Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Dirty tricks not unique to one party

The outrage which the Tories have displayed over the antics of Damien McBride, and his attempts to publicise untrue allegations, is entirely justifiable of course. What was being planned and discussed was dishonest, cynical, and completely unacceptable.

By coincidence, whilst the storm was at its height over the weekend, I chanced upon this extract from Paddy Ashdown's autobiography in the Sunday Times. (How sad is reading that?). The final two paragraphs (referring, I believe, to the 1992 election) made interesting reading, given the statements being made on the media by prominent conservatives at the same time as I was reading the paper:

"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."


They say there's nothing new under the sun (or in this case, in The Sun), but it put the outrage into a rather different context. I don't, by any means, seek to justify or support what McBride and others were trying to do – it's a wholly unacceptable approach to politics. But people who live in glass houses really should be careful what they do with their stones…

3 comments:

Valleys Mam said...

Agreed, its like a continuum, just depends who is at which point. They both do it and if you look at local elections then its often just as rife.
Its a shame they didn't spend as much time looking for workable policy to sort out the country.

Cibwr said...

This is nothing new, look at what happened on the usenet newsgroup wales.politics.assembly back during the first assembly term where Labour activists, some who were spin doctors, flooded the group with scurrelous and insulting messages against Plaid people and Assembly members. It was revieled that one of these was posting from transport house in Cardiff and Millbank in London. If it wasn't officially sanctioned it was at least winked at. If I remember rightly Martin Shipton ran an expose on it at the time. I have found a link to it from The Register.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/01/30/new_labours_internet_dirty_tricks/

Cibwr said...

Opps that didn't come out in full...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/01/30/new_labours_internet_dirty_tricks/