Monday, April 13, 2009

Smeargate: the Downing Street emails scandal

This Easter weekend has been a big weekend for news in British politics. Gordon Brown’s key adviser Damian McBride was forced to resign after an email he sent smearing top Conservatives fell into the hands of a prominent blogger. Damian McBride was forced to resign after an email he sent smearing top Conservatives fell into the hands of a prominent blogger. Here Christopher Hope, The Daily Telegraph's Whitehall Editor, explains the background to the scandal, and how The Daily Telegraph came to have a hand in the downfall of one of Gordon Brown's top aides. The downfall of Damian McBride has its roots in a speech by Communities secretary Hazel Blears last November, when she warned of the increasing powers of rightwing bloggers to influence political debate. In her speech she complained about a "spreading corrosive cynicism... by people with disdain for the political system and politicians. The most popular blogs are right-wing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes." (link via telegraph.co.uk) I don't profess to understand everything about British politics but without a doubt I can see that this dirty tricks scandal is despicable! One thing I can say though is thank goodness for free speech and the power of blogs, particularly political blogs such as Guido Fawkes' Blog and Iain Dale's Diary.

The health secretary, Alan Johnson states that Gordon Brown does not have to apologise for emails sent by his aide proposing a smear campaign against David Cameron. (link via guardian.co.uk)

What do you think? Do you think Gordon Brown should apologise? If you are a supporter of the Labour party, has it changed your views about the party? What are your thoughts about the whole scandal? And what do you think about British politics?

2 comments:

  1. The trouble is, when Labour came to power under Tony Blair, they did fly a very high-handed flag. At that time, the Tories had undergone several scandals, which the newspapers loved to call "sleaze", and New Labour claimed they were going to be the no-sleaze party. They would operate openly, and above suspicion, and not stoop to dirty political games like smearing their opponents' names. Sadly, a stint in power always seems to corrupt.

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  2. Exactly, Iota! The Labour party have been caught out now and it makes a mockery of all their promises about a no-sleaze party. And I agree with you - power always seems to corrupt. I'm beginning to wonder if any politicians can be trusted.

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