The election campaign is barely a couple of days old and already a number of Tory bloggers have launched a dirty tricks campaign targeting Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy.
Tory bloggers (hall of shame) includes Shane Greer, Iain Dale, Tory Bear and Tory Rascal among others who have ganged together with a string of posts, tweets and some YouTube video. They are not holding anything back.
They have already helped raised £1,340 for Tory challenger Adeela Shafi in a few days in what is nothing more than a misogynist online bullying campaign.
Among the choice insults being thrown around are that McCarthy has neither the intellect nor the integrity to be an MP; that she is fat and stupid; and an expenses fiddling embarrassment.
Worse it reeks of the Labour’s Smeargate scandal that the Tories cried foul of (rightly) last year. That cost Derek Draper and Gordon Brown’s head of strategy and planning, Damian McBride, their jobs (also rightly).
Smeargate was a miserable and misguided response by some within the Labour Party to create an online project that could rival some of the more successful Tory ones online (such as ConservativeHome).
Draper and McBride came up with The Red Rag with the idea being that they would draw up a list of Tory politicians to smear. That isn’t something the Labour should be involved in.
Since then Labour has been getting its act together more online. As part of that McCarthy was appointed Labour’s new media campaigns spokesperson (aka the ‘Twitter tsar’).
The Tories have got their act together as well, but not this bunch. The chief complaint seems to be that Kerry McCarthy claimed expenses…along with just about every single other MP in the house including the Conservatives.
Dale says McCarthy “has demonstrated that she isn’t fit to be an MP. All you have to do is follow her online acitivites (sic), especially on Twitter, to see why”.
On Twitter where she shares a few links and updates and blocks a few Tories? Oh what a crime.
Gordon Brown disowned McBride and apologised. David Cameron should be doing the same in this instance.
This kind of campaigning frequently backfires so here’s hoping it blows up in their faces.