Why Labour needs Matthew McGregor – Obama’s “Backroom Brit”

November 24, 2012 6:06 pm

There’s an interesting profile in the Times today of Matthew McGregor (Backroom Brit who ‘swung it for Obama’), which shows the huge part played by Labour member Matthew McGregor in Obama’s re-election. I know Matthew a little and I’m a huge fan of his work. If you look at most of the best online campaigning in British politics now (even after he’s been away for two years), you’ll probably find that he’s been involved in it somewhere.

On the Obama campaign, McGregor was responsible for the digital rapid response unit that attacked Mitt Romney relentlessly, ensuring that any statement by the Republican was picked over and rebutted, often within minutes or hours. My favourite example was this video which was posted soon after Romney’s infamous 47% speech leaked. It’s sheer campaigning brilliance.

But it’s clear that McGregor’s role on the campaign was one with a broad remit. The digital director of the Obama campaign Teddy Goff told the Times:

“Every video, everything we did on Twitter, every e-mail had his fingerprints on it.”

Clearly the Labour Party could do with someone with McGregor’s experience and skills. I’ve said before that a big beast might be needed to beef up Labour’s online output. Matthew McGregor could perhaps be that person. He’s close to General Secretary Iain McNicol, and also Jon Cruddas (whose Deputy Leadership campaign he ran back in 2007). The Times reports that McGregor will be having a curry with McNicol at Christmas (as well as, somewhat laughably, suggesting that he might work for the Tories). I’m planning to meet up with him too, and I hope that hope McNicol, Cruddas and others will be telling him the same thing I will be – the Labour Party needs you.

There aren’t many people in British politics who can do what McGregor has shown such an aptitude for. As senior Obama aide David Axelrod has said:

“When you talk about rapid response it has to be rapid, but it also has to be pointed. Matthew has got that edge to him.”

That’a an edge that Labour’s online campaigning could do with, but it doesn’t come cheap. The Obama campaign had 130 members of staff on their digital team. The Labour Party will obviously never get anywhere near that, but it needs to scale up from the small handful of talented but poorly resourced individuals who run the party’s online operation today.

Hiring McGregor would be a good place for Labour to start.

  • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

    If his work for Blue State Digital is anything to go by, Matthew would be a priceless asset for Labour.

    http://www.bluestatedigital.com/blog/entry/meet-bsd-questions-with-matthew-mcgregor/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671176264 facebook-671176264

    I wonder if he’s in favour of Scottish independence?

  • Daniel Speight

    Didn’t you call for Alistair Campbell to be given this job Mark? Just asking;-)

  • Daniel Speight

    Didn’t you call for Alistair Campbell to be given this job Mark? Just asking;-)

  • markfergusonuk

    Why do you ask?

Latest

  • Featured Scotland “I’m standing for First Minister of Scotland and I intend to win”: Jim Murphy joins Scottish Labour leadership race

    “I’m standing for First Minister of Scotland and I intend to win”: Jim Murphy joins Scottish Labour leadership race

    We now have three candidates for Scottish Labour leader, as Jim Murphy’s long-awaited candidacy has been confirmed. The Shadow International Development Secretary and former Scotland Secretary released a statement this evening, saying that his intention is to be Scottish Labour leader and First Minister: “I’m standing for First Minister of Scotland and I intend to win. I want to bring Scotland back together after the referendum. There is so much to be proud of in Scotland but so much we […]

    Read more →
  • Comment I’m not upset about Cameron’s refusal to wear a t-shirt – it’s everything else that gets me

    I’m not upset about Cameron’s refusal to wear a t-shirt – it’s everything else that gets me

    On Monday the news broke that David Cameron has repeatedly refused a request by Elle magazine to be photographed wearing a t-shirt. Why? Because on it, the t-shirt says “This is what a feminist looks like”. There have been a catalogue of ideas floated since about why he might not have done it – “It’s only a mag campaign” or “You shouldn’t dress up the Prime Minister”, say. But really, it’s not important that it was a request from a […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Anas Sarwar: We shouldn’t allow the SNP to “talk left and act right”

    Anas Sarwar: We shouldn’t allow the SNP to “talk left and act right”

    Interim Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar may have formally declared that he will not be entering the race to succeed Johann Lamont, but that has not stopped him analysing where Labour have failed in Scotland over the past few years. In an interview the the Huffington Post, Sarwar identifies the perception that the SNP are more left wing as a problem – even if that belief is misplaced. He said: “The SNP have been allowed to wear our clothes and talk left […]

    Read more →
  • Comment PMQs verdict: What have we learned? That Westminster has tried and failed to control immigration?

    PMQs verdict: What have we learned? That Westminster has tried and failed to control immigration?

    You could tell early on that PMQs was going to be…different, this week. The Prime Minister was sat in his seat like a coiled spring. On the Labour benches opposite, Harriet Harman was wearing a t-shirt reading “This is what a feminist looks like”. Cameron had refused five times to be photographed wearing the same t-shirt, so it was clearly intended to rile him. In reality it simply looked like a stunt, and appeared to have no impact on the […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Scotland Neil Findlay confirms he is standing for Scottish Labour leader

    Neil Findlay confirms he is standing for Scottish Labour leader

    Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary in the Scottish Parliament, Neil Findlay, has announced his intention to run for leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Findlay’s name has been among the list of potential candidates since Johann Lamont stood down on Friday. There were rumours this morning that Findlay was reconsidering whether to stand following the surprise declaration of Sarah Boyack yesterday. In a statement this lunchtime, however, Findlay says Gordon Brown was the candidate he would not have wanted to run […]

    Read more →