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Damian McBride and Westminster Bubblegum

Deary me. In the words of no lesser figure than Nigel Farage, “Godfrey Bloom has destroyed UKIP conference“. Everyone in the media’s talking about the self-styled “maverick” MEP after he called a roomful of women “sluts”. And amateurish attempts by UKIP spinners to argue that it has a different meaning to “slag” which, in 21st century Britain, it clearly doesn’t, is pitiful.

While NF is smarting from “the Bloomster”,the owner of Biteback Publishing must have been hoping the oh-so-coincidental publishing of Damian McBride’s Downing Street memoir, Power Trip, would similarly derail Labour’s annual gathering. After all, feuding with Blairites, skullduggery and calling people names over email is just the sort of thing that should cause major reputational damage to Ed Miliband, or “the emissary from Planet Fuck” as Tony’s team once dubbed him.

Really? I’m sure McBride’s volume will be fascinating for Westminster watchers and anoraks. I’m quite looking forward to reading it eventually (how about a review copy, Damian?). But let’s get real here. “Normal” people don’t care. The majority of The Mail’s readers will skip the splashed extracts on their way to the beauty supplement, the telly pages and the latest offering on the occult sex secrets of the Third Reich. Few people outside the intersection of Westminster politics and our London-centric media won’t even be able to name prominent ministers of the present government, never mind a backroom fixer who’s spent the last four years in obscurity. Instead what the generally interested voter will be interested in hearing about are this weekend’s policy announcements, such as the scrapping of the bedroom tax, strengthening the minimum wage, introducing disability hate crime laws, and an expansion of publicly-provided childcare facilities. At last, the slow-emerging positions Labour will go into 2015 with are stepping out into the light. And the Tories and their media running dogs will be forced to respond to them – the McBride stuff is distinctly page seven filler.

These sorts of exposes are an everyday occurrence for our politics. There is always reams of material produced by current or former players that almost exclusively addresses itself to the past and present concerns of the Westminster Bubble. It works to “gum” the bubble together by generating matters of mutual interest to participants across the political divides – an issue-based lingua franca if you like. And, helpfully for the media, it is a constant source of mostly inconsequential manoeuvring and tittle tattle that costs very little to report. Yet crucially, it passes the yardstick for newsworthiness too. Few would bat an eyelid if Newsnight gave over an entire programme to revisiting the original Smeargate.

McBride’s book, simply put, is bubblegum.

One Comment

  1. Rob the cripple says:

    Blair book was the same Browns was the same so was Campbell but it made them money, this is politics today to see if being in government can get you a job, even if it’s a charity in America with Thunder birds.

    Blair made a fortune out of Iraq sold a few books so did Brown but a lot of people thought well if you knew so much about banking why did you not spot the mess before of course he did but prayed it would not happen before the election..

    Brown gives it all to charity well not all he takes out expenses and we know how politicians can be with that can of worms.

    Yes McBride is a hanger on who was employed by a bloke who had a chip on his should in fact a whole bloody tree, he had stabbed people in the back on his rise up, he then had a fixation that everyone was out to get him, so he hired protection.

    It is funny except it’s the new politics.

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