Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Blogger Mister GuF: Fiercely Independent or Party Stooge?

Former Labour minister and party chair Ian McCartney tells a tale of a meeting with a schools careers master. Ian was an ambitious youth. Typically careers teachers go beyond miserable and pessimistic and consider "crushing" to be the best for all concerned. They told him he should become a joiner. And he did ... he joined the Labour Party. And he stuck with it.

Paul Staines has been quite a joiner too. Sometimes it appears as if he has been a member, an activist, a co-conspirator with most of the political entities that exist. A joiner but not a sticker. He has been a Conservative Futurist. But now he's apparently no more than a fellow traveller. He claims to be fiercely independent. And every now and then he slaps a tory ass, instead of a Labour one. Good cover.

But he's a Tory asset. And questions of his independence are important ones.

Now, I don't know the answers to the question I'm about to put. It is only a question. I'll not pre-judge it. But, I'll share my own thoughts on such a story as this one.

Supposing I was a blogger like Fawkes, inexplicably popular, with a billion readers every weekend, and all that goes with that. Not Labour any more after the unfortunate incident of the Jury team candidacy, but solidly committed to seeing the back of the Tory filth that were ruining the country. And fiddling or lyring as Rome burns.

Investigating a suspected Conservative plot to attack Labour people - not sanctioned from the top, just some boozy middle aged but not yet grown up ex-Conservative Future hacks acting alone let's say - and one of the conspirators - who was full of it but frankly did not know his RSS from his BeBo - had accidentally copied me in to the attack lines with several generations of call and response. Careless drunken ramblings probably. Pretty unlikely to ever see the light of day for argument's sake, but dynamite stuff. Even the thought crimes. What would I do?

I believe that my action ahead of any publication would be TO CHECK/NEGOTIATE WITH LABOUR PEOPLE WHICH NAMES AND WHICH ALLEGATIONS COULD BE SHARED (a) at all, for instance to provide a clue as to the enormity of it all with potential MSM publishers and (b) in the public domain.

I could DRIVE A HARD BARGAIN because I was somethingly independent. And being SHORT OF A FEW BOB I'd probably publish and be damned if they didn't co-operate. So they would. But I'd MAKE MORE MONEY and they'd GET MORE POLITICAL BANG if it was a joint effort.

Fawkes is not a monster. Well, he's a beer monster, and a drink-drive monster, and a tax-avoid monster, and weasel worder, sleazer, bankrupt and yada yada. But he's not a self-fragging grenadier who'd not take some measures to protect himself first, and his own side second.

Assuming this (Fawkes =/= Monster) to be correct I believe Fawkes'd probably do the same. Negotiate with the named parties or the Conservatives as an entity if the named parties gave them attorney. Negotiate on who should be named, and in connection with which alleged activities. If nothing else this "consent" would provide legal protection and also at least dampen the charge that Staines - or his partners - was himself doing the smearing.

This is why I think Nadine Dorries MP is a fool who has "gone to the danger" and that she would have little or no chance of a successful legal action as a result.

But following this through it would follow that the Tory politicians and connections who have been named by Fawkes and/or by those who procured the stories from him would have been consulted. They would have had the opportunity to influence the content, and the strategy, and "the grid" for the story. Rehearsing their response days, perhaps weeks ahead of publication.

MY QUESTION: Is Paul Staines fiercely independent or a party stooge?

Perhaps Paul Staines could now explain in detail his negotiations with the Conservative Party and with any and all of those individuals named in the Red Rag emails. Including but not limited to who he talked with, when he first talked with them, and whether the Conservatives (jointly and severally) took guidance from him on how the matter would be handled, or he took guidance from them?

Thanking him in advance for his co-operation.


Obnoxio The Clown said...

You're not in the least bit tribal, are you?

Chris Paul said...

Can't you tell? Have you actually got anything to say on the matter?

Assuming Paul Staines is a reasonable man he must have negotiated with Tory high command don't you think?

And what on earth was Dorries doing piling in when she could have remained anonymised?

Newmania said...

I confess I have the grestest difficulty understanding in you. Perhaps if you just said what it is you are alleging excatly?

Newmania said...

oops soz for spelling

Play Up Pompeii said...

Just asking a question here, Chris. Not wanting to pre-judge and all that - even though I expect I know the real answer as well as knowing the answer you will give.

When you makes allegations on your own site, who in the Labour Party do you check with or negotiate with?

Names please. Who exactly sanctions or rubber stamps the crap that you post? Or is it again one rule for you and another for everybody else?

Ted Kennedy said...

Am I dead yet? I fucking hope so.

benchilltory said...

"a party stooge"
just like...............

Chris Paul said...

Play Up Pompey - you have been told by your boss NOT to make "unattributable" comments on blogs and websites. They've been told that considering where you are paid from that is completely inappropriate. I agree with your boss on this if nothing else. You are in a sense a civil servant and you should be civil. That's the law.

This blog is fiercely independent. But if a story came to me about let's say a Lib Dem plot to smear Labour people X, Y and Z with untrue, damaging, malicious, drunken nonsense and the smears were otherwise unpublished or likely to be ... I would check with the parties concerned on which bits they'd prefer not to be included in my reports.

And if the Lib Dems were planning on smearing the Tories I might not refer to them but at very least I would be very careful about putting false accusations into the public domain. I am nothing if not careful.

And just to remind anyone who ever feels I've not been my contact details are on the blog and I am happy to consider right to reply, corrections, regrets and even on occasion apologies.

Few and far between though.

I believe that Guido will have done this on this particular story. Though I think that Nadine is making up her own media strategy as she goes along.

Going to the danger.

Chris Paul said...

BHT: Were you going to say ... Iain Dale? The point about Guido is that he is not a party member as far as we know, but he is almost certainly in cahoots.

In previous comment:

delete "done this" and insert "negotiated with the tories" in pen ult para

Obnoxio The Clown said...

almost certainly in cahootsWe will see in 2011. Personally, I think Cameron's "Social Conservatism" has as much to fear from GF as the feartie o' Fife, he's just managed to keep his nose clean.

So far.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Assuming Paul Staines is a reasonable man he must have negotiated with Tory high command don't you think?Even if he did, do you think that makes him beholden to them somehow? Rationally, he'd want to make the maximum amount of stink and if he thought that getting the Tories on board for this exercise would do the trick, then that's fine.

Personally, I'm sure that in years to come, he'll be using the LibDems and / or Labour to stoke the fires, will you be bitching about that too?

What I don't understand is why you keep banging on about GF and not Damian McBride. Talk about shooting the messenger...

Play Up Pompeii said...

Thought so! One rule for you and one for the rest of us mere mortals.

You set the highest standards for everybody else and yet have no regard for the shite that you publish on here.

As for comments from my boss - I don't remember receiving any instructions about blogging. I'd better go and ask her.

Anonymous said...

what? Paul Rowen is a woman?

Chris Paul said...

PUP - you're an utter idiot. Which is presumably not in your personal specification. Shame on you.

Obnoxio - you're obnoxious. Which is. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Chris - this PUP and all the other Dave Hennigan alikes putting comments up on your fearsome blog are getting up my nose. Do you perchance have Paul Rowen's mobile 'phone number? I'd like to complain direct to the man. He must control his idiot boys. They are out of hand. Serving the Rowen re-election and enrichment machine, not the people of Rochdale.

Can't ring either of his offices or either of his dwellings as his Damian McBride might answer.

Chris Paul said...

Hello anonymous

I do have Paul Rowen's mobile number as it goes. But I'm not going to be giving it out to anonymous commenters or posting it on the blog. Sorry. There are people reading here who have been known to harass people, contact their relatives, and the rest.

I'm not even sure I'm going to ever bother ringing it. Probably better to doorstep the useless sod at one of his homes or better still a press conference, public meeting or the like. Hey, that might work!

But ... If you search wide and deep you'll probably turn it up on Google anyway? I've not checked that, but probably.

Meanwhile PR has posted a rather smeary "letter from parliament" at Malcolm "Goebels*" Journeaux's blogsite. But not on his own webpage ... paid for by the taxpayer ... and produced by some local chancers, effectively getting up to £10,000 of taxpayers money to do Rowen and Hennigan's bidding, web-wise.

Starts well enough. But when it mentions Cyril Smith and Dave Hennigan as victims of allegedly "actionable if in a newspaper" allegations it is one of those famous "reverse smears".

"Is Malcolm worth suing?" you're asking. Does he actually own that Bentley with the vanity plates? And does he make much money from his piss poor "slightly mucky*" glamour photography?

And is Malcolm completely in the pocket of Hennigan? A sock puppet for a horrid nasty tax-payer waged McBrideivist?

And finally, did Paul Rowen actually approve the text of the rant posted at RO? Including the smear against Rochdale Labour Party contained therein?

Best w

Chris P

* satirical, not serious

Anonymous said...

Rochdale Online and Malky J (39): sue-ability quotient direct = 60%; indirect = 100%. RO is half owned by the Oldham Chronicle. Not only worth suing but also you'd have thought legally competent and responsible. Long history and high standards. GMG would be delighted to see their local rivals in trouble over legals and gutter fights.

Malcolm's private investors might also be worth checking out. I'm pretty sure they didn't invest in some Hennigan plaything, designed solely to big up corrupt Lib Dems.

Rochdale Rapper said...

Paul Rowen's private mobile number is no good if you are a constituent. But if you are a property developer who wants a kind word on an awkward planning application then who knows what magic could happen dialling that golden number?

Of course Paul would never pocket the cash himself. He doesn't need to bark when he has a 25 stone 80 year old mentor with a track record in Houdini-esque party funding tactics.

Time will tell just how far this mess goes in Rochdale.

The Tortoise of Inevitability is catching up to the Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

don't you mean hare?
Or are you talking about a vibrator?

Play Up Pompeii said...

To my limited knowledge on the matter, Paul Rowen is not a woman. Which would imply another conclusion. Which in turn would imply that you haven't a clue what you are talking about. Nor have any of other alter egos.

Heavy emphasis on the egos part.

So answer the bloody question.

Rochdale Rapper said...

What question?
How much does Dave Hennigan get paid?

(and how does it compare to the other 2 full timers and 2 part timers and the Westminster researcher?)

What a lovely letter Dave wrote in the Rochdale Obscurer defending his employer. Aw bless, what a sweetie.

Just goes to show that as taxpayers we get what we pay for.