Why I’m considering legal action against the Guido/Hencke smear

February 12, 2009 7:15 am

by Derek Draper

I have been astonished this morning by a brazen attempt to smear me by Guido Fawkes and David Hencke of the Guardian. What makes this so reprehensible is that it is not about my work here at LabourList or as an ex-Labour spindoctor. I expect to be in the firing line for those activities.

But this is different. This is about my work as a psychotherapist. Every week I see vulnerable people, some with life threatening mental illnesses and it is a disgrace to call into question my professional qualifications on the most concocted and inaccurate of grounds.

I have never claimed to have attended U. C. (University of California) Berkeley. I have always said that I gained an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from a school in Berkeley. What is being alleged is akin to suggesting that if someone says they “studied economics in London” they are claiming to have studied at the LSE. U.C. Berkeley is a college. Berkeley is a town.

The Wright Institute, where I studied is a highly respected college. It is tightly regulated by the American Psychological Association. It happens to be next to the U. C. Berkeley campus, and we could use the U.C. library and gym. but the school is wholly independent.

Furthermore I did not attend the course described by Hencke. Indeed it did even not exist when I went to the college. My course was an M.A. and involved full time study. It also involved training placements involving thousands of hours of supervised clinical work. It is probably one of the most thorough and intense psychotherapy trainings in the world.

Both Hencke and Guido point to an error the Guardian made in a “details box” when they profiled me last summer. But that information never came from me. I didn’t even see it at the time. After all, I am not a fact checker for the Guardian. In fact it was probably Hencke’s mistake.

Several people have told me that Hencke colluded with Guido on this, an attempt to undermine me on the day of LabourList’s launch.

This behaviour is unprofessional and, as I said earlier, reprehensible. That is why I have instructed my lawyers to consider what legal action I should take and to prepare a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.

In a sense all this does is show how worried the right and their gullible partners in the mainstream media are about LabourList. But while they can attack my political activities as much as they like, they should leave my work as a therapist out of it.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News Chris Leslie rules out raising National Insurance to pay for social care

    Chris Leslie rules out raising National Insurance to pay for social care

    The possibility of Labour pledging a specific tax to raise money for NHS spending resurfaced this weekend, with Ed Miliband apparently believing that the NHS is going to be a major issue in 2015. The supposed likely tax rise would be in National Insurance, and this has raised some debate on LabourList this summer, with MP Frank Field supporting the idea, while Andrew Harrop and Adebusuyi Adeyemi have both warned against it. In a revealing interview with Progress magazine, Shadow Chief […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Free School Meals: let’s avoid the sour grapes

    Free School Meals: let’s avoid the sour grapes

    This time last year, the government announced that it would introduce free school meals for all infant school children before the next election. The policy had been endorsed by the School Food Plan commissioned by Gove. It was being championed by the Lib Dems and brought forward so it could be implemented before the 2015 election in what appeared to be a pre-conference deal between the coalition partners. This week 1.5million children in infant schools in England, including my six year […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Weekly survey: Crime commissioners, Douglas Carswell and Labour defections

    Weekly survey: Crime commissioners, Douglas Carswell and Labour defections

    The role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) has been in the news lately, with the low turnout at the recent West Midlands by-election and the Rotherham abuse scandal becoming focussed on the refusal to quit by the South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright. LabourList reported this weekend that Labour are planning to abolish PCCs after the election next year. Should the role be discontinued? Or is there just a better way of making them work? The defection of Douglas Carswell […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It shouldn’t cost so much to be a candidate

    It shouldn’t cost so much to be a candidate

    I love the Labour party. I enjoy canvassing, I pay my subs, go to the various fundraising dinners and vote in National Executive Committee (NEC) elections. I, like many, hate the constant barrage of ‘please donate’ emails and fear the dreaded fundraising call. And if I feel like that, imagine the dread felt by a candidate when they receive such a call. Don’t believe that happens? Hard to believe as it is, on more than one occasion now I have […]

    Read more →
  • News Jim Murphy resumes “100 streets” referendum tour after nationalist abuse

    Jim Murphy resumes “100 streets” referendum tour after nationalist abuse

    Jim Murphy is resuming his soapbox street meetings tour of Scotland tomorrow, after suspending it last week in the face of increasing co-ordinated abuse by supporters of independence. These protests at Murphy’s open-air meetings came to the attention of the media (and the police) when the Shadow Defence Secretary was hit with eggs last week. In a blog for the Spectator this weekend, Murphy explains how the organised groups go beyond the “normal cut and thrust” of politics that the meetings […]

    Read more →