Wednesday, April 11, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: The Gordon Brown campaign website?

This morning's Times carries an interesting article about how senior figures in the Labour Party have tried to stop the Electoral Commission from scrutinising the forthcoming leadership election. They quote an Electoral Commission source saying

"We would assume Gordon Brown doesn't need any money. He would take the line there's no campaign going on at the moment and he doesn't have a website."
No website you say? Well I guess it all depends on how one defines "website". If you mean he has no textual presence on the Internet putting out his stall for leadership then yes, arguably he doesn't. However, if by website we mean the back-end preparations such as registering domains and putting the infrastructure in place to build it, then actually he probably does and the work for it appears to have started between October and December last year.

Gordon Brown's leadership campaign website, should there actual be a contest, will - on the balance of probabilities - be located at "gordonbrown4leader.[insert tld here]". How would I know this? Well it's rather simple. All the most obvious permutations for the domain have been being registered since October last year by the assistant producer Rachel Bull at the political campaign production company Silverfish TV.

Silverfish TV are the people behind the Dave the Chameleon advert, whose client list includes errr.... HM Treasury, as well as the Labour Party and lots of other Labour Party connected organisations such as Progress and the The John Smith Trust. John Prescott is quoted on their website saying they are "bloody brilliant".

The Electoral Commission may not think there is a website visible but there are certainly domains, ready and waiting with holding pages, and the website that is presumably being built by someone will no doubt be an all singing and dancing new media web 2.0 love-in too be sure.

Update: As per my post here, Channel 4 News have followed this story up and Silverfish TV say they are cybersquatting.

16 comments:

barnacle_bill said...
11 Apr 2007 09:11:00  

What about the Smith Institute and Gordimmo's links to this?
I have pointed this out to the Electoral Commission, but still awaiting a reply.

Darren G. Lilleker said...
11 Apr 2007 09:23:00  

So who is going to register http://www.davidmiliband4leader do we reckon?

Anonymous said...
11 Apr 2007 09:55:00  

The operative word here is going to be "publish", isn't it -- i.e. uploading content and making it available?

Once you can demonstrate that's happened, you might just have a story.

Richard Havers said...
11 Apr 2007 09:59:00  

Broon is obviously not going to need a lot of money as the 'gordonbrown4leader' has been registered with a company called discountdomains

Newmania said...
11 Apr 2007 10:00:00  

Brulliant Dizzy you are an intrepid sleeuth

dizzy said...
11 Apr 2007 10:03:00  

anonymous - you make a fair point regarding how one defines a website. The key of course, as Iain has pointed out, is whether just simply having work carried out - free or paid for (who knows) - constitutes an embryonic campaign or not.

dizzy said...
11 Apr 2007 10:04:00  

Darren, if those domains are ever registered I will know within about 3 hours of it happening.

BOF2BS said...
11 Apr 2007 10:44:00  

Another interesting point is the registration date of 26/10/06 I believe which I think just followed the attempted coup/Watson resignation.

I'm sure someone will explain the significance thereof!!!!

dizzy said...
11 Apr 2007 10:46:00  

The failed coup was at the beginning of September, so it's quite a while afterwards really.

Anonymous said...
11 Apr 2007 12:43:00  

Well done Dizzy

Rachel also registered "gordonbrownforleader" on the 18th of October 2006. Is she working for free and paying for the domains out of her own pocket or is someone at the Gordon Brown Leadership HQ coughing up?

http://amail.co.uk/cgi-bin/register/newdomain.pl?domain=gordonbrownforleader

crackers said...
11 Apr 2007 15:05:00  

Nice one Dizzy.

tory boys never grow up said...
11 Apr 2007 20:39:00  

It's when donations (in cash or kind) are received in connection with political activity that triggers reporting to the Electoral Commission not when the expenditure is incurred. I'm not sure that buying a website to prevent abuse by idiots or "back end" preparation of such a site would constituite political activity either - not really going to convince many voters is it?

An interest question for Iain was given that the Commission website reports DD's donations as being accepted on the 1 July 2005 - does this mean that he ran his entire campaign for almost a month without receiving any donations? His consituency association also failed to file accounts for 2005 despite being well over the limit in 2004.

Even more interesting Cameron didn't report any donations to his campaign until 1 August 2005. And George Galloway still hasn't reported any donations from the Mariam Appeal - even though his case to the Charity Commission said that the Appeal received money for political rather than charitable activities.

Throw them all in jail I say!

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...
11 Apr 2007 22:04:00  

Doesn't the above read very much in the style of a certain Labour blogging MP?

dizzy said...
11 Apr 2007 22:09:00  

suck scurrilous inferences!

Ellee said...
13 Apr 2007 06:44:00  

Excellent sleuthing again Dizzy, I don't think there is one political domain in this country that you are not aware of.

dizzy said...
15 Apr 2007 07:43:00  

"It's when donations (in cash or kind) are received in connection with political activity that triggers reporting to the Electoral Commission not when the expenditure is incurred. I'm not sure that buying a website to prevent abuse by idiots or "back end" preparation of such a site would constituite political activity either"

I didn't say it did so your point is completely moot Tom, and frankly, makes you look a little bit silly, intellectually that is.


 

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