Resignation and the power of the blogs

Labour’s pathetic efforts to counter the power of the blogs that criticise this ghastly regime has now done them grave damage. Those of us who deal with this government day after day know that senior figures who should be devoting most of their time to running the government devote disproportionate amounts of time to trying to trip up, misquote, or twist the words and actions of their opponents. I have had to waste a lot of time trying to correct false interpretations of what I have said and written about handling the banking crisis and financial regulation. Senior Ministers waste their time misquoting and spreading false accounts.

Now we see that this conduct is also there at the centre of the Downing Street operation. The resignation of a senior aide may deal with this specific set of problems, when they went over the top in thinking about trying to create a Labour website people might want to read by peddling malicious gossip about senior Conservatives.

It should lead to questions about how the dividing line between raw politics and government is drawn at the heart of this government. All officials paid for by taxpayers other than elected politicians should not be undertaking any political work, and should not be trying to twist or trick the Conservative opponents of their bosses. They are paid to design and implement policies that can improve our lives, not to design anti Tory websites or fuel the juvenile soundbites which they think is a fair substitute for being properly accountable to Parliament.

It is good news this time they have been found out. There are many more cases where they have failed to observe the traditions and conventions of British government, and have failed to perform their duty to tell us what they are doing and to defend their actions without resort to unpleasant and misleading spin.

This time it appears the way they smear individuals has gone too far and at last the media might shop some of the backstairs briefers who dare not go on the record with the lies and misleading statements.

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36 Comments

  1. alan jutson
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Still awaiting for the Sunday papers to give some outline to exactly what has gone on, as it sounds a little confusing at the moment.
    But what makes you think that the people involved were not working under orders from the Labour Party.
    Perhaps there is a bigger story here than you think.
    Would any of us be surprised.

  2. Posted April 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good day to be an oldrightie blogger! Yet the taste is very sour of a regime without honour or shame.

  3. Posted April 11, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    We are in the middle of a major economic crisis. There is an associated general political crisis of the nature of governance in an increasingly dangerous and unstable world. Beyond that any of the old certainties about the future can be forgotten for both resource and geophysical reasons. So what do we have? At the heart of affairs with an election pending, we have a grubby, silly, destructive, and utterly petty business displaying some of the worst aspects of the human character. It this is really the way our most senior people in government go about their affairs, then how can there be trust, respect for any of the laws they make, or any other belief except that it is everyone for themselves?

  4. Jim Pearson
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Shame it wasn’t his boss!

  5. Posted April 11, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Labour has never understood the internet and blogging in particular as both are open, individualist and “bottom up” technologies. There is no High Authority on the internet, and so it’s freedom is incomprehensible to them and their “top down” control freak ways. It’s therefore no shock that they wanted bloggers smeared.

    David T Breaker
    http://newsjunction.co.uk

  6. Sheumais
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    When you consider how much this government relies upon lies, it is incredible that some of is supporters still try to label the Conservatives “The Nasty Party”. Derek Draper can only be considered a Conservative asset, as his clumsy attempts to undermine the opposition only undermine his own party.

    I suggest the reason the government has failed to tell us what they’re doing is simply because they don’t know.

  7. Lola
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Or to put it another way, please stop all this politciking and social engineering and just try and discharge a few simple duties, like maintaining sound money, and we’d all be better off.

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Will those responsible be prosecuted?

  9. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    To me this shows what Labour are all about. They realy ARE the nasty party, out of control.
    How have they allowed this to happen. The blogs are making up for a lazy pro Labour main stream media.

  10. Posted April 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear eh?

  11. TomTom
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    When Student Marxists fail to grow up you get the kind of kakistocracy we currently suffer. They have spent so long on deconstructing society that they are lost how to proceed and will face a tsunami when the public expresses its pent-up fury.

    There is only so long a Marxist clique can feed like termites on the structure before the entire edifice starts to crumple – usually they then need to stage a coup or impose some form of crisis dictatorship, maybe we will simply get to eject Labour from power and see the party itself crumble to dust.

    • APL
      Posted April 11, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      TomTom: “When Student Marxists fail to grow up .. ”

      You are not suggesting Jack Straw is involved are you?

  12. Fragmeister
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Sadly for politicians who like to remain in control, the blogosphere is a perhaps the most democratic invention ever. After all, anyone with an axe to grind or point to make can do so, as long as it is reasonable and backed by evidence or thought through opinion, what’s the problem? The problem for No 10, it appears, is that no one really likes Gordon Brown. He doesn’t seem to have too many friends and he must have to watch his back with those.

    Since the newspapers seem to publish whatever anyone tells them (does the Telegraph want another Brown government?), it is down to the bloggers to keep everyone on their toes. Since Brown is so transparently rubbish as a PM, it is no wonder that he is subject to bloggers’ attacks.

  13. Stuart Fairney
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Guido reports some untrue and vile allegations that were made against a female tory MP who one could call genuinley honourable and sincere. I hope she sues the ********.

  14. Anne Palmer
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Labour would not have been in Government now if the Conservtives had been worth voting for last time. Sadly the conservatives might not get in next time, because the way things are going the votes will be split. People like me that have always vote for your Party will never again vote for a Party that wants the money but is not prepared to actually Govern this Country.

    To me, that is like taking money under false pretenses. I suppose it is really.

    • APL
      Posted April 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Anne Palmer: “will never again vote for a Party that wants the money but is not prepared to actually Govern this Country.”

      Exactly so Anne.

      • Adrian Peirson
        Posted April 12, 2009 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        They should Serve not Govern, that’s the problem.

        • APL
          Posted April 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Adrian Peirson: “They should Serve not Govern, that’s the problem.”

          Yep, and they should get domestic servant rates too.

  15. Chris Burley
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Should the Conservatives call a vote of no confidence in the Government.

  16. Alan Douglas
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    John, you say :

    also there at the centre of the Downing Street operation

    Surely the very centre has been twisting about the Tories – I recall about 50 occasions when Brown at PMQs trots out that oh-so-tired line about “do-nothing Tories” ?

    Can’t get much more into the “centre” than that !

    Alan Douglas

  17. Watervole
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Very tawdry practice. This contamination of the state function was evident in the recent incidents relating to Quick (formerly of the Yard), the Tomlinson incident and now this. The next government, and any future governments of whatever persuasion, must make sure that these boundaries are never overstepped again. The police, the civil service and other public employees must remain independent. This latest act degrades government and those who are supposed to serve it. No wonder the electorate don’t want to vote – sleaze and self-interest abound on all fronts at the moment. This goes to the very heart of Labour and it is time Brown and his ilk, carried the can. The General Election cannot come too soon.

  18. David Thomas
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood
    I lost my job years ago in the public service due to the lies made about me on an anonymous blog website by people believed to be linked with NewLabour, who had forwarded these lies to my employers and all the newspapers. This sent everyone into a huge panic and I resigned not out of guilt but from embarassmnet and the enormous pressure this put me under to just disappear. Thankfully I’ve been able to rebuild my life since then, although those who made the lies have remained undetected although only one name has come up time and time again.
    To find that this behaviour happens even at Downing street level does not surprise me. It seems these people have little respect for the truth, nor do they value decency. It’s all a greedy warped desire for power at any cost. This indecent behaviour needs to stop.
    regards
    DT

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Labour is not sorry for what it has done – just that it has been found out. Hence they spin the story that it is those dreadful bloggers who are the real problem and the way they came about this scurrilous plan. They will receive a sympathetic ear in parts of the media who see their own role and influence being diminished by blogs and bloggers. Don’t expect a change in Labour behaviour – just a change in approach.

  20. Adrian Peirson
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    This appears to be what real politics is about, the people in charge have no morals, they are simply power mad control freaks who will do whatever it takes to push aside often better peers and ‘win’.

    This has probably always gone on, though hidden by a controlled Media machine.

    Britain and the world loses something Precious if we do not Get some honour, Integrity, decency and intelligence back, not just into Parliament but into British Society.

    Until very recently, Great Britain was the envy of the world, we are being dragged down and backwards.

    With regards to Labour not understanding technology, this is yet another fear, not only do I feel that ID cards, Microchipping people and tracking cars is wrong, I wonder if they have considered that it is common for around a 1% failure rate on all electronic technology, does this mean that on any one day hundreds of thousands of people will be unable to travel to work because their Car GPS auto Toll system has failed, or their ID card wont allow them to buy Groceries, or they have to go back into the doctors because their ID implant has failed, or broken .
    Have these deranged psychpoathic control freaks ever stopped to consider that this WILL Happen without any doubt whatsoever.

    I can say with some confidence as an enginner that when dreaming up these schemes is the easy bit, the difficult bit is trying to work out how you are going to ensure the system will still function WHEN bits of it fail because Fail it will, yet no one seems to be thinking of this, it is like they are Intoxicated with the Power they will soon have over the Masses,
    At last, after decades of Plotting and scribbling notes in their copy of Orwell’s 1984.

    Currently only one in 58 police officers is on the street at any one time, we have spent Billions on ID schemes, car tracking schemes.

    A well trained intelligence officer is a far far better option than a piece of plastic and a gps system, especially as it seems that these systems will be ‘policed’ by a new army of civil servants.

    I’m not medically qualified but I tell you I believe these people are deranged.
    They truly are not well, and they represent a danger to us and themselves and perhaps the world.

  21. A. Sedgwick
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    An excellent piece – your colleagues should follow your example and coldly and calmly expose how anti democracy New Labour are and always have been. Happy Easter.

  22. Glyn H
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Having read your blog and read the Sunday Times leader I just emailed them this letter: Your stentorian leader about Sleaze and Soil, suggesting that if Mr Brown wants remove the poison from Downing Street he should eradicate the culture overlooks the fact that bullying attack has been his lifetime hallmark, and publicly so since 1994.

  23. APL
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Quote from the Devil: “From all of the recent scandals, we know that, individually, the Tory MPs are just as corrupt as Labour: it will be interesting to see whether Tory policy will be so blantantly up for auction in the way that NuLabour policy was.”

    We have known for about eleven and a bit years that Labour was as corrupt as a nine bob note, (For John Redwoods younger readers, ten shillings was half a pound, like fifty pence but worth about twenty times more than 50p, you never ever saw a nine bob note).

    But the conservatives have sat on their hands for a whole decade and allowed the Labour party to make the Tory party THE story.

    That was either gross incompetence or they were colluding in a project to hoodwink the population. A corrupt ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back, when it comes to claiming your second home allowance and exploiting your expense account’, sort of thing.

    My response? A pox of the most virulent kind on both your houses!

    • APL
      Posted April 12, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1169350/Transport-Secretary-Geoff-Hoon-hit-new-70k-rent-row.html

      Oh, Lordy! What a surprise.

      Geoff, what a Hoon!

      If this is so above board and ‘honest’ (in a New Politics spin sort of way), why don’t politicians come out during the election and say, “Look you lot, I’ve promised you loads of stuff if you elect me, you know, ‘ospitals ‘n schools, all sorts of extra stuff. Now all those goodies are going to cost you, ooh, lets see, about £70,000 per year for the next five years. Now, run along and stick your x next to my name.”

  24. elizabeth
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    There is something rotten in the heart of Gordon Brown’s Downing Street. (Post continued to allege that this bad practise is spreading out into a leading charity, through Draper’s friends).

  25. Emil
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    How ironic for Draper to be bleating about people reading private emails when HIS party and government are fully in favour of all our emails, and website visits, being divulged to them

    • Rob
      Posted April 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Those rules are only meant to be for the little people.

  26. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t this the reason Mandelson was recalled to the fold, get the dirt rolling. I suspect that this whole thing originated from the evil duo, Brown and Mandy, their fingerprints are all over it.

    Having said which, it is past time for the conservative party, if it wants the top job, to stand up and be counted. You, Mr. Redwood seem to know your way around, maybe due to your business training, but I am not so confident of the party or it’s central office. Too much is missing from the information coming from there.

    Derek Buxton.

  27. james barr
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Liam Byrne’s attempts to downplay this story are quite pathetic. He repeated ad nauseam that Draper and McBride had decided that it was inappropriate to publish these fabrications. In other words they are the good guys and Guido is the bad guy. Pathetic. That’s a little bit like a drunk driver having run over a pedestrian on the pavement claiming that the pedestrian had no right to be there! The exchanges between these two horrible individuals clearly show that they wished to develop a strategy to smear the Tories. Labour have hugely impoverished the political process with their addiction to spin. Byrne’s explanation this on the news this morning was a classic example of this. Blair and Brown have debased politics to the level of reality television. Civil servants are employed to enact the policies of the government. They are paid by the taxpayer and should not be indulging in this type of activity. If any of the Labour Cabinet were in the private sector they would have been sacked a long while ago. It’s time for a change of government. It’s also time for a radical change in the way Government conducts its business and spends our taxes.

  28. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    A completely bankrupt government – morally and financially. They know they are now done for – they know they have made an even bigger mess than the Labour party of the late 1970s.

    They are now truly beneath contempt. Brown came into power promising an end to spin! I never thought I’d find myself thinking ‘bring back Blair’ but Brown has achieved that much.

    They are now, surely, unable to be taken seriously – even by the BBC. While the country falls apart around them, they sit and plot and dream up lies to spin about their opponents because they know they cannot go to the country on their record!

    What is to become of us. Those of us that are older are fearful for our pensions and the prospect of working until we are put into a box – but what is to become of young people. Saddled with debts taken on in our name by a feckless and USELESS government.

  29. Posted April 12, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I am always intrigued by stupidity. Why is the Labour Party in power that stupid? Releasing lies and innuendo about other people always leads to other people’s disgust. It never works in the long term.
    I think the reason must be that they honestly think that progress depends on the good guys (that’s them) telling the bad guys (Tories) or people who are too thick to know better (the proles) what is good and what is bad.
    And, if you believe, like Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Woodrow Wilson or Oswald Moseley that you really do know best, then, surely, it is justified to launch into personal attacks.
    After all, the bad guys are the bad guys and that is what you would expect.

    So my question is this: have we nearly seen the very last of the Labour Party and socialism in UK?
    I do hope so.

  30. Paul Cohen
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Why was Mc Bride allowed to resign instead of being sacked?
    It probably allows him to keep a pension!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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