Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tory smear tactics

I have been following the row over the plans of a number 10 advisor and one Dolly Draper to publish gossip, rumour and innuendo about a few Tories on a planned new blog called Red Rag. Leaked emails detailing some of the potential gossip have caused much upset to many people, we are told.

I am not in any way defending their actions, but I am vaguely reminded of a story that was doing the rounds about 10 - 15 years ago, can anyone help me to think where I might have read about this? As I recall it was alleged that the Tories were tailing Gordon Brown and I seem to recall a particular allegation that they had been looking in his dustbins, because they thought he was gay and wanted to catch him out, ideally with a young lover. I also have an even more vague recollection that this may have involved the Tory Whips Office. Although this latter might be mixed up in my mind with something completely different I read in Brandreth's diary.

It would be interesting to find out whether I have dreamt all this or whether there was ever such a rumour (of trailing GB, not of his sexuality) and what came of it, if anything.

Pots and kettles are obviously coming to my mind so it would be useful to get a handle on this.

Please ensure that any responses you make to this post use the appropriate language to distinguish between fact and allegation - unless you are reporting the outcomes of public trials etc.


Anonymous said...


often enjoy your musings, and i do have a breif recollection of the incident to what you refer

however this post is an illtimed one. You seem to have misjudged the mood on this one. This is a completley shameful incident for the Labour party, it does GB enormous discredit that he belived mcbride to be a suitable person to work with and you should be outright condeming Mcbride(especially with an interest in "ethical goverence!!")

dredging up decades old tory issues that by your own admission you can barely remember is unbecoming.

Louise Baldock said...

Yes, fair point, I accept that this post wont be to everyone's taste. I am not defending McBride, who I had never even heard of until all this happened. I am not defending Draper either, who seems to draw controversy of this nature around him, wherever he pops up.

But I do genuinely have issues with the stink of hypocrisy that is emanating from many politicians.

Here in Liverpool we have just seen a LibDem found guilty and his appeal overturned, for putting out leaflets accusing one of our councillors of being a lap-dancer, yet the LibDem leader insists on referring to his colleague as a man of integrity.

Of course I don't support malicious rumour mongering, but I dont support self-righteous hand-wringers who are guilty of the self-same thing and yet are trying to take the moral highground.

That is the point I was clumsily trying to make.

Paula Keaveney said...

Michael Brown, who used to be a Tory MP in the whips office and is now a columnist was on Radio 4 the other day and he substantiated part of what you are saying. In fact he said he cross referenced his memory with the Giles Brandreth book. Apparently they did spend time gossiping about Gordon browns sexuality and trying to "get something on him". The chief whip at the time, Richard Ryder, apparently put a stop to it.

There are misplaced actions and intentions in all walks of life (and actually I think there are fewer in politics than in some other contexts I have experienced).

Just because the wrong doer in this case was Labour doesn't logically make all labour suspect and the same would apply for other parties/groups/clubs etc.

Louise Baldock said...

Thanks Paula - for both parts of your message!

Anonymous said...

Louise, as a voter in this city who has been telephoned on numerous occasions by both the Labour party and the Labour party under another guise, sharing negative slanderous gossip about the opponents, please dont deny it, another Americanism that has been adopted in an attempt to win elections. My advice would be......."if living in a glass house dont throw stones". Politics has never stooped as low, and its no wonder people dont bother to vote. I used to vote, and vote Labour, but never again!

Louise Baldock said...

Hello anonymous. I most fervently do deny that the Labour Party have been ringing people and sharing slanderous gossip about opponents. For formal telephone work, we have a tight script which is the same across the country and which does not feature any information about the local area.

I challenge you to give detail, because you are making it up.

I suspect you are a LibDem politician who never voted Labour in the first place.

However, if you are not, then I will say this to you. You should not let the actions of a rogue civil servant (not a Labour politician) turn you away from Labour and politics.

This government has delivered the national minimum wage, a life saver to many in Liverpool, likewise the winter fuel allowance and the working families tax credit and the minimum income guarantee for pensioners for instance.

Louise Baldock said...

And you should never forget that Steve Hurst, at the time one of 10 people running the council, was convicted by a Judge who said of him "This was a very close election and as the Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats on Merseyside this sort of conduct by Mr Hurst brings considerable discredit on his party and local politicians in general. At a time when politicians are under the spotlight for their probity this was dirty tactics of the worst kind and in our judgement a very serious matter."