Sunday, December 17, 2006

Who Wrote the 'Shambles' Memo?

I just love New Labour denials. They're almost convincing, but you always have to read between the lines. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said last night:

"This is not a Downing Street memo, it was not written by any of the Prime Minister's staff and it most certainly does not reflect his views." Downing Street sources also insisted the memo had not been prepared by any of Mr Blair's special advisers or other Labour Party-funded staff in his personal office."

So it's Philip Gould then.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Spot in, Iain, but did he also leak it? The main import of the memo is not the shambles, but the acceptance that Brown would lose. This is a message Blair wants out there.

tom_r said...

If you listen carefully, you can actually hear the PM's spokesman squirming...

Maggie Thatcher fan said...

I cant get over how down and dirty the dying days of the Blair Govt has become. The stench emanating is just putrefying.
I am beginning to wonder if Blair is doing all he can to make sure Labour doesn't get elected next time round. It make sense if you consider that at heart he is a Conservative...

jadedexhack said...

Iain, are you in love with SImon Walters! I notice he the first name on your lame list of journos - most of whom are unheard of no-marks and at least one of whom is on maternity leave! Not to mention at least two who have been on sunday papers for about two weeks!
PS. notice you are the only one claiming it is gould wot wrote it. Now, who could possibly have told you that??

justcurious said...

Iain, just curious. How come you were posting today's Daily Mail at 9pm last night?
Surely, they weren't trying to get you to help them generate a bit of follow-up for their story??
Thought you were a bit more independent than that....

Iain Dale said...

jadedxhack, my my you are a conspiracy theorist. No one told me Gould had written it. Amazingly I worked it out for myself. He also has a track record of writing leaked memos.

justcurious, indeed I am and no they weren't. Let's just say I "procured it".

Anonymous said...

at least they are not in denial.

Voyager said...

Time to use the Civil Contingencies Act 2004...........


State of Emergency

Anonymous said...

Talking of that great word, nicked from the US of A, 'deniability'...

What is the betting they will try and come up with an excuse for what Levy was promising Evans.

'Would you like a K or a 'Big P'? '

Perhaps they were a little peckish and couldn't decide between Kentucky Fried Chicken or a 'Big Pizza'.

Well, how could you prove that it wasn't what they were talking about..

Anonymous said...

dizzy - i notice you had a 'conspiracy theory' of your own that all these anonymous postings were the work of No 10 staff. Let me say, at a guess, most of them were probably in a nightclub trying to procure some 'cheeky girls' of their own, it being saturday night.

And notice the slight 'volte-face' to our point of view from the editor...

Scroblene said...

Seems like they're all suffering from CRAFT Syndrome at No 9a...

Can't Remember A F*****g Thing...

Anonymous said...

It's clear that Brown will become leader over Blair's dead body.

While Brown might pray for that outcome it just ain't gonna happen.

Perhaps Gordon should kiss his ambitions goodbye soon or the leaks could turn ever nastier.

Have a gay day!

Anonymous said...

Agreed - some vitriol was thrown around on that day when Blair had to agree to put a deadline on his PM leadership.

And a switch was thrown, a decision taken, that Brown would never become leader while Blair had anything to do with it.

Cherie's tantrum at conference when Brown was giving his speech just confirms it.

Question is - who will now be the 'Anyone But Gordon' candidate who will get the marketing men's blessing ?

Anonymous said...

KP, that reminds me, I must order nuts for Xmas!

griswold said...

Have just seen Blair on CNN. He is not well and is not in control of his own destiny. Tipping point reached. He is deranged and in denial - daft trip to ME to solve region's problems is delusional and escapist. He will be a political albatross, never landing for more than a few minutes at #10, for remainder of his tenure which will end in Jan. He is mentally and physically f-----. Cherie put the keys to #10 through the letterbox to your neighbour at #11.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said
dizzy - i notice you had a 'conspiracy theory' of your own that all these anonymous postings were the work of No 10 staff.


I did? Where?

Pete from Hull said...

I was amused by the BBC this am, they seem torn by giving air to this story versus obviously a well prepared attack on the cash for peerages issue. Be interested to see how the brownites "counter-leak".
Will watch doughty street on my travels as usual !

verity said...

Blair has said he won't support Levy, which seems rather suicidal, to say the least, as Levy knows where every last body is buried.

In a fight between them, Levy would triumph because he's smarter. On the other hand, he shouldn't go for any walks in the country alone.

Pete from Hull said...

Highly amused this morning wtach the BBC torn between covering this story and others they had prepared attacks on i.e. Cash for peerages. Next week's counter leaks from the Brownites should be fun, they need Blair out quickly - any chance of a xmas coup ?

ps will watch Doughty street on my travels as usual, but can't watch thursday (on a ferry in the north sea) - is that the last before Xmas ?

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether this is a genuine memo at all, but rather an elaborate No. 10 plot? There's nothing better to motivate demoralised Labour Party activists than a suggestion the Conservatives might win the next election!

Vlad the Impala said...

According to Prescott, it was some rogue "teenybopper" that wrote it up (some new form of work experience for the a by-product of one of The Fearless Leader's Youff academies?). And of course, the Dear Leader in Basra telling the troops this is the first time Britons have had to fight for "what they believe in". Sort of makes you wonder what all those British troops were doing in 1914-18 and 1939-45 plus assorted other encounters before and after.

Anonymous said...

"Question is - who will now be the 'Anyone But Gordon' candidate who will get the marketing men's blessing ?"

Reid to battle Brown in the dirtiest scrap imaginable with a surprise Blairite dark horse coming through on the inside to win.

Anonymous said...

Iain's right, I think it's Gould too. If you read his book, it's written in the same crappy, slighly-panicky, overblown way that the 'leaked' memo is.

I was given Gould's book by a friend once. I told Mark Seddon this and he said "Are you sure they're a friend?"

It's dire, but v useful when trying to understand New Labour.

Incidentally, isn't there some software where you can feed in examples of people's written work and see whether the same 'tics' appear - sentence lenght, use of certain giveaway words, structure etc. Be v useful in these cases.

verity said...

Griswold, your post warms the cockles of my heart. I hope he has his nervous breakdown on TV.

Whither the grinning, self-regarding Bambi next, I wonder? If he gets convicted, he can't get into the US to keep all those drab speaking engagements he and Elena are counting on to fill the coffers. Maybe Cherie can appear at supermarket openings in major Eastern European cities.

Or they can join Jimmuh Cahduh,Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson as clients of some sleazy sheikh.

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that Campbell was behind the memo and that the gloves are now well and truly off for Brown.

They believe Reid can beat Cameron from the right.

hatfield girl said...

The prize Brown is after is a three-year mandate as prime minister with a 60-odd majority over all other parties without the task of facing the electorate.

That prize is first in the gift of the Parliamentary Labour Party and, if they deny his majority to Blair in a vote of confidence, in the gift of other parties in the House should they choose to support Blair in the event of a revolt by 30 or so PLP members.

Apart from that, a defeated prime minister can recommend the dissolution of the Parliament. Blair has said his goodbyes to the Labour Party, forced into it by Brown's maladroit manoeuverings late last summer; he can argue quite reasonably that his MPs, elected on his leadership and appeal, can back him or face an election, particularly as it is hard to imagine any issue whatsoever that they would protest after the supine behaviour of the last nine years on every and any policy he has advanced.

Effectively Blair has decoupled the PLP from the Labour Party as a whole, unless they want to face an election led by Brown, which they will lose, and quite rightly.

The number crunching on Political Betting makes clear that Scotland is wholly vulnerable to the SNP and potential declarations of independence, as well that tens and tens of seats in England are just waiting the chance to go home to the Conservatives.

The Labour Party can elect whoever they choose on whatever rules they like to be their leader; Brown may even become the Labour Party leader during the next year; but he'll never be prime minister on Blair's majority. In truth, why ever should he think he should be?

Anonymous said...

hg - not totally clear on what this paragraph means [sorry], care to clarify and elaborate slightly ?

That prize is first in the gift of the Parliamentary Labour Party and, if they deny his majority to Blair in a vote of confidence, in the gift of other parties in the House should they choose to support Blair in the event of a revolt by 30 or so PLP members.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea who actually wrote it - it may even be an elaborate forgery/cut and paste job - but as someone who used to regularly read Philip Gould memos this is clearly not something written by him.

As I understand it, nobody in No 10 has seen this thing before and the initial denial was so cagely written because they didn't want to discover it was in fact written by the junior paperclips clerk and they'd all forgotten about it.

Of course tha above paragraph doesn't mean its not genuine (could easily have been written for people other than No 10) and I am sure Simon Walters would not knowingly print something false (though clearly the MoS faked up the presentation with the HMG crest).

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I can't quite follow Hatfield Girl's argument either.

Are you saying that the PLP could trigger a 'No Confidence' vote in the PM and try and install Brown as leader ?

I can't see how this might work, but I may have missed something. If the PLP establish that there are [say] 35 MPs who would vote against Blair, fine.

The Opposition would sign up for that if it meant an immediate General Election, as they might win a greater share of vote against a damaged Labour party.

But if you are saying that Blair wouldn't call an election, but that Labour would install Brown, well I can't see what would persuade the Opposition to buy that.

It seems to be a choice between a fight with a damaged party now, against [possibly] a resurgent party with a stronger leader in 2 or 3 years time ?

Although I'm sure I've misunderstood the subtlety of what is suggested?

Anonymous said...

Not the language of Alastair Campbell at all. If you look at the reprint of the "memo" in the Mail on Sunday, there is no date etc. Looks liked a cod version. Probably bogus. Looks like it was superimposed on Downing Street paper. Almost certainly a fake.

hatfield girl said...

Anon. 8.00 and 8.09
A prime minister puts his administration's policies to the vote; if his own MPs don't support him, he may be supported by MPs of other parties (eg the education bills last session). If he is defeated on a major issue he calls a vote of confidence. If he loses he resigns.

He can then recommend a dissolution, or that another member of the Parliament should form an administration and try to win a vote of confidence. Which is more likely - that Blair recommends a dissolution or he recommends calling Brown? Lots of low-majority MPs might not like to risk what his choice might be and lots of MPs are fully committed to the Blair administration by conviction; they would keep in line. Blair bid goodbye to the Labour Party last September; as he said "you're on your own now.' He might well have added 'and so am I'. Short of disgrace, he can only be removed by losing a vote of confidence in the House or resignation.

Anonymous said...

Ref: hatfield girl's comment:

"That prize is first in the gift of the Parliamentary Labour Party and, if they deny his majority to Blair in a vote of confidence, in the gift of other parties in the House should they choose to support Blair in the event of a revolt by 30 or so PLP members."

In the absence of her reply, I'll try. I think she means that if a vote of "confidence" or "no confidence" were called by the opposition, Blair should still be able to win it if all or most of his MPs back him. They'd probably extract a high price for that, though. For example a public endorsement of Brown, which I don't think Blair would go for. And if some of them don't support him (around 30) then he would need another party (probably the Tories) as the nationalists want Blair's head more than they would expect to benefit from his departure, if you get what I mean. This is not necessarily true of the Tories. They'd also need to find a lot of policies in a short time, if an election were called, and find some money in a hurry. Apart from that, they back most of Blair's policies, so failing to support him could be seen as siding with those they are about to do battle with. It looks unprincipled and Cameron should avoid it. Also, they are likely to win next time anyway if Brown's in place.

The other query:
"Are you saying that the PLP could trigger a 'No Confidence' vote in the PM and try and install Brown as leader?"

No, not in parliament; I'm sure that is NOT what she meant. But behind the scenes they might try, again (!), although it would be likely to fail. Also he is doing a great world statesman job at the moment not to mention his domestic stuff when he's here. Can you imagine Brown going back to talks in the Middle East after this weekend? He'd bore them with figure crunching on their economies!

But do you know who I think the "big clunking fist" is?

The man someone describes as "not well". Probably travel sick.

Keep Tony Blair for PM.
http://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Not the language of Alastair Campbell at all.....

Perhaps I should have been more specific. Campbell didn't write it; he *leaked* it.

It's part of the campaign to screw Brown's chances of the leadership.

Expect much more to come.

stalin's gran said...

If the Blairite wing of the Labour party did not want that leaked then I am a member of it. Shades, don't you think, of the Mr Men non-adverts story - also Mr Walters - and the "Howard is Jewish" non-adverts at the last election. Mr Walters knows what he is doing, but he is praying on your naivety...

The Remittance Man said...

Swiss Tony is obsessed by two things: Himself and his hatred of Gordon Brown.

From his point of view, the past ten years have been an unmitigated disaster. Despite massive parliamentary majorities he's been unable to get through many of his "reforms". And those things he has managed to do have been complete failures. His only remaining hope of a legacy (and income as an after dinner speaker)is to go down in history as the only Labour leader to have won three successive elections.

However, for that to work he has to scupper his successor's chances of winning even one. Since this marries very nicely with his visceral dislike of the Greasy One expect more similar leaks. The aim will be to wound the Chancellor sufficiently so that when he does take over the leadership he is unable to win a general election.