Labour needs some mischief

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Forget Gareth Bale possibly signing for Real Madrid.

The big transfer news for political geeks is Team Obama’s Jim Messina signing on for the Tory 2015 campaign.

It’s a bit like Gerrard playing for Everton. Seemingly unthinkable and wholly illogical.

Whilst eyebrows will be raised at Brewer St – and no doubt Dan Hodges will use this as another stick to beat Ed – it’s worth remembering where Labour are at digitally.

They’re currently looking for a Digital Director and interviews are imminent. There are some good names there but not household ones.

But under Head of Digital John Miles and before him, the brilliant Sue MacMillan, Labour has become quite sharp on data capture, hashtags and neat infographics.

However the key hire has been Blue State Digital’s Matthew McGregor as a senior digital advisor.

Quietly spoken and a Norwich City fanatic, he’s effectively splitting his time between BSD and the party.

He’ll manage up to the Shad Cab and leader on digital and work closely with the new director. The party really needs a good digital strategy and Matthew will be crucial in helping to draft it.

Matthew also has a lot of respect amongst geeks and has a good feeling for the Labour movement. Many are willing to work with him for free.

Messina, in contrast, will surely find working with the Tories a complete culture shock. Would he really be happy with the “racist van?”

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Cameron ain’t Obama and even the most yellow of yellow dog Democrats is still far left of the average Tory backbencher!

But all parties could take a leaf out of Paddy Power’s book. They actually have someone whose sole job is create a bit of a stir. To do quirky things. From
virals to guerilla.

That person’s title is Head of Mischief.

A political Head of Mischief should be both strategic and tactical, proactive and responsive. But all the while, have the ability to be disruptive.

Take this response to the Home Office’s poster van targeting illegal immigrants.

Laurence Durnan from Political Scrapbook and I put this together for a bit of fun and to make a point.

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But it could quite easily have been driving around Westminster, providing footage and photos for story starved political hacks to keep kicking the story on for little cost.

Yes Jim’s a good hire. But he’s not the Messina. He’s a very naughty boy!

And people like Matthew and Laurence are good homegrown prospects.

And it’s always good to cause a bit of mischief!

UPDATE

So someone reading my blog has just tipped me off that Labour’s digital director has been appointed. And it’s a really good hire.

It’s Katharine Segal who is an experienced digital strategist, formerly from….Blue State Digital. So she’ll work with Mark.

Here she is!

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She was an Account Director at BSD and a Senior Campaigner at petition site Change.org.

Until recently she was also working with FutureGov alongside Dominic Campbell and at the Digital Action Lab – a social enterprise creating online campaigning tools with Clifford Singer, who brought us mydavidcameron.com.

All the best Katharine!

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