Monday, June 16, 2008

Slugs



I’ve been chatting with a few folks over the last couple of days about David Davis’ announcement that he was going to resign as an MP and stand for re-election on a Civil Liberties/ Libertarian ticket

Based on the half-arsed way Davis went about things and the obvious confusion of the mainstream media and other politicians I was and, to an extent, still am open to the possibility that this was a genuinely spontaneous, genuinely principled act


Of course, even if it were a genuinely principled act, that wouldn’t stop Davis’ campaign acting like a magnet for the kind of spooks, shills, and useful idiots who have made opposition to the government’s creeping authoritarian agenda over the last eleven years the resounding success that it has been


As Lord Patel
mentioned the other day, it seems that David Shayler is the only spook, shill or useful idiot who hasn’t expressed support for Davis in recent days

There was a
particularly interesting article in the Guardian/ Observer on Sunday which included some names familiar to anyone who keeps an eye on the activities of the Editorial Intelligence/ New Commentariat/ Common Purpose crowd of interrelated PR invertebrates whose slimy trail can be seen all over the new media. For example...

‘Within hours of his (Davis’) resignation, senior Labour aides were suggesting the paper could mount a candidate against him; by Friday morning, ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie had offered to stand. MacKenzie has said the idea followed a party for Sun editor Rebekah Wade's 40th birthday, attended by Murdoch, on Thursday night. But Wade's inclusion on the guest list for a girlie sleepover hosted by Sarah Brown at Chequers this weekend has only fuelled speculation that Downing Street was closely involved in encouraging the Sun to join the fight.’

Sarah Brown is, of course, a mate of Julia Hobsbawn, the founder of Editorial Intelligence and creator of the term ‘New Commentariat’ and all the shilltastic bloggy goodness that goes with it

But just because the stench of new media manipulation and the clatter of professional self-publicists rattling into action started emanating from around Davis' campaign that itself didn’t suggest Davis himself was part of that side of things


-

but then a funny thing that happened to me today


Over on Guido Fawkes' blog this afternoon, Mr Fawkes announced that David Davis' campaign website would have the following url…

DAVIDDAVISFORFREEDOM.COM


Being a curious soul I did a swift ‘whois’ and came up with this name as the registrant's address


Paul Borge, 40 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LG, UK

A bit of googling and I discovered that Mr Borge is a senior IT bod with a PR agency called
Fleishman-Hillard

More googling and I discovered that F-H UK is headed up by a guy called
Kevin Bell, a former Thatcher adviser, who's kind of big on pushing for ID cards and the lovely contract 'work' that would come with them

...which struck me as a strange choice of PR agency for someone launching a Libertarian campaign


Not sure, and I'm still not sure, if I had made an error or not I asked my friend The Blobfish to comment on Fawkes’ blog asking folk to confirm or refute this train of research

After a little while someone came back and said, no, the domain was actually registered to Davis and Blobfish was mistaken/ a liar/ a troll employed by David Cameron


I repeated the whois search for myself and also got Davis' name and address - though whois did mention that the entry was updated sometime today

A little more searching around and I found what appears to be a cache of an older entry for DAVIDDAVISFORFREEDOM.COM (it's here but presumably not for long) and there was Mr Borge’s name back again...


Now I may be barking up the wrong tree here (I'm nursing a shocking cold), and I'm more than open to being put straight, but it does look like Davis’ campaign url was registered by an employee of a PR company, headed by someone who thinks ID cards are fucking ace, and subsequently re-registered to Davis’ name and address only today


Strange n’est ce pas?


That other great conservative libertarian maverick Ron Paul - urging concerned citizens to put all their eggs into one basket case


As someone said to me a few days ago, truly spontaneous expressions of mass dissent rarely start from the top down...


.

39 comments:

The Underdoug said...

And there was me thinking that the reason that DD resigned was that he realised that he would be removed from post v quickly once the next Gen Election was won (I see 'call me Dave' as a Tony Bliar wannabe who will be drunk on power, drunk on the causes of power once he gets his paws on the levers and there would be no way that Cameron would give up authoritarian power given to him at little political cost - all of which would be borne by ZaNuLiebour).

But if this has come from the top of the sTory party then I reckon Machiavelli himself should be called in to start work on a second edition of The Prince.

Maybe that's why PRupe (shorthand for Ziz's Rupe the Poop) backed off (silly little things like electoral law wouldn't have got in the way).

Stef said...

I still think that DD did resign for that reason but the fact that his campaign seems (as yet unconfirmed) to be partly in the hands of an establishment agenda friendly PR agency is, to say the least, peculiar

Anonymous said...

Intriguing stuff, almost like something out of State of Play. David Davis may well be entirely innocent but it's hard to believe that FH aren't aware of this which makes it very hard to understand why they'd be involved at all.

And people think politics is what they see on Question Time!

some research borrowed from another place said...

Not that members of the political establishment couldn't convincingly deny they were born to their own mothers but for all it's worth here's some prior Fleishman-Hilard = Conservative connections

QUOTE
Campaign Backroom Boys

Paul Baverstock has 'quit' his job at spin merchant's Ketchum for KC's leadership campaign. Ketchum handle Carlsberg, and unsurprisingly Baverstock reckons KC is probably the best leader the Tories have never had. Baverstock was director of strategic communications at CCO under IDS. He says he'll be doing strategy, polling and messaging for the Clarke campaign. Guido understands that Ketchum will take him back if KC loses.

Basher [David] Davis is being advised by Kevin Bell of Fleishman-Hillard where he fought Brand X for Procter & Gamble.

David Cameron is aided by George Eustace (a.k.a. George Useless).


CODE
http://www.order-order.com/2005/09/campaign-backroom-boys.html


Not Conservative linked but of relevance:- Support the Fellowes ‘National Identity Fraud Prevention. Week’ campaign

CODE
http://www.fleishman-hillard.co.uk/uploads/fmanager/fh_digital_case_study__fellowes.pdf


QUOTE
Breaking the 11th Commandment

Guido is keeping an eye out for Conservative sinners. The story placed in The Times about Cameron in danger over 'cloud cuckooland' Euro policy was a clever bit of dark arts. Supposedly sourced from supporters who have warned him that his policies on Europe are “absolute madness” and will reopen the party’s wounds on its most divisive issue.

"His pro-EU followers complain that a policy he has adopted to woo Eurosceptics from his rival, David Davis, is “cloud cuckooland” and will inevitably lead to an open rebellion among the party’s MEPs."

Two natives of Brussels, Robert Atkins MEP and Philip Bushill-Mattews MEP, both allegedly Cameron supporters, are quoted attacking Cameron. Clever spin, Cameron 'supporters' using Europe to stir up trouble for Cameron.

Who is actually stirring up trouble? Step forward Kevin Bell of Fleishman-Hillard and former protégé of Lord Tinker-Bell of Colombia. Scott Colvin, ex-Tory HQ now spinning at Fleishman Europe, assists him and along with David Hart they aim to stop the hustings becoming a coronation and put out more stories like today's one in The Times.

They are going to put particular effort into creating spontaneous "grassroots stories" that do not obviously come from Basher's campaign. Lets hope they are more successful than they were with the last machiavellian attempt at creating 'spontaneous support' for DD. The result was David Hart's girlfriend made a bit of a tit of herself and Basher in those t-shirts...


CODE
http://www.order-order.com/2005/11/breaking-11th-commandment.html


QUOTE
New London mayor Boris Johnson has hired ex-BBC political correspondent Guto Harri as his director of communications.

Mr Harri, 41, left the BBC earlier this year to work as a consultant for PR company Fleishman Hillard.


CODE
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7392127.stm


QUOTE
Total Politics Because Knowledge is Power

Advisory Board

So what's the Total Politics Advisory Board about? Put simply it's about keeping Total Politics on track. We've drawn together a team of people from across the political world to offer advice and guidance on Total Politics development and direction, ensuring that we deliver a magazine worthy of our readers' time and attention. Oh, there's a reasonable chance you might have heard of some of them.


Lord Ashdown
David Davis
Guto Harri
Shami Chakrabarti
Andrew MacKinlay
Lord Trimble
Caroline Lucas
Chris Huhne
...etc..

CODE
http://www.totalpolitics.com/advisory_board.php


Gavin Megaw and David Hart, two former Conservative party aides work for FH.

Megaw: 'The average audience will remember just seven percent of what you say'

CODE
http://www.fleishman-hillard.co.uk/uploads/fmanager/pan_training_08.07.pdf


The blonde 'DD for me' girl featured here

CODE
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7450803.stm


and here

CODE
http://www.order-order.com/2005/10/davis-boobs.html


is according to Guy Fawkes Zoë Aylward, the girlfriend of David Hart of Fleishman-Hillard.

Also a round-up of David Davis' staff in the 2005 conservative leader constest that includes David Hart

CODE
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/toryleadership/2005/10/nick_wood_appoi.html


Intellect Conference: ID Cards: Towards Procurement & Implementation
Supported by the Home Office
6 June 2005; Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, London

QUOTE
......"Intellect members and the wider UK technology industry have the ability to meet the technological challenges created by the Government’s ID Cards proposals, and are confident that the proposed 2008 deadlines can be met....


CODE
http://web.archive.org/web/20061212054929/http://intellectuk.org/events/reviews/id_cards_conference.asp


CODE
http://web.archive.org/web/20050929223954/http://www.intellectuk.org/events/id_agenda160305.pdf


Fleishman-Hillard are also known as Government Policy Consultants (GPC)

40 Long Acre is also the London home of VOX Global Mandate

CODE
http://www.voxglobal.net/contact/


Caroline Wunnerlich works for both VOX and Fleishman-Hillard

A close neighbour of FH, residing at 39 Long Acre, is Celador Films, the makers of The Descent

A somewhat short but interesting article on the Glastonbury 'mini-police-state' and Intellect

QUOTE
UK ID cards by stealth rolled out at Glastonbury

Leader of the House of Commons Geoff Hoon has scheduled the first vote on the government's controversial ID cards scheme on Tuesday 28th June. In a convenient and sneaky move this will be the same day many MPs will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, thus many MP's will be away from the House. A succession of Tory MPs protested that the Government had deliberately timetabled the events for the same day to prevent MPs from attending both, but Hoon has dismissed their concerns as conspiracy theories.


CODE
http://www.global-elite.org/node/319

The Underdoug said...

Maybe one should treat PR agencies like lawyers, the mouthpieces of their clients: you keep paying me, I'll keep saying what you want me to say.

Perhaps he needs a new campaign website:

DAVIDDAVISISINNOCENT.COM

Stef said...

f*** me

I despair...

Tom said...

Interesting. Kevin Bell also publicised Davis' leadership bid in 2005. Fawkes blog covered that at the time.

It does put the politician's stance on ID cards into perspective. Not very principled to say the least.

The Underdoug said...

My heartfelt thanks to: some research borrowed from another place

Er... wow!

I started to get my hopes up.

Now I feel completely let down.

Silly me.

I'll try to make sure that won't happen again.

The Underdoug said...

My heartfelt thanks to you too, Stef.

This is clearly going to turn out to be a classic example of a populace believing they're part of a spontaneous movement when actually everything is being manipulated.

They might have modernised astroturf not to scuff the knees when sliding on it, but it be astroturf all the same.

What I'd like to know is if the thing is being manipulated from the top, then what the hell is the end game?

Maybe it's all about the acquisition of power for power's sake alone (Orwell was right - incidentally is use of the name Orwell becoming an addebdum to Godwin's law?). One of my favourite lines from the original Stepford Wives film:

Q. Why are you doing this?
A. Because we can.

Stef said...

I think you'll find there's a good chance that Stepford Wives quote originally started life as...

'Why do dogs lick their balls?'

How a company cashed in on anthrax said...

BioPort also hired Ruder Finn and Fleishman-Hillard, high-powered public relations firms staffed by many former government officials.

BioPort, still the nation's only licensed anthrax vaccine manufacturer, began sponsoring "public education seminars" and studies to build support for a bigger government stockpile of the drug.

On the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, six doctors, scientists and former military officers - described as a "panel of bioterrorism experts" by BioPort - announced the need for preparedness. Their primary recommendation was to not rely on a new anthrax vaccine but to purchase millions of doses of BioPort's product.

BioPort paid several of the people on that panel to review and endorse the report, including former military officers who only a year before told Congress how safe and effective the company's vaccine was.

They included Marine Maj. Gen. Randy West and Lt. Gen. Ronald Blanck, a former Army surgeon general.

West said he was paid $5,000 for reviewing the report, which was written by either BioPort or its public relations agent - not the experts on the panel.

Even though the ghost writing wasn't known at the time, a critic from the conservative Cato Institute publicly dismissed the panel's work as "just BioPort trying to make some money."

The Underdoug said...

Stef said:

"I think you'll find there's a good chance that Stepford Wives quote originally started life as...

'Why do dogs lick their balls?'"

This is quite true - at first I thought it wasn't in context re: human manipulation and enslavement but then...

Vic said...

This image seems disturbingly appropriate...

Stef said...

@vic

presumably, the incriminating pictures, or whatever, get wheeled out some way down the line

Anonymous said...

I don't get the Ron Paul photo (and its caption). But then again, I'm not a native speaker of the english language, nor a resident or native speaker of an english speaking county... I haven't even been to the US or UK yet (yet, I lived in South Africa as a little child)

ron davis said...

Ron Paul is a conservative politician who stood for election on a Libertarian ticket, gained a lot of grassroots support from people disillusioned with the political process and then left those people looking, and feeling, like dicks

Anyone supporting David Davis' campaign would, of course, run no such risk

Anonymous said...

Did you ever manage to track down a copy of Frank Kitson, Low intensity operations: subversion, insurgency, peacekeeping (1971)?

Watching Them, Watching Us said...

A large public relations agency is going to have some clients with mutualy opposing political views, just like lawyers or accountants or management consultants.

David Davis's campaign website (daviddavisforfreedom, daviddavis4freedom both with the .com, .org, .org.uk and .co.uk domain name extensions) seems to have been exposed to the internet for a short while, before its official launch.

See NuLabour.org.uk

2ndHandInfo said...

^ It can be had for £12:

http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwork=4063123&matches=7&author=frank+kitson&cm_sp=works*listing*title

Stef said...

@wtwu

A PR agency's or lawyer's track record and client portfolio are, or should be, the main factors prospective clients consider in making their selection

If Davis was selling washing powder or plugging his memoirs I'd agree with you

He isn't

Just Study What We Do said...

We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do

Stef said...

It does put the politician's stance on ID cards into perspective. Not very principled to say the least.

I think DD probably did quit on what he consciously believed to be a matter of principle. The 42 days (as opposed to 28 days before that) could simply have been the straw that broke the camel's back

He also possibly had a moment of clarity and realised that he was going to get the shaft if/ when Cameron came into power

Once that happened a damage limitation exercise kicked in. Not because of anything DD is personally capable of achieving but because his stunt may have sparked off unforeseen, uncontrollable consequences amongst the proles

- Someone from the PR agency he's dealt before with would have given him a call offering to handle things and booked a few domain names

- The professional spooks/ shills and useful idiots would have been mobilised to drape themselves all over Davis' campaign like a cheap suit

None of which necessarily requires any centralised control just a homeostatic response from a self-equilibriating system

Tom said...

Yes, but three years ago he should have had the same feelings on ID cards and must have known who he was dealing with then.

Stef said...

Yup

but, personally, I was hoping that DD's stunt could, just possibly, have sparked off something interesting

It was only a slim hope and it's getting slimmer by the day

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that some people would hope that David Davis would become Britain's Ron Paul, but you really should correct the caption and filename of the Ron Paul picture purporting to be a picture of David Davis. I'm guessing that David Davis is not a dead ringer for Ron Paul. Not much chance of that, but people who've seen neither will assume that that really is David Davis' picture.

Stef said...

and as if by magic...

george orwell is the new mike godwin said...

We control reality because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation -- anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it.

Tom said...

I must admit I struggled to recognise Ron Paul in his photo. I've seen the name often enough though.

Stef said...

RP's a bit of an in-joke amongst certain members of the Conspiraloon Alliance and I sometimes forget that non Alliance members drop by here sometimes

in my defence I was heavily medicated at the time and still am

Stef said...

...and £5 to the first mainstream commentator who uses the expression 'The David Davis revolution!!'

lwtc247 said...

Re:This URL Guido posted....
Has DD at any time, ever personally mentioned it, or is it merely promoted by people purportedly working 'for' him? If DD is sincere, measures would be put in place to try and stop him catalysing more dissent. As you know Tories are cut from the same dictatorial cloth as NeoLabour and both would be eager to stop him. DD may take on assistance which has a plan to undermine him.

On the other hand, if he's a fraud he might be trying to lead dissenters down a one way cud-de-sac.

I don't think DD is exhibiting gatekeeper traits because he could have stayed as an MP and the pretty pathetic civilian based opposition (honestly speaking, and sadly I share responsibility for) would have dribbled along as it has done so for a long time now. Why prod a potential sleeping dragon? It's certainly not anything I'd do if I worked for 'them'

A lot of people are trying to probe DD for some ulterior motive, and there may well be one (or tow) there, but I appeal for caution as all this nihilism contributes to the pathetic nature of the struggle which opposes to the “establishment cosh” which brings misery to millions.

The info Stef uncovered should make people suspicious, and well done Stef for revealing the associations, but it doesn’t automatically mean what DD is trying to pull off some diversionary scam. He may be, but (and I agree with Stef) there is still room here to believe DD actions were that of the heart and in the cause of liberty.

Even though I oppose secular systems and believe they are always doomed to failure, I think it’s plain to see the liberty DD says he is standing for is a lot less destructive than whats is happening when the grubbyment plays a free hand.

It seems I could make a safe bet, that anyone stepping up and trying to champion a worthy cause, would have many supposed supporters of libertarianism fire off volleys of physical or verbal daggers likely to cause mortal wounds. That such a champion could be effective outside what is already in the public gaze is highly unlikely, (Craig Murray is exemplorary) so why not –cautiously- support the next best thing.

It seems Puritanism is prolific amongst sceptics, and on occasions it may do more harm than good.

Stef said...

The Puritanism/nihilism you refer to derives in general from a belief that people permitted senior positions in public life rarely experience Damascene Conversions and specifically from the fact that DD has let plenty of authoritarianism pass under his nose without making a stand

Not that it counts for much but I'm currently of the opinion that DD probably is sincere. Some of the people and interests now gravitating towards him are less so

Taking the PR agency as an example, and putting any fantasies about professional impartiality aside, imagine McDonalds is your biggest client and some one-man band outfit strolls into your office wanting to promote a campaign which conclusively proves that burgers give you cancer. What are you going to do?

Come to think of it, what's the one-man band outfit doing approaching you in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Hullo

Could someone explain the Common Purpose story?
All I found was stuff like a video on youtube by some ex-navy guy who was basically saying that this Common Purpose thing was responsible for a surge in paedophilia and was part of a huge conspiracy to impose an EU communist government...
Looks a lot like an extreme right sort of conspiracy theory to me, only without jews and/or freemasons.

the woman on the ealing omnibus said...

I don't know about Ron Paul DD's moment of madnes means he starts beginning to look like Ron "Badger" Davis.

No mention of a Mrs Davis ?

lwtc247 said...

At risk of appearing to be a member of the DD fan club, {I'm not, even though I admire his articulate manner and give praise for what he seems to be taking on} looking at his voting record, I'm don't think he has been so passive while NeoLabour and many 'conventional thinkers[sic]' within parliament actively voted for it.

One things for sure though, WE also have have done next to nothing either, or that which we have done ammounts to nothing particularly effective, in opposing the creeping fascist regime.

Personally, I'm going to operate on this basis: Support him for his stance on liberty, but junk him should he show clear signs of being a fraud.

Given the stakes for all of us and our kids, I urge you all to consider thinking about adopting a similar stance.

And I know of his damning role in supporting the annhilation of over a million Iraqi people. Giving my miniscule support for DD on liberty isn't so easy, but one hopes in doing so, it is less likely that ultimately others will be less likely to suffer the same fate.

Stef said...

@lwtc247

I personally would be delighted if the DD campaign turns out to be the real thing

But I don't think turning the tide is going to be anywhere so easy

And I wouldn't write off the collective efforts of us little people as being all that ineffective.

Educating and persuading people at the personal or local level may not bring about dramatic overnight change but it might deliver something that lasts

Stef said...

Could someone explain the Common Purpose story?

I wrote a post about CP some time back here and there's a pile of comments underneath

I keep meaning to knock up another post on the subject and will do so one of these days

Looks a lot like an extreme right sort of conspiracy theory to me, only without jews and/or freemasons.

actually, I think you'll find that if scratch away a little the juwes and the freemasons do get a look in

personally, as mentioned in the post above, I do think CP followers are onto something significant but view it through the prism of their existing ideologies

CP is no more Communist than the Bush or Blair/Brown regimes. And using the term Communist, instead of totalitarian, fascist or elitist, to describe CP turns a lot of potential CP opponents right off

CP is not unique and simply part of an interlocked network of dodgy think tanks, quangos, lobby groups, and consultancies, populated by the kind of bloodless, sociopathic droids which now dominate our public life. Using Common Purpose as a generic term to describe this bunch of fuckers is fine. Using the term in a way that suggests that the specific organisation called Common Purpose controls everything is misleading

Bridget Dunne said...

The dead tree media finally catch up!

Anonymous said...

"The dead tree media finally catch up!"

Why don't you kick up a fuss, Steph?

See, "The Guardian Apologizes For Plagiarizing The eXile
Luke Harding Gets Nuked!


Even if you don't kick up a fuss; the lack of acknowledgement of your contribution to the story reduces the newspaper to a laughing stock.