« The growing gender gap | Main | Tory frontbench reshuffle under way »


This a very fair representation of the campaign, how it developed and what we want to achieve. Before anyone else does, I should point out the involvement of some Lib Dems and some unaffilliated individuals as well as Tories in raising the pledged amount and working on the campaign.

Sorry, is this something we are supposed to be getting wildly excited about?

Why does this gentleman not submit his account in the usual way? If the Labour Party refuse to pay without good reason the next step is the County Court.

Tory Loyalist,
I think you will find there is an issue about the nature of the employment and what the camerman believed he would be doing and on what basis. NuLab should come clean and explain themselves; was this gentleman misled in any way by the Labour Party or not?

This is exploitation. Some of the contributors have mentioned that they would have felt the same about this young man's treatment if it was the Tory Party.

Our powder is dry. If you peruse the letter, there is enough there material already. Further details will be released as the week goes on.

Two options either
Labour can't pay because they are financially bankrupt; or
Labour won't pay because they are morally bankrupt.

Nulab is starting to remind me of a fairy tale of my childhood. I dont expect many bloggers today will be familiar with TheWater-Babies by Charles Kingsley, but there is an analogy there. Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, the ugliest fairy in the world, will punish nulab, and how they have treated that lad is the reason she will be after them. No chance of her turning into Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby while nulab is around! Victorian tale it may be, but still valid. Nulab will be punished at the ballet box!!

Such a slippery slope. The Conservative Party is not really well known for being a good employer. Perhaps some of the people desperate to score points should ask how agents/other party employees are treated.

This isn't about point scoring. It is about honesty and taking a young debt-ridden student for a ride. If Conservative's have done similar, I'd expect to hold them to account too.

Oops, rogue apostrophe there.

Its a decency issue,its a do the right thing issue,its about how the haves treat the have nots,its how the cynical treat the young.The campaign is cross party, and non party. I am saddened when the basics are no longer anything to get excited about.

Deborah writes "This isn't about point scoring. It is about honesty and taking a young debt-ridden student for a ride".

Pull the other one, it's got bells on. It's a straightforward attempt to score political points against another party and you only make yourself look ridiculous by insisting that it's something more profound.

For the record, if it was made clear to Danny Dewsbury that this was a volunteer unpaid film, then I think he has no claim to reimbursement; if not, then he should be paid. But I am only a member and I do not work for the Labour Party.

If you think it is acceptable that a student who doesn't support the Labour Party was tricked into doing nine day's professional work for them producing 5 films that were used at Conference and wasn't paid and is even out of pocket because they have short-changed him on his expenses (and that was after the said student conducted a media campaign and sent Labour a letter from a lawyer), then you should oppose this campaign.

I don't care whether if you think this a "slippery slope". The bar is being set pretty low with this story of exploitation. We are drawing a line in the sand.

David - Labour haven't even reimbursed his costs (two months later). I look forward to you and other Labour supporters who bang on about social justice etc making yourself look like hypocrites. Keep talking.

Pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Don't judge everyone else by your own standards.

Labour's behaviour seems shoddy in the extreme but David has a perfectly good point: this is just yah boo point scoring masquerading as moral outrage. There are numerous examples of the Tory Party treating abominably the people who work for it - employed and otherwise. And let's not even approach the vexed issue of the A List!

The Conservative Party is not really well known for being a good employer

Bear in mind it is aiming to get the Investors in People award.

I certainly don't think the Labour Party treatment of this student is in any way acceptable. I hope he gets every penny and more from the Labour Party.

But the Conservative Party is not a good employer either and I think before Conservative Party members attack Labour on their employment practices they should look first at how agents are being treated in the constituencies.

I'm not sure I really follow this, but one thing is clear: Someone is going to end up looking silly over this, and it might as well be Hazel Blears. If it all blows up, no harm done and we've had a laugh on the way (although I suspect that young Dewsbury's future career options are narrowing rapidly.)

This campaign is certainly worth a punt - sharp work by PragueTory, Dizzy, Croydonian et al.

All seems to suggest that the old joke is true, the real words of The Red Flag under Labour should be:
The working class can kiss my ****
I've got the foreman's job at last...

It seems abundantly clear to me that Danny has been given the shaft by the soi-disante 'People's Party', so if Labour is either pressured into doing the right thing or if we stump up the man still gets compensated. I would consider that a very favourable result.

Louise- he is 22 years old trying to make a start in life and with a £13 000 student debt, compare apples with apples. Was student debt an issue before 1997? Why pass employment laws, and then set yourself above the Law. I'm with Croydonian on this one

Guthrum, I am in no way trying to defend the actions of the Labour Party. As I said above I hope he gets all he is owed and more.

My concern is that the Conservative Party (and Constituency Associations) is a poor employer which treats staff in a shabby manner. Members of the Conservative Party attacking the Labour Party for bad practice leaves the party open to attack on this issue.

The Labour Party treatment of this guy has been appalling but Conservative Party treatment of its staff, many of whom have large student debts, is just as bad, if not worse in some cases. eg I know of a case when an association chairman asked an ACD for advice on the annual pay review and was told - don't bother, agents are used to not getting pay rises.... I know of a case where an agent received no pay review for over two years, leading to a real-terms pay decrease - both of which were in contravention of the contract of employment.

In my opinion, tts a dangerous subject for party members to start trying to score points on.

If people have concrete examples of the Conservative party mistreating employees (not anecdotes) they should be addressed.
However this thread is about the treatment of an individual by the Labour party and there are specific questions about a specific case that require answers.

Point taken, but I am not a party member, so how the Conservative Party treats its adult employees is not known to me. If I thought the Conservative party was shafting 22 year old students enmeshed in debt, I would be doing the same. In essence it is whether you believe such behaviour is right or wrong, rather than political.

Louise ,
As PragueTory said this morning "I should point out the involvement of some Lib Dems and some unaffilliated individuals as well as Tories" in drawing attention to this matter

Compare and contrast

- No pay review
- No pay at all and out-of-pocket expenses not fully covered

Hmmm - shall we keep it cosy and never attack another party for inethical behaviour in case we're doing it? Maybe just half of the signatories are Conservative members anyway.

So what, Nigel? The Lib Dems are also point-scoring too: quelle surprise. There are innumerable examples of injustice in this world. Why is this particular one being aired on this blog other than because it is an opportunity to engage in a bit of partisan sniping at the Labour Party.....richly though they deserve to be slated?

But the Conservative Party is not a good employer either and I think before Conservative Party members attack Labour on their employment practices they should look first at how agents are being treated in the constituencies.

ad hominen argument

"But the Conservative Party is not a good employer either and I think before Conservative Party members attack Labour on their employment practices they should look first at how agents are being treated in the constituencies."

"ad hominen argument"

Hah Dizzy - your efforts to confuse me failed. I can wikipedia Latin. :-)

I disagree - although I accept that my points may look like this.

My concern is that by highlighting this case members of the Conservative Party have declared open season on comparing employment practises which I doubt could end well for the Party.

I would imagine that as the left-wing blogsphere isn't as active it won't happen, but there is always a chance....

Surely this is no different than any other employment dispute and as such not a matter for others, but rather between the individual(s) involved and the employer, and as such attempts by others to interfere is contrary to the notion of a free labour market in which the State and Trade Unions are not involved - any action could set a precedent and be used by Trade Unions and Radical Communist organisations as an excuse for militancy.

I agree with the last post.

I could quote numerous unpleasant incidents involving Conservative local office staff over the years including one young woman who was subjected to persistent sexual harrassment and improper advances by a Tory Agent (now dead) old enough to be her grandfather.

These incidents were carefully hushed up, very wisely in my opinion.

In the present case there appears to have been some misunderstanding, and just because I am on the other side I am not going to assume that the Labour Party is in the wrong.

I recall that when I stood for the council some years ago I agreed to be followed around by a trainee journalist who conducted several interviews as part of her college course. I certainly didn't expect to pay for that particular privilege.

Of course this is a blatant attempt at point-scoring. Maybe if Praguetory were to return to London where the booze is dearer he'd regain a sense of proportion.

No doubt the Labour Party will simply sling this over to their legal department. That would be my advice to them.

Some misunderstanding???!?!??!?! Please look at the facts more carefully.

My god, I know some people enjoy being contrarians, but you guys are taking the biscuit. So rather than settling a £500 outstanding bill with someone that did a fair proportion of your conference film (at a loss), you would advise Labour to engage their expensive legal team on fighting the bugger.

Well, it's nice to know who your friends are. I'm sure Danny will appreciate your kind words and thoughts.

Also, I'm not getting involved in the "employment dispute". I and other supporters are giving Labour an ultimatum. They can choose to ignore it and that will be the last time they can lecture us on employee rights, respect for the law and social justice with a straught face.

Louise and Tory Loyalist,

The flaws in your arguments are too obvious to be worthy of a post. But I will say this: You should be celebrating these bloggers for doing something the Tory leadership either can't or won't.

Think about it. If Labour cough up, it will be seen to be as a result of pressure from a bunch of rightwing bloggers. If they don't, they have been bested by a bunch of rightwing bloggers.

What does this cost the leadership? Nothing. These bloggers are acting entirely independently after all. Praguetory has organised all of this off his own bat - whether you think it is merely for point scoring or because it is a matter of right and wrong is immaterial at the end of the day - and for that accomplishment alone he is certainly to be commended.

And what does it cost you to support this campaign? Nothing if you don't want it to. So, why all the fuss?


Labour should cough up the money. Dewsbury did work for the Labour Party and should be paid for the work he did according to national pay legislation.

Louise wrote:
"I know of a case when an association chairman asked an ACD for advice on the annual pay review and was told - don't bother, agents are used to not getting pay rises..."

That apocryphal tale, if intended as a joke, is in very poor taste and should be withdrawn.

That apocryphal tale, if intended as a joke, is in very poor taste and should be withdrawn.

Actually it sounds about right, which is probably one reason why there are hardly any professional agents these days.

I remember a Graham Smith who used to be a constituency agent and went on to some senior Central Office job. Is that you?

Trust me Graham, neither an apocryphal tale nor a joke. In the interests of fairness I should also point out that the Association Chairman did not take the advice of the ACD, but it was a serious piece of advice.

Some agents (and other staff employed by Associations and the Central Party) are very well paid and well appreciated but many are not. Some of these employees may be employed by Associations whose members are (understandably) enraged by the Labour Party's shoddy treatment of the film-making student.

My concern is that by opening up a debate on employment practises there are many ways that the Party can be attacked. I can think of several current and former agents with similar stories to those I gave above.

Utterly bizarre navel gazing, McCartney is out there 'taking the moral high ground' over carepak this morning.

Nice to see the campaign gather head, BUT, is it about a poor abused student taken advantage of and sweat-shopped, OR, is it about scoring cheap political points at the expense of NuLab?
If the latter than fine, not paying minimum wage for professional services is an outrage when you listen to the tosh and mendacious crap that emanates from them. If the collateral is that the student gets some money then you have a moral and ethical imperative to keep it going. Indeed, it must be made to be, a rather vicious duodenal ulcer, leaking its bile into the body politic.
It might be a good idea to employ this student the political kudos could be quite useful.

Louise says she knows of a case where an agent received no pay review for two years in contravention of the contract of employment. The right to a pay review is not the same as the right to a pay rise. A contractual requirement for an annual pay review is satisfied if the employer reviews the employee's pay and decides that no rise is justified. Of course, if the contract requires an annual pay rise, that is another matter altogether. And, having said all that, I would always advocate giving people an annual pay rise other than in exceptional circumstances.

Personally, I think the fact that the student had to get solicitors involved to get Labour to pay his expenses is appalling (assuming his claim was valid), as is the fact that he has still only received a partial payment. I would be equally angry if the Conservative Party had treated him in this way. However, we haven't been told the details of his expenses. It seems he was told that he could only claim for the tapes and his own travel. Has he tried to claim for other things as well? Is that why Labour have only paid part of his expenses?

I am less certain about the national minimum wage stuff. The original advert made it clear that no fee would be paid, only expenses. He asked for pay at the interview and was told there was none. He could have walked away from it at that stage. To accept the role and subsequently try to claim payment seems disingenuous, whatever the legalities. And the guidance from HMRC leaves me somewhat concerned. I volunteer for a preserved railway in my spare time. I drive trains. I can't come and go as I please. Once I've started a driving turn, I have to finish it. And if I fail to turn up on a day for which I have volunteered, there will be some pretty upset people! Some rules as to where volunteering ends and employment begins are needed to stop people being exploited but they must not interfere with genuine volunteering.

So what was the status here? The student clearly feels that he was exploited, despite the fact that he willingly accepted the post on the understanding that it would be unpaid. I'm guessing the work turned out to be more demanding than he had anticipated or was led to believe. He clearly felt that he could not refuse any of the assignments, so he felt he was an employee despite the agreement he signed.

In the circumstances, it would be a good idea for Labour to pay up, whatever the legalities.

I dont see this as a story that likely to gather much momentum. Have we heard the Labour Party's side of the argument yet? Don't want to? Right-on!

The deadline-peppered missives on Praguetory's site reminded me of the stuff on those blogs maintained by people who claim Tony Blair/the Masons/Alien invaders have been waging a secret conspiracy against them for the past 25 years.

What's his name? Kafka?

Hmmm Jamies Sausage, Radio 4 running a similar story this morning, plus there have been developments

This issue has now been resolved.

After weeks of ignoring him, the Labour Party have all of a sudden reached a satisfactory settlement with Danny Dewsbury.

Good for him!

Hey. Most of the basic truths of life sound absurd at first hearing.
I am from South and also now'm speaking English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "The dark hair hair is made to bring loss reduction while only involving the including common hair."

With love 8-), Nimah.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker