Labourlist: more trouble at mill?

Readers will recall that we broadly stayed out of the whole Draper/McBride/Dale/Guido blog war on this  site.

This wasn’t so much deliberate choice as an undiscussed humdrum content decision, since there wasn’t even a bit part for a Liberal Democrat anywhere in the whole affair, and we try not to blog about blogging too much. So any coverage we did offer would have largely been of the popcorn-and-laughter variety. Folk who read here would know where to go to get their Drapergate fix; we were in no way best placed to deliver it.

But we did take an interest in the funding. I’m still confused about this, but isn’t the involvement of Unite in the funding of the site still contentious? As in, Draper denied Unite’s involvement all along, but no-one else did, and everyone knows they fund it really? If I’ve got that wrong, some passing Draperologist can correct me. I recall Chris Paul commenting that Unite’s £100,000 in support of the project was widely acknowledged, though I don’t know where he got that from. After Smeargate broke, however, Unite denied any such connection to the FT’s Westminster Blog – see Mr Dale for further discussion of this denial and links. Some Labour activists like Dave Cole accepted the denial, and uneasily wanted to know who, in that case, did fund Labourlist.*

I only bring all this up now (popcorn, popcorn, munch, munch) because somebody calling themselves Anita Steffenberg, claiming to be from Unite, posted the following on Labourlist yesterday evening:

Here at Unite we were happy to for our members to fund the start up costs of this site. We took the view that this is what our members would want and therefore felt it was something we could hardly refuse. Charlie agreed with Derek that this was a particularly good way of promoting our members interests. We will continue to back this site, as we feel it sets the right tone of debate.

Well, well, I thought, I must have missed something. But then in response to probing from, I think, a Tory commenter, she goes on:

1.Why do we have to announce this [Unite’s involvement with Labourlist]? We are happyto remain a silent partner in this exercise. This site is furthering our memebers interests and why does this need a formal announcement?

2.Of course Unite will continue to fund Labourlist. As stated above, it will further our member’s interests and this site is a home of progressive thinking and bulwark against the Tory Blogosphere.

3. Derek will continue to have our support. He has done a marvellous job in setting up this site. WQhy should we distance ourselves from a man who has done no wrong? McBride made the false allegations. Derek and charlie both agreed that this website was the best way forward of promoting and furthering Unite’s member’s interests and will continue to do so.

I shall remind you that this was posted yesterday evening. So how could a supposed representative of the site’s paymaster not know that Derek had been chopped? Or is it an Imposter trying to get Unite into trouble and should I claim my £5? Neither the internets in general nor Unite’s site yields anything useful on Anita Steffenberg, and while I’m at that I note that Unite’s site yields nothing on Draper or Labourlist either.

Now I quite clearly couldn’t give a damn (popcorn, popcorn) which particular heaving anthills of intrigue and corruption within the Labour party are currently at war with each other, nor what jam-covered sticks the right-wing bloggers have been poking them with. But we are talking about notional funding provided by the subscriptions of a collective of some 2 million people here, many of whom are probably Normal and have Lives that do not involve stopping off in the political blogosphere of an evening.

Twould be a kindness to those people if someone worked out whether there is anything in this Unite business.

Munch, munch, munch.

* It goes without saying that no-one actually needs to “fund” a blog. That’s kind of the point of blogging. But owing to moronic lack of understand at the heart of the New Labour comms machine (I still wince at the memory of Draper on the Daily Politics pointing at Paul Staines and yelling “WHO FUNDED YOU?”), that particular ship has sailed, and this whole discussion is framed as if Labourlist does need some sort of funding.

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  • LabourList apparently does need funding, if only to pay for the presumably expensive but naff custom software they use on the site.

  • And presumably the managers of the site needed a half-decent salary, say about £50,000 p.a. subject to performance and review.

  • Alix Mortimer 7th May '09 - 7:22pm

    I’d give a lot to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting – marketing execs selling to marketing execs. I’ll wager the word “bespoke” cropped up a lot.

  • Yes, and one of them is my girlfriend. She is in a job that needs the protection of a union (liability legal cover) but she’s a Conservative. She detests the Labour Partyt, although of course in retrospect is quite glad of funding the damage Draper has done to them.

  • Hello

    “But then in response to probing” 🙂


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