As Sir Keir demands a Putin-style closure of RT and highlights Tory links to Russians, he may want to take a look at whom his own advisers have been rubbing shoulders with. Yesterday Guido pointed out that while Labour now calls for the banning of the UK channel of Russia Today, Starmer’s own head of strategy Deborah Mattinson appeared on the channel just ahead of the 2019 election. Then there’s Mandy…
It’s well known Mandelson’s been advising Starmer – increasingly obviously as Labour plays more and more out of the New Labour playbook. In March 2014, the UK put top Putin advisor Sergei Glazyev on the sanctions list, a man who – among other things – claimed unrest in Ukraine was “financed by American institutions in cooperation with their European partners” who also “financed neo-Nazis”. Who proceeded to share a stage with Glazyev two months after his sanctioning? Lord Mandelson.
According to Linkedin records, Mandy’s Global Counsel, the strategy firm that definitely is not a lobbying firm, also has 5 staff working on behalf of clients with Russian interests. What with this, Mattinson, 13 Labour MPs and Lords backing Russia over NATO, and Young Labour, perhaps Sir Keir might want to get his house in order soon if he plans on lecturing the government…
*A previous version of this article said Global Counsel worked on behalf of Russian clients, they say they work for clients with Russian interests. According to Global Counsel they have no Russian clients nor do they work for any Russian entities. They do not however reveal their client list so we have no way of verifying the accuracy of this claim.
Last month, Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting turned heads for his measured stance on the trans rights debate in conversation with Nick Robinson – a row which is still ongoing within Labour now that Rosie Duffield has revealed she’s considering leaving the party over the abuse she’s received over the past year. Wes Streeting nowadays claims trans rights campaigners shouldn’t try to “shut down” people like JK Rowling for making similar comments, and even calling for more “empathy and understanding” on both sides. Refreshingly even-handed given the animosity these debates usually stir up…
Wes’s position has transitioned since pollster Deborah Mattinson convinced Starmer to order the Shadow Cabinet to avoid trans ideology issues which repel most ordinary voters, women voters in particular. Mumsnet’s chatrooms are on fire and livid with Labour’s mad woke positions on allowing penis owning rapists in women’s prisons and suchlike. In newly emerged footage from the LGBT+ Labour Coalition Launch last February, Streeting was less mollifying than he is now. In the past he’s repeatedly criticised Duffield for her “indefensible” posts, suggested she was “intolerant” of trans people… and even claimed those with “ill-informed” views should be given “less airtime”:
“On trans equality, you know, and I’ve had lots of private conversations with with some colleagues, I mean, there was sort of the higher profile cases like Rosie, where, you know, her social media has just kind of added fuel to the flames, bluntly, and is indefensible.
It’s our responsibility to step up to the mark not just the responsibility of trans people, but the responsibility of allies to to make sure that where these issues up debates are offered up for debate, and where there are arguments to be won, that we are there making the arguments, it means we need to give less airtime to those spouting ill informed views, whether through the columnists of Sunday newspapers, or the Twitter feeds of MPs, including, sadly, sometimes Labour MPs.”
Wes even suggested that it was ‘reasonable’ to assess the behaviour of people like Duffield as ‘intolerant’: “I understand why people are going, actually why should I be patient? And why should I tolerate people who are intolerant towards me? I think that is actually a really reasonable position, by the way.”
Rosie Duffield was recently placed under investigation by the Labour Party after she shared an article which referred to the “transgender thought police”. At the weekend, she shared a ten-part Twitter thread defending her ‘gender-critical beliefs’, including that ‘male-bodied’ people should not be able to enter protected spaces for women, such as ‘school toilets’. For this she received another torrent of abuse…
Keir Starmer wasn’t lying when he told Piers Morgan he’d been “listening” to Tony Blair’s leadership advice. Over the past few weeks, Sir Keir’s been pulling every lever within reach to fulfill the promise of a “total deconstruction and reconstruction” of the Labour Party. A “reconstruction” which, coincidentally, means appointing a load of Blairites…
Almost every organ of the party – from the Leader’s Office, to the frontbench, to the PLP, and to the National Executive Committee – has seen a wave of changes over the last few weeks. It hasn’t happened overnight, though now the purpose is quite clear: a doubling down on “New New Labour”.
In the Leader’s Office, Blairite Sam White was recently enlisted as Chief of Staff replacing Morgan McSweeney, joining new strategist Deborah Mattinson (Blair/Brown adviser), and interim director of communications Matthew Doyle (Blair adviser) replaces Ben Nunn. This, of course, follows Carolyn Harris’s resignation as Starmer’s parliamentary private secretary in May, along with Jenny Chapman’s unceremonious shafting as his director of politics a month later. Deconstruction and reconstruction, piece by piece.
Over in the PLP, Ben Folley (a relic of the Corbyn golden years) has announced today he’s leaving his role as General Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which follows Starmer’s ruthless purge of thousands of far-left loons at the National Executive Committee meeting last week. And of course, this is before you even get to the botched reshuffle of the frontbench…
UPDATE 28 July: Keir Starmer’s speechwriter and close aide Chris Ward has told colleagues he is quitting according to the Guardian. Which begs the question, who will be his new speechwriter? If he is recycling Blairites, he could bring back Phil Collins, the recently sacked Times columnist now with time on his hands. After all he did write some of the most memorable speeches for Tony Blair…
UPDATE 29 July: Tom Hughes, who worked on Starmer’s leadership campaign before joining the leader’s office as press officer and spokesperson, is leaving.
Deborah Mattinson has been appointed as Keir Starmer’s Director of Strategy, starting in July. She says she’s “looking forward to playing a part in helping Labour reconnect with the voters it has lost”. She performed a similar role for Gordon Brown, it didn’t go well, and she eventually quit working for him.
One of the issues was her firm’s Citizen Engagement work for the Brown government at the same time as she did pro bono work for Brown’s political project. Guido felt that the millions she was billing the taxpayers could be cross-subsidising her work for Gordon. In her book (“Talking to a Brick Wall“) about her work for Gordon Brown, she wrote that our stories about the conflict of interests enraged Brown. She stopped working for him as a result.
So it is with amusement that Guido reports that her firm Britain Thinks has, since 2020, been awarded 23 government contracts worth millions to her firm. Britain Thinks has been awarded 3 contracts worth £2.99 million by the Cabinet Office alone in the last year. Despite stepping down as a director, she remains a substantial shareholder in Britain Thinks. Guido is not suggesting a conflict of interest beyond querying whether she really, at heart, wants to make the government more successful. Isn’t it remarkably generous of a Tory government to enrich the Labour Party’s Director of Strategy…
Ever generous, Guido gave valuable blog space to assist Deborah Mattinson with her challenge to define Labour’s economic record with a Tweetable message.
Amongst the usual dross there were a few amusing 140-character entries. Congratulations to HPDL for the winning entry:
“Julius Caesar: I came, I saw, I conquered. Gordon Brown: I came, I spent, I’m bonkers.”
A copy of the The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze will in the post as soon as HPDL tells gives Guido his/her address….
Deborah Mattinson, formerly the Brown bunker’s favourite pollster*, was wailing last night to a Mirror hack and the evil Fabian’s Sunda Katawala that “I’m still worried ‘Labour wrecked economy’ is now accepted wisdom… Labour cannot afford to wait until new leader is in place to get strong economic defence up. It must start now… Labour lacks a simple message to defend its record. Without it Labour takes the blame and loses the argument… Labour is losing the argument on the economy”. Deborah, there is a simple reason that this is the accepted wisdom. It is the truth.
All Labour governments end in economic disaster, with higher unemployment at the end than the beginning, as Margaret Thatcher pointed out,“The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.”
The competition is to win a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze for the most amusing 140 character Tweetable account of Labour’s economic record. Post your entries in the comments section. Guido’s decision, as always, is final.
*How is her firm doing winning government contracts nowadays? She claims in her new book “Talking To A Brick Wall“ they were won on merit. She was incredibly successful in winning millions of pounds of government business when Gordon was in power. Completely unrelated her firm did personal polling for Gordon for free. Fancy that. Wonder how much business she is winning “on merit” from the government now?