Thursday 16 April 2009

Mr Draper reflects

Derek Draper says that he is hoping to remain as editor of LabourList, but at least he seems to realise that this is unlikely. I do not wish to bang on unnecessarily about it. Nor is this personal: it is about the party's reputation
But if Derek is using a "period of reflection" to see if he can continue, and aspires to comeback and turn it around, then it will clearly be better for all concerned if further Labour grassroots voices continue to explain politely and clearly why he can not.

The party general secretary and the chair of the PLP have made Labour's official view clear. The Standard and The Mirror both report on what I have written here on Next Left. (None of this has been coordinated, certainly in terms of my own contributions). Across the blogs, the message is loud and clear.

Draper told The Guardian yesterday:

"I deeply regret what I did. I should not have responded to Damian's email as I did. I should have said sorry, that is wrong, I will have nothing to do with it. I have not been online for about 24 hours, but I know there are people saying I should go - but I think LabourList is a good idea and I hope to leave it for a week before deciding whether to try to soldier on, which is what I think at the moment."

He admitted that "part of me feels like I have been an innocent victim, and another part of me in the dark night of the soul feels like I just attract controversy".

This was not an entirely successful interview, reflecting the limits of mid-90s media management techniques today.

Partly, Labour supporters who are desperate to see Draper leave the stage did not want to see an enormous photograph of the disgraced Mr Draper yesterday morning to illustrate his exclusive chat with The Guardian.

Partly, Draper's claim that his mistake was a momentary lapse in responding to an unsolicited email, as if Red Rag were not a project he and McBride had discussed and planned, lacks all credibility.

Meanwhile, LabourList this week has a guest editor Richard Angell, who writes:

No one will believe that two weeks ago I agreed to guest edit LabourList - I am sure it would be more popular to declare that I have ousted Derek Draper - but the truth is that in the run up to the Labour Party's Youth Conference this Saturday there is a passion and enthusiasm that should not go unexplored.

If Derek Draper were to return to edit the site, then it seems clear it will be unable to persuade Ministers and MPs to contribute. And I imagine that a great many of its non-parliamentary contributors will also cut links with it, and take the debates Labour needs to have elsewhere. I would certainly do so myself. But I doubt any of that will prove necessary.

Meanwhile the site remains Draper-free. And so I wish Richard and his contributors the best of luck in showing that our next generation can put the potential of the blogosphere to good and substantive use. And it will be good to see that LabourList could get on to discuss something other than the mess it has helped to cause.

So do please read and contribute to their debates.

1 comment:

Matt Wardman said...

I don't see it.

If DD is serious about continuing the place to be I don't see it. If DD is serious about continuing the place to be is cutting his teeth on a personal blog for the next 500 articles - to get a perspective on how to use other skills which he thinks might be useful online.

If he gets through it will be impressive as he is now starting from position -2, rather than -1.

Slight echoes of James Nayler (but without the hot iron, I hope)?