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 Nearly one million people forced to use food banks in the last year

    Nearly one million people forced to use food banks in the last year

    David Cameron and his party may be claiming that the cost of living crisis is over – but perhaps they should speak to the nearly one million people who were forced to rely on emergency food aid from food banks in the past year. 913,138 adults and children received three days’ emergency food and support from Trussell Trust food banks in the last 12 months – that’s a rise of 163% on the number who were helped in the previous financial year. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Going for the student vote: Postgraduates matter more

    Going for the student vote: Postgraduates matter more

    In a politics dominated by efforts to chase the grey vote it is nice to see a bit of electoral competition at the other end of the generational divide. As Labour weighs up what to do about tuition fees it might seem that a big offer to students could yield important gains next year at the general election, as well as shoring up any post-2010 support tempted to return to the Lib Dem fold. 40.5% of students voted Lib Dem […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Independence won’t deliver for Scottish women

    Independence won’t deliver for Scottish women

    As the referendum debate in Scotland picks up pace, there is an increased focus on how women will vote. So far, it would seem that women in Scotland are steadfastly resisting Salmond’s overtures. It’s no surprise, given that his central offer for more childcare has been dismissed by the experts, and women are starting to understand that the SNP are being led by polls and not principles. Women are asking why, if the SNP’s commitment to equal representation is real, […]

    Read more →
  • News Weekly survey: Cost of living, elections and devolution

    Weekly survey: Cost of living, elections and devolution

    Average wages are set to rise faster than prices – so is there still a cost of living crisis? Ed Balls says there is, the Tories are arguing that there isn’t. What do you think? And with the European and local elections coming up next month – how much campaigning is going on in your area? And when were you last out on the doorstep? Also in our survey – Ed Miliband has pledged to devolve at least £20 billion to be […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour have a mini reshuffle

    Labour have a mini reshuffle

    Labour have had a very mini pre-Easter reshuffle, with two new role announced. Thomas Docherty, formerly Angela Eagle’s PPS, has become Shadow Deputy Leader of the House, while Angela Smith moves from that position to become a Shadow Environment minister. Congratulations to both on their new roles.

    Read more →