Having attacked National for using a foreign PR company, namely the Australian company Crosby Textor, Labour have been caught out doing exactly the same thing.
In this week's Listener David Fisher reveals that Labour has been using the 'Washington-based strategy and technology experts Blue State Digital’.
Fisher writes that, in the US, Blue State Digital ‘runs the engine behind Obamamania, and claims responsibility for the $US200 million the campaign has raised online and barackobama.com’s “social network” of almost a million people’.
Fisher says its unclear what Blue State Digital are doing for Labour and Labour itself won't talk about it.
Its work is as diverse as creating websites and organising fundraising and letter writing campaigns. Labour's campaign website can be found on the Blue State Digital website.
Blue State was established in 2004 and has a staff of 38 and offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington.
Writing on his Liberation blog, University of Dunedin lecturer Bryce Edwards comments:
'The rise of such public relations (PR) consultancy companies in the election campaign epitomises the process of privatisation of politics....For the Labour Party organisation, which is increasingly withering away to become an empty shell, it has to find new PR firms to replace its departed party members and weakening and distant unions. Therefore in recent years the party has been associated with firms Edwards-Cunningham Consultants, Communicor, and Consultus (run respectively by the Labour Party-friendly television interviewers Brian Edwards, Simon Walker and Ian Fraser). Blue State Digital is only the latest variant of this.'
And, as David Fisher observes, the discovery of the Blue State Digital connection, highlights one again the similarities between the two major parliamentary parties.
Having caned National for its use of Crosby Textor, it'll be interesting to see what the pro-Labour bloggers have to say about Labour's use of Blue State. I suspect there will be a profound silence.