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The Labour machine: an insiders' guide

Spin doctors, special advisers, policy gurus and pollsters - the New Labour project had them all. But we only really got to know who they were when things went wrong.

Continuing our series to mark the party's decade in office, Paul Vallely finds out what became of the backroom boys and girls



Trevor Beattie

New Labour role?



Adman Trevor Beattie was a friend of Peter Mandelson and Philip Gould - who masterminded Labour's rebranding as New Labour - from the early Eighties, when they would meet in London pubs to plot the party's political resurrection. With his long black hair and leather jackets, Beattie was a far cry from New Labour's squeaky-clean new image, but his contribution was significant. In the 1997 election he gave informal advice, but by 2001 his company had been awarded the official £10m Labour election advertising campaign, which came up with billboards of William Hague in a Margaret Thatcher wig.

After 19 years of dreaming up catchlines for Weetabix and Liquorice Allsorts, Beattie, a self-proclaimed socialist, said he was finally selling a product to which he was fully committed: "Working for a Labour government...is my vocation in life."



Where is he now?



Making more money. He is the man behind the puerile but apparently highly successful FCUK logo for French Connection. His "get noticed" mantra led him to try to continue his dyslexic campaign - which got him banned from Vancouver buses and New York taxis - with French Connection's website, fcukinkybugger.com. This time the Advertising Standards Authority said no. But is Beattie bothered?



In 2002 he was listed by Marketing Magazine as the ninth Most Influential Person in Media, and in 2003 Beattie was voted IPA Best of the Best Awards Creative Director of the Year. All in all, another New Labour success story.



Peter Mandelson



New Labour role?



Peter Mandelson, grandson of Herbert Morrison, a Cabinet minister in the first Labour government, is as near as Labour gets to aristocracy. He managed Labour's admired but unsuccessful 1987 "Chariots of Fire" election campaign and was elected to the Commons in 1992. There, he set about rebranding the party as New Labour. In 1996 he published The Blair Revolution. His role in it made him a lifelong enemy of Gordon Brown, who felt Mandelson had betrayed him in the competition to succeed John Smith. Mandelson became Blair's closest ally. After the election, Blair appointed him Minister without Portfolio.



Where is he now?



After Mandelson's second resignation from the Cabinet - the first time over an undisclosed loan from an MP his department was supposed to be investigating (see Derek Draper), and the second over the granting of a passport to one of the Hinduja Brothers, Blair's one-time closest ally went into political exile. Unable to recall him to the Cabinet for a third time, the Prime Minister made him European trade commissioner. Mandelson seems destined never to return to British politics.



The bitter feud with Brown continues. Last year, when asked what he thought of Jack Straw's remarks about Muslim women and the veil, Mandelson said that it would be a good idea if Brown took up the idea: "Gordon looks pretty dreadful without his face covered up." Most recently, he has announced he won't be putting his name forward for a second term in Europe, to avoid giving Brown the pleasure of sacking him.



Derek Scott

New Labour role?



From 1976 to 1979 he was a special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey, and later to the former prime minister, James Callaghan, when he was leader of the opposition. He defected to the SDP, which meant that many in old Labour never trusted him. Before 1997, he worked part-time with Tony Blair. After the 1997 election, Scott was Blair's economic adviser for nine years. But Gordon Brown instructed Treasury officials to keep him out of the loop. Scott warned Blair against Brown's £5bn-a-year raid on pension funds, which he said was "crackers" . He was also dubious about the Chancellor's tax-credits scheme, but was ignored. He also took a line on the euro which Brown rejected.



Where is he now?



Scott quit to take a job in the private sector as an economic consultant with the accountancy group KMPG. He then published a book entitled Off Whitehall, which supposedly spilled the beans on the Blair/Brown feud. Brown's camp angrily labelled the book an "orchestrated" campaign of "lies and distortions". Blair's called it a "totally unauthorised" attempt to "cause trouble and division". Scott is married to another disillusioned Blairite, the MP Gisela Stuart.



Sally Morgan

New Labour role?



Morgan was a geography teacher until 1985 when she joined the Labour Party as its student organiser, eventually working her way up to become director of campaigns and elections in 1993. Two years later the party leader, John Smith, asked her to come to work for him. When Smith died, Tony Blair inherited her. When he became Prime Minister he asked Morgan to become his political secretary in No 10. A power struggle ensued with Anji Hunter, Blair's director of government relations, over who should control access to the PM. At first it looked as if Hunter had won. Blair made Morgan a life peer and gave her a job in the Cabinet Office. But before the year was out so was Hunter, and Morgan got her job.



Where is she now?



She left to become a non-executive director of Carphone Warehouse, and is also a board member of the Olympic Delivery Authority. She remains in the Downing St loop - Blair has recently consulted her over how to handle the cash for peerages row.



Alastair Campbell

New Labour role?



The man who elevated political spin to its highest or (depending on your point of view) lowest point. He, Peter Mandelson and Philip Gould between them invented New Labour as a political marketing device. Campbell was an aggressive figure who verbally abused journalists who did not swallow New Labour spin. Adept in the techniques of news management, it was he who came up with many of Tony Blair's best phrases - dubbing Princess Diana, on her death, "the People's Princess".



In Blair's first term, Campbell briefed political journalists daily, but in the second term he stepped back from that to become Downing Street's director of communications and strategy, in which role he was often described as the "real Deputy Prime Minister". He was a central figure in the "dodgy dossier", which conjured non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as the pretext for the invasion. After forcing the resignation of Greg Dyke as director general of the BBC over a largely accurate report that the dossier had been "sexed up", Campbell announced his own resignation in August 2003.



Where is he now?



Campbell has turned his public attention to sport and charity. He writes a sports column for The Times and brought his dubious spinning skills to the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005, despite knowing little about rugby. He spends a lot of time on charity work, the most visible element of which was his recent jaunt for Comic Relief as a celebrity apprentice for Sir Alan Sugar on Red Nose Day.



Since his retirement from Downing Street, Campbell has been highly critical of political reporting, particularly that of the Daily Mail. His main occup ation has been writing his memoirs based on a diary of two million words, which he kept throughout his time in No 10. The first volume will be published as soon as Blair leaves office. The word in the publishing world is that it will not dish the dirt on Gordon Brown - Campbell is too loyal to Labour to do that... just yet, at any rate.



Anji Hunter



New Labour role?



Hunter was the Prime Minister's "gatekeeper" and a close confidante throughout his first term in office. She met Tony Blair when she was 15 and he was 17. She began working for him after he became an MP in 1983. Even when he was a lowly opposition MP, it was Hunter who determined whether someone got in to see Blair. She was variously described as " the comfort blanket" and later as "the most influential non-elected person in Downing Street". She managed the Prime Minister's relations with the party and the business world as director of government relations in Blair's first administration. She was responsible for relations between Blair and the Murdoch empire. She left in 2001 after being squeezed out as chief fixer in an internal power struggle with Sally Morgan.



Where is she now?



Hunter left the government to join BP as director of communications. She had formed a bond with the BP boss, Lord Browne, a noted Blair supporter, while responsible for Downing Street's liaison with big business.



Charlie Whelan



New Labour role?



Charlie Whelan was a politics graduate and former foreign-exchange dealer in the City. Bizarrely, he was also a public-school Communist, who joined the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers before becoming Gordon Brown's spin doctor. He adopted Alastair Campbell's tactics on bawling down the phone to journalists who had written something which displeased the Chancellor. On occasion he even withdrew press releases and admission to Treasury briefings from uncooperative journalists. After the 1997 election Blair tried to force Brown to sack him, but the Chancellor refused.



Despite this, Whelan was one of the earliest New Labour casualties. He was forced to resign from his £50,000-a-year spin-doctor's post, not for falling foul of his responsibilities to the public, but because he was accused of abusing his access to sensitive information to brief against Peter Mandelson - an archetypal New Labour sin. He denied it, but fell on his sword in 1999 after being accused of leaking information that Mandelson had not disclosed a £373,000 loan from the millionaire MP and Paymaster General, Geoffrey Robinson. Mandelson had to resign. So did Whelan.



Where is he now?



Whelan has since carved out a career in the media, writing in the national press on everything from politics to football and gambling. He has a column in PR Week and has made several TV programmes. His documentary Spinners and Losers won a Royal Television Society Award, and he has recently presented a six-part celebrity golf series. He now lives in Scotland and earns lucrative sums as an after-dinner speaker. He also hires himself out for guided golfing and fly-fishing tours around the river Spey.



Jo Moore



New Labour role?



Moore was a special adviser to the Transport minister Stephen Byers, and was Labour's chief press officer during the 1997 election campaign. On the afternoon of September 11 2001, Moore sent an e-mail to the press office of her department which read: "It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors' expenses?" Almost a month later, the e-mail was leaked to The Independent, unleashing a series of stories alleging that government spin had plunged to new depths. Moore was forced to appear before the TV cameras to apologise.



A few months later, the row reignited when it was alleged that Moore planned to release further bad news on the day of Princess Margaret's funeral, a claim she denied. Her department's chief press officer, Martin Sixsmith, sent her an e-mail - which was again leaked - that said: "Princess Margaret is being buried. I will absolutely not allow anything else to be" . Both she and Sixsmith were forced to resign.



Where is she now?



Moore retrained as a teacher, and has since been working in an inner-London school. Sixsmith wrote a novel called Spin and became an adviser to the BBC's political sitcom, The Thick of It. The phrase "A good day to bury bad news" (words never actually never used by Moore) have entered the culture as the epitome of New Labour cynicism.



Geoff Mulgan

New Labour role?



Mulgan was always one of the most interesting new thinkers of his generation. After leaving Balliol College, Oxford, he was a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then did a PhD in communications at the University of Westminster, writing for Marxism Today before becoming special adviser to Gordon Brown in the early Nineties. In 1993 he founded the innovative think-tank Demos, which he led for four years, pioneering many ideas that became New Labour orthodoxy. After the 1997 election victory he worked with Blair's policy unit for three years, moving on to head the No 10 performance and innovation unit, ending up as Blair's head of policy. But after seven years he quit, frustrated at the difficulty of getting Whitehall to deliver on many new ideas.



Where is he now?



He is now director of the Institute of Community Studies and the Young Foundation, where his main focus is on developing new forms of social organisations and community entrepreneurship. He lectures and advises governments around the world on policy and strategy - including China, Australia, the US, Japan and Russia. In 2006 he published a book entitled Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government (Penguin) but he has been restrained in making any public criticism of the Government he left.



Derek Draper



New Labour role?



Draper was for four years a personal assistant to Peter Mandelson, after being spotted by New Labour's éminence grise as a student at Manchester University. He then worked as political editor of Julie Burchill's Modern Review before becoming a lobbyist, setting up an organisation called Progress that boasted of its links to New Labour. Draper became embroiled in the first major scandal of Blair's government when The Observer claimed Draper was bragging to potential clients of his ability to get access to ministers. "There are 17 people who count in this government. And to say I am intimate with every one of them is the understatement of the century," he was reported as saying.



Draper was later dismissed as "nothing more than a messenger boy, a factotum, a purveyor, a self-loving, over-scented clerk", but allegations of "cash for access" did damage to the government because they seemed to fit with charges that New Labour was "working to create a US-style interpenetration of corporations and government".



Where is he now?



Draper lost his various jobs at the time of the scandal and had a mental breakdown. After undergoing therapy, he decided to train as a psychotherapist. He now writes a column on psychotherapy issues for The Mail on Sunday.



Tim Allan



New Labour role?



Allan was a political adviser in the early 1990s, when Tony Blair was shadow Home Secretary. In 1994 he became No 10 communications officer, and was known as "the sorcerer's apprentice" - his boss was Alastair Campbell (qv). When Campbell clashed with the BBC (over the "sexed up" dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction) Allan became a regular on the airwaves bashing the BBC and praising Lord Hutton's report.



Where is he now?



Allan was at BSkyB before running his own PR agency. But he has remained embroiled. A couple of years ago it was Allan who leaked to The Times a speech made by the BBC broadcaster John Humphrys in which Humphrys made mockery of the less-than-total honesty of government ministers he had interviewed. The speech defended the Today programme's report on the Iraq dossier. Humphrys got into terrible trouble with his BBC bosses.



Not long after, there was talk of Allan returning to Downing Street. Blair wanted him back. The press was full of reports on how Allan was going to sell his PR company, Portland, to avoid conflicts of interest. But it never came to pass. Another New Labour mystery.



Matthew Taylor

New Labour role?



The son of sociologist and broadcaster Laurie Taylor started out as a county councillor and stood for Parliament in 1992. He was not elected but joined the party's staff two years later and became director of policy during the 1997 general election. He wrote much of the manifesto and the party's " pledge-card". After the victory, he became assistant general secretary of the party, but left in 1998.



Where is he now?



Taylor became director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, and made it the natural vehicle for innovative New Labour thinking, in succession to Demos. It led Tony Blair to invite him into Downing Street as head of its policy unit, charged with drawing up the Labour Party's manifesto for the 2005 general election. When Blair was re-elected, Taylor was made his chief adviser on strategy. He left in 2006 to head the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and has not spoken about the Blair years.



Peter Hyman



New Labour role?



Hyman was seconded to the Blair campaign from the office of social security spokesman Donald Dewar in 1994. He became Blair's main speechwriter for 10 years. He was also head of the Prime Minister's communications unit between 2001 and 2003, but his specialism was education. He coined the controversial phrase "bog-standard comprehensive". One of Blair's most and trusted advisers, he shaped the Government's presentation and had the PM's ear on all issues. After a decade of crafting speeches, he decided he wanted to "start doing".



Where is he now?



Hyman went to work in one of his comprehensives. After a year, he wrote a book on the initiatives he had spent a decade cooking up - and which he now recommends teachers ignore. When he asked, in a classroom, about his idea of "personalised learning", he was told by an old hand: "What do you think a good teacher does?"



Hyman was forced to the realisation that "our approach to political strategy had been based on momentum, conflict and novelty", which was " entirely wrong for convincing front-line professionals". Hyman said he had given Tony Blair a copy of his book. It is not known if the PM actually read it.



It may only be a partial conversion. There is talk of Hyman standing now as an MP.



Philip Gould



New Labour role?



Politics academic turned adman Philip Gould was - with Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell - one of the key architects of the 1997 Labour landslide. He was the man who went out to Little Rock to watch Bill Clinton's presidential campaign four years before, and returned full of the tactics which became the foundation of the New Labour election machine - like the " war room" with its rapid rebuttal unit to attack stories put out by political opponents. Gould, who became Tony Blair's personal pollster, went on to specialise in strategy, with a deep influence over policy. He became king of the focus groups.



Where is he now?



Gould founded his own polling and strategy company, Philip Gould Associates, in 1985. Since then he has worked with multi-nationals including BP, Goldman Sachs, British Airways, Mars and Coca-Cola. He was made a life peer, as Baron Gould of Brookwood, in 2004. He continues to advise Tony Blair on polling and strategy.



Liz Lloyd



New Labour role?



Liz Lloyd is one of the few remaining members of the Prime Minister's inner circle from Tony Blair's days in opposition. She has been working with him since he became Labour leader in 1994. She is a member of a group from Guildford Grammar School that became a New Labour clique. Other members included Government minister James Purnell and Tim Allan, the former communications officer in Downing Street. The pair played football on Sunday mornings in north London before Labour came to power. Another player, Peter Hyman, later became the No 10 policy unit's education specialist.



When Blair entered No 10, he made Lloyd his home-affairs adviser. Later, she switched to be his guru on Africa and the environment. Blair relied on her heavily. A former girlfriend of Ed Miliband, now an MP, she sat in the cramped No 10 policy unit next to David Miliband, now Secretary of State for the Environment. When she married in 2002, Alastair Campbell, David Miliband and Anji Hunter all attended the wedding. She left No 10 in 2005 to have a baby.



Where is she now?



She is back in Downing Street again, as deputy chief of staff. The gossip is that when Blair steps down as PM, she will leave with him to go and run his post-prime ministerial Blair Foundation.



Lance Price



New Labour role?



Lance Price was for 20 years a BBC journalist and political correspondent before becoming deputy to Alastair Campbell at No 10 in 1998, before moving on to be the Labour Party's director of communications from 2000 to 2001. He was at the centre of government for four years, as his memoirs revealed.



Where is he now?



Seven years ago Price gave up the unequal struggle of dealing with ministers like John Prescott and retired to run a guesthouse in the south of France with his gay partner. Five years later, in 2005, he published his diaries of his time in Downing Street - the first authentic account from a Blair insider. They were controversial from the moment he submitted them to the cabinet secretary for clearance. Permission was denied, but Price altered the text a bit and published anyway. To make matters worse, he published a satirical novel set in Downing Street later that year. But in the event the Government survived and no-one had to resign. Price writes travel articles. He is the author of The Berlitz Guide to Iceland. Quite apt for a man who is now decidedly out in the cold.



Additional reporting by Simon Usborne

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