Friday, September 19, 2008

Labour Home: Needs to Take a Look at Authenticity

What's all this then? The Independent have a front page splash based on a poll that they commissioned. But here's the rub. It was carried out by non-polling or let's say amateur polling organisation LabourHome. Which unlike equivalents from other parties such as Lib Dem Voice and Conservative Home has an open door. Not only for comments, the others do too. But also for authoring posts. Getting those posts on the front page. Taking part in surveys certainly.

There have been a number of outbreaks of "trolling" whereby members of other parties pretend to be Labour members or Labour supporters and post divisive pieces. With their "sock puppets" i.e. themselves under aliases or buddies posting comments and providing recommendations needed to get on the front page.

The results as published by Labour Home themselves are right here. And this is I believe the first time they have revealed to respondents that they were canvassing for the Independent. People are annoyed.

Luke Akehurst ain't happy. He rarely is. Tom Watson ain't happy. He usually is these days.

The poll is a mess. The sample is completely out of control. Despite promises that non-supporters have been removed, it isn't strictly true that Labour Home have the means to distinguish reliably between friend and foe. There's no evidence it is even representative of Labour Home's own readership, never mind the wider "grass roots".

The poll is a mess. Full of leading or push questions as I recall. With the ranking of ministers by name about as clutzy as it gets. What is really being ranked is government policy in each area. Not the specific performance of those named.

The poll is a complete mess. Taking lots of polling assignments from major polling organisations as I do I must say this cheap skatery by the Independent is a case of getting what you've paid for. The professional pollsters do these things more or less as loss leaders anyway. Labour Home may be doing it far cheaper. But it really does show.

North Britain is amazed that the poll gives just 54% wanting rid of Brown and Guido Fawkes has already had two bites.

If Labour Home are going to actually BE a reliable reflection of Labour grass roots they must get a grip of strategy, of operations, and particularly of trolls - writing lead articles for goodness sake!

Just now they're pretending to be a reflection, and being used by enemy bloggers and feeding frenzy mass media to batter their own party. Not clever.

Funnily enough the Labour Home "authenticity" issue was central to my gallop through some Labour blogs on behalf of The Parliamentary Monitor, Conference Special. Filed a lifetime ago. Zeitgeist or what? My hostages to fortune are there too. In the bunker as Guido might say.


Anonymous said...

Looks like you are on to something here, Chris.

I was wondering why the percentage of Labour supporters wanting rid of Brown was as low as 54%. It seems that supporters of other parties have been joining in to inflate the backing for him and keep him in No. 10 as the useless old hack that he is.

Well spotted.

Chris Paul said...

Hey hey! It may be the case anon.

Or vice versa.

If you read my Monitor piece you'll find a suspected Lib Dem - who still seems to be posting at LabourHome - being called out for posting half a dozen broken record attempts to build the Gordon Must Go brand.

Perhaps they are in fact a double or treble agent.

Authenticity is currently lacking from Labour Home. Discuss.

Anonymous said...

I have long suspected you of blog envy, firstly with Iain Dale and now with Labour Home. Remember, Chris, it's not how big it is or how many people get to see it, it's what you do with it that matters.

If authenticity is lacking from Labour Home then it is a fair reflection of the party.

Chris Paul said...


Guido Fawkes said...

I voted to keep Gordon.

Chris Paul said...

We knew you would.

Anonymous said...

Comrades in alms (sic).

Ted Foan said...

I voted to get rid of Gordon - or, at least I would if he had the guts to call a General Election.

Anonymous said...

Whilst LabourHome has an "open door" posting policy, this poll itself is no more or less open to manipulation than the ConservativeHome equivalents - which are equally self-policing.

Chris Paul said...

Yes, Iain that is correct. Or at least has been. And there have been some at least slightly embarrassing surveys on Conservative Home too.

For example on the real views of Tory PPCs and the like. That one presumably being restricted to Tory members?! Can't think of any with the same combination of absurd multiple questions, hidden commissioning by a national newspaper, silly timing etc. Can you?

Mostly they've been single questions not complex surveys.

Lib Dem Voice too has occasionally seen comments running away with themselves and the likes of Lord Greaves asking that they be kept within the party.

But this Labour Home situation, particularly with no attempt to prevent opponents getting their toxic stories on the front page is unique to the Labour version. Let 1000 flowers bloom? Or provide ammunition to ones enemies?

My view is that both Labour Home and the Independent have been foolish on this one.