Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pssst... Can You (or I) Keep a Total Secret?

Is it possible to keep a secret in politics? We all know that politicians and media people are terrible at keeping things to themselves (I am no exception) and that the collective catchphrase for the Westminster Village should be: "Not that I'm one to gossip, but...". The concept of keeping something to yourself is almost alien to the political being. Politicos are very sharing people, at least when it comes to gossip.

On Thursday two of my colleagues interviewed the Prime Minister in Number Ten for the launch issue of TOTAL POLITICS. As you can imagine, we were delighted to get the interview as it gets the magazine off to a flying start. Imagine my surprise then, to read this in the THREE LINE WHIP column of the Daily Telegraph this morning!
Total Politics, the new magazine brainchild of Tory blogger Iain Dale, has landed a Gordon Brown interview for its first edition, out at the end of June. Brown reveals that he is not a good dancer, he would rather watch the new Indiana Jones film than the upcoming Bond film Quantum of Solace, that his favourite programme from his youth was That Was The Week That Was, and the last film that made him cry was Hotel Rwanda.
Now, don't run away with the impression that this interview was full of personal interest pap - these were a few throwaway questions at the end. Anyway, we now have three choices. Do we...

a) launch a Yes Minister style leak inquiry?
b) think of a unique form of torture to make Jonathan Isaby reveal his source?
c) accept the suggestion you are about to make in the comments?

Now, I suppose you're all gagging to know what was in the rest of the interview? Well, I'd love to tell you, but I'd have to kill you. All will be revealed on June 23rd. See, I can keep a secret, after all.

31 comments:

Scottish Politics said...

Are you sure you haven't doomed the magazine to failure by interviewing him? ;)

Paul Pinfield said...

Now I know all the little snippets about Broon, and with the promise of an avalanche of upcoming humanising leaks from No 10, I feel that it is inevitable that I and all other right thinking people shall return Gordon to power in an historic landslide.

Roll on a record breaking 157th consecutive month of increased tractor production.

Now, where is my shotgun...

Neil Evans said...

It's my experience of working in the media that there is simply no such thing as an exclusive, especially with politicians, I once worked at a radio station that was delivering an 'exclusive' on a local planning issue, the program was live and the other station beat us to the announcement by 10 minutes in their own news bulletin as it has been spun out by the very Ministers team who were presently stroking our egos that they were giving us an exclusive.

And to think they call hacks Reptiles!

Things to do instead of... said...

Why are you heading your first issue with a dead man walking? Why not lead it with an interview with David Cameron, Surely people want to know the man who wants to lead the country and not the one people don't?

Chris Paul said...

Did they not ask Brown about flaunting his assets and fluttering his eyelids, which cabinet colleagues he really fancied, particularly whether he reciprocated Jacqui's womanly lusts for his own bod, or whether he would shag a Tory?

You should send them back Iain.

Meanwhile you should do "none of the above" as the answer to (a) and (b) would be that "It Was Dale What Done It" and so (c) is "fess Up".

Thing about virals is they need to be a bit more subtle than this and the perpetrator should never but never return to the scene of the crime.

Anonymous said...

Or you leaked it yourself to get a free advert in the national paper.

That's what I would have done anyway!

Iain Dale said...

I can kill that one stone dead, seeing as I didn't know of two of the things mentioned in the Telegraph!!!

Donal Blaney said...

you have a small staff on the magazine Iain: a witch hunt should be easy!

wonkotsane said...

On the basis that "no publicity is bad publicity" I wouldn't lose any sleep over it to be honest. The leak could have come from either side, especially if you sent him the questions beforehand for his script writers to prepare his answers for him.

Anonymous said...

There are few if any secrets if more than one person knows. Leaving aside the point that there may be an advantage to someone on your side in undermining an exclusive, the idea that anyone in the 'government of all the corrupt hacks ... er ... talents' would refrain from using information to their own advantage is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is one magazine I will not be buying. Who the hell wants to know ANYTHING about this failed, incompetent, lying Prime Minister with the lowest poll ratings EVER!

What a masterstroke to go to interview him!

Q. What are your plans PM"?
A" well you know I am dealing with the world financial crisis, started in America, nowt to do with me, I am making all the big decisions repeat repeat repeat repeat.

NEXT ISSUE....INTERVIEW WITH LORD KINNOCK..The best prime Minister we never had!

Iain Dale said...

Hmmmm, interesting logic there. Put yourself in this situation. You're launching a new political magazine and your editor secures an interview with the Prime Minister of this country - would anyone in their right minds seriously think this would be a bad thing?

MikeyP said...

would anyone in their right minds seriously think this would be a bad thing?

Not normally, no, but given the present incumbent, I am not so sure!

Ed said...

I would put even money on someone not a million miles from Mr Brown being the responsible leaker.

Anonymous said...

Hurry up and publish your mag now...

...Brown might not be our Prime Minister come publication date!

total t1tsup said...

Yes. It is a bad idea.

Apart from the Jonah touch, which dooms absolutely everything, you miss the point that no one wants to have anything to do with him.

You will have to give this magazine away if you want anyone to read it.

Oh.

Things to do instead of... said...

I am surprised that you honestly see it as such a coup, it was only announced this week that Mr Brown had been cold calling people who had written to him.

trevorsden said...

Perhaps you should have in interviewed his wife and asked, "What was it that first attracted you to power-hungry megalomaniac Gordon Brown?"

David Anthony said...

This is an outrageous act of treason! It's heinous and hideous for somebody to do that. How can they justify it!???

The new Bond film clearly has more potential than Indiana Jones... ;)

vox populli said...

anon 2.03pm

I don't particularly think much of Brown but the last time I looked we still lived in a democracy and whilst you may not agree with a thing Brown says or dislike him would you condone censorship of anyone whose views you didn't agree with ? No doubt you would rush into scandalised print about a "socialist plot" against free speech if "The Guardian" refused an offered interview with David Cameron should he become Prime Minister ?

At the end of the day just because Iain interviews Brown doesn't mean he agrees with his views or policies and as he says if you're launching a political magazine and have the chance to interview the serving PM - what would you do ? I rather suspect you'd interview him for the magazine and be rather pleased at the boost to the proposed launch

The Lakelander said...

"and the last film that made him cry was Hotel Rwanda"

I would have thought that, more recently, watching a re-run of the results at Crewe and Nantwich would have made him cry.

Dave H. said...

Iain's reply to Anon @ 14:03
It's less of a coup to interview a Labour PM with the lowest ratings since polls began, especially since the worst results focus on his personality.

However it's an unexpected choice for the publisher 'Conservative Blogger Ian Dale'. It reinforces the magazine's non-partisan credentials, sadly at the expense of sales.

Back to the original question. Who benefits or at least would be trying to benefit from a leak? If the interview went a) well; the answer is GB and/or someone working for Total Politics. If B) badly; someone working for Total Politics.

(BTW Mr Dale, thanks for edting t'other day that left me with 'codswallop'. I deserve it, I suppose).

Man in a Shed said...

Brown didn't wish you good luck did he ? ( Hope you haven't bet the farm on this publication. )

smotyndu said...

But surely you leaked that deliberately for the publicity.

Charlotte Corday said...

Piers Morgan would have got juicer tittle-tattle out of Brown. Just look at his Clegg interview.

Just remind me again what were the fascinating snippets you got Brown to reveal? I must have nodded off reading them.

Anonymous said...

O/t but to do with GB

Can someone tell me what happened at three oclock?

http://politicalbetting.bestbetting.com/specials/politics/uk/leader-changes/gordon-brown's-departure

A large bet no doudt but these is alway a reason?

Anonymous said...

You're launching a new political magazine and your editor secures an interview with the Prime Minister of this country - would anyone in their right minds seriously think this would be a bad thing?

Yes, anyone who knows about the curse of Jonah Brown.

Anonymous said...

The leak comes from Carter

wrinkled weasel said...

"your editor secures an interview with the Prime Minister of this country - would anyone in their right minds seriously think this would be a bad thing?"

Well yes, because this man has nothing to say that can possibly be of interest. What he does say is non-speak, as in " I want to have time to outline my vision to the country" and "we always make the right decisions"

Brown speaks in simulacra. That is to say, his lips move, he uses words, but no meaning can be discerned. He mouthes all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order. When was the last time you heard him say anything that made sense?

This "exclusive" will reveal nothing, even the fact that Brown is a vaccuous muscle, which everyone knows. What a dismal start to a new venture.

Anonymous said...

"I'd love to tell you, but I'd have to kill you."

I think you should kill the ones who want to know.

Scipio said...

You can easilly toture Izzy.

No need for waterboarding!

Simply tie him to a chair and put a pie in front of him - just out of reach. He will be squealling like a little piggy within moments!