Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Andrew Grice in the Independent about the creation of a Labour rapid response PR unit

Article by Andrew Grice in the Independent about the creation of a Labour rapid response PR unit to protect Ed Miliband from unfavourable reporting in the media:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-labour-prepares-for-dirty-war-against-tory-spin-machine-ahead-of-2015-election-9275442.html

I'm afraid when I read this article I was reminded of the famous Obama quip about putting lipstick on a pig.

And I was incredulous when I read the section:

"The Labour battle plan is being discussed in the United States this week by Michael Dugher, a Shadow Cabinet member and Labour vice-chairman who is in charge of the party’s communications. In Chicago, he met David Axelrod, the senior Obama strategist who Labour hired last week to advise on its general election campaign. He is meeting Mike Donilon and Larry Grisolano from Mr Axelrod’s company AKPD, who will also work for Labour.  Mr Dugher will hold detailed discussions in Washington on Thursday about rebuttal techniques and advertising with Jim Margolis, a political consultant who worked on the Obama 2012 campaign. On Wednesday he will meet Media Matters for America, an Internet-based, not for profit research group which monitors material in print, broadcasts and online to expose, rebut and refute “conservative misinformation”. A similar operation will be “a major element” in Labour’s election effort, according to party sources."

Has Michael Dugher's leading role been cleared with the Unite union? (who are presumably paying for all these expensive consultants, albeit indirectly).  Has Owen Jones (lefty Guardian journalist with 186k youngish Twitter followers) been told to stand-by ready to regurgitate the Axelrod line?  Have Denis Skinner and the rest of the awkward squad been advised, in that inimitable American way, to "shut the fuck up" with their questions about Labour policy?

These things matter to the internal health of the Labour Party as whoever controls the propaganda machine ultimately controls the policy and the party.

As a Conservative I am somewhat bemused by all this.

Let me talk directly to Messrs Axelrod and Dugher and give them some advice.

There is no need for the Tories to indulge in "conservative misinformation".

You are judging us by the standards of the Labour Party.  The bullying black arts of Peter Mandelson; the spin and counter-spin of Alastair Campbell; the disgusting lies of Damian McBride.  And I note that Michael Dugher is also a former spin-doctor for Gordon Brown and presumably works to the same McBride standard.

There is no need for the Conservatives to do any of this.

All we have to do is tell the truth about Mr Miliband and the Labour Party.  Allow the Labour Party in all its manifestations to speak for itself.  And provide references for the things they say.

That will be enough.

For as we know:  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil, for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

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