Derek Draper gets angry: how ‘new media’ bites itself

“Justify the headline in that fucking story! Go and change it before you become the laughing stock of the lobby!… Doing Guido Fawkes’ dirty work…”

Today I went to a Labour Party ‘bloggers’ breakfast’ to discuss the party’s use of new media. I will blog on that issue later tonight, but I think I should get one little thing out of the way first, which if nothing else sheds light on some of old and new media’s movers and shakers.

The blogosphere is abuzz today with the fallout over David Hencke’s Guardian article alleging that LabourList editor Derek Draper has misled people over his CV. Read the article to see what the allegation is.

Draper has got into protracted arguments with bloggers via web and e-mail before, notably Tim Ireland and Iain Dale. Without entering into the rights and wrongs, let it be sufficient to observe that he has a tendency to get himself entangled in such contretemps, in which both sides seem (note: seem, before one of you complains) happy to prolong the argument.

This morning, over coffee and croissants at Labour HQ, he seemed in a good mood however – even having a joke at his own expense by revealing that an American girl once Googled his name and informed him that “there’s another Derek Draper in England and he’s a complete twat” (belly laughs from the audience of Labour activists and a few journalists). However, at the end of the session we suddenly became aware of some yelling going on in a corner of the room. It was Draper, going at it hammer and tongs with David Hencke (as quoted above), stabbing with his finger at the offending story and accusing him of being in league with Guido (who had already latched onto Hencke’s story here). Draper has since posted an article on LabourList attacking both of them and saying he is consulting solicitors.

Why does this matter? On one level, I would suggest that it doesn’t. Hencke’s colleague Roy Greenslade is, I think, right to say that this is an ‘inside-the-beltway’ story, i.e. about two politico-media personalities that the average person really doesn’t care about. One journalist I spoke to at the meeting emphatically told me they wouldn’t be blogging about it for that very reason (though they would tell everyone they met, natch.)

The reason I’m blogging about it is it does point up an important issue about the position that someone like Draper – in charge of what’s meant to be a broad-based, independent blogging platform for discussing big issues – finds themselves. If you want to harness the power of Web 2.0 to your advantage, you don’t want to be getting caught up in arguments with either ‘dead tree’ journalists or experienced bloggers who question your model and your motives. Differences are one thing, but protracted arguments help nobody. Draper insists to his critics that he is too busy building a popular website to take too much time out to address their gripes, but then he goes and writes long posts on his own website about non-Labour Party issues.

But the crux of the issue isn’t about Draper. And Derek, if you’re reading this, I hope you don’t think this post is unfair on you – I’m not judging; I leave that to other people. It is this: new media is a double-edged sword. By taking hold of it you also give people the wherewithal to wound you through undermining the credibility of your organisation or your people. And as one geeky type told me at the bloggers’  bunfight breakfast, there’s a risk that the mainstream media may respond to the rise of gossip-mongering websites like Guido’s by trying to rush out such stories themselves before they’ve been right round the blogosphere. When a political party throws itself into new media campaigning and tries to open up channels with the public that way, it seems it will encounter elephant traps. (I’m trying to think of that happening to the Tories recently, but can’t think of an example – I don’t think Titiangate counts. If you can, let me know.)


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14 Responses to “Derek Draper gets angry: how ‘new media’ bites itself”

  1. Matt Says:

    It seems Mr Draper does not know who are his friends or enemies. So he attacks everyone “just in case.”

  2. Guido Fawkes Says:

    Thanks for that bit of gossip.

  3. Stewart Knight Says:

    In what way is this gossip? It is self evident from the reports, from all sides of the blogosphere, that Draper did indeed overcook his CV. Knowing the system he currently practices under I suspect he won’t be practising very long now the truth is out.

  4. Air Nokia One Says:

    Not sure he totally overcooked the CV…For example I’m sure he dosen’t say anywhere in the CV that he has over the years developed considerable experience up to boardroom level of being a total twat.

  5. Obnoxio The Clown Says:

    Dolly Draper suffers from delusions of adequacy. That listing webshite [sic] of his is a complete waste of blogosphere oxygen.

  6. natasha9 Says:

    can you give me some tips i am new

  7. Peter Says:

    Nice piece of writing, but – to be honest:
    WHO cares about Labour, anyway?
    What’s the real difference between “them” and the Conservatives?
    Any suggestions?

  8. DagenhamDave Says:

    Peter asks:
    “What’s the real difference between “them” and the Conservatives?”

    The Conservatives would not lead the country to an illegal war based on a lie.

    Any “sleaze” that was thought to surround The Conservatives pales into insignifance besides the endemic corruption of the nulabs.

    The Conservatives never tried to scrap the jury system.

    The Conservatives never passed a law which makes it a criminal offence to photograph a policeman.

    The Conservatives have never pissed billions of tax-payers’ money up against a wall.

    The Conservatives would never have turned the country into a police state.

    The Conservatives ….

    well you get the picture, there are a thousand differences, and I’m not even a Tory, I just despise nulab and what they have done to my country and my fellow citizens.

  9. Peppone Says:


    who was in charge at the time of Suez? Anthony Eden and which Party did he belong to?

  10. Miller 2.0 Says:

    “The Conservatives would not lead the country to an illegal war based on a lie.”

    Then why did a higher percentage of their MPs vote for it than Labour’s?

  11. Matt Says:

    Peppone: Was the Suez war illegal? Was it based on lies to parliament?

    Miller: The MPs voted on evidence that proved to be a fabrication. This is rather like blaming the old lady whose house is burgled by a bogus caller/fraudster for believing what the bogus caller told her in order to perpetrate his fraud.

  12. jailhouselawyer Says:

    I agree with peter above: Good piece of writing.

  13. Fantasy Says:

    how can i subsribe to this site?

  14. Draper Needs Anger Management Therapy - Guy Fawkes' blog Says:

    […] Rene Lavanchy reports back from yesterday’s official press launch of DraperList, where Draper lost the plot shouting at […]

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