Saturday, April 11, 2009

SmearGate: One Down, Two to Go

The news that Damian McBride has resigned is welcome indeed, but it isn't the end of the matter. There are further serious questions which need to be asked, not least about the role of Tom Watson, who sat next to McBride in the Downing Street bunker and was allegedly mentioned in the emails to Derek Draper.

Tom Watson is Minister for the Civil Service. [SECTION DELETED]

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.

And what of Mr Draper. In a performance on Sky News which a psychotherapist would have a field day with, he maintained that these were "private emails between mates". Er, no. They were emails sent on government computers, by a government employee, in government time.

Draper also lied directly to me and also on the DAILY POLITICS (see the video HERE) about the existence of these emails. Today, on LabourList he admits they existed. He says they never saw the light of day. Well, the one which urged him to smear me and instructing him how to do it certainly did.

I have spoken to several Labour MPs over the course of the day. They are all of one mind: that Draper is bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and needs to be disowned.

I'm not holding my breath on that one.

I need a lie down.

(But stay tuned in during the course of the evening... :))

UPDATE Tuesday 11.30am

This is the text of an email I sent to Tom Watson yesterday evening. It is self explanatory. I should add that it was entirely voluntary. No lawyers were involved. I just felt that he was owed an explanation.

Tom,
I realize I owe you an apology. I had been told on what I thought was on good authority that you had been copied in on McBride’s emails. I posted a blogpost to that effect on Saturday evening at 5.45pm. At 6.11pm on Saturday I had a Twitter exchange with Krishnan Guru Murthy repeating this. At 6.20 I had a call from Paul Staines informing me that I was mistaken and that you had not been copied the emails but had only been mentioned in at least one of them. I immediately reworded the blogpost and wrote a replacement paragraph for the Mail on Sunday column, which was sent to them (see below) at 6.30pm. In retrospect, instead of amending the blogpost I should have written an Update at the bottom. However, I needed to get the Mail on Sunday piece corrected. Unfortunately, despite me sending it in what I assumed to be good time, the change wasn’t made.

Following this, I have never repeated the allegation on any media outlet, and when any journalist has brought it up with me over the last 24 hours I have explained to them what happened.

I felt you still had questions to answer, particularly about whether you knew about the existence of Red Rag. You will appreciate that I was understandably sceptical that you professed to be in complete ignorance of it, as I am aware of your role in a couple of other attack blogs in the past. However, I have now seen your categorical denial on The Stirrer and of course accept your word.

Much has been said and written in the last three days. Most of it has been justified, but I recognize that in this case I got it wrong.

I am very happy to post this email on my blog, as I have a policy of holding my hands up when I get something wrong.

Kind regards Iain

71 comments:

Just A Punter said...

"Draper is bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and needs to be disowned."

Draper, DRAPER - There are bloody hundreds of them - Draper is just the one on the bottom rung of the ladder henceforth to be known as the bottomfeeder.

Wake up man!

Paul Halsall said...

Nadine looked dotty on BBC News at 6pm.

The BBC has just stated the Paul Staines libelled Peter Hain in an earlier interview, and has stated Peter Hain's view.

Tim said...
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Marian said...

What we have seen today with "McBridegate" is just the tip of an iceberg of New Labour's methods of ensuring that the next UK general election is going to make Crewe & Nantwich and Glenrothes look like a schoolgirl’s playground fight.

New Labour are intent on a dirty, smear filled, personalised, negative, divisive political campaign that will reach a new low in UK and Scots politics. Just look at the people who are at the heart of the Brown bunker - brutal, malevolent, mendacious unpleasant-to-the-core people. New Labour will use vote rigging/ballot stuffing/block vote buying/dog whistle polititics/character assassination/postal vote fraud and their friends and family in the dead tree media/BBC will promote New Labour and sabotage the Tories at UK level and the SNP in Scotland.

The thinking behind the above is that if done with determination it might just cut the Tory vote enough to ensure that New Labour could do a deal with the Liberal Democrats to sahre power at Westmister IF they come third.

Conand said...
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JuliaM said...

*runs out of popcorn*

Brightonia said...

Surely NL see Dolly as a complete embarrassment and will act quickly to disown him.

Conand said...

Iain deleted him immediately. Awww :(

Wrinkled Weasel said...

The only people who will be reading the News of the World tomorrow are people like me and people who like big tits.

This story is only sensational if you live in the village. Nobody else has heard of or cares who McBride and Draper are. Moreover, they have the might of most of the press and the BBC on their side to make sure the overspill into civilian life is managed.

I know you will Iain, but playing the long game will, in the end, do for Labour and Labour spin. Let us hope your FOI request bears fruit.

JuliaM said...

"Draper, DRAPER - There are bloody hundreds of them..."

True.

But great oaks from little acorns, and all that... ;)

Grumpy said...

That all this could be going on without McBroon's knowledge and perhaps approval, it may have even been initiated by him, is potentially the most serious outcome. Most Labour MPs, not to mention the inhabitants of No 10, are concerned that they are out of a job come the next election. Perhaps that concern may now be converted into a serious probability and might cause some of them to wonder quite why they allow this sort of thing to happen, or keep on fiddling their expenses claims because they will need the money when the dole queue beckons.

KP said...

is there a link to Mcbride's resignation statement? slaggin off Guido apparently...

Paul Halsall said...

BTW, I do see Dolly and co, and in fact all all New Labour as "embarrassments".

Bring back Vic Feather, Arthur Scargill, and Jack Jones for me.

Or at least John Smith. There was a lost opportunity.

Liberal Polemic said...

"The Minister for the Civil Service [is] a Minister of the Crown..."

Actually, Iain, he's a minister of state, as opposesd to a minister of the crown, which would make him a secretary of state, which - as the secretary of state for the civil service is the prime minister - would make him prime minister.

Didn't you watch Yes Miniser?

Sean said...

If Carlsberg did great bank holiday weekends...this would surely be it.

Tim said...
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Old Holborn said...

Compare the smear twats dot com

Conand said...

@ Wrinkled Weasel @6:10

Just for clarification (and this is very important), are you saying you don't like big tits? (Other than Prezzer)

Dick Puddlecote said...

I don't think Kate G is having a very enjoyable Easter holiday.

Tim, you're a bit strange.

OH, very good.

Julia M, just off for more popcorn myself, seeing as you mentioned it.

Delicious.

JuliaM said...

"Compare the smear twats dot com"

Comment. Of. The. Thread...

Conand said...

Liberal Polemic is right. Brown is nominally in charge of the civil service. In addition to being the Primeminister, First Lord of The Treasury, and being (although this is not an official post) the country's favourite vindictive, spineless, idiot.

Cynic said...

How come a control freak PM knows nothing about what was going on?

We need to know exactly where all these emails went and have a battery of FOI requests to trace all the BCC copies and all the printed copies that may have gone to Ministers and others.

It will also be interesting if some of those smeared do seek legal redress exactly what they drag out through discovery. For example:-

* who gave them this information in the first place?

* what were they told to do with it?

* were they keeping a database of this stuff?

* what other information were they holding that is not in the emails

* was it registered with the Information Commissioner (a criminal offence if its not)

* what use was made of Government facilities for Party purposes or to advise Ministers in their Party roles as opposed to their office?

* was this fully declared for tax purposes as a benefit in kind?

We should also expect to find some juicy material of 'friends' wityhin the PArty as well. Labour MPS may well also be happy to see the end of this operation.

This goes to the heart of the culture and ethos of this odious regime. Morally, politically and financially it's now completely bankrupt. These are his personal staff in his office in No 10.

Either he knew or he should have know what they up to and they type of people he was employing.Gordon should go.

The Penguin said...

Paul Halsall,

You are obviously far too young to have had to put up with the likes of Scargill, Jones, and Feather throwing their weight around and doing their level best to ruin this country.

Sadly the current bunch of NuLiebore Fellow Travellers are more effective, if no less repellent.

The Penguin

Plato said...

Mr Halsall, do visit Mr Fawkes blog whilst holding your nose.

Mr Hain was censured by the appropriate authorities for failing to declare £100k of leadership election expenses.

Mr Fawkes called that one right.

*Arthur Scargill*

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well done, Cynic. At least one poster here realises how you catch the buggers.

Dorian Smith said...

http://www.labourhome.org/story/2009/4/11/5586/43767

"Draper and McBride: Please just go!"

Pip said...

Ian,
This article by Melissa Kite in the Daily Telegraph at 5.32 this evening
"The emails were obtained by the Tory blogger Paul Staines, who runs an internet site called Guido Fawkes, and had been touted to newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, which declined to purchase them."
Also - the ghastly Dennis McShane has also stated (on Sky News) that the e-mails were being touted all around but only one newspaper actually purchased them.
I understand you have Guidos assurance that money was never requested - so what is going on ?
I am a fan of yours and Guido - but surely these allegations cannot be printed or categorically stated if they are untrue, without the possibility of litigation.

Tim said...
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Erskine May said...

For the sake of factual accuracy, Tom Watson is not even a minister of state. He is parliamentary secretary in the Cabinet Office.

John said...

Tom Watson should be finished.

Dolly is harder to get rid of because he's not a paid employee of neither Labour or the government.

I expect Dolly and DraperList will continue, albeit in a more independent, yet still Labour Shill manner.

Sally Roberts said...

Nadine didn't look "dotty" she looked bl**dy angry which she had every right to be...

Simon Gardner said...

Paul Halsall said... “Nadine looked dotty on BBC News at 6pm.”

You should see her in parliament. Completely barking.

Alan Douglas said...

One down, TWO to go ? Are you intent on Brown staying then ?

Make it three to go, and the whole house of brown turds will come tumbling down.

Alan Douglas

Simon Gardner said...

Conand said... “Brown is nominally in charge of the civil service.”

He is?

Tim said...
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John said...
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Conand said...

Yep.

Paul Halsall said...

Iain,

I take you word on Staines not taking any money, but if PIP is right, surely Staines needs to sue the DT?

[PS: At 48 I am quite old enough to recall the old heroes of the Trades Union Movement.]

Iain Dale said...

In future, any comment which refers to Tim Ireland in any manner whatsoever will be deleted.

He knows he is banned, yet continutes to post comments. He then uses the fact that people comment on his comment before I can delete them as an excuse to repeatedly repost his comments.

This is hopefully the last time his name will ever be mentioned on this blog, either by me or anyone else.

Tim said...
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Mr Eugenides said...

Enraged at being 8 time zones ahead of you guys at the moment, and so being forced to retire hurt...

Can one eat popcorn for breakfast?

Jimmy said...

Has it finally come to pass that the mainstream media has started taking bloggers as seriously as they take themselves? I'm i the only one bored rigid by the whole Draper/Staines handbag fight?

David Anthony said...

Wow, what a commotion... and to think, I only came on here to see if Norfolk Blogger had made it into the Daley Dozen today.

Have to say, it is coming across as a spat between playground foes in the media. I hope we all stick to the facts and don't get too personal, a la other media appearances by those involved.

Delphius1 said...

I would hope that this can be pushed further on the news than just a couple of bloggers having a spat.

It really needs to be said that this is one person standing up to the government and making a difference.

Maybe we can get others blogging on political issues and get more engagement from the population at large.

Conand said...

Uncle Iain's put us all on the naughty step. Quite right!

Tim said...
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Tim said...
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denverthen said...

Good article by ID on the DT's website.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/iaindale/5141376/Political-blogs-thrown-centre-stage-by-email-smear-row.html

The hideous, incoherent squirming all over the news from the Downing street Brown-protection machine and the usual labour rentaquotes stands in start contrast to it.

denverthen said...

Can't you just block he who must not be named, Iain?

Report him!

Simon Gardner said...

Jimmy said... “Has it finally come to pass that the mainstream media has started taking bloggers as seriously as they take themselves? I'm i the only one bored rigid by the whole Draper/Staines handbag fight?”

I ****** hope not and NO. I’m happy to say I haven’t a clue what all this silliness is about.

Tim said...
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Oldrightie said...

"He's not some Labour Party hack.".

That's the whole prblem, they are first and foremost Labour hacks. Sod the rest of the country.

Anonymous said...

Tom Watson is Minister for the Civil Service. What did he do when he found about these emails? Did he berate Damian McBride and tell him to stop abusing his position? No. Instead, he either tacitly or overtly encouraged McBride to send more.

Very good point. Let’s see if Mr Watson thinks his position is tenable after the emails are published in the NOTW and Nadine’s lawyers decided whether there is a case to be answered

Plato said...

News of the World start the balling rolling

Letters From A Tory said...

*sssshhhhh*

If you listen really carefully, you can actually hear Derek Draper's career falling apart.

Don't hold back, Iain - you have every right to get an answer to every question you have floating around your mind on this matter.

Colin said...

Old Holborn et al:


If you'd like the domain name:

www.comparethesmeartwats.com

let me know... :)

javelin said...

Simply not possible that Brown didn't set the goals. I can imagine he said "we have to increase our web presence, or we have to reduce the right wing presence. I can also imagine he hasbeen told of the good, bad and ugly of Iain and said he wants it to be publicized. I can imagine that he is personally hurt by being called bonkers. I imagine he is aware that Paul is the source of the bonkers and troughing Menes. I can imagine he wants take Paul down. I can imagine he is aware that pails blog is read mostlby MPs, oxbridge, the city, lawyers, auditors and the professionalclasses.

I imagine Brown is aware that the Internet will be the key media battle ground. I imagine he knows he has no troops to fight that battle, that his flanks are exposed, that the Internet intelligensia cheer on Paul and will dominate arguments. I imagine he knows that when he sees Ali Campbell shot downby hundreds of comments on labour home by both left and right wing profferionals that the days of spin are drawing to a close.

On the Internet bloggers post the space of possible arguments and commenters effectively vote for them. Blogging is a democracy of ideas. Brown knows this. Brown knows that the heads of a party cannot match the heads of the commentors at finding thebest ideas. Not only is spinning a dying art but so is setting the agenda. The idea that politicians use the Internet to put ideas to the masses seems purile. The masses on the internet are now forming their opinions better that the politicians

JuliaM said...

"Can one eat popcorn for breakfast?"

Nah. Schadenfreud. That's what's for breakfast... ;)

Colin said...

Old Holborn @6:17pm

Methinks you owe me a hat tip...

David Boothroyd said...

Gordon Brown is the Minister for the Civil Service; Tom Watson is Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office - a minor correction to the titles.

If all Tom Watson is accused of is being included among the recipients of an email, then there really isn't a case for him to answer. Or otherwise we're all implicated in a lot of Nigerian 419 scams.

Unsworth said...

@ Paul Halsall

"Nadine looked dotty on BBC News at 6pm."
You don't look too clever yourself, but so bleeding what? Do you have anything to say about her views?

"The BBC has just stated the Paul Staines libelled Peter Hain in an earlier interview.....".
Is the BBC some sort of legal authority?

"The BBC.....has stated Peter Hain's view."
No change there, then. Once again the BBC acts as Hain's spokesperson.

Unsworth said...

@ David Boothroyd

"If all Tom Watson is accused of is being included among the recipients of an email, then there really isn't a case for him to answer". So as long as no 'rules' were broken that's OK, then.

Moral equivocation yet again. So it's OK to 'receive' such material without making comment or taking action to stop such behaviour? No doubt this is the standard of integrity which you model your own upon.

What was that about the 'triumph of evil'?

It wasnae me....


Clown.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

If you're 'bored' with this why not bugger off and 'entertain' yourself elsewhere?

Tim said...
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David Boothroyd said...

Perhaps you are unaware, Unsworth, but during the Shirley Porter scandal in Westminster, a whole series of councillors were initially surcharged on the grounds that they had been at key meetings and had not spoken out against it.

They appealed and won, overturning their surcharges. What's sauce for the goose, and all that.

Unsworth said...

@ Simon Gardner

"...I haven’t a clue what all this silliness is about."

Indeed, and so much more besides.

Unsworth said...

@ David Boothroyd

Precisely. So it's clear you believe that because something is 'legal' it is 'moral'.

Clasic NuLab thinking.

Unsworth said...
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Tim said...
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joolzg said...

"Draper is bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and needs to be disowned."

I think the removal should start at the top, you have all lost the plot, and why when all this is happening has GB gone to ground!!

Planning his big speech on monday to the queen "yes i know we are a bunch of lying..... Yes I think its best to dissolve parliament"

joolz

Not a sheep said...

The whole Labour gang need kicking out of government and soon; every day they stay in power puts the Country even further into the mire of sleaze, bad Government and incompetence. This latest story will involve more than McBride, Draper and Watson. There are links further up the food-chain but the proof may be hard to find.