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…
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
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.
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.