Monday, April 13, 2009

Quick! Look over there!

In amidst the enormous kerfuffle caused by the McBride/Draper emails, the way that most left-wing blogs have reacted has been hilarious. We are all missing the real scandal here. OK, civil servants paid by the taxpayer may be spending their time concocting lies about Tory MPs and their families, OK, the civil servant in question might be one of Brown's closest advisors, and work from the next-door desk to the PM. OK, fine, but the real scandal is that Paul Staines isn't very nice! And Iain Dale didn't get to be involved!

But the ne plus ultra post of this sort is up on Bloggerheads. Wondering how much it addresses the issues?

Number of times Derek Draper mentioned: 1
Number of times Damien McBride mentioned: 0
Number of times Iain Dale mentioned: 8
Number of times Paul Staines mentioned: 10

It's almost like he's obsessed or something...



Blogger Tim said...

I've made it clear elsewhere and will say again here that Dale and Staines have been grouping the published emails with an as-yet-unseen email that they claim exists and proves a conspiracy to smear Iain Dale originating from Downing Street. Apart from condemning the content we've seen to date, I'm reserving wider comment on the McBride/Draper smears themselves until all of that evidence has been published, and so far it hasn't.

Iain Dale has also repeatedly implied that Tom Watson is involved in a personal smear/conspiracy against him without producing a lick of evidence to support this claim. That itself is a smear.

Dale and Staines are smearing others while crying 'smear'.

I've seen the Draper/McBride evidence and have condemned the proven actions of McBride and Draper.

Where's the OTHER evidence they claim to have?

If it exists, why have we not yet seen it? further stage-management, perhaps.

1:45 pm  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It's a sad day when the comment is more coherent and well written than the post itself but so it is here.

10:36 am  
Blogger Tim J said...

The thing is Tim that this scandal would seem to hit all of your buttons. It was, after all, an attempt to drive the governing party's Internet tactics through a website exclusively devoted to astro-turfing and sock-puppeting - the two things above all that you hate.

There was even a good angle to have brought Iain in tangentially - that he and Draper had lunch together and discussed blogging strategy.

Instead you focused almost exclusively on Paul and Iain and barely addressed the central issue at all. Instead it looks like the approach used quite a lot by blogs that are broadly of the left: "of course this wrong but..." and, with all due apologies to Daniel for my inelegant phrasing and clumsy style, I don't really think it answers.

11:21 am  
Blogger Tim said...

Sure thing, I'll get right on that story. Just show me the evidence of Draper using an actual sock-puppet to... oh.

I've already made it clear that he is the wrong man for the job and has no bloody idea what is and isn't acceptable in the blogging community. In fact, I did this BEFORE Dale and Staines had their pagga with him, so what exactly would you have me do? Go back in time and do it again ONLY IN CAPS so everyone can hear me?

Staines made himself out to be a white knight when he is far from that. And his denials Re: selling the story have all the integrity of a wet tissue curtain. I'm going to call him on that. Ditto for Dale, who also made a false claim about Tom Watson and (he has himself since admitted) let it slide for days instead of publicly admitting his mistake.

Both of them are STILL blurring the line between the published emails and an as-yet-unseen email that they claim proves a Downing Street conspiracy against them, as if the publication of one emails proves the existence of another.

I've asked them to produce this evidence several times now, but they have ignored every request.

That pushes the buttons that set off alarm bells.

11:40 am  
Blogger Tim J said...

To be honest I don't think that Draper is all that important. It's the role played by McBride that's the bigger story - what with him being a civil servant and all.

But to focus almost exclusively on the process by which the news came out and to ignore the substance of the case against no 10 is to get it backwards.

And what the hell was red rag supposed to be if not a site that purported to be an independent labour site but which was actually run from no 10? That's surely a perfect example of precisely the sort of astro-turfing poisoning-the-well stuff that you accuse Iain/Guido of.

12:07 pm  
Blogger Tim said...

But large portions of the case against Downing Street are based on unseen evidence and assumption, and the biggest chunk Dale was waving at Watson proved to be false at best, and quite possibly fabricated.

Ask Iain and Guido for a copy of the email that proves they were named by Downing Street as targets of a smear campaign or other conspiracy. See how far you get.

(PS - Staines making out in multiple media appearances that he is shocked and has never seen such a thing is a blatant lie too, as he is often the source of such attacks.)

12:15 pm  
Blogger Tim said...

Incidentally, I once showed Staines evidence of the kind of campaign sock-pupptry you speak of, and he refused to report it on the basis that the guy responsible was a source!

His outrage isn't real; this is all part of his anti-Brown agenda.

Similarly, Nadine Dorries is appearing on TV and making claims about Gordon Brown, Downing Street and more that she cannot possibly prove, and yet she is barking at Gordon Brown for an apology!

12:31 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

Tim, I'd say again that I think that McBride is the more important issue here - I'd leave a comment at your site but I'm not a typepad bod, and I don't have time/inclination to register specifically to make one comment.

Of course Guido's outrage isn't real. Of course he's doing this because he dislikes Labour. Of course Derek Draper is an unshaven unpleasant so and so. None of that was in dispute before all this. What is new is that this was being orchestrated from Gordon Brown's funky open-plan office.

The role of McBride, regardless of whether or not there was ministerial oversight, is proof of the involvement of 'no 10' as McBride worked in and for no 10'.

This falls outwith your disagreements with Iain/Guido (which I'm not involved with, and have no particular desire to get involved with). Draper is a no-mark. I'll say it again (because, being sad for a sec, you mention McBride once in your update post) the most interesting bit of this story, and the reason it's running and running in the media, is because of the involvement of McBride.

Bloggers, candidly, can be as obnoxious as they please, and the only valid response is to stop reading them. When it's civil servants doing it, on my buck, that's a different story.

As I said before, the reason I singled you out (which would otherwise be entirely unjustified) is that this whole episode looked to be right down your alley. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this, but if this had been Andy Coulson discussing this sort of thing with Guido/Iain, rather than McBride discussing it with Draper, I have a feeling that your reaction would have been different.

9:14 pm  
Blogger Tim said...

Given that almost no-one is asking Dale and Staines to produce evidence for ther claims, and aren't even second-sourcing some really quite damaging (and false) claims, I feel perfectly justified in leaving McBride to the jackals.

Dale and Staines and Dorries now are smearing others with claims they cannot back with evidence.

10:05 pm  

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