Thursday, February 12, 2009

Labourlist - not so independent?

Today sees the official launch of the Labourlist website - what this means is they remove the word "beta" from it and it pretty much stays the same as it is. As is clear from the website, LabourList likes to bill itself as Labours "biggest independent grassroots e-network". Ask yourself this question though, how independent can it really be?

This morning, Labourlist and Derek Draper hosted another of its breakfasts, titled "New Labour, New Media". The event took place at Labour HQ, it was sponsored by Tangent Labs.
Bloggers’ Breakfast: “New Labour, new media”

Thursday 12th February 2009

Media Centre, 39 Victoria Street, SW1H 0HA

7.45 Coffee, fruit and pastries

8.00 Chair's introduction - Derek Draper

8.05 Welcome - Ray Collins, Labour Party General Secretary

8.10 Introductory remarks from panel: Lord Mandelson, Douglas Alexander MP, Tom Watson MP, Sue Macmillan and Greg Jackson

8.30 – 9.30 Q & A to panel

9.30 Informal networking over coffee

10.00 Ends
Now lets look at ConservativeHome. Has ConHome ever hosted a special breakfast for Tory bloggers at CCHQ? No. Has ConHome ever provided an event with access to Shadow Cabinet members at CCHQ or elsewhere? No. That is because ConHome really is independent of the Conservative Party. LabourList on the other hand uses the party headquarters for its meetings.

Of course, there would be nothing wrong if LabourList avoided trying to make the claim that it is independent. However, the fact that LabourList's website is hosted on the same server as official Labour Party attack sites like "David Cameron's Economic Policy can only lead one to draw certain conclusions.

Their own legal and financial statements make it clear that they know they're skating a thin line as they admit they're discussing their status with the Electoral Commission. They claim to be funded by advertising but there are no adverts on the site. They claim to be funded by sponsorship but there is no evidence of who is sponsoring them. ConHome is funded by Stephan Shakespeare, that is a known and transparent fact.

LabourList may not receive money direct from the coffers of the Labour Party, but lets not forget that the Labour Party itself, along with many of its high profile members, have not exactly been "whiter than white" when it comes to funding transparency and following the rules.

Until LabourList comes clean and clears its own name about how it is funded its independent integrity will always be questionable. Is it any surprise so many in Labour blogosphere are slagging it off?

19 comments:

nought.point.zero said...

I agree. But, I really wish everyone would just ignore them for a few months and not bless them with the oxygen of publicity.

Anonymous said...

I just like the idea of timetabled "Informal networking over coffee"

Minekiller said...

Dizzy, I think even Labourites are slagging it off because the site content is just plain planet Zog, they're still at the student union bar bollocks.

Still, that what happens when you get interns posing as senior government figures, eh?

Plato said...

I thought Mr Draper said it was funded by Unite when challenged on a comment thread recently?

*wracking (sic) brains trying to remember which one*

wv snotorti!

Anonymous said...

@anon 13.48: agreed. If anybody else had written it you'd assume they were taking the piss!

an ex-apprentice said...

Dear Mr Thinks,

Nice!

I agree with all it except:

"Until LabourList comes clean and clears its own name about how it is funded its independent integrity will always be questionable."

Even when Draper finally admits to his Union funding, the notion that this will create an air of "independent integrity" around LabourList, or indeed anything with which Draper is in any way associated is plainly nonsense.

Woolly thinking Dizzy, I'm surprised at you!

jailhouselawyer said...

"8.30 – 9.30 Q & A to panel".

An hour of bloody questions? It sounds more like waterboarding at Gitmo would be less of a torture!

Lord Snooty said...

I want to set you a challenge, Dizzy. Can you go for a full 7 days without posting something about Draper?

Anonymous said...

The word Beta is still there.

Dennis said...

If a Martian landed and for some inexplicable reason wanted to know about New Labour, LabourList would be a quick way to teach him/her/it.

What is especially dismal is that Draper is, at best, semi-literate. He was born too late: Tony Crosland and Shirley Williams had already kicked away the educational ladder, and poor little Derek had to make do with Southlands High School in Chorley, Lancashire, a comprehensive whose own Web site has been composed by someone with only a passing acquaintance with English usage.

Does this matter? Yes, because clear thought needs clear language. It is ironic that Draper's limited powers of expression, and hence his limited ability to discharge his role as Labour's online saviour, have been bestowed on him by past (and, in one case, mercifully dead) luminaries of that same party.

Besides all which, of course, he is just a common-or-garden twit.

Anonymous said...

"Now lets look at ConservativeHome. Has ConHome ever hosted a special breakfast for Tory bloggers at CCHQ? No. Has ConHome ever provided an event with access to Shadow Cabinet members at CCHQ or elsewhere? No. That is because ConHome really is independent of the Conservative Party. LabourList on the other hand uses the party headquarters for its meetings."

Ah, I see, so ConHome defines what transparency is. That's convenient for Conservative bloggers, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

While we are on transparency and Tory bloggers perhaps you might want to give some details of the informal contacts between CCHQ and Tory friendly bloggers?

Better these things are in the open rather than hidden away - don't you think?

dizzy said...

Well I can only talk about me. I don;t get press releases, and I have never set foot in CCHQ.

Anonymous said...

perhaps they don't need to send press releases if you can access their email servers like Guido was able to do? As for setting foot in CCHQ - you're so 19th century - we've moved beyond the days of a physical prescence being necessary.

dizzy said...

Guido didn;t access their mail servers. He just sent an email toa distribution list which then inserted header and footer information. Look up Majordomo.

Re your point, it is moot, I have a job, in the real world and the only person I have infromally spoekn to at CCHQ is the webby types about techie stuff.

Rightwinggit said...

Dizzy, you missed one from the schedule;

9:40 AM; Bitchfight.

Unsworth said...

Funding? Well I repeatedly asked Draper about that one but he really didn't want to say. Kept referring everyone to the anodyne all-purposes 'statement' on the site - which said absolutely nothing. So, yes, you're absolutely right to question his funds and funding.

In the meantime he's becoming a liability to the Labour Party with his increasingly erratic behaviour. They'll probably ditch him fairly soon. Wonder how long it will be before they do that to Brown?

ivordunmoanin said...

Sorry Dizzy,

Suitably admonished by Polly for wandering absent-mindedly into List_less moderation. Public blogging to be administered on

http://wannabepm.blogspot.com/2009/02/labourlistless.html

Yours sheepishly,
Ivor Dunmoanin X

PS You should see her salsa!

Jabba the Cat said...

Jabba takes it that the official opening of Labourlist means that Draper has now removed the corks from both his mouth and his arse?