McBride & Draper: New Media, Old School

14 04 2009

A month ago I wrote a piece on this blog about Derek Draper and how unsuited I thought he was to lead Labour’s social media campaigns.  I pointed out that he had recently been suspended from the social network de jour – ‘twitter’.   

Little did I know what I had unleashed.  Derek blogged about me using false quotes and misrepresenting my recently published book.  He e-mailed me stating “your legal threats are pathetic,  i can – and will – pour a bucket of shit over anyone’s head who has tried to do the same to me” (sic).  He later the same day emailed many of my colleagues and others in the PR industry with links to his “satirical” blog post.

This was very small beer in comparison to what was in the pipeline for the proposed ‘Red Rag’ site.  Derek Draper and Damian McBride are of the old school ‘command and control’  approach to political media management.   They just don’t get the openness that the social web brings with it.  If you deceive or intimidate there is every chance that it will be made public.  The Guido Fawkes Order Order blog that they appear to want to emulate is anti-government and you just can’t replicate that if you represent the government.

Also of the old school is Tom Watson, the Cabinet Office Minister with overall responsibility for ‘digital engagement’.  The debate rages still as to whether he knew about ‘Red Rag’ but if it had reached the stage where content suggestions were being made by one of his charges then he should have.  The point is quite simple; like Draper and McBride he doesn’t understand the implications for open and transparent politics that come with citizen media.  If you don’t get it, you can’t run it.



8 responses

15 04 2009
Gordon MacMillan

Good post none of it as a surprise, this was always going to happen, I blogged last year on Harry’s Place that bringing him back was a desperate move.

15 04 2009
Nigel Legg

These guys don’t get it because they have been in the pampered velvet lined rut of Downing Street for too long. They need to get out there and take up the challenge of engaging with the voters. I hope that the opposition will use social media to their advantage during the coming election campaigns and give the government a bloody nose – that will make them realise what they’re up against.

15 04 2009

Here here! Derek Draper is a liability who is putting people off engaging in politics and defeating the whole purpose of interactive engagement. The constant bitchyness is doing great damage and the result is higher levels of disengagement and cynicism.

15 04 2009
Stuart Bruce

Tom Watson isn’t of “the old school” and has made it quite clear that he wasn’t involved in Red Rag. And neither Derek or McBride were “one of his charges” so he couldn’t really have been expected to know about what they were up to.

15 04 2009
Pink Raven

As things have turned out “red rag” must be dead in the water. differences of interpretation of facts are the stuff of politics. downright lies are absolutely intolerable.
all politicians, like all of us, have skeletons in their cupboards but the insinuation that labour blogs were to be issued with a string of made up stuff difficult to disprove on the spot is appalling. Stop digging the hole! there’s no credit in sordid fantasy.

15 04 2009
Judith Haire

I don’t know what else there is to say really. The Red Rag thingy makes me yawn and does nothing for Labour’s reputation at a time when every ounce of energy is needed for Go Fourth etc

Good blog though Rob

15 04 2009
under strict embargo » What now for Labour’s online strategy?

[…] of LabourList and Draper’s involvement, despite Draper giving Hanson’s boss at Staniforth a direct lesson in his own corrosive brand of blogger […]

15 04 2009
Rob Brown

Stuart, Tom Watson understands and champions new media but some of his tactics in my opinion are resolutely old school. If Tom Watson isn’t holding the reigns for the Labour’s social media strategy then who is? I maintain that if he didn’t know – he should have.

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