Derek Draper steps down from Labour List


I’ve just had an email from Derek Draper – I’m not sure if it’s been sent to the whole LabourList email list, or just to contributors.

Dear All,

I am emailing directly because I wanted you to know before anyone else does about developments at LabourList.

Two weeks ago I posted on the site saying I was sorry for my role in the Damian McBride affair. Of course I regret ever receiving the infamous email and I regret my stupid hasty reply. Instead I should have said straight away that the idea was wrong.

I do ask people to remember, though, that in the end its contents were never published by me or anyone else involved in the Labour party and they would never have seen the light of day were it not for someone hacking into my emails and placing them into the public domain. Because of that, what was a silly idea ultimately destined for the trash can became a national scandal. Nonetheless, I should have made clear they were unacceptable from the very beginning.

On a much smaller note I al so think I got the tone of LabourList wrong sometimes, being too strident, aggressive and obsessed with the “blogosphere”. Having said that I am proud that I was the founder of LabourList. It really was a Labour of love. In just over 100 days there have been nearly 250 contributors, over 500 posts and 18,000 comments. I’d like to think one day I’ll be judged on all of that rather than just one, admittedly awful, email.

What has become clear, though, is that my continued editorship can only detract from what LabourList needs to do now. That is why, after a couple of weeks of reflection, I am passing on the editorship to Alex Smith, who has been a very able Deputy to me from the beginning. I have no doubt that Alex will steer the site to bigger and better things and I urge everyone who wants Labour to have a vibrant, active space on the internet to give him your backing and get involved in whatever comes next.

Derek Draper

For what it’s worth, I think that Derek Draper has probably been hard done to over the past few weeks.

Nobody can deny that the exchange between Draper and McBride was purile, insulting, and wrong. But tellingly, neither of them sought to publish its contents – despite the fact that they had the means, via various channels (including all of their media contacts, LabourList, and “the Reg Rag”) to do so. People who pull back from doing wrong deserve a degree of credit for their self restraint, in my view.

Derek has also diagnosed correctly a big, and correct, criticism of LabourList under his stewardship: the focus on taking on the big right-wing blogs. This is something that I was worried about, privately, from the beginning.

However, like everyone else who has contributed to LabourList, I set that aside and got on with it – and I’m glad that I did, because the site that Draper built was far, far more than that. For every second Derek put into his unwise forays into web-based political combat, many hours were put in – by him, by deputy editor Alex Smith, and by hundreds of contributors – towards the goal of an interesting site that could act as a genuine hub for Labour supporters online.

I think that this has substantially been achieved. Perhaps, like someone else I know of, he can take succour in the fact that his achievement will stand long after people forget about his mistakes.


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5 Responses to “Derek Draper steps down from Labour List”

  1. Mike Says:

    “Nobody can deny that the exchange between Draper and McBride was purile, insulting, and wrong.”
    I do. I endeavoured to discover what was actually said, and found only half-a-dozen mild jokes, partly rooted in truth: Osborne & prostitutes and Dorries & extra-marital affairs. What is disturbing is Labour’s political ineptitude in the face of chronic media hype from newspapers & TV. The tail is wagging the dog. Instead of sending apologetic leters with spelling mistakes, Labour need to exert some discipline, be whiter-than-white, and face down their enemies. Just my opinion.

  2. Mike Says:

    Curses. “Letters”. Where’s the delete facility in WordPress comments?

  3. voteredgogreen Says:

    It is quite ironic that you mistyped “letters” just as you were accusing those letters of containing spelling mistakes, but I take your point Mike.

  4. Mike Says:

    It’s worse than that. I was aware of the irony when writing, checked the trickier words, and still goofed.

  5. captainjako Says:

    At least Draper will have more time to spend leafletting and canvassing in his local ward, wherever that may be.

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