Our politicians should be scared of us

Now that the initial euphoria regarding the McBride/Draper smear campaign seems to be evaporating, it’s perhaps time to look at the main protagonists, what state they’re in and what should happen next.

Well, Damian McBride has gone – not sacked but forced to resign. That’s a mistake right there and a good example of poor damage limitation on behalf of whoever is running things at No 10 – and you have to wonder about that. In business if I wanted to get a clear message across to the public – as well as my employees – that someone working for me had fucked up big time, then, whether my motivations were sincere or not, I’d sack them, tell them to clear their desk and not bother asking for another job with me. Obviously this wasn’t done and shows weakness.

Derek ‘Dolly’ Draper has gone ‘on holiday’ – I’d guess after booking with LastMinute.com – and seems to be facing an uncertain future. He’s come out of this looking a right twat and I can’t see that the Nu Labour leadership or apparatchiks are going to want him back. It’s not as if he was ever anything but a liability and champagne socialists aren’t exactly good purveyors of PR in these difficult economic times.

I think it’s too early to speculate about anyone else who was directly involved in the smear campaign. Yes, emails seem to have been copied to various people but there’s a wall of denial and silence there. Perhaps Guido has something else up his sleeve? We’ll have to wait and see. It may be that Gordon Brown will yet seek to take punitive measures further up the food chain but now is not the time for action it would seem.

That brings us very nicely to Gordon Brown. He’s in a bit of a cleft stick in all of this – damned if he apologises and damned if he doesn’t. At the moment the official line is that duty has been done with the ‘firing’ of McBride and that as no-one else is responsible then no-one part from McBride needs to apologise. Health Secretary Alan Johnson has been wheeled out in an attempt to take some of the heat off Brown to state that

“Gordon Brown had nothing to do with this. You apologise for the things you are responsible for.”

I’m not sure this does Brown any favours at all. Not accepting direct responsibility makes you appear as if you exerted no control over your staff, whilst accepting responsibility makes you sound as if you were complicit in the smear campaign.

Those words will come back and haunt our PM for months to come.

So, that’s the cleft stick that Brown is in.

Johnson also says that he personally feels “some shame” over the smear tactics that McBride and Draper were going to use, which sounds unapologetic to say the least.

David Cameron has demanded an apology and provided the cleft stick that Brown is in and seems to be on a winner with the public watching fascinated as people in high places wriggle and writhe and just look more ineffectual and evasive as time goes by. He can afford to wait and savour this gift that fell into his lap.

The part of Paul Staines aka Guido in all of this cannot be undervalued or underplayed. Personally, whether he did it for pleasure or profit I don’t care. Whether he’s right-wing or left-wing, I don’t care. Whatever his politics or motivation he’s exposed a depth of corruption within the walls of No 10 that has little precedent and has no place in a fair and just political system that is part of a modern democracy. I hope he keeps digging and that all the ‘guilty’ are named and shamed.

As I’ve gone to some pains to make clear, this blog is neither right nor left-wing.

All I know is that, under Labour, this country has become a place where civil liberties, personal freedom and choice and respect for those who earn the money that this government recklessly spends and the politicians of all parties grab for themselves are being eroded rapidly, stealthily and cynically.

I’m also not so naive as to believe that this is just about the dangers of the Left. I believe that we should be cautious of the actions and words of all politicians of any party and that they should bear in mind that they are elected to serve us – not the other way round.

If any lesson is to be learned from all this is that unless we’re careful with how much power we allow our goverment to have, then any government will seek to seize more power and use it to control its people.

In short, I want our politicians to be scared of us.


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