Monday, February 13, 2006

Another Load of Crap from Tom Baldwin

Tom Baldwin is Washington Correspondent for The Times. He used to work in the lobby and was considered to be Alastair Campbell's chief missionary on earth. If he wrote a story you could be sure that Big Al had tipped him the wink. He also had another mission. To do down the Conservative Party at every opportunity. Hardly a week would go by where he didn't find, or would be given, some little snippet of information which he would sensationalise beyond all recognition. He had a few other unsavoury habits, which I won't go into here. Baldwin was one political journalist I tried to make sure I avoided. Today he has written an article accusing the Conservatives of plotting to emulate the Republican Party's use of dirty tricks on the internet. He cites as evidence Tim Montgomerie's five week sojourn in Washington (lucky guy!) to learn more about the use of the internet in political campaigns. Tim's going to submit a full report to Tory Party chairman Francis Maude. He happened to run into Baldwin at a conference and today's article was the result. You can read it HERE. Many of you will know that Tim runs ConservativeHome.com and is a devout Christian. I can think of few people less likely to promote the kind of dirty tricks suggested by Baldwin. Tim gives his version of events HERE. If you really want to know what Baldwin is capable of, read Michael Ashcroft's book, Dirty Politics, Dirty Times. I'd love to repeat it here, but Michael Ashcroft has deeper pockets than I have! Personally, I'm delighted that the Tory Party has had the foreight to use the experience of someone like Tim to learn about new campaigning techniques. We're light years behind America in using technology in political campaigns and we should take every opportunity to catch up. And that doesn't mean I'm promoting the use of negative campaigning, before anyone takes a pot-shot at me. Not that it'll stop them!

6 comments:

Aidan Brack said...

Internet campaigning is odd. I think it's probably of more use in leadership elections than in general elections given that it tends to focus on individuals or much broader issues. I'd suggest that probably you're more likely to see it being used to attack more than to give a push to a particular party voicing a particular issue because of the three party system - it's all very well saying "we should support issue y" but if two parties do then the electoral benefit will be split whilst it will harm the other.

I think you're right though - we shouldn't be afraid of internet campaigning. If it raises awareness and interest that can only be a good thing in the long-term.

russ said...

As someone who lives in Washington I can tell you that Christianity has nothing to do with political means justifying political ends.

Richard Gibbs said...

Smarter campaigning is important - marketting techniques are light years ahead of a lot of stuff used in the political world. The internet does play a part in that, but as Aidan says, it is a strange beast and I'm not entirely sure it would work as well as it's hyped up to be.
Having said that, look at the wealth of blog comment and debate that goes on; far more than in most other mediums. Tim Montgomerie's foray to the US bodes well for the Tory party's use of the internet as a campaigning tool.
There's nothing wrong with it being used as an attack tool as long as it is done in a reasoned way; the dumber soundbites have had their day, on the internet or TV, so if it were used as a way of propounding ideas, I think the potential is there.

James.R.Skinner said...

Hi. Just wondering if you could add my site to your links page. Im currently trying to advertise my site, so being apart of your links column would be much appreciated. Thank you.

www.conservative.co.nr

Paul Linford said...

He had a few other unsavoury habits, which I won't go into here.

Oh go on Iain, you know you want to - Guido already has!

pat said...

Tom Baldwin writing in the Nov. 30 2006 Times:

"In a devastating verdict on Tony Blair’s decision to back war in Iraq and his “totally one-sided” relationship with President Bush, a US State Department official has said that Britain’s role as a bridge between America and Europe is now “disappearing before our eyes”. Kendall Myers, a senior State Department analyst, disclosed that..."

This is the same Kendall Myers who was just charged with spying for Cuba.

But the Times didn't report the latter.