Labour Party Chair, Hazel Blears, has this morning been sent a letter and email by several bloggers regarding the cameraman her office hired without remuneration. This picture is taken from one of the videos he made, and shown at their Party Conference.
If her office doesn't respond by Monday the signatories have committed to paying his dues themselves - which going by the minimum wage amounts to at least £395. A guide to commercial rates was also sent with the letter. Even if they find a way around the arguments for a legal obligation, there is a strong ethical case which they would be advised not to spurn - particularly as the cameraman hired, Danny Dewsbury, is a student in substantial debt.
Some great work has been done over the last few days to find out the details of the case and their legal ramifications, it is a good example of activists pulling together via the internet to make something happen. The successful Reinstate Roger campaign which was sparked by a ToryDiary thread, is another.
The other classic feature about this blog campaign is that, like in some infamous scandals in America, the issue is being kept alive when it may have been forgotten after the first day's headline in the mainstream media. Special mention to PragueTory, Croydonian and Dizzy for having the idea.
Labour's hand has been forced:
- They can pay up now as a result of this pressure. This looks bad, and also costs them a few hundred pounds which they don't have.
- They can ignore the issue, or make an excuse. The cameraman's wages will then be paid by the signatories and it becomes more interesting to the mainstream media. If you are in the media feel free to email me for Danny Dewsbury's contact details.
Either way, by not letting Labour off the hook and causing the issue to arise again, some voters will be reminded that the Labour Party isn't necessarily the friend of the working man, has caused many students debt, and that its central operation is beginning to resemble the Russian military.