Vote Nob Orders: The B-list celebrity edition

Everyone has a right to express their opinion on Scottish independence, that’s perfectly fair. So it’s not at all unfair that a number of celebs have appeared in a new video telling Scotland how much they love us and why they don’t want us to leave Westminster’s tender embrace. They love us, we’re their best friend, but they still don’t trust us with the TV remote control or with determining our own spending.

Despite being touted as an unofficial intervention in the campaign, the video is a tactic straight out of the Canadian Government’s Quebec referendum playbook. Get a whole load of celebs to tell voters in anguished terms how much they love us, they need us, and they don’t want us to go. Westminster misery is no fun if you can’t share it you see, and obviously little unimportant people are going to be swayed by the opinions of famous celebrities.

Well I say ‘celebs’, you’d be hard pushed to recognise most of them. I recognised wossiface from Eastenders, him that used to be married to Rebecca Wade of the Sun and didn’t think let’s stay together when the couple were divorcing. He may have been traumatised when he hobnobbed with Tony Blair when his missus was schmoozing with the arch warmonger. He was certainly traumatised after he visited Glasgow for his programme about gangs. The wee lambie thinks Easterhoose is as dangerous as Afghanistan.  There was Eddie Izzard, taking time off from his campaign to become the Labour candidate for London mayor.  I recognised Baldrick, who’s previously appeared in Labour campaign videos, I recognised Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered Stephen Lawrence who was given a peerage by Labour in recognition for her work exposing institutional racism, and I recognised Richard I Don’t Believe It Wilson because he’s always believed in the Labour party, but that was pretty much it. Oh and John Barrowman was in it too, but it’s best not to draw too much attention to John, in case he attempts humour, wears that jaiket, or tries to sing.

I don’t have any problem with any of them expressing their opinions. That’s perfectly fair, even if the only people I was actually able to put a name to all have long standing associations with the Labour party which they omit to mention in their paean of lurve to Scotland.

What’s less fair is that the organisation behind the new video doesn’t tell us that its founders also have close links to the Labour party, and that this new initiative is about as grassroots as Vote Nob Orders. It is in fact Vote Nob Orders the C to Z list Celebrity Edition. Let’s Stay Together is the work of two advertising and PR executives with close links to the Labour leadership and the Westminster bubble, MT Rainey and Andrew McGuinness.

Mary Theresa (MT) Rainey is chair of digital advertising agency TH_NK which clearly suffers from irritable vowel syndrome. TH_NK, which is pronounced “thunk”, the noise that the Let’s Stay Together campaign made as it landed in the indyref debate, has a number of high profile clients, including the BBC, Channel 4, and the TV Licencing Authority.

In November last year at Labour’s Scottish conference in Inverness, Magrit Curran announced that Labour was to set up a new Employment Taskforce to be headed by former Labour MP for Dumbarton John McFall, who now rejoices in the silly made up title Lord of Alcluith Tywysog of the Strathclyde Britons, and another former native of Dumbarton, a certain MT Rainey.

In March this year, Labour’s national leadership announced it was setting up a review of the Creative and Digital Industries, one of the members of the review board is the busy Ms Rainey.

Andrew McGuinness, head of advertising agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay, was described in the advertising industry website Campaign Live as a Labour supporter who contributed to Tony Blair’s successful General Election campaigns in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Campaign Live goes on to say that Andrew has mainly worked for Labour in a personal capacity, but his agency did some work for Labour during the English local elections.  In 2011 Andrew McGuinness became the chairperson of Labour’s New Creative Network, an initiative which Labour claimed aimed to “signal Labour’s support for the creative sector”.

The third big name in advertising who is associated with this entirely unofficial and not connected in any way with any political party oh no campaign is a certain John Braggins. According to Let’s Stay Together’s website, the new campaign is being promoted by John, director of media company BBM. John has previously worked closely with the Labour party on elections and planning campaigns and proudly claims the credit for Labour not losing a single by-election in the period between Blair’s annointing as Labour leader and the 1997 General Election.

So we have three highly paid, well connected executives in the advertising and PR industry who appear to be the driving force behind this new and entirely unofficial initiative, all of whom have close connections with the Labour party and work on the party’s behalf  and who are insiders in the Westminster bubble, who have quite spontaneously and without any prompting decided to intervene in the Scottish referendum debate.  There’s the people’s party for you, with their new definition of grassroots.

Update: Thanks to DougtheDug for pointing out that the Let’s Stay Together video was made by Silverfish Media, owned by Marc Lucas, who was described by the Independent newspaper in 1996 as “Labour’s in-house film-maker“.  Doug also notes that Let’s Stay Together do not – as of the evening of 16 July – appear on the Electoral Commission’s website as a registered participant in the referendum campaign.

Meanwhile, it’s also come to light in a delicious little irony, that the Let’s Stay Together website is officially registered as belonging to “Think Limited” – which is a perfect description of the aspirations of the No campaign.  That’ll be some of that Acanchi karmic chi going on there then.

Meanwhile here’s a real grassroots video for you, courtesy of the National Collective.



30 comments on “Vote Nob Orders: The B-list celebrity edition

  1. Touche, Paul.
    All relevant as always and the ‘Break Free’ vid (love it) even made it on to the BBC tonight!

  2. daibhidhdeux says:

    Txs, Paul, again for this comment and insight.

    Also for the vid from the NIC gang – splendidly funny and apt:

    V-NOBS at BTOKNOTXS de-balled again courtesy of the “galz” in the video, and you in print form.

  3. oldfella69 says:

    Sounds like vile cybernat abuse of ordinary hard-working pr execs!

  4. Kevin Brown says:

    NIC – Brilliant!

  5. daibhidhdeux says:

    *Ooops, typo: “National Collective” – “NC” and not “NIC” (my old and much loved tertiary place of work, many of whose faculty are rooting for re-indy).

  6. Well, it’s now fairly obvious that the Naws are going to keep going with the same campaign strategy, fear, smear, lies and love bombing by folk who haven’t a clue what this campaign is about. That’s fine, as they’re not going to have a clue how to combat what appears to be coming in the Yes campaign.

    Thanks, National Collective, another wee gem.

  7. […] Everyone has a right to express their opinion on Scottish independence, that's perfectly fair. So it's not at all unfair that a number of celebs have appeared in a new video telling Scotland how mu…  […]

  8. daibhidhdeux says:

    Txs, Kevin, for the “brilliance” somehow inherent in the NIC comment: Am at a loss and would be grateful for your enlightenment:)

    For info purposes, NIC stands for Nevada International College (founded by Nevada University/University of Southern California) as a branch campus in Tokyo along with Lakeland College, Wisconsin;

    Interesting aside, perhaps, is that the bulk of the international faculty, admin guys, and library team are supporting a YES vote.

    But, jinky, Kevin, please explain the “brilliance” of NIC.

    Ta, much

  9. DougtheDug says:

    Another one for you. The videos were made by Silverfish Media, owner Mark Lucas.

    December 1996

    “Sources said a number of people had been approached by the party’s advertising agency, BMP, and that Labour might still use its in-house film-maker, Mark Lucas.”

    It’s more of a Labour front than celebrities suddenly remembering that how much they love us now that they know we don’t really love them.

    As a matter of interest “Let’s stay together” is not currently showing up as a registered participant on the Electoral Commission’s website. Maybe the registration is in the post but if it’s not I hope they haven’t spent more than £10,000 because that’s against the law.

    • Illy says:

      They won’t have spent anything, they’ll have run it all through the Labour Party’s books, if anyone got paid for anything at all.

  10. Kevin Brown says:

    NIC was a typo having read it above lol. I was copying what I had previously read!

  11. mary vasey says:

    Brilliant analyses WGD and Brilliant video thanks

  12. cuddyback says:

    So it’s just a SLEB-DIM/SLAB coalition production then?
    Oh well: it’s nice to feel wanted..

  13. JimnArlene says:

    “TH_NK which clearly suffers from irritable vowel syndrome. ”
    Brilliant, luckily my coffee cup was safely beyond reach, while reading this.
    Labour are desperate to keep the Scots, so we can continue voting for monkeys in red ties. Those same poo throwing, sub-primates that continually degrade Scotland and her inhabitants, on a daily basis.
    No thanks, I think we can do better, not together.

  14. hiorta says:

    Scotland is taking charge of the development of Scotland – simple.
    Westminster has had an over-generous 307 years to do this but has failed our people miserably. A rabid focus on things military, the creation of a nuclear WMD store on the Clyde with the destruction (remember her) of our industrial base are just more of the same, not any kind of advance.
    If you see this as ‘leaving’ – as I’m sure you will, so be it. Good Luck.

  15. Red Squirrel says:

    All this AstroTurf is very bad for the environment. Labour Luvvies for No are about as relevant as semolina but a lot less interesting.

    NC are genius!

  16. WRH2 says:

    Great work by Ginger and Dougthedug for digging out the truth of who is behind this latest bit of AstroTurf nonsense. This rubbish is unlikely to persuade anyone unless they’re hard of thinking. I mean, a bunch of mainly has beens. It’s not funny, convincing or informative so what’s the point. Meanwhile the NC video is a least a bit of fun and I always liked that song better than the one the Naws were using.

  17. Half of the Eastender stocking-mask brothers, eh? It might as well have been half of a pantomime horse!

  18. diabloandco says:

    Watched the video and could identify at least three of the ” celbebs” – do we only ever get second raters wanting their mugs in BT videos?

    Or is that all Scotland is worth?

    Bowie had the good sense to merely send a proxy doxy message.

    But maybe all the “A” listers are FOR independence?

    As for BREAK FREE – absolutely BRILLIANT!

    • Illy says:

      That’s a good one, You Choob have a full version of it.

      I wish I had the skill to figure out the rest of the lyrics for “Leave Us Be” (to the tune of “let it be”)

  19. Capella says:

    Is that Scotland’s entry for the Eurovision Song contest which we will be banned from? I think it would have swept the board! (sorry)

  20. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    It all seems to be about the grassroots these days. We’ve had the Tory ‘astro-turf’ Vote No Borders and now we have the Labour ‘muddy playing field’ Let’s Stay Together. Good work Paul!

    • Illy says:

      Of course it’s all about the grassroots these days.

      The Tories (both blue and red varieties) don’t like that the people who don’t like them are in the majority, and are actually starting to realise that and organise themselves.

      It’s all about demoralising us, so they try to convince us that *we* are the minority.

  21. Alex Smith says:

    @ Capella (a capella? oh whitivvir…) It certainly would have “hoovered” up the points….Coat,Please!

  22. Liz Hamilton says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how stupid it is

  23. Tris says:

    I only recognised two of them. Hardly cutting edge personalities.

  24. […] to that love bomb we were promised? I’m hoping that the infamous Let’s Fail Together video and letter weren’t the sum of it. What about the ordinary people of England, weren’t […]

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