Politics lessons from Toby Ziegler…

14 12 2011

The Right wing Ultras in our party are rubbing their hands over the negative briefings  against our leader.

I come from a South Wales mining community which was let down in the 80s when Labour became more interested in fighting itself than fighting the Tories. We are in danger of doing this again.

Every time I read about a “high profile Labour MP” or “insider” privately complaining to Dan Hodges or other hacks I’m reminded on the great scene from the West Wing where Toby calls in the Campaign team on a Sunday:

There’s an old saying: “Those who speak, don’t know; and those who know, don’t speak.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I know that by and large the press doesn’t care who really knows what as long as they’ve got a quote… 

We’re a group. We’re a team…We win together, we lose together, we celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them together…And if you don’t like this team… then, there’s the door…

It’s great to be in the know. It’s great to have the scoop, to have the skinny, to be able to go to a reporter and say, “I know something you don’t know.”

And so the press becomes your constituents and you sell out the team

I think any senior Labour figures briefing the press needs to decide who their constituents are.

Millions of voters up and down the country aren’t interested in Westminster’s Versailles like palace intrigue. Millions of voters up and down the country want Labour to use Westminster to empower them and to protect them… and if you don’t like it… then there’s the door.

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