Monday, April 13, 2009

Draper & Watson Call in the Lawyers to Put Pressure on the Media

From Nadine's blog...


5 Live called to say they were being leaned on by lawyers with regard to any reference to Tom Watson MP and before I went on, would I just be aware of that.

I asked them what they wanted me to do with that information and were they saying I couldn’t talk about Tom Watson? No said the researcher, we are just under a bit of pressure here, that’s all, just be careful.

BBC Breakfast producer told me they weren’t taking Derek Draper on because they were being leaned on by his lawyers and he had already made ‘legal’ noises against them.

So what’s going on here then?

I’m going to stay in the constituency as I have work to do.
I understand Tom Watson twittered on Saturday asking if anyone had the number for Shillings. Perhaps he wasn't joking.

Meanwhile, he has broken cover, not on his blog but on a West Midland site called The Stirrer. Apparently I am guilty of smearing him.

West Bromwich MP and occasional Stirrer blogger Tom Watson says he feels “smeared” after being caught up in the email row which has already cost Labour spin doctor Damien McBride his job.

McBride – dubbed “Gordon Brown’s king of the dirty tricks” - was forced to quit at the weekend after exchanging a series of email with blogger Derek Draper containing slurs about senior Conservative MP's. These were scheduled to appear on an “unofficial” website called Red Rag, and were intended to "put the fear of God" into the opposition Cabinet Office Minister Watson has also been dragged into the affair after being mentioned in one of the emails – but he’s adamant that he’s just as much an injured party as the Tories who were named.

“The bottom line is I feel smeared today” he said. “I knew nothing about the content of these emails, I didn't approve the emails, I didn’t see the emails, yet people are repeating untruths about me on blogs and on TV stations.” Watson explained that he had sent an email to a colleague about jobs in the party which he planned to make available to another Labour website – the altogether more respectable Labourlist. This was referred to, in passing, by McBride. And, er, that's it.

Despite this tenuous link, eh's even got such august journals as the Daily Mail hounding him, and questioning his cabinet role. "Because I'm a blogger and a I've got a big engagement with digital technology they are trying to nail me" Watson said.

"But it's precisely because I'm engaged in that world and I know what I'm doing, I wouldn't send this kind of material by email." Watson also made it clear that the content of McBride's emails was unacceptable. "As soon as we found out what Damien McBride was doing, he tendered his resignation and it was accepted immediately” he said.

The Minister had a strong rebuke for Conservative blogger Ian (sic) Dale, who claimed that when Watson found out about the emails, “he either tacitly or overtly encouraged McBride to send more.”

Dale asked: “Is this really what the Minister for the Civil Service should be doing? He's not some Labour Party hack. He's a Minister of the Crown and responsible for the conduct of all who work in the Civil Service” (http://iaindale.blogspot.com/).

Watson responded by accusing Dale (who has been running a vicious campaign against him) of peddling an "untruth" by suggesting that he knew what was going on.

Now that the Tory writer has made the accusation, the challenge is there for him and other media organisations who've repeated it, to prove it - in short, put up or shut (sic).

Illiterate stuff maybe, but highly revealing. What Watson doesn't answer is this: Did he know about the plans for an attack blog called Red Rag or not? I can't (yet) prove he did, and he can't prove a negative, so this is unlikely to progress very far. All I have said is that it stretches credulity, knowing his background and knowing his role in Downing Street, to believe that he knew absolutely nothing about this. He shares a small office with McBride. I just cannot believe that McBride a) didn't tell him about any of the allegations he was passing to Draper and b) that neither Draper nor McBride mentioned anything about Red Rag.

Is is so unreasonable of me to ask these questions? He clearly thinks so. I'm not, as The Stirrer says, "running a vicious campaign against him". As it happens, I quite like him and have had good personal relations with him in the recent past. But he sits an office where his close colleague Damian McBride sent emails to Draper smearing me. I don't pretend he knew about that, necessarily, but I am not going to let a personal liking for him blind me to what I know his office have been up to.

UPDATE 4.15pm: Let me just clarify something. Watson denies absolutely that he was copied in on the emails. I wrote in yesterday's Mail on Sunday that he had been. I actually emailed the MoS to take that out of the article once I had heard his categorical denial, but unfortunately the paper had already gone to print. I have since then not repeated the allegation on TV or radio and to every journalist I have spoken to I have clarified that he was not copied in on the emails, but merely mentioned. That does not mean I don't think he has questions still to answer, because I do. But out of fairness I need to be clear about the email issue.

90 comments:

Silent Hunter said...

Oh Good!

Do I see a "malfeasance' charge winging its way to Mr McBride soon, for misuse of public finance for party political ends?

Let's hope so.

Tim said...
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Tim said...
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niconoclast said...

It seems that Tories are just as keen as Labourists to splash about in the shallow pools of personality politics and ad hominem puerile obloquy.It is a diversion from their moral,spiritual and ideological bankruptcy.How is it a triumph of the blogosphere that it too has joined in the unseemly muckraking?

Jonathan Cook said...

Having kept Labour in power for over a decade, it's spin machine is being used against it and it is unravelling fast.

Sod the lawyers. Ignore them.

Conand said...

@unknown @1:07

You sound more and more mental every time I see one of your invisible comments.

Cato said...

, Blogger Tim said...

"I can't (yet) prove he did, and he can't prove a negative, so this is unlikely to progress very far."

And yet you keep banging on about it as if it were true.


And what would Tom Watson be banging on about then?

Tim said...
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Conand said...

@niconoclast

'personality politics and ad hominem puerile obloquy'

Outrageous! I don't think we're being puerile.
Personally I feel morally, spiritually and ideologically rich.

golden_balls said...

thats the problem with blogs like these

authors alledge something without facts and this then spreads to other media outlets.

I did ask in a previous post how you felt about hacking someones pvt email account is it justified ?

I asked if people thought that it was would they kindly supply username and password no one has volunteered as yet.

John said...
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Granny Catchpole says... said...

Daily Telegraph reports..

But, seeking to limit the wider impact of the scandal, Mr Alan Johnson claimed Gordon Brown had no need to apologise for them because he could not "be responsible for the actions, the initiatives, of every individual that works in Number 10."

Really? Brown not in control then eh?

But at the very least responsible for the sordid culture there.

Or just plain irresponsible perhaps?

moorlandhunter said...

The talk of lawyers, possible legal action for smears, etc, all smack of Labour’s desperate attempts to twist and turn its way out of the mess it has made after being caught out by a blogger. Like a Sci-Fi monster dying in flames, sinking into the morass it came from at the hands of a flame thrower armed super hero (Guido), Labour is slowly sinking back to its roots hate ridden politics. Love it!

Raedwald said...

The partners at both Messrs Schillings and Carter-Ruck must have been rubbing their hands in glee at this lot.

Watching large sums of money being transferred from politicians to lawyers who charge £650 / hr fees is always enjoyable.

Can they claim it on expenses, I wonder?

Slim Jim said...

Please don't ever think that there's any depth that these people will not stoop to. The end justifies the means, eh? What worries me is that if it wasn't for people like you and Guido (and many others too numerous to mention), what would they REALLY get up to?

justoneglass said...

Let's hope they are bearing their ownm legal costs, and that these won't go "on expenses.

Martin said...

What a shock. The Tories are smeared by liebour and the grubby Liebour politicians run for the lawyers.

Dino Fancellu said...

http://www.torybear.com/2009/04/suite-35.html

LabourList’s offical HQ is run out of a postbox.

http://www.labourlist.org/contact

LabourList
Suite 61
77 Beak Street
London
W1F 9DB

“Suite” actually means box.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=77+Beak+Street&hl=en&safe=off&start=10&sa=N

Shows lots of other people with “Suites” in this tiny shop.

Where are their real offices?

Ctesibius said...

Isn't the simplest thing to agree to have a full independent Public Enquiry? Quickly! Open an honest, not involving those nasty lawyers.

All of the emails sent and received by Downing Street, and all the text messages sent and received by the various parties involved (or 'not involved', sorry Tom Watson, Kevin Maguire and Gordon Brown) could be made available and strung together, so that the innocence of everyone involved, apart from Draper and MacPoison, could be established.

This could then immediately lead to the prosecution of naughty Guido for breaking in to Downing Street one evening. Perhaps it's all that copper's fault, you know, the one whose hand Gordon refused to shake. Maybe he gave Guido the key to Gordon's private office in revenge?

Steve Horgan said...

This are really the crucial questions, who knew and when? Was this really just the individuals already identified, or does it go wider? Were Labour ministers involved? Were Labour-supporting journalists involved? Did the PM know, or just provide broad direction. This is already a disaster for the government. If more evidence emerges then it could become catastrophic.

Praguetory said...

I hope Watson goes legal. At this rate, the history books will credit him with playing a part in bringing two Labour governments down.

tory boys never grow up said...

"Did he know about the plans for an attack blog called Red Rag or not?"

"As soon as we found out what Damien McBride was doing, he tendered his resignation and it was accepted immediately”

What part of "as soon as we found out" don't you understand??

I don't suppose you will be happy, or have the decency to apologise, until you have a signed confession in true inqusition style.

Cato said...

"But it's precisely because I'm engaged in that world and I know what I'm doing, I wouldn't send this kind of material by email."


And how would he send it then? Snail mail perhaps?

DeeDee99 said...

Mr Watson is Minister in charge of the Civil Service. McBride was a Civil Servant.

By writing and sending these malicious and libellous emails during Government time, on Government Equipment and using a Government email account, McBride has not only broken the Civil Service Code. He has almost certainly committed the criminal act of Malfeasance (Misconduct) in Public Office. It is not sufficient that he has resigned.

As the Minister responsible, Mr Watson can clearly demonstrate both that he and other individuals at No.10 had no involvement whatsoever by asking the Police to carry out a thorough investigation on suspicion that a criminal act has taken place.

I am sure, both he and the Prime Minister (moral, honourable son of the manse that he is) would want to ensure that there was no possibility of any other members of No.10 involved, and also to see that McBride - as a Civil Servant - is dealt with properly through the criminal and judicial process.

Paul Halsall said...

"I can't (yet) prove he did, and he can't prove a negative"

Umm, that leaves you with the heavier burden, Iain. Just like those suggesting Nadine had some illicit fun need to prove the positive: she has no obligation to prove the negative.

Paul Halsall said...

Btw, I agree that rushing to lawyers is weird. But surely for all concerned?

WestBrom Blogger said...

Quite amusing. It’s really is very hard to believe that Tom wasn’t aware that something was going on even if he wasn’t aware of the nature of the smears. He is cc’d and mentioned in at least one email isn’t he?

I shouldn't put much stock in what the Stirrer (aka Adrian Goldberg, ex-BBC presenter of the Midlands Politics Show) has to say. He's a drinking buddy of Toms. Think of him as the attack dogs attack puppy.

Jimmy said...

"I can't (yet) prove he did, and he can't prove a negative, so this is unlikely to progress very far."

Well not unless you were willing to apologise for an innuendo for which you admit you have not one shred of evidence. It's not unreasonable of course to ask a question. I think he's contactable on the site I believe if you don't have his e-mail address.

Thatsnews said...

Let's read this bit again, shall we?

"But it's precisely because I'm engaged in that world and I know what I'm doing, I wouldn't send this kind of material by email."

Doesn't this look a little as if he might have sent material like that in the past, though not by email?

An extremely stupid thing to say, for someone in his position.

A schilling for your thoughts, Mr Watson?

peter said...

Iain - I really like your blog and over the weekend you have done quite outstanding service in your many interviews as you have epitomised quite the very best of blogging. However on this occasion I think you are letting yourself down quite badly as you seem to be betraying the very principles on which your blog is based. Watson has categorically denied that he knew or had anything whatsoever to do with these EMails. Why should he now have to prove that he didn't? That seems to me quite outrageous a thing to demand. Surely your answer should be that unless you come up with anything to the contrary you will accept his word on it.You can still dig/probe and I would understand why in view of his proximity to McBride you would want to do that. But by accepting his word on it on present evidence you do preserve your own intrinsic fairness which you so often display and the integrity and basic decent rules which you have displayed so well so far.

Thatsnews said...

BTW, the clown behind The Stirrer is a rather poor former Radio WM DJ and journalist, though he was never much cop as a DJ and his journalism leaves a great deal to be desired.

Adrian Goldberg is his name. He is or was on Talksport.

Tim said...
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Thatsnews said...


That they didn't know is, in itself, grounds for resignation. I mean, what a fantastic headline!
"Out of control civil servants run libel campaign. Senior ministers in the same office and the Prime Minister knew nothing."


Or cantworc as the wv puts it.

Tim said...
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jon dee said...

It is hard not to feel sympathy for Minister Tom Watson if he feels smeared at the suggestion that he may have been aware that disgusting and untrue material was being manufactured at a desk adjacent to his own.

Previously well known for his political curiosity in the goings-on within the Labour Party, perhaps high office has dulled his senses.

It's to be hoped he recovers quickly.

Ctesibius said...

HANG ON A MINUTE!

I'm feeling a but dumb here, but why has Tom Watson allegedly called in lawyers, if he's had no involvement with these emails? I mean, I've had no involvement in this either, but I haven't called in lawyers.

Is there anything at all which has been said in public, or seen on the emails revealed so far, which is in any way actionable on his behalf? Or is this legal grandstanding proof of a guilty conscience?

Simon Gardner said...

golden_balls said... “I did ask in a previous post how you felt about hacking someones pvt email account is it justified?”

In pursuit of journalistic enquiry - ie after a good valid story, of course it is.

Shirking From Home said...

Watson is a bit of a fat bastard.

Alex said...

"All I have said is that it stretches credulity, knowing his background and knowing his role in Downing Street, to believe that he knew absolutely nothing about this."

"Credulity"? Surely you mean "credibility"? Otherwise spot on.

Oh, and don't bother with a "fulsome" apology. I haven't just forked out £15 for a dictionary just to read this crap.

Nigel said...

'Credulity' works for me.
Even the credulous seem to have difficulty swallowing the official line.
Here's Jackie Ashley, for heaven's sake:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/13/damian-mcbride-email-gordon-brown-cameron-osborne
"...It's too late for the prime minister to shrug off McBride with expressions of surprise and horror, as if he'd been walking around with a portly vulture on his shoulder for years without noticing. McBride was as inner circle as it gets. If the prime minister didn't know what he was up to, he should have done..."

She has a convincing idea of how the emails got out, too.

Chris Paul said...

Are you suggesting that it is now wrong for people to try to prevent themselves being smeared?

The fact you (and Dorries) cannot prove Watson's involvement in the emails, or the stories, or TheRedRag, or anything does make it defamation when you repeat that he is involved etc.

You are also repeating that the sleazebag McBride is the original source of all these stories. This gets the true perps - including Tories - off the hook. McBride has mostly just collated stories already in the wild.

Didn't I even hear you on the BBC stating categorically that Watson was c-copied in to all the emails OWTTE? He doesn't seem to be on the circulation list for any of them.

You can ASK whether he was involved. But stating this as fact is - given your admitted ignorance - is quite simply a smear.

Which is what this story is all about. So it seems very silly to protest when you get caught smearing. More so to just carry on doing it.

Oscar Miller said...

There's a hilarious thread on Harry's Place reminiscing about Draper by those that knew him. It ran in July last year when in desperation Labour brought Dolly back into the fold. Here's a taster:

Derek Draper?!! If he’s the answer then Gordon Brown is even more comprehensively up shit creek than I thought.

Draper is the epitome of New Labour degeneracy. I knew him back in the day and he was a slimy, scheming, cynical, arrogant tosser with barely a redeeming quality. Even his very public conversion to the cult of touchy-feely therapy was nothing but a ploy to create a new post-scandal persona.

And now he’s back, as grotesque as ever; yet another - particularly compelling - reason to vote Labour out of office.


http://www.hurryupharry.org/

Chris Paul said...

Ctesibius: Dale and Dorries and others have repeatedly said Watson is absolutely involved in this conspiracy. Dale has just admitted he has no evidence of Watson's involvement in anything of the sort. This is basically admitting to smearing Watson. Which is very silly given the substantive story.

Word ver = enuff!

Oscar Miller said...

YouTube clip featuring Draper hugging Whelan. Poor Andrew Neil had to go and have a lie down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdAMtMhm7tg

Richard said...

No point in making my comment on what Iain has said. "That's News" says it far more eloquently than I would.

Chris Paul

Tom Watson was responsible for McBride. I am a line manager, and if one of my people does something wrong then I can be held accountable, both as a company director and having legally taken responsibility for safety of the company's operations. In serious cases I can end up in court.

It appears that Watson (and indeed his boss, Brown) do not understand this relationship between a worker and his management.

Mike Hobday said...

Perhaps, then, you'd care to review your claim, still here on your website, that Tom Watson "tacitly or overtly encouraged McBride to send more"?

Or not?

Ctesibius said...

Chris,

A blogger says something wrong about a Member of Parliament. The Member of Parliament asks for a correction, which the blogger makes the following day. Why does that need a lawyer, especially over a Bank Holiday weekend? It doesn't. If it did, blogging would be something which only really took place between lawyers.

Watson is either using these lawyers to attempt to intimidate journalists, and on current form that is working just a treat with the BBC, or because he is aware of a lot more made-up-filth about Conservatives on 10, Downing Street's servers which he's worried will resurface soon.

Anyway, it's a nice afternoon so I'm going to make a barbeque for the kids.

Happy Easter, everyone.

stevezacharanda said...

Is there any wonder that Tom Watson got his lawyers in if in fact he wasn't involved in the emails.
His names was banded around on News At Ten and other print media only because it was thought he was involved.
When a media storm hits you it is either sit back and laugh or get the lawyers in.
If he didn't get the emails how is he answerable to anything?
Just because he was mentioned means nothing, I bet I've been called a complete div in many a private email between people I know, does that mean I am one?

Cynic said...

Well blow me down. The PM has broken cover. He wont apologise you know because he personally did nothing wrong. No he's not responsible for anything despite what the Civil Service Code says. So he will write letters of regret to those involved.

One assumes this will be regret that this happened rather than regret that they got caught and he had to fire one of his closest henchmen

But as he and all the other staff in No 10 know nothing about the emails, how will he know where to send these letters? Ask that reliable source Damien?

And soon there will be a new , tougher code for SPADs. Oh yes. That will show them. Pull them into line. Reassure. The stamp of firm Government.

Trust me. I am a Labour politician. Every waking hour I think of how I can help hard working families decide to vote for me again. Oh yes.

Jimmy said...

"I wrote in yesterday's Mail on Sunday that he had been."

Why?

simon said...

If someone wrote an article about me in a national newspaper claiming I was involved in this smear campaign and had seen the emails, when in fact I had not, I might well call in the lawyers too. It's clearly a career-threatening allegation and I would want it dealt with as rapidly and efficiently as possible.

The question of whether or not he was copied or forwarded the mails should also be provable or disprovable fairly easily, which makes me inclined to believe Watson's denial.

David said...

goden balls: For the LAST time, will you accept that the rubbish you and Labour are pushing about hacking is simply an attempt to muddy the waters.

"Draper wrote on his website last night that the emails had been procured by somebody hacking into his private email account. The claim appeared to be an attempt to blacken the name of Guido Fawkes, the blogger who uncovered them.

But some Labour sources were pointing the finger at the Unite trade union, which is riven by splits. Charlie Whelan, the union's political director who is a former Brown aide, was copied into the email, as was his aide, Andrew Dodgshon.

There is no suggestion that either of them leaked the emails, but there is a suspicion that one of Whelan's many enemies in the union may have." (The Guardian)

Even the lefties newspaper agrees that hacking was not the cause!

Iain Dale said...

Jimmy, Because I was told that by a source I trusted. As soon as I found out it was not the case I corrected both my blog and the MoS copy. However, by that time, it had already gone to print. Simple as that. And as I say, I have pointed that out to everyone who has asked me about it since.

Jimmy said...

I was under the impression that you had seen the e-mails? It seems very trusting assuming the "source" is the obvious one. And don't youthink you owe Watson an apology?

Iain Dale said...

Jimmy, I have never claimed to have seen the emails either here or on the media. I had a very good idea of what was in them though, all of which turned out to be 100% true.

I'll happily apologise to Tom, but as I have said, he has some questions to answer still about what he knew about Red Flag.

Tim said...
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Tim said...
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Jimmy said...
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Tim said...
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Jimmy said...

Am I on the naughty list now? Up to you of course but it would be nice to know.

Iain Dale said...

Apologies, Jimmy. I deleted your perfectly fair comment by mistake. Feel free to resubmit it.

Richard said...

To those who think Tom Watson is innocent, there is one point you still have not answered.

McBride worked for Tom Watson, who sufferred Labour's controing tendency; Derek Draper ran a site for Tom Watson's purposes. This has happened over a period of months, not days or hours. If he really did not know and did not know there was anything to know (the all-important "unknown unknown") then he should be sacked for incompetence. He is just as responsible as if he did know.

However with the way Labour has worked for the past 15 years it is far more likely that Tom Watson, if he really didn't know, quite deliberately did not know. That he knew his people were up to dirty tricks, and did not ask to know o as to be able to deny knowing. That is, of course, far worse than knowing, as it would be the case only if he knew that the tactics to be used were dispicable.

So what is it, three options: Tom Watson in on it, and guilty as any; Tom Watson incompetent fool, kept in the dark by his civil servant and by his sock puppet; or Tom Watson mendacious, dishonest and allowing his men to disgrace his office but with plausible deniability For Tom himself?

None of those are characters who should be in parliament (or indeed running a proverbial whelk stall), much less in government.

Jimmy said...

Thanks Iain,

I was simply pointing out that your Watson post yesterday clearly suggests active involvement and that you may wish to reconsider it.

Tim said...
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Jimmy said...

Richard,

Pretty thin. It's hardly reasonable to expect an MP to monitor staff e-mails. The offending staffer being given the boot as soon as it came to loght, I'm not sure what more he's expected to do.

Richard said...

Jimmy

"Staff emails"!??? It was an entire plan, by an unelected bureaucrat, at an advanced stage (the website is up and running, the stories were given to the press) to spread libellous, completely fabricated stories about senior opposition elected members and their wives! Although it is not part of his official duties, it is an extension to absurdity of the purpose McBride was kept on by the Prime Minister.

This was McBride doing his job, albeit doing it very badly, as a civil servant in the Cabinet Office. Tom Watson is PPS to the Cabinet Office, and sat next to McBride. Liam Byrne is Minister for the Cabinet Office. Both should have known; being more senior and physically more distant Liam Byrne can more reasonably deny knowledge, although he actually should take more responsibility (my underlings are usually hundreds of miles from me when working, but I am still legally responsible for their actions when on duty). Tom Watson can only deny knowledge by admitting to be completely unsuited to his position.

Mike Hobday said...

Jimmy,
Obviously, Iain will have reconsidered his original accusation against Tom Watson - he's an intelligent guy and understands the laws of libel just as well as we do.

What I don't understand is why, having reconsidered the allegation, it's still there on the site.

Perhaps Iain will tell us?

Iain Dale said...

Mike, I am not sure what you mean. Can you be specific about what you think is still there but shouldn't be? I have removed the sentence about being copied in on the emails.

Jimmy said...

"my underlings are usually hundreds of miles from me when working, but I am still legally responsible for their actions when on duty"

So if you learned that one of your "underlings" had passed on a scurrilous story about someone from an office computer you would be responsible? Come to think of it, how confident are you that this has never happened?

Jimmy said...

"The very idea that McBride is acting alone in his spiteful little games is for the birds. Watson was idiotic enough to post yesterday that one of the books which has influenced him most is called THE TWENTY FIVE DIRTIEST CAMPAIGNS OF ALL TIME. Clearly Tom Watson is bidding to be in the second edition of the book."

Seems pretty clear to me.

Richard said...

I am mistaken on Watson's job. I did not realise he was Minister for the Civil Service. Even clearer responsibility.

Jimmy

That email could not possibly be construed as part of the job of any of my employees. Media management is not their business, nor my responsibility. It is McBride's job. the point I was making is about management and its responsibilities.

Having said that if anyone in the company was to libel a competitor for example then yes, as a director of the company I would feel responsible. I would not feel the need to resign, as there is no company policy of attacking competitors dishonestly that could be extended into such libel. In Brown's office there is a policy of underhand attacks on the Conservatives, and Tom Watson and Liam Byrne allowed it to get out of hand.

Jimmy said...

Richard,

Your argument then is essentially an exercise in question begging.

Richard said...

Jimmy

Sorry, but your post is either incorrect usage or itself an excellent example of begging the question. Where have I "begged the question"?

For what it actually means read the following http://begthequestion.info/

Jimmy said...

I know what the expression means and used it correctly. Your argument is premised on the existence of an official policy. You have not established this premise.

Mike Hobday said...
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Mike Hobday said...

Iain,
I was thinking of your Saturday "smeargate" post where you still say that Tom Watson "either tacitly or overtly encouraged McBride to send more" [emails].

Do you still make this accusation? Especially the second half?

Regards

Richard said...

No, the premise is the existence of a policy. There is no need for it to be an official policy, just one that is widely known in the office in question.

Since that is beyond doubt, since no-one has even attempted to deny that McBride was kept on to control the media to give good press to Labour and bad press to the Conservatives, no question is begged.

Still, as I said, you did beg the question, assuming that I did so without any attempt to reason why.

Richard said...

P.S. I would like to see you try to convince my regulator that something which is not "official policy" but is a widely-known unofficial company policy is not my responsibility. I reckon I would be up in court pretty quickly, and if it had resulted in injury or death I would end up in gaol.

Jimmy said...

"Since that is beyond doubt,"

You might want to check the link you posted yourself.

Richard said...

We are going to end up back at "cogito ergo sum" if we go much further, Jimmy, and be unable to prove anything else. Do I even exist?

Every argument includes some agreed basic principles. Any current discussion of Labour's relationship with the media since 2004 can rather assume that Labour has used dishonesty to improve its image and to attack perceived opponents. OK you have decided to call me on that, but it is easily demonstrated. I am however feeling lazy, so I direct you to a pertinent post at Conservative Home

http://preview.tinyurl.com/cznqk2

There are many more cases, such as Ruth Kelly's resignation which caused McBride's last change of job title and the resignation of his successor that suggest that McBride was working to attack anyone he saw as a threat through the media. His masters knew that. They allowed it to continue. Ergo there was a policy, official or otherwise, that he should do so.

Richard said...

P.S. Even the current Labour response to the crisis proves their media manipulation is policy. A co-ordinated set of non-apologies and compatible yet implausible excuses from everyone, Draper, McBride, Brown, Watson, Johnson etc. These fit in with planted stories and columns in the Telegraph and the Mirror.

Nigel said...

Cynic,
>>The PM has broken cover. He wont apologise you know because he personally did nothing wrong. No he's not responsible for anything despite what the Civil Service Code says. So he will write letters of regret to those involved.<<

Nixon invented the non-denial denial.

Is this the non-apology apology ?

Richard said...

"[Gordon Brown] said in future special advisers should have to sign an agreement that engaging in such personal attacks would lead to instant dismissal"

What???? He has to tell them that? What kind of idiots are they employing?

Any Minister who keeps on any civil servant who needs to be told that should resign forthwith, on grounds of incompetence. McBride knew he would have to resign if found out. He just thought that no-one would dare let this out, because he is a thug.

HarveyProcter said...

"But out of fairness I need to be clear about the email issue."

Right Iain,job done though eh?

Richard said...

Jimmy

If you need further evidenceof McBride's role, ask Boris

http://preview.tinyurl.com/dxamrt

Carl said...

ooh goody, can I make spurious unprovable comments about you Iain to the Daily Mail, then call them after they've gone to print retracting it and then make out I'm all innocent and didn't really mean it because I couldn't be arsed to check the bleedin' facts...

Whose researcher are you not again?

Carl said...

just a thought Iain when it comes to writing about what a trusted source tells you.

Second source it.

I know, I know, it's only something those schleps the the left wing BBC should do, and what with you not being a proper journalist, just an "honest blogger" you shouldn't really have to abide by those kinds of rules, but hey, it may keep the wolf... or Schillings... from the door in future.

My press consultancy fee will be waived on this occurance...

Duke of said...

There is something rather fishy about a Government minister agreeing with every recommendation that a large, well-known charity is asking the Government to act on in its campaign report, and something even fishier that this report is being given high billing in the said Government minister's blog. Welcome to the cosy world of Antonia Bance of Oxfam and Tom Watson of the Cabinet Office. If you read carefully the congratulatory messages Bance and Watson send each on their blogs, you will no doubt notice that these 2 valiant souls are fighting not just the Tories, but their more immediate enemies: the Blairites. Tom Watson has his podgy finger in every pie....

Anonymous said...

Tom Watson has a nasty habbit of using tax payers money not only to feather his own nest with his chum (over £100,000 - that's the average salary of 3 hard working people)but he also likes his foreign, so called business trips.

If anyone asked an FOI on where he goes, why he goes there, what he achieves, they would be shocked