Friday, December 19, 2008

Will Derek Draper Be "Labour's Iain Dale"?

My invite to Derek Draper's blogging breakfast seems to have got lost in the post. Guido and Harry Phibbs have all the details so I won't go into inordinate detail. But one thing struck me about the whole event.

Doesn't it just illustrate the differences between the two philosophies that Labour seems to think it has to coordinate its blogging activities in a collectivist, centralised manner, whereas the Conservatives are happy for right of centre bloggers to plough their own furroughs? And which side has been more successful? I rest my case.

I was interested to see via Tory Bear that Labour attack pitbull Adrian McMenamin on the attendance list. Readers may remember he is a former Labour spin doctor who was behind the charmingly named website (sadly now defunct). Last time he reared his party political head he was nearly sacked by his employers, the CBI. If he was wise he would have declined the invitation to bacon & eggs with Mr Draper. If he attended, there may be consequences.

Apparently Derek Draper is looking for a "Labour Iain Dale". Shudder. Some are even suggesting that Derek himself could fill the role. Double shudder. I will know my career in blogging is over when someone refers to me as "The Conservatives' Derek Draper". It will be time to get my coat and retire to Eastbourne.

UPDATE: It seems poor Chris Paul didn't get an invite to brekkers with Derek. He writes...
Clearly Derek Draper doesn't realise that some of the more powerful and useful elements of the Labour blogosphere exist beyond the M25.

In the comments Derek gives a rather unconvincing excuse as to why Chris wasn't invited. But Chris isn't falling for it. I think most of the readers of this blog can hazard a guess as to why hhis presence wasn't required.

Nor, I think did Labour blogger Will Parbury get an invite, if this quote from his blog is anything to go by...
If the Labour Party wants to spin the web, fine, indeed it should be but is there any less suited person for the role than Derek Draper? Fred West perhaps… Spinners should never be the story and Mutley much to the chargin of the RSPCA has story written all over him.


UPDATE: Kerron Cross is laying claim to the title of "Labour's Iain Dale". Apparently I gave it to him.


Chris Paul said...

OMG, let's hope not. But on your rambling point about Tory blogs succeeding. This is widely believed to be because of the oppositional position you're in. May I hereby wish Tory Bloggers every success and that your raison d'etre never passes.

Iain Dale said...

Chris, I gather that you were not invited to this meeting. How do you feel about being snubbed like this, and what do you think it says about your blog?

Chris Paul said...

Lightning response! I'm impressed. Me and 100s of others Iain. We are legion. So I'm only mildly miffed.

Derek seems to have lost the email address I sent him after we last spoke on the matter. But never mind. Stuff happens. Pretty good for my reputation as an outsider as opposed to your fantasy that I am the voice of nuLabour.

All the best for another eleven years of top Tory blogging from the wilderness! Looks like Cam and GOO and Boz and that charmer Kit are shaping up well enough for that to happen. Hurrah!

Tom Ogg said...

I share your amusement (maybe even horror) of this whole thing.

BUT, to deploy some sterotypes, committed tories are usually rich, and so more likely to have the free time to write a blog (or take on the risk committing lots of time to one). Committed labour types are supposed to be poor, or pubic sector, etc, so don't have to time to do it.

So I think there are good reasons why the quality blogosphere is disproportionately tory.

Prodicus said...

Will Draper ...?

Don said...

Chris Paul. "Derek appears to have lost my email address". I bet you are the sort of guy who strangely when he gets a girls number it appears to have been written down wrongly. The depth of your hurt is apparent by the strength of the denial.

Dungeekin said...

I wondered whether Tom Watson might attend - after all, he uses Twitter quite a bit. But apparently not.

Personally, I'd be a lot more interested in this development if it led to better use of language on all sides. Political language is its own dialect now, spun and homogenised until it's sometimes difficult to tell parties apart.

If the Labour Party want to do one thing to re-engage voters (and this also applies to the Tories), perhaps they should consider forgetting the language of politics and engaging in plain English.

That said, bring on Dolly's bloggers. It should be a fun 'Battle of the Blogs' - and we'll slaughter 'em.


Ben said...

Surely the difference in approach is because of a different context? Opposition lends itself to outrage and bolder statements.

Well read blogs are controversial, angry, opinionated, mildly libelous: all things easier from the outside.

Of course, this is a very good reason that a labour insider is absolutely the wrong choice. If Labour wants to get involved on the web it should be through encouraging young activists. Otherwise it'll seem forced and ridiculous - the blogging equivalent of webcameron.

BJ said...

Political blogs are at their best when they are analytical, yet readable. For example, BorisWatch and the Tory Troll consistently manage to pick what are legitimate holes in the London mayoralty, and they do it brilliantly. However, they often do it in a blizzard of stats and minutiae: they don't do it very readably. Iain and Guido (in particular) manage to deconstruct government policy, while providing an enjoyable read.

Other Labour blogs, like Recess Monkey and Sadie Smith's, are great fun to read, but they rarely manage to spear the Tory meat. They're too trivial.

It's like comparing the New Statesman (makes quite good political points but is very, very boring) with the Spectator (a nice read but -- Fraser Nelson excepted -- not exactly politically heavyweight).

The Labour blogger who manages to find the winning combination will be brilliant. Sadly, it won't be Draper, because everyone thinks he's a total arse.

Peter Cheshire said...

Re Tom Ogg's comment - I think for Labour bloggers that you mean public sector (or maybe not).

One reason for the public sector slant on bloggers is that taxpayers can pay for their blogging time. Not all employers are so understanding as the CBI with Andrew McMenamin and the RSA with Matthew Taylor (by the way, does he do his Labour work on RSA-paid time?).

Ralph Hancock said...

Chris Paul: 'We are legion.'

Right, get into the swine and off the cliff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain,

You missed the bit that followed where I was more than nice about Derek. I made that point because Derek has a little bit of notoriety with yourself and guido and as alistair campbell found out the spinner can't get bigger than the story because you tory guys would cry Draper!

When we are being beastly to the tory's it's because they are wrong and tory's rather than from any prompting from Labour HQ

Also I hadn't been blogging for the best part of six months until this week so I really wasn't expecting an invite.



Anyway for fullness...

"But what makes Derek the ideal tool for Tory bloggers to beat Labour bloggers with would make him an excellent blogger in his own right. Opinionated, access to the mainstream media, full of anecdotes make him an ideal blogger. If I drew up a list of people that would in the words of the West Wing get Iain Dale , Staines, Conhome and “bitchslap ‘em around the beltway” he would definately be on it."

Dungeekin said...


I agree with you.

Mr Draper is, very definitely, a tool.


Bill Brinsmead said...

Draper IS New Labour - dishonest, unscrupulous, humourless and for those reasons he is also dangerous.

He is a very proficient, full-time lier [what is psychotherapy but the interpretation of patient's lies?]

New Labour is a lie, it is based on lies, it survives by lying.

Draper trolls are already appearing on conservativehome - at least they are livelier than the silly suburban twats who usually post there.

I'm in despair and I've still got the milking to do.

Anonymous said...

Should we start a Facebook group of Labour bloggers proud not to be invited to Dolly's ball?

strapworld said...

I note that Matthew Taylor. now of the RSA. was invited. If he attended I doubt that the Duke of Edinburch will be impressed.

The RSA is Apolitical and as cuh, whilst it does have many political discussions they are well balanced.

I believe Taylor's attendance (if he did) could be a resignation matter.

There will be many Fellows of the RSA who will be quite upset by this news.

I am so pleased that Draper does have a little common sense. By failing to invite the utterly useless Chris Paul and his anti Artmed services/ police and I expect Royalty he should be looking forward to address the AGM of the Moscow Communist party (Normal attendance 25!)

TTGZ said...

This Right Wing Blogosphere reaction is really quite brilliant. I think it really shows how egocentric folks like Guido and Iain must be to naturally assume that the "secret" meeting was all about them (ie, how Labour can come up with ways to oppose their innate greatness).

The guest speakers weren't bloggers. The title of the event, "Obama Campaign Breakfast: Lessons from America" certainly didn't have the word 'blog' in the title. And as an attendee, I can report that we spent hardly any of our time talking about blogs, and far more talking about... you know, things like the Obama Campaign, and - oh, I don't know - Lessons from America.

When we have a breakfast titled, "Lessons from Iain Dale", we'll call you. Maybe you can even be a guest speaker...

Chris Gilmour said...

In the Scottish parliament Labour are in opposition. If being in an oppositional position helps political blogs succeed, there's be some successful Labour bloggers north of the border. aye?

strapworld said...

The fact that 'Transatlantic' has bothered to put his/her two penny worth on here is proof that the Labour shower are concerned!

But Americans have no idea on British politics and, more especially, British people. The one thing they will find out is that they do not take too kindly to outsiders! Especially outsiders trying to 'con them'

Anonymous said...

Despite govt efforts, doubt their message would ever be fully believed. As Woolies and MFI and countless others go bust, people would take all of the saviour's message with a huge dose of salt. Even in 1984, the proles never bought the entire message from Big Brother. Anyway merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. . And God bless everyone, even Chris Paul.
A Prole from 1984 (ex African Mum).

Improvedliving said...

This is widely believed to be because of the oppositional position you're in.

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Improvedliving said...

Chris, I gather that you were not invited to this meeting.

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