Labour bloggers insist Ed Miliband is not managing them

Left-leaning bloggers have angrily hit back at suggestions that they are being managed by the Labour Party, after a report suggested close links between top bloggers and one of Ed Miliband's aides.

Labour leader Ed Miliband
Labour leader Ed Miliband
Writing on The New Statesman website yesterday, Dan Hodges highlighted the role of Labour’s new ‘cyber-spinner’ Alex Smith, previously editor of the LabourList website.
 
‘He is attempting to bring the discipline of modern press management to the chaotic arena of online politics,’ wrote Hodges, a former PR professional who is also contributing editor of the LabourUncut website.
 
The article names Sunny Hundal of the Liberal Conspiracy website, Will Straw of Left Foot Forward and Sunder Katwala of Next Left as key bloggers that have been nurtured by Smith.
 
‘He pulled these guys together during Ed's [leadership] campaign, and he's kept them tight,’ one insider told Hodges.
 
The influential right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes heralded the report as confirmation that ‘the leading left-wing blogs co-ordinate their strategy and attack lines with Miliband’s office’.
 
But the bloggers in question have hit back against the charge that they are controlled by Smith.
 
Katwala, general secretary of the Fabian Society, said: ‘Dan blogs entertainingly. But the piece is wrong... Did Alex Smith create a group of Katwala, Hundal and Straw who he keeps close? No. I have known the other two for several years longer.
 
'Does Smith send this group briefings and lines to take? Not in my case. I should have no objection if he did. Do that group agree? On some things, not others. Sunny and I collaborated on a challenge to traditional identity politics in 2006 but have quite different perspectives more generally.’
 
Hundal said: ‘You always have to take stories like this with a pinch of salt; the rhetorical flourishes and smell of conspiracy make people want to believe them.
 
‘We share emails and chat to each other about events like lobby journalists would too. That's not a conspiracy. If Alex Smith was that good at keeping us in line, I wouldn't have just called for Alan Johnson to go!’
 
Smith could not be reached for comment but writing on Twitter, he insisted: ‘Don't believe the hype. There's no email briefing list.’
 
Meanwhile members of the Labour’s leader’s entourage rallied around him. One insider told PRWeek that Smith was now performing a wider role than he had done during the recent leadership campaign, when he was focused on online comms for Miliband.
 
The source said: ‘Alex’s role with Ed is now much broader than that, involving briefings, managing relations, general comms. Alex knows the internet can’t be managed. Of course, he talks to bloggers, but his role is more subtle, and wider, than is being suggested.’

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Fishburn's management have defended their reinvention of the 23-year-old agency amid industry mutterings, fed by a series of director-level departures, about the direction in which it is going.

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

EasyJet aimed to break the world record for the highest ever theatrical performance for Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday with the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing on a flight from Gatwick to Verona.

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Senior executives from IBM, Nestlé, Vedanta, GE, Cargill, Philips and Allianz will be among the speakers at PRWeek's first Global Congress.

Max Clifford trial jury reconvenes with majority verdicts direction

Max Clifford trial jury reconvenes with majority verdicts direction

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has reconvened after being told by the judge yesterday afternoon that he will now accept majority verdicts.