Over the last few weeks evidence has seeped out that Britain’s Labour Party had started a Dirty Tricks Department within ministerial offices to smear political opponents. Gordon Brown’s most trusted spin doctor, Damian McBride, has been forced to resign because of the part he played in putting together a series of smears on a website against the Conservatives’ leader, David Cameron, and the Tories’ Finance spokesman. Today comes the news that Brown has asked the head of Britain’s civil service to tighten up a code of conduct governing ministerial advisers whose salaries are paid by the taxpayer. Brown says that they should sign a contract acknowledging that if caught “disseminating inappropriate material they will automatically lose their jobs”.
It’s high time we had such a system in place in New Zealand. Those with memories might recall the parade of dirty tricks used by the beleaguered Labour Party prior to the last election to smear their opponents.