets the cold shoulder from Labour HQ, there are definitely no pictures of him campaigning with Blair or other cabinet ministers on his website.
Could it be that they’re hearing what Guido is hearing? Namely that a tabloid is about to do him over in much the same way he used to do over people in his old Inter-City Firm days?
Its all very English and gentle with soft-focus graphics and none of the harshness of the American Christian Right, apart from describing John Kerry as a poseur multilateralist metrosexual politician. The site was put together by Politico’s Design (which was set up by Iain Dale, the energetic Tory candidate for North Norfolk).
Gays and babies will, it seems, be the socially conservative wedge issues for this site, issues which will see it up against the libertarian metrosexual wing of the Tories personified by Portillo, Alan Duncan and the happily married John Bercow.
Fraser Kemp is said to be behind the tape recordings of Howard Flight at the Conservative Way Forward event, the covert recording of the Tory Chairman, Liam Fox, talking to the Bow Group about asylum policies and Gerald Howarth’s comedy act being taped at a dinner organised by the Freedom Association: with all tapes ending up with pro-Labour newspapers.
Fraser Kemp, the creepy assistant to Labour’s campaign co-ordinator, Alan Milburn, is known to monitor the websites of pressure groups such as Conservative Way Forward, the Freedom Association and even bloggers. Tim Ireland, über-Geek of the left-wing satirical anti-Blair backingblair campaign has also noticed that his site is regularly monitored by Labour’s server and that even the Downing Street server graces his site records as well. He has, Guido discovered from Labour sources, made an application under the Data Protection Act to the Labour Party for records held about him. Urgent emails went out around Labour HQ as a result, Labour apparatchiks were also warned about their IP addresses being trackable on websites. There is also clear evidence that Labour staff have been involved in a semi-official disinformation effort, run out of Labour’s offices, on Left-wing websites to discredit anti-Blair tactical voting initiatives. Guido has also seen an email from within Labour HQ regarding a web monitoring effort to discover political affiliations of bloggers. As a result Guido will also be making a subject access appplication under the Data Protection Act to Old Victoria Street for a full account.
Mark Allat, a behind the scenes operator in Tory circles and secretary of Conservative Way Forward, is livid about the tape-recordings, the word has gone out to assume that all meetings are public in future. Flight’s Nixon-like destruction will not be repeated during the official campaign. Fraser’s Committee to Re-Elect the Prime Minister may have peaked too early, it may yet also backfire legally Liddy-style.
Don’t let your minions delete anything Fraser, if the records “self destruct” its a criminal offence.
Zack Exley, Kerry’s former online guru and veteran of MoveOn.Org might be to the left of Mao, but he does know how to lay out an email with a simple clear message. The Tories mix up boring speeches and pictures with irrelevant links. The LibDems usually have a boring shopping list of policy headline links with no graphics.
“We’re looking forward to Mr. Exley leading Tony Blair to the same electoral outcome as he did John Kerry,” Fox says hopefully. But from what Guido is hearing from Tory candidates he would not be so sure. Compared to Zack’s crisp graphics and messages, the Tory propaganda material, according to a Tory activist source, is produced by “headless chickens” at campaign HQ. To Guido the pleasant Victoria Street HQ does look a bit like a crèche for gap-year girls and boys. Lynton Crosby is a formidable street fighting campaigner, so is remaining party vice-chairman Andrew Rosindell, but the nice young girls and boys have never won a battle, some have never even been in the trenches before. Voter Vault might be the Tory’s Death Star software system, but it is untested in Britain. When the official campaign goes into overdrive, New Labour won’t be pretty to watch, but they will be mercilessly effective.