This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Tories Are Not Blameless

Gordon Brown finally apologised for the Damian McBride emails today.

Good. I hope it helps draw a line under the affair.

But one of the most nauseating aspects of the email smear plot has been the Tory reaction to it.

Paddy Ashdown's serialised memoirs in the Sunday Times at the weekend included the following extract about his "Paddy Pantsdown" episode:

"All this made life for my family even more difficult and seriously undermined my self confidence too. That, it appears, was precisely what was supposed to happen - as we discovered after the election, when we learnt that some Tories had imported a group of US activists called "the Nerds", whose job was to spread malign rumours and make unfounded personal accusations against senior opposition MPs."

"Perhaps this was done without official sanction from the top of the Conservative Party. But after the election Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of The Sun, revealed that at least one cabinet-level Tory minister had approached him seeking to retail scurrilous and untrue allegations against a number of senior opposition MPs."

I don't know if David Cameron read that or not, but it puts a slightly different perspective on his holier than thou comments.

Did I also mention that his Director of Communications, Andy Coulson, was forced to quit his previous post as a News of the World man, after he was implicated in the small affair of the newspaper paying someone to tap into the mobile phones of senior members of the Royal Family?

As this shows, Cameron doesn't exactly surround himself with reputable characters (Coulson, Osborne, Ashcroft...the list goes on).

I am not for one moment trying to diminish the unjustifiable smears McBride was trying to spread.

But it does put things in a bit of perspective. The Tories are certainly not the innocent victims in all of this.


Anonymous said...

Hang on your logic is a little flawed isn't it? Firstly, I thought Paddy Ashdown's affair with his Secretary was a fact not a made up smear.
There's a big difference between smears of the type concocted by Damien McBride against Tories and Labour MP's alike.
Secondly, that aside, where's the evidence that the Tories hired a group of US specialists to engage in smear? Okay so Paddy Ashdown says he was told "some Tories" had imported some US Specialists. Hhmmm...
Even Ashdown says of the tory Prime Minister, John Major "the Lib Dem MPs, and especially my frontbench colleagues, were outstanding, as was John Major [then prime minister], who wrote me a private letter expressing his sympathy and support."
Do you understand the distinction between a Prime Minister's Office disseminating smears (Brown) and an Office and a group of Conservatives allegedly looking for real dirt?
Where's the evidence that "the Nerds" even existed and what smears did they pump out in 1992?

Alex Finnegan said...

I accept that there is a difference between made up smears and genuine facts.

But why would a senior minister admit to it, and to Ashdown's face, if it weren't true? And also, why did Clinton fall out with Major in 1992? Because he knew the Tories were colluding with the Republicans to dig up dirt on him.

Negative campaigning is on thing and every Party does it. I think this is fine and justifiable sometimes. But the McBride and Ashdown affair are about the politics of personal destruction and this isn't healthy or right. It should have no place in our system.

OldLabourGuy said...

We've only Ashdown's word for any of this and unless he's incapable of lying his word is worth no more than that of Damian McBride or Andy Coulson.

BTW: It isn't just tories who are reacting badly. Take a look at this -